Atlanta Hawks at Cavaliers: Sliding Scale of Success

They can still finish third in the East, above .500 on the road and win 50 games.

They can still finish third in the East, above .500 on the road and win 50 games.

The Hawks’ regular-season goals are on a sliding scale and even after that W over the Lakers they are trending down.

Remember when winning the division was the main thing that mattered? Well, due to their struggles to win on the road and Orlando’s continued hot streak, the Hawks aren’t going to do that. So they’ve moved the scale down a notch from winning the division to finishing No. 3 in the East.

That’s an interesting development because it suggests the Hawks are thinking about where they want to be in the bracket. After all, they get homecourt in the first round and don’t get it in the second regardless if they are No. 3 or No. 4. The only difference will be their first-round opponent (right now that’s Miami instead of Milwaukee) and whether they get Cleveland or Orlando in the second round (it’s the Magic as it stands). They’ll never say it publicly, of course, but my guess is the Hawks are thinking more about the second round than the first. Or maybe Woody just wants to keep them chasing something so they won’t get complacent.

Their goal of finishing better than .500 on the road is going to be tough, starting tonight at Cleveland. The Hawks need to win four of their last five road games to post a 21-20 road record. Even if they win tonight, they haven’t shown anything close to the kind of consistency on the road that would make you mark down Charlotte, Detroit, Washington or Milwaukee as likely Ws.

That leaves 50 wins as the final benchmark. They are going to reach that one, barring a total collapse. It would be the first time they’ve done it since 1997-98. That’s a nice thing even if it doesn’t come with a division title or No. 3 in the East or 21-20 on the road. But everybody knows it won’t mean as much without a nice postseason run.

Heck, the Mavs recorded their 10th consecutive year of 50-plus Ws after lots of lean years and yet hardly anyone seemed to notice. They suffered historic collapses in the 2006 Finals and also in the first round the next season so the Dirk Nowitzki era so far is known more for flopping than 50-win seasons.

Lang Whitaker managed to get his Hawks on the cover of Slam Magazine for the first time in its 16-year history. You’d think the guy has more pull over there. Seriously, though, run out and get it.

– Interesting take from Antawn Jamison on opponents getting irked by all the clowning around by LeBron James and Co. during games. And by “interesting” I mean completely ridiculous.

Jamison, who came over to the Cavs in a trade at the deadline, said opponents aren’t mad because the Cavs are showing them up. In reality, they are envious because the Cavs get along so well.

“I looked at it as being jealous a little bit as far as the camaraderie, pulling for each other,” he told The News-Herald of Northern Ohio. “It’s a way to energize the guys and the crowd.”

Jamison is a class dude but come on, man. It’s possible to pull for teammates and fire up the crowd without dancing a jig or dog piling on the sidelne. You can have camaraderie without that “Family Portraits” stuff. You can beatdown opponents without all the buffoonery.

Admittedly I’m getting older, but it’s not like I’m strictly old school. I don’t have a problem with most of the flexing and hollering that goes on after big plays. There’s a place in the game for celebrating and even trash talk. It is supposed to be fun and entertaining.

But you’ve got to draw a line somewhere, and mine starts when LeBron is looking like an extra on You Got Served–during an NBA game, for crying out loud. It’s just not professional. Not too long ago even a player of LeBron’s stature would have faced repercussions when he went to the basket after that kind of foolishness. But, alas, the game has changed. As far as I can tell, Chicago’s Joakim Noah is the only guy to say something to LeBron about it, much less do something about it.

MC

440 comments Add your comment

Rod from College Park

April 2nd, 2010
4:08 pm

I actually would rather play Milwaukee than Miami. It’s going to be a tough first round Matchup eithr way. Especially if we keep starting games 4 against 5.

Tee

April 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

The only way to stop them from clowning around is to beat them. GO HAWKS!!

BONE

April 2nd, 2010
4:12 pm

IM PREDICTING the hawks come out and suprise the crap outta us and win this game!

Rod from College Park

April 2nd, 2010
4:18 pm

From last blog….

JeJe,

“LOL @ that picture of Marvin being guarded by Mo and LeBron looking on.

if the Cavs put Daniel Gibson on Marvin all night and we featured Marvin as our primary scorer, he’d probably finish with 14. This is the same guy who posted up Luther Head in a game 2 years ago and got blocked”

That my friend is the fundamental problem with starting Marvin Williams. Teams will put a guy 5 inches smaller than him on him, and he can’t take advantage of it. Then Lebron does not even have to worry about the guy offensively, and can roam around and help on Joe. If Woodson was not so stubborn, we really could put some pressure on them. Mo should definately start agianst Cleveland, because he can matchup better with Moon or West at the 2. If anything I hope Woodson learns that you can make adjustments against the better teams in the league and give yourself a better shot.

bigdave

April 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

i would love to add Joakim to our team…

NUNNA YO BIZNEZZ

April 2nd, 2010
4:32 pm

This game is a must game for the hawks to win!!
We need to send a message to the cavs by beating them in their own building..
And im for one am sick and tired of the Cavs doing all of the “picture taking and clowning around”..Its ok to have fun..but one of these nights some nut from the opposing team will let james have it when he goes up for a shot and if its season ending or careering ending,you can only blame the cavs and the nba for letting it go on like it has..

