Seeing Red (For Two Reasons)
I have been wanting to use this title for a while now, and it just so happens there are two themes worth noting today that can appropriately incorporate “Seeing Red”.
First, the Hawks improved to 5-0 in the red uniforms this past Saturday, defeating the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital. Many remember the Hawks having trouble with the red uniforms last season, but Atlanta did post a couple notable wins while sporting the crimson (see 1/11/10 @ Boston). Regardless, it is always nice to have something that makes you feel like you have a little added luck, whether it provides a real advantage or not.
The second reason to use “Seeing Red” is the main source of content for this post.
We are at the point of the season where people start taking note of “if the season ended today” scenarios. The Hawks are currently holding down the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and would host the Orlando Magic in the first round if the season ended today. Naturally (and optimistically) the Hawks are looking above in the standings, trying to find a way to improve their position.
Directly above them sit the Chicago Bulls (this is where “Seeing Red” comes in) and many stories have been written recently (like this one) about how the Bulls are legit contenders, or at least will be once Joakim Noah returns and they are completely healthy.
Today I am here to provide an alternative hypothesis.
Yes, the Bulls recently won six in a row, vaulting them momentarily ahead of Miami into the sixth position in the East. Yes, Chicago has a two-game lead on the Hawks in the standings. Yes, the Bulls are a well balanced team with Derrick Rose having the best year of his young career and Carlos Boozer and Noah patrolling the paint.
Five of those six wins in a row were at home. In fact, the Bulls have played the least amount of road games in the Eastern Conference and are tied for the most home tip-offs (Boston). Since the calendar turned to 2011 the Bulls have lost on the road to Golden State, Charlotte, Philly and New Jersey. Combined those teams have a .402 winning percentage.
The Bulls may hold a slight edge on the Hawks at this point of the season, but the teams have yet to square off head-to-head. A quirk in the schedule (one of many) has Atlanta facing Chicago three times in the month of March. Those three games could have a big impact on where each team will finish in the standings. This, of course, is assuming the first 50 games of the season are an accurate indication of how teams will perform down the stretch.
The Hawks are okay with “well-rounded” partially because that is what they are on defense. Historically Atlanta has struggled with dominant big men and lightning fast point guards. It is likely that Joe would draw the assignment of tracking Rose, and I don’t mind the front court match-up of Horford/Smith against Boozer/Noah.
Basically I was annoyed by this “contender” talk for the Bulls while no one was paying any attention to the Hawks in the national media.The two times the Bulls visit the Highlight Factory in March should provide great entertainment. If we can pack the house with anywhere near the volume and energy present for last Friday’s win over the Clippers it will be a hot ticket. I would recommend getting your seats early: