No Cure For Ugly

There just isn’t one. You can lose weight. You can gain muscle. You can get a tan. But cure ugly? Truly ugly? No help coming for that.

And ugly is exactly what the Hawks see right now, everywhere they look. Injuries and a 2 game deficit in a playoff series, to be more specific. Marvin Williams has a bad wrist, but wants to play more. Al Horford is obviously gimping around on an injured ankle, and doesn’t quite have the lateral movement or lift that he usually does. And now Joe Johnson has a bad ankle sprain. Just how bad remains to be seen, but we all know the deal by now: an ankles sprain is a debilitating thing, and it’s been the popular (not by choice) plague for Hawks players this season. It’s not like you come back from such an injury, fresh as can be. Neither Al Horford, nor Josh Smith came back from those completely, and they were out at for double figures in games, each. Joe Johnson has two days. As of right now, his status for game 3 is doubtful.

Even with all of this, the Hawks have to be glad to get back to Phillips Arena, where far more good things happen for them than bad. Even a certain wayward bird of prey wouldn’t be a bad sight, right about now (unless said bird of prey caught sight of Anderson Varejao’s hair, then things could get downright interesting). Okay, I’m kidding about that (you PETA folks can back off), but with this many Hawks damaged, is it bad to wonder if ol’ Spirit would be good for a fast break lob or two? Kidding, kidding, but I’ll bet the bird doesn’t care for PETA folks anymore than I do….

At any rate, as Coach Mike Woodson says, this is exactly how the series started off with Boston last year. Well, that’s nice to say. But an inaccurate analogy altogether. For one thing, the Hawks were at full health then. For another, Boston came in not respecting their opponent, and not thinking even twice about what a team can do on its own home court. And man, did we rock THEIR world, teaching them a lesson in focus. Not so with the Cavaliers. They appear to be quite focused, if a little bored. And the fact that we are not at full healthy is an obvious one.

Still, home is home, and the Hawks always play better there than on the road. It would be nice to see Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams able to suit up for some serious minutes, but it may not happen that way. So, the Hawks subs have to pick up the slack. One way to do that is to amp up some of the minutes of the reserves that played towards the end of the last game. It can’t hurt, can it? As several observers/bloggers noted, those guys came in and played with a good deal of energy, even though the game was already decided. Even though they were playing against the Cavs subs. Who cares? They could use the experience. Mario West is an energizer extraordinaire. Thomas Gardner is not afraid to shoot, and can hit from anywhere on the floor. Othello Hunter, I personally believe, is a blue chipper with some budding skills. Let them play, and let the chips fall where they may. What Acie Law can do is also something that should be known by now. And he always plays better with the second unit, which seems to feed off of him in return.

And who knows. If the game is once again out of hand, those guys might bring it back to respectability, and even pull King James off the bench.

Speaking of King James, did I not tell you the Dwyane Wade calls were nothing in comparison to what was coming? The man is the biggest media darling in the NBA right now. And those taylor made foul calls and non-calls are part of what put Josh Smith off his game in the last contest. Ugly, ugly, ugly. And no cure in sight for it.

And yet, there is a salve that can be put on the wounds. It’s called a supportive crowd. No booing the home team. No cheering for Lebron. This is the ATL, and we suffer no fools or opponents. Show your appreciation for a team that has surpassed expectations and last year’s accomplishments, despite one injury after another. Show your support of a battered group that fought their way past a first round opponent that featured a whiny-but-talented superstar. Remind these guys that they are YOUR Hawks, and they are home.

No cure for ugly. But you can be anything you want when you’re home.

46 comments Add your comment

Melvin

May 8th, 2009
5:26 pm

Did Bubby Sparx wrote this post? Yes it has gotten ulgy in here Ray. As Sekou once said, these Hawks have defy the odds all year so I wont give up hope that they will win 1 or 2 home games. And if they make it to a game 6 I will be in the highlight factory to see it in person. Its time to “Win by any means necessary”….

Let’s Go Hawks.

Sautee

May 8th, 2009
6:19 pm

Nice post Ray,

I wish I could have Melvin’s faith. I do not.

So, in that light, I’ll bring up now, what is SURE to be a hot topic this summer.

Chemistry.

Check out this tidbit brought to you by Elias Sports Bureau :

The Cavaliers beat the Hawks by 20 points in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, marking the fourth time in the 2009 playoffs that Atlanta has lost by 20 or more points. That sets a new NBA record for most 20-point losses in a single postseason.

