Thursday, April 9, 2009

In Their Place

And now we move on---

We saw little in the Official Smuggled Footage of the 113-105 Hawks win over the hosting Milwaukee Bucks that differed from any other Bird offering this calendar year.

First Half: Bucks take shots, Bucks make shots = 62(!) first half points for the home team against only (53) for the Hawks, who were bricking fantastically from the outside.

Third Quarter: Bucks take shots, Bucks miss shots = 12(!) third quarter points, though we really couldn't tell that the Hawks did anything different in giving up the same open shots to MIL, except now they wouldn't go in. What was different was that the Hawks finally started making their own threes, especially Mo Evans and Joe Johnson, in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter: The Bucks finally decide that the outside shot has dried up and take it to the Hawks. Result? What seemed to be moving into comfort lead territory for the Hawks, suddenly got tight, especially since the run coincided with the Hawks dribbling until they have very little left that they can attempt except for launching a highly contested shot. Oh we know, we couldn't believe it either. But on this night, Joe Johnson was hitting those shots, including a classic bomb from the top of the key (well, you would have been able to tell that's where he was if he had been closer than four steps behind the three point line) and a nifty fall away which had some killer sauce on it.

In the end, the Hawks proved they can beat a losing team on the road, which just goes to validate their place in the NBA at this time---talented and enough execution to beat bad teams on the road, but not polished enough to do the same against the best.

They have all but sewn up home court which last occurred back in 1999, when the Hawks took the first two of the five game series in ATL from the Pistons (Christian Laettner edition for DET) but needed that Game 5 at home to advance as Detroit took the two up there to force the deciding game.

(Sidenote: That Game 5 was at Georgia Tech, and it served as Pistons GM Joe Dumars' last game as a player for DET. The Hawks were overrun by the Finals bound Knicks in the second round, and one too many Ty Corbin threes (foot on the line twos) led Pete Babcock to declare the Mookie-Smitty era over afterwards.)

Not So Fast, Acie Law

In an obvious contest between the two second season guards, Acie Law's blank box 6:14 against Toronto Tuesday night was outdone by Flubber West's 7:49 minutes of "play" against Milwaukee Wednesday night. Oh sure, Flubber had a steal and a foul in his time, but watching the Hawks play four on five offensively when he is in there gives him the extra oomph to take the contest.

Sure, the Hawks bench was outscored a gazillion to 15, but the Bucks run one of those fancy "why do these guys start again?" lineups out there, especially with Redd and Bogut out. Makes the HHB wistful for the (188) game Royal Ivey era.

We don't know because we don't watch every MIL game (an easy thing to admit), but Richard Jefferson looks like the small forward version of Shareef Abdur-Rahim---yes the numbers are there at the end of the game, but you're not scared of him as an opposing fan, and he doesn't consistently have an impact.

The Backcourt had (52) points and shot (50) percent. They thoughtfully took advantage of the Sessions/Bell/Bogans/Ridnour offering as they should.

Al Horford had (19) points on (8) shots. Efficient.

Josh Smith had little interest in making free throws in the first half, but we heard he twittered himself to snap out of it (direct message!) and he did, making (9) of (10) the rest of the way. Twitter--is there anything it can't do?

Maybe Milwaukee has the same official scorekeeping standards as the ATL, because we could swear there were more than (3) blocks between the two teams. Maybe they napped.

The HHB is interested in a good nap also---pillows and blankets can be dropped off in the Comments Area.

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