Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
You remember, don't you?
The days where the Atlanta Hawks were a team of lottery picks. Where fans would go to games not sure if the team would even be able to compete, much less pull off a win. Where, when the deficit got too big early on, the effort would fold up and be put away---saved for a day where, hopefully, they could use all they had to get that elusive victory or (gasp!) two in a row.
We remember looking at a box score after the game and saying, 12 points? That's not too bad---then checking the box score to see that the team was down 20+ at the half--meaning the other team was on "easy" for the second half.
Good news, Bird Watchers, we are now the "other" team---you know, the team that, when playing with even a modicum of effort, the immense talent gap would destroy that glimmer of hope the other team might have come in with.
We are the team that tosses second half alley-oops, easily out maneuvers for quick buckets, and makes the other team look like they have never played the game.
Sure, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a go of it in the second half---as Rick Mahorn once informed us, this is the NBA, teams will not stop trying to get theirs, so don't sweat it if we don't win by 40 (and hey, we didn't)---but every time the Wolves thought about making it a real game, the Hawks--and specifically RFM on this night (yowza!)--gave enough effort to put the game back into the comfort zone, and cruise to the 109-97 win at home.
Now we don't know what possessed Kevin McHale to treat their second unit like a mop-up pitcher, but Rodney Carney and Bobby Brown approved, we're sure. Even when the Wolves got the lead to 10, we still saw Brian Cardinal instead of Kevin Love---hey, thanks McHale---no, no--we'll get the bill--thanks for coming!
Schadenfreude Ain't Just a River in Egypt
As mentioned, RFM had it going tonight---a classic game to let your 6th man chase his career high (not quite with 30 on 12-18 shooting--31 is the number).
The Backcourt went 18-40 with (40) points of their own---One entry after decrying the use of outside-in basketball here at the HHB, the Hawks blow it out with (70) from their top three guards. Well, Terry Stotts may be smiling somewhere, but it's an outlier performance to be sure.
As much as the IBR/HHF broadcast team rave about how Mario West will always have a job in the NBA, there haven't been many less memorable (16) minutes performances than we saw from West today. Look, we get it, he's human Flubber out there, but (2) points and (2) rebounds in all that time against a team begging for you to pad the stats doesn't seem to equate to a long, healthy stay in the league. Flubber is (1) knee injury away from the end of his career.
Kevin Love is a real good player and his shoulders are at least 15 feet across, but we are incensed that the Wolves already get the ball into Love way more than the Hawks use Al Horford inside. We are on the cusp of a "Play Him or Trade Him" entry that is sure to show our collective blood boiling. Love does a lot of the same things Horford does and we don't see him being treated like Five Minute Fred in the offensive gameplan like Al is. Let's thank Mr. McHale again for keeping him on the bench even when the game got close again.
You would think that, after witnessing first hand what the Timberwolves reserves were doing with their time on the court that the Hawks bench warriors would follow suit. Not so---Had to be disappointing to the first team to have to come back onto the floor in the fourth, but the Hawks are not going to be putting many games away with Solomon Jones and the aforementioned West out there offensively. Jones also seems to look disdainfully at good defense, preferring to just reach out or push in other instances.
Shelden Williams---Horrible, horrible selection. GMs everywhere have to hate Billy Knight for allowing the entire nation to feel that they can make a better lottery pick than an NBA GM with that #5 pick in 2006. He may be the greatest guy in the world, and the HHB knows he's saving his paychecks, but he looks like he can't even compete in the NBA.
Seriously--Rick Sund---Please add (2) more players to the bench who can play with Zaza, RFM, and Mo Evans--a big and a point preferably---thank you!
In all, a trip down memory lane---remembering what it was like to be the lesser team makes us hopeful that we will someday remember what it was like before we stepped on teams like this by 30+ and had all the starters on the bench for the fourth quarter.
Hey, and while we're reminiscing---this win gave the Hawks their first winning season since the 1999 season---Jeff Sheppard and Mark West would be proud.
The HHB is passing the Puffs around the room as we recall stories of laying down to the Wolves w/Kevin Garnett---good times, good times---You can sign our Get Well Corey Brewer card somewhere in the Comments Area.