Pains and Gains

If you’ve every played any high school sport, most notably football, there was one phrase you always hated to hear the most. “No pain, No gain!”

If I could have had a dollar for every time I heard that in practice, I’d….well, I’d still be no richer than I am now,  because I didn’t know how to save a single stinking penny back then. But you get my drift, right?

If anybody understands the correlation between pain and gain, it’s the Hawks. They sure got a good dose  of this age old adage in game 4, where Zaza led the way in both the pain AND gain departments. But what the Hawks have to be wondering right now is exactly WHAT gains will they get from all the pain they’re experiencing right now? And believe me, there is a lot of pain to spread around. Horford’s ankle. Marvin’s back. Acie’s back (is it still hurting some?). Zaza’s shiner. Woody’s ulcer. Josh’s brain. Okay, maybe the last two are fictional (and no doubt the first could be related to the second), but you have to have a reason to grin amidst all these reasons to grimace.

So what DO the Hawks have to gain? Experience, for one thing. Toughness, for another. Nothing teaches you more about yourself, about your resiliency and resourcefulness, than adversity. You don’t gain toughness by always having it easy. And nobody gains the most valuable experience by simply watching events pass them by. Adversity has a shock value. The first time, you are simply beaten by it, in most cases. The second time may also be a surpise, but less of one. And each time after that, you learn how to weather the storm better and better.

The Hawks have weathered the storm of injuries before, but not to this extent when it actually meant something. More importantly, not to this extent in the playoffs. The last I read, Coach Woodson has elected to start Solomon Jones if Al Horford can’t go. This is a smart move by Woodson, as the Heat would no doubt try to take Zaza Pachulia out of the game early, were he to start. This series, and most notably game 4, has taught them what Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics learned in last year’s playoffs: You don’t want none of the Stormin’ Georgian! But again, there is all kinds of opportunity for gain here, despite Horford’s injury. Jones gets invaluable big-time, big-game experience. But better than that, he gets a chance to prove himself to some very important people: his coach, his teammates….and himself. Is there anything than building confidence in one’s coach, one’s teammates, and one’s own self? These are the fires that team chemistry and cohesion are forged in. The same goes for any other less-used players, such as Mario West and Acie Law (assuming he is healthy enough and wants bad enough to play). Every bit of experience helps, and the hotter the heat, the better the forging. Men do not become warriors on the practice grounds. The become warriors on the battle field. And who better to fight alongside, than someone who has been to war with you before?

It would seem that the Hawks have a daunting task ahead of them on Friday night. But they must not see it as such. They must look upon it as a unique opportunity. The opportunity to go on the road and get the first playoff series win this franchise has had since ‘98-’99. Not only that, but they get to show they can win on the road without being at full strength.

Now, going on the road without two of your regular starters in a playoff game is hardly what most would call ideal conditions. But remember…

 

No pain, no gain.

 

 

The Hawks are faced with a unique opportunity, and they should see it as such. They may have the opportunity to learn and find out what it takes to

 

For the Hawks, this is essentially being assigned the same task or project, only without some of the tools they had become accustomed to using.

33 comments Add your comment

doc

April 30th, 2009
10:57 pm

funny, in the ironic sense, mr flop has turned into the feared mad georgian that causes bumps, bruises and has an all world guard saying he is playing too rough with him and his team mates. go euro punk!

jhan

April 30th, 2009
11:09 pm

Right on doc! Our soft Euro punk is kicking some all american Ass right now!

Melvin

April 30th, 2009
11:13 pm

Good blog Big Ray. DWade must go down and he must go down hard.

niremetal

April 30th, 2009
11:32 pm

Good blog. As for Solo starting, it sounds good enough to make you raise an eyebrow. But the real question is whether he’ll be getting starter’s minutes, or whether he’ll be “starting” in the same sense that Royal Ivey was our starting PG back in 05-06, where he would start the game but get yanked at the first timeout for Lue, often never to be seen again for the rest of the game.

But regardless, it’s a positive sign that Woody trusts Solo enough to let him start the game against a playoff team. At the very least, it shows recognition that Zaza is at his best when he can come off the bench and be an energy player.

Btw – what was the logic behind Woodson’s use of Ivey back then? Did he just like having Lue come off the bench?

MannyT

April 30th, 2009
11:47 pm

niremetal, Woody liked Lue coming off the bench back then and he likes Zaza coming off the bench now. Unless something remarkable happens Solo is just another way to say Big Royal.

Orlando won in Philly w/o Dwight Howard. Maybe we can do the same on Friday w/o Marvin (and Al?)

