12 wins! Billy Knight must be so proud! It was nice to see the Hawks get a win on Saturday night, although it served to emphasize how bad the T-wolves are at this stage. It's also a little hollow to get a win because Tony Delk and Tyronne Lue went off, given that neither of them figure into the team's long-term plans. It's not unlike the winning streak at the end of last season that was spurred by Bob Sura playing like Pete Maravich. The Hawks still have a three-game "lead" over the Bobcats for the worst record in the NBA, so they can afford to beat Charlotte tonight without risking losing ping pong balls.
Josh Childress and Josh Smith both played fairly well in the game. Childress kept the Hawks in the game with 14 points in the first half, although he disappeared offensively in the second half. (He did play fairly well on defense in the second half.) The T-wolves showed that they aren't very bright defenders because they kept jumping out on Childress when he caught the ball on the wing, apparently unaware that he can't hit a jumper to save his life. Smith was quiet in the first half and then started dunking everything in sight. He also had a beautiful block on Garnett on which KG got a reputation call.
And by the way, I'm not saying anything controversial when I say that Garnett is a terrific player. He was completely unstoppable on Saturday night, although matters could have been worse, given that he was being guarded by Tom Gugliotta at the start of the game. He has the longest arms in the galaxy, so there's nothing to be done when he releases that shot at the apex of a jump. He was let down hy his teammates, who can't guard Stephen Hawking at this stage. Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell simply can't be bothered by putting in decent effort on defense. That's where the T-wolves lost the game.
The oddest thing about Saturday night was that the crowd and home team were both dead at the start of the game. The Hawks looked like North Korean PoWs during the opening intros and the arena was half-full. By the second half, the arena was pretty crowded and loud and the team was playing hard and actually cracking occasional smiles. The game was a reminder that no matter how bad the Hawks are, they are capable of the occasional strong effort and the fans in this town are just dying to get behind them.
On an "Every Rose has its Thorn" note, the Drobber played dreadfully on Saturday night.