Live from Hawks-Mavericks, and Big Z’s not in the house

Big game tonight. Fourth-best team in the West against the team tied for third in the East. ESPN on hand. Nice little midseason test for the Hawks. And we’ll get around to it momentarily. But first …

A few words about Big Z.

Michael Gearon Jr. admitted to Charles Odum of the Associated Press that the Hawks are “definitely interested” in Zydrunas Ilgauskas and plan to be “very competitive” in the pursuit. But Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News wrote yesterday that “almost everyone in the league expects [Big Z] to return to Cleveland.” (The Mavericks likewise have an interest.)

Having spoken with some folks in the Hawks’ locker room, there’s no question the team would welcome the Z-man. “I hope we get him,” Josh Smith said. And there’s even a thought the addition of Ilgauskas might — I said “might” — lead Mike Woodson to change his longstanding starting five to make Big Z the center, Al Horford the power forward and Smith the 3-man.

Me, I wouldn’t. Ilgauskas is basically a jump shooter, and if you move Horford farther from the goal you lessen your post presence. And if you deploy Smith on the perimeter, you halve his value. (I do think, however, that Marvin Williams would best be used as a sub. He’d get more shots with the second unit.)

The trouble with such speculation, alas, is that it’s probably moot. A Cleveland radio station reported Friday that Ilgauskas will re-up with Cleveland after he sits out his mandated 30 days. (Big Z was traded from Cleveland to Washington but bought out his contract this week.) It’s silly the NBA allows such a trade-and-return, but it does.

So, long story short, this whole Hawks’ flirtation with Big Z could wind up being just a big zzzzzzz. (Sort of like the Braves’ not-very-assertive move to land Johnny Damon.) And with that, we turn to tonight’s titanic tilt.

The Hawks have a nice starting lineup. But check out the Mavs’: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler. (Not to mention Jason Terry as the sixth man.) I must confess that I proposed a deal — a sign-and-trade with Washington that would have sent Marvin there and brought Butler here — last summer, and I submit that with Butler at small forward the Hawks wouldn’t be tied for third in the East. They’d be second to the Cavs, and not a distant second.

But Dallas did the deal at the trade deadline — it also included Haywood, not to be confused with Jason Heyward — and many now regard the Mavs as the only real challenger to the Lakers in the West. I’m looking forward to seeing this team tonight, and I’m looking forward to your company as I watch, report and attempt to crack wise. Join me, won’t you?

206 comments Add your comment

Brandon from Warner Robins

February 26th, 2010
7:01 pm

Evening Mark,

Big Game I would say tonight. A much improved Dallas team with the addition of Caron Butler, Haywood, Stevenson. Hawks need to prove they can run with teams from the west.

Brandon from Warner Robins

February 26th, 2010
7:03 pm

Evening, Mark!

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:04 pm

Hey, Brandon. Kudos!

Brandon from Warner Robins

February 26th, 2010
7:05 pm

apologies for the double post. it disappeared so i type something again. sad.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:07 pm

A couple of notes: Butler isn’t playing tonight. (Still out with a reaction to medication.) And the Akron Beacon-Journal reports Ilgauskas won’t make up his mind on a team until next week.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:09 pm

Josh Smith makes a one-hop jumper to tie it a 6.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:16 pm

Hawks up five at the first timeout. Playing well. Sharing the ball. Moving the ball.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:19 pm

It looks like a lot of folks didn’t get the word that the game was moved up an hour.

KevinA

February 26th, 2010
7:19 pm

Marvin is a nut lol

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:22 pm

It’s not a good crowd, TheAntiMe. But traffic was bad all afternoon. (Friday in Atlanta.)

