Recovery

It was only one game, or so you tell yourself. Just one game in eighty-two. No doubt the Hawks are telling themselves the same thing, and just as likely, they’re not buying it either. Why? Because it was THE game, against THE team. Perhaps in some way, there is a bond created between a team that gets its first taste of the playoffs, and the team that punches that taste out of their mouths (although it sure took seven games to deliver that punch). Either way, there’s little doubt that the Hawks and Celtics feel something for each other, as it is evident in the absolutely electric atmosphere of each matchup. 

Buuuuuut, as Ando says, the season is 82 games long, not 25! He also says that now is definitely not the time to trudge through the mired recent past of a very close defeat, what with the fleet-footed Warriorts coming to town.  Slog around too long and these 48-minute sprint specialists will run right past you, and leave you trying to catch your breath.

Indeed, up next is the Golden State warriors, a team that has been no stranger to adversity this season. First there was the loss of Baron Davis, then the failed pitch for Elton Brand (though after watching Philadelphia’s plight, perhaps it stings none too badly just now). And then came the very unfortunate and foolish injury incurred by the most exciting player left on the squad: Monta Ellis. Signing Corey Maggette was a decent tourniquet on a bad wound. The only problem is that a tourniquet is usually only good for one leg….and that’s not much good when the tourniquet itself fails on you (Maggette is currently injured). The swap-out with New York wasn’t too bad: Al Harrington for Jamal Crawford. That gives the Warriors another scoring guard who can handle the ball some and has no problems creating for himself. In short, the Warriors remain what they’ve always been: a shoot-happy team that will run up and and down the floor all night long.
 
With Maggette out, Crawford and Stephen Jackson are the main guys in the attack. However, Don Nelson’s offense is not based on ISOs, but rather ball movement and sharing. Azubuike is a work in progress, but his athleticism is unquestioned. Marco Belinelli is coming around, now that he is getting very good minutes. This kid is not unlike the Trail Blazers’ Rudy Fernandez in that he LOVES to shoot it, and will score in bunches. His minutes have gone up in each of the last three games, and he has responded beautifully. Anthony Morrow has also seen some productive playing time recently. As far as the frontcourt goes, only Biedrins and Turiaf are steady contributors. Biedrins is a walking double-double, and Turiaf is an energy guy who gives you boards, blocks, fouls, and skinned knees/elbows every night. The rest of the Golden State “bigs” can’t tell when they are coming and going lately….
 
So what are the keys to the game against the Warriors? First,  don’t try to play the Warriors’s style. This only plays into their hands, as few teams can just run and shoot with them all night, and Nellie is one of the masters of small-ball tactics. Second, all of the Warrior regulars hit the boards, and hit them well. Put a body on everyone with a lightning bolt on their jersey, these guys will kill you with second chances (remember, a bunch of shoot-happy scorers with a constant green light….giving them second chances is BAD ju-ju). These guys like to run, but they are not overall better athletes than the Hawks. Third, contest shots and HELP OUT on defense, especially on the perimeter. Bibby may be the usual whipping boy on perimeter defense, but he’s been playing better lately. Having said that, do you want him guarding the larger/faster Crawford, Jackson, or Azubuike one-on-one? Fourth, no lay-up drills. And on the other end, let’s see more post game. The Warriors aren’t very big OR strong. Biedrins and Turiaf are both good for about 2 blocked shots per game, but neither is a heavily disciplined defender. Biedrins himself averages nearly 4 fouls a game. Funneling the ball into Horford at high or low post, along with cuts to the basket (for dunks) by Josh and Marvin should cause plenty of trouble for the Warrior front line, putting all the pressure on their guards. 
 
So what are YOUR thoughts on how we win this game?

59 comments Add your comment

HB Ando

December 18th, 2008
11:30 pm

Partner, you hit the nail on the head.

Sekou Smith titled a recent post, “Trap Game?”

So, to build off of a theme, should Friday’s Warriors tilt be called, “Let-down game?”

Because the history of sports is littered with teams who get fixated on “The Big Game”, and subsequently fall flat in the game before, or after, said game. The Warriors represent the junior version of the Suns, circa ‘04-’07; a team that can beat anyone on any given night, but who aren’t really a threat from a playoff series contention standpoint. At this stage, their not even as good as D’Antoni’s Knicks, in this category.

