Hawks fans, can you feel it?

It seems that Philips Arena is going to be the new nightmare for traveling teams in the NBA. Nobody is going to want to come here to play.

It won’t be like Madison Square Garden. More like going to Utah. Or Cleveland. Denver. Even San Antonio or L.A. (Lakers, that is). Owners of a 31 and 7 mark, the Hawks are just one of eight teams who have single digit losses at home this season. Two of these eight teams are but one home loss away from being removed from this exclusive club. A third is just two losses from it. Meanwhile, Atlanta can do no worse this season, than lose its remaining three home games, and finish with 31 wins and 10 losses at Philips Arena. Will that happen? I doubt it. Not with the way this team has played at home. Not with the pride they seem to now have.

Speaking of pride, what of us as Hawks fans? Our team is not the greatest on the road, but neither are they the worst by far. What they are is excellent at home. So can we as fans match, in the way only fans can, what the team is doing in Atlanta? Shouldn’t we?

Hawks fans, can you feel it? Is it that time yet?

 

HAWKS VS. LAKERS – POST GAME

Okay, now you know how bad I am with predictions. Most of the time I won’t even try. But I did predict a Hawks win against the Lakers. Others did as well. But did anybody predict – check that – did anybody predict a blowout win? I sure as heck know that this wasn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love this team, but four quarters of focused basketball? Say whaaaaaaaat! As excited as I was about the win over Orlando, this game really did it for me. I wish I could have watched it when it actually played (I got the pleasure of watching it on my DVR after two certain sick little kids FINALLY went to sleep – why do they have SO much energy when they’re sick??). Aw, forget that, I wish I was THERE. I envy each and every fan that was. I hope you all razzed the Laker fans right out of Atlanta. Wow! What a win!

Post game commentary is best left to a pro like our very own Hawks Beat Writer Michael Cunningham, but I’d like to throw my two pennys in next to his dollar bills, if I may. Let’s start with two guys who really deserve some love in this game: Joe Johnson and Zaza Pachulia.

Hi, my name is Joe….

It really hit me when Hawks analyst/commentators Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins were talking about how tough Kobe Bryant was. You know, some people just get too much love sometimes. Kobe had just been fouled by a hotly pursuing Josh Smith, and landed awkwardly on one of his feet. He limped around for a while, the team called a timeout, Kobe grimaced and postured, sat on the bench (off to the side, by himself, who knows what his teammates were doing…getting coached, I guess), then got back up and into the game. “Kobe is so tough.” 

I couldn’t stand it. Did nobody see Joe Johnson having his right hand taped, wraped, and all but put in a sling early in the game? Was it talked about or noticed? How many times has Joe played hurt, or otherwise somehow physically inconvenienced? But no posturing, no grimacing, no “hey, look at me” moments. He just plays. And play, did he ever….

If you have any doubts about how good Joe Johnson is, last night should have cured them. Kobe couldn’t stop him. Ron Artest didn’t have the answer. After having one of his worst months in who knows how long, Joe Johnson took on the game’s best player (argue with me later on that one), and one of the League’s best defenders, and….. how did he do? Oh, not too shabby. Just 25 points on 50% shooting. A mere 8 assists with but a single turnover. A paltry 5 bombs from beyond the arc, one of which had to be close to 30 feet. How did his NBA MVP candidate counterpart do? The box score will tell you that it was about even, but it just wasn’t. Joe led his team to a win, plain and simple. Kobe didn’t lead anything but a bad attitude parade. Oh yes, it showed all over. Pau couldn’t get into a groove. Artest couldn’t either. Lamar? Ha!

It’s funny. Joe has been called a ball hog. Kobe looked like he fit the description much better. Joe is accused of stalling the offense. Kobe couldn’t have been more guilty. Nice to see the shoe on the other foot, first hand. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for Joe Johnson. He couldn’t have picked a better time to have a better game in the regular season, don’t you think?

 

‘Preciating Pachulia

You have to love Zaza Pachulia. Flops, fumbles, and all. Yes, we tend to notice the worst in a player, and don’t often enough recognize the best in him.

