Took one in Philly, on to Motor City

Well, so much for winning  the big one on Thanksgiving night.

After watching the Magic make halftime adjustments (as the best teams and their coaches routinely do), the Hawks found out once again that this is one of the differences between being the best and being, well……”not quite.” What will the team learn from this? What will coach Mike Woodson learn from this? It remains to be seen, but there’s no sense in us fans dwelling on it to very long.  

Fortunately, the Hawks did not dwell on that loss too much, either, although you couldn’t tell in the first half of the game in Philadelphia. For a while, things looked a bit bleak, despite steady play from Mike Bibby and Josh Smith. Joe Johnson struggled in ways that were both familiar and unfamiliar. Al Horford had to be wondering  if this was his version of Groundhog Day, what with him only getting three shot attempts, while watching some tall guy on the opposing team block or alter nearly every shot near the basket. Marvin didn’t seem to be part of anyone’s offensive plan. But in the end, the Hawks pulled away, showing the Sixers that they were indeed the better team. Mike Bibby taught heralded rookie Jrue Holiday a lesson that probably had Hawks rookie guard Jeff Teague grinning knowingly from the sideline. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to burn the Sixers for 24, and Josh Smith worked them hard on both ends of the floor. And what do you know? Al Horford got the ball more, and finished with a nice 15 points and 8 rebounds. While the Sixers were missing Elton Brand (again), young big man Speights, and the quick scoring Lou Williams, you can never undervalue a win on the road.

Up next is another road game, this one in Detroit.

HAWKS VS. PISTONS

The Detroit Pistons find themselves on a nasty skid, having suffered their seventh loss in a row last night against the L.A. Clippers. Part of that can be attributed to the absence of Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, and Ben Gordon. Hamilton has been out since late October, and the Pistons either don’t know, or aren’t telling when he will return. Prince was still rehabbing as of this past thursday, but his return is still in doubt as well. Gordon’s ankle sprain is another mystery, as he too sat out the game against the Clippers, and remains a question mark. That doesn’t leave the Pistons with much, other than all the time in the world to play their rookies and other bench guys. Meanwhile, the Hawks have managed to mostly avoid the injury bug, and have their whole bag of tricks to work with. Both teams will have a day today to rest in between now and Sunday’s 1 p.m. contest.

What you might remember

Last season, Mike Bibby blitzed the Pistons for 27 points enroute to a home win on December 21st.  On February 11th, it was Joe Johnson and Flip Murray who did the bulk of the damage in win on Detroit’s home floor. March 7th proved that the third time is not always the charm, as a balanced effort (led by Josh Smith’s 19 points) undid the Pistons yet again, in Atlanta. And just think, that was when they had Rasheed Wallace, a healthy Rip Hamilton, and Antonio McDyess. Now the Pistons have a different coach (again) and a very different roster.

 

These Guys Might be Trouble

Here are the my picks for game maker/breaker, not in any particular order.

Ben Gordon would be the favorite here, but he may not be playing in this game, due to that ankle sprain. So, I’m going to have to go with Charlie Villanueva to get things started. Villanueva is somewhat of an enigma, and is anything but consistent. However, he is another matchup problem due to the combination of size (6′11″) and shooting range/ability. Villanueva isn’t a star like Nowitzki, or as steady as the nearly all-star level Lamarcus Aldridge. But he IS dangerous, no matter how you view him. Reaching the 20-point barrier is not a problem, and if he gets hot from beyond the arc, it will be a long night for whoever is supposed to be guaring him.

Next is Will Bynum. The third year guard out of Georgia Tech has struggled with his shot the last two games, but he’s shooting a fairly serviceable 44% from the field. The thing about  Bynum is that he’s tough, relentless, and is not at all shy about getting to the basket. He’s also not a bad ball-handler and distributor, collecting 4.4 assists to go against 2.3 turnovers per game.

