Live from the Hawks’ MLK matinee: Alarms are sounding!

Josh Smith: An ascendant player on an ascendant squad. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Josh Smith: An ascendant player on a still-ascending squad. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Red alert! There’s a pretty good matchup on tap today. (And the Hawks, conveniently enough, are wearing red uniforms.)

The NBA South division leader faces the team that might, a year or two on, become to the Western Conference what the Hawks are to the East. Oklahoma City has thrown together a slew of good young players — Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, James Harden — in what might be described in Hawks-like fashion.

We’ll discuss that at greater length in a bit, but for now I’ll relate a little anecdote. The fire alarm went off in the back corridor of Philips Arena when Mike Woodson was holding his pregame briefing. Everyone was advised to exit the premises via a recorded message, which played for no more than 10 minutes. Naturally, nobody did.

Joe Johnson, being conscientious, did stick his head into Woodson’s office and say, “What should I do?” Woodson looked at him and laughed. “I’m not going anywhere,” the coach said. And I guess if you can survive 13-69, which was the Hawks’ record in Woodson’s first season, you can handle anything.

(Safety update: The alarm and the recording finally stopped sounding. We’re still here. Don’t know what happened, but it must not have been too bad.)

The Hawks, you won’t be surprised to learn, are feeling great. They’ve had a terrific first half of the season, and the Friday night buzzer win against Phoenix merely reinforces what we (and they) are coming to believe: That they”re every bit as good as their record. Said Woodson: “When we come to play, we can beat anybody.”

And they usually come to play. They’re 26-13. They’re on pace to win 55 games, which would be an eight-game upgrade over last season’s 47-35, which was in itself an 10-game upgrade over the 37-45 of 2007-2008. And that’s without changing a starter. (Mike Bibby was the last of this first five to arrive, and he got here in February 2008.)

I’ll be here all afternoon to comment and answer questions about the Hawks and whatever else you’d care to ask. If you missed yesterday’s little posting about Josh Smith as a possible All-Star, you might want to check that out. (Then again, you might not.) But I would advise you to screen this YouTube video for your personal enjoyment.

More required reading: Marc Stein of ESPN.com has the Hawks No. 4 in the NBA (and No. 2 in the East) in his latest power rankings.

373 comments Add your comment

BuckCommander

January 18th, 2010
1:29 pm

BuckCommander

January 18th, 2010
1:30 pm

Again!! Its going to be a good day.

willie martinez

January 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

yes, a good day.

BuckCommander

January 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

Hope you have a Great 2010, Mark. Keep up the good work!!

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
1:32 pm

Kudos, BuckCommander. You’re quicker than Spud Webb.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

Thanks, BC. I’m endeavoring.

Mark A.

January 18th, 2010
1:41 pm

Mark, what kind of crowd is there at Phillips 2day? I’d come down if you could keep me off t.v. I need this job but really want to see the zombie sonics.

Dr. Warren

January 18th, 2010
1:42 pm

I’m locked in from China, up late doing my own writing. Somehow I knew you’d be blogging from the game…Go Hawks.

Resign or Resign

January 18th, 2010
1:43 pm

The starters may be the same, but Crawford off the bench is the difference. Again, Sund gets my HOF vote for that deal alone!

Reid Adair

January 18th, 2010
1:44 pm

I love watching that clip. What a great play by Jamal Crawford.

Hope you enjoy the game this afternoon, Mark.

UGA 2010

January 18th, 2010
1:47 pm

Hows Joe J. looking on the court Mark? We need a good game from him, he hasnt been his usual self…

Hawk Str8Talk

January 18th, 2010
1:51 pm

I’d like to know if you’ve got a sense of 1) whether they believe Teague is being groomed to be a regular part of the rotation for 2010-11 and if there is any sense that he could be sent to the D-League to learn the position? and 2) whether there are any areas of concern that the Hawks have with regard to getting ready for the playoffs?

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

January 18th, 2010
1:54 pm

Hey, wasn’t Sund building the Sonics, now Thunder, before he came to the Hawks?

FIRE WOODY! OK, not really.

Mark A.

January 18th, 2010
1:56 pm

I’d like to see the city of Atlanta get behind this team! Nothing makes me more upset than going to see my Hawks and seeing about 8,000 fans (who mostly sit on their hands) during the games. I think this teams deserves more than that.
And when the people show up in numbers for the big games, I for one, see how much confidence and energy it gives our Hawks. The crowd for Phx on Friday was good…but what about last Wednesday’s game against the Wizards? Its not good when Bob Rathbun is anointing me the only hecklor in Phillips arena history. (Yes I am very lucky to have great seats) I just wish they got more support on a consistent basis.

Freshmaker

January 18th, 2010
1:58 pm

Should be a great game. The Thunder are really exciting. I hope the Hawks aren’t underestimating them. Don’t think Woody’s gonna let ‘em though. Go Hawks!

Westurd

January 18th, 2010
2:00 pm

Mark,
Whats the sense in the locker room about Crawford stealing a little of JJ’s thunder? Crawford seems humble enough and so does JJ, but there has to be something brewing right?

GET AT IT HAWKS!!

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:01 pm

I don’t think anyone minded Jamal Crawford hitting the game-winner. I think Joe is very happy to have help.

Guys like to win. It’s when they’re not winning that egos get in the way.

Westurd

January 18th, 2010
2:01 pm

Mark A,
I agree with you and the fans, but try upgrading some of your tickets and sit in the lower sections where the crowd gets hype…..and I’m not talking about the corporate seats. They should move the corporate section into Taco Mac and give the real fans the good seats!

