Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hawks 117 Heat 111 (OT)



Nothing gets the holiday blood flowing like receiving the gift of watching 179 free throw attempts over the course of two games in three days. Savoring the two victories, which allow one the privilege to complain about aesthetics, is a nice, new feeling.

The parade to the foul line frustrated this viewer but did not overshadow the fortuitous events for Hawks fans: Anthony Johnson played another excellent game (Chris Quinn, I sorry to say, may not get his card from the Backup Point Guards' Union), Zaza Pachulia (13 points, 8 rebounds, 1 turnover) appears to be rounding into health, and Shelden Williams had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes despite never catching the ball cleanly on his first attempt all night.

This being the Hawks (not to mention this being Hoopinion) there are still things about which to fret: the Anthony Johnson/Joe Johnson/Mario West/Josh Smith/Lorenzen Wright lineup the Hawks featured for a spell in the first quarter, the wisdom of playing an obviously still-injured Acie Law IV at all, starting Al Horford with an apparent brief to foul Shaq on sight rather than using up an expendable big man's fouls first and saving Horford for a more advantageous matchup, and the revelation that Bob Rathbun thinks that all tall black men wearing white headbands look alike.

Somewhere in between is the puzzling case of Joe Johnson who seems incapable of making an open jump shot his teammates create for him, but can finish off the bounce against any number of defenders whether falling away or going to the rim. Seven missed three-pointers and none of them appear in my notes as a bad shot.

Note of genuine humility: It's probably for the best that the Hawks clearly do not read Hoopinion. On their first possession last night Joe Johnson posted up, got double-teamed, passed out of it to Anthony Johnson, AJ passed to a wide-open Josh Smith (who Miami did not bother to close out on), who missed a 22-footer.

Get healthy, Zo. If last marks the end of your playing career, it's been a hell of a run.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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