Hope you are well. Four things for you to hopefully ruminate over.
1. After I finished the story I wrote for Sunday’s paper about the Hawks’ fourth-quarter woes, It occurred to me, perhaps some of you have already noted this, that the Hawks haven’t won a close game since beating Dallas, Dec. 5, 13 games ago. After that, they either won by blowout (seven games) or lost close (four games) or lost to Denver by 20 (a game that could have been close, but it wasn’t going to happen).
Perhaps the multiple blowouts cost the Hawks some of their late-game sharpness?
2. The Boston Globe checked in with the Hawks, which had one interesting nugget. Citing an NBA source, the story said Joe Johnson approached the Hawks about an extension last summer, “but was told that since his salary cap number is higher than his actual salary, he would be best served to wait until unrestricted free agency and re-sign.”
As best I understand it, if that were true, it’s kind of a different spin on what happened over the summer. Sekou reported that Johnson decided to not sign an extension and play out his last year. The two versions could both be true – the Hawks told him it would be in his interest to wait, and Johnson decided to do that.
However, it would fly in the face of the rhetoric I’ve heard about Johnson’s decision – none of which, I should say, I’ve heard directly from Johnson – that he wants to play out the year to see what direction the team is going, and if he’s not satisfied, he’ll bolt. If he went to the team about an extension, that would obviously be an indication that his first choice would be to stay.
3. About the Hawks’ three-game losing streak, and the furor it has stirred up with some of those on the blog. If the Hawks had somehow managed to get out of Cleveland with a win (Anderson Varejao doesn’t make the 3-pointer, the Hawks score on the other end) and not paid for Nate Robinson’s fury (all it would have taken would have been one more point from anyone), they would be on a two-game winning streak and their record would be 23-9, a half-game behind Orlando.
Obviously, they’re not, and the Hawks would have the same fourth-quarter problems they’ve been having just without having paid the price for it.
But my guess is, but for a pretty lucky 3-pointer in one game and a single point in another – you probably feel a whole lot differently about the team right now. You could argue that more went into those two games than that, and your problem is more than just the two losses, but how they happened. And you’d be right. But I’m just saying that if the Hawks had managed to pull those games out, and all it would have taken would have been one play more in each game, you (and I) would be looking at this team differently than we probably do.
4. An interesting take from Peachtree Hoops about Mike Woodson and Johnson.
If you were Woody and your team is off to the best start in decades, they have won with one strategy, and your job literally depends on it, who are you going to give the ball to? I know Al Horford and Josh are the in vogue choice on the blogosphere and the talk radio, but is that because our job does not depend on it?
5. My story today about Jason Collins.