Finally, there’s Rodney Stuckey, the guy whom Pistons GM Joe Dumars essentially paved the way for, by trading off Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets. That trade still looks rather rough to many who care to play armchair GM (or to those who get paid to have an opinion), but Stuckey seems to be getting closer to the player the Pistons want. While his shooting percentage is ugly (39%), Stuckey is averaging over 17 points per game, and has shown himself to be more than a one trick pony, also averaging 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Like Bynum, Stuckey likes to take it into the paint, where he can convert and also make trips to the charity stripe. A combo guard with quick hands and decent size, Stuckey also likes to get his hands on loose balls, sloppy passes, and unprotected dribbles on the defensive end. He’s another player that if allowed to go unchecked, can give any team a headache.

You Pick the Counter-Punch

Do the Hawks need anybody in particular to step their game up against the Pistons? Can they do the bulk of their damage from the backcourt, as they did last season, or will the frontcourt carry the day? Atlanta would probably be best served coming out of the gate strong, rather than let the win-hungry Pistons have a chance at taking a first half lead on their own home floor. What is the best way to accomplish that?

By the way, guys and gals. Everything is up for grabs, comment, etc, as always. Think somebody not mentioned above will be trouble for the Hawks? Say so! Notice a difference between other teams’ crowds and our home crowds? Let us hear it! On to Motor City, looking for another road win…

44 comments Add your comment

niremetal

November 28th, 2009
12:41 pm

Joe invariably has bad games when he gets into early foul trouble. He had zero rhythm and seemed to be pressing when he got back in the game at first. To his credit, he didn’t force anything in the fourth quarter and let his teammates do the shooting. But he seemed not quite sure what to do with himself when he was on the floor for the first three quarters.

MannyT

November 28th, 2009
12:51 pm

I’ll be interested to see how Horford does against the smaller, scrappier, vet – Ben Wallace.

i_am_soulstar

November 28th, 2009
1:03 pm

In every Hawks-Bucks game I saw last season, Charlie V. was a serious match-up problem for the Hawks. Hopefully they’ll have an answer for this.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2009
1:27 pm

MannyT ,

I agree. This may be where we’ll see some quality minutes from Joe Smith as well.

Big Ray

November 28th, 2009
1:27 pm

soulstar ,

Charlie V has historically been a problem for us, I agree.

Jay

November 28th, 2009
1:51 pm

Big Ray,

This would be a good game for Marvin to do work. Without Tayshaun Prince, Detroit is vulnerable at the SF position; so this would be a good game for Marvin to put up some serious offensive numbers. Run some pick-and-rolls for Marvin (with Bibby and/or with Crawford) forcing Detroit to switch and let Marvin go to work on a guard in the post. Detroit will be forced to double-team Marvin; leaving someone else with a wide-open shot. This would be a good change from the type of offense the Hawks normally run.

This may also be a good opportunity for Jeff Teague to work on his “drive and dish” game. Bynum and Stuckey are strong to the basket but not quick. Teague should be able to blow by either guy for lay-ups or passes to Horford when Wallace attempts the shot-block.

Daniel

November 28th, 2009
5:48 pm

Alright guys, I know I am a couple of days behind with the holiday and all, but please forgive me I need to vent a little.

I cannot believe that Orlando game. What are we? We have a double digit halftime lead and can’t get anything going in the second half? There is plenty of blame to go around, and I give it to everyone from Woodson to Teague. Nobody played with toughness, no one showed the ability to adjust. This game was at home and we got spanked on national tv. So much for those all star bids for Josh and Horford. Clevland and Boston are beatable, but are we scared of the Magic? No effort, no heart, no pride…. a complete embarrasment. Thank goodness they played the Sixers to get some of the taste out. Will this team get angry about their play or will they decide to be the “almost there” team? C’mon guys this city and your fans deserve better!

ok, I feel a little better now.

Wabe

November 28th, 2009
5:56 pm

Hawks and Falcons both play at 1:00 PM tomorrow.

THAT SUX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wish they played one after the other.