Do the Celtics & Bulls get any kind of extra credit from the NBA union for playing so many overtimes? I thought I would watch the last 3 minutes of that game and it led to 2 hours of TV 8-O

BWAF

Big Ray

May 1st, 2009
12:58 am

Niremetal,

Great query. I think you and Manny nailed it, but there is a possibility, however slim, that Solo impresses…and Woody not only leaves him in, but lets him back in later. Such a thing would be cause to raise the OTHER eyebrow…

Big Ray

May 1st, 2009
1:00 am

Melvin,

Thanks! I agree. Wade has to go down and STAY down!

Here! Here! Let’s hear it for Zaza!

oldmike

May 1st, 2009
8:03 am

Guys, the Hawks hgave shown such resolve and spoirit in the last 2 games of this series I am astounded. Quite an eyeraiser. Hats off to them for not backing down to “superstar” DWade. Take care of business. They know what it takes to win the games in this series and they have shown they can do it. Win one more then on to the next Superstar. Wouldn’t the league crap in their pants if we upset the Cavs!!!!!!!!!!

KevinA

May 1st, 2009
9:23 am

Great blog Ray,

You can add Flip off the coming off the bench. Flip may be a better player than Evans but his offensive punch and the ability to play the 1 or 2 spot defines Woody’s idea of his role. This piece of good coaching keeps much of the continuity of people knowing their defined roles. I hope we see a few minutes from another big though. We don’t need Josh and ZaZa playing 45 minutes.

Astro Joe

May 1st, 2009
9:28 am

Good stuff, Ray. Foul trouble or crow bars to the grill notwithstanding, I’d expect Solo to get around 18-20 minutes with Zaza pulling the heavy load with around 28-30 minutes.

With regard to the gain associated with feeling pain, I think Portland just learned in the past few days what the Hawks learned last season. They wilted under the playoff intensity despite owning homecourt advantage and possibly the best set of fans in the NBA. I personally think their current roster is ultra-soft but maybe they can have some organic growth in the toughness department.

Back to the Hawks, I’m very fearful that this will become a series of attrition and we’re losing. If Marvin and Horford are out for game 7, and we potentially lose someone tonight to either injury or a suspension, well… Here’s hoping that cooler heads prevail because the Heat have little to lose by starting a Pier 6 brawl (by the way, where do you get tickets to see the events at Pier 6?). We need to let the refs handle it tonight and then if necessary, beat them Sunday and brawl next November when there’s little on the line.

Astro Joe

May 1st, 2009
9:48 am

The Hawks are soo unpredictable I can’t figure out what to think about the game tonight. They should lose, which is a good reason for them to win. But they are the superior team, which is a good reason to expect them to let us down and lose. The Heat will come out at 200 MPH. Between Smith, Zaza and Steve Holman, they have found all kinds of reasons to get motivated. Can the Hawks withstand the early fury and steal a game at the end when all of the raw emotion saps the Heat of their energy? Or are we looking at a 40-point beat down with Woody pulling his starters by mid-4th quarter?

Game Time = Pain Time

May 1st, 2009
10:13 am

If you kill the joe, you make some mo’!!!

Astro Joe

May 1st, 2009
11:09 am

One other thing about Mr. Solomon Jones, dude played for South Florida, so he may have a little extra incentive to have a career game amidst the hysteria going on down there in his old stomping grounds. Rebounds, blocks and hard (but clean) fouls. That’s what I want from Solo.

KevinA

May 1st, 2009
11:34 am

Looking for a Josh Childress Blog?

http://www.euroleague.net/features/blog/2008-2009

Solo will be playing the most physical game of his life. Miami/O’neil will test him early and often. I hope we feed him two three times on offence for a chance of payback.

rich brave

May 1st, 2009
11:36 am

BIG RAY and HB ANDO:

JUST A SHOUT OUT TO YOU GUYS AND THE REGULARS HERE. Great win the other night. Assume you all saw the CELICS-BULLS slugfest last evening. Be prepared for much of the same in MIAMI tonight. The HEAT wants to stay, and they have a DAVID STERN mark on the team – DWAYNE WADE. The commish doesn’t care to lose any ticket-sellers easily and lower the next round’s ratings. Watch the officiating. I wouldn’t count on too many HAWKS frindly whistle-tooters down there. If you want a break before the next round bring some brass knuckles and a wrestling team to this one. and be ready to roll. GOOD LUCK. GO HAWKS. On the road so I haven’t had access to a computer until today. See you guys in the funny papers.

KevinA

May 1st, 2009
1:36 pm

Looking for a Josh Childress Blog?

http://www.euroleague.net/features/blog/2008-2009

Have you forgot Chills dunks and blocks? Here is a video.

