Archive for January, 2009

One Foot In, One Foot Out

…You put your right foot in,

You put your right foot out,

You put your right foot in,

And you turn yourself about,

You do the hokey-pokey,

And you turn yourself around,

That’s what it’s all about!

I can’t follow my pal HB Ando’s ode to Bon Jovi, but I sure can remember a song from early childhood. The problem is that what mimics a nursery school rhyme also best describes the play of the Atlanta Hawks lately.  While injuries have taken a toll, this team has learned how to win with a key player, starter, or reserve out of the action. What’s frustrating is the lack of consistency, sometimes on both ends of the court, and the love/hate relationship the Hawks seem to have with the inside game.

It’s not like it’s a secret or anything. The Hawks have a dynamic starting backcourt duo which they’ve made the focal point of their entire offense, and the rest of the league knows it. We have one scorer/combo guard to back up the two starting guards. Sometimes this offensive …

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Half Way There, Livin’ On Your Players?

With nods to Bon Jovi, Dave O’Brien (whose penchant for including cool song lyrics, of both well-known and more obscure musicians, is pretty cool) and Weird Al Jankovich, I couldn’t help but think about the song, “Livin’ On A Prayer”, when thinking about the Hawks reaching the half-way point this past week.  If you know the song well, then you’ll probably get more of a kick out of my “Hawks” version than if the name Bon Jovi is an Arena Football reference.

So here it is:

Livin’ On Your Players

Billy used to work for the Hawks

Made some bad picks, now he’s at home, it’s true

So true.

Woody dreamed of running away

Working with young men, now they can play, 50 wins will do

Will do.

(But will the Hawks say?)

We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got

Doesn’t make a difference,

the playoffs or not

Payrolls’ $65 million and that’s a lot,

For sure, well give it a shot…

Whooah, Hawks are half-way there

But are we livin’ on a prayer?

Trade for some depth and …

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Hanging In There

Hawks fans everywhere have to be feeling at least a little bit good, even if only for the moment.

At the 40-game mark, the Hawks are just one game away from being truly half way through the season. And here they sit at 8 games above .500, an accomplishment that this franchise has not seen in years, and one that some of the Hawks players have not seen at all in their young careers. 

Despite a spate of injuries mostly to their frontcourt, the Hawks have managed to plug along, losing enough to not look like a typical Cinderella, but winning enough not to look like one of her ugly stepsisters. All the while, debates have raged hot and heavy on subjects such as the number of minutes Joe Johnson and some other starters are playing, whether or not certain guys will or should be traded, and whether or not head coach Mike Woodson is doing the job right.

One subject in particular has come to the forefront and pretty much stayed there: THE BENCH. While this discussion will probably …

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The Bill Comes Due (we knew it would)

All those discussions, regarding Woody’s sparse use of his bench earlier this season, always had an air of foreboding.  Injuries, to key players, is a reality of the NBA (and all professional/collegiate sports).  So when a coach like Woody makes a conscious decision to under utilize his bench, on an ongoing basis, it can mean one of two things:

1) He’s too worried about winning each individual game, to an extent that he’s willing to roll the dice, risking the season, as a whole, and leaving his team without a well-developed bench, ill-prepared for an injury like the one to Horford, or,

2) He doesn’t believe the bench he has, no matter how much run he gives them, is capable of competing against opposing teams.  He doesn’t believe he can win with those players.

Since the latter theory contradicts the general consensus of most Hawks’ fans, that Woody has the strongest bench he ever been provided with, by simple exclusion, it points to the former (that’s point #1 for those of …

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NBA Ironies: Kind and Unkind

Here we are, not even a fortnight into 2009 and life in and around the NBA is showing itself to be the usual kaleidoscope of colors, sights, and sounds. Fresh off of the beating of a lifetime, perhaps Hawks players need to find something else to focus on for a minute, and so do Hawks fans. And before I go on, we WILL talk Hawks basketball by the end of this post. In the meantime, let’s look at some other things going on in and around the NBA.

First, there’s this Charles Barkley “scandal.” Why are there so many serious minded articles being written about him getting caught for a possible DUI? Okay, so he ran a stop sign. Does anybody have ANY idea how much both of these things happen? Not to undermine the seriousness and the potential of tragedy behind it, as those who know enough about me know that I take this seriously. But is this news somehow? I cannot believe that people are actually writing articles about Barkley and whether or not he can be taken seriously. I thought …

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‘Throws and ‘Fros and Euros

Pick a play. Any play. Or any plays.

Any that stood out to you the most in the Hawks’ 106-102 loss to the streaking Orlando Magic. If you picked two plays, I’ll bet I know which two you picked. Actually, I have no clue whatsoever, so I’ll just share the two that stuck with me the most.

The first one had to be Josh Smith’s coast-to-coast run, finished by a soaring, thunderous jam in front of a couple of hapless Magic defenders. It wasn’t so much of a stunner as it was a dazzler. The whole time I kept thinking “Josh, whatever you do don’t let them cherry-pick you from behind.” He didn’t. Then I thought, “Don’t try to make some insane pass play.” He didn’t. He dunked it….hard. The best part was watching the replay, where it clearly showed him eyeing his teammate, looking as if he’s going to pass it to him the whole time, then you see him get that look in his eye. All I could think was “Look out belooooooow!” Ah yes. The sweet sound of a rim getting rocked like a dance club at …

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Smashing Success

Well, here we sit at 4th in the Eastern Conference standings, with Orlando 3 and a half games ahead of us, and Detroit just a game behind us.  The gap widens a good bit more with Miami being 3 and a half games behind us, and New Jersey even further away. But more on this later (probably much later), seeing as how position in the standings doesn’t mean as much now, as it will after  the all-star break. Not to say that our better-than-ever record isn’t something to be applaued and enjoyed. It most certainly is. But the real jockeying for position happens later in the season. And a lot can happen between now and then. As I said, more on that later.

As of now, the Hawks have found themselves not only competitors, but winners in the types of games that they surely would have lost last year. We’ve talked about Bibby’s effect on this team, and how we’re playing the  game better. We’ve talked about Marvin taking his game to the next stage in evolution.  It seems like the whole …

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