Saturday, May 2, 2009

What's Old is New Again

If there was some way to communicate us shaking our collective heads, we'd love to do it.

Oh sure, there can be the old (shaking head), but it couldn't begin to display the level of disappointment in the Hawks dismal 98-72 Game Six humiliation at the hands and home of the Miami Heat.

We offered that, if the Hawks played strong defense, efficient offense, and maintained their composure, they would have a chance to end their series with the Heat in (6) games and not risk an anything-can-happen Game Seven in Atlanta.

We now offer that the Hawks struck out on (3) pitches Friday Night.

As we have explained before, the proof of the Hawks intentions can often be found in the first (5) minutes of a game. If they are geared to challenge, they play aggressive defense, take care of the boards, and show energy offensively. If they are about to lay a rotten egg of a game, they are passive on all fronts and lose poise quickly.

As it so happens, the Hawks were the latter, settling for jump shots, getting beat to spots and shots defensively, and got caught up in the expectation of getting screwed by the officials. Yes, the film will show the Hawks cut a near (17) point lead down to (9), but the Hawks took the halftime break to regroup and afford the Heat a 16-2 run to cement the Hawks fate by using all of the same traits they have shown all year.

Yeah, Well They--What About When--But Don't Forget th--Nevermind

In Games Two and Three one could point to the Heat having statistically anomalous good shooting nights, but Game Six was less about fortune and more about aggression. The Heat were more patient and tenacious than the Hawks, who seemed to already be thinking about what dinnerware to get out for the hosting of Game Seven back home.

The Heat's collective tenacity showed in their pounding the Hawks on the glass, 47-36. The Heat simply moved their bodies more, pouncing on the rebounds, and got more deflections. The Hawks had to work hard to just complete a pass--while the Heat were rarely challenged to any spot on the floor. Dwyane Wade led by example (41 points, 5 rebounds), as did Joel Anthony (8 rebounds, 5 were very offensive), and then Michael Beasley came off the bench and kept the drum beating (22 points, 15 rebounds).

The Hawks played passive on both ends, settled consistently for jump shots, and out-turnovered the Heat. When the going got tough, the Birds looked like they wanted to get going---back to the ATL---They looked like they didn't want to be in Miami, and it was the Heat's energy and execution that made them look that way.

Way to Prove Them Right, Joe

We say that Joe Johnson, when right, is the heartbeat of the Hawks offense. Not so much in the many impressive ways that he can score but rather, when he is going right, there is a rhythm to how he can move the ball and that includes to his teammates. After enjoying a (9) assist, (3) turnover Game Five, The Backcourt went back to their negative ways, posting a 5:7 ratio in this loss.

That said---even though we play this song more than "YMCA" at a ballgame, Mike Woodson pulled Joe Johnson after getting his second foul early in the first quarter (2 minutes into the game). In what could be a deciding game, on the road, against an aggressive team, with your team already without (2) starters, you may want to roll the dice on your guard not fouling out despite picking up those early fouls. Johnson would end with a whopping (3) fouls for the game and he, nor the offense, would ever pick up the flow that existed in Game Five.

Friday Night Is Leftover Night

The Hawks wasted at least two things in this game; a (20) point first half from Mike Bibby and (4) minutes from an obviously injured Marvin Williams, whose only shot attempt badly missed.

Solomon Jones made the start for the Birds in place of the injured, but not naked, Al Horford and there was much rejoicing (yay). Jones, a known fouler, actually stayed out of foul trouble (only one in 21 minutes) and was fairly effective in his role (6 points, 5 rebounds). That Jones' rebounding total was more than double that of Zaza Pachulia (2 boards, no offensive rebounds) while playing fewer minutes than Zaza (29) says less about how well Jones played than it does in telling how the Hawks got completely outworked on the glass.

Mo Evans tried to be a leader in Game Five, but in this one he got caught up in the Hawks Flu--whose symptoms are complaining about the officiating and bad shooting. Get well, Mo---and you as well Josh Smith.

When Home Court Advantage Goes Wrong

So it will come to a Sunday Game Seven---the Heat have all sorts of momentum, but we have seen how little that has mattered in this series. But the problem with a single game is that now the Hawks are vulnerable to another abnormal game---fluke injuries, foul trouble, bad luck--these can all contribute to an adverse game for the Birds---and as we have seen adversity is not a situation the Hawks face with remarkable aplomb.

In a One Game Series the HHB usually goes with the best player to win---we saw who that was in Game Six. And it's not always about just points. Let's just say that there was more than scoring that separated each teams' lead characters on the court on Friday night.

The Hawks had their chance to end it--and now they are even---and anything can happen.

Atlanta has one more chance---The season--and all their work in it---is riding on it.

The HHB is worried for their job if the Hawks can't advance--Any ideas of anyone else that should feel the same can be suggested in the Comments Area.

1 comment:

CoCo said...

The Hawks damn well better win tomorrow. That is all.