Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Atlanta Hawks Opening Night - Welcome Back To The Highlight Factory!

Since this is the Hawks opening night I wanted to do a running diary to chronicle the success, or failure, of the first game of the year.  Enjoy!

1st Quarter

Good to see Atlanta hasn’t changed one bit.  Just tipped off and the Arena is 25% full.  I doubt Coach Johnson has even blessed The Highlight Factory with his presence.  I could probably smell the Gorin’s $5 tall boys from here if he had.

Also nice to see Mike Woodson hasn’t changed.  He went right to his usual offensive set off the tip: Clear out for Joe Johnson who dribbles into a turnover.  I don’t like the Danny Granger matchup for Joe on either end.

Nice running hook from Al Horford over the 7’2” Roy Hibbert.  Al will never be the most talented player on this team, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better leader and glue/hustle guy in the league.

And just to reiterate my point SportsSouth gets a great shot of Al’s new porn ‘stache.  Now that’s leadership at its finest folks.

My goodness Troy Murphy may be the most Caucasian person I’ve ever seen.

Wow, great start for Josh Smith.  3/3 shooting, all layups, and a beautiful alley oop to Mike Bibby for an assist; yes you read that right.

And then it’s Same Old Josh showing right back up.  He bricks a deep jumper with his heels on the line; that’s the worst shot in basketball.  Either take a step back and shoot the 3 or take 2 steps in and make it a 15 footer.  And of course the next time down the floor he picks Murphy’s pocket and slams a breakaway dunk from near the free throw line.

2nd Quarter

The refs just had a 4 minute discussion over a goaltending.  I think Tim McClellan had to take a trip to the mound to break ‘em up.

Good move by the Hawks to resign Zaza.  Looks like he wrapped up his latest caper with the Goonies just in time:

Jeff Teague makes his debut.  This kid isn’t a great shooter, he’s not extremely fast or quick, he’s not a true pass-first PG, but he’s simply a shot maker.  Hawks replaced Flip Murray’s production off the bench nicely with Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague in my opinion.

HALF COURT BUZZER BEATER JAMAL CRAWFORD!!  Thanks for making my point Jamal…

How about this backup unit for the Hawks:

PG Jeff Teague
SG Jamal Crawford
SF Maurice Evans
PF Joe Smith
C Zaza Pachulia

There’s size and toughness, quickness and the ability to create shots, shooters to space the floor and defensive stoppers.  That’s one of the better second units in the league. Hell I’d prefer the Hawks bench to the Minnesota Timberwolves STARTERS. The Joe Smith signing completely solidified this unit, another great move by the Hawks front office.  I bet the Devil is freezing right now…

I don’t know what to make of this stat: Indiana has 14 turnovers in the first half, but also 65 points.  So was it good defense or bad defense for the Hawks?

Josh Smith at the half: 16 Points, 6 assists, 3 steals.  He’s played a complete game so far, and other than that deep jumper he took I haven’t seen him take a bad shot yet.

3rd Quarter

Al’s mid-range jumper is looking nice; he’s made 4 so far this game.  He’ll be a tough cover if he can sink that 10 footer and his running hook on a consistent basis.

I got sidetracked watching the start of the Hornets/Spurs game.  Man, that got ugly in a hurry.

4th Quarter

Even with the improved bench and strides of the other players on the team Mike Woodson is determined to run Joe Johnson into the ground again this year.  He’s played the entire 2nd half (10 minutes left in the 4th) so far and played most of the 1st half.  All those minutes came back to haunt the Hawks last year when D-Wade just had his way with Joe in the playoffs.

Josh Smith, the Hawks power forward, just grabbed his second rebound of the night with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. That’s right, a 6’10” freak of an athlete that can jump out of the gym has worked his way into two rebounds in almost 3.5 quarters of play.  He also just took a horrible fade away jumper and committed a stupid reach in.  Josh might need to sit a couple minutes to get his head right.

Bibby, the Hawks best clutch shooter just buried a 3 to put the Hawks up 2 with seven minutes left in the 4th.  I feel as comfortable with him having the ball in his hands as Joe Johnson.

This game was never close after about 6 minutes left in the game.  The Hawks had a couple messy plays but rebounded well at the end to sustain the lead for the 120-109 win. 

Game MVP: Al Horford – 24 Points, 16 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 blocks and numerous momentum sustaining plays in the 4th quarter.

Hawks: 1-0 we’ll see you on Friday for the Wizards.  If you’re free go find some tickets, Arenas promises to put on a show.

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