But they are a “any given night” kind of team, requiring discipline and focus. And if the Hawks show up either stuck on Wednesday’s game, or over-confident from yet another near-miss, with the World Champions, then an unexpected, and unacceptable (for a team that is now positioned for serious, Eastern Conference respect), outcome is not out of the realm of consideration.

As an aside, tomorrow night is the Hawks’ town hall meeting, set up for season ticket holders. The Hacks will have representation at that forum, and are open for requested questions of the organization (with no realistic expectation that the Hacks will get even one, if not many, questions answered).

MannyT

December 19th, 2008
12:36 am

My question for the ASG. What’s the deal with the (lack of) radio coverage? Especially when Tech has a game. They used to move it over to FM. Now they just blow it off as if the Hawks don’t exist.

I do wonder what Sund’s biggest surprise is since the start of the season. I’m sure there’s one that he won’t say publicly, but I’ll take the other one.

Isn’t that suspended guy named Moped Ellis ;-)

As for the Warriors game…the Hawks will get sucked in for awhile. It gives them an excuse to run and we know the players like to run. They should settle down at some point and make this a solid bounce back from Wednesday.

If Woody really wants to slow this game down, he plays Zaza more and forces the GSW to play post defense. If the worst case reaction comes out, Woody goes small to match up with their small line up. We might see Joe at the 4. It can work, but it’s not playing to OUR strengths.

BWAF

BA

December 19th, 2008
3:20 am

I’m with Manny T- if ya’ll get a word in edgewise, ask about the inconsistent t.v./radio coverage. Tell ‘em how embarrased me and the bwaf inventor are about the whole thing.

I hope they heard what Rhondo said, “If they played this hard every night…” Am I crazy, or didn’t we run Golden State out of the building LAST year? Should be fun to watch.

Why DOESN’T Smith dunk more? A lot more? And here’s another question I have-

Who are they going to bring in that can work with Smith and Williams (and really Horford as well) on their post moves? Look, they bring in a shooting coach, next thing you know, we’re at the top of the league in threes. This is an extremly talented (and extremly young) frontcourt- and all three of them could stand to improve down there offensively.

doc

December 19th, 2008
9:22 am

Enter your comments here

“And we have to play to win, not to lose.” a quote from bibby.

i guess that about sums up what we saw and what the team has to work on. it is still about growth. the team was strung tight against the C’s as there efforts on the long shots, the free throws and close in were all of their marks. it was a team that knew each possession was critical but only the whole team choked in the full extent of the game in that no player stood up and put the team on their shoulders. it wasnt a lack of trying and that is to their credit. in the end the other guys showed their cool with critical stops and critical scores. we didnt do it at either end.

tonight we have to adjust to knowing that there will be more possessions but each as critical. unfortunately if the team loses its focus or comes up cold, both recent tendencies then they could get buried fast.

the key to shaking it off is to get their strut back, to sink shots at the beginning and play defense to let the warriors know they are the pretenders in the game not the other way around.

i also commend you guys for your remarks, on point as usual. also look forward to spending some time with ando as he does his research tonight from the game tonight. i will get a preview maybe f his remarks to lend to you in a wrap up segment.

Astro Joe

December 19th, 2008
9:57 am

Please ask about the lack of utilization of the NBDL for guys like Othella Hunter now (and Solo in the past). And of course, the Speedy question… as there does not appear to be a down-side to submitting retirement papers due to injuries.

MannyT

December 19th, 2008
11:03 am

Astro…slow your roll on the retirement thing. First, Speedy would have to agree. If he thinks he can come back, why retire unless there is a buyout in the wings. (As if the ASG wants to spend more money in this economy.)

Also remember the fear that Portland has right now. If Darius Miles plays in 10 games this year, they lose all of the cap relief they got from his “retirement.” You really don’t want to be cap-jammed in the summer of 2010 when JJ is a free agent, you have to figure out if you are extending Al, and all the big name free agents are out there. (Not saying we will get one of the big names, but we should be able to get someone to help.)

BWAF

HB Ando

December 19th, 2008
4:41 pm

Time to go hear what Mr. Sund, and the attending fans, have to say at the “Town Hall” meeting. Oh, and watch what looks to be a major offensive exhibition. Interesting to see if the Hawks try and slow the pace down, or just pin their ears back and put it into overdrive. Not sure if that’s the best way to beat the Warriors, but it would be a lot of fun to watch……

Big Ray

December 19th, 2008
8:52 pm

Okay, this is not good. We’ve gotten away from playing the harassing, turnover-inducing defense, and allowed Wright, Belinelli, and Azubuike to get into somewhat of a groove…and lost the lead at the same time.

