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, particularly those that love to dive into the NBA’s version of March Madness. The brackets for the NBA’s tournament can’t be filled out just yet. There are too many variables still in play. But it’s clear right now that the Hawks won’t go into the final weeks on the playoff bubble.

If they did nothing else on this recent homestand, they stamped their ticket to the postseason.

In addition, they rebounded from a potentially devastating few days of internal turmoil between Mike Woodson and Josh Smith to show that winning truly does cure all.

Pounding out wins against teams like Detroit, New Orleans, Utah, Portland and Dallas (all likely playoff bound teams) sent a strong message to the rest of the league.

Not getting popped against Indiana and Sacramento, however, sent an even louder message to me. Because it proved that maybe now, I said maybe, the Hawks are free from the mental letdowns against lesser teams that has shadowed them the past two years.

“They’ve got this thing rolling right now man,” an advance scout for an Eastern Conference powerhouse said to me as the Dallas game ended and we were walking away from the court. “If you’ve got to come in here and deal with this team in the playoffs it’s going to be tough. Now I see what Boston had to deal with last year.”

Paul Pierce and the Celtics know just how tough it is to win at Philips Arena.

Paul Pierce and the Celtics know just how tough it is to win at Philips Arena.

Since that playoff series with the Celtics, the Hawks are a jaw-dropping 30-7 on their home floor.

So it’s clear the Hawks are going to formidable on their home floor no matter the opponent.

The challenge now is to prove they can get it done away from home.

And that’s why Saturday’s game looms so large.

What team doesn’t want to join the Lakers as the only teams to go into the castle to defeat the King?

But if the Hawks are in the business of staring down their demons the way we think they are, winning a few more games on the road would certainly do the trick.

They’ve already surpassed last season’s road win total of 12 (they are 14-21). Inch closer to .500 on the road, though, and home court advantage and that magical 50-win season both come into clearer focus between now and April 15.

318 comments Add your comment

niremetal

March 21st, 2009
3:01 pm

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:01 pm

Niremetal,

There might not be much change in coaching by Drew based on who is available to play. If Acie is out with spasms, who would you play right about now? We’re within low double digits with 10 minutes left to play? I’m not trying to be a smart-a$$, but I would be interested in your theory as to what should be done.

Right now, my idea is to get Bibby the heck out of there….but again, who do you put in? My votes are for Mario and Solo, but it has to be done at the right times and right positions.

Shameless plug alert….new Hacks blog up…

Melvin

March 21st, 2009
3:03 pm

My goodness, how many offensive fouls have they call on us. Good defense my a$$…

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:04 pm

It’s interesting that the Hawks are surging now with Woody out. Have they caught fire with his act of passion, or because he is not on the sideline?

Either way, their effort has been key. And having said that, you cannot blame or give much credit to coaching for that.

The problem that exists now is two-fold: we are not getting stops on defense, and we’re still turning the ball over.

gypsyjoe

March 21st, 2009
3:05 pm

I can only keep up with game on espn but how many frigin fouls can they call on us??

Gilley

March 21st, 2009
3:07 pm

I guess the asst coaches just as bad as Woodson. UNless he has them scared to put more players in. Mario>>>>>>

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:12 pm

Josh Smith just hit the floor again. I wonder if that makes him as clumsy as Marvin? :)

Well, we are pretty much getting a bit of what it feels like to come to Phillips Arena lately…

niremetal

March 21st, 2009
3:12 pm

Ray,

I’d try a lineup of Flip, JJ, Mario, Horford, and Zaza for awhile. Those are the 5 that have showed us something tonight.

JJ

March 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

Just FYI for everyone. Mario west is the only player who has a positive +/- rating for the hawks.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

It’s not like when the assistant coach comes in, he is now king. You go with the gameplan, because your boss is still your boss. Let’s be realistic. Adjustments will be minimal.

Melvin

March 21st, 2009
3:15 pm

Those were two bad shots by Bibby and Flip… That’s the game.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:22 pm

Drew clears the bench. So does Mike Brown. Hawks go on a 12-2 run. Hmmmmm….

