Friday, February 6, 2009

Same Play, Different Scorer

We're not going to pretend to know if playing a 19-30 Charlotte team without Gerald Wallace almost even for the most part is impressive, ordinary, or scary.

We do know this--the Hawks won anyway, by five points, on the road, and without Joe Johnson, who we can safely say is the Hawks best player. In a recent history that has seen this team struggle for a single win, we'll take it.

Throw in the fact that the Hawks did it after spotting the home team an (18) point first half lead and got a gutsy, determined performance from Marvin Williams to do it down the stretch and we can say that the 102-97 outcome removed from us the carrot face that had been present for that entire first half.

Mustache Marv had his finest 5-15 game yet by getting to the free throw line for a staggering (20) throws---and in a bell curve smashing performance for the rest of the team, Williams canned 18 of them---Marv being such a good teammate, he probably apologized for making the rest of the team (12-19, 63 percent) look bad.

Williams attacked, attacked, and attacked some more in the second half against the Bobcats, who had frontcourt players in serious foul trouble. Not to get all mushy here--but we were a little choked up that the Hawks seemed to understand (well, at least Marvin did) that and took advantage, even though the 'Cats had some serious height advantage.

Sure, Bobcat fans will howl that the Hawks got all the calls and that the (2) buzzer beaters from RFM and Mo Evans were pure luck--but the fact is that the Bobcats squandered their 18 point first half bonanza by doing what immature teams do---stop moving the ball on offense, start standing around on defense, and settling for jump shot after jump shot. Toss in the requisite poor decision making with the ball and the ensuing turnovers and (poof) your shiny lead is all gone.

Believe the HHB---it takes one to know one.

We have seen the Hawks do the exact same thing---in fact, all you have to do is watch the first half of this same game to get the vibe. It was the second half, however, that showed the Hawks get hot, get aggressive, and get the win.

Down the stretch it was the Hawks that made the plays--mostly by Williams, who assumed the vacated Mike Woodson Isolation Extravaganza position with Johnson out. Williams didn't make jumpers like Joe, but he did use every inch of his Billy Knight Long and Tall body to get to the rim and ultimately the free throw line on his way to his (29) point night. He staggered a bit after one particularly hard landing late in the game, but after a time out, Marvin was back on the court and at the line.

(Random bad draft pick note) For a minute we had visions of a cold Cal Bowdler (Editor's note: Cynics would ask if there was any other kind) being pulled off the bench by the Celtics late in a game to shoot free throws for an injured Hawk. Bowdler ambled out to the line as if going to get the morning paper on a cold, winter morning---he stretched a bit, and you could almost hear the popping in his knees as he took his throws----and made them both. (End Note)

Both teams traded gaffes late---the Hawks with an offensive foul from Williams on a screen---the Bobcats inexplicably nearly dribbling out the clock before Josh Smith pounded their last attempt into the glass--sealing the game.

Again, we won't get out the abacus to see how this game rates---it's a win, on the road, without Joe Johnson, and at a place where the Hawks were 1-7 in the last (8) tries---So we'll take it obviously---no strings attached. The HHB is, after all, very forgiving.

Junk Mail, Junk Mail, Bills, Junk Mail

It was said by the Bobcat broadcast team but it bears repeating---the Hawks don't finish well around the rim. Besides Josh Smith, who did not do so tonight, the remainder of the Hawks act as if they are 2 years old shooting at their Little Tykes rim for the first time---unsure and unproductive. There were guffaws mixed with groans as Zaza Pachulia attempted to score around the hoop---he looks as if he is solving a Rubik's Cube out there around the basket---at one point he missed a wide open layup so, we swear, he could tap it in---a more comfortable shot for him. In Orlando this is known as a Terry Catledge Maneuver.

The Hawks were 21 for 58 inside the three point line (36 percent) and 10-18 beyond it---not the recipe for consistent offensive production. But hey, Mike Woodson AND Terry Stotts can't be wrong!

We think he is dangerous when trying to create baskets for others, but RFM is the guy we want launching any wild, end of the quarter shot. He reminds us of our good friend we played with on the mean streets of the University of Florida---the guy would routinely throw wild layup attempts and half court shots when we were waiting to get enough guys to run---and then would take those same crazy layups in the game---nobody could call it trash---that was his shot. That guy was our RFM.

It's good to see Al Horford back, but his post game is rusty---We understand that Rick Sund thinks he is a center through and through---but posting him against seven footers clearly makes him rush, miss, and fadeaway---It is also good to have his passing back at the high and low post---He set up quite a few hoops tonight that stretched beyond his (4) assists, including tapping in a hoop for the Bobcats---hey, we're smiling, Al--Welcome back!

The HHB is thawing out after the usual (2) week winter that the HHB HQ endures every year---Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows are welcome anytime in the Comments area.

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