Josh Smith looks totally out of it. He’s not doing what he normally does on defense. He should have about 5 blocks already. Marvin, on the other hand, is looking great on offense, even finishing with contact on one fast-break play. Must be the Chad Johnson haircut…or bad imitation thereof.

Now they’re beating us on the boards, and it’s starting to show. Gotta get back to Hawks basketball.

Looks like Phillips isn’t too packed tonight.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2008
9:18 pm

Well, we finally tied it, but we’re making it look like this is a competition. The problem is that it shouldn’t be. One of the teams is scrappy on both offense AND defense. The other is jacking up shots and being lax on defense. We’re the second team. Time to get it in gear.

Speaking of which, why does Flip Murray get the second span of playing time while Acie gets snubbed? Acie comes in for 7 minutes or so, produces a quick 5 assists, then goes back out. Flip comes in and turns it over 3 times, but he gets the second call. Riiiiiight…

Big Ray

December 19th, 2008
9:23 pm

Heh! I like the new Josh Smith move: fake the jumper (you know, the one most teams are praying he shoots), then pass it to the open teammate for an easy, uncontested shot. Tell you what, he may not be scaring the defense by faking the shot, but he is freezing it….they start looking for the rebound, and STOP playing defense. It works…..for now at least.

Big Ray

December 19th, 2008
9:51 pm

Nice “recovery” by the Hawks after letting Golden State play their game for a while.

Woodson did some out of character things tonight as far as the bench was concerned. Can’t complain, though. I was surprised to see Bibby play so little in the second half. Hmmmm. Well, like I said, can’t complain.

Josh Smith is not a dumb player, I don’t care what ANYBODY says. No way do you follow 5 turnovers with 7 assists like that. Dude changed part of the game with his passing ALONE. Still, you have to wonder what is wrong with him. He’s not all over the place like he used to be. I don’t think it’s lack of effort. I think it’s lack of confidence that his physicality is back on-line. Which means that it might NOT be….

Good game by the Hawks. Nice win.

doc

December 19th, 2008
11:47 pm

ankle injuries are like that. six weeks minimum to heal 12 to 16 weeks to get back to normal.

good points ray, fianlly josh ahs em where he wants them having to respect his outside shot to make plays off it. eh yeah right that’s the ticket.

MannyT

December 19th, 2008
11:51 pm

It almost seems like there has been a Freaky Friday swap between Josh and VeintiQuatro.

Josh’s ball handling looks more uncertain as he gets close to the basket. Marvin is going for his. Tapping out offensive rebounds, dunking on folks…now all he needs are some touchdown celebrations and a hair/barber sponsor. Marvin’s note to self–don’t ask Shelden Williams.

Glad that the Hawks pulled it out. Early in the game it looked like the bench was very appreciative of their holiday gift from Woody (i.e. playing time.)

BWAF

HB Ando

December 20th, 2008
12:33 am

Well, I wondered about a “let down” game, and saw just that in the first half. And not just the team, but the fans as well. Seemed to be a big hangover from the major event that was the Celtics game on Wednesday. Fortunately, the Hawks shook it off in the fourth quarter and took care of business.

Given that the Warriors were without Jackson and Maggette, not to mention Ellis, there really isn’t a plausible explanation for them to have lost. Still not sure why Nellie wasn’t playing Anthony Randolph, either.

But a win is a win.

With regards to the “town hall” meeting, it was something of a disappointment. We got 45 minutes of Bob Rathbun, deferring really good questions to Rick Sund, who finally showed up after “getting stuck in an elevator”, to take about 5 questions.

But the evening was compelling, as Manny T, doc, Jhan and Ando all got to challenge each other on a range of points regarding the Hawks.

The discussions, before, during and after, were actually more fun than the game.

Also got in a post-game chat with Sautee.

Notable was Marvin’s performance, which continued a developing theme that he’s at his best in Western Conference-style games, and may draw a better offer, from a team on the Left Coast, when his restricted free agency comes to market this summer. He just seems more comfortable, and confident, when the game is played at a quicker pace.

