Pre-Game Reconnaissance: Knicks vs. Hawks- 2/22/12

We must learn about our feathered friends.

What's up with the Hawks?

From Jason Walker of Peachtree Hoops:

Worried about playing the Hawks? Consider that the Knicks are playing the Hawks without Joe Johnson or Al Horford. Still worried? Toss in public dissatisfaction from Marvin Williams and Tracy McGrady in their roles and the increased usage of Kirk Hinrich (7 PER) over Jeff Teague (16 PER) and the Knicks are catching the Hawks at just the right time.

Also, Atlanta limps into New York on the last leg of a road trip that started in Los Angeles then on to Phoenix, Portland and Chicago. The grind is catching up with the team as is the strength f schedule, where the once high flying Hawks are slipping in the conference standings thanks to a now 5-12 record against + .500 teams.

On the floor, the Hawks long time bugaboo, point guard defense, has been resolved due to one part absence (no more Mike Bibby) and two parts the presence of Teague and Hinrich. no small coincidence that the team defense has improved along with that, even without Horford, the team's best all around defender.

Josh Smith still takes ill-advised long jump shots, but has greatly stepped up his defensive rebounding, leaving the Hawks only slightly desperate in the category. Smith's passing, acumen around the hoop and help-side defense remains stellar. If Smith plays well, as he did in Phoenix, the Hawks are winners. Sub-par play from Smith usually leads to losses.

The rest of the team have their moments. Without Johnson, who was having a bounce-back season before his leg soreness, the Hawks historically have seen Marvin Williams step up his usage and scoring. It's and excellent opportunity to resolve both Williams' and McGrady's playing time issues by divvying up Joe's responsibilities and minutes between the pair.

Overall, the Hawks remain reliant on long jump shots going in and despite the constant narrative that the Hawks want to get out and run, they remain in the bottom ten in Pace and are most comfortable grinding down the shot clock in the half court sets.

If the Hawks are on, and they have good --not great -- shooters, they are tougher to beat than most teams. They have won every game where they have shot at least .441 percent from the field.

Meet the new Hawks!

Erick Dampier- Erick's playful ignorance of his own massive size is at times endearing-- like when he earnestly tries to hide in a bucket-- and at times a bit maddening, like when he asks for a high chair at family restaurants.

Willie Green- Willie's check engine light has been on for 3 months but he's not going to do anything about it.

Ivan Johnson- When Ivan plays "Hangman", he just draws the man immediately without any letter-guessing because "that man deserves to die. I don't give a fuck how many H's there are".

Tracy McGrady- Tracy's insistence that he not come in contact with anybody who has ever set foot in a foreign country makes it very difficult for Larry Drew to find him playing time.

Jannero Pargo- Jannero's refusal to speak in anything but nonsense words makes it really tough for teammates to communicate with him on the court. So far, they've figured out that "blifgudgagennnnnnn" means "I'm open" and a guttural clucking sound combined with frantic pointing means Jannero wants a pick to be set.

Vladimir Radmanovic- Vladimir insists that an ice luge be wheeled out and position in front of his mouth for Gatorade consumption during breaks in play. Atlanta employs two extra mop attendants and doesn't even bother with twenty-second timeouts anymore.

Jerry Stackhouse- Even after 16 years of playing in the league and traveling by air, Jerry still gets disappointed every time somebody has to remind him that none of the buttons on the control panel in his plane seat are there to roll down the windows or "pop the top".

Adventures in Impersonating Ivan Johnson on Omegle

You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!

Stranger: hi

You: hi

Stranger: male or female?

You: male

Stranger: female. do you trees?

Stranger: do you like trees?

You: trees?

You: i guess so

You: as long as they mind their own business

You: i wouldn't say i like them, but they haven't given me reason to distrust them

You: yet

Stranger: trees are a little bit shady i will say

Stranger: how many trees have you dry humped?

You: none that i know of

Stranger: do you like doors?

You: doors are just fucked up trees

You: i like them better before somebody cuts them up and assigns them a role

You: like, let the tree just be a tree

You: if it comes and applies for a job as a door, then so be it

You: fuck people

Your conversational partner has disconnected.

The Hawks, as Remembered by Mike Bibby

Mike Bibby was asked to reflect on his relationships with his teammates in Atlanta. Here are selections from his account.

Bibby_copy_medium

"Oh yes well John Josephs. He is it and he can do it and shoot it at it."

"Whore Alfred, yes. He can talk Spanish, you know. Big, big friend. What an Albert."

"Marzipan! Well I am" [falls asleep]

"Oh big Pizza Pat! Big pizza. Oh, good man and tall. Chewy. Chewy Julia. Yes."

"Poor Joshua. Joshie." [falls asleep]

Steve Novak Has a Beautiful Mind

Novak2_medium

Atlanta's regular rotation these days includes two centers: Erick Dampier and Zaza Pachulia. Their last names, when unscrambled, spell out "PAPA ACRID HELIUM". This is meant to throw us off. Everybody knows that helium is odorless. What people fail to realize is that helium's atomic number is 2. You know what else is number 2? Joe Johnson. He wears number 2, and will miss the 2 games before the All-Star break because of an injury to one of his knees (of which he has 2). The first of those missed games is today: 2/22.

I will get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, I have instructed Landry Fields to lock himself in his apartment and not pick up the phone.

And now you're ready for Knicks-Hawks!

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