MyView

November 28th, 2009
7:52 pm

Wabe….I just DVR one and then switch back and forth during commercials until which ever game is on live goes off. That way you can see every second of both.

richbrave

November 28th, 2009
10:48 pm

richbrave

November 28th, 2009
10:43 pm
UNIVERSITY of RICHMOND still needs good recruits from the ATLANTA area for both basketball and football. We lose DAVID GONZOLVEZ (SG) and ERIC WARD (Q-back) this year, and KEVIN ANDERSON (PG) will be a rising senior after this season. Great day for SPIDER fans. RICHMOND squeaks by ELON 16-13 in the FCS play-offs while the men’s basketball team just won the South Parde Invitational taking the measure of MISSISSIPPI STATE 63-62 yesterday and MISSOURI 59-52 tonight. Plus the women’s round-ballers cleaned CLEMSON’s clock yesterday. Great sports weekend for RICHMOND.

BIG RAY:

Hope you don’t mind my using your blog for a bill-board tonight. It just hurts too much writing about the WIZARDS.

Rod from College Park

November 28th, 2009
11:58 pm

Jay,

“Detroit will be forced to double-team Marvin”

You are joking right? Double him for what?

Ed

November 29th, 2009
1:34 am

Ray the Pistons are a gimme game. Of course if the Hawks don’t go up big early we want see too much of Teague. Just a travesty that Woody has to coach every game scared and not give him some burn. This is being called the year of the point guard in the draft, unfortunately for JT0 he landed on the rookie PG killer’s bench. It’s ridiculous to think we wouldn’t be doing as well playing him more consistently. Woody’s coaching as if his team is not really good enough so he mostly plays a 7-man rotation with token minutes to a couple of other players.

Jay

November 29th, 2009
9:10 am

Rod,

Whenever Bibby and Williams play pick and roll, with Williams forcing a switch as he rolls to the low post, he would be guarded by one of Detroit’s PG; over whom he will have a huge height advantage. Surely you can’t think that Detroit will allow Williams to shoot freely in that situation?

I’ve read your comments over this blog regarding Marvin Williams–clearly you don’t have much respect for his abilities–but anyone who understands the game knows that allowing someone to operate on the low block over the course of an entire game with a significant height and strength advantage (4 inches over Stuckey and 8 inches over Bynum) is not conducive to winning basketball.

nunna yo biznezz

November 29th, 2009
11:35 am

1st time blogger on da nest..

i said the orlando game should be one that the hawks should have won..then on game night it was a different story..

i have confidence in the team,its just that the coaching staff is where my issues lay..

even high school and rec coaches know that you have to adjust sometimes..

geee!!!

Hawk n the Ham

November 29th, 2009
12:51 pm

The 2nd half of the Magic game, the Hawks were rotating the ball and getting open shots. Nobody hitting those shots was the problem. Then when everyone’s shot goes cold and the Magic catch up, the Hawks started forcing shots. Which made things worse. If our guys would have hit those easy shots early in the 3rd, momentum wouldn’t have shifted the way it did. I don’t think you can blame coaching there.

KevinA

November 29th, 2009
1:03 pm

Here is a telling stat for you. Al has had the same amount of shot attempts in total than JJ/JC has taken from the 3 pt line.

I call that poor coaching and poor execution from our two star guards. How many games has Al ended up 5-10. Why is it so difficult to find him 15 shots per game.

All the hyped chat about Jamal being such a great passer has is overrated, either that or AL/Josh have become just as good at dishing the ball. The stats for assists are comparable. Al and Josh are clearly the most efficient at scoring the ball.

Be honest, when you see the Hawks, what is the takeaway from most of our games. Would ISO/dribble dribble and chunking up three’s come to mind or great ball movement and unselfish play come to mind.

On the upside we are winning and have 60 games to work it out.

Melvin

November 29th, 2009
1:19 pm

Hawks first six shots have been jumpers. While the pistons have scored their 8 of their 11pts in the paint…

niremetal

November 29th, 2009
2:05 pm

I knew we were getting outworked badly on the boards, but didn’t realize how horrific it was until I just checked the box score.

