Official Game Thread: Thunder at Hawks


lethalweapon3
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2 hours ago, lethalweapon3 said:

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“Will Trae ever return to Genoa City? Can he ever forgive Nate for his transgressions? And does the DNA test reveal Aaron as the real father of Baby Justin? Find out next time, on another sizzling episode of…”

 

Cue the bubble machine, and the tiniest of violins! Y’all already know I love me some soaps, especially the daytime variety back in the days when I didn’t need, like, a real jerb or nothing. One thing that would be sure to grind my gears was when a longtime stalwart actor was unceremoniously replaced, on a Thursday, with zero advance warning.

“The role of Carly Manning will now be played by Maggie McGillicutty.” The words hurl across the TV banner like a storm warning, with no elaboration as the new B-actress enters the operating room. And we fans are supposed to just sit there on the loveseat with our SnackWells and take it? I think the heck not! You are nobody’s Carly, Maggie, if that is indeed your name! What is this hot New Coke mess? Nobody asked for you. Boo! Hiss!

Allow me to put my Monday Morning Ombud hat on, ahead of today’s game between our Atlanta Hawks and the Oklahoma City Thunder (7:30 PM Eastern, Bally Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL), and try to untangle the latest taut drama between still-fresh franchise face Trae Young and his latest warm-seat head taskmaster, Nate McMillan.

If the ulti-Nate-um – go home and catch up on Dawson’s Creek, or, come sit by me, as the curtain rises for Friday’s home match with the Nuggets with Aaron Holiday starting – is as reported by Shams and Sam at The Athletic (we got a beat writer over there yet, or nah?), then you’d have to retrieve an old Thrashers game on DVD to find a worse power play. McMillan failed his own carefully-crafted Basketball C.C.C test.

He didn’t stay Calm when he was dismayed about Trae not willing to risk aggravating shoulder discomfort for shootaround. He wasn’t Clear about the reason for Young’s pregame reticence, even though he has assistants and training staff around him that could have given him adequate details before he approached his most valued player. And the pu pu platter of options he presented was a surefire way of getting more disConnected than the pair already was.

I emphasize “already was,” here, because the reported approach from Nate suggests there was ample consternation and confrontation between the two well in advance of the loopy fiasco that unfolded Friday morning. Much like misinformation becomes dangerous when formed as disinformation, miscommunication becomes an unhealthy fuel for diss communication, which appears to have transpired during the brooding in Brookhaven.

“It was just a miscommunication in that situation with Trae,” Nate explained to media only after The Athletic’s cherry-bombshell coursed its way through the NBA-osphere. “Just as simple as that.” There should be no “simple” miscommunication that causes Hawks fans to miss out on its showcase star on a Friday night against a reigning league MVP, to say nothing Young’s fellow players, who went out and performed as admirably as they have all season long, for a full game, in his and many others’ absence.

McMillan inherited Lloyd Pierce’s Frankenstein, but he bristles at his own inability to mold this monstrous talent into one that is the opposite of a defensive liability, that understands how to steer the pace of games to throw opponents out of rhythm, that knows when to unfurl those 30-foot bombs and behind-the-back dishes, and when to just execute a tried-and-true play.

McMillan will always be the bigger man, for as long as we have scales and calipers around. Yet the road ahead will test Young to become the bigger man in the proverbial sense. How quickly they genuinely re-connect will be a determining factor in how long they stay members of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club. Not just together.

Young could choose to stomp and stammer to the front office, estimating that his profile as a fan favorite and McMillan’s lackluster standing grants him leverage, a battle axe that at least approximates what KD wielded over the summer.

But if he takes things too far and starts acting like First Aunt Viv on the set, Schlenk and Company could tap Trae’s heels, dangling a mix of second-rounders and swap options in pick-whore executive Sam Presti’s face. Suddenly, we’re extolling the merits of Dejounshai in The A, while Trae finds himself not in Beverly Hills but stuck in somebody else’s rebuild, singing the theme song to 227. I mean no place, child. Whoo!

“The anticipated role of Luka Doncic will now be cast by Trae Young.” From the preseason buzzer-beating game-winner in his rookie preseason home debut, to his dazzling, scene-stealing acts just last week in Orlando, All-NBA Trae his been worth all of the flowers and trophies and accolades tossed in his direction, as Atlanta and Hawks fans have grown to embrace him. “The role of Atlanta All-Star-Caliber Mega-Talent will henceforth be played by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.” Sorry, Trae. But I’d just have to lay here on my beanbag and sip my Fresca and deal with it.