I don’t want to see it happen..But if it does,you heard it hear first….

Rick Sund

April 2nd, 2010
4:41 pm

Winning this game is not that important. We just need to continue to show our POTENTIAL and UPSIDE. Remember we are STILL LEARNING HOW TO WIN. PROGRESSION is our goal, not necessarily RESULTS.

Eman

April 2nd, 2010
4:43 pm

Do ya’ll think that Joakim is a good fit here?

j

April 2nd, 2010
4:47 pm

hawks all the way thats all i gotta say

allan in texas

April 2nd, 2010
4:53 pm

I agree with the point that the only way to stop the clowning around is for someone to BEAT THEM!!!!!!!! GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lacsho

April 2nd, 2010
4:53 pm

Hmmmm, I’m rolling with the hometeam, and I predict a win tonight.

Time to get some payback!!!!

Clay

April 2nd, 2010
4:54 pm

Lets go hawks! Lets go hawks! Lets go hawks! The season series should be 1-1 and not 2-0. The refs gave the game back to clevland in the 2nd game of the back to back. No fouls were called for us fouls were called against us. The refs f***** up the game clock and cause us to throw up a crazy a** shot. We def can take em. We can take anyone in this league. The guys just gotta show up and want to play and want to win. Its in there heart too, they feel like they have something to prove to everyone else around the league that they are finally back and are here to stay. So anyone that wants to play us, you better bring your A game. If not YOU WILL BE BEAT

GeeMack

April 2nd, 2010
5:03 pm

MC

If teams don’t like the Cavs dancing…beat them. I don’t remember them dancing when the Magic got in the tail last year.

GeeMack

April 2nd, 2010
5:08 pm

Rick Sund

Ask the C-Webb lead King how far progression got them.

Oh and ask that team you put together in Seattle how far progression got them.

That stuff makes great regular seasons and early playoff exits. Around here we want to win titles….like the Lakers.

northcyde

April 2nd, 2010
5:29 pm

Sacramento progression in the C-Webb era:

27 – 23 ( lost in round 1 )
44 – 38 ( lost in round 1 )
55 – 27 ( lost in round 2 )
61 – 21 ( lost in WC Finals ) . . . cheated out of the Finals, more like it
59 – 23 ( lost in round 2 )
55 – 27 ( lost in round 2 )
50 – 32 ( lost in round 1 )

There is a natural progression that has to take place, in order for teams to get to the level they want to be at. The C-Webb Kings had the title literally stolen from them in 2002. The following link is one of the best sports conspiracy documentaries that you’ll ever see. Whether factual or not, this is GREAT VIEWING for any NBA fan and believer of referee/David Stern conspiracy theories. Go through all of the parts of this documentary, and then tell me what C-Webb thinks about “progression”. I believe MC referenced this earlier this week.

The way they did the Kings, and especially Mike Bibby, was an absolute crime.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxw3yxJt2O0

If we happen to play the Cavs in the playoffs, we’re going to have to expect what happened to the Kings. And the only way to overcome what will happen, is to play almost PERFECT basketball.

Hawk n the Ham

April 2nd, 2010
5:32 pm

Lebron is such a diva. When he wins, he clowns around, and dances around the bench while the game is in play. But when Orlando beat that arse, Lebron went straight to the locker room, head down, and didn’t shake hands. DIVA.

northcyde

April 2nd, 2010
5:37 pm

With the way Miami is playing lately, we might end up playing Milwaukee anyway, even if we do hold onto the #3 seed. Miami is hard charging for that #5 seed. If faced against Miami, they won’t lack any confidence that they could win the series, seeing that they took 3 of 4 from us.

I don’t think they could beat us in a 7 game series, but they could definitely do like they did last year, and make us go 7 games to beat them.

So give me the more inexperienced team in Milwaukee, if I had a choice.

In the end, it shouldn’t matter. If the Hawks can’t beat Miami in a series, they didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.

Marcus

April 2nd, 2010
5:40 pm

Can we purchase SLAM mag covers in poster size posters like we can for SI?

Hawk n the Ham

April 2nd, 2010
5:46 pm

I bet whenever ESPN shows lebron walking into the arena with his headphones on, he’s kicking some Rupaul. Diva!

Jay Dubu

April 2nd, 2010
5:48 pm

LBJ needs to look back on how he dealt with the loss to the Magic in the playoffs last season…how would he have felt if they behaved the way he does?

It was bad enough that he was such a poor sport that he didn’t even hang around for the media.

mountain_jim

April 2nd, 2010
5:49 pm

Going to have beat the Cavs, the refs, and the time-keeper tonight…

At least I get to see this game – ESPN showing it.

