Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 12:56 am  |  93 responses

Links: About Damn Time

The Hawks are back. Finally.

by Lang Whitaker

For the last five years, the Hawks have been rebuilding a franchise that was for many years fatally flawed.

For a while in the mid ’90s, I turned my back on the Hawks. I’d been a Hawks fan since birth. I was even a season ticket holder back when I was 14 years old. (And I don’t mean my Dad had season tickets and took me to all the games. I actually saved my money for an entire summer and bought a $5 season ticket in the worst seats in The Omni. My friends Todd and Dave did the same, and after school we’d take a bus to the subway then ride down to the games.) I stopped going to games when I made the basketball team in high school and started having practices and games every day after practice. Ironically, it was making the junior varsity and then varsity basketball team that lead to my demise as a Hawks fan. Our coach asked me to play point guard, to study the position, to learn how to run a team. For whatever reason, I fell in love with the way Kevin Johnson played basketball. He wasn’t overtly athletic (well, except for one time when Hakeem got in his way), but he was crafty, smart, solid. I wore a number 7 practice jersey and watched every Suns game I could find on TV. The Hawks were good, but I knew they weren’t going to win a title, not as long as Lenny Wilkens was the coach. So I cheered for the Suns, and they almost pulled a title off (that Jordan guy got in the way).

When I moved to New York City, the Hawks were a team stuck in the toilet, swirling around and around like that one turd you can’t get rid of. Behind GM Pete Babcock and coaches Lon Kruger and Terry Stotts, the Hawks hovered around the .400 mark, not developing players for the future, making bad trades, circling, circling, circling in a miserable holding pattern. They were also my link to home, so I continued following them, cheering for them, even more so than I did just before I moved.

It took new ownership and a new GM, Billy Knight, to flush that toilet and rebuild us from the ground up. Say what you will about BK’s prickly nature, but he hired Mike Woodson, traded for Joe Johnson, drafted Josh Smith, traded for Mike Bibby, signed Zaza Pachulia, drafted Al Horford. Billy made mistakes — notably drafting Shelden Williams over Brandon Roy, also not drafting Chris Paul or Deron Williams — but the mistakes he made weren’t financial killers, and when the Hawks were trying to build ballers on a budget, BK’s work really explains how the Hawks were able to get to where we are today. Rebuilding was a slow, painstaking, incremental process. But it was also undeniably successful.

I really didn’t know how the Hawks/Heat Game 7 today was going to turn out, so much so that I sort of worked myself into a psychological frenzy in the 36 hours leading up to the game going over the many possible outcomes. Would the Heat shoot 50-percent-plus on threes like they did in Games 2 and 3? Would we be able to overcome what turned out to be pretty severe injuries to two our starters (Marv and Al)? Would the refs make as many terrible calls in game 7 as they did in Game 6, when Dwyane Wade was allowed to shoot free throws whenever someone breathed upon him? I got so nervous about this last hawkswinpossibility that I set my alarm for 9:00 a.m. to check NBA.com and see who the refs were going to be. When I saw Joey Crawford and Bennett Salvatore listed, I sat straight up in bed and couldn’t go back to sleep. I just knew we were going to get screwed.

But we didn’t. Strangely, it took until Game 7 for the Hawks to find the form they displayed in their best games this season. They shared the ball, knocked down open looks from outside, played terrific team defense (held Miami to 52 points through 3 quarters, forced 19 turnovers, got out on three pointers and held Miami to 4-19 on threes). Andwe beat Miami 91-78 to win our first Playoff series in a decade.

Joe Johnson finally had a breakout game. He’s been a streaky player throughout his Hawks career, and he hadn’t been very good the first 6 games. When I wrote in our preview that I thought Joe wouldn’t be that much of a drop-off from Dwyane Wade, some of our commenters ridiculed me. Well, today Joe had 27 points on 10-19 FGs, 6-8 threes, and he had 5 steals, 5 boards and 4 assists. Zaza Pachulia played with fire, making up for Al Horford playing on one leg, and Flip Murray and Mo Evans, the two guys we added this offseason, were tremendous as they kind of filled in the blanks between our big three of Joe and Bibby and Josh. In fact, Josh Smith said it perfectly: “We’ve worked for every bit of this. We earned the right to be here.”

