Thursday, December 18, 2008

Keep Your Chin Up Joe

Ok, so we had to witness another Celtics victory. Trust me. I am as sick of this as you are. There is no other team that has more players that I just cannot stand to watch then the Celtics have. Kendrick Perkins? When you were young and would make an ugly face and your parents would warn you that it could get stuck like that, I never would believe them. After seeing Perkins perma-stink face, maybe my parents were right. KG? Oh you are so great let the media go on and on about that. Hows about you shut the hell up and play basketball. If you have to talk shit to the twelth man or even the fans to pump you up I think you need to take a good look at your life. Paul Pierce? Flashing gang signs and choke symbols, ahh I just can't stand you. Big Baby? I don't want to say anything for fear he might cry.

Anyways, getting away from all these links, last night's game was a tough one. Yeah we lost but to be honest I thought we played very well. If the Hawks play like that every night they would be a great team. Don't believe me. Check out what Rondo said after the game, "If they played everyone else the way they play us they'd be a top five team." Wow, me and Rondo think alike. Sweet.

However I take that as a backhanded compliment. Sure it was nice to hear that we would be a top five team, but also it was shot towards our lack of intensity for other games. Believe me Rondo, we know the team rarely shows up (cough cough COACHING) but shut your trap and get out of our city.

I have yet to read any other fan's posts for today or what people are saying after the loss as every time my team losses I have a hard time reading or watching highlights, etc. But I'm here to say "Joe, thanks for playing a good game. Sucks you missed that last free throw, but I do not blame the loss on you. And you should not blame it on yourself either." I'm hoping others feel this way, especially in the Hawks locker room.

Teams can let these sort of losses damper the season helping lead to a spiral that would be very difficult to get out of. Where the Hawks go from here will be a big test towards where they can go as a team. An easy win against Golden State at home seems likely, but if the Hawks dwell on this then the fall could be bad. They cannot let this loss linger, they need to move on. It's tough. Everything has been building up to this game. But the Hawks played well and showed that they are a legit team. They need to continue to show that.

Boston celebrated their win as if they had just won a playoff game even though they acted as if the game was not important. If the Hawks build upon this loss and get better from it, then the next time we play Boston the end result could be better. For even as Boston celebrated as if it was a playoff victory, if the Hawks keep playing and getting better, they will actually be doing the celebrating over Boston in the playoffs.

UPDATE: Great article on whether or not a rivalry exists. Spoiler he says yes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celtics beat Hawks 88 - 85

This one was tough. Real tough. Therefore we felt that you all needed something very good to cheer you up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

UPDATE: Paul Pierce Injured?

Paul Pierce left his game tonight with under one minute remaining with a knee injury. His status for Wednesday's game is unknown for now. Keep on the lookout as his absence could be huge on the Hawks' chances of winning this game.

If a Hawks Game Takes Place and No One is Around to See it, Does it Count?

So the Hawks were victorious tonight against the new-look Charlotte Bobcats, but yet again the game was not televised and the announced attendance only amounted to 12, 733. First of all, I wonder if really that many people were at this game. Second, I'll never know due to the fact the game was not on T.V.

In my winter sabbatical right now, which trust me is unbelievable, I wonder why is it that every Hawks game is still not broadcasted in the local area. Every Braves game is on T.V., every Falcons game which sells enough tickets is on, I'm not sure about the Thrashers, but seriously who really cares about that. How is it that a team that went to the playoffs last year, is off to a solid start this year and is trying to garner more attention around the city, fails to have their games broadcast. I am sick of planning my night around watching these games only to find that the game will not be on.

Fox Sports and Sports South, this has gotten ridiculous. Put the games on. All of them. I'll give you a break with the HD, but there is no reason for a HOME game to not be on TV. Put them on so those of us who can not make the game can watch it. Do it.

(Ok so I know more coaches got fired, Mo Cheeks and Reggie Theus, but my picture ran out of space so I can't add more people to it. When the next one gets fired I'll create a new picture.)

Also, HAWKS beat Bobcats 83 - 79

Bad News

Dedicated Readers,

Smildress and I are are on a sabbatical until the beginning of January, so our posts will not have regular consistency.  Sorry for the disappointment this may cause, but please continue to visit the blog in hopes of seeing a new post.  If you need another reason to visit, come to read all of our old posts...it is just like eating at The Best Buffet in East Texas (WARNING: Read this link only if you have a strong stomach) - you need to visit more than once to experience it all.  But let's be honest, sometimes you gotta have your fix of salad, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, steak, soup, pizza, corn, green beans, tacos, black eyed peas, fried okra, whole catfish, rice, baked chicken, sauteed mushrooms, macaroni & cheese, spaghetti, banana pudding, cookies, soft-serve ice cream, sprinkles, oreo crumbles, and various cakes...all at the same place and in the same meal.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hawks beat Heat 87 - 73

12/12/08 Preview: HAWKS v. Miami Heat

After doing the Texas Tango, the Hawks are on their way to travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Dwyane Wade's. I know there are other people on the team, but let's all be honest none of them really matter in the grand scheme of things. Sure it could be cool watching the number two pick, Beasley, play. But if it is anything like what has been happening recently, there wont be much time for that.

NEWS

The Hawks have lost 3 in a row and have a chance to go on their second four game losing streak this season. Remind me again how many playoff caliber teams have two 4 games losing streaks in the course of the first two months of the season. I'll give you a hint...none.

PREDICTIONS

Top Scorers:
Heat: Dwyane Wade - 43
Atlanta: Joe Johnson - 24

Rebounds:
Heat: Udonis Haslem - 11
Hawks - Al Horford - 9

Assists:
Heat: Dwyane Wade - 9
Hawks: Mike Bibby 9

Game:
The Hawks right the ship tonight and beat the Heat 104 - 88

Ehlo's Excellence (Prediction Record):
4-1

Smildress' Just For Fun Spread Prediction:
(4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS)
After going 3-0, I have suffered 2 straight losses, with the Spurs pushing the other night. Tonight take the Hawks to win and the points if you like.

