Archive for March, 2009

South Beach or Cheesesteaks?

Will it be South Beach for the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs ...

Will it be South Beach for the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs …

 

 

PHILADELPHIA - No one could argue against Miami as a destination location for a first round playoff series.

There’s South Beach, an endless supply of Cafe con Leche and the chance to see Dwyane Wade face off against your Hawks in what would be a fantastic matchup.

But if the 76ers somehow nip the Heat at the tape for the fifth spot and a date with the Hawks, I could deal with a few days and nights in this gritty city, where you’re nothing without one of these Freeway beards, some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a cheesesteak or cheese steak (since no one here can agree on whether it’s one or two words or the best place to get one) close by.

I can’t imagine there being a more exciting first round series in terms of the individual matchups or the preferred style of play (up-tempo if the 76ers had their way). I also can’t think of a better place to see two of the league’s most athletic, high-flying …

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Legitimize your rise Hawks!

HAWKSVILLE - The Hawks are running out of chances to show everyone and to prove to everyone that they are the team they think they are, the team we thought they were a couple weeks ago.

It's show and prove time for the Hawks against Kobe and the Lakers!

It's show and prove time for Joe Johnson and the Hawks with Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers in town.

Three losses in their last four games, all three to teams among the NBA’s elite, have stirred up the doubters. And rightfully so.

So what can the Hawks do to legitimize their rise?

Just beat the Los Angeles Lakers today.

That’s all.

Just knock off arguably the best team in the league with the best player on the planet (according to most folks that would be one Kobe B. Bryant, though the LeBron James camp has a convincing argument for their guy these days).

In losses in Cleveland and to San Antonio and Boston in the last week, all the Hawks did was prove their doubters right about their inability to rise up to the challenge of facing the league’s best.

They were running on fumes minutes into the …

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Game time!

HAWKSVILLE - With the Hawks’ point guard ranks thinning by the hour, it might be time for desperate measures with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers invading Philips Arena for the weekend.

It might be time for the Hawks to locate Speedy's No. 12 jersey!

Who is this unmasked man?

And desperate measures means a Speedy Claxton sighting – not necessarily in the game but at least in uniform for the first time in nearly two years.

Tony Parker’s shredding of the Hawks’ defense Wednesday night proved that a point guard that can guard another lightning quick point guard is definitely needed. And with Acie Law IV out with an ailing back, the Hawks have to go somewhere for relief.

Mario West saw spot duty and played well. And Flip Murray tried his hand at slowing Parker down but got into foul trouble and was needed more for his offense than anything else. Might Claxton, were he to actually suit up and possibly play, be the answer?

Hey, it can’t hurt anything. After all, the man is on the payroll. Claxton says he’s healthy. Why not give him a …

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Show Flip the Money

Rod Tidwell and Hawks sixth man Flip Murray both rolled the dice and won.

Rod Tidwell and Hawks sixth man Flip Murray both rolled the dice and won.HAWKSVILLE – Flip Murray's made his case.

HAWKSVILLE -Flip Murray’s already made his case.

The Hawks aren’t yet done with this regular season or even the playoffs.

But one thing has become clear, the Hawks’ sixth man of the present needs to remain their sixth man for the future.

Flip Murray's made his mark with the Hawks this season.

Flip MurrayMurray is the Rod Tidwell of this Hawks' season and they'll have to show him the "Quan" this summer.

Someone just jokingly asked me if I was Murray’s agent for writing something like this. Of course, I’m not. But if I were, this would be one client I wouldn’t be worried about heading into the summer.

Some team will show Murray the “Quan” this summer. And the Hawks need to be that team.

After all, Murray’s performance this year isn’t that of some mercenary on his latest job. I asked him after his season-high 30-point night against Minnesota Monday if he was upset about coming out before he could get one more bucket …

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Clinchville (and other stuff)!

HAWKSVILLE - I remember laughing out loud at Josh Smith late last season when he was sure the Hawks were going to make the playoffs.

Josh Smith predicted big things for the Hawks this time a year ago.

Josh Smith predicted big things this time a year ago.

It was during one of the Hawks’ notorious dry stretches, when they were playing so poorly that even snagging the eighth spot (which they ultimately did) looked impossible.

Those dry stretches have been far and few between this season.

In fact, here we are in the final days of March and the a Hawks are in danger of actually clinching a playoff spot before we get to Arpil (and yes, I realize the Spurs, Celtics and Lakers are all coming to town before the week is out).

As preposterous as it sounds, I think I owe the young fella an apology for making so much fun of him a little over a year ago. He talked about the playoffs like it was a foregone conclusion. And he talked like the Hawks were going to be a playoff player for years to come.

