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 shot and see if he can give your team a spark? 

Who knows, he might actually slow Rajon Rondo down for the first a second or two. It would be the first time that’s happened since the Hawks and Celtics locked horns in the playoffs last year. And it’s something the Hawks desperately need to be able to do if they have any chance of beating the Celtics tonight.

There’s no guarantee it happens. But it’s at least worth thinking about considering the Hawks’ depth issues at point guard right now.

KG + STARBURY = LOVE

The Celtics’ arrival also brings former Georgia Tech star Stephon Marbury back to town for the first time this year (he missed those trips with the Knicks due to his estranged relationship with the team before he was jettisoned and allowed to link up with the Celtics).

While some people love to take shots at Marbury for all the drama that has transpired the past couple of years, at least one of his former and now current teammates, is showing him major love.

Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett praised Marbury, per my main man Marc Spears of the Boston Globe.

“Steph’s leadership has been sort of questioned and damaged if y ou will. But once a leader, always a leader,” KG told Spears and other reporters in Boston. ” I’ve told a lot of the young guys that haven’t seen a lot of Steph, I thought we got a steal in grabbing him. His different relationships with different ball clubs is a thing of the past. If you look at some of the guys on this team, they haven’t always had the best reps. We deal with each other on how we deal with each other. He fits right in. Not only is he versatile, but people forget that Steph was one of the premier guards in this league for a while.

“Other than him not playing for a year, we all expect good things out of him. He expects a lot of big things out of himself. He works extremely hard. You just don’t be the (man) from a point guard standpoint all them years of being who you are, obviously the facts are there, but you just don’t become that. You get that through hard work, watching film. I know dude and what kind of drive he has inside. I think he is going to help us in the long run. He’s definitely different from what everyone sees and their perception of him. But you make your bed, you lay in it. I’m not trying to defend him, nothing like that. But he’s a different soul. It’s about repetition, getting it down and moving forward.”

You talking to me KG?

You talking to me KG?

Garnett is only expected to play limited minutes, something like the first seven to eight minutes of each half (per my man Stevie “Crickets” Bulpett of the Boston Herald).

That means the Hawks will almost certainly need to start both the first and third quarters with their big boy lineup of Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford and Josh Smith with Smith dealing with Paul Pierce at small forward.

It’s not even a gamble in my eyes. It’s a necessity. Garnett, even in small doses, is enough to warrant a tweak in the lineup. Besides, Pachulia’s played well in whatever role that’s been asked of him this season. And with his history with the KG, it might not be a bad idea to have him on the floor early to see if he can disrupt what the Celtics might have in store.

More importantly, those lineups add more sizzle to this rivalry (I don’t care what Rondo says, this is a rivalry to me if only because both teams despise each other). And with the weather as lousy as it is today, I’ll take sizzle anywhere I can get it.

255 comments Add your comment

JerryWest

March 27th, 2009
10:42 am

I am sure Mark Price remembers how Jordan carried his lowly Bulls and defeated the championship aspiring talented Cavs team that had Price, Dougharty, Nance, Harper, Hot Rod Williams etc. who won something like 57 games that year. They even beat up the eventual champions Pistons that year.

Wade could easily pull a Jordan on a far inferior team than the Cavs. I will take Sixers any day. If we can’t beat the Heat, I’ll understand why it happened. If we can’t beat the Sixers, I’d say its time for soul searching.

JerryWest

March 27th, 2009
10:48 am

What will an out of shape Claxton provide that Mario already doesn’t? We have no problems with ball handling.

JerryWest

March 27th, 2009
10:49 am

If Zaza starts, one of our big 3 will be in foul trouble in no time.

Khao$

March 27th, 2009
10:55 am

If Speedy can help, I have no objections with him playing. Anyting that will wins.

PMC

March 27th, 2009
10:55 am

Will Speedy play the game in the same mask he wears to pick up his paycheck?

bali

March 27th, 2009
11:01 am

If you are paying him you might as well play him. He cant be tired.