I know the season isn’t over, I know that we start Round Two tomorrow night against a mighty Cleveland team, but if the season ends with a four game sweep in Round Two, I’ll be OK with that. We made the Playoffs last year, got zero respect from the national media all season — we finished fourth in our Conference and got zero TNT appearances and zero national ABC appearances — but still went a step further in the postseason this year than last year. This was our goal this season, and we pulled it off. I will watch and probably go to some of the games against Cleveland, but if we can manage to advance any further, it’s just gravy.

There will be time this summer to worry about the Draft, to look at who we’re going to be able to re-sign and who we might add. But for the next day, I just want to revel in our achievement. We still have a ways to go, but for once we seem to have a road map that leads in the right direction. The last few years I’ve watched every game as we’ve put in the work but other teams got all the shine. In a few weeks the NBA Finals will start with two teams that won’t include the Hawks.

But today? Today it was our turn. We worked for every bit of this. We earned the right to be here.

And man does it feel great.

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  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    The Sheldon Williams thing gets forgotton thanks to the Marvin Williams/Paul/Deron fiasco. Shudder.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    That’s whats up Lang. Happy for you. And for the Rockets of course.

  • Tekno

    Uh…Still think you underestimated the drop off from Wade to JJ Lang – inspite of tonight’s game.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    if the season ends with a four game sweep in Round Two, I’ll be OK with that.–LW

    Would you really be ok with that? I wouldn’t. You guys can steal a game or two.

  • TwinParadox

    The Paul/Deron thing must’ve really hurt. And the Sheldon williams thing. Damn dukies. But still the hawks have a good team goin on. If the hawks manage to steal a game or two and break Lebron’s legs…who knows?

  • maclovenotwar

    don’t pull the pin out
    unless you plan to bang

  • Todd Spehr

    So Lang, in a roundabout way you’re saying that watching Ennis Whatley run the point for the Hawks wasn’t a sufficient learning experience for yourself?

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Random unrelated note: Anyone else being… Slowly… Driven… Insane… By that freaking expanding Powerade ad on the homepage?

  • Myung

    Yesterday was a sweet Sunday afternoon for those of us (like you and me) who never got off the bandwagon during this rough decade.

  • Myung

    I tend to think Cleveland will handle us easily, but (I’m repeating something I wrote last week) if last year’s Boston team was better than this year’s Cleveland team (I think it was) and this year’s Hawks team is better than last year’s Hawks team (it is) and last year’s Hawks team took last year’s Boston team to 7 games, it’s not too preposterous to think we can at least make it a competitive series.

  • Myung

    Oh, and good morning, Eboy.

  • Coach Master

    Hey, congrats Lang. Cavs are comin’ so enjoy while you can.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    what surprised me in Game 7 is that the Hawks were finally playing like a team. I saw some great passing, always looking for the open man, which I haven’t seen that much earlier in this series. A lot of one-on-one play, but not Sunday. If they keep playing like this, it will be an interesting second round.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Justin Walsh

    I think the Cavs are going to win in 5, so by that matter I think the Hawks will take a game

