Welcome
to the Hawks BasketBlog! This is where you can come to read analysis and
commentary on the Hawks as well as topics around the league. Check us out
throughout the season as we will be posting new material on the Hawks, the NBA,
and maybe a few other subjects as well. Want to participate? Submit questions
and comments to us at
hawks.mailbag@atlantaspirit.com

and we will try to answer as many as we can!

Note: the opinions expressed here are not those of the Atlanta Hawks
organization or of the NBA.


Rathbun Inducted Into Alma Mater's HOF

This is a good time to be a Hawks employee up for induction into a shrine of
some kind. Joining

upcoming Naismith honoree Dominique Wilkins
and

National Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame inductee Herb Brown
, Hawks TV
Broadcaster and Hawk Talk Online co-host
Bob
Rathbun
was recently inducted to the Catawba College Sports Hall of
Fame.

Rathbun, a
'76 graduate of Catawba, was inducted as part of a four-member class on
Saturday, April 29, in a ceremony at the college. With the new class, the Hall
now includes a total of 137 members.

Congrats to Bob, who recently added more Atlanta Braves games to his plate as
well, as Fox Sports Network begins their takeover of Turner South and all of its
sports properties.

Here is the bio on Rathbun, courtesy of the Catawba release:

Rathbun, is Fox Sports Net's veteran play-by-play voice for its telecasts of the
Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, and regionally-produced college football and
basketball games (ACC, SEC, Southern Conference, Ohio Valley Conference). One of
his profession's most personable and respected talents, Rathbun has been with
the network since 1996.

Rathbun, a 1976 Catawba graduate, is originally from Salisbury, and graduated
from West Rowan High School. He is remembered by many locally as a teenager
working radio at Rowan County's American Legion baseball games with national
hall of famer Marty Brenneman in the late 1960s.

Prior to joining FSN, Rathbun was the radio play-by-play voice for the Detroit
Tigers (1992-94), the Braves' AAA Richmond team (1996) and the New York Mets AAA
Tidewater (Va.) club (1980-85 and 1990-91). He was also the TV voice of the
Baltimore Orioles in 1988-91.

In 1998, Rathbun was named the Georgia Sportscaster of the Year, following six
like honors while working in the state of Virginia. Also a regular television
voice for Rayom/Jefferson Pilot's ACC basketball coverage, Rathbun has done
play-by-play work for CBS Sports and ESPN in their coverage of the NCAA Men's
Basketball Tournament.

Rathbun has also called radio play-by-play for the NBA's Washington
Bullets/Wizards and for Notre Dame football.

Rathbun resides in Dunwoody, Ga., with his wife Marybeth, son Court and daughter
Grace.

-- The Web Guy | 4:30 p.m. 05/02/06 |
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Zaza Visits Centennial Place Elementary

Last Saturday, Atlanta's Centennial Place Elementary served as the host for the
annual International Children's Day and Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, a native of
Tbilisi, Georgia, was a celebrity guest of WXIA-TV's Monte Richardson, whose
wife is of Turkish descent.

Pachulia was presented with an honorary certificate of appreciation for his
visit by Richardson's son, Omar.

Over 350 people were in attendance and were treated to various exhibits and
stage events featuring a Turkish Children's Choir, Nigerian, Chinese, and
Mexican dance troupes, and other cultural presentations.

The origins of International Children's Day you ask? In 1920, Mustafa Kemal
Ataturk, the founding father of the Turkish Republic, decided that April 23rd,
Turkey's Independence Day, would be Children's Day. He believed that children
are important because they are the future leaders of the country. Ataturk hoped
that by educating children about freedom and independence, the nation could have
"peace at home and peace abroad."

Turkey was the first country that had an official holiday for children, and in
the early 1980s, UNICEF recognized April 23 as the International Children's Day.

-- The Web Guy | 4:00 p.m. 04/24/06 |
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More Hawks Wrap-up

Here are some interviews we taped on Thursday as the guys were clearing out
the locker room.

  • Josh Childress talked about
    participating in Basketball Without Borders
    this summer in China.
  • Joe Johnson spoke about his
    first season in Atlanta
    and being near to his family
  • Anthony Grundy discussed making the
    NBA for the first time
    and what he hopes to accomplish in the summer.
  • Royal Ivey talked about the
    improvements the team made
    in the last year, and what they need to do to
    get ready for next season.

