Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winning---It's Like---Better Than Losing

After losing to the Celtics in the manner in which the Hawks were dispatched (heartbreaker), the HHB mused in the recap below that what would show the mettle of the team is how they would play against the visiting Warriors on Friday night.

The team from Oakland does one thing---shoot the basketball----and defense has no place in their energy budget.

It sounds great as an opponent---hey, they hardly contest where I want to go on the floor or any shot I want to take---this is great!

And it is, until you find yourself suddenly settling for long jump shots and adopt the same "stand around" defense that's being deployed by the Warriors. That's called a trap. If you can avoid the trap, you can easily get past teams like the Golden State. If you can't, and you let them hang around, you might find yourself stuck like in one of those Chinese Finger Contraptions.

You know, those things that you stick your fingers into, and if you struggle and try to pull your fingers out fast, you get stuck even more, but if you are patient and take your time, you easily get out of it.

In the first quarter of the game, the Hawks patiently moved the ball around offensively and, lo and behold, they scored and scored in the paint. Defensively they were fairly solid, though yielding shot after shot to Marco Belinelli, and the lead was quickly into double digits.

Then the Hawks fell into the trap and found themselves stinking up the joint going into the fourth quarter down by two points.

Then, instead of trying to flail and run and shoot their way out of the trap, they went back to playing solid defense, which led to good possessions on offense, which led to the Hawks exploding out of the trap and shutting the Warriors down 36-18 in the fourth quarter.

How bad is Golden State? They allowed RFM to log a mind-boggling +24 in a little over 21 minutes of play AND he shot 8-12. Peachtree Hoops might lose their appetite all day when they see the headline of "Murray Leads Hawks over Warriors" .

UPDATE: Here is another great RFM headline to make PH feel ill--right here, courtesy of the AJC.

Alas, all was well at the end as the Hawks ended up with a gambling friendly final of 115-99 over the visitors. The first quarter showed there was no hangover from the Celtics loss. The second and third quarters illustrated how alluring that lazy brand of Warrior basketball can be, especially to a young team like Atlanta. The fourth quarter displayed that the Hawks are mature enough to understand when enough was enough and got back to all the things that were right about the first quarter, and used it to lock down the game and get the win.

Random Thoughts

  • Consider the HHB firmly planted on the "Why in the world is RFM running the point over Acie Law?" bandwagon. We have chimed in on this in previous entries, but giving developmental minutes to Murray over Law flies directly in the face of all rational long term decision making. And really, thought the Warriors made him look like LeBron, Murray isn't even as efficient and productive as Law seems to be when he gets in the game. We could hope for injury to Murray to force the issue, but we are not into wishing such things---besides, guys you want to go away never do.
  • We admit that we believe Dominique Wilkins to be one of the best guys to ever wear the Hawks gear (Hey, we did name the blog after the guy), and we were excited when he rejoined the organization in a front office role, though we suspected there was some figurehead aspect to it. We didn't care---'Nique was back. He has always been available and engaging to speak with, always very frank in those discussions. We guess that comes with being the man---you stop caring if anyone hears you say what you are thinking. So we were thrilled when we got the memo that 'Nique would join "I'm Bob Rathbun" on Hawks TV this year. Yes, he is sometimes Master of the Obvious, especially with the always-contrived-on-any-telecast keys to the game, but he also brings that frankness that we have enjoyed in private conversations to the people as a whole.
  • Speaking of the people as a whole, Zaza's Playground has an interesting bit about the interest in Hawks as shown in the TV Ratings---Winning + Dominique = More watchers.
  • We have taken the plunge and moved our internet operations to an actual domain name. We have assumed the logical address. We expect this to rival the Super Bowl in terms of interest, so you might want to make a note of the change. Thank you!

The HHB was once trapped 13 hours on an escalator during a blackout, but has always escaped the Chinese Finger Contraption. You are welcome to Comment in the Comments section.

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