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:23 pm

Mavericks tearing it up. Scored four baskets in less time than it takes, “Scored four baskets.” They’re up seven.

buzz Aldrin

February 26th, 2010
7:24 pm

Why couldn’t Jason Terry get away with walking like that when he played for the Hawks?

al

February 26th, 2010
7:25 pm

Man, this is going to be a rough night if we don’t get more from Marvin.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:25 pm

The Hawks need to do that re-focus thing, at least on D. They’re just a tad slow right now.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:27 pm

It’s a 16-nil run. Shawn Marion has five baskets — four dunks and a layup — with a net yardage of about two feet.

Ree Roe

February 26th, 2010
7:29 pm

SMH…

-REEiterate Roe!

Steve

February 26th, 2010
7:30 pm

This bench play right now is why we need Ziggy bad. :(

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:30 pm

It was 18-13, Hawks. Then it was 29-18, Mavs. That’s a run, folks.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:33 pm

An NBA game consists of four quarters. Good thing — the Hawks lost the first quarter by 10 points.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:33 pm

You’re right, Mark, about the run, the Hawks must have thought it was the 4th quarter.

joeBjoe

February 26th, 2010
7:36 pm

Al shoulda just dunked that one.

joeBjoe

February 26th, 2010
7:37 pm

there’s a lid on the basket!

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:38 pm

Hawks missed two layups and a tip. Down 12, and lucky it’s just 12.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:40 pm

This is getting ugggggleee.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:41 pm

At least seven minutes since the Hawks made a hoop.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:43 pm

Bibby trey breaks the skid.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:44 pm

Screen and roll, baby.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:46 pm

Dallas doesn’t defend the pick-and-roll very well, I’ve noticed.

todd grantham

February 26th, 2010
7:51 pm

Mark, is this an entertaining game or another yawner like a week or so ago?

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:51 pm

Don’t go, Joe!

buzz Aldrin

February 26th, 2010
7:51 pm

Here is the spirit. Looks like this will be an ebb and flow game.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

Hawks cut it to five on Joe’s three. They’re playing really well again

buzz Aldrin

February 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

They just said it was a sellout on TV. Is that true Mark? Did everyone just show up late?

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:53 pm

Weird how that works, huh? One team goes on a 16-0 run. Then other team responds with an 9-0 run. It’s the NBA.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:53 pm

The crowd is filling in, buzz Aldrin. But it’s not full.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:55 pm

Soft touch by Dirk.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:57 pm

Hawks lead. Josh block, Crawford pass, Joe layup.

Bibby has 10. Best game I’ve seen him have in a long time.

buzz Aldrin

February 26th, 2010
7:58 pm

The Hawks just thought the game started at 7:30. Here we go.

Ree Roe

February 26th, 2010
7:58 pm

The thing about Philips is that it’s usually more people in the building in the concourses filling in slowly than it appears. It’s soldout legitimately.

Great run Hawks

-REEsale it for Roe!!!

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
7:59 pm

Wild sequence. Josh steal. Josh turnover. Josh steal. Horford dunk.

TheAntiMe

February 26th, 2010
7:59 pm

The guys are playing some D now (unlike the 1st quarter).

todd grantham

February 26th, 2010
7:59 pm

Mark, is he related to the old Hawk Henry Bibby?

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
8:00 pm

Did Henry Bibby play for the Hawks?

Neil Armstrong

February 26th, 2010
8:01 pm

that’s one small step for Horford, one giant leap for the Atlanta Hawks.

just felt like waxing poetic for a moment.

Jody

February 26th, 2010
8:01 pm

Moving Horford to the 4 and Josh to the 3 would not move them away from the basket if you had a perimeter center.

todd grantham

February 26th, 2010
8:02 pm

Yes, early ’70’s I believe. i dont think i’m making that up.

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
8:03 pm

Wild half. Hawks went up five, down 14, then up five, then down two. Now they’re tied at 50.

todd grantham

February 26th, 2010
8:04 pm

Mark Bradley

February 26th, 2010
8:06 pm

Henry Bibby is indeed Mike Bibby’s father. But the two aren’t close.

todd grantham

February 26th, 2010
8:07 pm

Nope, Bibby wasnt a Hawk. I think you knew and as such used misdirection on me.