Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blacked Out----But Not Down

The HHB, like the Hawks, have been in a slump.

You see, the HHB is bound by the NBA laws which govern broadcast and distribution of the images, descriptions, and accounts of all Atlanta Hawks basketball games.

So, when a game is blacked out from the Official HHB High Definition Viewing Center, as the games against the Knicks and Nets were to us, any attempt to "cover" the team is thwarted.

Apparently, it's difficult for all the HHB hired hands, spotters, analysts, and facial expression scientists to tell us what to write when there is no broadcast to dissect.

The HHB doesn't believe in excuses, but they may have a point here. It's a development that makes us as excited as the prospects in the 2000 draft all over again.

If this were 1990, the HHB might just give the whole situation the Gas Face.

But, things are apparently looking up--after receiving the latest bit of bad news regarding tonight's non-broadcast of the Revenge of the Hawks, we checked the Crystal Ball for the score and was thrilled to see that the Hawks beat down the evil Nets so good (105-88) that even D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger was so unimpressed by the team he beats that he called getting within (7) points close and called Joe Johnson "John".

Somewhere, Ron Gant is Smiling

Funny thing about the recent scoring slump of The Backcourt---it's that outside shooting is not so surprisingly impacted by streaks---good and bad. As Bret from Hoopinion has mentioned often this season, the Hawks have been sailing along thanks to the wind of a really good year shooting the basketball from the outside. Recently, the shooting has cooled, especially from Mike Bibby.

The HHB is never surprised, but admits the collective head shakes a little when a slump is in full swing, the sky in the Hawks Nation is always falling. Then, when the slump ends, the doom and gloom fades---Then again, maybe it's good to go to a bad place for a while to appreciate the good times.

This whole cycle brought to mind the hand wringing that would always go on with Atlanta's Ron Gant. For some reason, folks singled out Ronnie's ability to go cold at the plate (Bobby Cox included) and talking heads on TV and radio would rail on and on about how he needed to be more consistent. Gant was the equivalent of an outside shooter in basketball. When he was on, he could carry the team and put up big numbers, when he was cold---well, lots of hands would be wrung.

Slumps come and go---you gotta have depth to ride it out when your guys are cold---The Backcourt could use some post presence when these times hit--but the Hawks have seemed reticent to add more inside or even use what they have there.

3----That's the Magic Number

Now you may try to subtract it
But it just wont go away
Three times one?
(what is it? )
(one, two, three!)
And that's the magic number

Joe Johnson this week became the third Hawks since '75 to go three peat on the ATL and represent the Birds at the NBA All-Star Game. As we wrote in our 2009 Wish List Joe joins The HHF and Dan Roundfield with this honor and we think it is well earned.

We will say it again for all Hawks fans to hear---enjoy this special player---he is not everything you want him to be, but he is great, make no bones about it----what he has been to the Hawks is nothing short of a cornerstone---the fact that he is not in the Top 5 players in the game should not subtract from how great he has been for the home team.

Big Fat All-Star Ups to Joe---now get some rest, man.

Speaking of Which

We were delighted (ahem) to see that once again Joe played an insane amount of time in this game. He played 43:11 of the first 46:14 of the game--that's 93.4 percent for those of us who went to Florida---and 90 percent overall.

In baseball terms, if Johnson were a pitcher, he would be throwing about 241 pitches per start.

Now, we don't pretend to know how this affects NBA players in general or even Joe Johnson specifically---that's for the sabermagicians to figure out---but the HHB Bean Counters have told us that over the last few seasons, even when being immensely overworked, Joe has thrived in March, where you would typically expect a wear down to begin.

Again, we simply pose the questions---that's all we're good for---others might have this information and need to share it with the less mentally fortunate, such as we have proven ourselves to be over the years here.

Still---we don't want this to be the year where Joe's wheels come flying off---so we're watching.

The HHB is still staring at the blacked out notice at the HHB headquarters---explanations and suggestions, as well as the usual insightful comments may be received in our Comments Area.

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