You spent years tied up in court squabbling with yourselves. You signed Joe Johnson to a dreadful contract. You allowed Don Waddell to kill hockey in Atlanta, then sold the team to out-of-state buyers. All that said, if you're going to rip on both Kevin Garnett for being dirty and the national media for applying a different standard to the Hawks' injuries as opposed to those of higher profile teams, then I am willing to forgive you ... a little. Take it away, Michael Gearon Jr.:
Did you see what Al Horford did last night? The timeline for recovery for his injury is another three months. He’s not even supposed to be playing and Josh [Smith] should not be playing. Zaza [Pachulia] can’t stand up, but if we can get past this round there is a chance that we can get him back. So this is a team that is overcoming adversity. I wish . . . some of the national media or even some of the local media, more the paper than the TV guys, recognize how hard these guys are playing based on how injured they are.
On top of all that, we don’t get any calls, which I know everybody always hears. But I’ll give you a stat. Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. [Kevin] Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.
This is exactly right. First of all, Gearon is hardly alone in thinking that Garnett is dirty, as the guys who actually play against him agree. Second, the Hawks' play during this series with the Celtics has been, at times, remarkable. The team was already playing without Al Horford (one of the Hawks' big three) as well as his back-up when Josh Smith hurt his knee with game two tied. After the Celtics won, it immediately became Celtic Pride. In game three, the Hawks took the game to overtime, despite a ridiculously short-handed lineup that featured Ivan Johnson, Erick Dampier, and Jason Collins all getting significant minutes, during which we were forced to listen to comparisons between that shorthanded lineup and the one the Celtics deployed in game two. That comparison ignores the fact that the Hawks were shorthanded because of bad luck with injuries, whereas the Celtics were shorthanded in one significant respect because their point guard behaved like an idiot at the end of game one.
If Al Horford did what he is doing in Boston or New York, then he would be Willis Reed. Because he is doing what he's doing for the Hawks, we only have one of our owners to sing his praises.