    Always the optimists here on the Hawks Basketblog, here are some notes,
    courtesy of the Hawks PR staff, of some of the trendlines from the Hawks season.

    The Hawks doubled their win total over a year ago, winning 26 games, a 13-win improvement
    over last season's final win tally ... Only New Orleans (+20) and Utah (+15)
    showed bigger improvements.

    The team made this improvement despite having the youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 23
    - believed to
    be the youngest in NBA history.

    The Hawks made two major free agent acquisitions in the offseason, getting
    Joe Johnson
    and Zaza Pachulia. Johnson led the Hawks in scoring
    (20.2), assists (6.5), steals (1.26), all while setting a new franchise record
    for minutes in a season (3,340). Pachulia, signed away from the Milwaukee Bucks,
    led the team in offensive rebounds (3.4) and total rebounds (7.9) while
    finishing third on the team in scoring (11.7). Both players, it should be noted,
    chose to come to Atlanta.

    Speaking of Joe Johnson, here are some impressive numbers on his first season in
    Atlanta.

    Johnson,

    - ended the season as one of five players in the NBA to average 20+ pts and 6+
    assists. The others were Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Gilbert Arenas.

    - had four 40+ point games this season; the last Hawks player to do that was
    Dominique Wilkins in 1992-93 (he had 8 that season). Johnson was one of eight
    players with at least four 40+ point games this season.

    - tied for 21st in the NBA in scoring, was 14th in assists, 31st
    in steals and 6th in minutes.

    - has the NBA's second-longest
    current gamed played streak (357) behind Toronto's Morris Peterson (361).

    - became the eighth different Hawk to dish out at least 500 assists in a
    season (Mookie Blaylock, Walt Hazzard, Eddie Johnson, Pete Maravich, Doc Rivers,
    Jason Terry, Lenny Wilkens).

    - according to website 82games.com, Johnson has knocked down the second-most
    game-winning shots in the NBA over the last two-and-a-half seasons. Johnson is
    one of 7 players to have drained eight game-winners during that time. Carmelo
    Anthony is the league leader with 11.

    And some stats for Zaza, who:

    - was 5th in the NBA in offensive rebounding (264) and 20th in
    overall rebounding (7.9 rpg.), 2nd among all centers in steals (1.14) and 9th
    among all centers in scoring (11.7 ppg). He grabbed an NBA season-high 12
    offensive boards, including the winning tip-in, on 3/19 vs. Orlando.

    - had a team-high 21 double-doubles.

    When Pachulia is compared to some other significant NBA free agent center
    signings over the last two off-seasons, which includes Eddy Curry, Tyson
    Chandler, Samuel Dalembert, Erick Dampier, he led the group in steals, assists
    (1.7 apg), free throw percentage (.735), minutes (31.4) double-doubles (21) and
    efficiency rating (14.4), and placed 2nd among the group in scoring (11.7) and
    made free throws (297).

    Atlanta defeated seven-of-the-eight Eastern Conference playoff teams and we were
    victorious against 10 of the 16 teams in the 2006 Playoffs. (Chicago was only
    Eastern Conference playoff club we did not beat).

    The Hawks were the 2nd-best offensive rebounding team in the NBA, averaging 13.1
    per game, led by Zaza Pachulia (264, 5th in the NBA).

    The team ranked 11th in the NBA in 3-point shooting, hitting 37% from behind
    the arc, and Tyronn Lue (46%) finished 2nd in the league from long range. In
    2004-05, Atlanta ranked last in the league at 31%.

    Josh Smith showed some significant improvement in his second season in
    the league. Witness:

    -
    Over the last 12 games, Smith averaged 17.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.0 apg and 3.5
    bpg.

    - Smith made 34 three-pointers in the last 31 games, after hitting zero in
    his first 49 contests this season.

    - ranked 2nd in the league in total blocked shots (4th in average), and
    moved up to 9th on the all-time Atlanta blocks list.

    - had 208 blocks this season, and joined Tree Rollins, Dikembe Mutombo and
    Theo Ratliff as the only Hawks to ever reject 200 or more in one year.

