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Sports Then and Now

Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors are the NBA Midseason Leaders, But Will They Be Standing in June? 8

Posted on January 31, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the NBA turned upside down.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the NBA turned upside down.

At the halfway point of the 2014-2015 NBA season the league seems to be turned upside down.

The best records in the league are held by the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, two teams with marginal pedigrees.

The Warriors last hoisted the NBA championship trophy 40 years ago when Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes led the way.

The last championship won by the Hawks was in 1958 when the team was based in St. Louis and Bob Pettit was the quintessential NBA star.

Conversely, two teams with nearly half of the titles in NBA history between them, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, are out of contention and already looking at next season.

According to top sports betting sites listed at, the Warriors and Hawks are now among the favorites to win the NBA title.

However, given that neither team has a great track record of playoff performance, it is hard to slot them in as the likely finalists just yet.

Even with a 36-8 mark to start the season and two legitimate stars in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, it will be tough for the Warriors to make it out of the tough Western Conference. With seven teams in the conference already with 30 victories, the Phoenix Suns close behind (28 wins) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-23) now healthy and likely to push for a spot in the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA Memories: Bird vs. ‘Nique 2

Posted on June 15, 2010 by Joe Gill

Larry Legend and the Human Highlight Reel put on a show for the ages.(Photo NBA)

The playoffs are where superstars shine. Adrenaline and pure will take over.

If you believe you can’t be stopped, usually you can’t.

However, sometimes when your game goes to a new level, this challenge inspires your competitor to wrestle the spotlight away from you.

This happened on May 22, 1988.

It was the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

It was Game Seven.

Celtics versus Hawks.

Bird against ‘Nique.

It was for all the marbles.

The question was what superstar would shine brightest on the big stage of the NBA Playoffs.

The answer.

BOTH of them.

Read the rest of this entry →

Hawks Are Heating Up Atlanta 1

Posted on January 30, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Despite flying under the NBA radar, Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks are challenging the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Despite flying under the NBA radar, Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks are challenging the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Considering that the Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic have dominated the headlines in the Eastern Conference of the NBA, you might be surprised to discover that following their win Friday night over the old men from Beantown, the Atlanta Hawks actually have the second best record in the East and the fourth best record overall in the NBA.

They punctuated that fact against the Celtics with their fourth victory over Boston this season to register an improbable season sweep over the squad many just assume will be facing Cleveland for the right to play in the NBA Finals in June.

After the continued performance of the Hawks, basketball experts might have to rethink that assumption.

Though they don’t have the household names and marquee superstars of the Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic, the Hawks are quietly going about their business of creating a consistent team that could be a threat come playoff time.

While it may appear to the casual fan that the Hawks have come out of nowhere, in reality this is not an Atlanta team that suddenly has risen from the dredges to become a surprise contender. In contrast, the Hawks have actually been building to a crescendo over the last couple years.

It started during the 2007-2008 season when they finished with just a 37-45 record, but still took the eventual champion Boston Celtics to a seven game series in the playoffs.

Last season Atlanta improved to 47-35 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being unceremoniously swept by the Cavaliers.

The Hawks appear to be ready to make more noise this season as, in addition to the sweep of the Celtics, they have wins over the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Earl Morrall: The Perfect Backup
      November 16, 2019 | 10:46 am
      Earl Morrall

      In a career that started in 1956 and ended in 1976, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was never really a leading man, but he seemed to be part of the supporting cast for many huge moments in NFL history.

      The second overall pick in the 1956 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, Earl Morrall joined a San Francisco 49ers team that already included the famous “Million Dollar Backfield” of Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson.

      Morrall started four games during his rookie season, but just before the start of the 1957 season was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks.

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