First blood?

The Heat have to be tired of seeing Josh Smith in this pose!

The Heat have to be tired of seeing Josh Smith strike this pose!

 

HAWKSVILLE - We haven’t seen any in this Hawks-Heat series yet, but I can’t imagine we’ll make it another four quarters without it.

Someone has to draw first blood.

And I don’t mean the kind that comes from an accidental scratch on someone’s arm or a stray pass that cracks a guy in the mouth and causes a trickle off the side of mouth, Dracula style.

I’m talking about blood produced by a good ol’ fashioned, wicked “hard foul” served up playoff style (I keep seeing Heat backup center and wrestling superstar in waiting Jamaal Magloire in the middle of the scrum). My gut tells me we’re going to see one tonight in Game 2 at Philips Arena.

That said, no one is interested in cheap shots. That’s not at all what I’m talking about. But sooner or later you figure someone is going to catch someone else with a clean blow that draws blood (the Hawks have already handled that, figuratively, by dotting the Heat’s eye with that 26-point whippin’ Sunday night in Game 1) and the sight of that plasma will serve to inspire someone to play above and beyond their pay grade.

Forget that yarn about a series not really starting until the home team loses on its own floor. A good playoff series doesn’t start until someone gets clocked upside the head and the blood boils on both sides

There has to be some genuine disdain for each other for teams to compete at the required level to win in the postseason (the Hawks had to get their noses bloodied, figuratively, in Boston twice last year before standing up to the schoolyard bully of the league. I’m sure you remember Zaza Pachulia’s nose-to-nose with Kevin Garnett).

A slower, more physical and much more deliberate style in this series would certainly benefit the Heat, even with the great Dwyane Wade on their side. Because they showed Sunday night that allowing the Hawks, namely Josh Smith, to get to the rim unabated is bad business.

The Hawks are prepared for the increase in hand-to-hand combat. They noticed a spike in Game 1, after their lead reached 20 points and kept climbing after halftime. But that was just an appetizer for a Pat Riley-run production.

“We’re going to be ready for whatever comes our way,” Smith said. “We’re certainly not going to back down to anybody. We never have. And we’re a physical team, too.”

We’ll find out just how physical tonight, because the Heat’s goon squad will be deployed before they allow the Hawks to run wild again. 

SOUTH FLORIDA REPORT

Our friends from greater Miami have been hard at work digging into the psyche of the Heat since their Game 1 meltdown and the results have been interesting (fingers have been pointed at everyone).

Miami Herald columnist Israel Gutierrez spotlighted two guys I think could sway the Heat’s fortunes in this series if they find a groove.

Palm Beach Post columnist Greg Stoda touched on Wade’s strange, second-half disappearance in Game 1, a complete departure for the league’s leading scorer. Don’t expect an encore.

Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde has two nice hits, one on “Udonis Beasley” and another on the unique connection between Al Horford and his father Tito Horford.

LAY OFF THE YOUNG FELLA

Being the keen observer of player development that I am, I’ve noticed the similarity in the way Michael Beasley is viewed, treated and examined by folks in Miami and the way Josh Smith was, is and continues to be viewed, treated and examined around here.

And it’s the same foolishness being mistaken for true player development around the league. The last time I checked, the Heat picked Beasley because they were in the lottery and not the other way around.

The fact is, when you spend all your time focusing on what a guy does that you don’t like, you conveniently ignore all the things they do well. And Beasley’s a marvelous offensive talent with an ability to both score and rebound at an incredibly high rate when he’s allowed to just play. But judging from his season stats and all the stuff written about his up and down rookie year, you’d think he was some project instead of one of the best pure talents to come out of the draft in recent years.

All this hand-wringing being done over Beasley’s immaturity, supposedly on and off the floor, is a colossal waste of time. The Heat would be better off letting the young fella play a little bit and correcting his mistakes constructively while also benefiting from the unique blend of skills he brings to their team (a team, mind you, that was in dire need of all of the above this time a year ago).

But instead, in true NBA fashion, folks are busy trashing the kid’s name, game and reputation in the name of “breaking him down to build him back up.” I know that routine and the dues-paying system that is supposed to be in place. And like I always have, I think it stinks.

That’s also why I love what Thunder general manager Sam Presti is doing with his youngsters in Oklahoma City. Sure, there’s plenty Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook have to to learn. Allowing them to do it in an environment where they can play to their potential and through their mistakes is much more sound in the long run than that “old school” approach. The Thunder’s method should be the blueprint and the rule rather than the exception.

SELLOUT BLUES …

Much has been made about the Hawks’ spirited campaign to sell out tonight’s game, and for good reason. The Hawks rarely get the national stage to themselves, so when they do, they want to make a good impression.

And for the record, Sunday’s crowd in Game 1 was fantastic. But there’s cache with a packed-to-the-rafters arena that the Hawks simply cannot claim on a consistent basis. Our esteemed friend and blog regular Stoned Mountain (he doesn’t post as much but he emails me with his thoughts regularly) offered up his own view of the Hawks’ predicament a few minutes ago. I’ll leave you with his thoughts (which are sure to be controversial to some):

Interesting that the Hawks don’t sell out, and in fact don’t get talked about much. The reason is pretty straight forward, I think.

