Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Won? (And Other Convoluted Thoughts)

We're confused.

We watched the entire game against the Pacers, including an excruciatingly long 3rd quarter (Louis Grillo, Joe DeRosa, and Violet Palmer, everybody!) and we can't figure it out.

We won this game?

This was a game where we wore what's known around these parts as the "carrot face" (think sucking on a lemon and also wanting to throw up) for most of the second half---a game that will not make the end of the season highlight reel of the best executed games---on the road, on the tired end of a back-to-back---we won this game?


To us, it came down to two things:

In a third quarter which was horrifically over-officiated, the Hawks lost their cool early, fouling the Pacers into the bonus within 4 minutes of the second half and getting a technical foul on Marvin Williams. But it was the Pacers that ended up freaking out more, inviting the Birds into the bonus soon after and getting a technical foul of their own on Marquis Daniels.

When a game is obviously poorly officiated, it's the team that doesn't allow those factors to alter their game or focus that will win the game. In seasons past, the Hawks were not that team. As we watched tonight, the Hawks were, and the team regained composure and rode out the quarter with the lead.

The other, natch, was Joe Johnson.

Not that it's a surprise, but in the last 7:44 of the game, with the exception of a single Josh Smith layup, Johnson made all the Hawks field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers that kept the Hawks at least two possessions ahead down the stretch.

The last one was the end result of a series of passes and player movement. It looked like it might end badly, as Smith was hurdling toward the basket with no shot and it looked like he was going to do one of his patented "hurl the ball anywhere, but with great force!" passes that usually leads to a turnover. Instead, he two-hands-over-the-head soccer passed the ball to an inexplicably wide open Joe Johnson, who put the three ball down and sealed the Pacer fate.

Joe started the quarter with 15 points and ended with 27. Ball-Game.

Other Thoughts:

You had to know, as everybody passed along the BP article that showed the Hawks 3-point prowess, explaining the Hawks rise to "power" in the East, that the Hawks would come out and brick away---and so they did, (6-23, .261). In fact, the shots were so off that they looked like they were shooting at the old playground hoops with the double rims---it was ugly.

If Josh Smith were a roommate, he would be the type that you would have a great time with, have all the cool electronic toys, life of the party, good times all around, but he would always drink the last of the milk and would never do the dishes. We have said before, Josh Smith Lives--and Therefore We Die---and it was true again versus the Pacers. He was one of the main reason for the carrot face, with his careless, careless passing, his unnecessary lunges into the passing lanes, and of course the jump shots. But then there he is, 7-8 on free throws in that marathon third quarter--there he is, making the big pass, and making a key bucket late---there he is, stealing an inbounds pass and scoring on a night where easy baskets were more than usually welcome---Bottom line is we win with Smoove in the lineup, so we'll have to deal with the carrot face for oh, about six more years at least.

For those who might have wanted to select Roy Hibbert after G'Town's runs through the tourney---whooo, you may want to count your blessings---Zaza owned him down low when he was in the game and for a guy who is listed at 7'2, you would like to see a presence on defense at least--13 minutes, Zero rebounds and Zero blocks. Oy.

The Pacers are a classic team without a point guard. Oh yes, Jarret Jack scored well and was aggressive--but the one Approved Point Guard, TJ Ford, jacked up 8 shots of his own in only 11 minutes. The broadcast team (IBR and Nique) was saying how Indiana was lamenting their close game losses this year. Hey, hey! Look no further than your lack of floor general to control situations like the third quarter and down the stretch and you will find your wins.

We should know---since we have received our Approved Point Guard, things haven't been the same. 21 wins before the new year for the first time since 1979 and winning games like this one, where we wonder how in the world we whistled out of a tough place like IND with a win.

Thank you, Mike Bibby!

The HHB is flipping through basketball cards of Hawks point guards past---Emanual Davis, Brevin Knight, Anthony Johnson I, II, and III---If you wish to trade, leave a Comment in the Comments area.

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