    - got his 300th career blocked shot on March 22nd at Philadelphia, becoming
    the youngest player in NBA history (at 20 years, 107 days) to reach that
    milestone. He eclipsed Kevin Garnett, who got his 300th at 21 years, 165 days.
    Blocks became an official league stat in 1973-74.

    - when compared to other 2nd year players after the
    All-Star break, Smith ranked 1st in bpg (3.1) and mpg (38.8), 2nd in efficiency
    (20.2), and FTM (106), 3rd in rpg (7.8), 4th in apg (4.1), T-4th in
    double-doubles (7), 5th in ppg (15.0) and 7th in spg (1.03).

    And the other part of the Joshes combo? Josh Childress scored in double figures in 22-of-his-last-29 games, averaging
    12.6 ppg on 56.7% FGs during that time ... He finished with the seventh-best
    single-season field-goal percentage in team history (55.2%).

    Marvin Williams increased his scoring each month this season ... November - 5.5
    points, December - 6.2 points, January - 8.5 points, February - 9.3 points,
    March - 10.4 points, and April - 12.3 points ... He also saw a gradual rise in his
    rebounding, from 4.0 rpg in November to 6.1 rpg in April (2nd among all rookies
    for April).

    Among rookies, Salim Stoudamire was 2nd in FT% (.900), 3rd in 3FG% (38%), 5th in
    3FGM (82), 6th in scoring (9.7) and T-14th in assists (1.2) ... He led the Hawks
    in FT%, was second in three-pointers made and was third in 3FG%.

    Al Harrington provided solid veteran leadership on and off the court all season
    and ranked tied for 30th in ppg (career-high 18.6), tied for 31st in rpg (6.9)
    and tied for 38th in mpg (36.6).

    -- The Web Guy | 5:00 p.m. 04/21/06 |
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    Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

    The team made its final appearance at Philips Arena today, as the guys had
    exit interviews with the coaching staff and went about cleaning out their
    lockers for the summer. It felt a little like the last day of camp for me,
    except instead of 12-15 nine-year olds it was 12-15 multi-millionaires. But
    otherwise very, very similar.

    We got a lot of interviews which we will post in the next few days, with
    several players talking about their seasons and what they plan to do for the
    summer.

    Last night the season ended in Cleveland, with the Cavs squeaking out a
    100-99 victory over the Hawks as Josh Smith missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer
    that would have won it for Atlanta. So, the final tally stands at 26-56 - not a
    great season by any stretch of the imagination, but it's worth noting the Hawks
    improved by more wins (13) than all but two teams - the Utah Jazz won 15 more
    games than a year ago (a mark asterisked by the ridiculous amount of
    injuries they dealt with in 2004-05), and the Hornets were plus 20.

    With a high draft pick and some money to spend under the cap, it's safe to
    assume Hawks GM Billy Knight has some leverage to make some improvements in the
    offseason to keep the team on an upward curve.

    Here are some pics of the guys talking with the media and getting their stuff
    together for the last time this season...



    Royal Ivey visits with the AJC's Sekou Smith


    John Edwards packs up


    Josh Childress faces the tough questions


    790 the Zone's Brandon Leak interviews Josh Smith


    Joe Johnson cleans his locker

    -- The Web Guy | 4:45 p.m. 04/20/06 |
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    A Few More Hawks Notes

    The NBA participates in a wonderful program called Basketball Without Borders, a
    program they put on in countries around the world to teach basketball and life
    lessons to at risk children. Several Hawks will be participating in the program
    this summer. Zaza Pachulia and assistant coach Herb Brown will
    take part in the program in Lithuania. Josh Childress is accompanying the
    group that goes to China, and scout Harold Ellis will be a part of the
    contingent that goes to South Africa. The program, a basketball instructional
    camp for young people that also promotes friendship, healthy living and
    education with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, features
    current and former NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches. Ellis has
    been
    involved for the last two years
    , and says it is one of the most
    meaningful experiences he's ever had.

    In other news, I meant to link to this last Friday, but ESPN's Page 2 has a
    great article by Kevin Cott about

    Dominique's Wilkins deserving enshrinement
    in the Basketball Hall of
    Fame. Definitely check that out. If you are like me, you really can't read
    enough columns discussing the greatness of 'Nique.

