Running around to Give you the Reacharound


Post-Mortem on an Unsatisfying, Satisfying Season

We didn't write anything much of note during the Hawks-Cavs series. In our eyes, it has all been said. Sure we could re-hash the same shit that had been said all season about JoeJ being given the keys to the O ala a Kobe or Wade, Horford needing more touches, Acie getting more run, Smoove being wasted on the perimeter, etc. etc. etc. But in all honestly, we've grown sick of saying we're sick of repeating those same complaints. So when those and other issues reared their ugly head during the Cavs series, it was no surprise.

Injuries and, by extension, a weak bench didn't help. Neither did the fact that the Cavs are just a better coached team that also features the best player on the fucking planet. That the Hawks lost was not a surprise.

In all honesty though, I was hoping for a run akin to the Celtics series last year. Maybe pushing it to seven games would have been a stretch, but a home win or two was not out of the question. Alas, it was not meant to be, and here is where we stand as Hawks fans:

  • With a coach that has done a below-average-at-best job of developing the plethora of talent on the roster or devising a gameplan to fit their talents. It should be noted that due to THE ASSHATS THAT ARE THE ATLANTA SPIRIT, said coach will be retained despite eleven (!) playoff losses of greater than ten points in a year's time.
  • A "best player" that will never the best player on a championship team. I love JoeJ, and in the right situation, he can absolutely be an all-star on a contender (think Paul Pierce last year). But he absolutely cannot be the end-all-be-all in crunch time situations.
  • A free agent point guard that, while aging, is a ideal fit for this team. You can either resign said point guard, or head into next season with the two options being Acie Law, who hates the coach, and Speedy Claxton, whose expiring contract could be one of the Hawks main weapons next year. Let's just move on.
  • Marvin Williams as a restricted free agent. If you don't anticipate this situation playing out exactly like Josh Smith's "lowball offer--->teams scared off by 10 day matching period--->sign a below market contract with a shitty team--->Hawks match offer" last year, well then you just haven't been following the Hawks long enough.
  • Two quality players overseas (Josh Childress, David Andersen) that the Hawks hold the rights to. There about a 0.0000000006% chance that either of them will ever suit up for this team in the future.
  • Josh Smith trade rumors. Please. He's not going anywhere, nor should he. As anyone who's watched the playoffs the last two seasons, he has the talent and ability to be our best player on the court, and often is. Unfortunately, he also doesn't get along with ole Woody, so stagnation will reign supreme.
So does anyone anticipate any upcoming moves by the Hawks this offseason, other than a couple of Flip Murray/MoE signings to replenish the bench and make up for natural free agent attrition? (Zaza, you will be missed, but you'll no doubt be relieved to know that you will retain your spot on Sue's sidebar indefinitely.) As long as this ownership mess continues, there is probably no bigtime shakeup coming in the near future, so trying to guess any impending moves is ultimately useless. This means you're looking at a Wizards-type situation, where your nucleus (with the current coach) probably has a ceiling of a 4 or 5 seed and the conference semis.

This was undoubtedly the most enjoyable Hawks season in more than a decade. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much room for an improvement in personnel or on the sideline. That, combined with the way the Hawks went out against the Cavs, kind of puts a sour taste on a sweet season.


The Blog Days of Summer Set to Return

Rest easy, kiddos. We've got the solution.

With the NBA playoffs winding down (read: only lasting another month), we are dangerously close to the worst time of the year for sports fans. With only baseball playing relevant games, in about a month we'll have to deal with seemingly the same sports highlights every single day. Vladimir Guerrero's injured? Set to return next Thursday? Wait. Didn't that just happen last week?

On a day that UGA Super Scrubs Tony Cole and Quincy Carter once again stole the headlines, it slowly started to dawn on me that I should preemptively begin monitoring my emotional stability. It is very possible that the wait between the NBA playoffs and the first kickoff of the College Football season will drive me to depression...or worse, drive me to start watching House.

In the interest of our readers, I propose that we tackle the overwhelming sense of emptiness we will inevitably encounter through suffering a void of compelling sports action before it happens. So, without further delay, a list of things to do while you're waiting for Alabama and Virginia Tech to get it going in the Georgia Dome.