The Lakers were missing Andrew Bynum, but before you try and diminish this win because of that, try and recall something. The same squad, minus Ron Artest, made it all the way to NBA Finals without Bynum in ‘07-’08. So, I don’t want to hear it. Nobody feels sorry for Kobe and the Lakers. Having said that, Pau Gasol is a star big man in his own right, and he proved how much trouble he could be by helping to get starting center Al Horford into early foul trouble. No doubt this is something the Lakers salivated at the very thought of, but did they see what was coming next? I don’t think anybody did. While Pau’s stats were fairly good, Zaza Pachulia never once let him get back into his comfort zone, and with the help of Josh Smith, all but rendered him ineffective in the game. Managing a healthy double double in just 23 minutes, Zaza was seemingly everywhere, and even made some nice offensive plays (splitting the defenders for the one-handed dunk was a a thing of beauty). Could the Hawks have asked for a better performance from their backup center, when things could have easily taken a downhill turn as Horford had to be benched? I don’t think so.

We’re not the only ones who should be appreciating Pachulia right now. Mo Evans owes Zaza a dinner at a place of his own choosing. Remember when Mo pushed Ron Artest after Artest got away clean with two elbows on the defensive end? Remember Artest’s eager jog toward Evans? Personally, I would have never turned my back on that dude after pushing him, but I guess Mo is just living right. Whatever the case, Artest had a thing or two to say, and it might not have stopped at that. We’ve all seen this before. But we’ve also seen Zaza in the heat of battle. I watched that series over and over. Yep, I’m sure of it. Mo owes Zaza a dinner. Not because Zaza came up to stop a fight. Oh no, he wasn’t there to do that. He was there to stop Ron Artest. I’ve seen that look on him before. Say what you want about the rest of the team. Even wild man Mario can’t hold a candle to the Stormin’ Georgian when things get hot. Good thing that ref grabbed Artest after Pachulia pushed him away from Evans. I was thinking it was going to be The Head Butt Heard ‘Round the World: Part II.

 

Hate it or Love it…

You have to give Mike Woodson credit. For all the grief we give him for what he does and doesn’t do, Woodson has this team on the brink of 50 wins. Hawks fan and frequent blogger Sautee recently made an observation that I can’t quite remember accurately enough to quote him on. Basically, Sautee says that perhaps we’re seeing Mike Woodson’s style, but not recognizing it for what it is. Perhaps his style, particularly on the subject of offense, is to allow things to happen. To make room for and flex as players grow and develop. How else can we explain our offense working with Josh Smith as a point forward? How about the new inside-outside game that Al Horford presents? Let’s be honest, the offense of this team has problems, but it is also wonderfully versatile. When it works, as it did against the Lakers last night, it’s beautiful to watch (unless you’re an opponent). When it doesn’t, it’s like a two high school marching bands smashing into each other. It’s hard to explain, sometimes hard to watch, and maybe hardest of all….to understand.

As it is, Mike Woodson coached one of his best games last night. Not only did he use his bench very wisely, but he seemed to know exactly what to do, and when. Most of all, we didn’t really notice him, did we? Not much yelling or screaming, no hastily called timeouts to draw up some inane play. Everything went pretty smooth, even when it seemed like the Lakers might make a run or two. As many times as we’ve argued about bench production vs the minutes they are allowed to play, we could certainly stand to leave the chicken and egg argument out of this one. What I know, is that the bench produced well, and Woodson let them play. Could we really ask for more than that?

Speaking of the bench, everybody that played significant minutes played pretty darn well. Say what you want about our guys, they showed up ready to play, and didn’t let up for even one second.

 

Moving On… HAWKS VS. CAVALIERS

As fabulous a victory as this was, the Hawks have to move to the next game, which will be against the Cavs in Quicken Loans Arena. How’s that feel, going from home court to one of the absolute worst plays to be, as an opposing team? Can the Hawks come with the same intensity as they did last time they visited Cleveland? Will they focus for 48 minutes, or will they have a late game meltdown?

How different and difficult will it be to face a Cavs team that now features Antawn Jamison, who has always been a thorn in Atlanta’s side? Cleveland is dead set on claiming homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, and every expectation is that they will succeed in doing so. Playing them is tough enough. Playing them in their own arena is tougher. Playing them while they still have very good reasons to win? It can’t get much tougher. That alone would make a win for the Hawks so much the sweeter, though.

The race with the Celtics for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference rages on, with the Hawks jumping a full game ahead (Boston lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder while we trounced the Lakers).