We got outrebounded 28-11 in the first half. They had more offensive rebounds (14) than we had total rebounds (11). My goodness…

Melvin

November 29th, 2009
3:36 pm

This lost may comeback to haunt the Hawks if they dont steal a win or two during the rest of the season….

niremetal

November 29th, 2009
3:39 pm

We picked it up a bit on the boards at the end (and, not coincidentally) got closer, but the box score says that the final margin still was awful: 53-27 total, 24-6 offensive. Just watching, it was clear our guys often were looking to start the fast break before they secured the rebound. Seems they forgot that you can’t run the break without the ball.

We actually shot very well, JJ’s awful offensive game notwithstanding (I guess he caught whatever D-Wade has had for the last couple weeks) – I think we’ll take 50% shooting from the floor any day. But you can’t win if you let your opponent get 2-3 chances on so many possessions. They took 91 FGAs to our 74. They didn’t shoot or defend better than we did.

Oh yeah, and Woody played JJ 43 minutes in a game where he could barely hit the broad the side of the barn offensively, wasn’t rebounding, and wasn’t doing nearly enough on defense to make up for it. And the switching defense often led to our centers ending up out on the perimeter guarding Bynum or Stuckey. :roll:

I realize that 12-5 ain’t bad. It’s just annoying to see us lose eminently winnable games.

little dave

November 29th, 2009
3:58 pm

i blame woodson he hasnt got the balls to pull is so called superstar when hes playing rubbish or does our superstar own this team?

doc

November 29th, 2009
4:14 pm

coming back to earth are we? will we be 11 games over 500 at the end of the season and consider it a good season, enough to invite jj and woody back after blowing up early again in the season with a quick start. is that going to please and appease folks?

Big Ray

November 29th, 2009
5:46 pm

KevinA ,

Jamal was all set to be a passing guy. Somebody told him to screw that and start shooting the damn ball. Any guesses who that might have been? ;)

niremetal

November 29th, 2009
6:46 pm

Regis Philbin?

Ed

November 29th, 2009
8:11 pm

You are 100% right Ray. Woodrow doesn’t know how to coach penetrating guards who want to play team ball ,setup the big guys, and play inside out. My mama always told me “be careful what you ask for you just might get it”. Well Woody asked for it and he’s getting it.

Ed

November 29th, 2009
10:30 pm

Also, just gotta mention a DNP for Teague. Every game now is too important in Woody’s mind to play him unless it’s a blowout. JJ get 43 mins & is playing awful but Woodrow just can’t bring himself to pull him.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

November 30th, 2009
7:35 am

Big Ray, whatever happened to Ando ?

richbrave

November 30th, 2009
8:07 am

Yeah, RAY, where’s ANDO. Working on expanding his family again? Heh.heh.heh.

KevinA

November 30th, 2009
12:13 pm

Big Ray

November 29th, 2009
5:46 pm
KevinA ,

Jamal was all set to be a passing guy. Somebody told him to screw that and start shooting the damn ball. Any guesses who that might have been?

They need another talk. We need the old Jamal.

niremetal

November 30th, 2009
1:39 pm

KevinA,

I think Ray’s answer would be something to the effect of “Don’t hold your breath for that talk to happen.” I sure as hell wouldn’t bet a nickle on Woody telling Jamal to stop chucking and start passing. After all, he hasn’t gotten around to telling JJ that in 3.5 years.

Melvin

November 30th, 2009
11:38 pm

Interesting point of veiw from an NBA.com article as to why the Hawks improved over the past few years….

“What is coaching but getting players to become the best they can be, then showing that on a nightly basis? Anyone who’s seen the improvement in Josh Smith under Woodson’s tough love the last four years can’t have any doubts about Woodson’s abilities as a coach.

“He’s caught so much hell from me,” Woodson said Friday. “He’s stayed the course, man, in terms of how we viewed him, and us pushing him, from a coach-player relationship. He and I have had some knockdown battles, but I respect him so much, because he has stayed the course and he’s trying to do the right things. And our team has gotten better as a result of that.”

