I don't know that anyone can have anything other than mixed feelings about last night's game or the road trip in general. Or maybe it's just that I'm so self-involved I can't imagine feeling differently than I feel.
GOOD FEELING: Holding the Spurs to 5 points in the first quarter.
BAD FEELING: Allowing 84 points to the Spurs over the next three quarters.
MIXED FEELING: Overall it was a good defensive performance (San Antonio scored 89 points on an estimated 88.9 possessions (and 9 of those points were scored in the last 1:49)) but Tony Parker dominated the third quarter and Tim Duncan the fourth. If you can't consider your defensive strength to be either perimeter or interior defense it's going to be difficult to be consistently effective. Length and energy will have its moments against skill and execution but the opposite holds just as true.
GOOD FEELING: Despite immediately getting hurt and having had limited practice time with his new teammates, Mike Bibby looks like he'll improve the offense if for no other reason than Joe Johnson appears comfortable deferring some ball-handling and decision-making to Bibby.
BAD FEELING: Mike Bibby increases the number of Hawks who you feel comfortable taking a jump shot from 1 to 2.
MIXED FEELING: Will more practice time mean Bibby's point guard skills function as an addition to the status quo or will more practice time suffocate Bibby's point guard skills within Mike Woodson's "offensive system?"
Speaking of which...
BAD FEELING: In the last three days I've seen the Hawks run plays for Marvin Williams to post up Andrei Kirilenko and Bruce Bowen. Last night, the Hawks, down 10 and having scored 4 points a little more than eight minutes into the third quarter ran a play out of a timeout for Marvin in the post while being guarded by Bruce Bowen.
WORSE FEELING: When was the last time Marvin did something useful? I can clearly remember him dropping passes against Utah and San Antonio, running into Salim and knocking him over while trying to run the pick-and-roll in Utah, and letting Ime Udoka get a weak-side offensive rebound and put back last night despite Marvin having position. Marvin played 3:39 non-garbage time minutes in the fourth quarter last night. The Hawks were -11 while he was on the floor. That is entirely consistent with my subjective experience of the fourth quarter. Earlier this year, Marvin was arguably as important to the offense as Joe Johnson. Now I'm curious what Jeremy Richardson could do with the playing time.
GOOD FEELING: Zaza Pachulia had a nice game off the bench.
BAD FEELING: Apparently, if Zaza'a playing well off the bench, then Al Horford doesn't get to play at all. Horford sat on the bench for over ten straight minutes in the second half.
MIXED FEELING: I've been agitating for Horford to get more touches in the post all season. I didn't necessarily mean for him to get all those touches in a single game when he was guarded by Tim Duncan.
GOOD FEELING: Assuming I'm not projecting, Josh Smith is slowly taking control of the team.
BAD FEELING: Smith's thumb is injured to the degree that he was unwilling or unable to try and dunk the ball last night (costing the Hawks up to four points). Smith's thumb injury did not render him unwilling or unable to shoot jump shots.
MIXED FEELING: He's not used to being double-teamed quickly in the post and the adjustment period will include turnovers but few teams will double-team him as quickly and thoroughly as San Antonio did last night.
One win was the most anyone (there I go again) could have realistically expected from the road trip. Atlanta has 15 (well, 14 and 1/53rd) home games and 13 road games remaining. 11 of those 13 road games are against Eastern Conference teams. A 12th is at Memphis. Hollinger's playoff odds have the Hawks as the 8th most likely playoff team in the East, with a little better than a 40% probability of making the playoffs.
And, for one morning at least, I haven't written the most pessimistic thing I've read about the Hawks.