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Greetings 55ers!* After slicing and dicing the Charlotte Bobcats, our guys are called upon once again to confront another foe hailing from south of the Mason Dixon Line.* Yup, tonight we are to be tested by the mighty Atlanta Hawks.* A lot is on the line and this one doesn’t look to be very easy.
First, our taloned enemy is pretty hot.* Atlanta, right now, is 7-3 and boasts wins over Chicago and Miami.* They’re also on a bit of a roll, having won their last 3 games.* Over their last two outings, they’ve shot 55.3% and have been 18 of 33 from 3-point land.
Josh Smith, particularly has to be contained.* During the Hawks’ recent 3-game tear, he’s made 65.3 percent of his shots while averaging 24.7 points.* He scored a season-high 26 and shot 10 of 14 in the Hawks’ 106-101 victory at New Jersey on Monday.* The last time the Pacers played Atlanta – back in April of last season – Smith was sidelined with a bad knee and didn’t play.* Prior to that, Atlanta had beaten us 9 times in a row.
The Hawks have other weapons besides Smith.* Atlanta’s starting backcourt of Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague has been averaging a combined 30.7 points, 50.6 percent shooting, and 12.7 assists during its recent winning streak. Teague, an Indianapolis native, scored 21 points against us – his most in 72 career road games – when the Hawks last played us back in 2010.* Furthermore, the Hawks’ center, Al Horford, has been a thorn in Roy Hibbert’s side for what seems like eons.
For our part, we’re playing hurt.* Danny didn’t play against Philadelphia.* (The locals fed him a tainted cheese steak pre-game and he wound up with food poisoning).* George Hill was hobbled by a cheap shot administered by Gerald Henderson when we played Charlotte.* Tyler got his eyeball scratched in the 3rd Quarter against Philly and reportedly may be wearing goggles tonight.
It all adds up to an uphill struggle tonight, 55ers.* We really have to bring it for our boys.* Doing that, however, should be easy.* With the Hawks, there is much to arouse our Northern bile.* See below:
FUN FACTS ABOUT ATLANTA!
The South Is Easy to Hate!* For one thing, Southerners are just exasperating types to begin with.* There’s something about these julep-sipping, banjo-playing, Confederate flag waving idiots that has always made for confrontations.* Recall, for example, the Civil War.* The only way to handle the Southerners is to follow the recommendation of General William Tecumseh Sherman
“My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.*”
Sherman, you will recall, burnt Atlanta to the ground, marched from there to the sea (freeing slaves, burning plantations, and demolishing towns and factories all along the way), and then gave Abraham Lincoln the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift.
Anyway, tonight I want our Pacers to march through Atlanta just the way Sherman did.* Here’s a little march music I found from that time period that, I think, sets just the proper tone:
Am I being too nasty?* Too martial?* Too unforgiving of our Southern brethren?
Hah!* Ask me if I care!
Atlanta is Particularly Easy to Hate.** Georgia’s pretty bad.* But Atlanta is particularly bad:
1.* “A” for Asthma.* The “A” in Atlanta might as well stand for*asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.* In 2007, it ranked Atlanta as the worst U.S. city to live in for people with asthma.* Why is this?* Well, if you’ve ever been there you know that every day is a Smog Alert Day in Atlanta.* Also, the pollen count is off the national scale for unhealthy (which starts at 120). Atlanta is usually in the 2,000 to 4,000 range. All roads, vehicles, houses, etc., are yellow from March 28th to July 15th from the goldenrod. If you have any allergies and happen to be in Atlanta you will likely die.
2. An Airport Connection from Hell. Atlanta has the worst airport in the world.* No matter where or when you decide to travel, you will invariably be forced to travel through Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport.* And this is true regardless of Atlanta’s proximity to your final destination. If you’re traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle, you will be forced to stop in Atlanta. If you go out hiking and decide to swim down a stream, you’ll invariably encounter the Atlanta International Airport midway through your journey. If you try to pick a friend up from the Denver airport, travel officials will forcibly pull you out of your car and throw you on a plane bound for Atlanta. Every form of transportation everywhere goes through Atlanta’s airport.* When the Earth is nothing but a charred lump of clay 1,000 years from now, the only remnant of our glorious civilization will be the hulking remains of the Atlanta International Airport airport, which will undoubtedly be used by super-intelligent intergalactic aliens as a stopover point for n daily commutes from Neptune to Pluto.* By the way, Gate One at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport is 32 miles away from the Main Concourse. So wear sneakers and pack a lunch. Remember too that the doors on the trains at the airport do not reopen like an elevator if you stick your hand out. And, they hurt.
3.* Streets from Hell.* If you’ve ever been there, you know that Atlanta is composed mostly of one way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Atlanta is to turn around and start over.* Ordinarily this is only possible after you’ve reached Greenville, South Carolina.* Most directions to anywhere in Atlanta start with, “Go down Peachtree. . .” and include the phrase, “When you see the Waffle House. . . .”* Peachtree Street, however, has no beginning and no end and is not to be confused with Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Place, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Road, Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Run, Peachtree Trace, Peachtree Ave., Peachtree Commons, Peachtree Battle, Peachtree Corners, New Peachtree, Old Peachtree, or Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.
4.** Snow Is Fun in Atlanta.* If a single snowflake falls in Atlanta, the city is paralyzed for three days.* Such happenings constitute snow emergencies and new of them are on all the local TV channels as news flashes appearing every 15 minutes for a month. On such occasions, all the grocery stores will be sold out of milk, bread, bottled water, toilet paper, and beer. And if it really does snow in Atlanta, you will see people on streetcorners selling “I survived the blizzard” T-shirts.
They Talk Funny in Atlanta. Sugar” is a preferred form of address in Atlanta.* It’s used interchangeably with “Mr.” or “Miss.” So is “Sweetpea.” “Honey,” however, is the preferred choice of Waffle House waitresses.* Be forewarned if you wish to communicate with the locals.* Here’s some help to get you used to the experience:
Some people find the Georgia accent charming.* For many Northerners (me among them) sustained communication with people that speak English in the above fashion leads to episodes of extreme violence.* Usually deadly weapons are involved.
There are many reasons why Rhett Butler finally gave up on Scarlett O’Hara.* One of them, little known, had something to do with Scarlett’s manner of speech.
There’s Zaza Pachulia, a recent acquisition and now the Hawks’ backup center (He was born Zaur Pachulia and then had his first name legally changed to “Zaza” on* the advice of Lady Gaga)* *Go ahead, try to say “Zaza Pachulia” three times without laughing.* The Suits in the Hawks’ marketing department had trouble with Zaza’s last name.* See below: