Monday, May 10, 2010
I took my three-year old Sam to his first Hawks game on Saturday. The 5 p.m. start time worked with his nap schedule and a friend at work was not using his tickets, so away we went. Thank goodness that Sam was my companion because otherwise, I would have had to dwell on the fact that the Hawks couldn't be bothered to try. In a do-or-die game. In the conference semi-finals. Against a division rival.
If I would have been 100% focused on the game, then I would have been bothered by Joe Johnson going three for 15 from the floor. Or Josh Smith standing in the corner with his head in the clouds while Matt Barnes rebounded his own miss, paused, realized that no one was guarding him, and then sashayed to the hoop for a lay-up. Or the Hawks openly ignoring Mike Woodson during timeouts. There's only so much caring that I can do when the Hawks are down ten at the end of one quarter and 19 at the end of two. Instead, Sam and I paid attention to the important things, like Harry the Hawk's movement through the arena. Or the use of the Sesame Street theme during musical chairs. Or playing peek-a-boo with our rally towels. ("Now You Know" takes on a whole different meaning after a performance like that.) We played catch with a basketball in the team store at halftime. And after the game, Sam was enthralled by a horse pulling a carriage next to Centennial Olympic Park. I suppose it's a metaphor for modern sports that a three-year old and his dad can have a great time at a game while tuning out what was going on on the court.
As for the Hawks, we all need to take a breather, let this series come to its inevitably ugly conclusion, and then evaluate where this team can go. I've never been a Mike Woodson hater. Despite the fact that his teams have never shown much organization on offense, it's hard to argue with the consistent improvement on an annual basis. If I'm big on favoring conclusions based on the big sample size as opposed to the small one, then I can't conclude that Woodson is a bad coach when the Hawks won 53 games this year (the fifth highest total in franchise history). However, it sure looks to me like the team has tuned him out. Woodson said this week that he can't coach effort, which to me is a damning admission. Maybe Woodson isn't to blame for the limp effort that the Hawks have put forward in this series, but he is the easiest piece to change in an attempt to get more effort from these players in the future.