Khao$

March 27th, 2009
11:02 am

Correction: If Speedy can help, I have no objection with him playing. Anything that will help us win.

niremetal

March 27th, 2009
11:05 am

Sekou,

It’s tough to tell from reading your report – did you actually hear from someone that Speedy might be suiting up, or are you just speculating that it might be a good time for the Hawks to consider that?

Barry

March 27th, 2009
11:08 am

Hey Y’all:

The talk about Speedy coming back at this time is a little disconcerting. The man have not played in years due to an injury. If he was healthy and ready to compete, he would be on the active roster. Evidently, the powers that be on the HawKs do not believe he can compete at this level, especially to cover players like Tony Parker of the Spurs. I believe Speedy is through due to his knee injury. He is not Speedy anymore. He is “Use to be Speedy”.

Now based on the Celtics and Hawks being a rival and hating each other, this is not true. What the Hawks and Celtics have is good competion on home and home courts among the fans. On the court, it is just plain, respectible good competition. No rivialry, yet. We will be a rivalry when we play them every year in the playoff, head-up, and winning most of those games. We are still in the “SHOCK THE WORLD” mode right now. Do not worry, we will “SHOCK” them and many others once we get in the playoff.

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SEE Y’ALL AT PHILLIPS!!! “HAWKS, BOOM-BYE-YEAH!!!!”

GO HAWKS!!!!

“SHOCK THE WORLD!!!!”

Dan

March 27th, 2009
11:09 am

I say we should run Speedy out of town on a rail. That guy knew he was hurt when he signed here. I don’t care if he can help or not. If he plays and does well, that might help him sign on with another team. Anything that helps Speedy, I am against. F*** that guy.

G State Ben

March 27th, 2009
11:22 am

Sekou, I agree with you. Rando is dellusional. He calls the Cavs a rivalry although the records are very similiar in the same time frame. Hawks took C’s to 7 as did the Cavs. Hawks are 0-2 this year, Cavs 1-2.

As far a KG’s love for Starbury. We get it. They were teammates and this is the reunion tour but seriously? The guy has no D to speak of and has done next to nothing in 14 games back. 2.7 ppg and 2.8 assist per. Another measure of Steph’s non-value? Check his effiency rating. Dude ranks #167 amongst guards. That’s behind Acie Law and our old friend Royal (with Cheese baby) Ivey.

Peter

March 27th, 2009
11:27 am

Did you say Speedy Claxton or was that Mike Hampton ?

TheAntiMe

March 27th, 2009
11:35 am

The nickname appears to fit because it looks like Speedy Claxton sure pulled a fast one on the Hawks.

Sautee

March 27th, 2009
11:39 am

Sekou, what about the insurance? What do the Hawks lose by playing Speedy, if anything? Is there a financial question here?

Melvin

March 27th, 2009
11:46 am

DOC, i will see you tonite with the cash…….

cp

March 27th, 2009
11:53 am

If Speedy was truly healthy before the trade deadline as he suggested in that interview, then the Hawks should have had him active then so they could showcase him then later trade him….. Law’s back must not be getting any better? If Speedy can play then hell suit him up and let him get 15 minutes. He might be healthy but the Hawks are treating him like they did Tony Delk a few years back.

swatguy

March 27th, 2009
11:56 am

Any rational sane fan welcomes Speedy back. A healthy Speedy certainly helps this team greatly. It also will bode well for next season as a player or trade bait. But for now, get him in a jersey and some court time. Quickly.

rainman

March 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

Sekou — I don’t hear much about how Marvin is progressing. From what you hear, do you have an opinion on when/if he will be back this year and how effective he would be?

Sekou K. Smith

March 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

They lost nothing playing Speedy. He’s under contract and right now, with Law out again tonight, you might as well play him. And I raised the issue niremetal only after someone mentioned to me that it might be a possibility. Can’t tell you who, of course. But don’t be surprised if he suits up tonight.

