Hawks-Celtics: Pushing Forward Back

BibbyDid anyone get the reference in the title? Early ’90s grunge…

I’ve got to admit it: I gave up on this series before it even started. To be honest, I think I predicted the Celtics would sweep. So, it was quite the surprise when the Hawks took a game from the Celtics Saturday night. It was funny that the main reason for the Hawks losing Games 1 & 2 in Boston (youth) is the same reason why they won Game 3. The Celtics looked very old Saturday night…and the Hawks looked like high schoolers. Of course, some of them are just a few years out of high school, so that’s not far from the truth. The youngest team in the NBA dominated a game from start to finish, and it really wasn’t even close.

So, will this happen again in Game 4? Well, I’m optimistic, but I’m not delusional. The Celtics are too experienced and too savvy to let that happen again, right? They’ve got way too much playoff experience to have another meltdown…right?

Before you answer, think about this. Mike Bibby was a no-show in Games 1 & 2, and had a decent Game 3. However, he still hasn’t come near his potential. Sure, in Game 3 he did a good job of running the offense and getting other guys off to a good start, and had the assist stats to go along with that. But he still wasn’t scoring. For a guy who scores a lot more than 9 points per game (his current series average), there is still much room for improvement. Do I expect Josh Smith to have as good of a game as he did Saturday night? No (even though I still contend that he has made Kevin Garnett, the Defensive Player of the Year, look extremely pedestrian on defense). But I also expect Bibby to contribute more offensively as well–the averages bear that out.

Joe Johnson has got to continue to improve. While he was downright awful in Games 1 & 2, he was slightly better in Game 3. Sure, his point total was much higher, but he’s still playing very tentatively. Al Horford has continued to excel, and Marvin Williams is doing about what we expected.
So who knows? It’s enough for me that the Hawks are actually making the Celtics sweat a little. I am proud that they played so well in Game 3, because I felt like their performance in the first two games was not indicative of their true potential. And considering this was the first opportunity that the rest of the country was getting to see the Hawks, I wanted them to make a better impression. I felt like they did that Saturday night, and I hope they do that again tonight.

Let’s hope the crowd shows up again, and that the Hawks act their age again. If that happens, we might just get another win.


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My Thoughts On A New Beginning

Matt RyanThe Falcons had been calling this year’s draft a very important day in their franchise’s past and future. This is not an overstatement. When you have as many needs as the Falcons do (out of 22 positions, maybe 5 have an adequate starter),  you almost can’t go wrong with your pick.

I was sure the Dirty Birds would pick Glenn Dorsey, especially after it was revealed that he would still be on the board when their time came. However, ESPN told everyone that the Falcons wanted Matt Ryan. I have made my opinion of Matt Ryan clear: he seems to be the best QB in this year’s draft, which is kinda like being the best turd in a shit pile. It doesn’t really mean a whole lot in a weak QB class. I wanted the Falcons to go for OL/DL first, and then get one of the Flacco/Brohm/Henne/Booty variety with their high 2nd round pick. Once the Falcons picked Ryan, however, I changed my tune.

I might just be buying what ESPN is selling, but I am more pleased with the pick now than I was at first. Ryan has the size of a prototypical quarterback. He has a strong arm, and high intelligence. He had a good career at Boston College, with very little talent around him. He played in a pro-style offense his last year at BC, which should have him well-suited to pick up an NFL offense. Maybe the most important thing is that the Falcons need a quarterback badly, and there just weren’t any other options this year or next year.

In today’s world of knee-jerk, instant reactions, everyone is graded on their draft 30 seconds after Mr. Irrelevant is selected. I have always taken the opposite approach of playing the “wait and see” game. I didn’t get too giddy after the Falcons chose Mike Vick. I didn’t throw things when they chose Roddy White. I didn’t jump for joy when they took DeAngelo Hall. I won’t burn my Falcons t-shirts after selecting Matt Ryan.

So let’s give it a few years…if Matt Ryan is leading Atlanta to a Super Bowl, I’ll call this draft a success. But if Ryan is on the scrap heap and Brian Brohm is a Pro Bowler, there will be a surplus of Falcons memorabilia at the local Goodwill.

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Big Tymah!!

I made it to the mainstream media!! Well, kinda sorta. A good dude named Jay Busbee, who writes at so many sites I can’t keep track of them (Yahoo!, Sportsgonesouth, etc.), offered to give me a boost by putting some of my stuff on Atlanta Magazine’s site. Check out my contribution here:


No word yet on whether he took the influx of advertising dollars my post provided and ran off to Mexico…but I wouldn’t put it past him.

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Quick Hit: The Hawks Are In The Playoffs??

Here are a few quick thoughts on the Hawks’ Game 2 debacle and a picture of the hottest dancer in the NBA, the Hawks’ own Brianna…plus a link to another good blog (if only because we tend to agree on most stuff. I don’t believe in diversity of thought):

I was wondering what type of response Bibby would receive from the Boston fans after his incendiary comments; I figured it would be similar to the reception I would get if I attended my high school reunion (I made fun of a lot of people in high school). It was. Maybe worse.

But hey, on the bright side, at least all the booing served as proof that Bibby actually showed up for this game, unlike Game 1…HEY-OH!!!


