The Hawks lost again last night, losers of 6-of-8 now, which included a season-high-tying 4 L's in a row. Confusingly, J-Smith was the top scorer in four of those games. I'm okay with Josh Smith getting some points, as long as it doesn't involve taking low-percentage terrible jump shots (can you have one without the other?). But what makes me scratch my head is that Smith wasn't the leading scorer on the Hawks until January 3rd's win over Houston, and since then he's been the top scorer three more times. Is there a redirected offensive philosophy in play here I'm not catching? This deserves a closer look.
In a game that beat the Over by 17 points (we love offense), the most resounding highlight most certainly came from the mouth of Sue's contributor Stephen Jackson. Jackson, who has missed the last four games with a sore hammy and scored 24 points - including a late three-pointer that pretty much sealed the game - had this retrospective to offer on his performance:
"I bumped my knee and that hurt more than the hamstring," Jackson said. "If I can walk and spit at the same time, I know I'm going to play 40 minutes."No, I have no idea what this means. And no, I won't even venture a guess that has the potential to produce a few laughs at the expense of Stephen Jackson. He might know how to find me. But seriously. If you were holed up in a house surrounded by men shooting at you a la final scene of Young Guns, isn't Stephen Jackson on your All NBA Liberating Posse squad? Rounding it out I suppose we'd have Ron Ron at SF, Jamaal Tinsley at the Point, and Ricky Davis in the Swing slot. Center would be a tough call, but I suppose I want Yao out there, because for some reason I can picture him with an angry face and an AK-47. Even if he gets his head shot off inexplicably early in the fight, circa Charlie Sheen YGs, I think the 7-foot Chinese man would intimidate my would-be captors, or at the very least distract them long enough for me to bounce.
So Marvin Williams was taken to the hospital last night after being clocked in the head, and may not even travel home for Atlanta's next game. Injuries are really starting to be a consistent theme of this season, but as injury-plagued seasons go, it seems that the more you talk about them the worse they get. So for now, let's not dissect all the injuries and talk about What Ifs. My aim is to remain positive and upbeat about this Hawks team until they completely convine me they're the same ol' Hawks team of the past several years (you know, the one you know can pull out a game against anyone but by halfway through the fourth, you really have no clue if they're going to win or lose). But, I'm also going to temper that with some realism. So I think the upcoming thuree games after a long rest - home against Toronto, at Chicago and Miluwalkee - are all very winnable. But 2 of 3 should be our expectation as Hawks fans, especially with only 3 games in 6 days. We'll check back Saturday and see where we're at.
Onto the picks!
Joe Friday: 4-1
It's tantamount to my success that I don't allow the excitement to go to my head.
OBJ: Houston (-3.5) over Miami.
As I said in the last Bawlin', "It'll only be too fitting if the Spurs end my perfect record." Damnit. Let's see how another Texas team does for me.
OBJ 2: Denver/Orlando OVER 209 1/2
My first over/under NBA pick. Why didn't I sell my NBA gambling virginity on the internet??
Joe Friday: San Antonio (-3) over Chicago
Joe Friday 2: Chicago/San Antonio UNDER 195.5