Its gr8 2 B a ga bulldawg

March 27th, 2009
12:15 pm

officially clinched a playoff spot :)

and it looks like we got that 4th seed on lock…who would be a better matchup in the first round? miami, philly or detroit?? i’m confident we can beat any of these teams in a 7 game series

Sekou K. Smith

March 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

You’re killing me rainman. I wrote an update on Marvin Wednesday – http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/hawks/stories/2009/03/25/hawks_marvin_williams.html. Check it out. I do think he’ll try and come back for the playoffs. And aside from being a little rusty, I think his return could give the Hawks a huge boost.

Mike is back

March 27th, 2009
12:25 pm

Yep, this miserable weather want keep me down, I’’ll
be in TA HOUSE TONIGHT!!!! AND I’M GOING WITH THE SIZZLE TOO.
 

Sekou, not only do Woody needs to start Zaza, he
needs to go to a three man rotation at the pivot. Instead of moving Josh and Al
back to the pivot when Zaza gets in foul trouble…he needs to rotate Solo and
Morris, and leave Al at the 4 and Josh at the 3. This way you always have size
down in the blocks.
 

If Speedy can play let’em play. When used right,
Bibby is very effective, but to match him up against quick penetrating PGs is
bunkers. Speedy, Garner, Mario hey I’ll take any help we can get.      
 

LET’S GO HAWKS, LET’S KICK SOME
ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dan

March 27th, 2009
12:32 pm

What makes some of you think Speedy could help, anyway? He has not played in two years. He is not going to just walk back on the court and start helping. He is a nonfactor and should not even be talked about.

Vic

March 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

If Speedy comes back, he will get his ankles “broke” and be on the IR for the rest of this season and next.

I was at the SA game and West played the best defense on Parker. West is hungry for playing time and makes the best of the limited minutes he’s given. The problem wasn’t the offense per se, but the fact that just about everything Parker threw up went in the basket. I would have given West more minutes to at least try to get Parker out of his rythm. He completely dismantled the team all by himself.

Khao$

March 27th, 2009
12:38 pm

Sekou, does Speedy practice regularly with the team?

Sekou K. Smith

March 27th, 2009
12:42 pm

Yes. Speedy does practice with the team Khao$. And what makes you guys think he can’t help in a situational role Dan? Nobody’s asking Speedy to start. But he could play limited minutes as a defensive specialist and serve a purpose.

Harry Hawk

March 27th, 2009
12:58 pm

We’re paying the man. Might as well give him some minutes at a weakened position.

Numberonehawksfan

March 27th, 2009
12:59 pm

Not that this is a major concern but, I do know fans that are not watching games or attending because of Ryan Cameron and his obnoxious “Threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” call. I also want to know why, in a very diverse city like Atlanta, can’t we have a better variety of music in the arena other than the “Let’s Go Hawks” and De-Fense chants with that awful organ banging. It’s bad in person and when the arena is less than full, it’s even worse on television. I also love Dominique but just like Steve Smith, commentating is not his strong suit. How many times will Dominique tell me the obvious. (Hawks are down 15 and he says, “There is still plenty of time left in this game, Hawks need to make stops and score!” (You think) Ryan, please stop yelling for Defense or Let’s Go Hawks, we’ll yell good and loud once the Hawks give us a reason to yell loudly. It really makes the fans look as though we are less than intelligent and need to be told when to cheer for our team because Ryan insists on asking us to get involved before we are ready! We would really love some nice hip-hop instrumental tracks and really good sound effects like those in The TD Waterhouse Center in Orlando or The Rose Garden in Portland. I’ve even heard better music on the PA system in Utah–Utah?!? Those are really good “in-game” experiences. If you must have organ music, then can it at least be the good kind like in Philly or Boston. The fans will get even more involved if they don’t feel alienated by the corny music being played in the arena…

SWAT Native

March 27th, 2009
1:09 pm

I have no problem with Speedy Claxton. When he got hurt his first year and the doctor advised him to shut it down for the year, he got a second opinion and tried to rehab and play through it. Last year, when some advised him to retire, he still worked to come back. Now he says he’s healthy and ready to play, but the Hawks won’t activate him. He can’t help that he got hurt, and he’s tried to do everything to come back. He gets paid one way or the other, so a lot of people would have just shut it down.