So what matchups do you think will be the most pivotal in this daunting road game? Who is going to have the biggest game for Atlanta? Will it be more of a collective effort, or will one guy truly shine above the others?

Can you feel it Hawks fans? Is this the time? Will the Hawks earn and keep that 3rd seed?

92 comments Add your comment

MAURICE CARTER

April 1st, 2010
4:32 am

THATS WHY WE NEED LOTS OF SPRIT TO TAKE THESE GUYS ON TO CONTINUAL VICTORY WHAT WE NEED TO PROMOTE HAWKS SPRITS LOTS OF POM POMS, ONE BIG PEP RALLY ,AND A CHEERING SECTION OF ABOUT 3,000 PEOPLE, WE NEED TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT PEOPLE IN ATLANTA ARE DYNAMIC, FULL OF LIFE , AND NOT TIRED . WE COULD ALSO THROW A BAND INSIDE THE CHEERING SECTION ALSO O YEA I FORGOT THIS IS NOT FOOTBALL SPRIT IS MORE THAN PRETTY CHERLEADERS DANCING ON THE FLOOR PEOPLE SHOULD BE AT THE MARTA STATIONS PROMOTING FAN SPRIT.THANK YOU, AND HAVE A GREAT DAY.

Marcus

April 1st, 2010
6:48 am

Plan 1 for Mike Woodson: Get Sunshine to visit Lebron @ 6:59 pm Cleveland time on Friday.

@ Mo Carter: Thanks for YELLING. Now I can turn off my Miracle Ear (patent pending).

@Big Ray, big maturity gap as a team is to channel this type of performance against all teams on most nites. Yeah, the reg. season is a grind, and we should expect a few brain-fart losses and fatigued efforts, but 4 the rest of the reg. season, playoffs, and 2010-2011 the biggest indicator will be if we evolve into that nightmare matchup/driven team that (on most nites) that CLE, LAL, and ORL have become.
We can’t allow WHO the opponent is and WHERE we play them (thinking any big team @ Philips or BOS in Beantown) be our emotional driver to play up to our ability. that rollercoaster is what probably cost us anywheres from 2-5 games in the W column (rolleye losses to PHI included) and maybe a better (more solid) lead for the No. 3 spot or tighter race for No. 2.

O'Brien

April 1st, 2010
7:56 am

Did not see the game, but from reading the blogs and seeing highlights, this was a great win for the Hawks. Players played great, and Woody coached great.

This is the ZaZa Rick thought we were getting when we resigned him. If he can play like this in the playoffs, it will allow Woody to go with ZaZa, Al and Josh on the court together (depending on matchups). And if Al happens to get early fouls, ZaZa can step in and keep it going. We need that.

Great job defensively too. This just reinforces (to me) that JJ can be an elite defender when he wants to. And even with a sore thumb, he was balling (in my best Jim Jones voice).

Starters played well, and bench played well.

Good job by Woody sticking with the bench again. And they have responded with their play. I did read a couple comments that make you wonder if the bench is taking a subtle jab at Woody for not playing them consistently until recently.

From espn.com, “”You can’t win the championship with five guys,” Pachulia said.”We have some great players on the bench. Why not use them?”

From ajc.com, “We are starting to get more opportunities to play,” Mo said.

Keep it going, bench and Woody. Keep it going. Looking good.

niremetal

April 1st, 2010
9:00 am

O’B,

Zaza actually has played well every time he has gotten 20 minutes or more minutes in a game this year – unfortunately, that has only happened 3 times this year (in the OT game against Portland in Nov and against Toronto in Dec). I didn’t even realize it until now, but Zaza is only averaging 13.5 minutes a game – the fewest since his rookie year in Orlando. Perhaps not coincidentally, his per-minute stats are the worst they’ve been since that year as well. Take what you will from that – cause-and-effect probably goes both ways.

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2010
9:31 am

Good stuff, Ray. Sautee’s comments resonate with some of the stuff I’ve said for a few seasons now… Woody gives his players a lot of rreedom (sometimes too much) but my guess is that they prefer this to a dictatorship-type approach. Flip had one of his most productive seasons in part because Woody gave him the freedom to be “Flip”. Remember what Jamal did in his first game or 2? He deferred and tried to be Magic Johnson. Woody pulled him aside and told him that he wanted Jamal to lead the league in scoring off the bench, explained that he should be leading the team in scoring in many games and the next thing you know, Jamal is on his way to a possible 6th Man award. Sorry, but a typical anal-retentive coach would not give guys like Flip and Jamal free-reign. We’re not talking about guys with an extensive resume of offensive efficiency.

