Los Angeles–Near the end of the Hawks’ shootaround at Madison Square Garden last week, L.D. watched Bibby, Joe, Al, and Josh playing some kind of game (I haven’t exactly figured out the rules but making shots seems to be a secondary goal to keeping the ball in the air with tip shots).
“You ever see that ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, ‘Kick the Can?’” L.D. asked. “That’s what this is right here.”
That classic episode involves old folks who get to be children again and use the opportunity to play games. L.D. was saying the Hawks are a bunch of big kids, and spend any amount of time around the team and you will discover that’s pretty accurate.
There is a goofy chemistry with these players. Guys like each other and have fun. It’s the serious stuff they aren’t always so good with.
“This is one of the loosest teams you will find,” Al said. “I think sometimes that can be a good thing for us and sometimes that can be a bad thing.”
There’s no better time for fun than the All-Star game but look at what Kobe did Sunday night. It was just an exhibition game but you could see he decided no one else was going to win the MVP in his building. So he went out and did his thing (with J.J. hounding him when things got serious at the end).
Kobe then had a message for Al: “He told me, ‘See you on Tuesday.’”
Was he serious?
“You never know with him,” Al said. “He’s probably dead serious.”
Clearly the Hawks are a bunch that likes (and maybe needs) to have a lot of fun. But with a tough remaining schedule and fourth place in the East looking like a tough task it’s time for them to get dead serious, too.
I was listening to KG on this subject the other day. It was surprising to hear him talk about clowning around with his teammates since his ultra-intense image doesn’t seem to allow much room for goofing off. How do the Celtics strike a balance between having fun and being fierce?
“When it’s not competitive, then it’s easygoing,” KG said. “I can separate the two. It’s not that big of a thing.”
He makes it seem easy but it the Hawks still haven’t figured it out.
“I hope we can come back in this second half with a renewed sense of urgency every game we play,” L.D. said. “It’s down to 27 games. I don’t care what happened the first part of the season, it comes down to this. We have got to do things with a sense of urgency and totally commit to the team.”
Al played just 10 minutes Sunday, second-fewest behind KG, but that was by design. Doc asked him about his health and Al told him his back “is still a little sore.”
“I felt like I played the right amount of time and made the most of my time on the floor,” Al said.
And how is the back?
“The back is OK,” he said. “It was just all about being able to share the experience with the guys and play a little. I’m happy Joe got to go out there and show what he’s got.”
J.J. ended up playing 20 minutes. He was on the floor at the finish after D-Wade (ankle) took a powder. Joe slipped out of the interview area before I could get to him.
Back to work
The Hawks regroup for practice in L.A. tonight and I will file a report after. L.D. said he would evaluate the lineup over the break but wouldn’t necessarily make a change.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat