Friday, April 26, 2013

Hawks against the World AND the Referees; down 0-2 going into Phillips Arena, who will Lead them? The Enigma of Josh Smith

Wow, well this has been embarrassing.  Its embarrassing that the referees are so damn bias they might as well be wearing a Indiana Pacers jersey (KEN MAUER!). It is so painfully evident that even the God-honest numbers scream "F*CK YOU, HAWKS!" With painstakingly accurate statistics brought to you by Jason Walker of one of my favorite Hawks blogs,, lets look at the numbers:

"I hate you." "Good. I hate you more, here let me show ya."


 What is almost as disgusting is that the Hawks coach (minute-manager) Larry Drew has been completely out-coached in this series thus far, it seems he is even being tuned out by the players because no matter what he says the team plays lethargic or panicked, defensively unaware and one-step-behind almost every set play the Pacers run. I have NEVER SEEN so many dunks, layups, and threes so easily in a playoff game! Every so-called"expert" except for my man Henry Abbott of picked the Pacers to win, and so far the Hawks have done nothing to disprove the general public's skepticism.  In these 2 games of post-season, this team has given its fans NO REASON WHATSOEVER to be confident about their ability to win this series. The Hawks are not resilient through adversity, they don't have a clearly defined leader, and they have not shown the team-cohesiveness let alone the level the Pacers have shown, as painful as it is to realize, the Pacers appear to be a team on the rize, and the Hawks once again look UNDEFINED.

"Yup, 22% on jumpshots is good enough for me"
This was especially personified as usual by Josh Smith (again). His 16 points 6 rebounds and 3 assists in game 2 was clearly average at best, it is simply unfortunate (un-FAIR-tunate) that he only played 20 MINUTES in that game to get those numbers. Clearly if he would have played 40 minutes at that pace of production he would have gotten 32/12/6 which is exactly what he is CAPABLE of achieving when playing efficient and being reffed FAIRLY but these things hardly ever happen and in the playoffs, with the dictator DAVID STERN dictating which teams should win based on what is favorable TO THE LEAGUE, it so far seems outside the realm of possibility. The Hawks already have some demons of their own to conquer (bad defense, disorganized offense, bad shot selection, lack of cohesiveness, etc...damn) but with the referees so dedicated toward seeing Indiana advance for a probable Paul George vs Carmelo Anthony second round, it makes a tough road for these Hawks this 2012-2013 season. I mean, we all know this team was assembled to prepare for a free agent acquisition this off-season, but this didn't team win 44 games by accident. Josh Smith can be and SHOULD BE every bit as good as Paul George if not better! But he is not. Smith can have a big game and make field goals INSIDE 15 ft, but Larry Drew doesn't smack the back of his head like Mike Woodson did every time he takes an outside shot. By the way Congratulations to Mike Woodson for winning Coach of the Year in New York, it hasn't happened quite yet as I type this, but it will, and it is very well deserved. What was the Hawks record in Woodson's final season? 53-29, 4th best season in Atlanta Hawks franchise history. What was Josh's stats that year? 15.7 PPG on 50.9% FG which was a career-high because he only took 7 THREE POINTERS FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON! They fired Mike, Josh started firing three's again, they promoted the assistant coach and kept the same bad habits while failing to sharpen the good ones. It seems VERY simple, but to execute precisely in the pressure-filled moments of an NBA Playoff game against a quality team with a budding superstar like Paul George and the Indiana Pacers? THEY CAN! But its like the Hawks have a "kick-me" sign on their jersey, and the only ones kicking them are the refs and not the coach. The refs just hate these guys for no reason, even Tim Donaghy would probably agree!

Saturday's game 3 at Phillips Arena is undoubtedly the biggest game for the Hawks and the HUGEST test for Josh Smith in particular for obvious reasons. First and foremost as an ATLien! a kid born and raised in College Park, south Atlanta, GA, you are playing your favorite game for your city at the highest stage as the biggest star (POTENTIAL!). Second as a basketball player at the forward position. Dynamic skill set, good at passing, ball-handling, rebounding, great at any of those and sometimes all of those in the SAME GAME! but very far and few often. Al Horford is the best player on the team, yes, but Josh Smith this was supposed to be YOUR team after Joe got traded. There is no hindrance to improvement of weaknesses (free throws..i just don't understand, bruh), as the team HAD had several consecutive modestly improving successful regular seasons 2007 (since Al, before Larry Drew) but through it all since being drafted in 2004, Josh Smith has been VERY consistently AVERAGE and INCONSISTENT. Game 3 is the ultimate test for Josh Smith and the Hawks for if their is any resiliency in their make-up, if he is worth a maximum contract (he is going to get it regardless), and if there is any pride in the city, the franchise, and this collection of players commonly referred to as a "team", they will win. If not, they will go home, and we won't see very many of these faces back next season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hawks fail to secure 5th seed with loss to Raptors, playoff-opponent to be decided in Season-Finale against Knicks