Horford and Josh have grown AND transitioned into different roles WITHIN this season. Bibby has likewise transitioned within this season to become more “Derek Fisher” like. Horford’s emergence as an ASG center has had a logical impact to Zaza’s minutes but Woody and Zaza seemingly have made an adjustment to get more production out of our favorite local restaurant owner. All said, a lot of transition, adjusting and changing within about 75 games. And through it all, we’re sitting in the #3 slot with 52+ wins in sight.

Man, these guys are brilliant self-managers. :twisted:

O'Brien

April 1st, 2010
9:48 am

nire,

I didn’t realize that. If that is the case, I would find a way to get ZaZa 18+ minutes every game. Because when he plays with the energy he showed going forehead to forehead with KG (and like he did last night), its contagious, so the Hawks are more energized, and more intense.

48 minutes for Center position:
Al – 30, ZaZa – 18.

48 minutes at PF:
Josh – 36, Al – 6, Joe Smith – 6

Woody can still adjust as needed, but based on my minutes distribution, Woody can play Al (who is getting better with the jumper) and ZaZa together for a few minutes too. And that will give Al a few minutes at PF, so we can see how he looks.

AJ,

The question is, how do we know that the anal-retentive coach would not produce better results?

That being said, Woody deserves a lot of credit for this season. Hopefully our second round playoff performance will validate our regular season.

Also, I look forward to when Teague proves himself, so Woody can give him some freedom too.

vava74

April 1st, 2010
9:53 am

I already said in the previous blog: it was a very satisfying victory, however, the Lakers laid a major egg last night.

Yes, we did create the conditions for that to happen and credit is deserved, but the Lakers were on the back end of a 5 game road trip, missing Bynum and Vujacic (removed from the rotation for disciplinary reasons). Plus, Walton is still injured.

Has anyone noticed how short is the Lakers’ rotation right now and how many minutes their starters are logging? They were simply well below par last night and we brought our A game.

Consequently, the result was natural, not extraordinary.

vava74

April 1st, 2010
10:06 am

By the way, I mentioned Vujacic because the Lakers lacked punch from the 3 point line until the 4th quarter, not because has been significantly participative in their rotation.

We have been burned from 3 point land in many games, erasing our leads. Yesterday almost happened the same when Farmar and Kobe hit 4 treys during a reasonably short span.

Melvin

April 1st, 2010
10:10 am

Great Stuff, Big Ray.

Lakers got their butts whup. No Magic City for Kobe last night and throw Phil Jackson oversized Lay Z boy chair out of Philips Arena. On to Cleveland to see the Queen James Gang. Speaking of the James Gang, I didn’t know that included the refs. Did you all see the free throws disparity in the Bucks/Cavs game last night? Cavs shot 45 free throws to the Bucks 9. This favoritism has to stop. I hope this becomes the story line on all the Sport shows today. Therefore, the spotlight will be on the refs when we play the Cavs tomorrow night.

MannyT

April 1st, 2010
10:24 am

Woody’s agent will put this Lakers tape in his highlight reel as he talks with OTHER teams about being their coach. After Sund has put him off all season, it is to his advantage to shop himself even if he does want to stay.

As we head to Friday, there is an irony. If we can beat Cleveland twice in April, we are less likely to see them in the 2nd round of the playoffs. If we cannot beat them, we are more likely to see them.

BWAF

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2010
10:25 am

Vava, at the end of a season, can’t that question (how do we know our team couldn’t do better with another coach) be asked of about 25+ teams across the league? Byron Scott and Sam Mitchell won COY awards and were both fired 2-3 years later. Is it possible that even in their COY season, another coach could have done better? Probably as it is hard to believe that either in their best season of coaching are as good as Pop, Jackson or Slaon.

So if the Hawks fall short of a Finals appearance, I think it is safe to say that they would join 28 other teams in being able to ask “I wonder if we could have done better with another coach?”