1. Start a sports blog. It's fucking GREAT! You get to sit in your mom's basement, or wherever your comfort zone happens to be, and lay out your thoughts and feelings about whatever topic you wish, only to have other faceless Internet addicts belittle your opinions and reduce you to putting up nonsensical lists with which nobody could possibly hope to disagree. Do this NOW!

2. Devise the ultimate prank. If you can conjure up anything close to the infamous Yankee Stadium Wedding Proposal, or even the less-lauded but still impressive Maryland Halftime Shot, you are forever remembered as a god and celebrated for taking assholishness to a whole new level. Currently the best that Friday and I could come up with was creating an email account 'for' our friend's mother, only to have 'her' send disturbing emails to all of his friends about explicit sexual promiscuity and group-wide exchanging of bodily fluids. We still have a ways to go, no doubt.

3. Go to Vegas. Anybody that stays in Vegas for more than 3 days either has a death wish or has hopes and dreams of becoming a showgirl. Too bad for either parties. But with roughly 11 weekends between the end of the NBA season and the beginning of College Football, you have at least 2 separate Vegas trips in you. Worried about not being able to bet on any relevant sports while you're there? FEAR NOT. A buddy of mine put a hundred dollars on 10-1 odds in a smoke ring blowing contest, and won. If you can't get pumped about shit like this and forget the empty vacuum that is the sports landscape for a few days, it's already too late.

4. Get good at some shit.
It's two and a half months. In that time, you could become an excellent swimmer. You could learn to cook like 7 stellar dishes. You could attempt to play pool sober to combat the conditioned learning you've been putting yourself through for the past 10 years. You'll never again have to ponder, "Why do I only make shots when I'M FUCKING HAMMERED?

5. Date. Sure, sure. Dating sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Being FUCKING ALONE. If you're new to this, allow me to give you some advice. You're going to go through, say, some "rough patches." This isn't to say that while you're driving down that dirt road there isn't a superhighway directly in front. You just have to focus on the road, and stop paying attention to the slutty, overweight mistake smelling like chips and salsa and going down on you in the front seat. Wait. What?

Note: Option Number 5 and Option Number One have a strong negative correlation based on success. In fact, they may quite possibly be mutually exclusive.

6. Find new and interesting ways of using the Snuggie. No, seriously. We need more of this. More of idiot assholes trying to commit robbery by concealing themselves in a Snuggie. More shortsighted teenagers (18 and up!) attempting sexual congress within the same Snuggie ultimately resulting in the amputation of a body part. Continue this trend, and we may be able to save some poor bastard from one day thinking it's cool to throw a Snuggie party, hence destroying his self-worth and the respect of his peers for the remainder of his life.

7. Try something totally new! Bungee jumping? Marathon running? Not being a total dick? It's ALL on the table! Sue's respective suggestion would be the Cincinnati Bow tie, the Birmingham Booty Call or the Rusty Trombone. EAT SHIT old tired ass experiences. New experiences RULE.

8. Go fishing. Have you ever done this before? The point of the exercise is to remain as quiet as possible and hold a stick...and wait. It is UNAVOIDABLE that you will get better at this the drunker you get. The positive correlation between getting so fucking blasted that the neural passageways that connect thought and speech in your mind don't even recognize each other anymore and having a successful fishing trip are MIND BLOWING. "Hey honey! I didn't catch a goddamn thing, but I got so drunk I got the hook stuck in my penis and had to get 30 stitches!" All in all, you've gotta call that a success.

9. Plant a tree. For all the crazies out there, the following comes strictly from Joe Friday: Plant a tree, and do your part to shut the green-loving hipster liberal douchebags the fuck up.

10. Read a book. About sports, of course.

Get to it, kids!


ATLas Nudged

Again, please check out the usual suspects for coherent thoughts and analysis on Game 2 (none of which will be pleasing, anyways). As per normal, we have no clue what to expect from the Hawks until we see their backs against the wall at home in the playoffs. It's getting tiresome, but it's their M.O. Also, until I settle into my seat on Saturday night, I'm just going to assume JoeJ is playing, so if you hear otherwise, don't let me know.

Speaking of the Hawks homecourt, I'd like to point toward a post over at FreeDarko that talks about the unique dichotomy between the city of Atlanta and its' basketball collective. As is the case with most FreeDarko jobs, the piece focuses on the strong racial identities that comprise Atlanta's rich history.

