Can there be moral victories when you lose by fifteen points? Hell yes there can. And I know every NBA team is going to let you have a run and Tony Parker was out for a lot of the second half and if the Hawks were on the other end, I would mock any optimism from the other team. And that is all fine, but moral victories are for up and comers and down and outers. So I realize the Hawks can't dish out moral victories too often before they are another 40 win team, but I have not given one all season, but I will tonight.
Atlanta played awful in the first half, got zero production from their point guard and center, and the Spurs were on fire. It led to a 28 point deficit, and yet the team was down nine with two fast break chances to make it a ball game. It didn't happen, but ten times out of ten the Hawks give up the past few years. They didn't tonight. They deserved to get beat badly, but even down a quarter century, Atlanta thought they could win. That is the confidence of a division leader.
The bulleted sucky
It is the little things.
- You switch every screen and Joe Johnson inexplicably doesn't and it leads to Duncan Screen.
- Zaza guarding no one gives Tony Parker a 3 and half second head start in 3.75 second race.
- Josh Smith fights to front Tim Duncan and Duncan wins on good fundamentals and pass, but Mike Bibby is there to take the charge because Duncan does not know he is there. Bibby just steps aside.
- And then there is good coaching going right at Bibby on the first procession, and the effort is bad when the Hawks get run out of gym by the Spurs. That is actually a rule.
- Also apparently combining moving without the ball and good spacing is surprisingly effective.
- Joe Johnson played the worst half of defense I have ever seen him play. Ever.
Josh Smith's middle finger
I recently came to understand that Josh Smith needs to improve dramatically to be a take over guy in th fourth quarter offense. Yet the man cam take over a game. Hell, the guy can take over a butt kicking. Josh tried all night. And I use the word "try" as if Josh slacks all the time, but he is so talented that trying sells it short. When Josh plays this way, he looks like he is in the NBA finals and everyone else in the game is playing checkers.
Tim Duncan, legend
I assume most blogs don't give a paragraph to Duncan in a fifteen point win, but they should. I found him annoying, and there was no way he deserved eleven free throws, and maybe naturally that 21 and 27 was terribly normal. I mean that. If the sounds was off, I would have thought Duncan went for 15 and 10.
The man is a machine. He is crafty, hard working, and did I mention a machine? He is a machine. 27 rebounds is good by yourself against 30 shots. We just watched one of the best ever and didn't even care. Impressive.
And now Friday matters
This game made sense. I thought the Spurs were going to want to win. They are about to go on a huge road trip. No way they are starting their home stand 0-4.
Does that sound familiar? It should. The Celtics are full strength again and about to start a huge run of games. They don't want a sweep by Atlanta. Friday thought, I am not interested in a solid comeback. Lets screw the Celtics. I can guarantee you it will be fun.