  • Myung

    Sportscenter showed the highlights of the Hawks vs. Heat game and then followed it with a “Best of Dwyane Wade” segment. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t he play for the losing team? I imagine ESPN put together that highlight package, hoping to play it alongside a preview of the big “Cavs vs. Heat” series. Once they realized it was going to be Atlanta, the producers were probably like, “Well, go ahead and play the D Wade highlight package… no one cares about the Hawks anyway.” Much respect to Wade for putting together a tremendous individual season, but the Heat won 43 games and lost in the 1st round. Can we stop talking about him now please? I’m sure the Hawks upset the people at T-Mobile (they probably had a whole slew of new commercials to air), Band-Aid (they were probably ready to offer him a multi year contract), David Stern, eboy and Cheryl, and all the folks at TNT and ESPN. Pity.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    That is an interesting theory, Myung. However, was Boston better last year than the Cavs are this year? Probably so, but LeBron is still LeBron. Marvin Williams and his wrist better heal up quick because he is the Hawks best defender for James. Anyway, congrats Lang, Co Co, and Myung. I’m sure you are enjoying this.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Congrats Lang, Myung, and Co Co. I’m sincerely happy for you. I’m also proud of my team for the turn around they had from the ‘season of misery’ last year. The Hawks were the superior team, the Heat just had the superstar. I have a feeling those two teams will be seeing each other next year as well in the playoffs. Bask in the glow, at least until Tuesday night.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I realized,sometime during Saturday night, that regardless of the outcome of Game 7, the next series could be really damaging to a young team like the Heat. Playing the Hawks even and blowing it in the end was about what could have been expected for the Heat….but I’m not the type of fan that hopes for mediocrity, like Lang’s drawn out piece here imploring fans of the franchise to hold on to this first round advancement like it was a title, just knowing I’d rather see my team be really ready…then just being there. Obvioulsy, neither one of the teams were (are) going to give the Cavs much to worry about, so I’d rather see the Superhawks get embarrassed in 5 then seeing the Heat played liked Chris Brown in a 40/40 Club’s restroom and taking that into the summer. The Hawks played a good game to beat the Heat when it mattered most, but for a team that has built for 5 years to get to this point to have struggled so mightly against a mismash of talent and their own injuries (Moon for most of the series and JO for the last two games)gives me greater hope for my teams future next season than the 2 week ass-beating the Hawks are about to walk into and take with them for summer vacation.

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  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I’m not that nice of a fan Cheryl, my congrats come with salt.

  • Myung

    eboy, just like your favorite team (I don’t recall seeing any of the players from the Heat congratulating the Hawks after the game)… stay classy, brother. (And thanks for the congrats, Cheryl).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    That’s how it goes Myung…….you really aren’t referencing class from that retro red*eck sh*tstain fanbase you’re a part of are you? Seriously? The same one you’ve undressed in several comments and words of your own for as long as I’ve seen you as a commentor on this site? Stay intelligent, brother, you’re smarter than that.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    But alas, your boys were the better team so that’s all that matters.

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    Boston 2008 better than Cleveland 2009? Highly questionable. Yeah, Boston had the better record last year, but this year there were three 60-win teams in the league (two more than last year) and a 59-win Orlando team, and Cleveland still rose to the top. Plus, Boston was awful away from home in the first two rounds last year, while LeBron always carries Cleveland to a new level in the playoffs. As for JJ, one good game doesn’t mean he’s back. Damon Jones had a 30 point game with Miami in the playoffs. Doesn’t mean anything. Still, too early to be ringing the death knell for the Hawks. Lang, your attitude reminds me of all the articles during the 2002 world championships after Team USA’s first loss. Everyone said that one loss would define their legacy, but they ended up losing two more times and suddenly people realized international basketball was on the up. Flip that around, who’s to say the ceiling for the Hawks’ legacy this year will only be as low as a first-round win against the Heat?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I like Chen’s thinking.

  • Myung

    Oh, for sure, I take a lot of shots at Hawks fans because I know I didn’t see probably 90% of those people at Philips yesterday from around 2000 to 2008. I still get tickled by the whole bandwagon phenomenon that has swept this city, but I can’t speak on behalf of the fanbase, eboy… I can only speak on behalf of myself and I know if the Heat had somehow won yesterday, I’d be on here congratulating you guys.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Oh my GOODNESS. Eboy is trying to make LIGHT of his team losing in the first round.
    YOU KNOW in a way I’m glad Phoenix didn’t make the playoffs because I’d SURE be embarrassed to watch my team lose in the first round of the playoffs when they were sooo close– just like the Heat!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    You, Co Co, and Lang are the only Hawks fans I’d have a good word for Myung. That’s it. Congrats to you three for staying with them as long as I’ve known your screennames have existed and you deserve to be excited for the win.

  • Myung

    I didn’t like what Josh tried (the dunk attempt late in Game 5), and I posted it on here, Eboy… but I also think it says a lot about a team that walks off the court and doesn’t go over and congratulate the winning team. This rivalry isn’t even in the proximity of the “1991 Bad Boys vs. Bulls” so I didn’t understand why the Heat couldn’t show a little class and give some love to the Hawks players and coaches yesterday after the final buzzer sounded.

