Poker Cats

Saturday, May 03, 2008

It comes down to this ... Hawks, Game 7

I don't want to get all Poking and Peaking on you, but damn.

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game at a packed Philips Arena was like no other I've seen. Even Duke-Carolina at the Dean Dome.

I left work and walked over to the arena with my Joe Johnson T-shirt, which miraculously arrived in time for the game, even though when I ordered it last week I selected economy shipping that would take up to 6 weeks.

Guess they wanted me to have it for the game.

It didn't matter though, because they gave everyone a Hawks "Shock the World" T-shirt. Yay!

I sat on the lower level, 20 seats back, next to this overweight guy. It turned out that during the pre-game introductions for the Hawks, while the lights were out, he put on a very tight Kevin Garnett jersey.

Damn. I'm not saying it was dumb to come to this game, but not many of yo' Celtics fans went to this one. A LOT less than the Celtics-Hawks game I went with Sham, Ben and Josh at the end of the regular season.

This was a Hawks town crowd. Especially in the second half, everyone was out of their seats and waving the playoff towels we were given.

The great teams win on the road and know how to close out series. Obviously the current incarnation of the Celtics are not part of that pantheon. Boston fans should be questioning if Doc Rivers is the right coach for them. Especially if they lose Game 7 on Sunday (which even I don't think will happen but if they do, expect a "SHOCK DA WORLD" post!).

Why their marquee player Kevin Garnett wasn't given the ball in the post ON EVERY POSSESSION in the fourth quarter is beyond me. On defense, they were too focused on Joe Johnson while all of the confident Hawks players were hitting their shots.

It was a close one. Even after I was able to shout "The dagger! The dagger!" when Joe Johnson hit a 3-point shot with a little over 1:30 to go, the Celtics got it down to 2 points. Everyone was shouting "Game 7! Game 7" and I was afraid the Garnett doughboy next to me would get the last laugh.

But he didn't. And now it comes down to this. Game 7. I haven't been this excited about an NBA game since sitting in a Sacramento parking lot listening to Phil Jackson's Lakers stuff the Kings in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

I'm ready for the Hawks to SHOCK DA WORLD. Even if they don't, mad props to them for doing what no Atlanta pro team has been able to do for a long time -- defend their home court.

The young players on the team will get valuable playoff experience that should translate well into the next season. And maybe the crew will come out to watch ... gulp ... a winning Hawks team.

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