Remember those stretches this season when the Hawks were running opponents off the floor? Forget it.
Here come the Bobcats Charlotte, who follow the Kings, who followed the Thunder. Different levels of talent among those teams. Similar levels of energy and effort.
It won’t be easy for the Hawks to score. They tend not to like that. If they abandoned (or just failed to execute) the offensive plan at times against Oklahoma City and the Kings, it’s not hard to imagine them doing it more often against the Bobcats.
“We are going to have to grind for 48 minutes,” Woody said, “which is OK. Last year we didn’t have a lot of blowouts and we had to grind. That’s good. It helps keep guys on their toes. With blowouts, you start to take things for granted.”
The Hawks insist they aren’t doing that with the Bobcats. Of course, they said the same thing against the Thunder and Kings yet still lost focus for stretches. Maybe those Woody-Larry Brown-Stephen Jackson-Flip Murray connections will have them alert from the jump.
“They are a good team,” Smoove said of the Bobcats. “They are buying into that (toughness) philosophy. That’s how Larry Brown has his teams play. It’s going to be a fight.”
– You are concerned about this one. At Peachtree Hoops, hawksdawgs explains how the Bobcats tend to play with his emotions:
I did not circle this game as being a must watch game before the season started. Not because I thought the Bobcats were going to be bad but because the Bobcats make me cry. They find ways to eek out victories against the Hawks in the most painful way possible or they just beat the ever living crap out of Atlanta. Neither is good for my soul.
Blog commenter Astro Joe fears a Bobcats beatdown:
Anyone else concerned that Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Flip will come in tonight and punk us in our own gym? I am… I still think that we are a soft team. Charlotte may try to take our lunch money tonight and the Hawks will go whining to the refs (as opposed to fighting back). I have a nasty feeling that the Bobcats will wear their bully hats and we’ll be grousing about another heartless (effort).”
That was pretty much the theme of Woody’s post-practice speech to the team Thursday (regarding the Bobcats coming in straight gangsta, not about his team being soft). So the Hawks are aware, at least.
– Woody’s desk was piled with letters from an elementary school class in Charlotte asking him to vote Wallace as an All-Star reserve. Nifty PR move.
– The fans loved Zaza’s dunks the other night. But he’s from the leave-’em-wanting-more school: “If I do it every time, then it’s not as exciting anymore,” he said.
– The league announced the All-Star starters on Thursday night. The reserves, voted on by coaches, will be revealed next Thursday.
John Schuhmann at NBA.com thinks J.J. makes it, Al Horford gets a “tragic shaft” (hey, hey, easy) and Smoove is a “wildcard.”
– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.