The Hawks have also gotten better as a result of Woodson. That should be rewarded, but it doesn’t look like it will be.”

niremetal

November 30th, 2009
11:55 pm

What is coaching but getting players to become the best they can be, then showing that on a nightly basis?

Once I see anyone on the Hawks do anything good on a nightly basis, I’ll say “my bad” and give Woody his due. But the only thing the Hawks are consistent at is inconsistency.

And PS – I actually was an early defender of Woody’s who used to get into flame wars with Ando, Clyde, and other people who came earlier to the anti-Woody bandwagon. But what has amazed me is that Woody’s system hasn’t developed even as his players’ skills have steadily improved. He got one of the best pick-and-roll point guards in recent NBA history, but we only see 1-2 pick-and-rolls per game involving Bibby. Marvin extended his range last year, but his touches went down. Jamal has much better court vision and passing skills than Flip, but Woody still utilizes him as nothing more than a higher-octane version of Flip. Horford has arrived with an improved game every year, but he still can’t get touches on a consistent basis in Woody’s “system.” At some point, I just got tired of making excuses for him. I hope he can prove me wrong again, but this time for the better.

Melvin

December 1st, 2009
12:08 am

“At some point, I just got tired of making excuses for him. I hope he can prove me wrong again, but this time for the better.”

And how is he going to do that? Even when they win, can we actually identify what is Woody ball? I mean, can we say his team has a scheme of what they are trying to accomplish on the floor (besides ending the game with at less one more point than the other team)???

HB Ando

December 1st, 2009
1:17 am

Reports of my demise are (somewhat) exaggerated.

The fact that I have to squeeze in such a comment, at this time of night, without any hoops-related comments, is a telling state of affairs.

With the Big Guys’ permission, look for me to post anew tomorrow……

Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday…

Ando

Ed

December 1st, 2009
1:29 am

Woody ball is totally reliant on ISO’s or occasionally posting up someone. Basically JJ pounds the ball until he gets a shot or has to pass out of it in desperation, It’s been that way all along and that’s why he wanted Crawford to shoot the ball and not worry about setting up other players.

doc

December 1st, 2009
2:28 pm

sure ando, go ahead and post anytime you want. heh heh

B.A.

December 1st, 2009
3:50 pm

Melvin

December 1st, 2009
4:59 pm

Nice job with the Q&A Big Ray. Especially the reponse in reference to the Hawks coach(s) needing to learn how to change strategy. Its been said here many times that Woody doesn’t know how to make game adjustments if plan A is not working. And saw it first hand at the Magic game on Thanksgiving night. I told Sautee and Manny T at halftime that the Hawks were the beneficiary of missed and bad shots by Orlando (along with good ball moment on offense). Howard only scored 6 pts in the 1st half. Van Gundy made it a point to get the ball to Howard in the paint in the 2nd half. The Magic ran away with the game and Howard finished 22pts. Hawks went to Iso Joe in the 2nd half and lost the game…

Sautee

December 1st, 2009
5:17 pm

Gee, I’m glad I didn’t hold my breath waiting for that Ando blog! ;-)

Sautee

December 1st, 2009
5:25 pm

Melvin,

I wish you had been wrong on Thanksgiving. I was hoping VC would start chucking bad shots (as we spoke about) in the second half, but to no avail. Yes, we failed to adjust. And Horford only had THREE shot attempts, so we let Howard do exactly what he’s best at – play help defense all night. Whether it was the Coach, or the guards, we fell into shooting ISO jumpers over, and over, and over, and……. well, you were there. Suffice to say that we hardly looked like a pro basketball team.

Melvin

December 1st, 2009
8:27 pm

Look who top NBA.com for best offseason acquisition. I know somewhere Astro Joe is smiling….

http://www.nba.com/2009/news/features/shaun_powell/12/01/offseason.moves/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1

Big Ray

December 1st, 2009
11:58 pm

New blog is up guys!

