A breakthrough in Boston for the big-time Hawks

Not to say I told you so, but …

The Hawks just beat the Celtics on the parquet of the new Garden. Yes, it was a regular-season game, but it was as significant as a regular-season game can be in November. The Hawks proved to the NBA — and, more important, to themselves — that they can leave Philips Arena and outslug one of the league’s heavyweights. Armed with this knowledge, who knows where they might wind up?

The world at large has no idea how good these Hawks can be. Heck, until Friday night I’m not sure the Hawks had a clear notion. But they should have an inkling now. They should know they have as many good players — not a superstar, no, but good players across the board — as any team anywhere. They’re 7-2 with victories in Portland and Boston. They’re big-time.

And they’re still relatively young. This is no small consideration. The Celtics and Shaquille O’Neal (Cavs) and Vince Carter (Magic) aren’t going to be any younger come the spring. If any team is built to absorb the undulations of a six-month regular season and still be primed for the postseason, this is it.

Understand: I’m not suggesting the Hawks will win the NBA title in 2010. But I am saying they just took a giant step forward. They won a game that made us sit up and say, “How about that?” They beat Boston in Boston. If you can do that, you can beat anybody anywhere.

149 comments Add your comment

Man Up

November 13th, 2009
11:09 pm

BOOM BABY Big win for the hawks

Phil

November 13th, 2009
11:09 pm

Watched the whole game and they looked very impressive and they manhandled the Celtics on their court… way to grow up!

jlc

November 13th, 2009
11:13 pm

ATL is for real this year! Boston showed their age tonight

Robert

November 13th, 2009
11:13 pm

How about some respect for the Hawks national media this was a big time win

charles

November 13th, 2009
11:14 pm

and on national tv to boot….wait to go hawks – rebounding won this game

charles

November 13th, 2009
11:14 pm

tony

November 13th, 2009
11:14 pm

Two Words! Crawford! Defense!

Bangkapi Ajarn

November 13th, 2009
11:15 pm

I saw some of it in Illinois, and I WAS impressed, especially considering the pedigree of the organization over the past few years.
Mark if you had to point at ONE difference between last year and this year that made this possible, what would you say it is? I am thinking bench play, not just the players but the willingness of the coaching staff to use them.

Mark Bradley

November 13th, 2009
11:16 pm

Jamal Crawford is a really good player. Flip Murray was a nice find, but Crawford is a clear upgrade.

charles

November 13th, 2009
11:21 pm

is it me or does JJ look a step slower this year…doesnt seem like he can turn that corner like he has the last few years….too much dribbling around the top of the key

MyView

November 13th, 2009
11:22 pm

Yes, it was all about the bench, and the ability to be competitive for a full 48mins. This is the type of team that I envisioned prior to the season. This is a fantastic high for me. The natural kind.

Mark Bradley

November 13th, 2009
11:22 pm

I don’t know, Charles. I think Joe looks pretty darn good.

MyView

November 13th, 2009
11:23 pm

or is it hi?

Mark Bradley

November 13th, 2009
11:23 pm

And Bibby outplayed Rondo, which is a major departure. Rondo usually wheels right past Bibby.

Denver Hawk

November 13th, 2009
11:24 pm

yeah yeah yeah…. but what does TED STRIKER think?

Dave Ming Chang

November 13th, 2009
11:24 pm

Handle Cleveland and Orlando on their courts and then call me back!

MyView

November 13th, 2009
11:26 pm

Dang, Dave Ming Chang!!! Can we take one step at a time??? That sounds like hate…

brewdawg

November 13th, 2009
11:26 pm

Every photo I’ve seen of Paul Pierce from the game makes it seem as if he is getting shot, or stabbed, or burned. Am I the only one who finds the guy extremely irritating?

Naysayers are in hiding

November 13th, 2009
11:27 pm

Great start to the weekend! Now, if I can just get wins from Cotto, UGA and the Falcons….

