The HHB would like to send this Get Well Soon card to Josh Smith and Al Horford, especially after seeing the Hawks limp along without them at home against the Wizards Wednesday night.
Oh sure, the final was in the Hawks favor, 91-87, but they needed some Marvin Williams heroics to do it, with the man hitting another clutch three in the right corner late in the game.
(Sidenote: We heard the great Steve Holman's call of Marvin's shot today on First Team on Fox and Holman referred to Williams as "Marvelous Marvin". Now, we looooove Holman, but there was only one Marvelous Marvin, so couldn't we find another alliteration for Marvin? How about Mustache Marvin in honor of his early 80's 'stache or Martian Marvin, since he so resembles the "where's the kaboom" Marvin of Looney Tunes fame? Something needs to be done here---Marvin Hagler is turning over on his sofa as we speak.)
Back to the game and the fact that the Hawks struggled---really, struggled with a Wizards team that can best be described as "bad", and that's being nice. Without Gilbert Arenas, the team lacks any panache, even with the solid Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. The Wizards started Dee Brown and JaVale McGee against the home team last night, first starts for both and it showed.
Any team with playoff aspiration should have pasted the Wizards or at least had the game well under control, but the Hawks seemed to rely way too much on a series of 1 on 1 moves, usually ending in a jump shot. That the Hawks shot less than 40 percent indicates how largely ineffective the strategy was.
For a bit, I thought that Terry Stotts was calling the shots again for the Hawks, waiting endlessly for the jump shots to go in so that the inside would open up.
Things are tightening up on Joe Johnson as well, with Joe taking a few more than before off balance shots and having to fade away more than the beginning of this season. Only Mike Bibby remained hot, and did so by going 11-17 on twos and burning the Wizards as they tried to press Joe.
The frontcourt, especially defensively, reminded all why Smith and Horford are critical to the team's success, as Zaza Pachulia, Solomon Jones, and company allowed a Princeton Chorus line to the hoop quite often---too often by too many Wizards.
It was the offense of Bibby, the tenacity of the offensive rebounding (Definately a Zaza Specialty), and the aggressive play of Marvin that eventually pulled the game out for the good guys, salvaging things for a bit and ending the painful four game losing streak.
(One more Sidenote: Doesn't it seem like losing streaks go on for at least twice as long as winning streaks of the same size, or in the Hawks case greater? Back to the words.)
Marvin definitely showed more attack to the hoop, which was needed because the other player that goes to the hoop (other than Joe) has been Ronald Murray, who provided one of those games that his former teams have warned us about. But the HHB is not jaded yet---we like Murray's attack style, even if it means he has some of these stinkers (2-11). In fact, his running three to end the half was typical of a player like Murray--you know, a guy that thinks every shot he puts up is "money".
Still, despite the relief of a win, which was definitely needed and appreciated, it was a game that was too often led by the Wizards, and sloppy by every definition of the word as it relates to the game (defensively, offensively---yum, 17 turnovers!). That they were able to settle down somewhat and take care of the team is nice, but the play of the team without their two frontcourt stalwarts makes the HHB nervous and anxiously awaiting their return.
Get Well Soon!