Everyone needs some good literature during their lunch break, and here at TBDS, I am going to try to give you a daily dose of the NBA to get you through your leftover meatloaf and Slim Fast.
Today's special: Deep-fried Hawk
Yes, the most exciting team in the Eastern Conference and the early sexy pick Atlanta Hawks had their recent woes summed up in a disappointing loss to the Indiana Pacers last night 113-96. There is not a whole lot the Hawks can do right now with Josh Smith still on the sidelines and Al Horford potentially joining him, but surrendering 113 points to Indiana is not a good sign.
The Hawks built their blistering start on a run-n-gun offense and highlight reel defense. The speed is still there. They are easily the fastest team in the East, but with the absence of Smith, the defense lacks motivation.
Marvin Williams isn't the vocal leader Smith or Horford tend to be, but he is the best defender on the team and it will be up to him to motivate his teammates so they can avoid another embarrassing performance like Tuesday's.
The main problem with the Hawks though, even when Smith and Horford return, is depth. Josh Childress picked up his ball and gyros and headed to Greece, leaving the bench extremely depleted. Now is the time for the reserve Hawks to test their wings and either fly high or crash and burn.
The Hawks draw Washington tonight, so it should snap the four-game skid, but I want to see major minutes from Randolph Morris, Acie Law and Solomon Jones. Law has been a major disappointment thus far, but if those three can start to grow the Hawks will not only stop the skid, but they will be very dangerous in the playoffs.
If those three fail to reach their potential, then it is time to dip into the underused D-League for a quick fix. I don't know a whole lot about the players on their affiliate, but I do know TJ Cummings could be good.
The Hawks need to win their game tonight against Washington and try to build some confidence again. I really want to see this team in the playoffs, but they will need to either develop their bench or make a midseason move to get maybe a Luke Walton or someone like that.
The Triple Threat
* The L.A. Lakers continue to play the best and most exciting basketball. Last night's 116-109 win over Chicago showed even when the defense takes a night off, they can't be stopped. It was Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum who did the most damage, but Kobe Bryant's six assists were impressive as well, including two highlight reel dishes.
*Cleveland Cavaliers extended their winning streak to eight games with another stellar performance by the King. LeBron James rejected New Jersey Net guard Devin Harris like Michael Ruffin on prom night. The block, and his 31 points, is just another reason Jay-Z wants to be jockin LeBron.
*It appears Portland may have been a tad over hyped. Golden State pulled off a nice looking upset with a 111-106 victory over the Blaze. Greg Oden had a breakout game with 22 points and 10 boards, but I don't really care, because everyone is enamored with Anthony Morrow. After dropping 37 points on the Clip, Morrow dropped 25 on Portland. It would be sweet to see him do that the rest of the year and take home ROY honors. (It's a dream).