If he can play, this might be a good time to try him. Let’s see if he can be effective, because you might need a guard like him in the playoffs. Also, it will help if you want to move him in the offseason if there is actually some game film of him from this year. Let’s see what he’s got.

terrell barron

March 27th, 2009
1:18 pm

Numberonehawksfan, You’ve got issues!

terrell barron

March 27th, 2009
1:21 pm

SWAT Native, that has to be the nicest thing I’ve ever read about Craig Claxton on this blog. Ever!

Numberonehawksfan

March 27th, 2009
1:25 pm

Thanks Terrell Barron for acknowledging that “I” have issues. The blog is regarding the Hawks cornball! Everyone is entitled to an opinion (on the Hawks), the blog isn’t about me! If you are a real Hawks fan, you would recognize that with the Hawks having their best season in 10 plus years and the arena still half empty (during the stretch drive of the season) there is obviously a reason as to why fans are not showing up to support the Hawks, I just wanted to put out my opinion because I do attend games and watch the team on television. Get over “My issues” and blog about the topic of conversation!

kilmoonie

March 27th, 2009
1:29 pm

Man, I really like the idea of Speedy Claxton coming back and helping us as a “defensive specialist and serve a purpose.” But I just think it might be too much to ask this guy right now, even if he plays tonight and in the next few games. He hasn’t played at all in how long? His speed and defensive knack would almost have to be way short of the level his nickname garnered.

Still, I don’t see him in practices and I am not seeing what others are. If they think he might be ready, than as a Hawks fan I’m rooting for it to work. With Acie on the shelf, a Speedy PG with quick hands is exactly what we need.

JR

PS. Phillie scares me so much more than the Heat. I hate the way this season is ending as far as opponent goes.

NotsurewhyHawksFan

March 27th, 2009
1:36 pm

I don’t like our chances tonight. You know why? Because Mike Woodson is a terrible basketball coach. His player rotation is why we lost to SA the other night. “J Smoove” looked like he had smoked a fatty the entire game and Woody left him out there. The only time we looked good was the few minutes that Flip and Mario were on the floor at the same time. And why does Flip get the ball solo at the end of every quarter when he’s in there. He dribbles of his leg or gets stripped every single time. As Mr. Barkley would say, our coach is “Turrbile”.

terrell barron

March 27th, 2009
1:39 pm

I coldheartedly doubt that Hawks fans are staying at home because of Ryan Cameron. Give me a break. Kids…..

dmortone

March 27th, 2009
1:48 pm

Marbury hadn’t played NBA basketball, while he was completely healthy, for 65 odd games and look how bad he’s fairing. I remember watching the Magic game at the beginning of the year and I remember thinking the only reason we one that game was because the Magic missed a bunch of shots they should make and looked completely out of sync offensively.

The point is, it’s hard enough to get into game shape after taking a few months off from playing NBA basketball when you’re healthy and working on your game by yourself/with trainers and whatnot. Coming off a couple knee surgeries and not playing NBA basketball for 2 years, I highly doubt Speedy can bring any substantive production in the short term, especially since I assume Acie will be back by the playoffs. Just leave Speedy on the bench and give Mario some run. Let one offensively challenged guard d up another(even though Rondo has improved his offensive game this season).

dmortone

March 27th, 2009
1:48 pm

*the only reason we “won” that game

dmortone

March 27th, 2009
1:50 pm

*Acie will be back by the playoffs for the long term.