  • Myung

    Thanks, E.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Yeah, but’s that common for the Suns, Jukai…..no one expects them to EVER win anything.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I have to be honest, Myung, I turned the game off about the same time that little douche Mario West got t’d up with 35 seconds left or whatever it was…..so I didn’t see the walk out you are referencing.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Honestly Myung, f*ck a handshake. The Hawks won so i’m sure they will take that instead. The Heat probably had that in mind to walk out without shaking hands after the Josh Smith antics in game 5.

  • Myung

    For the record, Mario West is one of the nicest pro players I’ve ever met. Seriously, just a humble cat who knows his role (defensive stopper who gets ZERO offensive plays called for him). The dunk that he called for a technical on? E, he just hung on the rim for a brief second after missing it… I wasn’t mad at the call because we were up by so much but that was BS call, man… you can call a couple of our players that word, and I won’t defend them (I’m sure you can figure out which Hawks players I’m not too high on), but Mario’s a good kid.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Myung, I agree that not shaking the hands of the winning team shows poor sportsmanship. That’s a given. But I did see some handshakes, I just noticed that Dwyane walked off when the buzzer sounded and he did that, I think, moreso because of frustration with his own team than being obstinate. I thought I saw JJ and Haslem acknowledge each other after the game.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I think TAD’s right Myung, Spoelstra may be a goofy looking guy….but he tries really hard to have a hard nosed edge about him so I’m not surprised that happened and when UD got tossed and then threw his jersey into the crowd that was probably the last straw for the rest of the roster and took that as some form of a sign. It’s not sportsmanlike for sure, but the Hawks got the W, so what do they care?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I meant UD went to the bench.

  • Myung

    It’s cool, TAD. The Hawks need a rival anyway, and maybe we’ve got one now. I lost respect for the Heat after that, but you’re right… it’s not that big a deal.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    That’s right, UD did get tossed. So, I’m wrong. Who the heck was that shking hands with JJ? hmmm…

  • Myung

    I could be wrong, Cheryl… I was in the cheap seats yesterday so I might have missed some handshakes, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Haslem because he was in the locker room by that point (via ejection). If there were a few players giving some love, I may have missed it, but I’m almost positive I didn’t see it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Regardless, that was a weird series. All games were decided by double-digits and really no drama from game to game. Boring to watch if you weren’t a fan of either team.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I know assistant coach Fisdale gave love to Josh and Spoelstra and Woodson had a congratulatory moment too…..I saw that on the local news highlights last night….so there was some form of respect from the Heat coaching staff, Myung.

  • Myung

    I think Spoelstra’s a great young coach (and him being half Asian also appeals to me), I think Mario Chalmers is going to have a tremendous pro career, and Wade is Wade (just amazing). I’m not sure if I can muster out anything else positive to say about the Heat. I can’t say I saw the Heat play too much this season (maybe about 12 times total), but I can’t say I was too impressed with Beasley. He has a nice shooting touch for his size, but his shot selection is questionable. I understand he didn’t get consistent minutes this season, but I’m not sure if I’d rather have Mayo, Lopez (Brook), or Westbrook over Beasley if I were a Heat fan.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Anyway, have fun gettin beat up by Anderson Varejao.

  • Myung

    Yeah, that assistant coach used to be here under Woodson a few years back (I remember meeting him at a Hawks meet and greet).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Anyway….enough with that past, Myung…..what do you REALLY see for Round Two?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I wouldn’t put it past Riley to trade Beasley of the right offer came along. He’s just not a Riley kind of player.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Cheryl…..you’re not far off, I’ve already heard rumblings that they may make an offer to Phoenix for STAT. But UD’s time is up if he can’t convince anyone to take Beasley yet.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    You really think they would give up on Beasley this quick?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I wouldn’t be surprised TAD, and I think it would be a mistake.

  • Zabba

    “and they almost pulled a title off (that Jordan guy got in the way).”

    Lang, what are you smoking? For a team to qualify as “almost” pulling off a title…shouldn’t they at least make to the conference finals? to a game 7 showdoen that they lose by single digits?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    If Haslem can bring in a decent player who can score and play defense, I’m all for it. Amare works here too, but I think point is the most pressing position for us right now.