Sund was asked about Bibby’s near-term future here, and seemed to indicate that unless an offer was received, that would make the team better this year, he wasn’t likely to be moved, based on financial issues. I guess we’ll know for sure when the trade deadline is passed. They’re definitely better with him on the floor. But I can’t shake my opinion that his contract is the difference between profitability and 7-figure loss this year. And I still don’t believe he’ll be here at the end of the season.

But I’ve been wrong before, as a couple of you never tire of highlighting.

Thanks to both doc and Jhan, who both offered me a seat tonight……

Don!

December 20th, 2008
12:35 am

Do we play to the level of our competition, or what?

Against the Celts we looked like one of the best five teams in the NBA for 58 minutes or so. Tonight, I thought we were the Knicks for three quarters. I was expecting to see Starbury courtside talking about his ‘Money for Nothing’ lifestyle.

We’re playing a 7-19 team, without two of its best players … at home … and we’re down in the 4th quarter? Amazing. Thank goodness both teams remembered who they were and where they were at in the last 10 minutes or so.

Whew.

Anyway, the way the Hawks can play in spurts this year both scares and excites me. We can really, honestly play with anyone — both the good teams and the bad teams. I sincerely hope we can get a bit more mentally tough as the season goes along so we can win games at the end — instead of losing them to good teams like the Celts, and also just put teams like the Warriors out of their misery early instead of letting them stick around all night.

Later,

Don!

cp

December 20th, 2008
12:58 am

Enter your comments here

Ando according to the Warriors blog, Nellie told Randolph to tell his agent to look for a trade because it would not work out in Golden State. I like the kids game though. He needs some weight but he clearly has a lot of skills.

HB Ando

December 20th, 2008
1:01 am

Damn, CP, that’s bizarre. Just a couple of games ago Randolph had 15 and 10. What’s the whole story? If they want to dump a kid that talented, I’m sure just about every team in the league would be interested in picking him up cheap…..

hawks fan 32

December 20th, 2008
1:04 am

Great Blog guys. I read this blog and Seku’s blogs just because I’m a huge basketball fan. I like the insight you guys put into not only the hawks, but the upcoming matchups. I hope you keep this up. Good win tonight, but another “where do we stand” game on Sunday (I don’t want to say big game because it’s way too early for that). I hope you guys keep this up. I’m looking forward to it.

P.S. This Boston game is still on my mind. I would love to see all these Boston fans in 2 years when KG, Allen, and Pierce are broken up and they are back where they deserve to be: middle of the pack at best. LET’S GO HAWKS!

cp

December 20th, 2008
2:16 am

Enter your comments here

From reading the Warriors blog the fans feel that Nellie is doing things to spite Mullin. It’s a big mess over there. A lot of their younger players are or were riding the bench even when they were short handed. If you ever have time go to realgm.com and check the Warriors blog. They seriously want Nellie out of there. When given minutes Randolph seems to play well but he doesn’t get consistent minutes. Wright doesn’t get them either. They also complain about how he plays a lot of 4 guard rotations and leave the bigs on the bench for no reason.

Big Ray

December 20th, 2008
9:01 am

One thing I kind of hinted at in the intro to THIS blog was the second thing Nelson is most known for: his doghouse. He’s known first and foremost as a master of small ball. But a none-too-distant second is the massive doghouse he keeps.

This guys has had as much creative control as he can stand for YEARS. And if he doesn’t like you for some reason, or doesn’t want you to play: you’re just not. As I said in the intro, only Turiaf and Biedrins are constant contributors, the rest of the low post guys don’t know if they’re in a feast or famine.

Nellie’s brand of basketball has won a lot of games over the years, but can you recall a time that it was good enough to get past the second round of the playoffs? His best chances were with that Dallas squad a few years back. Didn’t make it then, and has only managed a very exciting first round knockout against his former team a couple years back, before exiting in the second round.

The Warriors may be young, but they have loads of talent. I know times are rough due to the loss of Davis, Ellis, and more recently Maggette and Jackson. But Sam Mitchell can’t keep O’Neal on the floor. Eddie Jordan never has Arenas. And they’re both out of a job. Nellie’s teams have never played much defense. His offense is no more potent than D’Antoni’s. If he’s playing games in Golden State, Chris Mullin better either come to an understanding with him or bite the bullet and let him go.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about Nellie over the years: If he doesn’t get his way, he makes it hell for anybody around. He plays who he wants to play, and that’s all there is to it. He’s never been to the NBA finals, not even with that 50+ win Dallas squad for several years in a row. So do you place all the blame on the injuries (Ellis, Maggette, Jackson)? Nellie was also known (with each team he coached) for having rifts with key players. I’m not saying he’s a bad coach. But a guy who does things like this when the situation is already sour….well, you have to wonder is the future with him getting brighter or dimmer?

