Well, it almost was a lot worse. It’s been kind of a weekend to forget here in Atlanta. The Falcons got dumped by Green Bay in the NFC Playoffs, the Atlanta Thrashers are in danger of falling out of the postseason race following a four-game losing streak, and the Hawks lost to the Rockets. There is a common denominator. With all three teams, defense decided to take a long weekend for the MLK holiday. It’s not enough to put points on the board, you have to be skilled at keeping your opponent from doing the same. That is the key to winning, and it’s something that was in short supply this weekend.
That brings to today’s matinee for Atlanta against the Sacramento Kings. The Hawks play tomorrow night in Miami, so getting a win was essential. But, in my opinion, what was more important was to have a statement win. Sacramento has yet to attain ten victories this season (they’re stuck at nine). This is a team that, frankly, isn’t very good. Atlanta proved as much by beating them during their west coast trip a few weeks ago. I was over at my parents house and checked the score throughout the afternoon, and the Kings were ahead most of the game. Not to worry, Joe Johnson and Al Horford refused to buckle under. Despite leading by nine entering the final frame, Atlanta came back and stole one, winning 100-98 as Joe Johnson put in the last two of his 36 points from the foul line with under a minute left for the winning margin. The catalyst for the rally was a 13-0 Hawks spurt halfway through the period. All wins are equal in the standings, but this one could have easily gone the other way, especially as Sacramento posted 62 in the first half. Making things worse was that the Kings are the sixth worst shooting team in the league, yet had 40 paint points in the first half (Atlanta, by comparison, had 24).
All season long, I’ve been critical of the Hawks. They tend to play at the same level, beat up bad teams, and go down in defeat against good teams. But now the defense has gone away. I will give Joe a ton of credit hear. He refused to lose, and this could just be the leadership move that will turn the season around. We’ll see how it goes against Miami tomorrow night. Also, Al continued his hot streak, scoring 23. Marvin Williams ran yesteday in practice, and his back is starting to loosen up, but not enough so we have a timetable on his return. Stay tuned.
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.