Archive for the ‘Hawks / NBA’ Category

To Braves, Hawks, Falcons, Thrashers: Good is for losers

Editor’s note: This is Terence Moore’s last column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Terence has decided to take a voluntary buyout, ending a stellar 24 years as a sports columnist. Terence sums up his time this way: “My objective was to get people to think, not to agree or disagree, just to get people to think.” We thank him for making all of us think and wish him the best as he moves on to new endeavors.

Can we talk? There’s a question I’ve asked myself for 13 years and counting, especially with the Hawks becoming the latest Atlanta team to operate as a tease.

That question: Will anybody around here join the Braves as the only professional sports franchise with a world championship? I mean, will the Braves even do it again? And the 1968 Atlanta Chiefs don’t count. Well, unless you’re a little goofy and consider the famously wobbly North American Soccer League something worth mentioning.

I’m referring to whether the Hawks, the Falcons, the Thrashers or the Braves can …

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Hawks soar higher and higher, but: “We’re not there yet”

Hawks general manager Rick Sund is so old school as an NBA general manager that he rarely travels with his team. He wants to scare players and coaches into thinking that something is up when he does. In fact, Sund said on Monday, “I’m Jerry West. I’m Wayne Embry. I’m that era in the sense that we all kind of hung together and shared philosophies and thoughts.”

This is splendid news for the Harry The Hawk Nation.

So is this: The more you listen to Sund in his first year with the Hawks, the more you hear Thomas Dimitroff, who spent last NFL season as a first-year general manager of the Falcons. You also hear Mike Smith, who was in his first year as an NFL head coach with the Falcons.

Remember? Dimitroff and Smith rarely finished a breath without saying “process’” to describe their moves. In the end, the Falcons flourished. They won 11 times compared to just four the previous season, and they reached the playoffs.

So you know where I’m going. With Sund talking “process” after he …

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Inspired Hawks still less than splendid Celtics

Whatever the Hawks are now, and whatever they will become during their sometimes uneven dribbling from goodness to beyond over the next few weeks, months and years, they owe it to a new enemy who will always be their old friend.

Keep this between us, OK? Doc Rivers wears green as coach of Boston’s famous basketball team, but he still has the Hawks flying around his heart.

“Always,” said Rivers, the former Hawks standout, acknowledging Friday night that he isn’t exactly displeased that Philips Arena has evolved into a noisy and lovely place this season for the Hawks with a mighty assist from his Celtics.

Rivers eyes danced with joy as he returned to the 1980s, while comparing the Hawks’ splendid past with their promising present and future. “I told some of our (Boston) guys, ‘Man, the way it is now is the way it used to be around here with Dominique (Wilkins) and Spud (Webb) and Mike Fratello, and they went, ‘Get out of here,’ ” Rivers said. “When people say this city doesn’t …

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The Hawks are good, but just wait

Here’s a sobering thought, but only for the rest of the NBA: Despite much goodness this season for the Hawks, including their current streak of greatness with victories over the splendid likes of Detroit, New Orleans, Utah and Portland, they still have a long ways to go.

It gets better: They know it.

Said Joe Johnson, the Hawks’ extraordinary player who suddenly is operating at a level much higher than that, “We’ve got to get better in closing out quarters and in being aggressive and putting teams away when we’ve got them down. Those are things that we really have to work on.”

Let that sink in, especially since the Hawks have been adept at slaying the elite this season. Take Sunday at Philips Arena, for instance. With much help from Johnson’s 35 points, the Hawks won for a fifth straight time by cooling that previously hot Portland team with a 98-80 rout. They were energetic from start to finish against their long and athletic twins from the West.

As a result, the Hawks …

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Why Johnny can’t shoot (free throws)

   The Hawks can’t make free throws. They are next to last in the NBA at 73 percent, and that is disgusting. First, it will kill them in the playoffs. Second, how can anybody not make free throws? Worse, their shooting consultant is Mark Price, the NBA’s all-time leader in foul-shooting percentage.

  This really bothers me.

  “Well, it definitely bothers me. No question about it,” said Price, chuckling to keep from sighing.

  Price sank 90 percent of his foul shots during his dozen NBA seasons, mostly with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before that, he was a splendid point guard at Georgia Tech, and speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they can’t make free throws, either. They are last in the ACC at 62 percent, which makes me wonder about the other two men’s programs in the area at the Division I level.

  Georgia State is last in the Colonial Athletic Association at 61 percent, and Georgia is 10th out of 12 teams in the SEC at 64 percent.

  What’s going on here? “During the past …

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