Think about that. A new NBA record. Ain’t we proud? 60 freakin’ years and we’re the absolute worst ever in 20 point losses in postseason.

Teams with chemistry do NOT let this happen. We ain’t got it.

So, the question becomes, how to change it?

I guess we’ll beat THAT to death this summer.

Dell

May 8th, 2009
6:24 pm

C’mon Hawks!!!!! Remember, it’s ‘mind over matter”! Y”all don’t seem to mind that LJ treats y’all like y’all don’t matter!

Big Ray

May 8th, 2009
6:51 pm

Melvin,

Looks that way, doesn’t it? I wrote that after working a 12 hour night shift, then getting just a few hours of shut-eye before heading back in for another. No excuse, I know. It does look bad. I should’ve had a probably much more wakeful Ando proof read it first, but we’ve both been busy as hell with normal life stuff. You know how it is, Mother’s day coming right up, and two million in-laws descending upon you….

I sure hope the Hawks are more focused for game 3 than I was for this blog….

But hey. I know I’m Ugly. That’s why I’m big… ;)

Big Ray

May 8th, 2009
6:56 pm

Dell,

Hey, you aren’t that spiky-haired clown that used to do the computer commercials are you? What happened to the Dell commercials…”Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell….”

Sautee,

You have no idea how badly that will get beaten to death. Oh wait. Yes, you do…. ;)

Dell

May 8th, 2009
7:04 pm

Sorry Big Ray! I have no recollection of dat!

Melvin

May 8th, 2009
7:58 pm

Ray,

By no means was I polking at your writing skills. I was just agreeing with the topic. I thought you said it all. It’s getting ( or has been) UGLY…

Sautee,
I’m not going to give up faith on the guys until they either lose game 4 or win game 16…

Big Ray

May 8th, 2009
9:53 pm

Melvin,

I’m not nearly arrogant or conceited enough to take offense, man. I made a pile of mistakes, and can only laugh at myself.

I’m not losing faith in the guys either. But I never expected them to take two from the Cavs in Quicken Loans Arena with two or three ailing starters. I hate to see that happen to us, and continue to get bashed by the media everywhere. It is what it is.

Big Ray

May 8th, 2009
9:55 pm

Ha! The Celtics are getting pounded by Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. I don’t think I could possibly enjoy that more.

Where’s Mr. Paul Pierce? Looks like what I said was true: you ain’t jack without KG…

intellibird

May 8th, 2009
11:07 pm

I’ve enjoyed reading Big Ray and Najeh Dav. blogs during the latest playoff games, and everybody elses, too.

My thoughts are that I still like our starting 5 (when they are all healthy) better than any other team in the East, except for Cleveland, maybe Orlando, and I believe that we are better than Boston without Garnett.

I don’t see any reason to bust up this team at this point, even if we get swept by the Cavs. We do need to add some chemistry, though.

My only real beef is Woodson not playing the bench all year. I was more interested in watching the Hawks last year, when all of the players were coming together.

This year, I haven’t been as interested because I’ve seen enough of these front line guys and Woody isn’t developing the others.

I think that if we had drafted Chris Paul or anybody else, that they would be languishing on the bench as AC Law is. This is a big problem for me. If I’m gonna be interested in the Hawks then I need to see more that 7-8 guys playing per night.

I hope that we can steal a game or two from the Cavs. We’re gonna find out tomorrow night the kind of metal that we have on the bench. Unfortunately, those guys haven’t played enough together this year to really play as a team. They’ll have to go on guts and enthusiasm alone.

Go Hawks!

intellibird

May 8th, 2009
11:49 pm

By the way, it was reported this week in the AJC that Joe Johnson has played more minutes than any other player in the NBA this year. You can draw your own conclusions.

doc

May 9th, 2009
12:46 am

yeahray and et al it is always going to be ugly if there is more than one person injured and the bench is only 3 deep. a single band aide wont work and it is obvious we have been lucky to not have had injuries pile up at the same time until the post season. just the same rick sund and woody have got to get it together to find out, are there more than 8 nba players on the roster and if there are then use them and if not get some. how can the nuggets who traded away someone who was the shot blocker of the year find themselves with three guys to play the block and each have redeeming features that allow them to mix it up and show different things that make it difficult for a team as good as the mavs? say hmmm.

Big Ray

May 9th, 2009
5:09 am

Doc,

I think you know the answer to that.