Kevin Garnett received his Defensive Player of the Year award from some random Asian man, who looked completely terrified of KG. I expected this tiny man to start yelling “GODZIRA!! GODZIRA!!” at any moment.

I like Josh Smith’s attempt at the Black Man’s Mohawk, or Yo-hawk as I call it. Yes, I came up with that all by myself…I know, I know.

Um, hey…whaddya say we just skip the rest? Really, there’s not a whole lot worth talking about. The sooner this is over, the sooner we can look forward to next season. As a Hawks fan, I have a lot of experience with doing that.

And as promised, for your fill on UGA sports and other interesting stuff, check out Blue Workhorse. Good article on David Pollack here.

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Mr. 3000

Sorry for the newspaper-ish punny title, but it’s the best I could come up with. So John Smoltz got his 3,000th strikeout last night. This gives me an opportunity to explain the reasons why I have such strong man-love one of the best pitchers in the game, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes my wife:

He’s been around so long that he was here for the absolutely dreadful “Pre-Schuerholz” years–pitching with the likes of Zane Smith, Joe Boever, Marty Clary, etc–and also for the glory years of endless division championships and a World Series title.

He’s done WHATEVER is best for the team at every step of his career. Closer? Sure. He was one of the most dominant closers in the game. Pitch while injured? Okay, he threw sidearm and still owned the rest of the National League. Re-join the rotation? Can do. He moved back to starter, and quickly became our #1 guy in the rotation.

He’s clearly been the team leader and has handled that post with unwavering courage. He has called out other players when they needed to be called out (many forget last year when Chipper was out for a game or two, and Smoltz called him out in the paper saying “certain players” needed to fight through their injuries. Miraculously, Chipper was in the lineup the next night and for the rest of the season,and performed well).

But most of all, he’s been one of the best pitchers of the last 20 years, and is always the first or second answer to the question “If you had to win one game, which pitcher would you want on the mound?” Many say he has the best split-finger in baseball. Others say he has a focus unlike anyone this side of Tiger Woods. Whatever it is, it has led him to a Hall of Fame career, a Cy Young, a World Series, and the record of the most postseason wins of any pitcher (even though he’s only had one postseason start since 1999).

Now, he has his “number,” since a select few numbers (500 HRs, 3,000 hits, 300 wins, 3,000 Ks) are the ones that most candidates are measured by. Most pundits agree that he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and as a Braves fan, I couldn’t be anymore proud. He’s a monster on the diamond, and will leave a gaping hole that will never be filled when he decides to retire.

I better quit, before I have to hold one of those Mike Piazza-esque press conferences to tell everyone I’m not gay. I’m not…really! You gotta believe me!!!

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This Is What It’s About…

kaxwyrgemskdhmx20080316221329.jpgIt’s about having a reason to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show after all. It’s about truly caring about your bracket again. It’s about a team that faced more adversity than any other team I can remember. It’s about a football school becoming a basketball school (well, at least for a weekend). It’s about “worst to first in four days,” four games in three days, two seniors finally getting their just reward, and one coach getting job security. It’s about tornadoes, grown men crying, hope, and numerous “is this really happening????” moments.

It’s about Dennis Felton’s job (which isn’t in jeopardy anymore). He had the daunting task of rebuilding a program from rubble 5 years ago. He had to withstand the best recruit he’s ever had (Louis Williams) forgoing his letter of intent and going straight to the NBA. He had to survive losing numerous commitments once the Harrick punishment was handed down from the NCAA. He had to survive kicking his two best players off his team on the eve of this season (Mike Mercer and Takais Brown). He had to survive having 8 scholarship players all season. He had to get through the death of one of his favorite players (Kevin Brophy). Yes, it’s about Dennis Felton, now confidently in the position of Georgia coach for the foreseeable future.

But it’s mostly about the seniors. Dave Bliss and Sundiata Gaines honored their commitments 4 years ago, when it was clear they had a tough road ahead of them and they could’ve gone elsewhere. Bliss came to Georgia as a clumsy, foul-prone oak tree with hands of stone. He will leave Georgia with two degrees and the praise and respect of every SEC team, coach, and fan. Gaines is the heart and soul of the team, literally and figuratively. Before you call that hyperbole, think about this: he has started every single game for all of his four years at point guard. This past season, he led the team in points, assists, steals, rebounds (he’s 6-1), and minutes played. Unbelievable.

Every Georgia fan wanted success for this team, if for nothing else than the seniors and the coach. Felton is trying to run a clean program and build things the right way, and that takes time. He would’ve lost his job if not for this weekend’s miracles. Bliss and Gaines have been through so much in their four years, doing something that should be nothing but fun and entertainment with a lot of hard work mixed in.

Now, they can all look back on these last four years and realize the fruits of their labors. They are in the NCAA Tournament. They will get to show their wares on a national stage. Their team name will be on 65 trillion brackets floating around offices and classrooms all over the country. The world will get to see what they’ve got.

And you know what? They’ll probably lose to Xavier. They’ll probably get killed. But the fact that we’re even talking about them playing Xavier right now, the fact that they’re in the field of 65? After all they’ve been through, that’s more than enough reward.

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The WNBA–It’s Shit-tastic!!

This is the best video I’ve ever seen (I’m prone to hyperbole, by the way) :

I don’t know how to follow that, so I won’t.

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