Congrats to the Hawks for eking a win out in New York last night to end the possibility of 70 losses. Admittedly, beating the Knicks isn't the greatest of accomplishments, but I still believe that this team isn't so far from being respectable. They've been competitive in most of their games during the second half of the year. In fact, thinking back on the season, I've been to ten Hawks games and only seen them blown out once (by Golden State of all teams.) They are generally competitive for the first two to three quarters and then lose the game late.
Saturday night was a perfect example. The Hawks had a 19-point lead over the Bulls, a team that needs to win games to lock up the #4 seed, in the third quarter and then blew it. Maybe opposing teams take the first half off against the Hawks and the good early play from the team is a mirage. I hope not.
A couple other random thoughts:
1. I went to the University of Michigan during the mid-90s, so suffice it to say I was not shocked to see Maurice Taylor miss a potential game-winning shot last night. The next clutch late shot he hits will be his first. Don't get me started about that guy.
2. Contrast Kobe Bryant, who despite his other flaws, has kept playing hard for the Lakers even after they have been eliminated from the playoff race and despite nagging injuries, with Al Harrington, who has not. I like Al, but he'll have plenty of time to rest his knee after Wednesday night.
3. NBADraft.net has the Hawks taking Andrew Bogut with the first pick. Good luck to the team's marketing department with that one.
4. Boris Diaw's line last night: 20 points, nine rebounds, 9 assists, ten trips to the free throw line. Don't tease me like this, Boris. I had all but written him off after a disappointing second season, but he's showed some flashes late in the year.
5. The Fox Sports South cameras found Billy Knight and Isiah Thomas chatting at the Garden last night, leading Bob Rathbun and Grant Long to joke that Thomas is trying to unload some of his contracts on Knight. It didn't occur to them that Knight and Thomas were teammates at Indiana in 1980.