He was shelved in the closing months of last season, as part of Presti’s Operation Chet scheme, and conveniently made it through just 35 games in 2020-21. But so long as he stays reasonably healthy going forward, Shaivonte Aician Gilgeous-Alexander, about eleven weeks Trae’s elder, is an ongoing S.A.G.A. that I could bingewatch. Shai would be no Maggie McGillicutty.

Bursting through with a career-high 31.1 PPG while sinking over half his shots and 90 percent of his freebies? Along with 6.0 APG for coach Mark Daigneault’s amazingly 10-13 club, whose next-best upright talent might be Lugie Dort? Another ballhawk on defense with stocks for days on end? Plus, an extended salary that won’t eclipse $40 million until 2026-27? Don’t touch that dial! Trae may not be right back.

Top-ten once more in the league for points and assists, Young can firm up his annual credentials for league MVP consideration. Among the NBA’s most durable and successful coaches, now six victories shy of 750 regular season wins after Friday’s Trae-less win over Denver, McMillan can wake up one day to find himself enshrined in Springfield. But the most likely path to these things happening requires these two committing to work better with each other, Trae in particular displaying a willingness to Leggo his Ego for the greater good.

As The Hawks Turn has to be a short-lived drama, and one not White Lotus-style, if only because the glow-up of the blow-up could soon be the center of attention in a sports town that, suddenly, doesn’t have much of its own manufactured spectacles going on. (Bye, DeGrom. Hello, Verlander!)

The Knicks are looking to run it back after getting pants-ed by Dejountae last month, while Jacque Vaughn’s Nets are relieved to have Kyrie back with his mind on his hoopin’ and his hoopin’ on his mind. Both Big Apple clubs and their sour apple fans would appreciate catching up with Atlanta (13-10) in the standings, as the visitors have all of their attention fixated inward.

The Hawks can’t get caught looking ahead, anyway, not with the supporting cast looking like bed-ridden stand-ins around a bickering Luke and Laura at General Hospital. And not against a Thunder team that’s playing right now like they’ve got One Life to Live. OKC arrived in Atlanta after coaxing the referee-distracted Timberwolves into immolating themselves, Shai waltzing to the charity stripe for 12 perfect free throw attempts along the way to a 135-128 win, the Thunder’s second straight victory.

Filling in for the unavailable De’Andre Hunter and John Collins, A.J. Griffin and Jalen Johnson can’t be caught looking like amateur hour opposite Josh Giddey (21 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists @ MIN) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Atlanta’s bench, bolstered by the return of Bogi Bogdanovic, has to at least hold serve against a returning Mike Muscala (missed two weeks after breaking a pinky) the Williams Boys, inclusive of Kenrich and whichever of the Ja. Williams rooks Daigneault elects to throw out there.

Much like the Hawks’ up-and-down season to date, the tattered Nate-Trae relationship is still reparable, and there remains ample time to build back better for the benefit of all involved. A maturing Trae can become the Guiding Light that propels the Hawks to higher heights. But if he begins acting publicly like he’d rather be in Another World, and isn’t obliged, then the balance of this season could leave us all just passing the time, like sands through the hourglass.

 

Congrats to The Crime Dog. Let’s Go Hawks!

~lw3

My favorite game thread so far this year 💙

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3 hours ago, lethalweapon3 said:

 

McMillan inherited Lloyd Pierce’s Frankenstein, but he bristles at his own inability to mold this monstrous talent into one that is the opposite of a defensive liability, that understands how to steer the pace of games to throw opponents out of rhythm, that knows when to unfurl those 30-foot bombs and behind-the-back dishes, and when to just execute a tried-and-true play.

 

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59 minutes ago, JayBirdHawk said:

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It's not that serious.

Haha I know friend, just saying I think we should win by a fair margin tonight. And hey I got to go to this here chicken wing festival this weekend full of free wings and liquor. Not missing that!😄

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Just now, JayBirdHawk said:

Brian Oliver is struggling filling in for Bob. 

Get well Bob  🙏 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was just gonna' say that Brian and Nique both seemed a little shook by the Bob Rathburn situation.  Hope all is well for Bawb.

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