Solomon Jones Minutes:
I ain't Ehlo, this kid will not play. A big, stinkin' ZERO

Famous Heats:
Technical Difficulties are causing no pictures or links, sorry

(By the way, check out www.nba.com/hawks for our take on the Hawks-Celtics Rivalry

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spurs beat Hawks 95-89

Hopefully this does not rub in the loss but instead reminds you of something nice. Here she is in all her glory, Eva Longoria (I refuse to acknowledge her other last name)
(Side Note: I would love to see the day when a woman would wear this when doing dishes)

4 Years in the League and He Still Does Not Get It

Please help explain something to me. Now, I am only trying to compare these two players on their understanding of the NBA game, but Josh Smith and LeBron James both came into the NBA out of high school and in successive drafts (LBJ 2003 and Smoove 2004) and while it seems LBJ has figured out how to play this game at a ridiculously high level, Smith is still making mistakes that would send any rookie straight to the bench.

Remember what I said, I am not trying to compare these two careers because anyone could tell you that LeBron was going to be a superstar while some people merely claimed Josh Smith could be Next. While his showing in the 2005 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest led all of us to believe he was on the verge of something special, I cannot help to wonder if we will pereptually be waiting for this transformation.

Do not get me wrong here. Josh Smith is a stat stuffer when it comes to what he brings to the court. The dude even gets consideration for being a Round 1 Fantasy Draft player. But anyone who watches his games with any regularity, which does not seem to include anyone who makes NBA mock-fantasy drafts, knows that there is something off about that. I mean, including yourself in the first round of fantasy puts you in the category with Wade, CP3, LBJ, Howard, Amare, Kobe, and many more players who have developed a one-name reputation. Josh Smith does have this one-name recognition, Smoove, but has little else in being compared to those players.

I also realize that I was the one who only a week ago wrote the piece about how much we missed his presence in the lineup, but after last night I am wondering if the bench is missing his presence more. Even though he is this Round 1 talent, Smoove needs to realize that he does not have the dribbling skills or court vision of CP3. He needs to realize that he does not have the same jump shot as Kobe and needs to realize that he is not the lead player on the team like Amare thinks he is.

Smoove, on the other hand, decided to prove to all of us, "Guess what suckas, I do have all of these skills," when last night he successfully ruined any chance the Hawks had at beating the Rockets in Houston. With the Hawks up 6 in the 4th quarter, Smith proceeded to miss a 3PT shot even though he had only connected on one earlier in the night, then fouled Carl Landry for a "score and one more".  This foul was committed when both he and Al tried to block a Ron Artest fast break point instead of just letting one go for the block (in this case Al since he was in front of Josh) and the other try to rebound the miss. Well, Landry got the rebound and Smith fouled him sending him to the line. Smoove then missed another 3PT shot followed by Yao scoring and drawing a foul on Smoove for another And1 opportunity. What did Smith do for his next act? He missed another terrible shot followed by a horrible pass leading to a turnover. A six point lead erased and well you all know the rest.

Here's the thing - I am not writing this to criticize my boy and this is not to blame him for last night's loss (maybe a little). I am just trying to figure out when the kid will put all his talents together and form an elite player along the lines of other superstars. There is no reason for Josh to ever lead our team in attempted shots when we have Bibby and Joe playing (like last night where Smoove went 5-19 before being pulled in the 4th). The only way for basketball players to truly play well is if they play within themselves and do the things their teams need them to do. We need Smith to rebound, block shots, and score when he can drive it to the basket. That is all. Stop taking 3's. Stop taking those terrible jump shots. Stop dribbling the ball up the court. Start dunking. Start rebounding. Start blocking shots. Start listening to the coaches and other players. Start playing like we know you can because I am getting sick of these mental lapses and immaturity...and from the looks of things, your teammates are too.

12/10/2008 Preview: HAWKS vs. San Antonio Spurs

Coming off a tough loss in Houston last night, the Hawks flew 197 miles to San Antonio for this season's last game in Texas. The Spurs, fresh off a double-overtime thriller at Dallas, return home to the AT&T Center, where they have won their past 10 against the Hawks. Furthermore, the Spurs have won 4 games in a row and are now 12-8 on the season. Al Horford should be able to defend Tim Duncan, who isn't as big as last night's bohemith, Yao Ming. The backcourt, however, is a different story. Not only do the Hawks have a difficult time containing speedy point guards (like Tony Parker), but they have never been able to figure out how to stop Manu Ginobili.

The Hawks have one thing going for them tonight - the Spurs played an incredibly long game just last night. Tim Duncan played over 50 minutes, Parker had over 47, and Ginobili had nearly 42. Hopefully the Spurs come out a little bit tired, and the Hawks can capitalize. Last night, the Hawks were outscored by 11 in the first quarter. If that happens again, this will be a long night. After winning 3 straight, the Hawks have now dropped 2 in a row - look for them to come out firing in an attempt to right the ship.

PLEA
Dear Josh Smoove -
Please stay under control tonight. Thanks!
-Ehlo

PREDICTIONS
Top Scorers:
Joe Johnson - 25
Tony Parker - 30

Rebounds:
Al Horford - 9
Tim Duncan - 10

Assists:
Mike Bibby - 6
Tony Parker - 7

Ehlo's Game Prediction:
Even after the Spurs' double-overtime victory, they still have enough in the tank to outlast a Hawks team that is frustrated and tired from their game last night. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker carry the Spurs to victory, 96-89. (And, in what has now become a bittersweet tradition, you get another hot picture afterwards)

Ehlo's Excellence:
3-1

Smildress' Just For Fun Spread Prediction:
(3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Ehlo (again) - Spurs win and cover the 6 points.

Solomon Jones Minutes:
3 - Solo pulled a Mario last night, so look for him to get a few minutes tonight against Duncan.