    Finally, tonight is the Hawks' season finale, with the team finishing the slate
    on the road at Cleveland. I expect the club to come out fighting much like last
    night, as adding another win (and finishing the season on a three-game winning
    streak) will do nothing but add confidence as the guys head into the offseason.
    While winning at Cleveland would seem like a tall task on its face, but just
    remember this:

    - The Hawks won their earlier trip to Cleveland this season, winning 100-94 back
    in December.
    - Atlanta has won three straight games on the second half of back-to-backs.
    - The Hawks seem to perform better against the good teams than the bad ones -
    how else do you explain losing at home to the Bobcats, then winning the next
    night on the road at Milwaukee against a team fighting for its' playoff life?

    Tune in tonight on i, Independent Television and watch the final game, and then
    lets all get to work on helping this team to the playoffs next season!

    -- The Web Guy | 1:50 p.m. 04/19/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Hawks Go Out In
    Style

    The Hawks sure closed out the home slate in typical fashion last night, eh?
    All the familiar elements from this season were involved:

    - Comeback from a double-digit deficit? Check.
    - Nearly blow a sizeable lead in the last few minutes? Check.
    - Get a clutch basket with only seconds remaining to win the game? Check.
    - Vanquish another top opponent in the NBA? Check.

    Ok, so Shaq and D-Wade weren't on the floor last night, but so what? I'd
    actually argue the effort Miami gave last night was better than what would have
    happened with their best players on the floor, playing not to get hurt and on
    cruise control for the playoffs. The guys who got minutes last night (Dorrell
    Wright
    , Jason Kapono) are players still trying to prove something,
    and they played with maximum effort last night in nearly beating the Hawks on
    their home court. But, their energy was not enough to overcome an Atlanta team
    determined to send the 19,843 fans in the stands (fourth-largest in Philips
    Arena history) home happy.

    And happy they were after watching the Hawks persevere one more time at home,
    winning on Tyronn Lue's three-pointer with eight seconds left. Dorrell
    Wright got the ball with a chance to tie it at the end for Miami, but his jumper
    fell short as time expired.

    Here are some great shots from last night's action, as the Hawks said goodbye
    to Philips for the 2005-06 season. For the record, the team went 18-23 at home
    this season, an obvious improvement from the 9-32 campaign of a year ago, and a
    mark that could have easily seen several more W's if not for a few plays.

    All photos by Scott Cunningham, who once again did a great job as the Hawks'
    team photographer this season.



    Before the game, Josh Childress was honored with the inaugural Jason
    Collier Memorial Trophy
    for his work in the community. The award was given
    to Childress with Jason's wife, daughter, and their parents on hand to make the
    presentation


    Al Harrington goes for a sweet reverse


    Superstar producer/rapper Lil' Jon puts up the "A-town" sign for the
    cameras with Hawks owner Todd Foreman


    After the game, the Hawks gave the jerseys off their backs to lucky ticket
    holders like this young fan


    Skyhawk descends from the rafters


    Tyronn Lue lets the game-winning shot fly


    A fan shows Harry and Lil Harry her moves


    Josh Smith prepares to throw it down


    19,843 came out to see the game, fourth-largest in Philips Arena history


    Reaction after the game-winning hoop


    Was it a good game? Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaah!

    -- The Web Guy | 12:15 p.m. 04/19/06 |
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    Five Reasons To Go To The Heat Game

    5.
    Fan
    Appreciation Night
    .
    Tonight it's all about you, the fan. To thank the
    fans for supporting them throughout the season, the Hawks will be doing a number
    of things tonight, including (and this is the part you will probably care about
    the most) giving away a lot of stuff. Here is a sampling:

  • Philips Electronics merchandise
  • A Bud Light Mountain Bike
  • A grill from The Home Depot
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
  • Gift certificates from Here to Serve
    Restaurants
  • Sandestin Resort getaway packages
  • Gift certificates from Friedman's
    Shoes and more

    In addition, they will
    be honoring Josh Childress with the inaugural Jason Collier Memorial
    Trophy
    . The award, named after the late Hawks center who passed away on
    October 15, 2005, will be presented annually to the individual who best
    exemplifies the characteristics Collier displayed off the court as a community
    ambassador.

