Nets shredded, Celtics next

Nothing like a blowout in our favor to stave off the drama for a few seconds, eh?

Be honest. You know it was against the worst team in the league, but you’re still glad it was a blowout. Because anything less would be an indicator that the recent problems plaguing the Hawks had not gotten any better, and may have gotten worse. So a moment’s reprieve, and another win. Would it have felt better if it was a road win, rather than a home win? Maybe, maybe not. It wouldn’t have mattered to the New Jersey Nets, who are losing no matter where they play. But it might matter to the Hawks. Or, maybe they are just glad to get back to playing the way they should and winning. Of course, the true test of mettle awaits, and it comes in the form of the Boston Celtics. But more on that later. For now, let’s indulge in a diversion of sorts.

We’ve discussed (and will continue to do so) all the things that we see happening in games, and like the collection of broken records that we are, we keep posting them. Sometimes we manage an artful “theme and variations”, but in the end it can get repetitive. Of course, such is our nature as fans.

Fellow Hawks fan Astro Joe offers another take on things and writes the following:

How about a “why do you think?” blog?  Instead of asking folk to judge or criticize, challenge them to think of why?
 Why does Woody run the iso play in close/late games? Why does Josh whine to the refs? Why does Joe turn into a ball-hog at certain points in the game? I don’t know, maybe that’s just a silly game that I like to play… not always judging but trying to gain an understanding from the perspective of that player/coach. Of course, it starts with a base assumption… that no one intentionally wants to fail. 
Very insightful, I think. It IS so much easier to judge and criticize. Every fan is a critic if he/she has an opinion at all.  Attempting to gain understanding from a different perspective, now that’s a change of pace, and not a silly one. So let’s look at the three questions above. I’ll start off by giving some of my own guesses, but don’t be shy….add yours.
 
Why DOES Woody run ISO plays late in the game? 
A coach is going to do what he is most comfortable with. If he is most comfortable with putting the ball in the hands of his most potent offensive players, that is what he’s going to do. It doesn’t matter if it works all the time, it has to be something the coach thinks has the best chance of being successful. Perhaps Woody feels that sharing the ball and running different plays is all well and fine for the bulk of the game, but if the chips are down…he wants the ball in the hands of the guy or guys he is most comfortable doing that with. Not all teams have more than one guy who is equally as dangerous as another. For instance, the Spurs have Duncan, Ginobilli, and Parker. Any one of the three spells trouble for the opposition. Do the Hawks have a trio of assassins? Mike Woodson may not think so. He’ll want the ball in Joe Johnson’s hands. Failing that, maybe it will go into Crawford’s hands, or maybe Bibby’s. But nine times out of ten, it will be Joe.
 
Why does Josh whine to the refs?
This one isn’t going to be easy. Or maybe it is. Personally, I don’t know what Josh is thinking, but I do know that he has to stop thinking it sometime soon. If not, it’s going to be a fairly long rest of the season. Josh Smith has worked on his game, and he has improved. On top of that, he has matured and learned to make better decisions with the ball. Does Josh feel that he’s good enough to be entitled to some calls? It’s possible that he sees how the officials tend to treat Joe Johnson, and doesn’t want the same thing happening to him. I don’t think Josh realizes how he sounds or how he looks to the refs. He wants respect, but he doesn’t know how to get it from the officials. And it seems that nobody is lending a hand in this matter, though on occasion his teammates have realized that when he lets fouls and foul calls take him out of his game, the team suffers from it. On top of all of that, aggression is Josh’s game. Emotion is Josh’s game. Both have to be channeled in such a way as to benefit the individual and the team as a whole. Perhaps this is just another step in the maturity and growth of Josh Smith. He has improved on fundamentals and decisions. But he also has to learn other nuances of the game, such as player-to-referee “politicking.”
 
Why does Joe turn into a ball-hog at certain points in the game?
This can be a controversial subject. You have to ask yourself, is Joe really a ball hog? Is it ball-hogging when he takes the most shots in a game, or throughout a period of the game? Maybe that’s part of the normal game plan. As versatile as this team is, Joe Johnson is still the leading scorer and the best player on the team. Right? Heh heh heh. There will be some argument as to that particular statement alone….some will say that Joe is no longer the best player on the team. Others will say he is no longer the best player “head and shoulders above the rest.” But back to the original question: why does he do it? Again, this is very likely a staple of the normal routine. Give the ball to your leading/best scorer. What’s abnormal about that? The ensuing question is probably this: WHEN should Joe dominate the ball during a game? And this goes back to the first question. A coach is going to implement what he feels most comfortable with. Joe “hogging” the ball may be that comfort zone. Is it the best formula for success? Probably, if you have the right caliber of player, and use this tactic at the right time. Does this apply to the Hawks? Hmmmmm.
On the other side of the coin, what about Joe? Maybe Joe dominates the ball because he feels most responsible for providing offense. After all, that’s one of the biggest reasons he was brought here. Maybe he feels that if the ball is in his hands, he can get done what needs to be done, whether it’s scoring or making the play. Knowing when to do it and when NOT to do it is no cake walk. Look how long it took Kobe to figure it out. Lebron James still may not have the concept down pat.
Now it’s your turn. Why do YOU think those things happen? Don’t be shy. Blast away!
 