Sam

May 9th, 2009
6:58 am

The Hawks suck always have and always will be loosers. Now take that in your pipe and smoke it. Anyone that surport these loosers is a looser also. And people do need to stop supporting this bunch of over paid loosers.

Nate ArchiBALL

May 9th, 2009
8:16 am

For the 2000 season, Andre Iguodala led the NBA in Avg Minutes (39.9) and total minutes(3,269)

LeBron James ranked #14 in minutes 2008-09 / #3 2007-08
Kobe Bryant ranked #42 in minutes 2008 – 09 / #11 2007-08
Paul Pierce ranked #18 in minutes 2008 – 09 / #47 2007-08

(This rank is by average minutes not total minutes and during the past two seasons most of the above played in 79+ games)

G MIN AVG Year Rank
Joe Johnson , ATL 82 3,340 40.7 2005 – 2006 #6

Joe Johnson , ATL 57 2,359 41.4 2006 – 2007 #2

Joe Johnson , ATL 82 3,342 40.8 2007 – 2008 #2

Joe Johnson , ATL 79 3,124 39.6 2008 – 2009 #3

Have the minutes caught up with Joe?

DeeMack

May 9th, 2009
9:59 am

Big Ray, you got a problem, big time. You call D-Wade of the Heat a whiny-but talented superstar. Guess what? Hawks don’t EVEN HAVE A SUPERSTAR! How can the pot call the kettle black? Until the Hawks get a TEAM, then maybe your so-called Hawks Hacks will be relevant. That’s one thing I don’t like about you ATL fans and the AJC writers, you are always talking about someone’s else team when you don’t even have ONE! The only light at the end of the tunnel I see for the ATL is the Falcons and that’s b/c Arthur Blank is literally pouring millions of dollars into them trying to buy a championship team. By the way, JJ, Horford and Williams hurt? This is the NBA man. Everybody plays hurt. Whiners, whiners, whiners. Tha’ts all, that’s all folks!

niremetal

May 9th, 2009
12:47 pm

Nate

If you go back further, JJ was also #4 in the league in minutes played and #7 in minutes per game when he was within Phoenix in ‘04-’05. In ‘03-’04, he led the league in minutes played and was #3 in minutes per game.

And remember that he was playing D’Antoni ball in those two seasons, so those weren’t lazy minutes.

niremetal

May 9th, 2009
12:52 pm

DeeMack,

Two things. First, I’d suggest learning what “pot calling the kettle black” means before attempting to use it again.

Second, I seem to recall Dwyane Wade missing 60+ games during the last two seasons. Why didn’t he play hurt? And Mo Williams missed 30 games during that same stretch. Why didn’t he play hurt? And why is it that whenever Wade has a bad game, he ALWAYS lays on the floor for a few minutes at some point in the second half so that the media will write up that he was playing hurt?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Big Ray

May 9th, 2009
1:14 pm

DeeMack,

1. So you say we don’t even have a superstar. Then how can we be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black? Riiiiight.

2. I’m not an AJC writer. I’m a fan. On a fan’s blog. Having a good time. Thanks for your comment! It adds to the “irrelevance” of this blog. ;)

3. This “non-team” beat Wade and the Heat in the first round. Not bad for a team that, uh…according to you…doesn’t exist. The Heat must feel really strange about that one…

4. “This is the NBA. Everybody plays hurt.” Really? Kevin Garnett, Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady…shall I keep going?

5. Yes, I agree. The Falcons look to have the most potential of the Atlanta teams. But the Hawks are in the postseason. Making the playoffs counts for something. Making the second round counts more. But I’m sure you have a theory that renders all that irrelevant…

DecDawg

May 9th, 2009
2:30 pm

Now I agree that JJ plays too many minutes but let’s be realistic, his 39+ minutes of effort doesn’t come close to Iguodala’s, Lebron’s, Wade’s, Roy’s or 99% of the other guys in the top 25’s 37+ minutes a night.

Almost all the other guys in the top 25 are known for being relentless or working hard in the post. JJ’s game is basically from foul line to foul line. And you do not hear these other guys talking about being tired. I think we’re giving him too much of an excuse for his minutes played.

NoleRick

May 9th, 2009
3:12 pm

Sam, as I recall, there are only 8 NBA teams still playing and the Hawks happen to be one of them. This team is far from being called losers. Go cheer for Kobe or Lebron or someone else.