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-39-165/Ich-Bin-Berliner–A-Euroleague-Final-Four-Preview.html

You can’t tell me you don’t miss him.

Wabe

May 1st, 2009
1:51 pm

Well, wouldn’t it be great to see the Hawks, who up until this past weekend, hadn’t won a road playoff game in nearly 12 years, win another road playoff game to clinch a spot in the next round.

I think it would help wonders, our team’s a bit banged up and could use the weekend to rest up.

I know Horford’s out tonite, but haven’t heard much about Marvin’s status tonite. I’m almost positive he’s going to be sitting out AGAIN, but can anybody afirm that?

Lets GOOOO Hawks!

Astro Joe

May 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

Hawks should play very, very loose tonight. With Horford and Marvin missing AND the fan base grousing about stupid stuff (I can’t believe they’re raking Holman over the coals), the Hawks truly have very little to lose. As much as I want this done tonight and understand the risks of a game 7 (who knows, Chris Quinn could hit eight 3s), Hawks should just play loose and easy and not let their blood pressure race. And after every hard foul, they should burst out in uncontrollable laughter.

KevinA

May 1st, 2009
4:47 pm

They jHawks need to follow ZaZA’s example. Be a man and out hustle them.

KevinA

May 1st, 2009
7:36 pm

In less than 1/2hr. Our Hawks will be playing their biggest game in 10 years. I am firing up the grill and breaking out the beer in anticipation. ZaZa and Josh will have their hands full. I hope they can keep their composure because it will take rugged tough hustle, fighting for rebounds. JJ and Bibby drove more last game than they have most of the season. We need more of the same.

Solo, the big question is Solo. You got to figure that O’neil will test him early and often. Morris may end up being a factor before it’s done. 6′11” 275 lbs. Seems perfect for playoff basketball. We have a very good back court that at times is inconsistent. Last game they kicked butt. If they shoot 50% from the field that will take a lot of pressure off the front court.

Miami has no reason not to leave every thing on the floor. This will be the most hostile environment the Hawks have faced since Boston. I expect we will be hit in the mouth several times. I expect ZaZa to show his chin and be unaffected. Lets do this thing.

Rod from College Park

May 1st, 2009
8:50 pm

Big Ray,

Marvin Williams gets his shot blocked by a guy 4 inches shorter than him in the post, but he can create his own shot. Right!!!!

Wabe

May 1st, 2009
9:18 pm

MIKE BIBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Big first half by Bibby.

Joe and JSmoove need to step up.

Someone needs to SIT DOWN WITH JOSH SMITH – - AND GET HIS HEAD CHECKED!

ALL THAT DRIBBLING DOWN THE COURT RUNNING THE BREAKS – ALL THOSE JUMPERS NEED TO STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLEASE MAKE THEM STOP!!!!!

See ya Sunday

May 1st, 2009
10:32 pm

Big Ray and blog,

Please tell me why the Hawks don’t compete on the road. This is beyond ridiculous. Painful, disgusting, embarrassing performance by the Hawks tonight. And no, the silly between the legs dunk attempt by Smith in G5 didn’t have anything to do with this. That was the most over-hyped faux paus of all time. If the Hawks win game 7, is there any reason to believe they’ll compete in Cleveland?

HB Ando

May 1st, 2009
10:44 pm

Well, this was to be expected. And if you go all the way back to my four reasons why the Hawks didn’t want to play the Heat in the first round, 3 of them were Wade (obvious), Beasley and Chalmers (which led a lot of folks to dismiss the concern).

Biggest, though, is not the play of any Heat player, but the absence of Al Horford, who is the heart of the Hawks’ interior play.

So while I went on record that the Hawks wouldn’t end up losing this series if it went to seven games, given their strong play at home, if Horford isn’t in the lineup, then, though the original logic of suggesting a Heat upset, in the first round, is ultimately flawed by his absence, the outcome could well be the same.

That being said, I made it clear to Jhan that you really have to go with superstition, so since he took me and his big bro, Mark, to games one and five, both one handily by the Hawks, I have to suggest that he guarantee a game seven win, for the Atlanta Hawks, by taking both me and Mark to the game.

Some folks never change their stinky socks, some wear crazy t-shirts, but whatever works, from a superstition standpoint, breaking the streak is tempting fate.

Just sayin’………..

HB Ando

May 1st, 2009
10:45 pm

yeah, I know it’s spelled “won”…

Sue me.

See ya Sunday

May 1st, 2009
10:51 pm

Can somebody please tell me why this Hawks squad doesn’t compete on the road? We’ve seen it all season long, as well as in the playoffs. We also saw this last year, the year before, etc…
What’s the dab blasted problem?