Unfortunately, I fail to see the connection between the two. The mish-mash of vibrant talent/occupants/players and top-down disorganization may be comparable for both ATL and the Hawks, but I don't think that Atlanta's racial history provides a link between the two, and that part of the author's thesis is a stretch; but I think there is another, similar direction that does work here.

Atlanta fans of all races, classes and point-of-origins are bandwagoners by-and-large when it comes to in-house support. Given the makeup of this city, transplants and lower per-capita incomes compared to most similar markets (not mutually exclusive), fans are hesitant to attend games often and engage themselves in the day-to-day followings of a team. And that's fine. I may have watched a shitton of Hawks games during the Jason Terry era, but I'm also a masochist. I certainly couldn't begrudge a Hawks fan for simply checking the box score and reading the game recap of a Hawks loss to the Wizards and subsequently focusing their attention elsewhere.

The fact of the matter is, Atlantans really do care and follow sports, even moreso then most major cities. The TV numbers prove that (seriously, click that link) for most sports, but especially for the NBA, which can in part attributed to the large black population in Atlanta. But as has been the case with the Braves, Thrashers and Falcons, Atlantans of any race aren't going to come out, watch and spend money on a losing franchise. So when the Hawks were losing all those years, it wasn't that ATL was a bad basketball town, but rather, that the locals don't want to spend money on a shit product (Sweetwater IPA excluded - HEYO!).

So the Hawks started winning, and what happened? Well, much like with the Braves in 1991 or the Falcons during the Vick era, the fans came out in droves. A significant homecourt advantage was suddenly omnipresent. The intimate nature of a basketball arena (not to mention the constant action) allows for louder crowds than an outdoor baseball game or larger domed football facility. Suddenly, the Hawks have one of the most significant home court advantages in the league. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone following Atlanta's demographics or fandom patterns over the years.

I love the diversity at Hawks games. I love the enthusiasm and passion and newness feel there is to being a Hawks fan again. It's like going through a brutal breakup with a girl and getting back together and starting the honeymoon period all over again. And that is where this current Hawks squad narrative runs parallel with their fans'.

This is all new to the players too. They're young, brash and confident. They're loud and they believe anything can happen. When shit gets bad, they're willing to pack it in (read some of the posts linked to above), but they always believe that they could be at another level were it not for certain hindrances (for both fans and players, this would be Woodson/ownership).

Sometimes it's best not to over-complicate things in sports. A newly enthused fan base is out there with pride, supporting a team they enjoy to watch playing a sport they love. The city of Atlanta and this Hawks team just fit. Maybe it wasn't preordained, but I could see how one would think that.


Carve out a Minute for Favre

Insert cock tease

After the ridiculous and perhaps over-the-top approach to Sue's list of top ringless athletes, we're going for a different research!

As you may recall from Sue's 2008 Christmas Wish List - through which we essentially received 2.25 of our wishes - we kinda sorta just wish Brett Favre would get hit by a bus. As reported Tuesday, Favre and Vikings Coach Brad Childress met yesterday to discuss Favre's potential joining of the Minnesota Vikings. It was widely understood that the biggest, if not the only, obstacle in the way was Favre's 40-year old biceps, injured 3/4 of the way through the '08 season.