There really should be an edit post option

Fuffar

March 27th, 2009
1:51 pm

I GOT ROBBED AND IT WAS SPEEDY THAT TOOK THE MONEY.

Astro Joe

March 27th, 2009
1:51 pm

If you’re a fan of the team then you should welcome the possible help from whomever. If Speedy can do to PGs what Mario does to wing players, for all of 5-8 minutes in a game, that would help tremendously. And there is only one way to find out… put him in uniform and send him in the game. Like Sekou said, we’re not asking him to play 38 minutes and produce 12 assists and 5 steals. You all want Woody to make game-time adjustments? Seeing if Speedy can stop dribble penetration from super-quick PGs seems like a reasonable attempt at making a game-time adjustment. What’s the harm is trying?

Ben

March 27th, 2009
2:01 pm

SEKOU, has Speedy been practicing with the team or not? What has he been doing everyday?

tbhawksfan

March 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

Woodson is a system man. don’t adapt to his vision of the system and you get Tony Delked.

Yes, Woody is a system man, with a really bad system.

Khao$

March 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

It would be one thing if Woodson were asking Speedy to start or be the 6th/7th man off the bench. However, if he could give 6-10 minutes to play as a defensive stopper, what is that going hurt? Shoot, it couldn’t hurt us any more than relying on Bibby to play meaningful defensive minutes during the game in key moments. If he can help, let him help. The key word in this whole equation is HELP.

ga bulldawg

March 27th, 2009
2:11 pm

lol @ “Numberonehawksfan”, i thought i was the only one annoyed by that organ but i disagree that the music, organ and RC are keeping Hawks fans from coming to the games. It really comes down to the economy…GA has had some of the worst effects of the economy. Philips Arena sells a lot of cheap seats and those are usually full but the more expensive ones are often empty but thats only what the TV shows. And Ryan Cameron is the sh**! I love it when he says “That foul is offensive! or “TOOOO many steps”. How many other announcers do that?? i think its hilarious

KUERG

March 27th, 2009
2:31 pm

does speedy remember where the arena is located

SWAT Native

March 27th, 2009
2:32 pm

Terrell Barron, I just think Speedy gets a bad rap. I notice him at every Hawks timeout, he’s in the huddle, he never sulks, apparently he practices every day, and other than that one article where he said he could be playing, I’ve never heard him complain.

Now contrast him with Marbury who was in kind of the same situation. The Knicks thought he was so disruptive they didn’t even want him around the team. The finally bought him out to get him to go away.

I’ve got a solution for two things that people complain about every blog. Maybe Speedy can retire next season and become the Hawks color commentator.

RG

March 27th, 2009
2:36 pm

RC’s three call is not what bothers me, the for two call is the annoying one. Joe Johnson for 2. Who does not realize a layup is for 2.

SWAT Native

March 27th, 2009
2:42 pm

I can live with Ryan Cameron – I love how at some point in every game when someone gets dunked on or get’s their shot thrown into the stands, he says “now you know”.

BTW, I’m enjoying seeing the NBA playoff commercial where Joe puts Poe on his back and drops a 3-pointer on him. Anyone notice that at the end of that clip when Joe and Smoove are celebrating, Smoove points at someone and laughs? Who was he pointing at? Was that Poe?

I MUS.WRITE

March 27th, 2009
2:46 pm

Are you kidding me? I would take Sophia Claxton if its going to slow down opposing PG’s. If he’s in uniform im sure he’s been practicing so why not play him for a few minutes as a defensive stopper. As we saw in the San Antonio game Mike Bibby is useless against quick Pg’s …..That was a sick cross over by TP……. Bibby plays D like he’s wearing ankle weights….DAM

Yeah bring on Claxton

SWAT Native

March 27th, 2009
2:46 pm

…as for the music in the arena, what’s with that guitar music they play just before the tip? I’m half convinced that’s why the Hawks get off to a slow start. Why can’t we open up with something that thumps like “Welcome to Atlanta” like they used to do at the Falcons games?