Mike Bell's Notes From Cocktail Napkins... A Case Of Bad Atlanta Sports Mojo Drops On Thabo & Hawks
Sometimes I think this town is cursed... Hawks on the verge of a 60 win season, a #1 seed and now we lose Thabo Sefolosha, arguably our best defender for the playoffs!
The Hawks continue to set new franchise records with their 59th win of the season Wednesday night in Brooklyn despite 2 players spending the night in jail (more on that later). Mike Budenholzer's Spurs-Light philosophy of ball movement combined with team defense has earned us the number one spot in The East. So what are we gonna do with it?
Naysayers... yeah there's still some out there that wont buy into this Hawks team until the franchise makes it out of the 2nd round. Despite all the wins and beating all the best teams in the West, taking 3 out of 4 from LeBron's Cavs and going undefeated for all of January, some folks think standing pat at the trade deadline while be this team's ultimate undoing.
The one team the Hawks do not match up well against is Toronto. The Raptors have taken 3 out of 4 from Atlanta. The last time we played them at Philips, former Hawk Lou Williams went for 26 in a 105-80 beat down. DeMar DeRozan had 21 that night. They're big and athletic in the way the Grizzlies also posed mismatches down low against the Hawks this year. He's no Marc Gasol but the Raptors seven footer Jonas Valanciunas cleaned the glass against the Hawks and can score too.
The argument that we should have grabbed "a big" crystallizes when you look at a potential Conference Finals match up with Toronto.
Right now the way the East sits, Toronto would play LeBron's Cavs in the 2nd round. Despite his championship pedigree, The Chosen One still showed a knack for disappearing at times while in South Beach . Either by missing shots or tapping out as a "facilitator" rather than take the big shots down the stretch. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving have no playoff experience. Combine the prickly relationship with the super-soft K-Love with LBJ and the team's overall lack of post season experience it's not too hard to envision the Cavs getting tight. I would prefer them in The Eastern Finals to the Raptors.
Provided the refs don't give LeBron every stinking call...
Back to the Hawks, yep the franchise has never gotten out of the 2nd round since coming to Atlanta in 1968... presuming we beat the Nets or Heat as the 8, the Hawks would get the winner of the Bulls-Wizzards. Everyone is Chicago is holding their breath to see how long Derek Rose lasts this time. A fully functional Rose with Pau Gasol & Joakim Noah would be a true test for the Hawks. Conversely John Wall and The Wiz could be a tough out especially that our best defender Thabo Sefalosha is done for the playoffs.
Thabo was limping noticeably as he was walked out of the 10th precinct in Manhattan for his Wednesday morning court appearance along with Pero Antic.
And with the release of the TMZ video; http://m.tmz.com/#Article/2015/04/09/thabo-sefolosha-video-of-combative-arrest-headlocked-and-taken-down we now know why.
According to the police report Pero & Thabo were told repeatedly (6 times) to disperse from the Chris Copeland stabbing crime scene. When they were arrested Antic complied and sat on the curb and Thabo resisted and got his ankle broke while getting manhandled by 4 smaller cops. The video shows in my opinion they way to act when the cops tell you to do something (Pero). And how not to act (Thabo).
I have no idea how much alcohol played a part in this, but lets keep it real, who's thinking is state of the art at 4:30 in the morning?
We can debate why 2 Hawks players would hit a club at 3am or whenever they rolled into 1Oak on the West Side. Why would they do that?, how would they do that?...uh, because they can. Yeah I have to admit I was confused as to how 2 guys could play an NBA game that ended a little after 10pm get on a plane just before midnight and still make it to a club in NYC before closing time. I have no problem with guys getting in the mix after helping set the franchise record for wins. Just don't embarrass the team or yourself... let alone get a season ending injury on a city street.
These guys are jet setters in the truest sense of the word. They're rolling into one of the hottest clubs in the city, a well known hangout for professional athletes & movie stars. They have juice and get VIP treatment.
But as Dad used say it's all fun & games until somebody gets hurt...
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