 I don't like how Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozen combined for 52 points. I don't like how the Hawks let the Raptors score 68 points in the first half on 29 for 36 field goals. I don't have a problem with Ivan Johnson and Mike Scott getting a double-double, but I have a problem with Jeff Teague and Josh Smith having a single-single. I am going to let this remind me of the way the Hawks were embarrased by the Washington Wizards on April 9, 2011 4 days before they opened the 2011 Playoffs against the Orlando Magic, and SHOCKED THE WORLD by defeating those guys, probably eventually driving Dwight Howard outta there, lol.

Tonight's game against the New York Knicks will be very important. Not only to decide the playoff opponent of the Hawks, but to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and a potential second-round match-up. Of course, there will be no Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, or Al Horford, but even the bench players will be very motivated to step up to the challenge. As long as Ivan "the Terrible" Johnson is playing, the Hawks will have a very good chance to win.

Nevertheless, well done PlayoffsHawks fans. It has been a short,slightly tumultuous, but overall successful regular season for the 2012-2013 Atlanta Hawks. Just look at all the adversity the Hawks have overcome this season!

-Traded Joe Johnson for what would eventually become a every-other-game Deshawn Stevenson (NBA CHAMP!)

-Traded Marvin Williams for Devin Harris (which was actually a great trade for both teams)

-Zaza Pachulia out indefinitely with serious achilles injury

-Lou Williams our second leading scorer suffers a TORN ACL which will keep him sidelined for a year!

Josh Smith has missed games, Jeff Teague has missed games, Al Horford has missed a couple games, but look where the Atlanta Hawks stand.

44-37 t-5th in the Eastern Conference
  • Al Horford averaging a career-high 17.4 PPG 10.2 RPG 3.2 APG (somebody PLEASE tell me why that is not an ALL-STAR?!)
  • Jeff Teague averaging a career-high 14.6 PPG 7.2 APG 13 double-doubles this season 3rd behind LeBron James and Tony Parker(!)
  • Josh Smith having another (in)CONSISTENT season averaging 17.4 PPG 8.5 RPG 4.1 APG BUT he also had 4 games of at least 30-5-5 which is tied for 6th best in the league
12/26: 31 points (13-25; 4-8 FT), 10 rebounds, and 6 assists (1 TO) in a 2OT win over the Pistons.
1/23: 30 points (15-24), 13 rebounds, and 8 assists (7 TOs) in a win over the Bobcats.
2/13: 30 points (13-20; 2-3 3pt); 10 rebounds, and 5 assists (0 TOs) in a win over the Magic.
3/8: 32 points (13-27; 3-9 3pt); 9 assists, and 8 rebounds (5 TOs) in a loss to the Celtics.

Now the Hawks are going to disappoint so many skeptics by being a formidable team in the Playoffs, they already THE NEXT layer of doubters for the Hawks to overcome. There is already a growing voice saying this particular Hawks team is not one to be taken seriously, due to free agency looming in the off-season.
"Then again, it may not matter where the Hawks finish. They are limping to the end of a season that will be surely be followed by major changes, with Drew and much of the roster -- including Josh Smith -- in the final year of contracts. Atlanta has lost 14 of its last 25 games, hardly a team on a roll heading to the playoffs. " -Associated Press, ESPN

 This is an inevitable truth, but that only gives this group more to prove in these playoffs, this Hawks team can beat EITHER of their potential playoff opponent, but of course there will be no expectation for the Hawks to do so simply because of the perception of the mainstream media about this franchise overall.Obviously, it would be more exciting to bring on "the Joe Johnson series", every game would have special significance to all the players and both franchises involved, Atlanta might even get a court-side Jay-Z sitting next to 2 Chainz, lol, but overall I believe in the Hawks ability to win the series against either team.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Atlanta Hawks endure their toughest back-to-back of the Playoff Preparation Point of the Season, Crash Dwight Howard Homecoming Afterparty by Defeating the Lakers 96-92, Dahntay Jones Intentionally Injures Kobe Bryant!!...Right.

Honestly tell me, did you think these Atlanta Hawks had ANY chance against a Miami Heat team thats on a LeBron-led Wade County franchise-high 18 game winning streak in the peak season of Playoff Preparation MARCH MADNESS?!?