It sounded ridiculous to me at the time. After all, they …

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Bring on the King!

 

The last time the Hawks saw King James (March 1 at Philips Arena) they came up short.

The last time the Hawks saw King James (March 1 at Philips Arena) they came up short.

HAWKSVILLE - The last time the Hawks lost a home game it was at the hands of LeBron James.

The last time King James and his crew lost a home game was before the All-Star Break (Feb. 8 to the Lakers and the Cavs’ only home loss of the season).

The Hawks have won seven straight games.

The Cavs have won seven straight as well (and they are an outlandish 31-1 at home).

Something and somebody has to give Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena when the two teams square off in a rematch of a March 1 game at Philips Arena the King won 88-87 with a last second free throw.

It’s too bad the NCAA Tournament will keep most folks from tuning in to see the two hottest teams in the NBA and the Eastern Conference go at it.

Both teams are fighting for playoff position, the Hawks for home court in the first round and the Cavs for home court throughout the entire playoffs.

It’s a perfect storm for hoops lovers, …

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Home sweet home?

 

How loud does Joe Johnson have to holler before someone shows up to see the Hawks rock the house at Philips Arena?

How loud does Joe Johnson have to holler before someone shows up to see the Hawks rock the house at Philips Arena?

HAWKSVILLE -  Ask Joe Johnson the difference between the Hawks at Philips Arena and elsewhere and he’ll give you a simple answer.

“This is home for us and we have to act like it,” he said. “So we’re feeding off our fans like anybody would in this situation. Our crowd is where we get our energy. That’s what’s fueling us right now. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

A 25-7 home record can be improved to 26 tonight with a win over Sacramento. That would push the Hawks’ record on their current seven-game home stand to 6-0, one win away from matching the seven they piled up (with just one loss) during a December home stand they used to vault to a 21-10 start to this season.

Still, it’s hard for me to imagine Johnson bragging about the home crowd when there have been so many empty seats lately. So this is what home sweet home looks like?

It’s strange, for all …

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March Madness (NBA style)!

 

 

Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are stalking the Hawks for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are stalking the Hawks for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

HAWKSVILLE - If you think the college kids are doing it big these days (and they are), check out Dwyane Wade in March.

The Heat superstar has all but ruined the good vibrations from the Hawks’ four-game win-streak, one that can reach five with a win today (provided they can beat back Portland at Philips Arena).

Wade’s not only been the best player in the NBA the past few weeks, he’s been the best player on the planet (sorry LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but D. Wade’s my pick for MVP and I don’t care what his team’s record is right now).

“I don’t want any part of D. Wade in the playoffs, man,” one of our founding members wrote in an email yesterday. “He’s playing right now the same way he did during the playoffs in 2006. And you know what happened then.”

The Heat won the title that year riding Wade’s cape tails past Dallas in the NBA Finals.

While playing at an …

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No news = good news?

 

You can bet Matt Harpring, Jerry Sloan and the Jazz will be ready to go against the Hawks tonight at Philips Arena.

You can bet Matt Harpring, Jerry Sloan and the Jazz will be ready to go against the Hawks tonight at Philips Arena.

HAWKSVILLE – The status of Hawks starting small forward Marvin Williams hasn’t changed since yesterday. He’s still sidelined indefinitely with a lower back injury that could ultimately cost him the rest of this season.

But as of game time Wednesday night at Philips Arena, Williams and the Hawks are still awaiting word from specialists at Duke University before they announce any further information. It still sounds like it’ll be the end of the week, and perhaps even a bit later, before anything certain comes to light in regards to Williams.

What should be a heck of game is being overshadowed by the ongoing story surrounding Williams. The Jazz showed up tonight sporting a 12-game win-streak, the NBA’s longest current streak of the kind.

These two teams also have some interesting bad blood leftover from a couple weeks back, when Josh Smith whacked former Marist …

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Is Marvin done for the season?

Will a back injury sideline Marvin Williams for the rest of the season?

HAWKSVILLE - No one came out and said it.

They didn’t have to for everyone start talking about it. But everyone wants to know, is Marvin Williams done for the season? Is the lower back injury that the cost him Monday’s game against New Orleans going to cost him the rest of his season?

We were told he will be out “indefinitely,” with more opinions from specialists being sought.

Yet Hawks coach Mike Woodson’s entire demeanor changed when speaking about Williams in the postgame session after the Hawks’ 89-79 defeat of the Hornets.

“He’s going to seek a few more opinions about his back and then I’m sure he’ll make a decision after that and then we’ll know,” Woodson said when asked about his starting small forward’s status.

Make a decision about what?

Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson kicked the door wide open a few minutes later when he was asked about Williams.

“If he’s out for the rest of the season …

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