JacketFanMarcus

November 13th, 2009
11:28 pm

Wow. If they keep this up, they may be in the running for a big free agent signing in 2010. They just need one legit superstar to take them over the hump!

charles

November 13th, 2009
11:28 pm

not saying JJ didnt play well…just seems like when he isos with the ball he is having trouble turning the corner or passing out of the double team…maybe im just being hypercritical….but jamal is the best thing that could have happened to JJ

ATL Steve

November 13th, 2009
11:29 pm

Oh baby…big win! Give game balls to Zaza, Joe Smith, Horford and Josh! Our frontline dominated from the opening tip and made Boston look old and slow! As a native Atlantan, I’m calling us out to get behind this team. We’ve begged and moaned for years for a contender and we’ve got one!

Mark Bradley

November 13th, 2009
11:29 pm

Actually, I believe Paul Pierce did get stabbed. About nine years ago.

MattRyanforPrez

November 13th, 2009
11:29 pm

Crawford is the key piece, he kept making shots in the 4th when the Celtics usually would have come back on us.

MyView

November 13th, 2009
11:29 pm

Naysayers are in hiding…..the Falcons, I feel good about. UGA is a toss up, and cotto????

Gilk

November 13th, 2009
11:33 pm

I agree with Charles … Joe played in slow motion in Q4. He needs to stop the constant iso dribbling and pass the ball! Seems to have low trust in his teammates in the closing minutes. Great win Hawks!

David Smith

November 13th, 2009
11:35 pm

Huge win tonight for this young and upcoming team!! This win will do wonders for our confidence going into another teams backyard. Mike Woodson has this team playing inspired basketball right now by having them focusing on defense, ball movement, and a solid rotation of his bench. KEEP IT UP GUYS!!GO HAWKS!!!

dmortone

November 13th, 2009
11:35 pm

Mark, I read preview after preview talking about how the Hawks had plateaued, (remarkable for a team with 3 key players being 23 years old to reach the peak of their nba careers already), wouldn’t challenge the top tier teams, wouldn’t even win 50 games. You’re the only, and I’m including Hawks bloggers elsewhere, who predicted this team would take a leap forward.

Gotta say, I thought you were just being a homer but your faith is looking pretty well justified so far.

Greg Norton Is HOT!!!

November 13th, 2009
11:36 pm

Gotta give some props to the ESPN crew…they were all over the Hawks bandwagon and actually saying lots of nice things about the team…very rare for ESPN!!

The Grinch

November 13th, 2009
11:38 pm

I said it before the season started and I’ll say it again. This team will win 50+ games and has a legitimate shot at the east. I honestly think it may come down to the Hawks and Magic rather than the Celts and Cavs.

And I’ve NEVER backed the Hawks to this point with Mike “Albatross” Woodson as coach. Imagine where they’d be with someone suited to their abilities AND the concept of winning in general?

I’m likin’ it.

[...] Still think Horfy isn’ta center? Still think the Hawks can’t play? (Boston.com) The Hawks just beat the Celtics on the parquet of the new Garden. Yes, it was a regular-season game, but it was as significant as a regular-season game can be in November. …Read Original Story: A breakthrough in Boston for the big-time Hawks – Atlanta Journal Constit… [...]

Cedrick (Arlington, TX)

November 13th, 2009
11:40 pm

WOW!!! I missed the game but I am glad the Hawks showed up and played well in Boston. I have been keeping an eye on J Crawford and he fits in nicely with this squad. Our first 6-9 on the road and we have a 7-2 record. GOOD JOB HAWKS!!!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

November 13th, 2009
11:40 pm

“is it me or does JJ look a step slower this year”

Quickness has never been one of Joe’s strong suits. He’s always been able to create his own shot with good handles and strength, but his lack of quickness is one of the main things that keeps him from being able to dominate games like the true superstars do. But so far he’s been doing what he’s good at about as well as he usually does.

