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.