TheHawksFan

March 21st, 2009
3:22 pm

WHO DA HELL THE CAVS THINK WE ARE????

niremetal

March 21st, 2009
3:25 pm

No one ever can tell Mario or Flip that the game is over. I like that.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 21st, 2009
3:28 pm

Big props to the bench for making it interesting. I said earlier that I didn’t expect them to win this game, but if they made it close I’d be happy. They came through big time in the 2nd half. Even before the run the scrubs made at the very end, the Hawks were playing the Cavs pretty tough in the 4th quarter, slowly chipping away at that lead. I hope this can build some confidence in them that they can win against good teams on the road.

Reggie

March 21st, 2009
3:29 pm

Nobody can say enough about how Mario West plays the game of basketball. I just love this kid. If I was a coach I would do anything to have him on my team. Wow the final score of this game makes it seem like it was close.

Rod from College Park

March 21st, 2009
3:30 pm

Reggie and Sautee,

Yeah, maybe if Marvin was in there Lebron would have only scored 16 instead of 22 (LOL). He scored the least amount of points against us today,than he has all year. Could Marvin have done better than Mo and Flip today? No!!! the problem for us against Cleveland is Bibby can’t check Mo Williams, and Nobody can stop Big Z. Marvin playing would not have made a difference.

Reggie

March 21st, 2009
3:31 pm

Joe Johnson looked like he did 3 years ago for the Hawks. He had no help at all and was getting triple teamed. He had to be very frustrated. I love Flip but he killed our run with about 6 or 7 minutes to go with a few dumb shots. Did Al Horford play tonight? Did Mike Bibby attempt a good shot tonight. Smith was alright but didn’t have much energy.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 21st, 2009
3:32 pm

Some reasons to feel good about today’s game:

1. They held the 7′3″ Big Z to 4 rebounds.
2. They limited LeBron to 22 points on 9/21 shooting, well below his averages.
3. They got 13 offensive rebounds against a team that is much bigger and longer than them.
4. Even with Mo Evans in the starting lineup and Acie Law out, the bench came in and gave the Hawks quality minutes against an elite team on the road. That’s a really good sign for the playoffs.

I don’t really believe in moral victories and what not, but considering the Hawks’ dismal road record and the Cavs’ incredible home record, I have no problem with the Hawks’ loss today. If anything I think this game could be a confidence builder. They played well and lost against a better team. No shame in that.

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:33 pm

Can we start Flip at the point guard position, because Bibby is pathetic. Flip gives us so much more. This reminds me of last year when I wanted Childress to start over Marvin, but it never happened. Flip perhaps could be that second scorer that Joe we need.

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:36 pm

Give me a break Najeh, moral victories my butt. This team did what they always do. Get blown out early and then when the opposition takes out their starters, we make the game look respectable. The fact of the matter is, the Hawks may win one round in the playoffs and that is it!
I do understand what you mean Najeh. I just hate not being competitive with the elite teams.

RedTailHawk

March 21st, 2009
3:37 pm

True Najeh. But what is so frustrating is that if they had played a half way decent 1st half, they could have won. If they had just come out prepared. Oh well…GO HAWKS!

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:38 pm

We need star power. Go after BOSH! He would command enough respect to where Joe wouldn’t have to deal with all those double teams. Joe is not a batman, but a robin. We need a superstar here or at least another 20 point scorer.

Elijah

March 21st, 2009
3:41 pm

Wow @ Randy and Othello and Gardner being put in. Drew put in the bench! woohoo

This game made it painfully obvious–the Hawks cannot shoot the basketball on the road. Our offense freaking dies and we miss FT’s. We could win 200 home games in a row against the Lakers and I wouldnt friggin care because we can’t beat jack!@#$ on the road right now. How many West Playoff Teams (include Phoenix), or Eastern Conference teams (period) can we seriously beat on the road?

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:43 pm

This was a measuring stick and we failed miserably.

Reggie

March 21st, 2009
3:44 pm

Rod: You’re an idiot. Marvin would have easily done better than Mo and Flip didn’t guard Lebron much at all. Lebron wasn’t on that’s why he didn’t score much, the defense had nothing to do with it. Also Marvin would have created offense which we needed. Marvin would have made this a much better game.
Mark: It’s not that we didn’t compete. We were just ICE COLD in the first half. Not anything against our talent or them being much better than us. We had an off shooting day. You’re gonna act like we’re horrible again after a 7 game winning streak and then losing to the best team in the EAST at their court on one of our worst shooting halves this year. So many of you just jump from side to side every win or loss. Then when we beat Boston and the Lakers at home you will be saying we are incredible we are playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. 09 CHAMPIONS! Give me a break. It was a loss vs.a great team on a bad day. Stop whining.

