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Atlanta Hawks 105, Utah Jazz 100 or sheepish victories are for sheep

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The first time I kissed a girl I didn't ask if she was missing any teeth. It didn't matter. So a win in Utah for the first time since 1993 and the first eastern conference team to win there all season (thanks Sundiata) is a worthy response to the Hawks meltdown last night. I don't care how ugly the girl was.

Beware, you bad mouth Joe Johnson, prepare to feel like hypocrite 

Joe Johnson destroyed the paint. Twelve of his nineteen shots came in that powdered blue area. He hit eight of them. Six assists, six rebounds, only one turnover. Outside of some shaky transition defense, Joe basically did nothing to hurt the Hawks, and since he was the best player, he obviously was the reason Atlanta won. I, of course, want to give it to someone else because it does not feel like that, but that is because Joe Johnson is Joe Johnson. Even when he dominates, he looks like he is just steering a cruise ship. You don't care about the ride, only the destination. I will admit it is hard to get excited about floaters and long jumpers sometimes, but what I was excited about was Joe's relentlessness. He was angry. There was little aimless dribbling, there was actual attacking. Last night, Joe Johnson had no plans to do anything but win. Fine by me.

Take that two days ago fourth quarter

Atlanta put in 31 in the final period last night. The bookends of the quarter left a little to be desired, but the meat in the middle was the finest cut. Like really rare roast beef. The ball movement returned, actual plays were run, it was weird. I am not used to seeing a first quarter offense in the fourth quarter.Cue Michael Cunningham's excellent reporting,

After the offense bogged down in the third quarter, Smoove spoke up. "He kept harping on us to share the ball, share the ball and make it easier for each other" Al said.

"I just noticed that we were passing the ball one time and taking a shot," Josh said. "They were catching our misses and getting out on the break."

Of course, we noticed before it actually happened because, well, it happens every game, but kudos to Josh for showing what I believe is called leadership in most circles. No, not for saying something (I say stuff), but for going out and doing it. Josh was a different player in the fourth quarter (which is good because he was straight average for the other three). Without going back to the tape, I know he had three assists (two of them three pointers). The four quarter Josh Smith barrage of early in the season is showing signs of weakness, but if he is going to own one quarter, he seems to be choosing wisely.

With about a minute and half to go in the fourth, the offense bogged down again. The passing stopped, the guards dominated. I just pretend like I am at a bar and yell, "the usual." It does not make the drink any better, but it feels better because I know it is my thing. But luckily, I was not forced to drink tonight's usual for very long, and something odd happened when Joe got the ball. He stayed in angry mode, and there are few people better than angry Joe Johnson. The ball was only passed twice but it went from once side of the floor to the other where Joe got it beyond the three point line. He drove across the top of the key to the other side of the floor, picked a spot, and free from any double team rose up and drilled a jumper. It was decisive. It was a play. It was beautiful.

Victory Bullets

  • It was not a pretty use of the bench, but Woody found a way to burn some time with the second unit and kept all the starters under 40 minutes. The players certainly could not have been fresh, but they were fresh enough. I hope Woody sees the bench can go minus 10 in around a minutes and the world does not chasm and eyebrows are not lost.
  • Watching the WNBA promo followed by a Hawks promo filled with Josh Smith highlights is a study in contrasts.
  • I love how the Jazz boo every call. That would be like watching the game with 17,000 me's.
  • Bob Rathbun called Bibby, Michael.
  • Mo Evans, you saucy minx.
  • Josh Smith's pass out of the double team to Jamal Crawford for three that gave the Hawks the lead in the fourth quarter was incredible. Well, maybe reckless, but definitely incredible.
  • Nice to know Mike Bibby can still hit a three. It was like he was playing a carnival game out there for a while.
  • Jamal Crawford looks like he is about to cry during interviews.
  • I found this game pretty darn entertaining.

Go Hawks!