Archive for November, 2009

Took one in Philly, on to Motor City

Well, so much for winning  the big one on Thanksgiving night.

After watching the Magic make halftime adjustments (as the best teams and their coaches routinely do), the Hawks found out once again that this is one of the differences between being the best and being, well……”not quite.” What will the team learn from this? What will coach Mike Woodson learn from this? It remains to be seen, but there’s no sense in us fans dwelling on it to very long.  

Fortunately, the Hawks did not dwell on that loss too much, either, although you couldn’t tell in the first half of the game in Philadelphia. For a while, things looked a bit bleak, despite steady play from Mike Bibby and Josh Smith. Joe Johnson struggled in ways that were both familiar and unfamiliar. Al Horford had to be wondering  if this was his version of Groundhog Day, what with him only getting three shot attempts, while watching some tall guy on the opposing team block or alter nearly every shot near the basket. Marvin …

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Thanksgiving throwdown

Ah yes, Turkey Day is just about here. Normally, I’d be all psyched about which football teams are playing. I looked that schedule over and came away less than impressed. Green Bay and Detroit? Yuck. Oakland versus Dallas? Surely you jest. Denver and New York is about the best it will get, and I’m really not interested in that one either, plus I’m still smarting from the overtime loss that my beloved Atlanta Falcons suffered to the Giants. I’m still not happy about the loss to Dallas either, so in keeping with the holiday gridiron vengeful spirit, I’ll just say “Go Broncos and Raiders!”, albeit half-heartedly.

Ah, but there is one matchup that I’m extremely interested in, as I’m sure all of you, my fellow Hawksville denizens, are as well. Orlando versus Atlanta, a roundball treat on a hardwood setting! Now I know what some are thinking. In an 82 game season, how could a person get so wound up over what happens to be just the 15th game? Is 15 games a good measure of how far a …

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Tougher than they appear

That has to be how several teams are viewing the Hawks by now. This team has always looked very athletic on paper. With the offseason changes, they’ve also looked more potent from a scoring standpoint. But tough? Few really ever thought of the word in connection with these guys. Well, the exception being when they were having one of those defensive “moments of clarity” that helped them to a win that they otherwise wouldn’t have  had.

But it seems that this is the new Atlanta Hawks. Tough. The second half meltdowns are no longer just…inevitable. The scoring droughts almost don’t happen at all. They might for an individual, but not for the team as a whole. The rebounding disadvantages? A thing of the past. How about those moments where Joe Johnson can’t get it going, and the entire team lays right down around him? Not the calling card or character trait it used to be. Big plays at the end of games? The Hawks are making them, like they did last night against Houston. The great …

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Hawks Soaring, Prepare to Feel the Heat!

Ladies and Gentlemen, YOUR Atlanta Hawks!!!!

Going in to tonight’s tilt against D. Wade and the Heat, the Hawks are 9-2 and a mere half-game behind Phoenix for the best record (the BEST record!) in the NBA!  I’d ask “who’d a thunk it?”, but I know there are a lot of true believers/blog regulars who are ready to step forward and take credit for such foresight.  Additionally, a few folks on the national hoops’ media scene have added to the excitement by placing the Hawks at the top of their “power” rankings.

Heady stuff, indeed!

So now we are at the place where folks start to  draw conclusions about just what such a hot start means for the Hawks, and their potential for this NBA season.  Truth is that no one knows how the following 71 games will turn out.

No one.

The coaches and players would be the first to say that the literal value of such a tremendous start is that we’re 7 games over .500 and that their confidence is sky high, which IS important to any team on the way up.  …

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Wins in a row is the way to go

Few things are more energizing to a team than a winning streak. Ten games into the season, the Hawks have a record of 8-2, including three winning streaks. Better yet, they have NO losing streaks.