Famous San Antonians:

Dr. Robert Cade (Inventor of Gatorade):

Stone Cold Steve Austin:

The Alamo:

Shaquille O'Neal:

The Heartbreak Kid:

Brickowski:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rockets defeat Hawks 92-84

To help overcome the loss here is one of Ehlo's favorites: Anna Rawson (Women's professional golfer)

12/9/08 Preview: HAWKS vs. Houston Rockets

The second leg on this year's Texas Triangle tour is a stop in Houston to take on Vakeaton Quamar Wafer and the Houston Rockets. The Rockets come home for the second game of a back-to-back, after losing to Memphis last night. Houston is 6-4 in their last 10, and are 6-3 at home. The story of this game will be how the Hawks contain Yao Ming. Last night, Yao was held to one of his worst games of the season - scoring 14 points, grabbing only 4 rebounds, and giving up 4 turnovers. Expect Yao (a freakishly good free throw shooter for a big man) to come out with his sights set on having a much better game.

The Hawks, meanwhile, are on the second game of a 4-game road trip that will continue at San Antonio on Wednesday and conclude at Miami on Friday. After nearly pulling off a miraculous comeback against Dallas on Saturday, the Hawks had Sunday and Monday to get some much needed rest. The Hawks should be the fresher team tonight, and I expect them to sneak out of Houston with a win.

NEWS

Ron Artest is questionable tonight. If he doesn't go, the Rockets will be without their lock-down defender and starting small forward. If Artest does sit out, look for Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams to have excellent offensive games.

PREDICTIONS

Top Scorers:

Joe Johnson - 36
Yao Ming - 28

Rebounds:
Al Horford - 9
Yao Ming - 10

Assists:
Mike Bibby - 8
Rafer Alston - 7

Ehlo's Game Prediction:
After 2 days of rest, the Hawks outlast a Rockets team that gets worn out near the midpoint of the third quarter. Score - 107-94

Ehlo's Excellence:
3-0

Smildress' Just For Fun Spread Prediction:
(3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
The Hawks win so take the moneyline or the 4 points

Solomon Jones Minutes:
12 - Not only will Solo be relied upon to help guard Yao, but Woody will try to give the starters some rest this game.

Famous Rockets:

Red Rocket:


The Rockettes:

R-7 Rocket (Used to launch Sputnik):

THE Rocket:

Johnny Rockets:

The Acme Rocket Company:

Make it Four...And Counting

If you haven't heard it...it's news to you. Hit the road Randy.

Hey Woody! You Have a Bench

To all our readers who came here over the past few days only to find no new updates since the Mavs defeat, you can rest easy knowing that we are now back. The Mavs win did not end up sending us into a free fall where we were unable to cope with our daily lives, and we didn't decide to go all Mario West (he's the one on the end) on all of you and only make an appearance for a short time only to disappear shortly therafter. No, the reason why it has been a while since our last post is due to the fact that Mike Woodson was the one who decides how many posts we get per week and he decided that he was gonna let Joe Johnson take the majority this week.

I know what you are thinking, Joe Johnson is going to write blog posts like everyone's already favorite NBA blogger - sadly the answer to that is no. What you should be thinking is how hilarious the metaphor about Woodson's inability to manage a successful blog was, especially considering the he has the same difficulty doing a job he is PAID to do.

Before you say, "here we go again another Hawks fan who thinks that Woodson cannot coach, cannot relate to his players, cannot be allowed to continue to coach (this guy was calling for it two years ago-he wins), and cannot possibly sue the Tootsie Roll Pop Owl for a face-mark infringement claim," stop and instead try to say "Woody won't want to win with the bench." In fact try to say that five times fast. If you succeed, congratulations...but it was not a tongue twister. There were, however, a lot of words starting with the letter w in that sentence - and that makes it an alliteration.

There will be a time and place for the Fire Mike Woodson post, trust me. I have been waiting to see that headline appear on AJC for a long, long time. Instead, I have become comfortably numb to the fact that the Hawks will continue to be coached by this incompetent man. Instead of wondering why Woodson is still employed, I am wondering after this weekend, what is happening to our bench players and how come none of them can get into any sort of rhythm during the games? Player rotations are not done by the players. Joe Johnson will not come over to the bench and say, "whew I'm spent. Hey Flip, why don't you go in there and cover for me for a bit." It is the coach's job to do these substitutions based on the pace of the game and any other little facets that the casual fan does not notice.

This is one aspect (of the too many to name) of coaching where Woodson has been failing miserably these days. Let's take a look at the minutes for our bench players the last few games:





(To find out what a Mario is Click Here)

Look at these numbers. The only consistent minutes belongs to Acie Law, who, after his supposedly constructive summer and great preseason, should probably be getting more than 10 minutes per game. Zaza's minutes fluctuate more than Vincent Chase's movie star status. (Cannot even get an audition to landing the lead in a Scorsese film?) Flip's minutes seem to copy the Dow Jones average with its continuously downward swing. (I can go on but I thought that was enough). Woodson has been juggling around these guys and not letting any of them get used to their roles that we need each of them to do for the Hawks to be successful.

Before the season, a certain ESPN columnist described our bench as being so bad the cheerleaders should just hurl poop at us. Meanwhile, both Sekou Smith (Hawks beat writer) and Lang Whitaker (national NBA writer and huge Hawks fan) agreed that our bench would be better than people thought. And we believed them. And early in the season, when the Hawks went 6-0 and then 6-6 with Smoove out, we all saw what he was talking about. Now? Well let's just say thanks to Woody, I will be putting up my poop shield when I attend the next Hawks game.

This problem is not likely to get better any time soon due to Woody's unexplainable substitution patterns. So get used used to seeing Joe play for 42+ minutes a night. Personally, I want to see more of what the bench can do with much emphasis focused on Acie's full capabilities. (Can he handle being the PG of the future?) The bench is not going to succeed when the players keep getting shuffled around like Menudo (last one I promise). So Woody - give these guys minutes. Give these guys defined roles. Give our starters some rest. Mainly give our team some wins.