And just as quickly, there are now reports that Favre will decline the offer to stick it to the Packers. A couple of thoughts here:
  • It was reported that, "Childress and the Vikings wanted to gauge Favre's level of interest in returning to the NFL to play for the Vikings." Really? Now, by no means do I pay nearly as much attention to the NFC North or the Minnesota Vikings, nor harbor nearly as much seasoned contempt and hatred for Coach Childress - or Favre for that matter - as Big Daddy Drew. But expecting to gauge Brett Favre's interest level in May? See, now I automatically think the Vikings coach and anyone speaking in his ear are a bunch of twits.
  • There are a few things that could keep Favre from coming back this year. Brett Favre deciding after a conversation with Childress that he simply didn't want to unretire? Again? BULLSHIT. Definitely not one of the reasons. And this has nothing to do with his bicep, which Favre was probably hoping would provide him with the means of wavering back-and-forth with his decision. No. Either a) Childress informed Favre he would be competing for the starting position with the likes of (it's funny to even write this) Sage Rosenfels, Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte, whenst Favre told him to "buggah off ya twat" because it was too insulting (see: having to compete with Aaron Rodgers). b) Childress gave Favre a time frame that he could work with, likely given by the higher ups, within which the Vikes would need an answer; Favre balked at the idea of commitment before even Labor Day had passed. c) Favre saw the news today about Manny and grew very, VERY concerned about his own "nutritional regimen." Or, most likely and unfortunately-500-words-into-the-point-of-this-damned-post, d) Favre's been listening to the news.
Brett Favre, the media-whore narcissistic vagina runoff, is fully aware that the media has turned on him. I've heard nothing but negative things spoken about Favre for the past several days. "Frankly people are sick of it," SportCenter. "Favre really has worn out his welcome and taken this too far," ESPN radio. I could seriously see Favre going back to SMU for a College Gameday (let's just pretend they'd get one for a second) and seeing signs in the back like, "We Love The Golden Eagles but CORSO LOVES GOLDEN SHOWERS" and "SOUTHERN doesn't MISS FAVRE!!" Perhaps he wanted to be able to set foot inside Lambeau without being booed. Maybe he realized he'd get nothing but hatred for stepping inside the booth on a MNF game, let alone a permanent gig broadcasting. For whatever reason, I fully believe that the only thing keeping Favre from coming back is the sudden realization that his actions are causing people to forget ANY of the notable, arguably heroic/memorable things he's done, because he's turned into or been revealed as a huge douche.

The only questions is, why didn't he think of this before?

On One Side of the Nation, A-Rod is Pumping His Fist in Glee

...while on another side of the nation, Bill Simmons wonders how happy-go-lucky, carefree Manny could ever be cognizant of how steriod cylcles operate.

Everyone (sans Big Hurt and Junior - maybe) did it. But only one star of the highest level has been dumb enough to get caught.

Between this and Favre, it will probably be best to steer clear of ESPN over the next few days unless there is a playoff game on.

Again, an actual post to come later today.


In Which OBJ Fluctuates Between His Hatred for Kobe and His Love for "Chippy"

We pick up the action with a GCHAT/liveblog, with apologies to the great FreeDarko, as the Rockets take a one point league in the second quarter. We're not ready to discuss, nor could we derive anything telling, from Game 1 of Hawks-Cavs. "It is what it is" is a fairly apt cliche that properly sums up our thoughts. Onto a more competitive (for the time being - hope is key) series.

Yes, we know these suck. Bear with us and we'll have a thinking man's post up later today.

Friday: these reggie miller commercials are fucking brutal
OBJ: yeah it's he's doing them to sort of subtly come out of the closet
Friday: either that or to prove he's got absolutely no comedy chops whatsoever
OBJ: it's terrible
Friday: hey these smirnoff ice parties seem like your gigs back in the day
OBJ: dude i used to party with fridges FULL of sminoff ices and sky blues
Friday: no shit

Friday: luke walton plays like me in a pickup game with folks who actually don’t suck
-catch ball
-immediate pass
-head on a swivel
-catch ball
-dribble, pass
-catch ball
-brick wide open bomb

OBJ: hey its phil from the sopranos...hawking miller lite?
Friday: lets just say sopranos actors aint turning down any commercial roles for a long time

OBJ: man i love these guys
but i think barkley might seriously have mental issues
Friday: ?
OBJ: he just seems more like a retired boxer than a retired bawler
Friday: hah
he right on this point here, tho
some folk just better off the bench
odom one of those guys

OBJ: this thing's retarded. never works either
Friday: what is
OBJ: the thing where kenny goes to the interactive super display shit
Friday: yeah it seems like it belongs on a NFL pregame show or some shit

Friday: damn maybe they trying to tell us something with these let a stranger drive you home heineken ads
OBJ: i should go home with a stranger

Friday: fisher's shots take like 3x as long to get to the basket as anyone else’s
brooks' like 3x quicker
ooh kobe feelin it
if i was shane battier i prolly wouldnt have been too keen on a long ass article being written about how well i can guard kobe
(yes i know it was about the greater picture of statistical value in basketball, but whatever, that was the angle that drove the article)
like how when all those 2guards used to be slightly compared to MJ
Drexler, Miller, MitchRich...he made it a point to kill them everytime out

Friday: no player in recent memory had as short a superstar career as dirk
he was like ELITE for maybe 2 seasons
OBJ: I dunno if he ever was elite to be honest
OBJ: at his apex he won an mvp nobody thought he deserved
Friday: his playoffs the year of the heat he was unconscious
either way its sad to see him being owned by kmart and fucking NENE