 I still really actually believe the Hawks can almost at any time #ShocktheWorld and beat a #ChampionshipCalibur team EVEN as currently constructed (which of course them WINNING the championship as currently constructed is a err...long goal) the BIGGEST DEAL about this 34-29 Hawks vs 33-30 Lakers Wednesday, March 13 game is (besides the Models Basketball League pre-game game ^_^) is our #truechampionship potential MISSING PIECE #franchiseplayer is coming off the BIGGEST GAME OF HIS CAREER (39 points 16 rbs 3 blks as a Los Angeles Lakers #rental) and is now back in his HOMETOWN where all eyes will be on Dwight Howard vs. Best Friend soon-to-to-co-free-agent Josh Smith.

Well, the Hawks did indeed SHOCK THE WORLD against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday! With a 96-92 victory and a severely sprained Kobe Bryant ankle, the resilient Atlanta Hawks topped with Lakers without the services of Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, Lou Williams, Deshawn Stevenson, and Zaza Pachulia. What has been lost in a sea of media coverage about the Kobe Bryant ankle injury, the play that created this situation, and whether or not it was intentional is the fact that a starting line-up of Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones, Anthony Tolliver, Al Horford, and Johan Petro totally OUTEXECUTED the Lakers league of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, and Dwight Howard. AND the Hawks bench outscored the Lakers 39-16 thanks to the likes of Kyle Korver (15), Ivan "The Terrible" Johnson (12), rookie John Jenkins(12), and 10-day contract Shelvin Mack(7).

Its hard to even pick a PLAYER OF THE GAME for the Hawks because it was such a balanced team effort, something the Lakers are still learning, but if we had to pick one it would have to be Al Horford, playing a team-high 41 minutes for 14 pts (7/12 FGs) 14 rbs 4 asts. He should have gotten AT LEAST 20 FGA but the Hawks played to their strengths and got the win (FAIR AND SQUARE, KOBE BRYANT!)
Don't be mad at me, just ask Steve Nash how they lost this game:
"We just didn't make any shots, I feel like I killed us tonight. I had good looks at the basket. I didn't convert."
 Steve Nash was 4/14 from the field, one of the things that led to a 55-43 Hawks lead at halftime. Kobe Bryant was having a tough game by halftime, 3 points on 1/8 shooting, and EVERYBODY expected Kobe to erupt in the 3rd, which he did, kind of... 20 points in the 3rd and the Lakers won the 3rd quarter 31-21 but the healthly lead build by the Hawks in the 1st half proved to be a solid foundation, the Hawks won the 4th quarter 20-18 on several great plays by Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, even Johan Petro and Ivan Johnson(!!). Ivan made a HUGE play down the stretch, with the Hawks leading 90-87 Al Horford drove along the baseline and missed the shot. But he hustled for the rebound and knocked it right to Johnson under the basket. He flipped in a reverse layup with 33.3 seconds remaining, pushing the Hawks ahead 92-87.
"I can't believe we are losing to the Hawks, gotdamn u Dwight!"

It was a gutsy win, but the aftermath of this victory caused a firestorm of debate. Kobe Bryant took to TWITTER (@KobeBryant) and complained that the last-play defense by Dahntay Jones was an INTENTIONAL FOUL!
that should have been called. Period.

Dahntay Jones REPLIED on Twitter:
"Tape doesn't lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man"
 "Leg kick that makes contact with a defensive player is an offense foul. Period. The nba changed that rule 2 yrs ago. Stop it!"
"I have the utmost respect for I would never try to intentionally hurt him. Just wanted to contest the fadeaway
 As a Hawks say I say "HA! Thats what you get!" but as a basketball fan I hate to see one of the G.O.A.T.s get injured on a freak accident during the LAST SECOND of the game with his team down by 2, but it looks like the NBA is making Dahntey Jones a SCAPEGOAT for this Lakers loss, as if the entire game came down to that one play, Kobe was going to MISS regardless! Nothing Jones did altered the shot whatsoever. So the Hawks go on to a 35-29 record, good for 5th in the east thus far, if the Eastern Conference stays in the same standings (it wont) we will be facing the Iso-Joe Brooklyn Nets in the 1st round of the playoffs! Now THAT would be a good series, the world gave the Hawks NO CHANCE against any playoff opponent during the Joe Johnson era, this first year without him, Hawks perception is not going to change, but a PLAYOFF UPSET could upset alot of people. Let's see the Hawks TURN UP for the Playoff-push season!


Friday, March 1, 2013

After brilliant performance against Utah, Josh Smith has terrible game letting the new-teammate Morris Brothers shine in a 87-92 Suns Win

Well, Josh Smith can only be Josh Smith.