UPDATE: So apparently Sekou had already written about the same thing and since his opinion is ever so slightly better than mine, you might want to check out what he thinks here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mavs defeat Hawks 100-98

To help overcome the loss here is one of Smildress' favorites: Natalie Portman

12/6/2008 Preview: HAWKS vs. Dallas Mavericks

Tonight, the Hawks travel to Big D to take on the Mavericks and old friend Jason Terry at the American Airlines Center. The Hawks, coming off last night's tough victory against the Knicks, will have their hands full with a Western Conference powerhouse that's rolling, winners of 8 of their last 10. Led by German superstar (and ambidextrous shooter) Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks will be a tough matchup for the Hawks.

NEWS

Josh Howard will be a game-time decision for the Mavs, who, after going 6-1 in his absence, may be reluctant to throw him right back into action.

PREDICTIONS


Top Scorers:
Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki - 31
Atlanta: Joe Johnson - 27

Rebounds:
Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki - 10
Atlanta: Al Horford - 9

Assists:
Dallas: Jason Kidd - 10
Atlanta: Mike Bibby - 7

Game:
Hawks give all they can after a back-to-back, but it isn't enough. Dallas wins, 104 - 92

Ehlo's Excellence (Prediction record):
2-0

Smildress' Just For Fun Spread Prediction:
(2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Hawks lose but not by much, take the 7 points.

Solomon Jones Minutes
:
2

Famous Mavericks:
THE Maverick:

Tom Cruise:


Mel Gibson:


Friday, December 5, 2008

Hawks Beat Knicks 98-95

In Game Blog: Hawks vs. Knicks 12/5/08

Pregame:
Smildress and Ehlo here reporting from our living room on a Friday Night. Before you make fun of us for being lame, please understand we skipped Happy Hour at our local bar to give you this first rate coverage of the game. Although we are missing Happy Hour we are indeed getting happy this hour in preparation for the Knicks drinking game. Grab your drinks and adjust the contrast ratio on your television for standard definition broadcast as we are about to get underway for tonight's contest. We'll now send it over to Jerome Jeronivich and the Stinger.

1st Quarter:
JS: Always gotta love the James Verrett input before the game. This time he had some brilliant words that it seems only the lip readers could understand.
CE: Gotta love our chances if we keep getting wide open 3's...too bad we missed them both
(shot for the mention about how great Duhon is in this system)
JS: Joe has got into the lane twice with ease, sadly has not been able to finish either time. P.S. I hate Al Harington, a lot.
CE: Not sure I like how we are trying to keep up with their quick shots, but if Smoove can get a score and one more, I'll live.
JS: I really hate Al Harington
CE: I too hate Al Harington. An offensive rebound and then another made shot.
JS: Seriously, where are all the signature Harrington clanks?
(Stephon Marbury mention, take two shots for the inclusion of the mentioning of quitting on his team)
(Take a shot for the Al Harrington signature miss. This time he treated us to one of his always beautiful airballs)
(Take a shot for Nate Robinson who has a made basket and 2 assists)
JS and CE: Joint laughter for the fact that 'Nique loves Elton John. Did not see that one coming.
JS: Don't think we will see Zaza in this game as what Woody would call "matchup problems" might keep him on the bench.
CE: When did we get a pianist?

2nd Quarter:
JS: Gotta agree with 'Nique that we are just not playing defense right now. And has anyone noticed that every time Flip touches the ball he goes straight to the hoop.
CE: Ugh. (this was a the mention that Al Harrington is coming back in the game) What happened to Smoove being able to hit free throws?
JS: We are crashing the offensive boards. Nooooo not a Josh Smith 3PTA
CE: Wow a Josh Smith 3PTM. D'Antoni can not be happy he took that Knicks job.
(Harrington missed a shot and that means we get to take one)
JS: Oh no, that knee to knee hit on Mo did not look so good and now he goes to the bench and we call a TO.
CE: I'm so pissed I don't have Smith on my fantasy team. However, Smith should limit himself to 2 3PTA a game. No reason for him to be shooting 3-4.
(Harrington in true fashion waits for Smith to guard him to shoot instead of Bibby and gives us another opportunity to take a shot)
(A whole feature on Duhon and since it's Friday night, we'll consider that a shot taking opportunity)
JS: I on the other hand have Joe on my fantasy team and do not like seeing the turnover followed by an airball.
CE: Play defense. I do not understand how we can continue to not play defense.
JS: Just watched Bibby on NBA on TNT last night where he showed how he works the pick and roll. Horford and him just worked that to perfection.
CE: Bibby just got worked and his defense deficiency is so clear in this game.
(Harrington missed that 3 and we get to enjoy another tasty beverage)
JS: Right after Bibby got worked he just did a veteran defensive move by causing that turnover leading to the Hawks getting the ball with 3 secs left and Bibby clanking the shot. Oh well.

Here's Billy Knight with the Halftime Show!


3rd Quarter ("Speedy" Ehlo taking over the typing):
CE: If my predictions are gonna come true, Marvin needs to step it up.
(Harrington misses a layup: 1 more shot)
JS: The Hawks aren't playing defense on Harrington...I guess they know he sucks.
CE: Zaza! Finally!
JS: Excellent play by Marvin, tipping the ball away and getting back for the dunk.
JS: (After watching CE eat a burger)...Ehlo, wipe your hands off before using my computer
CE: Do any of our readers wonder if the hookup between Zaza Pachulia and Andrei Kirilenko (Georgia-Russia) will be like Rocky during the Cold War?
(Harrington misses a three: 1 more shot)
(Harrington misses an ugly three: 1 more shot)
JS: Great pass "Steve Nash"...One of my dreams is to sit courtside at an NBA game and have the ball come to me so I can toss it to the ref.
JS: Gotta give it to the Knicks for getting destroyed by the Cavs and then competing well with the Hawks.
CE: If Al Harrington plays an average game, the Hawks would be up by 15 now.
CE: With 6 seconds left in the quarter, the Hawks inbound to who?? Zaza, of course. Zaza dribbles half the length of the court and then gets fouled attempting a shot! Camera just showed Woody, who had a "just how I drew it up" face.