Friday: brent barry!?!
does he ever play? (DISCLAIMER: I hate watching the Rockets.)
OBJ: plays crunch time
that was their big FA purchase this year
Friday: yeah
he always considered a big FA prize for some reason

OBJ: so, heinken's trying to tell us to not drink and drive
Captian Mo is trying to teach us to lie to get laid?
Friday: guys who drink captain mo prolly need the advice
OBJ: solid point
they probably mix it up and drink parrot bay on wednesdays
Friday: and smirnoffs on tuesdays

OBJ: watching lakers is weird
they surge to like 12 point runs then like let people chop away
Friday: announcer after gasol rebound:
"thats a big rebound becuase he went out and got that"
as opposed to the gasol "stand somewhere and let it come to you" special
OBJ: this announcing is pretty bad
"thing about the ROCKETS is that the WHOLE is more important than the PIECES"
Friday: they love that ever since that lewis article came out
OBJ: damnit i hate this:
“lakers moving left to right!” also right to left, fuckers. makes no sense.

OBJ: oooh it's getting chippy
love it when people get T'd up
Friday: eh Walton, Scola, Vujacic… needs some Solomon Jones in there
OBJ: scola's a scrapper
Friday: only violence we'll see from those three some hair pulling
scola a tough fucker tho
OBJ: walton's a puss for sure
oh shit
damn man i dunno if i wanna make hard fouls on a team who has an 8-foot commie on the team
Friday: Vujacic looks like a fucking Borat character

(Fisher lays out Scola)

OBJ: what the HELL
Friday: damn he a small dude to lay him out
OBJ: he should be ejected for that
Friday: if thats melo or something announcers KILL him
OBJ: shoulder to the chest will do that
Friday: they love Fish
OBJ: he should be ejected
Friday: yeah
i love this
why are they saying he's so tough
instead of he's so STUPID
getting kicked out of the 4th qtr
after this game below 10
hurt his team like whoa
elbowing a team with ron ron and yao on the team
that's ballsy

OBJ: there's a lot of players i like in this series
a lot i hate
all the ones i like are on the rockets
the ones i hate on the lakers
including scrub walton
Friday: you can tell kobe respects artest a fuckton more than battier

(Kobe-Artest scrap)

OBJ: and the foul
get chippy
oh, shit
it's over now
Friday: yeah never mind that respect thing
OBJ: bowed him in the throat man
i HATE that fucker
what the HELL
man i hate kobe
elbowing peple in the fucking throat
fuck this
i see rockets killing them in HOU now
houston a good NBA town man
'Oyota Center's 'gonna be bangin
Friday: yeah im feelin these rockets

OBJ: elbow in the neck
lakers playing dirty as hell

dunno about a T for jawing tho
"you can't guard me"
Friday: yeah thats kinda weak
OBJ: fuck it
it's kobe
only two players i'd enjoy seeing get that is him and cp3

Friday: prolly realized they fucked up missing the elbow to the throat
OBJ: nah they said they're not allowing anything 'cause it's so chipppy
Friday: you really like that word


Party Like It's 1999

My favorite Josh Smith shot

Mike Woodson, the seventh longest tenured coach in the Lig, just endured a coaching stalemate with a rookie head coach. The Hawks' all-star played as such for exactly one game in the last two weeks. The transition offense still sucks, and Josh Smith should never leave the low post. Everything that every Hawks blogger has said all year is still absolutely true.

But I'm sick of writing about all of that, as correct as it may be. Right now, I just want to revel in the fact that my favorite team just won their first playoff series in a decade. This team is no different than it was a week, or two, or three ago. The weaknesses remain the same and probably will for the remainder of the playoffs. Pay that no mind for the next few hours, because at this point the Hawks are playing with house money, much like they were in that epic opening round last season.

Quite honestly, I feel alot better heading into this series than I did against that Celtics. And we know what happened there. Don't sleep on 'these Hawks...because you'll miss something interesting.

Actual analysis to follow tonight's showdown. GO. HAWKS.


ESPN Poll Writers Are In Denial

The below appeared on the WWL's homepage at around 3:00 pm this afternoon. Click the image for a clearer view.

Look ESPN/ABC....we realize a LeBron/Wade matchup would have been a TV Exec's wet dream. But it's time to let it go. Really.