ZAza Pachulia

April 2nd, 2010
5:57 pm

Have u guys see my version of the Slam Magazine cover???? What do u think??? http://twitpic.com/1ci3r2

justahawkfan

April 2nd, 2010
6:11 pm

Please, please have some confidence in your team. Miami or Mlwaukee will not beat the Hawks in a 7 game series. Not gonna happen!!!.

Michael Cunningham

April 2nd, 2010
6:19 pm

@ Gee Mack: true, but i don’t think being a good team gives you the right to act bush league. i tend to think it goes the other way. let the lesser teams dance and clown while you just go about your business whupping tail.

tjhook

April 2nd, 2010
6:20 pm

As a fan, I personally like the Hawks on the cover, but we’re seriously going to need a five-man machine to win. I thought about 4 (Crawford) but we need someone else that can help continually apply pressure on NBA defenses.

O'Brien

April 2nd, 2010
6:41 pm

Rod from CP.

I expect nothing from Marvin offensively. However, I hope he is at least able to keep a body on LeBron, because I would hate for JJ to have to spend all that energy guarding LBJ.

We will need a big game from JJ offensively, so I dont want him chasing LeBron around, until the 4th quarter down the stretch.

Look for the Cavs to take a lot more FT than the Hawks (Cavs got 17 FT in the fourth quarter alone against the Bucks).

If the Hawks dont have one of their scoring droughts in the fourth (when they score 19 or less), I think they will have a chance to win this game.

For those who care, ESPN classic is showing the Arizona (with Bibby) vs Kansas game from back in the day (was it the final 4 game or the championship game?)

JeJe

April 2nd, 2010
6:58 pm

Playing Milwaukee will be a DISASTER.

Brandon Jennings will have field days, Joe won’t want to guard Salmons, leaving Duck on him, and Bogut is humongous.

MARVIN WAKE UP. ACTUALLY PUT SOME EFFORT ONTO THE COURT

O'Brien

April 2nd, 2010
7:02 pm

Ok. I was wrong. it was a regional semi-finals game with Bibby and Jason Terry beating the beavily favored JayHawks (with another former Hawk Jaque Vaughn).

I would prefer Milwaukee. Miami has a superstar in Wade, and you know he will get all the calls. Plus if we do go to a game 7 again, you just never know.

Sautee

April 2nd, 2010
7:04 pm

O’Brien,

It was the semis. They beat Kentucky for the title. If Kentucky HAD won, they’d have the only three-peat other than UCLA. (They won in ‘96 and ‘98)

nba

April 2nd, 2010
7:09 pm

I expect the Hawks to win this game. They have more at stake and the Cavs probably will not have Varajeo playing for them. They miss him more than they’ve missed Shaq who is also not playing.

Blast

April 2nd, 2010
7:16 pm

Lol! First time I ever heard Bone being positive before a game! You go, Bone!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
7:18 pm

Haha, the Zaza Slam cover is great.

James

April 2nd, 2010
7:33 pm

Zaza,

I knew exactly what that picture was going to look like, and I still laughed my butt off.

PS I really do love you, Zaza. But if you ever get into a fight with KG again, I DO NOT have your back.

Rick Sund

April 2nd, 2010
7:49 pm

Also, remember we are VERY close to 50 wins.

50 wins is our goal this season. We have FINALLY arrived, Hawks fans! Forget playoffs — our 50 win season (hopefully tonight) has NEVER been done before. We ARE the best team in this league, maybe ever, and you will see tonight

Sautee

April 2nd, 2010
7:59 pm

So, Rick, are we playing a double-header tonight?

We’re sitting on 48.

Ole Hawk's Fan

April 2nd, 2010
8:00 pm

Who’s network has the hawks/cleve game tonight?

BONE

April 2nd, 2010
8:03 pm

bigdave

April 2nd, 2010
8:05 pm

lets get it…

leedsatlanta

April 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Rule No.1 in beating a team with a superstar.

LBJ is going to get his tonight, 35-50 points
Everyone else tonight needs a good beat down. Scrubs like West,Parker and Hickson and ’stars’ like Jamison and Williams are the ones that will really beat us. Stop them and we get the W!

VenomSpitter

April 2nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Man Marvin sucks

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
8:10 pm

Did Hubie Brown just call the Hawks “one of the best offensive rebounding teams”?

bigdave

April 2nd, 2010
8:10 pm

he cant handle Al down low..

Melvin

April 2nd, 2010
8:10 pm

Hickson is too small for Big AL

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
8:11 pm

Wow, they are 9th in that category. I never would have guessed.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
8:11 pm

Then again, half of those are probably Zaza rebounding his own missed layups…

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
8:12 pm

Horford with the clean block on JJ Hickson.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 2nd, 2010
8:14 pm

Josh looks a little lost so far, aside from that nice pass on the baseline to Joe.

bigdave

April 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

we’d never get a reversal…

VenomSpitter

April 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

Marvin stay on ur man idiot

VenomSpitter

April 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

That last 3 was Marvin’s fault. Stay on your fan IT AINT THAT DAMN HARD