Saturday, January 16, 2010

Phoenix Suns 101 at Atlanta Hawks 102 - January 15, 2010

Wow! Definitely the best NBA finish I've seen since the Grizzlies won the second game in their history back in 1995. On ESPN tonight, the Atlanta Hawks made a statement: they are not to be taken lightly. A last-second 3 by Jamal Crawford gave the Hawks a 102-101 win over the Phoenix Suns. I'm not going to do a full post on the game now as I'm tired and jet lagged a bit, but will show a few pictures from this evening. I'll post my thoughts about the event tomorrow.

This basket by Amare Stoudamire gave the Suns a 98-94 lead with 40 seconds left

The Hawks had closed within two and had the final shot...

...which I did not take a picture of because I was too busy watching it...

...but Jamal Crawford sunk a miracle 3 and ....

...the place went bonkers.

The Final Score

Other Thoughts

OK, it's the next day and I've had some time to reflect on the game. It was the lead story on ESPN and Crawford's basket was the Top Play. I think the game could mark a turning point in Hawks history, and give this team the confidence they need to compete with Boston and Cleveland come playoff time.

The first half was really not good. The Hawks were ice cold to start and Phoenix had a 33-21lead, but that was the biggest lead either team held throughout the game. Phoenix went cold in the second quarter and that allowed the Hawks to make it close. Phoenix had a 4 point lead with 10 seconds left. But after Josh Smith sunk the first of two threes, the key play was an offensive rebound by Crawford off the following missed foul shot. The easy basket brought Atlanta to within 1, and after Stoudemire missed one of his free throws, the stage was set for the miracle finish.

Interestingly, a few fans had already left when Phoenix had a 4-point lead with 40 seconds to left. Bizarre that you would spend 2:40 minutes at the game but miss the last 5 minutes to beat traffic. Especially when your team still had a shot. I'll never understand why people leave these games when the result has yet to be decided. I suppose that having the game on ESPN didn't help. Television timeouts were plentiful and the game ran 2:44, which is far too long for 48 minutes of action.

One fan though, didn't have much choice in the matter. The father next to me was with his young son and daughter. While the son watched the game, the father tried to explain the game to his daughter, but she wasn't that interested and wanted to leave. He tried to keep her attention on the game, but she wasn't having any of it. He told her "There's only 30 minutes left" in an effort to quiet her, but she knew better, replying "I'll tell you when we are going home!". Sadly for Daddy, she announced that they were leaving midway through the 4th quarter. Hope he got to hear the rest on the radio.

I mentioned that the Thrashers had a great promotion that involved items of food racing around the ice and beating on each other. Well, the Hawks use the same promotion, although with a different name, Food Fight to the Finish. It's not as interesting as the contestants don't fall as easily as they do on ice, but the pictures below might explain better than I can. Baby back ribs won, so now I have a free rack of ribs to go along with the sirloin steak I won the day before. Too bad it's still at Applebee's.

Chicken Fajita has the lead... Skyhawk tries to stop Baby Back ribs

Dominique Wilkins recently celebrated his 50th birthday. He's now a broadcaster for Atlanta and was feted during a timeout. The team gave him a birthday cake and some gifts suitable for his "advanced" age: a walker, reading glasses, and a shawl. It was a light-hearted moment, given that 'Nique looks about 35 and capable of suiting up for the home team. His thank-you speech was really cool - he thanked the fans for their support of not only himself, but the team and told them that they have something special and exciting. His words were prescient as the Hawks showed their fans just what exciting means.

That's Dominique standing and giving his speech

All-in-all, a great evening at Philips Arena and a super start to the trip. I've put some more pictures below.

Steve Nash shoots

Robin Lopez fights Joe Smith for a rebound

Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford watch Grant Hill's shot

Josh Smith throws a pass across the key



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