Thanks for your input.

Heat Fan!

May 1st, 2009
11:08 pm

Hello My Feathered Friends – 7 Game Series – You gotta love em.

Wabe

May 1st, 2009
11:47 pm

The Hawks don’t play well on the road because…

We’re on the road.

Wabe

May 1st, 2009
11:52 pm

I’ll say this. There was a point in this game when the Hawks were making a run – cutting into the lead posession by posession – and then Joe missed a runner which would’ve cut it to 6. At that point, I thought we were at least in Miami to compete.

2nd half proved me wrong. It was just frustrating to watch.

An urgent team would’ve came into this game the way they approached game 4 – with a sense of urgency. But, it seems after the Hawks got down – they just gave in knowing they were coming back to ATL for Game 7. AN URGENT TEAM WOULD’VE APPROACHED THIS GAME AS IF IT WAS A GAME 7 – instead of relying on homecourt.

Oh well, had a feeling this wasn’t the night. GAME 7!!!!!!!!!

ShatteredDreams

May 2nd, 2009
12:55 pm

Its a shame the Hawks did not approach game 6 against the Heat with a sense of urgency. Think of how dumb Josh Smith is. First of all, Josh Smtih continues to dribble the basketball down court as though he is a guard and continues to turn the ball over. Secondly, Josh Smith fires up the Heat team giving the heat new life and intensity by stupidly embarrasing the Heat with his “failed” windmill dunk in game 5. Now the Heat are fuming and are so electrifiied that all of a sudden you get a team that was 24 hours earlier on life support, getting ready to get eliminated to being so mad that they bring their best and most intensive game plan yet in game 6 as Wade torches the Hawks for 41 points and gives the Heat new found inspiration. I believe this experience has taught the Hawks that when you have a chance to close a team out, certainly go about your business and get it done. Now all of a sudden, instead of eliminating the Heat when you had a clear shot to close out the Heat on Friday, the Hawks have put themselves in a situation where the Heat can now turn the tables on the Hawks in game 7, close out the Hawks, as Wade goes this time for 50 points and send the Hawks home for the summer. I tell you what, if the Hawks lose this series to Heat after having the series only 48 minutes away from winning it and closing the Heat out, to losing the series in game 7 with a Heat blowout, woodsen should get fired and management should bust up the team. What a waste!!!!

SlickWatts

May 2nd, 2009
2:25 pm

The NBA wants D-Wade to make it to the next round. Why then is the commish at the Hawks game, certainly not to root for the Hawks. The commish (David Stern) was there at Phillips Arena to see D-Wade (a potential MVP winner this year) check out Wades series with the Hawks as a preview of a much anticipated Labron James vs D-Wade matchup in the next round. No other matchup in the east would be as compelling as that one. I am absolutely positive if this matchup takes place, it will result in sky high ratings for the NBA. And if you think these early ratings are great, I believe ultimately the NBA would be thrilled to see a matchup in the finals of Kobe vs. LaBron. That would be the ultimate matchup of all times, in my opinion. It almost reminds me of the matchups in the past of Wilt Chamberlain vs Kareem Abdul Jabaar (an incredible matchup). But Kobe vs. LaBron would be the ultimate becuase those two guys can turn it on for an entire game and its possible that both guys could score 60+ points each attempting to lead their respective teams to victory. Thats about as good as you can get it. I do believe that the NBA tv networks and officials are praying for the Kobe vs LaBron matchup. It will cause the ratings to soar and the NBA to continue its popularity. Who would have thought that after Michael Jordan retired, that the league would be safely in the hands of three of the greatest players of all times: D-Wade, Kobe and LaBron and the commissioner would love to see matchups versus these starts as vindication that the league will continue to thrive. Those three guys happen to be my three favorite players and its no conincidence that they are the best three players in the game today (3 MVP candidates). I really believe that ALL 3 GUYS SHOULD BE AWARDED THE MVP THIS YEAR. THERE SHOULD BE THREE C0-MVPS SINCE ALL 3 HAVE BEEN SPECTACULAR FOR THEIR TEAMS. THE TORCH HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN FROM MICHAEL JORDAN TO
D-WADE, KOBE AND LABRON; THREE OUTSTANDING AMBASSADORS FOR THE NBA.

John Jensen

May 2nd, 2009
5:55 pm

Dwyane Wade really isn’t THAT good.

Big Ray

May 2nd, 2009
8:10 pm

If the Heat needed a blown dunk to motivate them, then what will give them motivation for game 7?

Those clowns can say what they want about that one, over-hyped situation. But what SHOULD have motivated them was losing by 20 points.