At the University of Florida in 2004-2005, David Lee went up in practice against the likes of freshmen and future national champions Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, and Al Horford. Lee and the other upperclassmen were known to have their hands full in such practices, but liked to have their way with the young bucks.
We hope he enjoyed those days, because they are no more.
Against the New York Knicks, in The Great Building, the Atlanta Hawks took control of a sloppy game with a (37) point third quarter and cruised to a 114-101 win.
In that third quarter, the Hawks rode the back of the aforementioned Horford, who scored (14) in the quarter, on his way to a game high (25) on the night. As the Hawks searched for control after falling behind by double digits at halftime, suddenly the team discovered the ever-active big man.
First was a running jump shot off a pick/roll with Mike Bibby (with bonus!). Then, as the Namesake was saying on the telecast that they should get the ball to Horford (a novel concept with no real big men present on the Knicks), the Hawks fed the ball to Al, who had Lee on his back.
Not for long.
Horford took the ball at Lee by backing down on the baseline. Then Horford sealed him on his left hip, swung right towards the baseline and found nothing between himself and the rim. The one-time backup to Lee completed the ownage by launching a two-hand slam and leaving Lee left to pick up the remains.
It was a play that brought the entire HHB Viewing Party to their feet, with multiple requests to honor the strong move by rewinding and making sure he would do it again. And he did.
The dunk brought the Hawks down to a (5) point deficit, but it established that the Knicks had nothing that could stop the Birds from nesting near the rim. Horford would get the ball again against Lee and this time drew the foul going hard to the middle.
Horford's prowess got the Knicks attention and the next time Horford got the ball in the lane, he drew the defense and dished to a baseline cutting Josh Smith, who dropped in a reverse layup. Next it was Smith's turn to return the favor and, when an Al Harrington three missed the mark, Smith got the ball ahead to a waiting Horford, who dunked first and asked questions later. When Al sank the bonus, the score was tied at 71 and the Hawks never trailed again.
As the Knicks started to lose their composure by launching quick shots instead of leaning on what got them their lead to begin with, a steady diet of ball movement and attacking the rim, the Hawks pulled away. Horford added four more points in the quarter and the Hawks began to lock down the win.
David Lee might be in line for a big payday next offseason, but Al Horford just owned him.
Seven Seconds is a Sham, but Toney Douglas is a Man
We know that courtside guest Lang Whitaker was happy about what he saw. Not just that the Favored Team won and that he got to call the game, but that he got to see the man he touted throughout the draft process play a great game.
Toney Douglas was not well thought of going into April of last year--that is until Lang called all those fools out in his April 1st Links column. (Hint to the experts: He wasn't fooling.)
Douglas shot and shot and shot his way to (22) points and was the only Knick that earned a "heat check" on the night. (Yes, we know that Harrington scored -22- also, but he scored inside--and who asked you, anyway?)
All Those Who Think They Deserve a Spot on the All-Star Ballot, Step Forward---Not So Fast, Marvin
So the All-Star Ballots came out Tuesday and the Starting Five are on the ballot in the East. Horford, Smith, Johnson, Bibby, and Jamal Crawford.
Yup, no Marvin Williams on the ballot, and the newly contractually extended member of the Hawks family protested by having more fouls than points (5 to 4) and going quietly into the New York City nightlife. Williams struggled so mightily in this game that he spent the night defensively trying to prove Hoopinion's statistical analysis of his early season.In fact, we thought we saw the Hawks switching Horford onto first half Knicks star Harrington with great success. Then, when Lee scored inside on Williams, they switched back, and then back again, as if trying to hide Marvin. We love Williams, but the Mustache is not as obvious this season, and his game is much less comfortable right now---as if there isn't any room for him out there.
Just like the All-Star Ballot.
THHB would also like to honor Mike Bibby for his game (19 and 9, 6-8, 3-4, 4-4). Well done sir. Flowers and cards can be left for Mike in the Comments Area.