Ariose

March 21st, 2009
3:49 pm

Ray, our bench is better than Mike Woodson thinks it is. Did you see how Mario and Gardner got after it defensively. I think Randolph may have even gotten a rebound down there lol.

Niremetal, I’d rather start Flip over Bibby at this point…….

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:49 pm

Mo Williams scored 20 points and Lebron had 26 LAST time the Hawks played the Cavs. So how does that make Mo Williams’ performance any different this time?

Marvin had 14 points and 10 boards last time. It would have been nice to have either Marvin or Evans as an option, a guy you can go to off the bench, rather than have Evans and nobody else. We cannot run 4 guard lineups against the Cavs (or even most teams).

We don’t use Solo, Hunter, Morris, or even Gardner. We use West in very limited minutes. Evans is the guy who comes closest to providing what Marvin provides, and he was the only guy available, and was starting.

Even a simpleton should be able to figure this out…

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:54 pm

Reggie you stupid idiot, we didn’t compete. We got beat for more reasons than bad shooting. So this was just one loss vs. a great team huh? You are such a delusional homer. You are about as pathetic as Bibby. By the way stupid, I have never said that this team would win it all. (even when we were on that winning streak and if we beat the lakers and celtics.)

Real fans can criticize their team. Delusional Homers like yourself, look at moral victories and bright side of things. I bet REGGIE you would be happy if we just MADE THE PLAYOFFS, RIGHT?

Oh yeah Reggie, the cavs are much better than we are, but in you little mind the Hawks are just as good .

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:55 pm

RedTailHawk,

Agreed. Our first half effort was lackluster.

Najeh,

I don’t feel too badly about this loss either, was just not happy with the total game effort, which could have been better.

Arios,

Agreed. I think the bench is better than is given credit for, but Woody should know way better than us on this. Which is why I stay confused. I don’t see anybody slacking or having a bad attitude when they get on the floor. What gives?

Mark,

This is the best team in the NBA, possibly (Lakers are probably better, but you know..). I’ll agree that our effort was poor in the first half. But failing miserably would have been like the two games we had against Orlando earlier this year. Fact is, we had a homestand in which we beat teams with better records.

You can’t say that we always strike out when we should be winning. As Kirk would say, “that’s not consistent with the facts.” Cleveland is just one of those few teams we cannot get behind against and win. We have one last crack at them before the playoffs. And this time it’s at home. I want revenge. I’m sure our guys do, too.

Mark

March 21st, 2009
3:56 pm

Ray or anybody what does this team need to win it all?

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
3:58 pm

Niremetal,

I hear you. That’s a loaded lineup. Unfortunately, it is also a lineup that you have trouble subbing for when you’re missing Acie and Marvin. Oh wait, I forgot. We couldn’t possibly have any use for a guy who could provide 14 and 6 (or twice that), and defend his own position.

Speaking of which….ah, nevermind.

TheHawksFan

March 21st, 2009
4:00 pm

I think Bibby has worth. BUT….It has to be very controlled. The next 4 or 5 games we need to get this under control. We need to get a PLAYOFF rotation going now. Flip has not faired well as a starter at the POINT. With Marvin out and Acie hurting, I would give Bibby burn in 5 to 6 mins spurts based on his shooting. Flip along with Mario off the bench for Bibby and Evans needs to be the rotation. ZaZa and Solo on the front line. Joe will be on the floor no matter what. Get Acie and Marvin back healthy and go from there. I really think Mr. West is the key though. His Defense should lead the HAWKS. That Rip against Lebron brought him full circle against NBA AllSTARS to include Kobe McGrady
Vince Carter Carmelo Ginobli Wade and Ray Allen. Its one thing to get a steal, but to get one against an ALLSTAR one on one is rarely seen. He is making it a habit to go after the Best. Thats what Woody hired him for.Let the kid do his thang. Keep Flying High Hawks!!!!!!!

doc

March 21st, 2009
4:01 pm

uh ray i think we are done with them dude. we got them once at home in december and lost by one in march. we got hammered both times there only for them to clear the bench and let our scrubbies have a time. remember acie’s great game?