Hawk Fan In New Orleans

May 9th, 2009
3:51 pm

Great blog Big Ray – my biggest gripe with Woody is his deficiency of developing his bench which goes hand in hand with his knack for over-working his starters. Burnout and injuries are inevitable with his selfish insistence on running his top 7 players into the ground ( I feel its selfish b/c he is putting his job security first at the expense of playing and developing his youngsters and underplayed role-players.) Now – that injuries have caught up with us, the 2nd unit are thrown up the creek without a paddle. I love the hunger they display – but that obviously cannot be coached or the 1st unit would display that same characteristic that’s rarely displayed when they play on the road – WE’RE HOME NOW, SO LETS TURN THE SWAG ON…di I just quote Soulja Boi??lol

niremetal

May 9th, 2009
6:55 pm

Man, the idiots are out in full force today. Learn to spell “loser” and learn what idioms mean before coming on here.

*ding*

T

May 9th, 2009
10:26 pm

MIKE TIRICO IS SO FCUKING ANNOYING!

How many mfers from ESPN is Lebron carrying on his jock?

Sam from da Swats

May 9th, 2009
10:59 pm

Mike Tirico said no team in the NBA has come back from 3-0 deficit in the playoffs and that’s wrong. Denver Nuggets with Dikembe vs Seattle Supersonics, down 3-0, came back and won the series. These guys are concentrating so much to d*.k ride Lebron, they don’t have their information right.

Wabe

May 9th, 2009
11:54 pm

And to the offseason we go…

A great season. Even though they’re down 3-0 to Cleveland, you can’t be disappointed with the Hawks, because as much as you may disagree with this – the Hawks had a great season. They made a GIANT leap from being a team that was typically under .500 season after season to a respectable playoff team. I mean let’s be honest, how long has it been since ATL FANS watched basketball in late spring? ATL fans can’t complain – and i was honestly disturbed to hear fans booing ATL while they struggled through a scoreless drought in this game. It’s obvious they’re outmatched against the potential NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Also obvious that they’ve got holes to fill if they want to be an Eastern Conference contender.

Therefore, going into this offseason, i think you assess what the Hawks have – and LACK. Anybody would tell you a big man would help this Hawks team wonders – but how many bigtime big men do the Hawks honestly have a chance at grabbing? Therefore, I would suggest one of two things:

1) Upgrade the PG position – Bibby is good. But the Hawks would be far more successful w/a PG who can push the ball, attack the basket, and not just settle for jumpers all the time. Bibby is a great shooter, but struggles to find his own shot – and as the PG – isn’t “quarterbacking” the offense. I rarely see him setting people up – usually i just see 4 guys watching JJ work one on ones.

2) UPGRADE THE SF POSITION – nobody knows whether Marvin will ever live up to his #2 draft pick – but as of now, the Hawks lack a consistent wingman on the court who can stretch the floor – and at the same time find ways to attack the basket and take some pressure off JJ.

We’ve seen a number of teams this season, for instance the Nuggets or Rockets, who brought in “the missing peice” and are succeeding in the playoffs. The Hawks can’t solely rely on JJ. JSmoove is developing into a nice player and so is Horford. You put someone next to JJ that can at the least match JJ’s abilities – and you will instantly take the pressure/double teams off of him and will see an improved offense.

RB

May 10th, 2009
1:00 am

The cavs realized that no matter what Lebron did, Woody does not believe in doubling the opposition. It’s called being boneheaded. The game was ugly with the one-on-one play of Lebron. Yet they did it that way because they knew it would win the game for them. Since he will remain the coach, my hope is that he learns to adjust and adapt his philosphy.

UGA

May 10th, 2009
1:26 am

Just back from the game.

Do they call fouls on LeBron? Can he just run people over? I know Joe was not set but you can’t just lower your shoulder.

How many times did LeBron go to the foul line when he initiated the contact by pushing off?

Kudos to Joe, he showed toughness tonight. Most would sit out, he did not.

UGA

May 10th, 2009
1:31 am

When Zaza got booted tonight, it was quite evident of our lack of bigs on the bench. We are in desparate need of some size on that bench. Didn’t we get out rebounded by 20 tonight?

I really like this team, hope we can just add to it.

NCBravesFan

May 10th, 2009
7:25 am

Big Ray: overall,what do you make of this year’s team? There was progression in the W-L column, the seedings and there was a first round win in the playoffs. All good.