Either way, he makes Woody’s doghouse look like club med.

doc

December 20th, 2008
10:18 am

great line there ray buddy about the nellie club med that includes so many super stars you could even call it the taj mahal that is the dog house of all dog houses for coaches. nellie has no contact with players and actually ignores them during games. gosh he lets them play though, up and down man.

fun game last night getting to see some of my compadres and to sit next to the ando form of andro last night at the sund thing and the second half. he is a blast as he is always full of info and ready to disarm any comment you make. sometimes it is best just to say uh huh, other times when there is extra energy to exert to continue the repartee that can get pretty outrageous on both ends. somehow it always sems t getto the point of how big are yours and are you willing to bet on it. guess that isnt news to you guys that are regular readers though. heh heh . really enjoy his comments though, live and here. jhan’s seats are unbelievable but i continue to like my poor man version of box seats where i landed. found a buddy up there to talk bball with, all is good.

BTW props to the support staff that are involved in purchasing and supporting HAWKS season ticket holders, they really do a fine job. folks you really ned to look into the packages that they have and get committed to be regular hawks fans at the phillips. i think you will be really surprised at the over all experience.

MannyT

December 20th, 2008
11:21 am

Ray,

cp is correct. Chris Mullin is the figurehead with the shiv in his back. Nellie’s palace coup was done about 2 months ago when he received his contract extension, not from Mullin, but the owner.
http://nba.fanhouse.com/2008/10/25/don-nelson-stephen-jackson-negotiating-extensions-behind-chris/

Is there a part of Nellie’s bench that has EXILE ISLAND painted on it ;-)

doc
Those folks on the support staff do work hard to make things happen. Even last night I was surprised to see my rep come to my seat to work out a mix up we had earlier in the week. Glad I was there.
It also helps to have good fans in the place instead of those carpetbaggers that showed up on Wednesday with the green gear they purchased earlier this year.

BWAF

jhan

December 20th, 2008
12:27 pm

Good to see everybody at the game. I too was disappointed in the town hall meeting. Lot’s of good questions didn’t get asked/answered due to the “elevator” malfunction. Maybe next time.

Acie finally got some burn last night. Played great for 7 minutes then back to the bench. Nobody on GS could stay in front of Acie. Still don’t understand why he gets no significant minutes.

Go Hawks!

Big Ray

December 20th, 2008
10:05 pm

Some people say Acie has to force the issue. Yeah, and end up like Salim…

MannyT

December 20th, 2008
10:26 pm

He might be able to force the issue in practice, but it’s the coaches that make up those teams as well. Law needs to either show that he can play well with Flip (which isn’t likely unless they use 2 basketballs) or play against Flip in practice to show that he can get some more playing time.

However, there is a wild card that I do not understand. After he showed out in Cleveland last month, he was rewarded with a Javaris Crittenton i.e. DNP-CD

At least he doesn’t get put on the inactive list.

BWAF

MannyT

December 20th, 2008
11:32 pm

Interesting comparison of a team on the rise versus a team struggling not to be in free fall.

The Hawks holiday deal can get you into the Zoo and Aquarium.
http://www.nba.com/hawks/tickets/Home_for_the_Holidays.html

The Wizards holiday deal can get you a Tough Juice Jersey and 6 tickets in the club level for 199.
http://www.nba.com/wizards/intro_081113.html

HB Ando

December 21st, 2008
2:02 pm

Quick quip on the Piston’s tip: We’re improved and they are in either transition, or a state of flux. It’s at our house, so this should play to a W for the home team. Buuuttt, this is still the Pistons, crafty and savvy veteran team.

With all this talk, this past week, about “traps”, “statements” and “measuring sticks”, this is a good old-fashioned challenge. Time to play. Hope the kids are up to the challenge….

Big Ray

December 21st, 2008
2:45 pm

Good Lord. Bibby is on fire. Okay, keep him in, keep him in….

And where did THIS Marvin come from? I really like THIS Marvin!

cp

December 21st, 2008
2:56 pm

Enter your comments here

Marvin finishes at the basket a whole lot better. Bibby is knocking down shots…. Flip continues to turn the ball over and Evans cant buy a basket.

