I ran into former Hawks star Dikembe Mutombo after last night’s game, which isn’t hard to do considering that even among giants he’s a behemoth, standing 7 feet and 2 inches tall. “Why did we lose?” I asked him, shaking my head. “Because we quit,” he grumbled, shaking his much larger head.
So there you have it, folks: We lay down on the tracks in game two. Need we dissect the corpse that is the Atlanta Hawks basketball team right now? Let’s save ourselves the teeth-gnashing and the grief. Instead, I offer you 11 somewhat interesting things I learned tonight as the Hawks succumbed to the Cleveland Cavaliers 94-82, losing their second straight in the best of seven series, in a lackluster performance that may well spell doom.
- LeBron James is huge man. Very physical, very talented, very alpha. He pushes his defenders around like they’re junior associates. And when he wins, he acts like he’s done it before. That said, does he really need a Sprite-mix named after him?
- You have to rebound if you want to win. It’s physics: you must have the ball in order to score it. And you can’t have it if you don’t jump up in the air and get it when other people throw it at the hoop. Any questions?
- When backup big man Pero Antic missed a shot, I heard for the first time in my life: “Send him back to Macedonia!” Do most people even know where Macedonia is?
- Injuries continue to matter … for us. We lost sharpshooter Kyle Korver—who had a great first quarter—to an ankle sprain in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Cleveland didn’t have its all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, and it didn’t really matter.
- Kent Bazemore may not be the greatest shooter, but he can drive and he can fly. He is also best cheerer on the team. I saw him give a few good man-hugs.
- The closer you are to the court, the more likely it is that you are sitting next to someone who will vomit. The guy in front of me just kept going with the mixed drinks. And he kept flicking off bad play (see above photo) until he couldn’t stand up anymore. Then he stumbled to the bathroom.
- The Hawks got this far by being an incredible passing team. Yet the ball as been “sticking” in the second half of each of the first two games. It needs to get unstuck.
- I don’t understand why people pay good money for great seats and then leave with five minutes left, like anxious mourners at a wake. Then again, this one was ugly. I’ve only walked out of a movie once before it ended and this came close to being the Battlefield Earth of basketball games, if such a thing is possible.
- You can’t beat a team with the best player in the world—who was one rebound away from a triple-double last night—when his supporting cast shoots over 50 percent from beyond the arc for most of the game. Also: fish can’t fly and most rappers can’t sing.
- Shaquille O’Neal has a difficult time texting. I watched him, sitting nearby at the “Sprint Halftime Report” stage. His fingers are just too big.
- There are hitchhikers on Peachtree Street. I picked up two of them after the game. They worked in production at Adult Swim, they said, and they’d had a few drinks. I took them to Argosy, in East Atlanta, for a few more. We needed it.