Hawks not Surprised by First Half Start
First place halfway through, three potential all stars, a great home record and still half a season to go. What did you expect from the Hawks? Did you expect them to be in first place, be one of the highest scoring teams in the league or having one of the best home records? Did you expect them to beat the Celtics three consecutive times and get two wins in Boston? Did you expect the national media to pick up additional Hawks games throughout the year?
The players, coaching staff and ownership are not shocked one bit. The team has worked hard, learned to play well together, and is progressing nicely in the 2009-2010 campaign.
The Hawks started off hot and with the exception of a four game slide, have been a consistent team in the win column. It seems the team has learned not to let bad habits linger for long, and has figured out how to not one bad game snowball into a bad week or month. While there are times where the starts are slow and shot selection could be better, the good far exceeds the bad and this team has earned the top spot in the division. Can they hold it? Here are some quotes on the first 41.
COACH MIKE WOODSON
“I like the direction that we are going, losses are tougher to swallow because expectations are high.”
“Feels good, we just have to stay focused and not look at the standings and come out and play.”
“We feel like we are right where we want to be and we still gave away few games that we felt like we should have had. If we learn and put this chemistry together we can go really far.”
“We’ve gotten off to a pretty good start, our goal was to get 50-plus wins and get home court advantage throughout the playoffs. We can’t have too many let downs.”
“We had a good first half and we are looking forward to a better second half.”
“Our effort has to pickup in the first quarter, we can’t have mishaps in games we are supposed to win so we need to come out and handle business.”
OWNER BRUCE LEVENSON
“We couldn’t have asked for anymore than what we got this first half … I like this team I like this locker room.”
OWNER ED PESKOWITZ
“The team has just come together and is much better. Jamal has made a great difference you can see a lot of chemistry, it’s really exciting. This team is really really competitive.”
THE GOOD TIMES OF THE FIRST HALF
The Hawks have had some memorable moments in the first 41 games this year here are a few:
Beating the Celtics three straight times, Jamal Crawford’s buzzer beater against the Suns, Smooth’s buzzer beater against the Rockets, the red jerseys, winning in Dallas, the largest crowd in Philips Arena History against the Cavs , the return of Mario West (Feel free to fill in the blanks).
Some things did not go the Hawks’ way in the first 41, but the sting of the not so good should be used to motivate the guys to not let them happen again. I’m sure we all remember these:
The entire game against the Magic in Orlando in Orlando, The first half in Miami, the fourth quarter against Cleveland (10 points), two home losses against the Knicks, and who could forget Nate Robinson in overtime!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN SECOND HALF
Trade deadline- Is the team fine as currently constructed or will Gm Rick Sund pull the trigger on a move to make the team more devastating? What do you think?
Mesmerizing the Magic-The Hawks are in first place against the Magic, but Orlando owns the tie breaker. Figuring out how to beat this team will be huge for the standings and for a mental standpoint.
Beating Beatable and Bad Teams-With the Cavs, Celtics, Magic and Hawks close together not giving games away will be crucial in the second half. If a team has a losing record they should be beaten. You can’t win them all, but imagine if the loses to the Knicks, Pistons, the Hornets without Chris Paul, had gone in favor of the Hawks.
Five former Hawks will be in the house on Friday as Acie Law, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw ,Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray all return to the highlight factory as the enemy. Charlotte is a very dangerous team and this will be a highly competitive game. Great plays, three pointers, and blocked shots will be coming from both teams. Flip Murray was replaced by Jamal Crawford so that will be a production battle to watch. Flip was a fan favorite…but Jamal is better.