Shout out to Anonymous Commenter: Thanks for pointing out that Woody is keeping the starters in for too long. We totally agree. Josh Smith admitted he was tired to the sideline reporter, and it was clear that Horford was winded. Furthermore, Joe Johnson never really seemed to be sprinting in any direction - offense or defense. Woody's decision to use the starters so much is also going to have an effect on tomorrow night's game in Dallas.

4th Quarter:
News: Nate Robinson will not return due to a groin injury.
JS: Jared Jeffries just came back from a leg injury and the Knicks have him guarding JJ. Is that a joke?
CE: Josh Smith just took an ugly three from the corner. I don't think that's his best shot, but I'm no expert.
CE: I wish Woody would get Flip some more playing time - his speed will help the Hawks on offense and defense.
CE: My post must have gone to Bibby's head because he isn't shooting well at all. But I guess you can't argue with 9 assists.
(Harrington misses a layup: 1 more shot)
(Harrington misses a three: 1 more shot)
JS: Josh Smith just got a technical foul. He seems to be suffering from a bad case of "do you know who I am? I'm Josh Smith!"
JS: Has Joe hit a three tonight?
CE: 93-92 with 3:00 left, this game is gonna be tight (as predicted!).
JS: Big shot Mike Bibby. He's definitely woken up this quarter.
CE: Hawks up by 3, Knicks have 5.7 seconds to inbound the ball and make a three to send it to overtime. If I'm Woody, I use my last foul-to-give to interrupt the play and take some time off.
JS: They don't do that enough in the NBA, but they should.
CE: Knicks don't get a shot off in the final 5.7 and the Hawks win!!! Harrington and Duhon each had open looks, but the Knicks looked like a team who just didn't know who was supposed to take the last shot. Tough win for the Hawks, but a win is a win.

Tis' the Season to Get Sloppy

After posting about the struggles the NBA and the Atlanta Hawks have had with attendance this season, I decided that I would come up with a fun way to enjoy tonight's broadcast of the Hawks - Knicks game for all you who are spending your free money on other things. I have come up with a fun drinking game that can be played while watching tonight's game. But remember if you are underage, be very careful not to get caught, do not drink and drive, and when drinking in excess be sure to have a toilet or trash can near by to throw up in. (In all seriousness, if you are underage, do not drink. If you do decide to drink in excess, do have something nearby to puke in. This is very important)

Now on to what can only help you enjoy the absurdity that is the Knicks season, as they enter Philips Arena to do battle with our Atlanta Hawks.

Rule 1: Anytime the announcers mention how perfect a fit Chris Duhon is in Mike D'Antoni's system, take a shot. This is pure Knickerbocker propaganda to try and get their fans to think that what Mike D'Antoni did with Steve Nash, he can do with Chris Duhon. There is a little difference here as Steve Nash has done this and then got to do this the very next year. So take a shot for this comparison between Duhon and Nash, at the extreme absurdity of someone who is in the NBA yet cannot find hotter girls to get pictured with.

Rule 2: Anytime Al Harrington misses a contested shot, take a shot. If the purpose of this game is to get really drunk, well then I think this alone might do the trick. I was going to do something else with Al but then I thought, hmmmm, if we take a shot every time he takes a well advised shot, we might never get to drink. If we take a shot every time he passes the ball to a teammate, we'll be sober AND thirsty by the end. If we take a shot every time he creates a turnover by playing good defense, our liquor would get warm. So it was between a contested shot or every time he turns the ball over, and I decided if it was his turnovers, we might run out of alcohol.

Rule 3: Anytime LeBron James is mentioned without him actually being involved with a play on the court, take a shot. I don't know about you, but I am about as excited for the 2010 Class of Free Agents as Billy is to learn about Chlorophyll. Listen up ESPN, that is 2 YEARS AWAY. I REPEAT, 2 YEARS AWAY. TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. I am going to love it when LeBron looks at the Knicks roster and just laughs and says "Fooled you dumbasses, why would I want to play with Chris Duhon as my PG? What? Look what D'Antoni did with Nash, he can do the same with Duhon? I bet now you gonna sell me on the fact that David Lee can get me into all the best clubs in the City. Please. I'm LeBron James. There is no way I am playing with Chris Duhon as my PG and David Lee as my C."

Rule 4: Anytime anyone references Stephon Marbury, take a shot. After you take the shot, punch yourself in the stomach and just for good measure maybe the head too. As much as I do not feel bad for the mess the Knicks are currently in, this feeling of the shot followed by a punch to the stomach and hit to the head is about equal to what Starbury is doing to the organization. In order to talk about another person, they say you need to walk a mile in their shoes. If I am going to talk about the Knicks, I'm gonna need to understand the pain that they are currently feeling while dealing with this nutcase. Sadly, I will never understand this drama, nor will understand how anyone could want to do this but I can however slightly understand this.

Rule 5: Anytime you see Nate Robinson actually sneak past the guides and be allowed to ride any roller coaster at Six Flags, please alert an authority figure. In all honesty this is how people get hurt, and that is never fun. Seriously though, if you want to take a shot when Nate Robinson does something, how about every time he looks like a legit NBA player and not some side show out there to get people to watch. I have it from other sources that this is what happens when Nate Robinson gets water on him, so hopefully he does not work up a sweat tonight. (Whew. I just remembered to work up a sweat you actually have to play. Good thing Robinson will not be doing any of that tonight.)

Rule 6: This has to be the easiest one to peg, but anytime Isiah Thomas is mentioned do yourself a favor and finish the rest of whatever it was you were drinking. If the announcers have started talking about Isiah Thomas during the game then there really is not much more to discuss due to the Hawks dominating on the scoreboard or the Knicks showing their incompetency through their terrible roster. Sadly, both of these are likely to occur which will help as the end of the game and your bottle draws near.

If you are at the Hawks game and have played this drinking game, now you have built up enough confidence to go hit on our great A-Town Dancers. If you are like me, and you might need some more alcohol to get the guts to ask them out, just be prepared to get the response that I get - a look as if they cannot hear what you are saying, followed by a personal escort to the nearest exit.

12/5/2008 Preview: HAWKS vs. New York Knickerbockers

Tonight, the Hawks welcome (with open arms) Q and the dysfunctional New York Knickerbockers. Knickerbocker, a word made famous by Washington Irving in his parody Knickerbocker's History of New York (1809), was historically the name of an obscure clan of Dutchmen in central New York. Now? It's the name of an obscure clan of African-American men (and David Lee) that play at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are coming into Philips with a record of 8-10, losers of 2 in a row and 7 of their last 10 games. Their last two losses have been to Portland and Cleveland, both teams in the top 5 of many NBA Power Rankings. This game worries me a bit because the Knicks aren't exactly sure what kind of team they are. Remember the Hawks a couple of years ago? They were capable of putting up 110 points one night, but would only score 85 the next.

The difference with the Knicks is that they don't play defense. Last year they gave up 103.5 points per game, and don't seem to be doing any better this year. Look for the Hawks to win a close shootout.

NEWS

The Knicks could have Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries back tonight. Nate Robinson is a speedy little guy that scores at will, and could give the Hawks defenders some trouble. With Robinson, Al Harrington (remember that guy?), David Lee, and Chris Duhon, the Knicks have a formidable lineup that can definitely score some points.

Meanwhile, the Hawks will be welcoming back a fully healed Josh Smith that should be able to play a whole game. His presence in the lineup speaks for itself.

PREDICTIONS


Top Scorers:
New York: Al Harrington - 24
Atlanta: Marvin Williams - 26

Rebounds:
New York: David Lee - 12
Atlanta: Josh Smith - 10

Assists:
New York: Chris Duhon - 8
Atlanta: Mike Bibby - 8

Game:
Atlanta Wins: 113-106

Ehlo's Excellence (Prediction record):
1-0

Smildress' Just For Fun Spread Prediction:
(1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Hawks win but take the Knicks and the 10.5 points

Solomon Jones Minutes
:
7

Famous Knickerbockers:

Payne Stewart (RIP):

The Knickerbocker Bar & Grill:

The Knickerbockers:

The Knickerbocker Cocktail:

Ingredients
2 1/2 ounces golden rum
1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange curacao
1/2 ounce lime juice
lime(s)

Future Knickerbocker:


Dead Knickerbocker Walking:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bibby Busts (Grizzly) Bear Balls....

A lot of people are focusing on the chemistry of the unit this year, the play of the bench, the improvement of Solomon Jones' golf game, or the drastic upgrade in Philips Arena hot dog quality as the reasons why the Hawks are playing better this year. My opinion? The answer is two words: Mike Bibby. Not only did I think that before yesterday's game (I swear), but last night's double-double against the Grizzlies confirmed it.


Man, isn't it nice to see a point guard succeed while playing NBA basketball in Atlanta? We've had a couple of decent 1-guards roll through here (JT) and some that were...not so good (T-Lue, Bob "triple-double" Sura, Jaque Vaughn, Dion Glover, Tony Delk, Dan Dickau, Brevin Knight (skip to :31), and Pepe Sanchez, to name a few). For the first time since the 1998-1999 season, the Hawks are likely to have their point guard be a key cog in their playoff run. The last time the Hawks had a point guard LEAD them to the playoffs was back when Bill Clinton was being impeached and the Titanic was sinking.

Even though Bibby was on the squad last year, he joined late and never really gelled with the team (in my opinion). His thumb was all messed up, so he wasn't able to hit the 3 with any consistency. Furthermore, he was coming into a volatile situation with a coach who was hanging on by a thread and players & coaches fighting with each other. In addition, the owners couldn't figure out who owned the team and who gets to make the decisions. Just to put the time into perspective, when Bibby was traded for, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese claimed to be the cheesiest.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is still the cheesiest and the ownership situation still sucks...but all of the other factors have changed. On the year, Bibby is averaging over 16 points per game, and dishing out nearly 5 assists. What's even more impressive is that Bibby is averaging 2.6 threes per game, and has been able to keep his turnovers to a mere 1.5 per game. As he has gotten more comfortable to playing with his teammates, he's been able to perform at the level we all hoped for. Maybe he's playing so well because it's his contract year....but I'm not buying that argument.

In any case, another year with his team has helped develop chemistry and performance that is truly impressive. If he keeps this up, not only will the Hawks probably keep him for the rest of the year, but they may lock him up for years to come.


P.S. - A big shout out goes to Lang Whitaker for featuring us in his Hawks.com weekly column. We appreciate it Lang!

Where O' Where Have all the People Gone

An interesting article was posted on Yahoo sports today about the attendance problems occurring in the NBA. This article specifically describes the poor attendance at the Hawks - Grizzlies matchup from last night. After seeing some of the pictures from this game, and the fact that the game was not even broadcasted on TV, is anyone a little worried about people buying into the Hawks product?

Let's be honest, attendance has always been a concern in the Atlanta sports market. The Braves rank in the middle of attendance figures despite the fact that they are consistently one of the better teams in the National League (please ignore this year). The Falcons have a hard time selling out to even allow their games to be broadcasted on local networks. This despite the fact that they are one game out of the division lead. And now the Hawks, who after last year's playoffs seemed to have taken a huge step in attracting a crowd, have fallen into the attendance black hole as well.

During these difficult economic times it is getting more and more difficult to attend a NBA sporting event. People are not going to dish out $50 to see a game between Memphis and Atlanta, when they could easily use that cash to buy dinner at one of my favorite Atlanta sport bars, Twisted Taco, and still have some left over for a fun night at the Cheetah. (Twisted Taco + The Cheetah > Atlanta v. Memphis) (And yes that was shameless pub for the Cheetah and Twisted Taco)

Charge that much for admission when LeBron comes to town. Charge that price when, I hate to say this, Boston comes to play us. Charge the higher price when the Lakers and their Hollywood fans invade Philips. I have no problem with the high prices when the quality of basketball is going to be equally as high. But a game against Memphis? Please. There is no way people are going to dish out any kind of dough to see that team play for the same reason no one would pay to see the Hawks four years ago. (Case in point found here and here)

In fact, the Chicago Cubs (and other MLB teams) have higher pricing for "prime games" and lower pricing for less than prime games...hey...Atlanta Spirit...hear that??

