The Hornets beat the Hawks… no, we mean the Hornets really beat the Hawks

3 Comments

This game changes nothing. That should be clear. The Atlanta Hawks were never contenders in anyone’s eye, not seriously, and this loss doesn’t preclude them from some insane, fueled by desire, special combination of events championship that happens once in a lifetime against all odds. It makes it less likely, because, well, who lets that happen to them and then win a championship? But strictly speaking, it’s not the end of the world.

It probably just felt like it.

The Hawks were beaten by the Hornets tonight. The Hawks were beaten,  at home, by the Hornets tonight. The Hawks were beaten, at home, by the Hornets, 100-59. Forty. One. Points. They scored 25 in the second half. It was the fewest points scored by the Hawks since they moved to Atlanta. It was the worst loss in just under eleven years. Atlanta has never shot so poorly while shooting so much in their history.

This loss was so humiliating the Patriots felt better about themselves afterwards. This beatdown was so bad, Batman gave up crimefighting because he knew he couldn’t compete. This loss was so miserable, the cheerleaders had to change their name to “support group.” And other bad jokes.

It was, quite simply, the most pathetic performance by a top five conference team in recent history. And that’s saying something.

There are always bad games by good teams. It happens in the course of the 82-game-season. Throw in Al Horford, the Hawks most efficient (best?) player at this point and this isn’t like discovering Blake Griffin on Mars or Kevin Love rebounding gravity itself. It’s just a bad loss by a mid-level “good” team that had a key injury and hit a bad night. But that’s not going to make it any less embarrassing.

I was just thinking earlier this week about how hilarious a Hawks championship would be. Not that I thought it could occur in any universe where logic operates at even a limited capacity. But the idea of Etan Thomas and Al Horford singing Spanish poetry in the locker room (Horford, though Dominican, does like Spanish poetry) is pure joy. The idea of Joe Johnson flashing his opulence and contract in the face of everyone is hilarious, as is Jamal Crawford bawling over the trophy like a baby and Josh Powell grinning while he flashes the “three-peat” sign.  Now, it almost seems like the universe was sending me a message in considering the idea. There are no surprise contenders in this league, and eventually, all but the best are exposed. It just happened to the Hawks a little sooner.

But hey, good win for the Hornets, huh?

I see a bad moon risin’, I see trouble on the way…

Warriors’ Andre Iguodala out for Game 6

Getty Images
6 Comments

Steve Kerr has been searching for a couple of games now for his fifth guy.

With Andre Iguodala out there is no Death/Hamptons 5 lineup and Kerr is looking for a fifth guy to partner with his four All-Stars. Kevon Looney is starting, Jordan Bell is showing potential but also makes some rookie plays, Nick Young has been bad enough that Kerr trusted Quin Cook more at the end of the last game (and Cook missed his looks).

Kerr is going to have to keep searching for a guy in Game 6 because Iguodala is out again.

The Warriors are not the team heading into Game 6 with the most significant injury woes, the Rockets are without Chris Paul. That and the fact the Warriors’ backs are against the wall is the reason they are heavy favorites in Game 6.

However, the Warriors have not been the same without Iguodala. He is a playmaker who can control the ball and settle things down, makes the right decision, get the player and ball movement the Warriors have strayed too much from back, plus is one of their best defenders on James Harden. Nobody else on the roster can do that.

And if Game 6 gets tight late, the Warriors are going to miss those skills. As they have in the last two games.

Marcus Smart on Game 7: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’

Getty Images
1 Comment

Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.

Marcus Smart is good with that, and he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN the team is preparing for this style.

“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”

If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.

Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.

Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We haven’t seen Golden State’s Patrick McCaw on an NBA court since March 31, when he was undercut by Sacramento’s Vince Carter and took an ugly, nasty spill.

McCaw is finally cleared by the team doctors and will be active on Saturday night for Game 6 against Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.

However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.

Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7

Getty Images
6 Comments

As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.

While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.

Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.

LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.