How many teams in the league can shoot 57.5 percent in the first half and be losing by 14 points — to Atlanta?
The reason they are down? Atlanta is getting open looks from behind the arc. That includes Joe Johnson, a noted outside shooter.
The Hawks made 8 of 17 3-point attempts in the first half. The only reason it wasn’t worse was that Johnson struggled with his shot, making just 3 of 10. So that means everyone else was 5-for-7.
It’s amazing how the Warriors keep getting sucked into the paint, as if they’re going to actually defend the basket. The Hawks came into the game ranked 29th in points per game (91.5). They scored 70 first-half points! Nellie has never been known as a defensive coach, but that’s pretty embarrassing.


Hot Offense, Cold Defense

After missing their first three shots, the Warriors made six straight and nine of their next 10 attempts. After one quarter, the Warriors were shooting 59.1 percent from the floor. Baron had seven assists and the scoring was spread among six players.
Now for the bad news. The Warirors were down 30-29.
The Hawks shot 47.8 percent, knocked down three 3-pointers and turned five offensive rebounds into six second-chance points. The Warriors left Joe Johnson open for a 3-pointer just before the first-quarter horn. Of course, he drilled it.
It’s going to be one of those nights.


Kobe Suspension

I knew right away that Kobe was going to get suspended for that elbow he spoon fed Manu Ginobili. That was clearly intentional. You don’t accidentally swing an elbow on the way down from a jumper. It looked like he hit him flush, too, though Manu is a proud SAG card holder.
The only part that perplexes me is that Kobe got just a one-game suspension, the same penalty Baron received. How is that? Baron missed on his swipe and Kobe connected. Isn’t acctual assault a worse crime than attempted assault?


This is Pathetic

No LeBron, and the Warriors are down 20 at the half. They were shooting 39.5 percent (compared to the Cavs 50.0), turned the ball over 11 times (which led to 15 points) and committed 15 personal fouls (which led to 24 free throws).
There is no excuse to be getting manhandled like this, not with the season practically on the line.


Murphleavy Paying Early Dividends

Don’t look now, but the Pacers seem to be progressing with Murphy and Dunleavy — as one of our readers pointed out.
After Saturday’s blowout win over Toronto, the Pacers are 3-1 with Murphy leavy in the lineup. They have averaged 100.5 points in those four games, up from 95.6 before Murphleavy. Even more, with Murphleavy, they’ve allowed 94.3 points per game, compared with 96.6 before their arrival.
Dunleavy’s numbers aren’t too impressive. In four games, he’s averaging 13.2 points on 38 percent shooting (19-for-50), 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 turnovers. He’s getting his fair share of shots (clealry they think he’s a shooter).
Murphy is averaging a double-double for the Pacers (10.5 points, 10.8 rebounds).
Of course, as we well know, numbers don’t tell the whole story.


I See Why Mullin Wanted Harrington

I have always liked Harrington’s game, especially in his first stint with the Pacers. Though his numbers with Atlanta couldn’t be trusted, because it was the Hawks, I still always thought fairly highly of him. He’s so athletic and versatile.
But I couldn’t be sure.
I hadn’t seem him enough. Plus, I had heard he pouts when he doesn’t get enough shots (which is allegedly why he left Indiana for Atlanta, because there weren’t many shots for him in a Pacers uniform). I had heard he gets lazy on defense and he doesn’t rebound.
So even though I thought it was a good idea when I heard the Warriors were going after him, I had some reservations.
But after just a few games, it is clear Harrington is an upgrade. Even with all his knocks, he has an impact on the game, a positive one, nearly every time he steps on the court. What I like about his game is that teams MUST focus on him. They MUST include him in their game plan, which takes some of the attention away from Baron Davis.
Yes, it’s just Charlotte, but Harrington was 7-for-9 for 21 points in the first half Saturday. He had 30 against the Lakers, 29 against New Jersey. He really is a walking mismatch. He’s done it inside, outside and in transition.
Sure, he needs to rebound better. No doubt, he needs to get in better shape. And he could probably exert more energy on defense.
But, from where I sit, Al is looking like a coupe.


All-Star Starters Set

This is why the fan vote should be just a consideration, part of the process, and not the final say. Or the fans should vote for the reserves or something. Because, as it is now, one of the highest honors in the game comes down to a Homecoming ritual.
Once again, fans hosed a deserving player for a popular one. Shaq is the East’s starting center. He’s played four games before the balloting ended. Why not give some love to somebody who actually played, let alone done well? Orlando’s Dwight Howard, New York’s Eddy Curry — how about Alonzo Mourning, the guy who replaced Shaq in the lineup — deserves the honor. Instead, Shaq got it because he has a Nestle Crunch commercial.
That’s a joke.
At least the fans got one right, selecting Gilbert Arenas over Vince Carter. With a late surge, Arenas edged out Carter (by 3,010 votes) for one of the guard spots. He certainly deserves it more than Carter. It’s good to see the fans reward someone who actually deserves it. But you have to wonder. Would Gilbert had gotten the nod if not for the adidas commercial?
“You’re not a fool, are you?”