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2010
10:28 am

MannyT, at thie rate, Cavs will have home-court secured (across the NBA) way before the last game against us in Philips. I suspect that the Cavs will rest their starters. Hawks, unfortunately, may still be in a tight fight with the Celtics and may need that last game (let’s hope not).

AceDawg

April 1st, 2010
11:07 am

The Hawks have done well enough to earn the respect of their fans. Their faults are certainly fewer than their strengths as a team, and they are good enough to compete with every NBA team. Still good enough to lose to every NBA team too, but again, they deserve to have strong fan support for the playoff run!

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
11:37 am

Acedawg ,

I agree. The Hawks have done enough to gain the respect of their fans. Even with the “I can’t believe it” losses we’ve had. Too bad more fans don’t feel like that, and would instead rather wallow in the 26 losses, as opposed to basking in the 48 wins. It’s downright shameful.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
11:50 am

Niremetal ,

Good point on Zaza Pachulia. Despite the reduction in minutes, he has maintained a good attitude and produced when given a reasonable chance. Hopefully Woody sees this and uses him more. It’s understandable when Al Horford is beasting, but then again….if the matchup calls for it, he could also be used on the floor along with Big Al.

AJ ,

“Could we do better with a different coach?”

The way I see it, it’s the GM’s job to ask himself that question every season, and sometimes during the season. But he has to have a good answer. And it can’t be the only question he asks. He also has to ponder “Could we do better with a better shooting consultant?” “Could we do better with a distribution/defense-first pg coming off the bench?” “Could we do better with a bigger SF off the bench?” “Could we do better with……(fill in the blank)”

“Has anyone noticed how short is the Lakers’ rotation right now and how many minutes their starters are logging? They were simply well below par last night and we brought our A game.”

1) Has anyone noticed that the Lakers are 7 and 3 in their last 10 games?

2) Has anyone noticed that the above comment was used to describe the Hawks themselves for quite some time, and still is the case on some days?

3) Has anybody noticed that despite Bynum’s absence, the Lakers are still the Western Conference leader?

4) Has anybody noticed that Sasha Vujacic has averaged less than 8 minutes per game and shot 41% ALL SEASON LONG, and therefore has hardly been a factor in the 60 games that he has shown up for?

Anybody notice that ?

vava74

April 1st, 2010
12:13 pm

Astro,

No one here said that the Hawks were self managed. I never withheld praise to Woody when it was due.

You acknowledged that he is, at best, the 11th best coach in the league whilst we stand #7 in the overall stands.

I never mentioned a presence in the Finals, nor competing – in a sense of being an obligation – for the championship.

What I always said is that Woody’s shortcomings as a coach were getting more evident and that he was the direct responsible for some of our most annoying issues, like the 4th quarter meltdowns.

If you read Charley Rosen’s column of today, he identified 44 Hawks’ ISO plays yesterday evening and honestly, my commentaries putting the win in perspective came immediately after the game and not after reading Rosen.

Yesterday was one of those days in which even bad plays ended up well. Almost everything bounced our way so forgive me for not being ecstatic.

I am happy ‘though but give me a win in CLE before I start making proclamations about us being actually competitive.

Note, however, the FT disparity against the Bucks to curb your enthusiasm.

vava74

April 1st, 2010
1:08 pm

Big Ray,

We have had scrubs shooting the lights out against us and if he had not been out for disciplinary reasons, Vujacic, even averaging 8 minutes per and shooting 41% COULD have been very useful for them and I have a hunch that his contribution could have been enough to balance the game.

About the Lakers’ short rotation: without Bynum, they are really short and have lost significant flexibility and since you bring us into the argument, when we play a short rotation we ALWAYS struggle.

Playing Gasol at the PF slot with a huge 7′ footer on his side for significant minutes is waaaaaay different than having him logging 40 minutes at the C spot with DJ Mbenga as his sub.

Not having Odom to sub 3 positions off the bench also is a dramatic difference for them.

Being in their 5th game of a 5 game road trip was also a huge boost for us. Note Fisher’s evident lack of legs.

Come on, be realistic.

Yesterday was not a not a normal and balanced match up: it was not ATL’s A game against LAL’s A game.

It was ATL’s A game against LAL’s C or D game.

We were rested and with everyone on board and they were wobbled, tired and with a frustrated Kobe reverting to his bad self and completely scrapping the triangle offense.

