Just finished watching the Lakers-Hawks game, one in which Kobe and his crew won 101-87, and Vince Cellini, on his post-game wrap up, used an Ides of March allusion in describing the action, putting the Lakers as Brutus and the Hawks as Caesar (‘and he brought a salad’). Never mind that the reference only works on March 15 (when Atlanta will host Milwaukee, by the way), but honestly, would the average viewer even get the joke? Okay, sometimes my references go over people’s head, and I do take delight in the MST3K’s-ness of some of my posts, but even I draw the line at Shakespeare. (or is that ancient history, I get so confused).
Anyway, back to the task at hand. I played up this big homestand as a way for Atlanta to try and prove something to their fan base. The attractiveness of the four teams coming in (Rose, Durant, Melo, Kobe – oh, wait, you want the teams? Never mind) would be sure to drive attendance figures (Sure enough, the Hawks drew almost 20K for the Lakers), and this would be an excellent way to get some positive buzz should the Hawks perform well. They did that against the Bulls, with a stirring come-from-behind win, and they made runs in the other three but came up short each time. Will this translate into better numbers down the line? Uh, if it does, I’ll be surprised. The next home game is against Portland on Saturday. It’s at Philips Arena, but it’s on opposite the SEC quarterfinals at the Georgia Dome. (If Vandy makes it, I might be persuaded to try and round up a ticket) That doesn’t make me optimistic. The fact is, Atlanta has a rep for being a terrible sports town. It’s the best college town. If UGA went into the Dome, it would sell out every time. It will for the opener with Boise State next September. I hope I’m wrong. But I’ll definitely give you the final numbers from Saturday (BTW, Atlanta is at the Bulls the prior night, Friday).
Back to the Lakers, Kobe poured in 26 to lead all scorers. Al had 17, while Josh had 16 and Joe was held to only 11. Josh was playing with a knee brace on his right knee. Docs cleared him to play, and Josh was quoted as saying that it’s about as good as it’s going to get. Also, all the Lakers starters had + plus/minus ratings, and all the bench players had – ratings. All Hawks starters had – ratings as well.
The big problem with this losing streak, which I mentioned in earlier posts, is that Atlanta lags further behind Orlando in the race for home-court in their increasingly likely first-round series. Atlanta fell 3.5 games behind the Magic with the loss. Any more, and they could drop into playing one of the Big Three in the East. They have to turn it around soon, and we’ll see how they do against the Bulls and Blazers (does anyone call them the Trailblazers any more?) this weekend.
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.