I have been freed from the work prison that kept this brotha (note: I'm not actually Black, but I'm so in love with Obama that I'm feelin' it, especially after yesterday's jihad on Peter King) down for the last two weeks, so this post will be brought to you by the lovely free wireless at TPA and as much Bass as the Wharf Brewhouse can supply before a 7:39 flight back to the 404. (See! I've got soul! And I'm superbad!)
OK, so in no particular order, here are my thoughts on the last couple weeks:
I really dug watching the games against Golden State and Utah. The Golden State game was pure pleasure, mainly because the Hawks do well against teams that can't defend and because it was nice and new to see the Hawks put two dead-eye shooters on the court at the same time. Joe was on, Bibby showed why we traded for him, and Salim Stoudemire gave the team some good minutes. What the hell happened to him? I forgot that he played for the local professional basketball collective. You would think that a team that can't shoot threes would play its best shooter, but Woodson and Knight might have been so cowed by the "you don't have a point guard!" criticism that they refused to play their 6'1 guy who is least like a true one. The thing is that Salim punishes opponents for doubling, which none of the other points did (with the exception of Tyronne Lue, especially late in games).
The Hawks fought like hell against Utah. Going into the game, I was smelling a blowout because of the combination of the team's road record, Utah's terrific home record, our abysmal record at the Delta Center, and the fact that the team only made it to SLC around lunctime of the game. Despite all of that, the Hawks were right in the game at the end. It was great fun to watch. I did not see the San Antonio game, so I couldn't be titilated by the fact that we allowed five points in the first quarter and still managed to lose by 15, but it's a roadie against the defending champions, so mulligan there.
I'll play Thomas Friedman and proclaim the next few games as critical. No one expect the Hawks to take off on the road against five Western Conference playoff teams, but they need to rally back in their home games coming up. It goes without saying that they ought to beat Sacramento and the Knicks in the next two games. Hell, they shouldn't just win those games; I want to see them play well. Is that too much to ask? Eh? (I'm channeling Chris Farley from the Herlihy Boy skit on SNL with Adam Sandler. Just laugh along.)
Holy hell! I know it was just Celtic and an unpaid Levante side that narrowly decided to actually show up for the match, but the verve is back! The Celtic match was outstanding. I honestly can't tell you how much credit to give to Barca's midfield finally linking up properly, the strikeforce being healthy, or Messi showing Cristiano Ronaldo what a big game performance looks like. (Incidentally, I don't buy the argument that Ronaldo doesn't perform in big games. He was Portugal's best player on the pitch in the World Cup semi against France.) I don't know if Barca's performance was the result of Gordon Strachan being either naive or desperate because of Celtic's dreadful road record in Europe and thus allowing his side to permit Barca spaces that its domestic opponents know not to surrender. In any event, Celtic-Barca was thorougly entertaining. Although the score was a respectable (for Celtic) 3-2, Barca made them look like a pub team. The Blaugrana had constant possession and were creating chances with that possession. Every time that Celtic got the ball, Barca's front six pressured them into a turnover. Celtic may be crap, but they have beaten Milan and Manchester United at home in the last two years and Barca basically had their way with the Hoops.
(Note: I'm writing this without knowing what happened in the Copa del Rey first leg against Valencia. My opinion might change after the DVR produces its bounty.)
While I respect the opinion of guys like Peter King on draftable players as much as I trust Jim Traficant on proper fashion, I do pay attention to the opinions of guys like Mike Mayock and Todd McShay because of their scouting backgrounds. McShay and Mayock are less likely to be persuaded by the "He's White! He's from the Northeast! He went to Doug Flutie's school! He fits with out limited ideas of what a quarterback should be!" line of thinking. So what gives here? I'm honestly wondering.
The Thrashers weren't going anywhere with their wretched defenseand Hossa has been underwhelming in his contract year. This is no different than the Braves unloading Andruw if they would have been bereft of hope at the MLB trade deadline. The Thrashers need a new GM who can identify competent defensemen, they need to spend some money on free agents, and they need to build a better base of talent.
If a Dawg fan has a little tolerance for esoterica, then he/she should make a sign for the Cocktail Party next year with the following quote from a soldier stationed here during the Seminole Wars:
"If the Devil owned Hell and Florida, he would rent out Florida and live in Hell."
This is what I'm trying to do when I'm Wailing on Peter King or Stewart Mandel
I'm a big fan of Fire Joe Morgan, and this might be their apex. Mocking the mainstream media is one thing, but when you can work in mockery of Derek Jeter, Yankees fans, and stupidity in general, you've really accomplished something. Salut!