Big Ray

December 21st, 2008
3:24 pm

I hear ya CP. Marvin seems to have this “change over night” ability. One day we wake up after a tumultous summer and he’s suddenly a 3-point shooter. A week ago, Marvin couldn’t hit a layup if he was in traffic. Now he can’t be stopped….

Big Ray

December 21st, 2008
4:03 pm

Great effort on the glass today by Horford and Williams.

Marvin has also been great about getting to loose balls and tapping out rebounds that he can’t grab. He’s looking better than he ever has, on defense as well. I hope we continue to see this type of effort from him.

While Marvin’s stepped up effort has truly been a blessing with Smith seeming to be so earth-bound, I don’t want it go away when Smith gets his legs back all the way. I want to see Marvin doing these things consistently, every time he hits the floor. It will only make this team that much more dangerous and difficult to defend, especially in those tougher games (i.e. against Cleveland, Boston, etc).

With today’s performance, Marvin has a chance to prove that he doesn’t just do well against western conference foes, which would be a good thing. Then again, proof would have to come in the form of several performances like this one (and the one against Golden State) before we could latch onto that theory.

HB Ando

December 21st, 2008
4:51 pm

Now if Kirk came over HERE and said that 6-7 folks made up 90% of the blog, he’d have had a point (for the first time).

Be nice when the AJC gets us set up next to the other fan blogs.

But we’re here, and talkin’ Hawks!

MannyT

December 21st, 2008
7:42 pm

Do we get extra blog credit for knowing how to get here without a link on the front of the sports page ;-)

It rarely snows in Louisiana–Big Bay hurt in car accident in snowy Boston.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3785843

Was it odd that AC Law 3rd got more time in Philips Arena than his son? According to Ryan Cameron, they put him on kiss cam.

Woody gave out his Christmas gifts during the Warriors game where even RandMo got to play. No more bench love.

This chart came from another blog via TrueHoop. I think you guys can have fun with it at some point.
http://flickr.com/photos/23744547@N02/3114942913/

Hey–we are 1/3 of a 50 win team. It will be really exciting if we get to be 3/3 of a 50 win team.

BWAF

Big Ray

December 21st, 2008
8:09 pm

LOL! True that. But he hasn’t shown up yet (that we know of). I’m irrepairably disappointed…

chuckw/deadjournalist

December 21st, 2008
9:29 pm

I’ve miss the last two games, although I did try to listen to the end of the Golden State game on the radio. I was on PIB and couldn’t pick up the game clearly. That’s just a shame.

I watching the box scores, I keep seeing a site that concerns be going into the new year: the minutes that Joe Johnson is logging game-in and game-out. Every game sees him playing around 41 minutes a game.

No complaints considering the Hawks have a real show of winning 20 games before ‘09, but it’s December and the bench is three people deep most nights. It sure would be nice to have another solid bench player.

MannyT

December 21st, 2008
11:47 pm

chuckw

If the string won’t reach from Philips to where you are, no radio reception after dark. However, I do recall Bob Rathburn mentioning at the Town Hall meeting, that folks with satellite radio can get the games.

Personally, I don’t spend enough time in the car to consider paying for radio service.

You need Woody to define SOLID BENCH PLAYER otherwise, it’s just a waste of a trade to get someone. I think AC & Solo could be added to the rotation, but it doesn’t look likely.

BWAF

al

December 22nd, 2008
4:31 am

where is speedy claxston

Big Ray

December 22nd, 2008
9:42 am

On the bench, in a good suit.

Big Ray

December 22nd, 2008
9:49 am

We watched the Celts win it all last year with a 9/10 man rotation. I realize that their bench was stronger than anybody else’s, but surely we can manage an 9/10 rotation. Solo and Acie are worthwhile contributors, in my opinion. Solo has proven it every time he’s gotten minutes this season. And he was getting good minutes early. I don’t know why Woody has truncated his playing time the way he has. Methinks that there is the possibility of a discipline issue lurking, but one never knows.

I hate to think the worst of Woodson in this area, but he doesn’t always leave much room for you to think the best (despite the record). And as CHUCK W says, it’s not a good thing to see JJ piling up 41 minute games, particularly this early in the season. As it is, this “bench issue” will likely be an upcoming blog subject.

