Oh, sure---we could dwell on the slopfest that might have been the first 24 minutes of the game, but hey, all we asked the Hawks for was 24 minutes of heck---and that's what we got in the MLK Day special at the arena against the weakened Raptors, 87-84.
We could share the misery of watching as the Birds seemed to be going for an airball record in the game, with everybody from Mike Bibby to Thomas Gardner whiffed from everywhere on the floor.
(Sidenote: Really? Thomas Gardner? Listen, we get that Marvin Williams was out as was Al Horford, but shouldn't we really have seen Mario West out there instead? West has at least seen game action more regularly than Gardner, who was last seen cleaning up against New Jersey---on November 15th. Seriously, it wasn't the time to make sure that Tommy's parents got to see him get into the game---stuff like that might make the team feel like the game isn't as challenging as it surely seemed to be at that point in the game. End Note.)
We could point out (once again) that the team must believe that a rope-a-dope defense is what wins for them---simply letting the other team land punch after punch before coming on strong late in games. Either the Raptors wore out or the Hawks decided to step up defensively in the second half, leaving the 51 point first half behind and limiting the visitors to 33 in the second half. Since Toronto, who we thought was a good 3-pt shooting team, had zero at the half, we can't believe they wore out, unless they weren't used to scoring that much.
We could whine about the fact that the lack of depth really shows if any of the starting five goes down. The Hawks only had 4 players score before Maurice Evans "broke through" with 2:44 left to play in the game. (Dead Horse Alert!: Anyone still going to argue with the HHB that Mo Evans was an improvement--yep, we were told that by some Bird Watchers---or that he was at least an even swap with Grecian Josh Childress? Evans is a great guy and a hustling fool, but is there anyone who believes that Childress isn't missed or wouldn't have been doing more when forced into the starting lineup?)
We could also blather on about missed free throws, turnovers, and the usual Josh Smith shenanigans but we can't complain when the team delivers the "W"--even if it was against the team that was missing Jermaine O'Neal and Jose Calderon.
We can't complain when The Backcourt goes off for 19-36 shooting, complete with Joe Johnson delivering the killer sauce with a dozen seconds left. Oh, missed it did you? Check out the 5:42 mark of the excellent recap video:
You just can't get too fired up when the end result is watching one of the clutch players in Atlanta Hawks history do it again.
See you in Chicago.
The HHB is well aware of the current Hawks immaturity---they can relate pretty well---all advice and comments are welcome in the Comments section.