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.