It would be nice if we were on the main page where the old Hawks Hack was. Kinda tough working in the underwater cave here…

MannyT

December 22nd, 2008
10:58 am

Super heroes usually like their privacy!

Maybe you should tag your posts on Sekou’s blog with a link to the front of this site. (i.e. stop before you get to the 2008 part as in http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-hawks-blog

It will be good even when you start a new subject. just code it as below…it won’t work on this system, but it will work on the other one.
[big ray](http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-hawks-blog)

Sautee

December 22nd, 2008
11:34 am

Oh, is THAT what that echo is? ;-)

Ray and Ando, please give me your opinions on this:

It’s all too obvious that we lack an inside game. But do you think it’s a lack of ability on the part of Horford and Smith, or is it a design of Woody’s “offensive” (and boy do I mean offensive) scheme?

Another poster on Sekou’s blog mentioned the lack of offensive rebounds between them and wondered about being told “get back, get back” every time down the court.

Are we seriously under-utilizing our two most athletic big men?

Couldn’t Josh, with the right coaching, develop into a Sean Elliott type point forward, creating for his teammates?

Couldn’t Horford be fed on hard cuts to the basket, and at he VERY least, create fouls on the opposing bigs?

And both of these guys have to be near the top of the league in assists for their positions. So what could we do to use these skills?

I’m REALLY tired of Joe doing a Tyronn Lue impression and pounding the ball for 15-18 seconds and either giving it up with 2 seconds on the clock, or shooting agains a double team. We need some inside out.

MannyT

December 22nd, 2008
12:17 pm

Sautee, when Joe posts up inside or uses that teardrop shot in the lane, that is the inside ISO Joe. When he dribbles around the 3 point line and gets a pick from Bibby that is outside ISO Joe.

What more could you ask for ;-)

As long as we are winning, I doubt Woody will step up to more development of the offense or the bench. It’s kinda like not wanting to change things when you are on the hottest streak of your life.

BWAF

JJ

December 22nd, 2008
4:24 pm

ents here When Joe realize that the Hawks are more than him and other guys on the TEAM are capable of scoring and carrying this team we will really be someone too fear. When Bibby is hot,get him the ball and get out of the way.Joe and too a larger degree Woody are the reason we struggle on offense.Joe don’t have to prove to anybody that he’s a star and Woody needs to stop feeding him with this stuff.Joe has more players around him that can ball ,so he should let them.

Big Ray

December 22nd, 2008
6:11 pm

Sautee,

Some people think we lack an inside game because we have insufficient size. While that is a valid argument, we DO in fact, have guys who can score inside with regularity.

I agree that it is more about scheme than most things. On the one hand, I wouldn’t want Horford to have to go up in the paint all the time against guys who are 3-6 inches taller and 30-50 pounds heavier. On the other hand, Horford is a lot faster than we give him credit for. Watching him drive the ball a couple of times reveals this. A hard cut to the basket makes ANY of our three frontcourt starters difficult to guard. Horford, Smith, and Williams are ALL capable of finishing (Marvin being the latest to join the party…and hopefully he’s staying) on plays like that.

I think one of the keys to making this work is having a second player cut to the paint as well. That gives the first cutter a chance to pass the ball off if/when he draws the defense. And all three of our guys can pass, so it works. In fact, we’ve seen plays like this is spurts, in several games. We’ve seen Marvin flash to the basket, receive the ball from a guard (or Smith or Horford), then pass to whichever guy happend to also flash to the basket, and it’s an easy score.

As you say, design is the key word. I don’t believe those plays are designed, or we’d see them more. What we do see is plays that revolve around JJ or Bibby. And they tend to be ISO plays, or plays that involve the screen-and-roll (the only problem being, after the screen is completed, the roller is forgotten). Bibby is actually executing the screen-and-roll better than JJ is. Much better, in fact. JJ is also having some difficulty in successfully shedding or beating the double team. Part of it is because other guys are not getting themselves open so that he can pass out of the double. But gee, I wonder why that is? Because “ISO” usually means “you ain’t gettin’ the ball back.” However, they must move without the ball to give JJ options. Other times, JJ simply holds onto the ball too long, dribbling precious seconds off the clock before trying a heavily contested long jumper, or flinging a pass to a guy who shouldn’t be taking quick, long jumpshots…like Smith.

