First off, a brief plea: If you're at all able, come to Philips Arena and root for the Hawks as many times as possible this year. The primary lesson I took away from the playoff series against Boston was that Atlanta has the potential to provide the Hawks with a substantial home-court advantage. To be sure, some of the energy that propelled the Hawks to narrow, hard-fought victories in Games 4 and 6 (In Game 3, the Hawks simply played extraordinary basketball.) was due to the occasion and the unexpectedly raucous home crowd but I believe that filling Philips Arena on a consistent basis and giving the team a tangible reason to play hard for as long as necessary as often as possible can have a positive impact on the team's record.
It's unrealistic to expect any team to get themselves up for a game 82 times a year. I think it's especially difficult some nights to motivate yourself when you step on the court in your home arena in front of a crowd that's at one-third capacity or mostly full but rooting for the visitors.
Even in a best case scenario, this team is going to finish within a couple of games of .500 and will be fighting a handful of teams for a playoff spot. Every win will matter. Do your part.
Now, the links...
- Reaction to the opening night road win from Zaza's Playground and PlayoffsHawks.
- Spud Webb doesn't know how or why he was selected for the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest.
- Cardboard Junkie looks at the 1980-81 Topps Basketball Atlanta Hawks team set.
I really enjoyed that last link. I compiled a complete set of Topps' 79-80 Basketball Cards while living in Westmoreland, KS in the early '80s. Granted, I didn't have a lot of competition in a town of ~600 (though the population did include one two-time NBA Champion) in cornering the market on some few-years-old NBA trading cards but, in the old days of limited NBA media exposure I found them absolutely fascinating. This was the same time period when my favorite basketball player was Ed Nealy which should probably be taken into account when evaluating how weird a kid I was.