  • Myung

    My real thoughts on Round 2? I see us getting 2 close wins at home, making this a 6 game minimum kind of series. If Cleveland comes out rusty from all their rest tomorrow night, we could even play a close game in Game 1. But realistically, I don’t expect much. The Hawks were EMBARRASSINGLY bad in Games 3 and 6 in Miami, so I can’t imagine (other than Game 1) the team putting forth a good showing in the games in Cleveland. We are the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team so I have no clue. I DID pick the Cavs to win the title so I’m certainly not expecting them to lose to the Hawks. I think the Heat and Hawks would’ve given Cleveland the same sort of test: a small speed bump on the way to the Finals.

  • Max

    What’s the over/under on Lang whining about Lebron on twitter for this series? The tweets whining about Wade getting calls seemed to come once every 3 hours, so I can’t even imagine what it will be like for the Cavs. And JJ’s deciding to show up for Game 7 hardly makes for six games of sloth: if JJ and Wade switched teams, Hawks would have swept in 4. JJ is “not that much of a dropoff” from Wade in the same way Steve Blake is “not that much of a dropoff” from Chris Paul. Even with all the unprofessional whining, congratulation Lang and Hawks fans, for your team advancing — I think they match up well enough with Cleveland to win a game if the bandwagon fans show up and make some noise.

  • Myung

    We did end Cleveland’s 11 game winning streak in a December match up and in early March, we lost a game by 1 so we’ve played them very well at home this season.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Co-sign Max about Lang’s whistle whining. Careful what you wish for Lang….it’s going to be much worse with the King.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I think you are sleeping on Joe Johnson a bit much. He did have a bad series but he is still that dude.

  • no id

    Seems like the Hawks are the most disrespected 4th seed ever.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Congrats Lang.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    The Hawks and the Heat should have both been kicked out of the playoffs and the Bulls should have been given the 4/5 slot.

  • Yann Blavec’s wife’s husband

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Mike Beasley smiling when his team was losing by 20 points.

  • Rasheedionics

    Any team below 3rd seed in the East is pure garbage. Even Bulls. The only reason why Bulls and Celtics series was entertaining because both teams are mediocre but have players who knows how to make clutch shots (Ray and Ben). There’s a reason why they played 7 games and so many overtimes. Each team lacked a killer instinct or a reliable go to guy to put them over the top. Let’s not fool ourselves. Celtics ain’t going anywhere without KG.

  • http://www.okayplayer.com doyouwantmore

    Nice to see Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson finally getting some respect.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Both teams played hard…but only in the games they won.

  • Harlem_World

    Hawks were the better team. But upon reflection, Wade one hell of a year. His best ever. There are a lot of positives to take from this year (Wade is back and Spoelstra being the most obvious), but some thins to consider this summer. Anyone who knows Riley will already expect movement this summer. I agree, Beasely isn’t a Riley type of player – but moving him now will come back to haunt the Heat in a couple years (unless you can get STAT in a package). As for the Hawks, JJ needs to be more consistent for them to at least put up a fight against the Cavs. Getting blown out and having Varaejo and D West dancing and smiling in the process would leave me with a worse feeling than losing in the first round. Got to make the series at least competitive.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Oh yes, one more time for first round posterity: ATL, shawty. I’m happy for a lot of people, including Lang and Myung and Coco, and Dominique Wilkins and Josh Smith and J.R. Rider, but most of all for Arthur Triche, Sekou Smith and my main hawk Spirit.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I hope Spirit gets reinstated.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Funny, how now people are saying the Heat should get rid of Beasley, when I typed one day that the Heat should have drafted Mayo over Beasley and I got ripped into. If the Heat had Mayo another slasher who can create off the dribble, the Heat would have one this series. Hawks had more reliable weapons. Remember Mayo wanted to play PG in the NBA coming into the draft and can to me. Juice and Flash would have been a nice backcourt. I see Beasley getting on Wade and Riley nerves, sent packing for a more polished veteran player.

  • Myung

    Thanks, Russ.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    The play by play guys kept talking about how Beasley would look focused one play, and then look lost the next play. this can’t be a rookie thing can it? I mean his peers were killing it this year, and in K State he was ridiculous. Talent like that should transfer over, but how consistently it’s displayed on a nightly basis remains to be seen.