The NBA needs to get a grip on the reality of the economic situation in the country and if they want less arenas looking like this picture below, do something about the ticket prices. It's not like the quality of play is going to increase any time soon when teams keep drafting players on their potential instead of actual skill. But that is a topic for another time.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hawks Beat Grizzlies 105-95



More to Come Later

Three Down and Countless More To Go

Word from sources out of Toronto is that the Raptors have fired their head coach. This is surprising to say the least, as Sam Mitchell is just two years removed from being named the NBA Coach of the Year. (Woody is still waiting for the NBA to give him the same recognition) Sam Mitchell led the Raptors to a 156-189 record in his five years with the team (if you do not like math that equals to a .452 winning percentage). He graduated from Mercer college in Macon, GA and if, fingers crossed, Woodson was ever to get the axe, his name is sure to pop up. Keep track now that three NBA coaches have been fired this season (Eddie Jordan and PJ Carlesimo being the others) and Woodson is still staring in disbelief on our sideline. Just for good measure, Woodson is 112-228 in his 4+ years with us. Again for the non-math fans this equates to a .329 winning percentage.



UPDATE 12/4/08: It seems the folks at firesammitchell.com are pretty happy with this decision.

Hawks In Da News

Have no fear loyal readers, none of our players have had any sort of run-ins with the law, as of now. There was that incident back in March where a past player who shall not be named, did find himself in a wee bit of trouble. But other than that it has been smooth sailing since. Here are some links to new Hawks articles around the web today. This is just a short and quick post, but expect a longer, more well-thought-out post later tonight.

First billing will have to go to everyone's favorite AJC beat writer seen here talking to Childress. I am pretty sure that picture is from last year, unless Sekou has been traveling to Greece without telling us...Anyway here is his blog where he talks about the new cohesiveness the team has. Personally, I do not see what took so long for this to happen, as most of these guys have been around each other for a while.

I touched on it yesterday and looks like I beat Sekou to the punch by a few hours, but Josh Smith is indeed coming back to play tonight against Memphis. He is worried about rushing things and promises to take it slow, hopefully he moves a little quicker than he did to resign with us this summer.

The Atlanta Hawks web page spent some time with the Memphis Grizzlies Manager of Communications and for some reason felt that he was the best person in their organization to give a preview of the upcoming game tonight. At first I thought, the Manager of Communications, this is the guy to provide insight? But at another glance, and further investigation, the kid is legit, he even has a Memphis Grizzlies blog. And in fact, here is a link to his preview of the game where he interviews Micah Hart about the matchup.

Here is CNNSi's NBA power rankings. I don't really understand why we are 13 behind plenty of teams that we beat, including some with worse records (I'm looking at you New Orleans). But I do agree with his assessment on being proud of our away record. Seriously this little tidbit needs to get more recognition as we have almost won half as many games on the road as we did last year.

Speaking of power rankings, ESPN has us a little better clocking in at the number 11 spot. This one does not make me as angry as CNNSi, except the New Orleans fightin' Paul's are still in front of us. And using a statistical system that I will never be able to comprehend, Hollinger puts us at number 14. This is moving up from last week's ranking of 17, well la-di-freakin-da.

ESPN has also done an awards prediction article, even though we have only played one month into the season, the all-knowing sports network is ready to predict who will win what award. Look to number nine on the MVP watch, and also check out our boys getting dominated by Devin Harris. Thanks ESPN for including a picture of the Hawks in a shot where four of our players look like they just got worked. Can't wait to watch our ONE nationally televised game with you guys in two weeks.

Lastly, nothing to do with the Atlanta Hawks, but cool nonetheless, for all those who have been to Venice, does this cost as much as a gondola ride, and if so, why would anyone do that slow boat ride?

(Forgot to add this, but some people in Vegas think the Hawks got this game by 9 points, if I was a betting man, I'd say this number might be a tad low and that the Hawks win and cover the points)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12/3/08 Preview: HAWKS vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Tonight the Hawks welcome back Josh Smith against the Grizzlies of Memphis (Elvis Presley and Jim Neeley fame).  In his second year since graduating from Georgia Tech, Javaris Crittenton will ride the bench as his team visits Philips Arena as the worst team in the Southwest Division, with a record of 4-13.  Memphis has lost 6 in a row and 9 out of their last ten.  However, their rookie sensation, O.J. Mayo, just won Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors, so look for them to come out with great intensity to try and win a game in his honor. 

PREDICTIONS

Top Scorers:
Memphis: O.J. Mayo - 27
Atlanta: Joe Johnson - 32

Assists:
Memphis: Mike Conley - 7
Atlanta: Mike Bibby - 8

Rebounds:
Memphis: Rudy Gay - 8
Atlanta: Al Horford - 12

Game:
Atlanta Wins, 108-91

Othello Hunter Minutes:
3

Mascot Relations:
The Grizzly is a type of bear.  Other famous bears:

Paul "Bear" Bryant:


Yogi Bear:


Winnie the Pooh:

Smokey Bear:

Mascot Deaths:
A dead Grizzly Bear:

Welcome Back JSmoove, How I Have Missed You

Well the long awaited return of our favorite shot blocker extraordinaire is finally upon us. I can only speak for myself when trying to contain the glee I feel about seeing number 5 get back in the paint and start swatting those shots into section 210. (Those 3 point attempts on the other hand, I can wait to see) But in all seriousness, this return to the lineup can only do good things for our team. The Hawks did go 6-6 in the 12 games Smoove missed, of which 8 were on the road. But in watching these past 12 games it was clearly evident that the team would have performed on a totally different level had J-Smoove been in the lineup.

For instance, I'm fairly confident that having Smith play could only have helped our team win when they lost by one in Boston. Then with those back to back games against the New Jersey Nets, Smith would have easily helped send at least one of Devin Harris' shots into the stands. I mean this is the same Devin Harris that had trouble stopping some British guy in street clothes.