    4.
    Zaza Pachulia.
    A little shout-out to the lesser known perhaps of the two
    most important off-season acquisitions for the Hawks last season. ZP has been a
    constant in the middle for the Hawks all season long, and if I were him I would
    take about a 17-day sauna treatment once the season ends. Come out tonight to
    pay homage to the guy who does all the grunt work in the paint for the Hawks.
    Here is what he had to say
    about his first season in Atlanta.

    3.
    Al Harrington.
    Harrington has been a rock over the last two years for the
    Hawks, but with his contract expiring after the season there is a chance this
    will be your last opportunity to see him donning a Hawks uni. Harrington has
    done all he could for the franchise over the last two years, overseeing a huge
    youth movement that cast him, a young player himself, in the role of the savvy
    veteran. Hopefully he will be back for future Hawks games, but if not, let's
    thank him tonight for his efforts

    2. Mike Woodson. This guy has been dealt a tough hand in his first two
    seasons as an NBA head coach, but he has persevered. Talk to any other coach,
    GM, or scout in the league, and they will praise the effort the Hawks give every
    single night, even as they have fallen out of the playoff chase. Certainly, part
    of the credit for that goes to the players themselves, but Coach Woodson and his
    staff deserve a lot of praise for having a team that battles to the very end,
    win or lose. We caught up to him this morning after shootaround to
    get his thoughts on the end of the
    season
    as well.

    1. Double Your Fun. The team set, as a baseline goal for the season,
    26 wins as a stepping stone for this year's win total. Clearly they would like
    to have more, but they can reach that marker with a win either tonight against
    the Heat or tomorrow at Cleveland. I think the team will come out strong
    tonight, trying to finish the season on a high note to give themselves
    confidence to build off of going into next season.

    These guys may not have won as much as we would have liked as fans this
    season, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Say what you want about
    their record, I defy you to think of even five games at Philips this season that
    weren't worth the price of admission. This is an exciting team to watch, period,
    and they are only going to get better. Let's show them some love tonight as they
    finish the home schedule and add another top-ranked foe to their list of victims
    in 2005-06.

    See you there!

    -- The Web Guy | 1:50 p.m. 04/18/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Five Reasons To Go To The Bobcats Game

    5.
    Josh Smith.
    This is the kind of end-of-the-season run you want to see from
    your young players. At a time of year when most non-playoff teams have packed it
    in for the year, the Hawks continue to give their all. Smoove is a great example
    of a player trying to finish the year strong. Just as an example of his improved
    play, look at how his scoring has increased. Smith notched his first 20+ point
    game of the season on Feb. 15 against the Lakers. He added four more in March,
    in 16 games. In seven games so far in April, he has bested 20 three times. The
    team will need his contributions tonight, as Josh Childress has been
    suspended two games
    for his flagrant foul on the Bulls' Andres Nocioni on
    Wednesday.

    4.
    Gerald Wallace.
    The Bobcats, as an expansion franchise, do not receive a ton
    of publicity. The first players you think of when you think of their squad are
    probably Emeka Okafor and maybe Sean May, but both of them are out for the
    season with injuries. While no one was looking though, Wallace has become
    arguably their best player and a near All-Star, as we saw when he torched the
    Hawks for a career-high 41. Currently, Wallace has a chance of becoming the only
    player in NBA history besides Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson to average two
    steals and two blocks a game for an entire season. Pretty impressive company,
    no? By the way, Josh Smith could totally pull this off someday.

    3.
    Noche Latina.

    The Atlanta Hawks are celebrating Hispanic culture and heritage tonight by
    holding Noche Latina (Latin Night). A number of festivities are planned,
    highlighted by a post-game concert featuring Latin recording artists Pilar
    Montenegro
    and Adassa. The concert is free for anyone holding a game
    ticket. Viva Hawks!

    2. Tar Heels. A year removed from their national title, the four North
    Carolina lottery picks have seen decidedly less success on the court than ever
    before. Tonight marks the last meeting between teammates Marvin Williams
    and Raymond Felton, as both are putting the finishing touches on
    promising rookie campaigns. Though Sean May's season was prematurely
    finished due to injury, each of the other three ex-Heels (Rashad McCants
    being the fourth) had mostly positive beginnings to their careers. Personally
    The Web Guy doesn't like North Carolina, (he is an SEC fan at heart), but last
    year's UNC title-winners had as much talent as nearly any NCAA titleist in
    recent memory.