What the Hawks do best is not crowd pleasing here.

At the game Sunday I found myself the only person around me applauding defense – grabbing rebounds, steals, forcing the opponent to exhaust the shot clock. Team work ain’t a big hit here. The only thing that interrupted their chatter was the occasional Josh dunk. Hitting 3’s gets polite applause but not ovations.  They get a little excited at a steal and break away, mostly because they think a dunk is coming.

Not ’til late in the game, when the verdict is in doubt, do they get animated.

Certain teams get them excited – the Celtics and Kobe and LeBron.   

But DWade and his sidekicks don’t do it.

Not a basketball town.

504 comments Add your comment

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:32 pm

DAGGER by WADE!! Why did they fight so hard for homecourt advantage?

freshd

April 22nd, 2009
10:32 pm

D-WADE bank shot off glass, ESPN all over his nuts, top 10 highlights. The hawks have let the heat take the momentum.

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:32 pm

Joe is an ALLSTAR, Wade is SUPERSTAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brandon

April 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

absolutely right…ESPN will give Dwayne Wade a 10 miinute segment and the game gets sparse coverage.

Well need to regroup, and go to Miami and take care of business.

Blast

April 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

That 3 pointer heave by Wade will just about do it. Hawks didn’t prepare well for this game. They did get over confident. Heat fans, enjoy your win. See you on your home floor.

eman

April 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

Also never understood how a pro can stand directly in front of the net, under no pressure by an opposing player, and miss a shot (11 missed FTs!)

bigdave

April 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

Eman they didnt just rely on Wade… Cook hit big shots early… JO had a great game… the rook… and Haslem…

richbrave

April 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

Sounds like black wednesday in HAWKSVILLE. No worries mates. HAWKS in six.

bigdave

April 22nd, 2009
10:34 pm

we’ll rebound from this…

D.Carter

April 22nd, 2009
10:34 pm

ITS OVA WOODY GOT THOSE ARMS FOLDED AGAIN

eman

April 22nd, 2009
10:35 pm

bigdave, no but they are relying on him to take the lead on the team. He wasn’t able to do that in game 1 and they were blown out, he’s doing that in game 2 and the rest of the team is following his lead.

niremetal

April 22nd, 2009
10:35 pm

Man. JJ bricks two free throws and Josh throws the ball into the seats on a breakaway. Clearly, clearly, clearly the focus wasn’t there tonight.

MGM

April 22nd, 2009
10:35 pm

These first two games a microcosm of the Hawks. Flashes of brilliance followed by a total lack of continuity. They can still win the series but this team is seriously flawed. Just when they look like a team that has it together they show up totally lame.

Turtsnap

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

After the Heats 64 lowly points in Game 1, it appears the Hawks came out tonight and figured they didn’t have to play defense. Yes, the Heat have hit a ton of 3’s, but have you seen some of the wide open looks they are getting. HOLY COW!!

bigdave

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

look at em… everybody off Joe’s bandwagon… jesh… wow… amazing… he and josh all we had in the first… Woody sat him the whole 3rd… and now he’s the goat…

Lacsho

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

How many shots will cook hit before someone guards him?

D.Carter

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

WOODY IS GONNA PUT MARVIN IN NOW!!!!

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

y’all leavin dont go

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

SERIES OVER!!! You how stupid we get on the road. We’ll probably get embarrassed in games 3 and 4.

KevinA

April 22nd, 2009
10:36 pm

Well the Hawks will lose tonight. The Heat will shoot around 55% from the field. Can’t beat that. Congrats to the Heat.

Lacsho

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

Marvin sat out damn near the whole 4th quarter. Bad, Bad, Bad, adjustments.

scottbravesfan

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

FreshD,

The game was sold out there were empty seats at the beginning of the game because it’s Atlanta and there is this thing called traffic. Speaking of Atlanta traffic, I was waiting on Hank Aaron drive for almost two hours on Braves opening day and I was there an hour before the game was supposed to start. Atlanta traffic is awful.

Reggie

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

Mark: Please just shut up. There is no need for your stupid comments.

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

hawks got no bench

Melvin

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

Down 13pts with less than 2mins left and Woody wants to call timeout to go over strategy

bigdave

April 22nd, 2009
10:37 pm

eman its simple.. look at the stats.. they got contributions from the bench.. Cook.. Rook… Haslem played well.. and Oneal.. Wade cant win the series by himself.. well.. thats if the refs dont help him..

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

We shouldn’t bother showing up in Miami.

scottbravesfan

April 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

Joe Johnson has to hit some big free throws, remember the Celtics game earlier this year? Missed some big ones.

And where the hell was Marvin Williams at in the fourth? God Woodson is a terrible coach.