 This is why it takes an enormous amount of patience and FAITH to be a 2012-2013 Atlanta Hawks fan. Josh Smith has continually improved in his handling of responsibilities and being a team leader, but just as soon as a fan gets excited about what we see, he has a dud game. 5 points on 2/11 FGs 0/5 3ptFGs 1/4 FTs 10 rbs 5 asts and 5 TOs is not a good stat line, Josh.

It didn't help it was the same night Jeff Teague had an off-night as well. 6 points (3/10 FGs) 1 ast 4 TOs 2 stls.

Al Horford has his 8th game in a row of 20+ points with 20 pts (8/16 FG3 2/2 3ptFGs!) And what's up with Al Horford hitting all these threes lately?! Could it be Al has a little Dirk in his blood?

It could have simply all been divine in order for the only pair of twin brothers in the NBA to shine as they finally have unexpectedly become teammates, due to a trade-deadline deal with the Houston Rockets.

Markieef Morris was drafted by the Suns with the 14th pick in the 2011 draft and admitted it was a bit difficult to get used to playing without his brother, Marcus, early in his career. He became a good impact player, but now these identical twin brothers will get the comfort and empowerment of playing with each other on an NBA-level, and the Atlanta Hawks were simply the latest victims of that, likely by accidentally taking this 13-32 Suns team lightly.

Hopefully, this game was the wake up call the Hawks needed in order for them to play well enough to defeat the 29-30 Kobe-Bryant-will-not-be-denied-.500 Los Angeles Lakers.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Al Horford scores career-high as Josh Smith anchors a balanced offense and defense in a 102-91 win over Utah for 4th place in East

A brilliant performance.

The Utah Jazz were determined to get a win after a gut-wrenching overtime defeat against the Boston Celtics where Paul Pierce scored 26 points, 7 in OT to give the Jazz their 26th loss. Knowing the Los Angeles Lakers were gunning for their playoffs-necks, they were determined to beat the visiting 14-13 road record Atlanta Hawks.

But the Hawks were TOO GOOD!

Josh Smith led the Hawks in a brilliant performance as the Hawks went into the 4th quarter with a 82-56 lead and survived a futile rally for a 102-91 victory. Josh had one of his classic, awesome "i-cant-believe-this-guy-is-not-an-all-star-WTF-is-wrong-with-you-NBA-coaches" games, scoring 24 pts (9/19 FGs 1/4 3ptFGs 5/7 FTs) 14 rbs (3 off) 7 asts and 1 stl. He virtually controlled the pace of the game in all 42 minutes of his playing time, imposing his will on the game definitely helped Al Horford have an AMAZING GAME scoring a career-high 34 pts (14/22 FGs 6/6 FTs) 15 rbs (4 off) 5 BLOCKS! and 3 asts in 43 minutes of playing time. It was Josh Smith's 8th game this season with 7 assists or more and his 8th game with 24 pts or better.

Al Horford described the the grit and determination he and Josh play with now as the primary scorers on the team, "We just kept fighting and I kept fighting. we worked too hard to give it up," Horford said. "It was one of those things where you don't want to lose, so you kind of do whatever you have to do."

Al Horford seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Joe Johnson trade for the Hawks, he has always led the team (AND led the LEAGUE at his position!) in Field Goal %, with more touches in a more balanced offense he has averaged a career-high scoring average, which has his season stats at 17.1 ppg 10.1 rpg 3.2 apg on 55.6% FGs, tell me that's not an ALL-STAR! but a career-low free throw shooting at 61.5% 

Jeff Teague had a great game orchestrating the offense and being at the right spots on time, he scored 19 pts and 7 asts, and Devin Harris has been a good duel-point guard starter with Jeff as he scores 12 pts.

The Hawks are now 33-23, on pace for a 48-24 record, an IMPROVED winning percentage from last season, they continue their road trip by going against the Phoenix Suns on Friday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Chalk up the Phoenix game as a win but that Lakers game is going to be very tough, as they fight for their playoff lives AND they get prepared to make their once-a-season trip to Phillips Arena on March 13, only 10 days after that game. 

Speaking of the Hawks/Lakers game, there is a special event happening before that game. There is a brand new sports organization on the bubble that is VEEERYYY intriguing in Atlanta. The ModelsBasketball League is a women's basketball league established in 2011 that promotes beauty and fitness through basketball, and they are actually opening up for the Hawks/Lakers game. They have previously played at Phillips Arena at Hawks/Grizzlies match-up on 02/06/2013 and at the Hawks/Nuggets on 12/5/2012, it may not be NBA level basketball but it is a whole 'nother level of beautiful ;) 

LET'S GO HAWKS! Until next time...