Ariose

March 21st, 2009
4:04 pm

Ray, Exactly. Our bigs are very athletic and extremely mobile. When the Cavs went small we should have went big with Solo, Horford, and Josh. We would’ve cleaned the glass for sure and went on a run.

You were also right about Mike, I was calling it like I saw it. In big time games, especially on the road when we need someone to step up and take charge/instill confidence in everybody else, Bibby is no where to be found. Joe doesn’t talk much but he has all the confidence in the world. Big Al or Flip need to do some motivational speaking to the guys’ during games……..back to Bibby. The guy can barely handle the ball sometimes. How can you create for others if your barely able to keep the ball from being stripped from you?

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
4:12 pm

Mark and Reggie,

Come on guys….neither of you are idiots. One is just more frustrated than the other.

Mark,

Is 29 losses darker than the brightness of 41 wins? Hey, if you want to go dark, then you and I can talk about the offseason, ownership issues, and the future of this team. I’ll drag you into the darkness where there is little light, LOL!

No but seriously, I think the things we need to win it all are beyond me. I have ideas, but that’s it. We could use more money, that’s for certain. We could use a better, sharper, more efficent and matchup exploiting offensive philosophy. We could use better execution of said philosophy. We could use better defense. A more mobile big man off the bench who would help Zaza rule the boards, provide better post offense and defense. We could use more penetration and dishing from the pg position. We could use a deadly perimeter threat off the bench to go along with Murray. We could use a Kevin Garnett-like attitude and approach from Josh Smith…EVERY SINGLE GAME.

But what the heck. I’d settle for Josh playing at a high level nearly every night, an offense that allows JJ to play one-on-one on defense, another big used alongside Zaza, Acie playing 23 mpg, Bibby playing no more than 25mpg (because his defense sucks), and the rotation going 9 deep most nights.

Oh, and season ticket seats like Jhan’s for most of the blog regulars, unlimited popcorn for MannyT, 5 free drinks for Ando, Pretzels for Doc and Sautee’s wife, a seat behind Woody for Samuel, and Bang Bang shrimp from the Bonefish Grill for myself and Sautee.

Anybody else want anything? Just call me Ray-Ray Getz…

Mike Woodson

March 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

Fuçking Refs!!

Big Ray

March 21st, 2009
4:15 pm

Doc,

You called it right. I was thinking of Boston, whom we have two games left against. One in Boston, one in Atlanta.

niremetal

March 21st, 2009
4:20 pm

Ariose,

I’m not saying that Bibby is playing at the level he used to. But you can’t say that he won’t show up when it counts. This is the guy who drained the 28-footer to win against Houston. The guy who has given us multiple 20-and-6 or better performances against solid teams (Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Orlando, Philly) and on the road. In fact, he’s our only player whose numbers don’t take a precipitous nosedive on the road.

I know he was mediocre in the playoffs last year when he was playing with a taped thumb, and I know he’s not the player he used to be. But I still would rather have him spotting up on the perimeter at the end of a close game more than any other player we have not named Joe.

niremetal

March 21st, 2009
4:22 pm

Heh. Actually, there’s one other player we have who shows up just as much on the road as at home – Marvin.

hawkfan

March 21st, 2009
4:26 pm

now that i am thinking about it, it’s kind of funny that we ended their 11-game winning streak at our home, and now they ended our 7-game winning streak at their home, if we do face them in the playoffs, it will be really tough, i did like flip’s energy and hustle at the end, just shows we don’t back down from anybody

Ariose

March 21st, 2009
4:33 pm

niremetal, yeah I hear ya. It just Baffles me how players like Mo Williams can just turn it on, even on the road, while Bibby goes through serious finks and nothing he does can save him from it. I love what he brings to this team but we need a starting Point Guard who is going to be consistent every night. Someone who, when they step on the floor, regardless of the opponent, you know your gettin 18points and 7 assists(Deron Williams).