Astro Joe

April 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

Well, I doubt that Miami will hit 15 3s in another game and that we’ll miss 11 free throws. Well, I’m less certain about us missing 11 free throws but I don’t expect that the Heat will hit 15 3s again. Hawks get to show and prove in Game 3.

niremetal

April 22nd, 2009
10:38 pm

That being said, if the Heat can only win if they shoot 58% from deep and have JJ on the bench with foul trouble for the entire third quarter (and he had NO rhythm when he came back from that), then the Hawks definitely can bounce back.

scottbravesfan

April 22nd, 2009
10:39 pm

Look at these gay ass Atlanta rappers congratulating Dewayne Wade. Crap like that would never go on in Philly or Boston. Atlanta needs to get hard as a sports city it’s way too weak.

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:39 pm

Why couldn’t we put West on Wade, heck we could have used his effort and his fouls.

Woody=stupid and dumb and pathetic

Melvin

April 22nd, 2009
10:39 pm

keepin it real, you lost all respect from us. we see that you are a fair weather fan. we haven’t heard from you since Saturday…

D.Carter

April 22nd, 2009
10:39 pm

WE HAVE GOT TO BE THE WORST DEFENSIVE TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS NO HELPSIDE DEFENSE AT ALL

freshd

April 22nd, 2009
10:40 pm

Oh well. I guess WOODY didn”t stay at a Holiday Inn Tuesday night, and to think I was thinking about jumping on the hawks bandwagon. Is CHERYL MILLER a heats cheerleader.

niremetal

April 22nd, 2009
10:40 pm

And finally…Marvin goes on a tear in the 3rd and Woodson decides to bench him for the rest of the game? WTF??

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:40 pm

Reggie shut stupid homer butt up.

Bobby

April 22nd, 2009
10:40 pm

No emotion no passion, we will not come back to Atlanta to play again. The series is over, we can not win on the road. There fans will show our lousy fans how to act in a playoff game. What a joke…….Joe J. is average, he will never be a superstar

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:42 pm

STOP HAWKS FROM RUNNING = WINS

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:42 pm

Reggie probably thinks the Hawks are gonna win games 3 and 4 on the road. What a STUPID DELUSIONAL HOMER!!!

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

THX BOBBY FOR SAYN THAT OH YEA IT A BLACKOUT @ THE AAA CANT WAIT BABY

D.Carter

April 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

MARVIN IS THE ONLY GUY ON OUR TEAM THAT CAN GET TO THE FREE THROW LINE… JOE NEVER GETS TO THE LINE BECAUSE HE OFTEN GOES UP TO WEAK TO GET THE CONTACT…. JOE IS A SHOOTER NOT A SCORER

Bobby

April 22nd, 2009
10:43 pm

Mark, You are dead on!!! We can not win on the road and there fans will be crazy. We don’t have a superstar to put us on his back

Da Real Real

April 22nd, 2009
10:44 pm

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES! I can think of a couple of blown layups by Flip in the fourth, but I tell you the thing that really killed us aside from the 3’s were the MISSED FREE THROWS. In the regular season or playoffs when you miss well over 10 free throws ON YOUR HOME COURT you can’t expect to win many games especially when the other team is just throwing the ball at the rim and it drops in.

I’m going to try and stay away from how the game was ref’d because i’ll hurt myself trying to do that. We’ve got to come back out with our intensity in the next game in Miami. You’d have to expect that they’ll come out on fire in game 3 so we have to be prepared for that. Got to get back out and run and see Smoove hammer down a few and get our outside shot going because we can’t trade baskets with twos when the other team is knockin down threes.

Mark

April 22nd, 2009
10:44 pm

BOBBY WE HAVE TO COME BACK IT’S A SEVEN GAME SERIES AND THE TEAM WITH HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE GETS GAME 5 AT HOME, BUT YOU ARE RIGHT WE WILL PROBABLY LOSE THE SERIES NOW.

Sam from da Swats

April 22nd, 2009
10:45 pm

People, all is well. We have lost one game, and I will take a team having to hit 15 3’s and shoot over 60% from 3pt range to beat me. Live by it, Miami will die by it. My problem is, this is the perfect game to put Mario in on Wade. Woody’s coaching is so mind boggling to me. The problem with Flip is refs don’t give Flip calls. Flip went to the hole strong a few times and it took him to get hammered to get a foul call. The intensity wasn’t there. Bibby was hot and they wouldn’t run plays for him. We’ll turn it around, but we have to learn to win on the road in the playoffs now.

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:45 pm

I WUZ LIKE MY TEAM A NO-SHOW LOL

keepin it real

April 22nd, 2009
10:46 pm

LISTEN TO KENNY AND CHARLES

kentrell

April 22nd, 2009
10:46 pm

joe just cost the game, taking stupid shots, missing free throws, and not passing out of double teams. 6 possession they didnt score because they wouldnt play team basketball. thanks alot joe, u got bibby hitting shots and u wanna take on DOUBLE TEAMS. d###n

freshd

April 22nd, 2009
10:46 pm

SCOTT THE BRAVE, GO BLOG ON BASEBALL WITH THOSE SORRY BRAVES WHO COULD ONLY WIN 1 GAME AGAIN THE WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL. THE WASHINGTON NATS. NO WONDER KEN GRIFFY SIGNED WITH SEATTLE.