  • Myung

    Can I rain on our parade a little bit? I’ve softened my stance on Josh since last year, and I also will admit that he was probably our most important player (either him or Bibby) throughout the series. But I can’t help but wonder why he continues to shoot jumpers. I saw almost all 336 minutes of this long series, and I can’t remember more than maybe 5 made jumpers (something outside of 10 feet from the rim) by Smoove. To his credit, he seems to have regained his focus at the FT line (he had a lower % than Shaq and Dwight Howard during the regular season), but his outside shooting continues to be terrible. All I know is, when I play pick-up ball and I know a teammate isn’t a good shooter, I will not pass him the ball if he’s spotting up and/or keeps shooting J’s. Josh is effective around the hoop, so why don’t his teammates set him up around the basket? I think it’s Josh’s fault for continually jacking up J’s, but I also think it’s the fault of guys like Joe and Bibby for passing to him and seemingly encouraging him to launch jumpers. Don’t they know his strengths and weaknesses? I love his passion and his energy and the things he does well (dunks, rebounding, blocks) are fun to watch as a fan, but I’d love to see him STOP shooting jumpers.

  • Fat Lever

    Congrats to the Hawks, that is a nicely assembled team, and when Bibby’s running the point like he should, namely setting up other guys and taking shots when the offense gets into a rut, they can be dangerous. That being said, I have to say, Wade needs to stop acting like a diva. Game 4 he needs help from teammates getting up off the bench, then game 6, ABRACADABRA! He magically drops 41 while dropping the hammer on Zaza. As much as we get on guys like Varejao and other notorious floppers for acting, Wade needs to be called out as well.

  • http://mindyourbusiness@getalife.com Allenp

    Joe Johnson looked like the Joe Johnson I know, last night. Finding the open man, taking good shots, playing great defense.
    If the Hawks play like that next round, they win two games.

  • W P Adams

    I started to read this, but couldn’t get through the second paragraph. The words in reference to Kevin Johnson : “wasn’t overtly athletic” stopped me cold. Are you speaking of the Kevin Johnson that played for Cal in college and (mostly) for the Suns in the NBA? I saw that Kevin play when he was at both places – many times. I can’t imagine anyone applying the phrase “wasn’t overtly athletic” to that Kevin. That Kevin was sort of a 9/10th scale Michael Jordan. And, by the way, he dunked over other big guys besides Akeem. Manute Bol being one (if memorey serves)

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @The Seed: Really? A 2nd combo guard on the Heat would make more sense than a pure scoring forward, given the fact that their only scoring option taller than 6’7 is jump shooting Udonis Haslem?

  • Esco

    Zabba Posted: May.4 at 9:49 am
    “and they almost pulled a title off (that Jordan guy got in the way).” Lang, what are you smoking? For a team to qualify as “almost” pulling off a title…shouldn’t they at least make to the conference finals? to a game 7 showdoen that they lose by single digits?
    Dude, learn to read. That is all.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Damn, this was a good thread.
    Beasley is really perplexing. I don’t think there’s any way Phoenix would take him in a package for Stat. I mean he has all the same problems and less than half of the strengths Amare has. I think it would be a mistake for the Heat to move Beasley already, but I can see why it could be a consideration. Dude is super talented, but he hasn’t shown any heart IMO. Thsi sin’t highschool or KState, not caring isn’t “cool” anymore.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Beasley kinda reminds me of Melo when he first came in the league: ultra talented, but really immature and lacking motivation.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Melo was viewed as Denver’s franchise player when he got drafted. Beas, not so much. Even less pressure for him.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Beasley=B.Griff’s breakfast cereal

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I don’t think Beasley plays as hard as Melo did as a rook. Melo’s “attitude issues”, were all caught up in identity politics, IMO. I really hope Beasley turns out as good as Melo, but I’m not sure if that’s in the cards. I think Melo winning the chip in college had some effect on him, he glimpsed the big picture, if only for a second, but it took some time to really sink in. I’m just not sure if Beasley actually gives a f*ck, or even knows how.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    …I don’t want to rush to judgement though on such a talented, young kid though. The leash on him was pretty short all year, and I think he regressed because of it. I’d compare it to JR the last coupe of years. He really didn’t know if he was gonna play 5 minutes or 25, and they let it get to them. Still I need to see a lot more from Beasley, if only to prove to me that he cares.