!Game Analysis Warning!
Josh's biggest impact may be in the help he gives Mike Bibby on the defensive end. Unfortunately, Bibby can't really guard the quick point guards in the league anymore. Bibby's inadequacy on the defensive end leaves Joe Johnson with the burden of guarding the usually quicker PG for opposing teams in addition to carrying our team offensively. These two responsibilities have been clearly weighing on Joe as his scoring output the past few games has been 4, 15, 18, and 18. Though we are 2-2 in those games, these scoring numbers are just not going to get it done.

But back to the topic - with the help of Josh Smith behind him, maybe Bibby can guard the PG again. This time, if they blow by him - which we know they will - Smoove will be there to send that shot away. And let's be honest, if the man can do this to Dwight Howard, he surely can take a TJ Ford layup and give the shot a new planetary orbit around the sun. See, if you look at the Hawks losses in Smoove's absence - Boston, New Jersey twice, Indiana, Cleveland, and Toronto - you can see that most of these teams have a PG who is quicker than Bibby. This quicker PG can easily get to the basket and put points up on the board. (You are going to have to ignore the Cleveland game because they have LeBron and he can do this)

So understand that the return of Smith can only bring good prospects to our team. With him back, the defense can play up on their man so if they get beat Josh is there to to scare them from taking a layup. With Smith back, Joe won't be getting to tired on defense to bring his offensive A-game. With Smoove back, the Hawks will also return that swagger that has been missing. All these reasons and more is why I am excited to watch the game tomorrow night against Memphis (albeit on yahoo gametracker...No TV? Are you kidding me?). I mean in all seriousness the least his return does is move Horford back to his natural (Hawks) position of center...right?

An Open Letter: To My Favorite Georgian

Dear Mr. Pachulia,

Last year you were an enigma. In fact, you spent nearly 80 games picking your nose and plucking your eyebrows. But no worries, because you awoke at the perfect time. When Philips Arena was sold out to the masses, louder than ever before (see Hollinger from ESPN - "Of the five arenas I've been to in this postseason, Philips was easily the loudest"), you decided to strut your massive caucasian body out onto the court and let the NBA know of your physical prowess. You earned your playing time with hard work, a defensive intensity that the '85 Bears couldn't match, and European brute strength and intimidation. Surely, it wasn't pretty watching you muscle up ugly layups and grab critical rebounds, but we - the fans of our beloved Hawks - appreciated your hard work and newfound energy and willingness to beat the crap out of the biggest douche in the NBA.

We wondered over the offseason, would you improve? Would you take what you've learned about the playoffs and create a new drive to make it there again? Would you work on your English so your courtside interviews (however few and far between) would be even a tad more understandable? What would Zaza Pachulia, the energizer bunny of the Hawks playoff series with the Celtics, bring to the table in 2008-2009?

Well, we've seen both sides of you, Zaza, thusfar this season. When you've come out with a clear sense of intensity and urgency, you've been one of the best 8th men in the NBA. In the last game you played, on Saturday 11/29, you started and destroyed Toronto's big men on your way to 17 rebounds. 17 REBOUNDS?!?! The only player with more on the night was Emeka Okafor, who is being paid $12,000,000.00 this year. Zaza, when you come to play, you are a force. When you don't, you look like Lebron's mother being told to sit her ass down. Admittedly, you've had some serious stinkers - games where you look lost out there. Zaza, you have some games that make the fans think you just took a nyquil instead of a dayquil, like you hit the shower head with your head, or like Robert "Tractor" Traylor sat on you earlier in the day.

Are you inconsistent? Yes. Is that to be expected from a big man who gets sporadic minutes? Of course. But do the fans deserve to see you give it your all for 82 games, whether in the playoffs, heading to the playoffs, or bumbling around in last place? You better believe it. Would you like to taste some of my grandmother's sweet potato souffle? Only you can answer that.

The point is this - no matter if you start and log 25 minutes or come off the bench for 10, you should play like your salary depends on it. Is it a sham when Mike Woodson (who will get his due in another post) sits you for a whole game? Yeah...but no matter what, when you're name is called, you better bust ass. The fans want to see more of this and this, and less of this.

Zaza, you are clearly Ryan Cameron's favorite name to yell over the PA in Philips Arena (ZA        ZA       PACHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULIA). Here's hoping we hear it more often.

Sincerely,
Your Biggest Fans

P.S. - This is awesome:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Billy Knight did not in fact, take my Lunch Money

Aside from what you will read above this post, let me go on record as saying Billy Knight did not take my lunch money. However, the past Hawks GM did take all my money I would have spent at fast food restaurants, downtown bars, and/or Strip Clubs. To be honest, I did have some money left over for strip clubs. Billy Knight took my money by having me spend countless nights stuck inside Phillips Arena with about 423 people "enjoying" the product he put on the floor. But do not worry, this blog is not going to be countless posts about the mistakes of the Billy Knight era for the Atlanta Hawks, cough, Shelden Williams, CP3, Speedy Claxton, Al Harrington, Antoine Walker, cough, cough. Rather this blog will be about our current team and everything to do with the Atlanta Hawks. (cheer now) Check back here for a fan's perspective on the game that will not be influenced by the Atlanta Hawks organization, or anyone else getting paid by the team.

Are you pissed that JSmoove keeps shooting those threes? Well don't be, if you did not know he is hitting 4 out of every 11 on the year. Are you angry that Speedy gets to still sleep at five star hotels and enjoy the many travel accomodations with the team? Stop that foolishness, because I have it on reliable sources, that on some nights, he has to share a hotel room with Randolph Morris and the rumor is, that Morris has the stinkiest feet on the team. Are you in love with that face that Woodson displays every time something bad starts happening to the team? I know you know the one I am talking about, it's the one where he just stares off into the stands praying that the hot dog vendor would come down closer to the Hawks bench so he can grab at least six of them.

If all of these things whet your appetite or get you the wee bit interested, well then this blog is the right place for you. Enter comments, post thoughts and hope you enjoy reading this blog and remember that once the Knight is over, the sun always will rise.