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Hotlanta Respect

At the beginning of this series (and pretty much throughout the first two games), I was pretty outspoken in my confidence in the Celtics and their superiority.  In fact, I made a wager with a Hawks blogger to write 300 words on the greatness of the Hawks for every game they won.  I can’t say that my confidence has changed that much after one loss.  After all,  anything can happen in one game.  However, I wonder if I maybe should have put a sock in it and played the same "they’re a great team" mantra that the players and coaches normally adhere to. 

So, call it karma if you like.  Call it paying homage to the basketball gods if you chose.   Call it paying penance if you wish.  Or maybe I’m just paying off a bet.  Any way you slice it, here’s a little love letter to the Hawks.  May they be the last words I write about them.

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Where better to start than with the one that got away.  Joe Johnson is an All Star talent with a multi-faceted game.  He doesn’t force anything but can beat you by getting to the line, passing, rebounding, and even defense.  He has even been known to play a little point guard when called upon.  Every time I see Kedrick Brown’s name, I can’t help but wonder why it couldn’t have been him that we traded to the Suns that fateful February in 2002.  Alas, you can’t turn back time and Joe has found himself a home in Atlanta.

The next guy that comes to mind is Josh Smith.  The high flying former high schooler was a former slam dunk winner.  Unlike Gerald Green, Smith has done more with his career than that.  He’s developed into one of the best shot blockers in the league as well.  He runs the floor very well and uses his athletic ability to get himself shots.  If he can refine his outside shooting more, he’ll be even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Speaking of forces, few could have imagined the instant impact that Al Horford would have this year.  Perhaps the only reason he’s not going to be the rookie of the year is because Seattle decided to blow up their team and give 100 shots a game to Durant.  He’s also been the most consistent player on the Hawks during the playoffs thus far.  He creates space down low and uses great quickness and athleticism to grab rebounds and get his shot off.  The Hawks hit a home run with this pick.

A more questioned pick was that of Marvin Williams.  He will likely never shake the reputation of being "that guy the Hawks picked instead of Chris Paul" but don’t sleep on him just yet.  He’s got so much potential and athletic ability and he’s just now starting to realize some of that potential.  He runs the floor well and he can block shots and hit jumpers.  Give him some time and good teaching and he might someday make people forget who was drafted after him.

Well look at that, I’m past 300 words and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Bibby is battle tested in the playoffs and that Josh Childress is long and versatile and that Zaza Pachulia is, …well, he’s not Mark Blount.

So there you go Hawks fans.  I hope you enjoyed this piece and I hope that you savored your team’s well deserved victory.  I also hope that it is the last you’ll see of your team in the win column.

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