ATTENTION MARVIN BASHERS: that was not an opportunity for you to complain about the draft again. We need Marvin, and I think we can ge the kind of point guard we’re looking for in the off season.

doc

March 21st, 2009
4:43 pm

it is not a loral victory if they werent ever really in the game, end score doesnt count. they didnt compete in this game it seems as i missed it but read the comments. one game doesnt make a season, it says were we are at and it is where we thought them to be. not elite, maybe top crust of the middle of the pack. still fun to watch and scream for.

where is acie hurting?

Rod from College Park

March 21st, 2009
5:50 pm

Reggie:

There goes that IDIOT term again. Is that the only word you can come up with. How would he have done better? Mo Evans scored 15 points which is a point over Marvin’s season average, and Lebron scored the least amount of points today against us today than he has all year. Flip came off the bench for 22. Let me tell you what would have happened. If Marvin was playing, Mo would have played about 6 minutes, and Marvin would have maybe gone for 12 to 14 points, which is what he usually does. There would have been no difference in the outcome at all, which is the point. So who were you saying is an idiot. Next time try DUMMY.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 21st, 2009
6:12 pm

“they didnt compete in this game it seems as i missed it but read the comments. ”

I can’t really agree with that… when I turned the game on, it was 40-18 Cleveland, and from that point on the Hawks played them pretty even — until the last four minutes, when they went on their garbage time run. They may not have competed for the first 16 minutes of the game (the score would suggest as much) but for the last 32 minutes they gave a pretty good effort.

Maybe it’s just that my expectations are rock bottom after seeing them getting blown out on their West Coast road trip, and maybe the Cavs sleepwalked through the 2nd half, but if the playoffs started tomorrow and the Hawks played every road game at the level they showed in the last 32 minutes today, I think they would beat the Heat in 5 and at least make the Cavs work before losing to them in the 2nd round.

darrell starks

March 21st, 2009
6:59 pm

We go on the road and WOODY starte his same old routines 7 MAN rotation how in the world do you think your going to beat the good teams with a 7 MAN rotation and where is SOLO and WEST i guest WOODY will never learn JOE again 42 min. GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

doc

March 21st, 2009
7:11 pm

playing even when behind by twenty is not competing. do you think the cavs were going that hard with a lead like that without the hawks making a run? they were coasting and we still couldnt bite into their lead is the way it sounds.

Wink from Lithonia

March 21st, 2009
7:12 pm

Bring on the King, well you got him! Be careful what you ask for…another terrible road performance. Not close to the same team or coach on the road. Hawks hurry home…home court is a necessity for success.

O'brien

March 21st, 2009
7:29 pm

We have a good record when Evans starts, but this team still needs Marvin. Should he be a starter or a bench player, I dont know (although I would like to see him come off the bench when he returns), but it would be nice for us to have him available.

I think the Rockets are 14-4 since McGrady said he was done for the season. Does that mean that they are a better team without him?

Reggie

March 21st, 2009
7:43 pm

RodSam: I’m sorry if that term offended you. Of course you come with the stats again. Marvin struggled early this year. But once again I will say did you see him performing a few weeks before he got hurt until the injury. He became our 2nd offensive option and CREATED HIS OWN SHOT! He was shooting well and getting to the line frequently. One game he was 11-12. But you never respond to how he had started to perform. Also he makes our team better because he spreads out the floor and brings attention to him. His guy wouldn’t be triple teaming Joe because if he did Marvin would make him pay. Lebron had his worst day because he was off. the defense wasn’t great until Mario got on him. But you will ignore the comment and just say Marvin only averages 14 ppg as a second overall pick in the draft. BUST!
Mark: Come on man I didn’t get on to you that bad and I wasn’t specifically saying that you were saying 09 CHAMPIONS. All I said to you is don’t jump on the Hawks because of a poor shooting first half. We are still playing great basketball. We did play great basketball in the second half and we’re still set nice going into the playoffs. We did compete with Cleveland tonight but we just had 1 bad half of shooting. Scoring 96 on them is pretty solid and we really didn’t play bad defense on them either. They were just having a very good shooting day. Just back off a bit and if we start loosing frequently and because of poorly executed basketball then you can start being upset.