Granted, ten games is not a big sample size. That’s really not even quite a tenth of the season, but short of going undefeated, there’s hardly a better start the Hawks could hope for. They’ve won at home, and they’ve won on the road. Consistently. Then again, perhaps we should revisit this after twenty games, when the season is then nearly a quarter of the way finished. Things will get tougher as the season wears on, but the optimist in us whispers that it won’t just get tougher for the Hawks. It will get tougher for every team in the League. Already, some teams have succumbed to the dreaded injury bug. While we don’t wish that on anyone (ok, we shouldn’t….if you are, then keep those unsportsmanlike thoughts to yourself), I think we can agree that our prayers are going all into one …

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Hawks look to avoid northern exposure

After dispatching a tired Denver Nuggets team in fine fashion, the Atlanta Hawks head north for a couple more road games against Boston and New York.

Both teams present different challenges, despite what their altogether different records might indicate. But before we explore that idea, let’s quickly review the game against Denver. First of all, winning by 25 points is great. But as team captain Joe Johnson noted, that’s not the whole story. In a way, the Hawks did precisely what they were supposed to do (win the game), and nothing more. If you want to solidify the idea that you are a good team, then you are supposed to beat up on another team that is more road weary than you, and missing two starters to boot. The offense looked good for the most part, but there are still issues on defense. Giving up 100 points to a team that was missing 10 ppg from one guy, and potentially 19 ppg from another (J.R. Smith’s scoring average from last year)? Not good.

Moving on to New York and …

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Nuggets present golden opportunity

When the Denver Nuggets visit Phillips Arena this evening, they’ll present yet another “first” this season for the Hawks. The first real challenge at home, that is. Having thrown in their card as a legit contender for the Western crown last year, the Nuggets are assumed a contender again this season. No doubt a 5-1 start has done nothing to dissuade such a notion, despite a mild hiccup in Miami last night. Meanwhile, the Hawks would like to become part of the conversation when it comes to talking about legit contenders. Winning more on the road is the next step to winning 50 or more games, but winning games at home against tough opponents is also something the Hawks have to learn to do. Why? Because what you learn to do now is what you will repeat in the postseason. If the Hawks want to meet with better success in the postseason, this is where it starts. A win against the Nuggets would be the first step on that path, making this a golden opportunity. Anyway, let’s look at some …

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These guys again?!

What is it about the Charlotte Bobcats that gives us so much trouble? It’s not a divisional rivalry thing. Georgia and North Carolina are not neighboring states, so it’s not that either. So what is it?

Maybe it’s Larry Brown. No, it can’t be that, because we’ve ALWAYS had trouble with these guys. Then again, maybe it is, as we have one of his pupils (though I’m not sure which trait or skill  his pupil latched onto exactly) coaching the Hawks.

Or how about Gerald Wallace? Yeah, that’s got to be it. That guy gives us trouble every single time we see him. Yet Wallace is not exactly a one-man wrecking crew,  so that’s not a good explanation either. Is it how the Hawks match up with the ‘Cats? Well, whatever the deal is, the trend is continuing as we see the Hawks down by double figures to the Bobcats at halftime.

The easiest alibi would be to say that the team is tired after a 3 game west coast trip. The only problem is, every team has to deal with things like that, several times …

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Hawks take first swing at old foe

Today, the Hawks get a shot at an old foe, an old adversary that’s been around for as long as anyone can remember. One they’ve never been able to best, at least in more recent years.

Are we talking about the Lakers? Not precisely. We’re talking about….THE ROAD.

While this year’s early west coast swing isn’t quite as daunting as last year’s visit to the Texas Triangle (which was actually almost 20 games into the season), it’s still….THE ROAD.

Rick Sund and Mike Woodson talk about the Hawks winning 50 games or more, and how doing better on the road is the second, and perhaps more pivotal key to doing just that. Well, if the Hawks want to change their fortunes away from home, now is the time to do it. Most teams are not quite in fine form this early in the season, and have some inconsistency issues. Mighty San Antonio proved that by avering 113 points in near-20 point wins over Sacramento and New Orleans, contrasted with a 92-85 loss to Chicago. While entirely explainable, …

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