    1. Gotta get a split. Last year the Bobcats won the season series 3-1
    from the Hawks, despite being a first-year NBA franchise. Currently, Charlotte
    has a 2-1 advantage this year going into tonight's contest. Simply put, Atlanta
    does NOT want to lose this series two straight years, especially given some of
    the other teams they have beaten this season. The team will miss Childress, but
    the Bobcats have overcome multiple injuries all season and still managed to beat
    the Hawks twice so far. Look for the Hawks to bring their A game tonight and
    pull out the series equalizer.

    See you there!

    -- The Web Guy | 3:45 p.m. 04/14/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Checking In
    From Ticket Sales

    Hey Hawks fans, Brendan checking in from ticket sales. The Web Guy offered me a
    spot on the Blog today to let you know about the deal we have going for the
    Hawks-Heat game. If you put down a
    $100 deposit per seat for any
    plan towards the 2006-07 Hawks season
    , we give you tickets to the Hawks
    taking on Shaq,
    Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat for FREE!!

    With the emergence of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson combined with another great
    draft pick and the cap flexibility to add more great players, now is the time to
    get great seats before it is too late.

    New in 2006-07, in honor of the Hall of Fame induction of Dominique Wilkins, the
    Hawks will be offering a season ticket in the lower level for just $21 per game.

    You don't want to miss out on either opportunity - the chance to witness the
    continuation of something great in 06-07, as well as a chance to see your Hawks
    play against one of the NBA's top teams next Tuesday night.

    -- Brendan Donohue, Director Of Ticket Sales | 3:30 p.m. 04/11/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Five Reasons To Go To The Wizards Game

    5.
    A Triple-Double.
    Josh Smith has come ever-so-close to getting his first
    career triple-double in the last couple games, while Joe Johnson is a threat to
    do it every single night. Call it a hunch, but I say one of these guys gets it
    done at least once before the season ends - maybe even tonight!

    4.
    Gilbert Arenas.
    Honestly, I don't quite know what to do with Arenas. Clearly
    one of the most offensively gifted players in the league, I still can't figure
    out if he is a ball-hogging guard who keeps his team from becoming a cohesive
    unit or if he is just putting the team on his back and carrying them to the
    playoffs. Perhaps he is both. Either way, he is one of the players in the NBA
    who I would pay to watch, and there are few who work harder at their jobs. The
    Hawks have had surprising success against Arenas this season (if you want to
    call it that), holding him to only 21.3 ppg in three meetings, his fourth-worst
    average against an opponent.

    3.
    Chick-fil-A
    Family Night
    .
    The last one of the season, sadly. For those who have
    forgotten, you can get four tickets and four vouchers for Chick-fil-A combo
    meals (crazy delicious!) starting at $69. It's not the last time you can go to a
    Hawks game this season, and it's not the last time you can eat Chick-fil-A, but
    it could be the last time you can enjoy them together for so little money. What
    are you waiting for???

    2. Tyronn Lue. Finally back from a knee injury that kept him out for
    several weeks, Lue has paid immediate dividends to a short-handed Hawks squad.
    Lue turned back the clock to last season in Wednesday's game against Minnesota,
    scoring two crucial baskets as time wound down to help pull out a 101-99
    victory. Last year it was his pull-up J with 17 seconds left that clinched the
    home win for Atlanta. Look for him to continue to have an impact on the team for
    the rest of the season with his clutch shooting and passing.

    1. Not for the feint of heart. It must be tough to be a Hawks fan with
    high blood pressure these days. No matter the opponent, it seems like every game
    is destined to come down to the very end. This week alone the Hawks have lost by
    two at New Jersey (missing a chance to win when Joe Johnson was called for an
    offensive foul with three seconds left) and defeated the T-Wolves on a Josh
    Childress layup at the buzzer (for my money, a top-three highlight of the
    season). What is in story for us tonight? Well, don't be surprised to see a
    close one again. These two teams played at Philips back in January, going to
    overtime before the Wizards pulled away. Can the Hawks gain some revenge
    tonight? If so, count on it coming at the very end!

    See you there!