HAWKS VS CELTICS
 
Boston just survived an overtime thriller against the Heat in Miami, and will be flying in to meet the Hawks in the Highlight Factory. After that is another flight to Toronto, where they’ll face the Raptors, before flying back home and playing the Hawks again. No doubt the Celtics plan on making this a 3-0 road trip, but the Hawks will have other plans.
Fresh off a demoralizing loss to the Heat in Miami, the Hawks mopped the floor with the New Jersey Nets and got back to doing mostly what tends to work best for them: playing defense, outrebounding the other team, and running the break when the opportunity presents itself. The starters got to sit down for a good chunk of the second half (mostly the 4th quarter) and the bench got some burn. Now both teams take Thursday to prepare for each other.
 
In the last game…
The Hawks beat Boston for the first time since game 6 of the first round in the ‘07-’08 Eastern Conference playoffs. Even better, they did it in Boston. How did the Hawks manage this? Well, with Boston shooting a little bit better percentage, Atlanta had to gain advantage elsewhere. And they did just that by hammering the Celtics on the boards with a 47-29 advantage, including 16 offensive rebounds. The loss put the Celtics in a moment of doubt, where they lost games to Indiana and Orlando (sandwiched around a win against Golden State) before they embarked on an 11 game winning streak and rose back to the top of the Eastern Conference heap.
The Celtics will be looking for some payback. The best way to get revenge against a team who has beaten you on your own court? Beat them on theirs.
 
Keys to The Game
 
The Celtics are absolutely bent on being the best defensive team in the NBA. Few things demoralize a defense more than a three point play, but one of them is an offensive rebound. The Hawks will have to pound the Celtics on the boards as much as they can, and on the offensive end especially. Atlanta will want to limit fast break opportunities for Boston and get second chances when bad shots are taken offensive rebounds will do that. Defensively, it should be a titanic struggle. Both teams are/can be good at contesting shots, denying passing lanes, and creating loose ball situations. The Celtics are far more consistent where this is concerned so again….rebounding will be key.
Jamal Crawford is a weapon to be used against the best of teams. In the last contest, he came off the bench to score 18 points, which was just 6 points shy of what the entire Boston bench managed to muster. Crawford provides what he was brought here to provide: Joe Johnson level scoring, when Joe Johnson is not in the game….at a quicker pace and in less time, at that.
Rajon Rondo is the new Celtics Linchpin. Oh, Garnett is the heart of the defense and Paul Pierce is the team leader. But this year, Rondo seems more and more to be the one who puts the Celtics over the top when all else is equal. Don’t be fooled by his mere 13.2 points per game. Rondo can and will explode for 20+ points at any given time. More importantly, he’s shooting over 52% from the field. Oh, and he’s averaging just a hair under 10 assists per game, and 4 rebounds per game. This from a point guard?
 
The Flip Side
Okay, we all know that Josh and Al are big keys to this game. Who is the X-factor in this matchup, though? Who puts Atlanta over the top. Crawford? Or somebody else?
 
Hate is Good
 
In this case, it really is. No really, just hear me out: The Hawks hate to lose to the Celtics. And I think that’s why they play them so hard. I don’t know whether it was because THIS Hawks team cut their playoff teeth with the Celtics or if it was the fact that after taking them 7 games in the first round of the playoffs, nobody even remotely involved with the Celtics (except Doc Rivers) would give the Hawks the credit or respect for being anything remotely close to a rival. While Boston is clearly “Big Three” and Atlanta is still “best of the rest”, it seems that the Hawks come ready to do battle at the very mention of the Green Machine. Maybe if the Hawks hated to lose to other teams as much as they seem to hate losing to the Celtics, they’d win even more games. I don’t know. What do you think?

