Running with Zaza

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The Hawks...They Are Who We Thought They Weren't?

This week was the most important week of the 2008-2009 regular season for the Atlanta Hawks. They played a home and home series against the Orlando Magic who had a small lead on the Hawks in the Southeast Division. A split or a Hawks’ sweep of the week would have been huge. The exact opposite happened. The Magic obliterated the Hawks last night in one of the worst losses of the Mike Woodson’s coaching tenure.

I watched the tip ready to write an article about how the Hawks bounced back with a win after the loss to the Magic on Wednesday night. About how they came together as a team and played with pride. Instead, I was making a list of examples of how monumentally bad the Hawks performed in this game.

There were the ridiculous technical fouls on Woodson, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith. Another technical foul was called for delay of game because reserve center Solomon Jones did not have his jersey tucked in when he came on the floor.

The Hawks could not enter the ball on a couple of out of bounds underneath plays. They used up all their extra time-outs in the first quarter. J.J. Redick was scoring for Orlando. C’mon man! Othello Hunter played big minutes. It was so bad that Dominique was talking about how good a finisher Acie Law is in the paint.

I was frustrated and angry at halftime. The score was 71-33 for crying out loud. My face looked like the older cooler’s face (Sam Elliot’s character) in the movie Roadhouse when he gets kicked in the knee. I thought Hawks’ play-by-play man Bob Rathbun’s head might explode, but then a funny thing happened. At the start of the 2nd half, Bibby, Joe, and J-Smooth were at half court sharing a laugh.

What could they have been laughing at? Maybe, they were laughing at how viciously Dwight Howard blocked Josh Smith’s shot into the stands in the early moments of the game. Maybe, they were laughing because they have lost 10 out of there last 13 on the road.

It was even more deflating midway through the 3rd quarter when Al Horford was injured and no teammates came over to help him up or ask him if he was okay. I needed an NFL films sound byte of Vince Lombardi yelling, “What the hell’s going on out there!” There is something rotten in Hawks’ country.

With Josh Smith back in the lineup, you would think the Hawks would be playing better than they were earlier in the season, but they clearly are not. Zaza is sick and Marvin Williams is injured. Coach Woodson has no confidence in his bench.

I thought these Hawks might be contenders. I thought this was a new era. Are these the same old Hawks? With a month or so until the All-Star break, the Hawks are at a crossroads. Toronto, Detroit, and Miami are playing better and are catching up in the standings. Tomorrow’s game against the 76ers almost feels like an early season must win game—a big win at home can get this team moving in the right direction.


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