Archive for December, 2010

Hawks fans: Early New Year resolutions

Atlanta will leave 2010 with a chance at padding that 8-7 road record, what with three of their year-ending four games being played away from the Highlight Factory. Of course, there is always the chance that they go in the other direction, considering that New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City are a combined 30 and 14 in their home arenas. Which will it be for the Hawks, break even, surge ahead, or fall behind?

 

Catching Up With the Joneses (or rather, the Hornets)

A bit of a buzz (yes, pun intended) was made earlier in the season when the Hornets jumped out to a 6-0 record to start the season. Alongside the Hornets were the upstart Atlanta Hawks, who were no stranger to quick early season starts. The fact is, experts, fans, and pundits alike were largely writing the Atlanta fast start off due to schedule, while proclaiming the Hornets a sure-fire playoff team. Twenty-nine games later (for the Hawks it’s 31 games later), it’s a bit of a different story.

Both teams are …

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Nemesis no more? Hawks defeat Magic a second time

Maybe they still have the flu. Maybe the trade disrupted their chemistry (whatever chemistry they did have). Maybe they just didn’t play well. Or maybe…the Orlando Magic simply don’t have the Atlanta Hawks’ number anymore.

Whatever the case, the Hawks beat the Magic for a second time this season, this time in a more convincing fashion, erasing the memory of the early season blowout at the hands of their old nemeis. Perhaps now the expected 20+ point blowouts are gone, and a win like this does go a ways in easing the pain of a nasty loss to the New Jersey Nets. So how did it all go down?

No Fear

You have to respect the League’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best shot blockers around. But, you can’t play like you’re scared of him on either side of the ball. When it comes to defending Howard, all that’s needed is a big body (height and weight helps here) with some smarts and a willingness to mix it up and not give him the position he wants every time. Enter …

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Hawks lose, but who let the (inner) dogs out?

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t able to get revenge on the rival Celtics, but at least it wasn’t a bewildering blowout like before. Winning the battle on the glass was not enough to overcome 18 turnovers and the fact that the Celtics had 28 assists, whereas the Hawks only had 16. Suffice it to say that Larry Drew’s offensive sets were hardly executed to any consistent effect.

While the Hawks predictably struggled against another good team without star guard Joe Johnson, there were other factors that affected this game every bit as much, and could continue to do so in upcoming games.

 

Running with the Big Dogs

- Marvin Williams. The much maligned Atlanta forward had arguably his best performance of the year on offense, scoring a team high 26 points and looking good from everywhere on the floor. What was different? Marvin didn’t hesitate and looked to be on the attack nearly every time he got the ball, whether it was slashing to the basket, hitting jumpers with a defender in his …

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Hawks on wrong end of a blowout

It was supposed to be a blowout game. Expectations were certainly met on that front, but I don’t think either team saw it happening the way it did.

The Detroit bench torched the mostly listless Atlanta Hawks, while a less talented Detroit frontcourt showed a level of physicality that the Hawks hardly tried to match. To make matters worse, the Atlanta backcourt stayed overmatched all night, and never could seem to even things up, despite solid efforts from Mike Bibby on offense, and Damien Wilkins on defense. What can be said? Any number of cliches fit here, but at least it was a road game. A loss like this to a team with a record like that is hardly acceptable, but it would have been even more deplorable in the Highlight Factory. Anyway, we’ll all play the blame game with our favorite targets, of course.

Changing Lineups and Habits

Head Coach Larry Drew has been under the immediate pressure of trying to find the right lineup each night for each opponent while star guard Joe …

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Hawks might be on true verge of Detroit model

Yes, we’re back to that again.

I’m sure that as fans we shared quite a laugh at the idea of the Atlanta Hawks morphing into another version of the multi-faceted Detroit Pistons team that was so potent from ‘02-’03 to ‘06-’07 (and arguably a year longer than that). The first objection would be from a defensive perspective, where the Hawks lack a point guard who can not only guard his own position, but guard many shooting guards as well, as Chauncey Billups used to do in the Motor City. The second objection would be that for all the many positives of Al Horford, he isn’t the beast on defense that Ben Wallace once was (of course, Horford doesn’t “juice”, either), and Josh Smith is no Rasheed Wallace (thank the basketball pantheon). In fact, the Hawks have never played team defense the way that Pistons team did.

But offensively speaking?

Under the tutelage of Larry Drew, the Hawks do seem to be headed in that direction. No longer is the team a collection of talent that routinely …

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Hawks face nemesis again

For the Atlanta Hawks, another week begins with back-to-back games, the first being tonight in Orlando. For this team, it’s been a season of streaks so far, wherein anything they’ve done once, they’ve done at least twice before going the other way. In other words, if they came off a loss and won the next game, they’ve won at least two in a row before losing again. Will that trend continue or break tonight?

 

The Damien Effect

If you didn’t know it before, let me tell you now. Damien Wilkins is no joke on the defensive end. While he played limited minutes and the Hawks couldn’t pull out the victory, it was refreshing to see an Atlanta guard giving an all out effort on the perimeter, and doing so effectively. How about that? Sorry, but I have to say it again – couldn’t the Hawks have used this more than Etan Thomas? Well, you know what they say…better late than never, and at least this move comes around 20 games into the season, rather than halfway through.

Hold the phone, …

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