  • http://effyou@heythere.com Allenp

    WP Adams
    I thought the same thing when I read Lang’s comments about KJ. KJ had hops, blazing foot speed and crazy agility. I think Lang got that one wrong.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Have fun in Cleveland.

  • Warren

    @Esco: Good one, but sometimes it’s best to educate the younger (?) generation. (Zabba, google “Bulls Suns 1993.” Soak up the information.)

    @Lang: KJ, unathletic? Sacramento’s mayor might take umbrage at that statement. The Sport’s Guy mentioned it recently, that if the handchecking rules of today were in effect then, KJ would’ve killed the league.

    Alas, my Heat. Ugghh. First, congrats to the Hawks. Great win for them and the city. I lived there for a bit, so I have some love for the people. That being said, we really could’ve used O’Neal and Moon. Chalmers needs to take 1000 18 ft jumpers a day, starting today. The Heat can’t afford to have defenders constantly sagging off of him because of that suspect J. Finally, Beasley. I sent a text to a friend, “WTF is he laughing at?” Knewing it was rhetorical for my boy. He works for the Heat and told me a story about how silly Beasley is and how he doubts Beasley’s going to be around too long because he doesn’t fit. We’ll see..hate to give up on the kid. It IS his first year. But as Cheryl once said, get rid of that stupid ball move..and for God’s sake, stop loosing the rock on spin moves.

  • http://sportzin.com Joey E.

    too bad they got the cavs next. ATL/Boston again would have been killer

  • http://hawksquawk.net tonegully

    Whats up Lang. Im from the Squawk and ive been a Hawks fan since 88. ITs been a long time comming and yesterday’s victory and the way we dominated the game made me very proud to be a Hawks fan. I enjoyed every minute of the game and the pumped up Phillips crowd. Im used to seeing a weak Hawks team with an empty Phillips..lol.
    If we lose to cleveland im good. We have to crawl before we walk. We may not be walking but we sure as hell are standing up and tall.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Here’s to Cleveland being rusty…Big Z caught napping and Mo Williams out getting some glamour shots and ink done.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Myung, about your 12:08 post, did you hear about the exchange between Bibby and Woodson in Game 7? Seems like Bibby thinks it’s Woodson’s fault Smoove is in position to shoot jumpers so much… don’t know if he’s right or wrong…

  • Myung

    Yeah, I read about it late yesterday. I don’t buy it. Just because a guy is wide open doesn’t mean you have to pass it to him. If Sam Dalembert is wide open in the corner, you don’t pass it to him. If I’m a point guard, I yell at him to go inside. Maybe Woodson has bad offensive schemes (which we all know he does), but it’s still on Bibby not to give Josh the ball in that situation.

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    If you’re drained of other options, you will pass it to an open Sam Dalembert in the corner so he can pass it to someone else – you just don’t expect him to take that 3. It’s on Josh not to shoot jumpers and on Woodson to put him in situations most beneficial to the team (ie. posting up, cutting to the rim, etc.), and not ones where he is wide open to launch jump shots.

  • Myung

    Oh, I totally agree, Slobodan. I mentioned before that it’s ULTIMATELY up to the player who launches the shot (so it’s mostly on Josh)… and I criticize Woodson’s offensive schemes (basically, he has none) all the time… but it also needs to fall on the shoulders of those who pass him the rock. It’s a three-way blame kind of thing, but a lot of people have criticized Josh for launching J’s (which is deserved) and Woodson for putting him in spots where he’s tempted to shoot 3′s (which is deserved), but not enough people point out that Bibby and Joe and others actually kick it to Josh, basically encouraging him to throw some jumpers up. That’s all I’m saying… I don’t understand why they would even pass him the ball. He’s been launching jumpers since he’s been in the League and hasn’t hit them with any consistency since he’s been in the League so they should know his game by now. Set him up inside, yell at him to go inside, or don’t pass him the rock.

  • starbury&stevey

    JJ owned D-Wade in game 7,thats all i know..