Did we make that happen? Undoubtedly! We were sharp, aggressive and balanced, but our task was made significantly easier by the Lakers own mistakes and shortcomings and you simply cannot ignore that.

mountain_jim

April 1st, 2010
1:23 pm

Hawks will have to beat Cleveland and the officials and the timekeeper, if the previous games this year are any indication.

niremetal

April 1st, 2010
1:24 pm

Vujacic? Methinks you’re reaching on that one, Vava.

NDiiBaBii

April 1st, 2010
1:26 pm

that was a great game the 1st game this season I arrived late to and Zaza showed up and showed out! I love how he never backs down and he defended Mo like a real friend/teammate.
Joe did a great job last night && suprisingly my fellow Hawks fans and I held our own against the Lakers fans who took over Philips! Love my Hawks

Daniel

April 1st, 2010
1:30 pm

vava- c’mon man, the Lakers were a littl short handed but also desperate and angry. That was a great win.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
1:45 pm

Vava,

The day we can come up with excuses for good wins against the best teams is the day we can come up with excuses for the other 47 wins, which I’d like to think our team earned.

I find it truly amazing that when we lose, we are able to explain in riveting detail all the mistakes and transgressions of our coaches and players, while ignoring anything that we did well. When we win, we’re still recognizing every single mistake, while diminishing the fact that we won, and all but ignoring what we did to win.

Take your last post, for example. You spent the better part of 24 lines telling me how bad things are for the Lakers, and just once excerpt ” Did we make that happen? Undoubtedly! We were sharp, aggressive, and balanced…” giving the Hawks a smidgen of credit.

Did we make that happen? Undoubtedly! We were sharp, aggressive and balanced, but our task was made significantly easier by the Lakers own mistakes and shortcomings and you simply cannot ignore that.

Well did we have something to do with our own blowout win, or didn’t we? Everything you have said on this blog has come with a “yeah, but” attached to it, or some other caveat. Have you even mentioned ANYTHING that ANYBODY related to the Hawks did well or good last night, or is this all about the unfortunate woes of those poor, destitute defending champions?

I’m not ignoring that the Lakers have some issues. But I’m also not ignoring the fact that the Hawks played very well for the entire game , something we’ve fussed about for some time. I’m not ignoring that the Lakers team we saw had the capability and talent to beat anybody, but they weren’t able to beat us, despite having arguably the best player in the game (and he shot better than 50% from the floor). I’m not ignoring that the Lakers still came at us with a front line of guys that stand 7′0″, 6′10″, and 6′7″. You know, Gasol, Odom, and Artest. I’m not ignoring the value of a win, especially against the defending champs. Sorry, but I refuse. I take that back. I’m not sorry about that at all.

Daniel

April 1st, 2010
1:48 pm

vava- Are you still upset with the Golden State loss?
BTW- northcyde posted a link to SLAM, where the Hawks will be on the cover for the first time ever!!!!

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2010
1:52 pm

Vava, how many iso plays are other teams running, does Rosen include that stat? Telling me the Hawks ran 44 iso plays is meaningless unless it is related to winning/losing (and they won last night). Likewise, isn’t there something about using the assets on hand? Does Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense look as good with guys like Dalembert and Brand as it did when guys like Divac and Webber were running the system? Of course not. Personnel should influence the strategy. Imagine if Pat Riley had tried to get his NY Knicks team to play like his LA Lakers teams… it would have been nothing short of disasterous. Adelman didn’t install the Princeton offense on a team with Yao and when Yao went down, he again changed his scheme. Looking at the stratgey without looking at the players is unwise.

Even if Rosen has watched and analyzed 25 Hawks games, I’d still return to the fact that over 74 games, the Hawks are a top 10 team in offensive efficiency and amongst the highest scoring teams in their conference. Is it possible that those iso plays work more often than not for this team? Is it possible that the roster was built with guys who could get their own shot and the offense is designed to give them the freedom to use their skills? Is it possible that this design got us to 2 playoffs prior to the developmen of Josh and Al as reliable offensive weapons? Is it possible that once the bigs established themselves as viable options, that the coach and team made changes to re-distribute FGAs from the backcourt to the frontcourt? Is it possible that once Josh proved that he could be trusted to do more than shoot the ball when receiving it on the perimeter, that offensive sets were added that allows him to play point-forward 9and quite successfully)?

