Hawks Injury Report: Banged up and hopefully ready to bang.
Bobcats Injury Report: Tyson Chandler is out.
Predicted bane of the Hawks' existence: Gerald Wallace, who in my mind has everything going for him but his hair. Which means he has about 72% of life going for him.
I did not circle this game as being a must watch game before the season started. Not because I thought the Bobcats were going to be bad but because the Bobcats make me cry. They find ways to eek out victories against the Hawks in the most painful way possible or they just beat the ever living crap out of Atlanta. Neither is good for my soul. Last year, Charlotte ushered in the literal low point of the season for the team that led to Josh Smith not even coming out of the halftime locker room. I had front row seats in Charlotte for that one. Literally. And literally I cried.
Despite holding true to form in their first horribly depressing meeting, this game is indeed now a must see. The Bobcats are hot. They look like a playoff team you don't want play. Hot in the most impressive way possible, suffocating defense and scrappy offense. And any time a team comes into Philips known for suffocating things, even if that thing is farting, I get nervous.
The good news is the win streak has come at home, and the Bobcats are 3-15 on the road. I checked and that is not good. One could counter that by saying it is the freaking Bobcats and they hate the Hawks and therefore trends don't matter, but I would counter that counter by saying, at least they don't have Matt Carrol. And I would be serious.
This team is the Thunder if you replace Kevin Durrant with Stephen Jackson and add the rebounding of Gerald Wallace and better defense. So basically apples to oranges this team is the Thunder Lite without the future upside. Which is an incredibly awkward way of saying this team can beat anyone.
Keys to the game:
- Get a body on Gerald Wallace when the shot goes up. (Looking at you Marvin Williams.) Also, prediction that does not matter because it won't happen but if Marvin out rebounds Wallace, the Hawks will win.
- Feed the ball inside. Not to be bias toward my own overall strategy for the team, but I think the most obvious advantage the Hawks have against every team but about three is the front court. Take advantage.
- Don't get frustrated. The Bobcats are going to win on defense for some of the game. It might even be long for stretches. Keep running the offense, or at least some semblance of offense.
- Jamal Crawford for 40. Not really a key, just a wish, like winning the lottery.
Other random thoughts:
- How is Nazr Mohammed only 32?
- I hope at some point the lineup is Acie Law, Flip Murray, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, and Mohammed. Honestly, this needs to happen.
- Flip is having a bad year for Flip Murray. I demand NBA GMs explain why they did not overpay Murray for his contract year performance from last year. Rules are rules, and they broke them. I feel bad for Flip.
- What if Michael Jordan had drafted well?
Since Stephen Jackson was traded to the Bobcats, their record is 18-13. The Hawks are 19-12 over that same span.(great info via email from dmortone. Thanks!)
Thoughts, other than go Hawks?