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:02 pm

That’s true, Resign or Resign. Even with Shaq and Rasheed and Vince C. joining big-team Eastern teams, the Crawford acquisition might have been the best.

willie martinez

January 18th, 2010
2:03 pm

so you’re cool with Mike Woodson now

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:03 pm

Glad to have you from Shanghai, Dr. Warren.

And the crowd, Mark A. — incidentally, my middle name is Andrew — is not great. At least not so far. And we’re about to have the introductions.

Daniel

January 18th, 2010
2:04 pm

Ok, where can I get the game on my computer?

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:06 pm

Boy, I don’t know, Daniel. Can anybody out there help him out?

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:06 pm

Mike Woodson has never had a cross word for me, CWM, at least not while I was within earshot.

balismith

January 18th, 2010
2:07 pm

the hawks are playing great…..whe n do you think the atlanta fans will start to support the team…. weeknight crowds have been pretty lame all season long

nickz

January 18th, 2010
2:07 pm

Joe usually misses those game winning shots anyway because rather drawing up a play during a timeout, Mike Woodson just says to get the ball to Joe and everyone else stand around while he gets double teamed and throws up prayer…

I liked having the ball in Jamal Crawford’s hand at the end of the game. Mike Woodson’s probably taking all the credit for that…what a bum…

Daniel

January 18th, 2010
2:08 pm

I can’t pick up 790 in my office, any suggestions?

Daniel

January 18th, 2010
2:08 pm

nickz- you have no idea what you are talking about do you?

THE HUMAN HIGHLIGHT FILM WAS THE BEST

January 18th, 2010
2:09 pm

who was the kid for the Hawks that was a really decent player , but he decided to play overseas whats his name and how is he doing anybody know.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:09 pm

Can’t even pick up 790 during the day, huh? Wow.

According to the game notes, the game is on Sports South and NBA TV. And it might be on Sirius XM.

Sautee

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

I think MannyT said that NBA league pass had a free trial going. Try that Daniel.

blueskiesbuck

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

radio – http://www.nba.com/broadband/alp_schedule.html click on hawks. I would also like to know if anybody knows how to get video

willie martinez

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

i meant you’re cool iwth him as a coach now.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

Oh, and someone wondered what Jamal Crawford is like. He’s a great guy. No bad guys in this locker room, I must admit.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

Balismith, I don’t know the answer to that question. I’d have thought the crowds would have started picking up by now.

nickz

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

I would like to think so…but if you’re sold on Woodson, I feel sorry for you.

And if you actually watched any Hawks games in the past few years, you would have see some of the horrific shots we put up at the end of the game to win/tie….

Resign or Resign?

January 18th, 2010
2:10 pm

That Rick Sund was able to get rid of Law and Speedy Claxton, while at the same time acquiring Jamaal Crawford, under contract at a reasonable salary; is the NBA equivalent of turning acid into champagne!

Daniel

January 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

Sautee- I did the free sign up for league pass and the game is not on league pass but NBA.TV

thanks blueskiesbuck for the hint.

Westurd

January 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

Where are all the GT nerds when you need them? Can’t one of your guys quickly write some code so we can all see the game on our computers at work?

JacketsHawks2010

January 18th, 2010
2:12 pm

Get off early and go to the game Daniel.
I’m kiding.
I haven’t been to a pro game in years.
College games hit the pocket enough.
790 is loud and clear in mableton but nothing at night.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:14 pm

Josh Childress. He’s back in Greece with Olympiakos.

blueskiesbuck

January 18th, 2010
2:14 pm

Since the beginning of this season Jamal Crawford has become one of my favorite NBA players of all-time. He seems like such a good guy, and man he is deadly on the court. Plus I feel sorry for him because he had to play on such bad teams.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:15 pm

Hawks up 3-0 after one trip. Joe with a FT on a defensive 3-second violation and then Josh with a layup.

Mark A.

January 18th, 2010
2:15 pm

See I hate to hear that about the crowd. I must say this team shows up and plays hard no matter what the crowd looks like. However, if you go to the games regularly its easy to see how much the crowd affects these young Hawks. It’s almost as if they have been willed to a few wins on crowd energy alone.

WESTURD…I do sit in the lower level behind the scores table and love it! However when you look around the arena and its only a 1/4 full its just depressing to me. You have to believe these players are thinking what else do we have to do to get this town out to support us.

With all that said I’m working so I can’t make it today. :( I would have loved to see Durant in person. Go Hawks!

Daniel

January 18th, 2010
2:15 pm

oh nickz, nickz, nickz…. please believe me when I tell you I have watched EVERY Hawks game, and all the regular Hawks guys will tell you that. I am just wondering if you can give me an example of Joe Johnson missing a game winning shot? Can you give me an example a last possesion play that Woodson drew up that involved Joe by himself? Can you show me where Woodson took credit for that play?

Seems to me that you have just read some old points about Woodson and are rehashing them.

nickz

January 18th, 2010
2:16 pm

Any new news on the Childress front as far as possible return to NBA? He’d still be a nice addition coming off the bench, especially when Mo is having an off night?

UGA 2010

January 18th, 2010
2:16 pm

What do you think the score will be in todays game Mark??? think it’ll be another last minute effort to drive the fans absolutly crazy or a one sided game???

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:16 pm

Kevin Durant just drilled a 20-footer over Marvin. The second players drafted in the 2007 and the 2005 drafts, respectively.

Another layup for Josh. Hawks up 7-4.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:16 pm

My predictions in 2010 have been so lousy, UGA 2010, that I’d hate to hazard a guess.

But Oklahoma City is fun to watch. Great young players.

Mark Bradley

January 18th, 2010
2:17 pm

Durant just left Marvin with a crossover. Durant is big-time.