Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bursting Bubbles

Funny thing about winning streaks, especially one like the Atlanta Hawks have been on lately,  is that you can never see them coming to an end.

Logically, THHB could never see any scenario where the club would finish 80-2, but we were well into the streak enough to lose track of how they can lose a game. After all, it hasn't exactly been precision playmaking at every part of every game that had gotten the Hawks to that point--so what kind of combination could?

Well, as the New Orleans Hornets showed (rather rudely we'll add--play like you want to win---harrumph to that) if you play with a lot of hunger and hit all your outside shots while the Hawks can't even finish a layup--hey, you may be in the business of a regular season upset.

The Hawks started the game 10-2 and then stopped doing anything consistently enough to stop the Three Train from the Hornets. New Orleans hit a ghastly 12-17 of their longer range attempts--some of them wide open/some not---while the Hawks hit only 4 of 22.

When the shots stopped falling from the outside, the Birds headed inside--and found little relief. Layups, missed runners, nothing was going in. Soon the Hawks started standing around wondering if anyone was going to be able to make a basket.

From there on the Hornets had the Good Night mojo and the Hawks were never able to wrestle that away from at any point the rest of the way. The Hawks would make an aggressive move on the offensive boards (where they scored 20 of those jobbies) but would miss the shot somehow only to see the Hornets whizzing by on the way to the hoop for a score of their own. Nice.

Hoopinion favorite Darren Collison had himself a tasty night and Marcus Thornton did the same as they attacked the Hawks all night. It was not a good night to compare the Hawks draft selection to those two, as Jeff Teague barely got off the bench and was invisible in comparison to the Hornets productive duo.

So the seven game win streak (remarkable in itself that the fact that it was a seven game win streak barely registered here) is over, as a 96-88 loss concludes, but we're willing to chalk it up as one of those nights---as if we could remember what those were.

What We Liked

When someone is dropping (4) 3pt anvils on your squad in the first quarter, there isn't much to smile about. (Hey, by the way, a big thank you to Tim Floyd for "advising" to get Peja Stojakovic off the floor when he couldn't have missed from the street.) But we have to say that despite Peja killing the Hawks with those bombs, the sight of the three Pejas-on-a-stick (shown after every three) across the bottom of the screen were worth noting for its entertainment value.

When are we going to see Peachtree Hoops fire up a picture of Marvin Williams in his "bench wear" collection? Maybe we've just been missing the boat (plenty of those missed in our careers) before tonight but the shots of  Marvin in full "sealed for freshness" mode on the bench made us say "Nerd Alert!" Come on, PH, there's humor in that thar get-up, eh?

We liked that Josh Smith stayed active to the hoop, and continues to draw fouls (leads the team in draw foul rate). We saw in this game, however, that he was teetering a bit--couldn't resist launching  more bad shots--yelping at the officials--more out of control than in the first dozen or so games. Stay in the light, Josh, stay in the light.

We like that it's clear Mike Bibby still has value---as his departure after landing on Collison's foot (5) minutes into the game showed that, while Jamal Crawford can score, score, score, Bibby is the point guard for this team and his presence was missed as the Hawks attempted to get back in front.

Most of all, we like that we are off until Thanksgiving Day, when we will gather together and break bread for the traditional Turkey Day game on TNT featuring the Hawks. Wait, what? Orlando v. Atlanta at 8pm EST on TNT to cap off a day of feasting for THHB team?

Oh yes--we like.

THHB wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Cooking ideas and broken streaks can be left in the Comments Area.

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