No, our offense is heavily guard and perimeter oriented. Good teams will know how to shut this down and make us beat them elsewhere. So we definitely need to employ an offensive scheme that goes through the post some kind of way and generates a lot of points in the paint. With that will come the foul calls and free throws. That, and it will make our post players that much more effective, putting them in a situation where they are most likely to succeed. We’ll see what ol’ Woody does with this. One-trick ponies don’t make it through many races…

Don!

December 22nd, 2008
8:42 pm

I don’t know about the long-term prospects of Woddy’s rotation. I think the style we’re playing is better suited to a 10-11 man rotation, where we can make up in our lack of size in the front court with aggressiveness and energy.

However, Woody seems to be more set on a really tight 8-9 man rotation. Fortunately, we’re young enough to get away with it for now, but even one injury really hurts us. When Josh was out for the month, we were lucky to tread water. Not that JSmooth isn’t THAT good, but just as much of the problem was exposed in our rotation.

A lot of the scribes have called our bench the worst in the NBA. I don’t agree, and as many of you have already posted — Zaza, Solo, Acie, Murray and Evans are solid. Where we fall short is really after that — and I think that’s more a coaches’ decision than anything else. Except Speedy. I think Speedy may have suffered another horrendous toenail injury today getting out of the whirlpool.

Mario deserves more run, Randolph has potential, and we’re never going to find out if Othello Hunter is player — either here or in the NBADL — if he never leaves the bench. I forget who we have after those guys, but that’s because I haven’t seen any of them since … Las Vegas?

Personally, I really think we can get our rotation to a more solid 10-12 with the talent we already have, and over the course of an 82-game season — it can make a big difference. Five minutes here and eight minutes there might not sound like much, but tired players get hurt more — and the last thing we need is that.

I think maybe we should start a ‘Free Mario’ campaign — or simply adopt one of the underused bench players as our blog mascot. Kind of like what’s been done for the Braves’ players in the past. Who knows, maybe just a little bit of blog love could motivate one of our guys — or even convince Woody to give him some run.

In the end, that’s what I’d like to see over the middle third of this season. A little more depth, to keep our main guys healthy and ready for the post season — where you can thin the rotation as much as you want with these three-week long series.

Later,

Don!

JJ

December 23rd, 2008
3:54 am

Enter your comments hereCongrats to Big Ray and Don.Those are two of the best comments about the Haweks that I have read. I wish Woody would listen to what you guys are saying.I saw the Hawks operate against ST.when JJ was on the bench and Flip and Bibby were in the backcourt together.I’ve also seen that the BIGS get better looks when AC is in the game and he gets in the paint.I wish Woody would play the second unit more like he did during preseason.I think you could develop a good reserve unit by playing AC,Flip,Mo,Solo and Z.P.This unit along with Morris.I believe could give our starters more rest and also give themselves valuable court time.Oh yeah.that iso with JJ will not work as long as JJ don’t trust his teammates to get them the ball,or because he really thinks he’s the only one that he and Woody wants to shoot the ball.I’m tired of this I’m the man crap,play team ball and I bet you that you JJ will get better looks and your teammates will really grow when they know you trust them.Don’t dribble and take bad shot when you can hit the pick man and make the other teams stop doubling you because the will start believing you will actually pass to the cutter.GO HAWKS….

Aggie80

December 23rd, 2008
12:33 pm

I just want to see Acie traded, so maybe he can get some CONSISTENT playing time somewhere else. I became an immediate Hawks fan when Acie was signed, but I don’t get to see them play much, since not very many games are televised and I live in the West. I am just basing my observations on stats and seeing the last six games of alternating “7:00 minutes of playing time and DNP, Coach’s decision” is just crazy. How can you build young players with that kind of coaching? Please trade him to some team (and coach), who will develop Acie into the kind of player, and leader, that I know he can be!

Is it true, Bib?

December 23rd, 2008
5:42 pm

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/8973180/Marbury-definitely-tops-the-naughty-list

Almost a year later, hotel people out here are still badmouthing Mike Bibby for insisting on ordering everything not on the menu for his party of hangers-on (”I want fried chicken just the way my mother makes it . . .”) and then trying to sign Ron Artest’s name and room to a $330 bill. Precluded from doing so by the waiter, Bibby sniffed the waiter with a sneer, leaving no gratuity. This obnoxious behavior occurred a couple days before the Kings traded him to the Hawks.

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6:30 pm

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Big Ray

December 23rd, 2008
7:23 pm

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