It’s an evolution and a coordinated effort. And seemingly, the ish does in fact work (at least 20 more times than it doesn’t).

Joe=hawksmvp

April 1st, 2010
1:53 pm

I am happy ‘though but give me a win in CLE before I start making proclamations about us being actually competitive.

The Hawks aren’t competitive? Is that 48 wins and 26 losses or did I read the nba won-lost column backwards. Hawks beat Boston every time they play them this year, beat Orlando for the first time in forever and you say they have to beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland to be called competitive? Here is the short list of teams that beat the Cavaliers at their home. Bobcats, Nuggets, and Bulls. So I guess only those three teams are competitive then, though the Bulls can’t even make the playoffs. I guess the rest of the teams in the nba are not competitive because like the Hawks, they didn’t beat the Cavaliers at home. Man you are crazy.

Joe=hawksmvp

April 1st, 2010
1:58 pm

Hawks beat Lakers even with the great phil jackson coaching the game but I know he is sick after watching joe johnson play as good as kobe bryant did. The Lakers bench has nearly always looked like that but they win 54 games anyway. Hawks beat Lakers, I don’t know how you can not like that if your a Hawks fan. If you didn’t like it, your either not a Hawks fan for real or your a Lakers fan in disguise.

G-Money

April 1st, 2010
2:42 pm

Vava74- Your arguments become very skewed. Haven’t the Hawks been on the back end of back to backs, or winding down long road trips? The Hawks were beaten down physically last year going into the Cleveland series, those circumstances are all a part of the game. As far as coaching is concerned- could the Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen Bulls have attained the same level of play without Phil Jackson? Also, it is interesting to note how great of a job Coach Jackson did the year after Shack departed, oh yes 34 wins.

doc

April 1st, 2010
3:24 pm

geez, did ando move to portugal to become a lawyer?

man to lay it on one of the best teams, even as they hobble through in a daze their 5 away games and then find issue with it is astounding. i guess i have become complacent or too pollyannaish again or wat to smell the roses and all that stuff. yes, there is validity to what is said but those types of statements can be made for every team and every game. that is why i dont spend too much time with the specifics but the overall results.

vava, i agree, yup there is work to be done. there is only one team right now that cant say that and it is the cavs who only have to fight themselves as they move towards a championship. tomorrow night will be an indicator of how far back we fell since the earlier meetings when we were amped and they got some calls and since have added some fire power of their own while losing shaq. on the other hand, i would suggest caution for losing perspective and to have fun with the detailed analysis. maybe, by leading it off with more praise it would balance things out in a great win for the organization. it wasnt fool’s gold you saw as they were following a win over orlando.

i believe in this team and look forward to seeing how they perform in the playoffs. they have met my expectations only thus far of being second in the division, winning 52 or 54 games and challenging the C’s for the three seed throughout the season with the outside chance to finish in front of them. i think folks scoffed at me for suggesting such back in the summer. we will see if they can exceed them in the playoffs by at least challenging whoever their second round opponent is and extending it to a seven game close to the wire finish.

nice blog guys and ray, you are “big time ray” in my opinion.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
3:45 pm

This race with the Celtics is really going to go down to the wire, I think.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
3:47 pm

Doc ,

Thanks for the props, and it’s good to see you’re still hangin’ with us, though it’s been in spirit for the majority of the time lately.

G-Money ,

What’s good? Still in Hawksville, eh? Good to hear from ya!

Denise from Cleveland

April 1st, 2010
5:23 pm

The Hawks Can not Will Not Beat our Cavaliers… Josh will never be LeBron….

Hawk n the Ham

April 1st, 2010
6:26 pm

Denise from cleveland……..Saying Josh will never be lebron, is like saying Chris Paul will never be Patrick Ewing. It’s a STUPID comparison. Next!

Hawk n the Ham

April 1st, 2010
6:29 pm

And if Queen lebron is so wonder-mus, why is he so chicken-$h*t to compete in the dunk contest? Diva.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2010
6:46 pm

Uh-oh. We’ve been invaded by Cleveland fans.

Time to drop our petty squables and…..Haws Fans! Unite!

;)

Astro Joe

April 1st, 2010
9:51 pm

Ray, please check your email when you have a sec.

