Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We're the New Boston!!!

Minus all the championships and the legions of a-hole fans.

On Saturday, November 1, the Thrashers got pummeled 6-1 in New Jersey to drop to 2-7-2. Few of us noticed the result, as it came on a Fall Saturday in the South. We were all more interested in why Georgia capitulated in the second half in Jacksonville, or in the Texas-Texas Tech barn burner that took place on Saturday night. I mention the Thrashers' loss in New Jersey now because it took place ten days ago and it was the last time an Atlanta pro sports team lost a game. Since that game:

The Falcons have won a pair of games to get to 6-3. The win in Oakland wasn't a major accomplishment given the Raiders' horrendous form, but a yardage margin of 309 to -2 in the first half was worth nothing. The Falcons had the rare privilege in the NFL of taking it easy in the second half. They also got to enjoy roasting DeAngelo Hall right into the unemployment line (although DeAngelo went from Oakland to the heat of the playoff race in Washington, so it's not like Michael Jenkins pushed our dearly departed corner into the Arena League). Atlanta followed up the Oakland win with a comfortable win over their rivals from New Orleans. Matt Ryan was close to perfect, the running game was effective, and the corners made just enough plays against the Saints' passing game. Speaking of New Orleans, they knew two years ago that they had an excellent offense and a suspect defense, but they've done nothing to patch up that defense. Enjoy last place.

Matt Ryan's line in the last two weeks: 33 of 45, 468 yards, four touchdowns, no picks. I've never been happier to be wrong about a player.

The Hawks are 5-0. The Lakers are the only other unbeaten team in the NBA. Swirl that around in your mouth for a minute or two. Enjoy the bouquet. In the city's one week homage to 1979 Pittsburgh, the Hawks won on the road against the previously unbeaten Hornets, dominated the Raptors from start to finish, and then gutted out the kind of road win in Oklahoma City that this team never, ever pulled out before: the road comeback when playing below their peak. The only negative to the week was Josh Smith's ankle sprain, which costs the team a player who was performing at a very high level, especially on the defensive end. The team is consistently playing very good defense.

The Thrashers are 4-0. This is the real surprise. While the Falcons and Hawks are both good teams, the Thrashers are, how do we put this gently, not. Still, with Kari Lehtonen sidelined (and where have we heard that before?), the Thrash have put together a four-game winning streak to get within a game of .500.

This fun run has to come to an end some time. The Thrashers play their bete noire - the Flyers - this week, while the Hawks travel to Boston on Wednesday for the second game of a back-to-back. With the streak about to end, we should all sit back and appreciate a ten-day stretch in which the local teams went 9-0. The odds of flipping a coin and having it come up heads nine times in a row are one in 512. Given our history, the odds of Atlanta's fall and winter sports teams winning any one game are less than the odds of winning a coin toss. After the seasons the local sports collectives had last year, we're entitled to a little Roy Wally entertainment.

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