Big Ray

December 2nd, 2009
12:00 am

Kudos to BA for his challenging questions. If you crave more Hawks Hoops, head over to “Crashing The Glass”. Good stuff. And, there is another aspiring blog master coming with his own Hawksville village. I’ll let ya know more about it when it’s up and running good…

nunna yo biznezz

December 2nd, 2009
12:57 am

WOW!! READ THIS!!

“I think more than anything, we tend to come out maybe sometimes not on the same page,” guard Joe Johnson said. “It happens, but we have to address each other before each game and make sure everybody’s on the right page. We want to have a good month of December, so I’m sure we’ll do it.”

JOE,IT ALL STARTS FROM THE TOP..I KNOW U ARE NOT USE TO IT GOING THIS FAR AND BEING A LOOSE SQUAD THAT U PLAY WITH,SINCE U COME FROM A VERY RESPECTFUL AND DECENT PROGRAM IN ARKANSAS,BUT,ITS UP TO YOUR COACH TO SET UP A SCHEME AND GAME PLAN AND MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE..AND,IF THEY ARE NOT,THEN,HE SHOULD ADDRESS WHAT U SEE AND SINCE YOUR THE TEAM CAP JOE,YOU SHOULD BULK UP YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND MAKE IT KNOWN TO YOUR TEAM AND TO YOUR “OUT OF TOUCH”,OR “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT”,OR “THEY NEVER LISTEN TO ME” COACH..

I HOPE RICK SUND SEE’S YOUR COMMENT,AND NOT ONLY ADDRESS YOUR DITHERING COACH BUT YOU AS WELL..I LIKE YOUR HONESTY,BUT,YOU ARE SUPPOSEDLY THE GLUE SON,THAT IS HOLDING THIS TEAM TOGETHER.

ITS YOU WHO SHOULD GO TO YOUR COACH AND PREACH FOR MORE PARTICIPATION AMONG YOUR YOUNG PLAYERS AND THE BENCH TO MAKE THIS TEAM “A TEAM OF DEPTH”, LIKE WE ALL KNOW IT IS..

AND,ITS UP TO YOU TO BE THE TEAM PLAYER AND CAPTAIN TO ADDRESS YOUR TEAM ON WHAT YOU ARE SAYING TO THE MEDIA,AND NOT ADDRESS THE MEDIA IN WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY TO YOUR TEAM JOE!!

ARE U SECRETLY TALKING TO US ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR COACH WHEN U MAKE COMMENTS LIKE THIS JOE? DO,U FEEL HE IS NOT DOING THE JOB THAT HE NEEDS TO BE DOING?? IS THAT WHY,MOST LIKELY YOU WILL BE GONE NEXT YEAR ESPECIALLY IF HE RETURNS AS THE HEAD COACH(WHICH I DOUBT)..

IS,THIS YOUR REALITY SHOW JOE??

AND ARE U,TRYING TO FILL US IN ON WHATS REALLY GOING ON IN THE LOCKER ROOM??

IT SEEMS LIKE,THE TEAM IS ON ITS OWN INDIVIDUAL MISSION,AND U AND YOUR CO-STAR MO EVANS NEED TO START PUTTING YOUR FOOT IN THE BACKSIDE OF PLAYERS WHO U THINK ARE OFF ON THEIR OWN AGENDA..REALLY!!

P.S.,ARE U PHYSICALLY TIRED JOE? OR IS IT MENTAL? OR IS IT BOTH?

YOU NEED TO SPEAK UP JOE..I THINK U ARE TRYING TO SAY SOMETHING,AND WE ALL WOULD LOVE FOR U TO SPEAK UP AND TELL US WHAT IT IS..

WE GET BITS AND PIECES FROM U JOE,IT WOULD BE NICE TO GET THE WHOLE STORY,BUT,I WOULD PREFERRE U KEEP IT IN THE LOCKER ROOM AND ADDRESS IT TO YOUR PLAYERS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR COACH..