But I seem to remember that Joe Johnson was the key to this offense in the playoffs last year against the Celtics – he would draw the double, pass off and the Hawks would score. JJ got his points when he either drove or got left open for a three.

This year, the offensive pattern seems so much more chaotic – no willingness to consistently drive the ball inside and what we’re left with is a bunch of dumb azz jumpers by J-Smoove. One shot and out.

It smacks of regression this year – like the guys forgot how to run the offense through Joe and wait for the right opportunity to close the deal offensively. Thoughts?

TROTTINGHOME

May 10th, 2009
11:09 am

hawk’s are bird feed

LeBron James

May 10th, 2009
12:40 pm

Oh wait, Joe Johnson isn’t TIRED is he??

Paul Pierce

May 10th, 2009
12:43 pm

Once again, the Atlanta Hawks will be eliminated, all thanks to their TIRED “ALL-STAR” “CAPTAIN” Joe Johnson.

Chokers like Joe Johnson are a match made in heaven for suckers like Big Ray.

Paul Pierce

May 10th, 2009
12:48 pm

Is Philips Arena always called “The Highlight Factory”(TM), or only when Lebron is raping the Hawks?

Congratulations, Atlanta, you city of chumps!!

When does WNBA season start? Apparently the girls are already playing at Philips!

Gifted in the Pants

May 10th, 2009
12:49 pm

Man, Dallas got ROBBED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

calico

May 10th, 2009
5:37 pm

We need Avery Johnson someone that would get these players respect and he will treat all players the same and he would be a good coach for Josh Smith. We need Acie Law to get in the game he is what we are looking for in a pg defense, attack the basket and dish but Woody will not play him that is b*llsh*t

Lets Go Hawks!!!!

boom bye yeah

May 10th, 2009
6:38 pm

The Lakers are playing like booty lovers.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2009
9:23 pm

“No Cure For Ugly”

No alibi, either…

doc

May 10th, 2009
10:18 pm

hey ray, paper bags work for ugly.

david

May 10th, 2009
11:25 pm

Cleveland would sweep Hawks in a 300 game series. Can’t compete against a good team. The worst road team in the history of sports. I love Joe Johnson, but did he talk as slow as he does before he was coached by Mike Woodson? They play like Woody talks. ZERO offense, ZERO defense and ZERO coaching. Really good talent but as lost as any pro team EVER.

Brendan

May 11th, 2009
1:49 pm

This is “incremental progress.” Where’s my trumpet? I must climb to the top of Mt. Olympus and blare it! Hawks won a playoff series! And they’re playoff record is 4-6.

In fairness, what did anyone really expect? Miracles? How many of you, let’s see a show of hands, are betting AGAINST the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA title this year? Hey, good luck with all that.

LAC

May 11th, 2009
7:18 pm

Please send the hawks BACK to St.Louis PLEASE !!!!

Jazzbones10

May 11th, 2009
9:48 pm

Joe Johnaon, Josh Smith and the others are more of a team than a meglomaniac-driven one-guy team like Cleveland. The Hawks will be back bigger than ever next year, because they are a team and have a smart coach. When you have a guy like LBJ you get all the calls. If this series went another four games, the Hawks would be moving to where they belong.

KevinA

May 11th, 2009
11:22 pm

It is disturbing that so many Hawk fans like the idea of killing birds and otherwise giving animals no rights. Whatever. My first year of year of becoming a hawks fan was the year they signed Josh Smith. Being a transplant from Kansas I han never really got involved in Pro basketball. Ku was the game to watch. Call me a gluten for punishment, I have watched alomost every game ever sense.
I am proud of our improvement and even though we got toasted by Cleveland I think we had great year.

We are not big enough or deep enough in the front court. Bibby, bless his heart played about as good as anybody on our team. Unless our owners are willing to give up an extra 20 milion dollars we will have to say good bye. If you add offense and defense skills he ranks around 20th. That would equate to a salary of around 6 million a year. He makes 14 million. The dollars don’t add up. We have to resign Flip, Marvin and ZaZa. Where does this money come from except from Bibby.
Go with a big or exchange for a pg with drive and kick skills. Shot blocking, lane clogging big or defensive pg with passing skills. Given the same budget what would you do.

Big Ray

May 11th, 2009
11:22 pm

New blog up…

Big Ray

May 11th, 2009
11:23 pm

I think the questions/issue begin with the “given the same budget”, KevinA.

Don’t look for us to have the same budget..