[...] Big Ray on the Rising in the Hawks Fan Nest [...]

Big Mike

April 2nd, 2010
12:05 am

Really? It bothers me considerably when people do everything they can to pick out the negatives in a situation. I been a hawks fan since the Jason Terry, Theo Ratliff, Shareef Abdur-Raheem days. Remember that big, goofy European we had before Zaza, Pedrag Drobnjak? I do! Anyways, I remember the horrible rebuilding years, when we drafted J-Chill and J-Smoove, when we got Joe and Zaza, when we drafted Marvin over Paul and the best player off our bench was Salim Stoudemire. When wasted another draft on Sheldon, and one of my favorite players (Tyronn Lue) became a Hawk. When Josh came into his own, Horford beasted out as a rookie, J-Chill left us and we picked up bibby and evans. “Flip the Switch” Murray came and went, and then we picked up some guy they call “The Difference. Over that period we went from 13 wins to well over 13 games above 500. We made the playoffs, and now we are the third best team in the eastern conference with multiple all-stars and a strong bench. Be greatful for what you have, oh whiny fans.

Big Mike

April 2nd, 2010
12:11 am

P.S. Some guys I forgot to mention: Tony Delk, Al Harrington, Tom Gugliotta!!! (I forgot he even existed, I used to love that guy!), Boris Diaw (we got Joe for him, I’l take it), Donta Smith, Royal Ivey (Donta and Royal never lived up to it, man), and the late and deeply-missed Jason Collier. I remember the day he dad, a really sad day for Hawks fans. Oh and the old african Obinna Ekezie!!!!

Big Mike

April 2nd, 2010
12:13 am

*that should be died not “dad”

NCBravesFan

April 2nd, 2010
5:15 am

Nice post, and great blog comments guys. These perspectives help me keep an even keel about the ebb-and-flow of an 82-game season. (Good Lord, I am a fan of baseball – the ultimate marathon – should I not realize this already??)

I’ve been quick to criticize Woody and the team when they fall short, so I offer nothing but praise to the Hawks for an outstanding performance against the Lakers. When the Hawks are “on” it’s truly a thing of beauty.

We don’t get to see the Hawks much up here in NC, so it will be great to get to the playoffs. I only wish I could check them out in person, and be a part of the rock concert that is Phillips in the postseason!

It’ll also be good to check in on the fan blog – thanks for creating and maintaining such a good platform, Big Ray!

Let’s go Hawks – take it to CLE!

Big Ray

April 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

Astro Joe ,

E-mail checked. Time to check yours, you have a semi-detailed reply.

NCBravesFan ,

Thank YOU for showing up and chewing the fat with us. Come by anytime!

niremetal

April 2nd, 2010
5:47 pm

Aight, folks. Let’s give the Queen what’s coming to him.

vava74

April 2nd, 2010
6:45 pm

O'Brien

April 2nd, 2010
7:16 pm

vava,

If the Hawks beat the Cavs in Cleveland, will you be impressed?

nire,

Hawks will have a tough time beating the Cavs. Cavs will probably shoot 15-20 more FT than the Hawks, and I wont be surprised if we have one of our fourth quarter scoring woes (19 points or less).

But I hope we find a way to beat the Cavs (regardless of how the refs try to hold us back). Marvin needs to put a body in LeBron (I dont want JJ having to guard LeBron).

We need a good game from the bench so our starters can be fresh in the fourth. JJ needs to be JJ, and we need to crash the boards (even if Varajao is a game time decision).

Melvin

April 2nd, 2010
7:56 pm

OB,

Not so fast. Anderson Varejao is not playing tonight… Put an asterisk by this game as well….

Melvin

April 2nd, 2010
7:57 pm

Oh yeah, only put an asterisk by this game if the Hawks win…

niremetal

April 2nd, 2010
8:57 pm

HA! ESPN graphic says Josh is Atlanta’s first draft pick to become an All-Star since Willis. Even they know he shoulda made it…

doc

April 2nd, 2010
10:15 pm

i believe in these guys.

Melvin

April 2nd, 2010
10:40 pm

I guess Vava is happy that he dont have to post why the Cavs lost…

Melvin

April 2nd, 2010
10:44 pm

Another 4th qtr meltdown. Terrible shot selection by the Hawks in the 4th..