As we rapidly approach the quarter mark of a long NBA season, the Hawks are a game and a half over the Miami Heat. I don’t think anybody would have predicted that. It may be a cause for celebration, but not so fast. The Heat are spectacularly uninspiring, and the Hawks have yet to put away a quality opponent. That game with Boston that I was looking forward last week? Celts in a landslide. Let’s put it this way. I got home from work, turned on the TV, and saw a palindromic score, 74-47. Yeah, it was that kind of night. And that back to back? Atlanta went to Jersey, and lost to the Nets.
Okay, here is the good news. After a 96-78 dismantling of Toronto, Atlanta has won their last three, with the last two coming on the road on yet another back-to-back. (They beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon). I like the three game winning streak. I don’t like the fact that they can’t beat one of the top teams in the league. I know I’m beating this point like the proverbial dead horse, but eventually you have to put up or shut up, and the Hawks have been doing a lot of the latter.
I’ve tried to stay current on Marvin Williams. He seemed to enjoy Larry Drew’s motion offense before his injury. Since his return, he’s been gradually getting acclimated. This game marked his coming out party. He’s still not 100%, but he led the Hawks in scoring with 17. Al Horford and Joe Johnson had 16. While Josh Smith had 12 (including drawing a T in the second), his defense was the story. He had a +24 rating. (I know that’s a hockey phrase, but the same principle applies).
Jeff Teague has seen his minutes go down the last few games, and he logged 8 versus the Raptors. He wasn’t able to wrest the point guard duties from Mike Bibby, but he was the first off the bench in the early part of the season. Originally, Jordan Crawford got some of the minutes, but in Toronto, Mo Evans, who had injury issues of his own, put in 23 minutes, Jamal Crawford had 25, and starter Joe Johnson had 26:45. It looks increasingly like Teague is the odd man out in this category. According to sources, he plans to address this issue with Larry Drew once the Hawks return home.
Now we get to the title of this post. This Saturday, the eyes of Atlanta will be upon the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship between South Carolina and Auburn. A win and the Tigers will play in the de facto title game (a loss and they still might make it, sorry TCU). But it’s also the date of the first game between the Hawks and Heat. It’ll be in Miami, so it’ll be interesting to see the ratings from Atlanta. The Hawks have a two-game homestand with games Tuesday against the Grizzlies and Friday with Philly (another back-to-back. Man). Atlanta beat both on the road to start out the season. Another double will result in a five game winning streak. Then it’s Miami. We know the Heat have that bullseye on their backs. (That’s because Miami hasn’t failed to remind us). It’s another chance to put up. The Hawks need to start talking.
About the Author
Written by John Morgo
John Morgo lives in Atlanta, GA where he has done broadcast work for CNN, The Weather Channel and Encompass Digital Media. As of right now, he does Internet play-by-play for Georgia Perimeter College and Norcross High School. With GPC, he is the voice of the men's soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.