    -- The Web Guy | 10:30 a.m. 04/07/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Nique Gets The
    Call To The Hall - Update

    Finally. That's all I have to say. At this time last year, I would have told
    you there was no way Dominique Wilkins doesn't make the Hall of Fame on his
    first try. Of course, I was wrong. We all were. But that is in the past. Monday
    Wilkins finally got his well-deserved recognition from the basketball
    establishment, as he was named

    as part of a very impressive six-member class
    to be inducted in
    Springfield, MA, in early September, joining basketball luminaries Charles
    Barkley
    and Joe Dumars, amongst others.

    Dominique was The Web Guy's favorite player growing up, and is pretty much
    the reason he became not only a Hawks fan but a basketball fan in general. I
    grew up during the glory days of Wilkins' tenure as a Hawk, following him, Spud,
    Doc, and Tree as they battled against the other heavyweights of the period. Like
    many kids in the South, I had posters of him all over my walls (right next to
    the Hawks basketball goal that hung on my door). I still remember where I was
    the moment I found out he had been traded to the Clippers.

    The Hawks honored Wilkins during a timeout at Wednesday night's game against
    the Timberwolves, showing a tribute video on the video screen, followed by a
    standing ovation from those in the crowd. It was goose-bump inducing. Also, we
    had a chance to
    speak to Nique

    before the game to get his thoughts.

    Wilkins' career may
    have been overshadowed by some of the others he played against, but I think it's
    worth mentioning that he was a part of two of the most memorable moments in NBA
    history: his duel with Larry Bird in Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference
    semifinals (which I believe ESPN Classic is contractually obligated to air at
    least once a day), and his showdown with Michael Jordan in the 1988 Slam Dunk
    Contest in Chicago.

    Though Wilkins came up on the short end in both, these two events
    nevertheless cemented his legacy as both a player and as a showman. Wilkins did
    everything he could to will the Hawks to victory in that series, matching Bird
    shot for shot in that legendary fourth quarter. And nearly 20 years later, I
    would argue more people remember Nique getting shafted in Chicago than Jordan
    winning.

    As an individual, Nique was every bit as talented as any of his peers, but
    unfortunately never had the talent surrounding him to help his Hawks defeat the
    other teams of his era.

    Either way, today is a day to be celebrated. Wilkins is finally getting his
    just desserts, and The Web Guy couldn't be happier.

    What are some of your favorite Wilkins memories? Email them to me and I will
    post the best ones!

    In case you forgot just how amazing Nique was by the way,
    here is a
    reminder
    . And
    here is another one
    .

    Congrats Nique!

    -- The Web Guy | 11:15 a.m. 04/06/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Five Reasons To Go To The Timberwolves Game

    5.
    Dominique Wilkins.
    The Hawks' greatest legend got his props Monday from the
    basketball community, as it was announced he will be a part of the 2006 Hall of
    Fame class. Come out Wednesday night to honor him for this prestigious honor!

    4.
    Memories Of Aprils Past.
    Last season the Timberwolves came to town with
    their playoff hopes on life support, and promptly lost to a Hawks team that
    would win only 13 games all season. Minnesota is too far out of it for the Hawks
    to ruin their season this year, but best believe the T-Wolves remember what
    happened last year and will want some revenge tonight.

    3.
    Marvin Williams.
    Marvin hopes to be back with the team in time for tonight's
    game - he missed Tuesday's game against the Nets to attend his grandfather's
    funeral. Our condolences to Marvin and his family. If he makes it back for
    tonight, he will be going up for the first time against his former UNC teammate
    Rashad McCants, who is a rookie shooting guard for Minnesota.

    2. The Hawks Bench. In case you haven't noticed, Atlanta is a little
    short-handed these days. Though they have welcomed Tyronn Lue back from his knee
    injury, the team has lost Salim Stoudamire for the season, and last night played
    without Josh Childress (ankle), Marvin Williams (family leave), and Zaza
    Pachulia (flu). Despite these missing bodies, the Hawks still were in the game
    right up until the end, and a lot of credit for that goes to the inspired play
    of reserves Donta Smith, Anthony Grundy, and Esteban Batista.
    All three reached personal bests last night, with Smith scoring 13 points,
    Grundy popping for 11 (all in the fourth quarter), and Batista snaring 12
    rebounds. Look for them to try to keep that up tonight as they play the second
    night of a back-to-back.

