Thursday, December 10, 2009


As we viewed the Atlanta Hawks 118-83 basting of the Chicago Bulls all of the tired and travelled members of THHB shared a single common emotion.


The Hawks did everything they could have wanted to do in this nationally televised felonious assault on another NBA team.

The Bulls hobbled into the ATL in a bad, bad way. They recently got booed while getting killed by the Raptors. They lost another home game to the Nets, who left Chicago celebrating their first road win of the season. The only time that the Bulls have grabbed any headlines was for Joakim Noah's rebellion against Dance Dance Lebronalution in Cleveland---another loss, by the way.

Being that the game against the Nets, a hard fought one we must add, was the previous night and that the Hawks had not played since their weekend victory over the Mavs, the scene was set for the Hawks to take care of the business of putting away an injured, less successful team in their own building.

And so they did.

The Hawks, save for a few early Joe Johnson-esque possessions, moved freely about the court, moving the ball through the high post with fantastic success. Josh Smith and Al Horford both had (4) assists, most of them early, as the Hawks set the tone and attacked the hoop early and relentlessly against their guests.

The game began to snowball on the Bulls when the Hawks second team sprung into action late in the first quarter. The entire second unit was on the court when the Hawks trailed by one and by the time the first team started to trickle back onto the court, the Hawks had opened up a (5) point lead and never trailed again.

The second unit portrayed exactly the kind of aggressive, energetic play that was going to flattened an already thin and tired Bulls squad. Joe Smith grabbed (3) offensive rebounds in that span of time. Jeff Teague made an early appearance and looked like Tree Rollins swatting away a John Salmons layup attempt. Zaza Pachulia made his presence felt.

But the main man was Jamal Crawford. Crawford attacked Kirk Hinrich with a grudge and scored (16) first half points, inspiring the Bulls to lay down and play dead. Crawford noted at halftime that the Hawks want to "wear teams out" with their depth--and the bench play in the first half laid the foundation for that to happen.

The Hawks came out from halftime with a (14) point lead and kept the pressure on. The defense moved their feet, the ball moved on offense (32 assists for the night), and the energy remained high. Many nights the Hawks have rested on an early lead and left the locker room flat, but that was not the case Wednesday night.

The Bulls became so stagnant offensively they made the Hawks ball movement look like the Harlem Globetrotters. We kept waiting for someone to spin the ball on Taj Gibson's head and then toss a bucket of confetti on Vinny Del Negro.

Soon the Bulls emotionally and spiritually waved the basketball white flag, but the Hawks played on as if the game was still very much in doubt. They pressed the ball on inbounds passes, swarmed around on the defensive end to ensure nobody was open for long, and continued to control the glass. Only after the bench was emptied did the Hawks really waste any second half possessions. And we say this because, honestly, any shot Jason Collins takes is a wasted possession. In fact Collins gets our nomination for the Ricky Vaughn Memorial "Does He Need Glasses?" scholarship--and even he made one against the Bulls.

The Hawks looked like a team that is headed for good things this season while the Bulls look like they are headed for a year in the lottery. It was a game could that presented itself as a trap or at least a let down game, but the Hawks came out with the right approach and kept at it all the way after the game was no longer in doubt.

By the time the ESPN crew used up all of their filler material--and some for the collegiate game that followed---The Official HD Viewing Center of THHB was filled with smiles, laughs, and pride.


We do give Collins credit for one particular thing---he has made Randolph Morris look fantastic by comparison. Morris looks improved over last season when he couldn't seem to make good even in garbage time. Now he shows some decent post moves--no lift mind you---but some decent production in slop minutes.

We point out that the Hawks did their damage without relying on the three point shot--hitting six of their nine threes after the bench was cleared---including some fun run-up-the-score bombs from Mo Evans down the stretch.

We enjoyed that the Hawks cleared the bench before the fourth quarter even began, giving more quality time off for the starting five. No starter played even (30) minutes, with Johnson getting (29) and the rest of that crew significantly less. This has to be a good trend this season---hopefully the Hawks won't have to waste that rest capital on the upcoming schedule, which is heavy on sub .500 teams.

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