Terrell

November 13th, 2009
11:41 pm

MB,
Bibby didn’t outplay Rondo. There were times I was worried that Rondo would dominate and take over. He decided to share the ball, but when Rondo was iso on Bibby I got worried. I’m happy we won this game.

Kid me not

November 13th, 2009
11:41 pm

You’re not just kidding me about the Hawks win are you. I was out for the evening and missed the game. Sorry. But, such a victory is big. GO HAWKS!

KSEE

November 13th, 2009
11:43 pm

Very Proud of OUR HAWKS! tonight we celebrate a big win…but then back to gearing up for the next game.

Terrell

November 13th, 2009
11:43 pm

JacketFanMarcus,
I couldn’t disagree with you more. If a superstar doesn’t fit the system the team doesn’t win. When the Big 3 got together in Boston they put their superstar stats to the side to become team players.

willie martinez

November 13th, 2009
11:44 pm

oh brother Mark. cant you write a blog about my talents??

Benjamin

November 13th, 2009
11:44 pm

My favorite thing about this team to this point: we don’t do the same bonehead stuff we used to do. In large part, Josh Smith is no longer trying to be Steve Nash with his crazy drives and no-look passes into the third row, or jacking up threes in traffic with the rest of the offense behind him… he’s been very controlled.

It’ll be interesting to see how things look going forward. Hopefully we can use this as a springboard…

Mark Bradley

November 13th, 2009
11:47 pm

I read the same previews about the Hawks plateauing, and I didn’t understand them. This team has improved four years in a row. How is that a plateau?

Johnny Hazeltine

November 13th, 2009
11:47 pm

Very impressive. Funny enough, Joe didn’t have to do. Hell, Joe didn’t do it. It was Bibby, Smith, Horford, Crawford, Zaza, Joe Smith, etc. Great, great team effort, especially on the offensive glass.

Stockdog

November 13th, 2009
11:49 pm

Great win for the Hawks. Joe isn’t slower. He had a good defender in Paul Pierce with his long arms and a Boston squad that plays good tem defense. I think that the front line has finally matured. Horford and Josh dominated down low.
Flip Murray is a good player, but Jamal Crawford is an excellent player. Marvin Williams will start the games but Jamal will finish with Joe moving to the 3 and Jamal at the 2. Consequently, Marvin is the odd man out unless he catches fire in the third. Great problem to have. Lastly, Mark you are right. the Hawks have 10 good to excellent players but no superstar. I see 50 wins, just break even on the road and win 32-35 at home.

cdog

November 13th, 2009
11:54 pm

i told you the hawks were going to trash the celtics.the celtics are too old to beat a team like the hawks after we dominate new orleans and portland we will be on our way as eastern conference leaders the hawks are too talented and well coached by mike woodson to lose to any one of the teams they face.we will be in the nba finals this year.

Reid Adair

November 13th, 2009
11:55 pm

I was very impressed with the Hawks’ performance in Boston tonight. The young lineup is coming together. Joe Johnson performed well against Paul Pierce, and Mike Bibby held his own against Rajon Rondo (in the recent past, that match-up has gone Boston’s way).

I was very impressed with Jamal Crawford.

dawg

November 13th, 2009
11:57 pm

is a bout time atlanta beat boston in boston

MyView

November 13th, 2009
11:58 pm

Somewhere Billy Knight is saying “I told you so”. Funny but maybe some other rebuilding team should give him a job, if he does not already have one.

bjfussell

November 14th, 2009
12:00 am

only thing missing was zaza slugging kg

MyView

November 14th, 2009
12:01 am

Somewhere Billy Knight is saying, “I told you so”. Maybe some other rebuilding squad should give him a job, because his plan has worked!!!

ILL-logical

November 14th, 2009
12:01 am

Horford is still not a center who will take you to a championship but his hustle will keep the team in contention until one can be found. Good game-a total team effort. Still it is just game 9. There is still a lot of basketball to be played but so far, so good.

bjfussell

November 14th, 2009
12:03 am

the boston fans looked depressed, which felt so good