    1. Heading In Different Directions. Minnesota may have a better record
    than the Hawks, but this will be a meeting of two teams trodding down opposite
    paths. As many games as we have lost this season, I can't help but still feel
    optimism for the future of this franchise and for the players that will make up
    the core of the team in the coming years. The Timberwolves, on the other hand,
    find themselves at a crossroads - they still have one of the game's top talents
    in Kevin Garnett, but continue to have difficulties surrounding him with the
    right combination to make an extended playoff run. Don't be surprised if many of
    the players they have in uniform tonight aren't still with them for next year's
    season series. Still, these are both proud teams, so expect them to both come
    out firing tonight to try to end their seasons on a positive note.

    See you there!

    -- The Web Guy | 11:30 a.m. 04/05/06 |
    Have a comment?


    Readers Praise Nique As Well

    Have a tribute you want to make to Dominique?
    Email your congrats to Wilkins here and we will post the best responses!

    Dominique is my favorite player of all time and has not received the praise
    that he has deserved in the past. This is a great time for me as a fan to
    cherish and bring back all of my memories of the great passion that Nique played
    with. Because of him I have and will be a lifetime fan of the Atlanta Hawks. I
    love the Atlanta Hawks and living in Idaho there are not many other Hawk
    supporters. In high school and also at college my room was plastered with
    Dominique and Atlanta Hawk posters and now that I am married it is the garage
    that is covered. Every year that I start in a fantasy basketball league I show
    my continued Nique support becasue my team name is alway 21 Jump Street. I love
    the opportunity to tell people that my favorite sports team is the Atlanta Hawks
    and that Dominique is the best. Congratulations to you Dominique!

    Jake T.
    Twin Falls, Idaho

    First off Nique I have to say it's about time they recognized you. You
    should have been one of the 50 greatest players, but you're number one on my
    list. I've followed you through your days at University of Georgia and finally
    got a chance to see you play when you were with the Celtics and it was your
    first game back at the Omni and I ran into your brother John Wilkins. I'm a huge
    fan, I will be at the enshrinement in September to cheer on my role model, and
    hope to meet you in person. God bless you and your family. I know Mrs. Wilkins
    is proud of you. Thanks again for all the memories, the highlight films, and I
    got to say you and Michael Jordan are pioneers of how the game is played today.

    Dyland L.
    Columbus, Ohio

    Congratulations from Europe. I think everybody agrees that your battles
    with MJ and Bird, your highlights in every game you played, your slam dunk
    titles, your scoring title and so on are an important part of NBA history. I had
    the chance to meet you in Barcelona when you played for Panathinaikos and I have
    bought your Hawks # 21 jersey on eBay. At last you got the recognition you
    deserve.

    Sancho B.
    Tarragona, Spain

    You are my hero for many reasons. First I would like to tell you how proud
    I am of you for making the Hall. Congrats to you...the true artist of the game.

    Over the years I would overcome disabilities I have had since birth. And
    although I am still receiving Social Security Disability, I try hard to "make
    it" out in the real world by looking for a special job where I could make a
    difference. One day I will find a job that can effect people on a special level.
    Dominique, you have been an inspiration to me ever since I first watched you
    play against the Boston Celtics on a nationally televised game sometime during
    the 1985 or 1986 season. and we won, dude!!! I pledged my allegiance along with
    many new fans you gained after that stellar performance. To me, you seemed to be
    a fellow artist worthy of a lifetime of adoration.

    Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa, it was hard to find out the inside scoop on the
    Hawks but listening to the WSB games on AM radio every school night made my life
    not only tolerable but made me feel that I was part of a winning team. I even
    got to see you early on in your career during an exhibition game played in
    Pittsburgh at the civic arena against the pistons.

    And through all the years, your stylistic approach to the game never let me lose
    interest in your career and I always "backed you up" during many arguments,
    like... "just who is the best player in the game? Nique or Jordan?" Man, you and
    I know the answer to that one, riiiiiight? Ha! Dominique, I just wanted to tell
    you to always stay true to yourself and never give up on any of your dreams. and
    when it all seems to be going wrong...trust yourself that you will come out of
    it better than ever. Thanks again for unknowingly taking me for a great ride
    through your NBA career. You will always be my hero.

    Dorian F.
    Las Vegas NV

    -- The Web Guy | 2:25 p.m. 04/04/06 |
    Have a comment?


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