179 comments Add your comment

JD

January 7th, 2010
12:44 am

all due respect to the Hawks. but nobody in the world, and 90% of Hawks fans think the Hawks are anything even remotely close to a rival with Boston. Boston beats the hawks 9 times out of 10, that isn’t a rivalry and yes the 1st round series was nice in 08, but the Hawks lost by an average of 23pts in Boston. these are not the things rivalries are made out of. Focus on the Heat rivalry brewing, or maybe the Cavs or the Magic. but the Celtics and the Hawks record vs the Celtics prevents it from being a rivalry.

jlewis

January 7th, 2010
12:59 am

Man, I hope Joe Johnson leaves the Hawks for free agency. Just remember Phoenix a few years back, for those that think Jamal is the answer in Joe’s place, you are truly delusional.

El Bravo

January 7th, 2010
7:45 am

Woodson calling iso jj in close-late situations is no different than most coaches in the NBA (iso Lebron, iso Kobe, iso Dwane, iso Chris). Coaches with a superstar that can handle the rock will use this tactic late in games more often than not. It is an attempt to slow down the game, control the clock, reduce turnovers and hopefully get a good look at the basket for your best player. The problem is that Joe is just a small step below the other names on the list. I personally do not mind the tactic itself but I disagree with how long we call for it. Woodson begins to run iso jj with over 5 minutes left in the game and all that does is get the rest of your team out of the flow of the game…

El Bravo

January 7th, 2010
7:58 am

JJ becoming a ball hog is just the natural result of the tactics implemented by Woodson. He has made it clear to the team that iso jj is the go-to play whenever the Hawks need a basket. It is only natural then for jj to call his own number whenever he senses that the team must score…

Fundamentals

January 7th, 2010
8:28 am

Woodson needs to continue to develop all options on the bench to keep the defense of other teams for shutting down ISO Joe. It’s all we’ve shown. Other teams have other players who contribute regularly to keep the ISO working. It’s Woodson & Bibby’s job to choose the play, run a variety and keep ISO Joe working. It’s not bad every few plays, but 30 in a row is easy to predict.

Good job on the game last night. Weekend will prove exactly how much the “players only” meeting meant. I pray for energy and aggression.

The Boston Rivalry has been more of a hatred as long as I can remember. Sorry guys. They’ll be “our” rival as long as I live. Only problem for the C’s is our time is coming. Might be 30 years in the making, but we’re gonna get one on the C’s real soon. Hopefully this year in the ECF. Our youth will overtake them very very soon!

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
8:35 am

Ray, thanks. I think Woody goes to iso plays late in the game because he values ball security. Ball movement presumably increases the chance of a tunrover (much like passing the football is riskier than running it from a TO perspective). SO I think that Woody is so fearful of a late-game turnover that he would rather place the ball in one guy’s hands and have him either shoot or make one pass for a shot. And the reason I believe that is true is because of the intense focus he places on low turnovers.

richbrave

January 7th, 2010
8:46 am

doc:

You need to check out MIKE WISE’s article in this morning’s WASHINGTON POST. Our boy may be in serious trouble.

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
8:53 am

I think Josh’s problem with the refs and the fact that it takes him completely out of the game is due to his immaturity. I will be so glad when that will stop being used as an excuse for his play. When he is active, rebounding, passing and blocking, this team is elite, when he goes into a funk, we are slightly above average. Simple as that.

What is he thinking when he lets the refs/bad plays affect his game? I think he is insecure and needs near constant affirmation to play at his best. I think it is a product of being “shined on” ever since middle school and AAU ball. The process makes flashy players, but very insecure ones(heck, they even bring guns to the locker room). Josh has the talent, he seems to have the right people advising him, now he just has to take that next step(which is hardest) to playing with consistency. That seperates the good from the great.

Joe’s ball hogging(what is he thinking?): This is what I am paid to do. The next one is going in. I can take this guy. Awww, F-it we are getting beat anyway.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
9:11 am

nire, what does the coaching have to do with the 12 boards for Josh?

Honestly, AJ, what the hell do you think a coach do besides sit on the bench, make substitutions, and hope that the players are smart enough to figure everything out?

For defensive rebounding…
1) A coach could stop employing the switching defense that frequently leaves Josh out on the perimeter in many cases when the shot goes up.

For offensive rebounding…
2) A coach could design an offensive system in which the team’s power forward is not frequently out on the perimeter in many cases when the shot goes up

Generally…
3) A coach could tell Josh that his #1 priority when a shot goes up on either end is to crash the boards, unless he is clearly not in a position to get the rebound
4) A coach could show Josh how to maintain his position on the block, since Josh still relies primarily on his athleticism rather than positioning and boxing out his man.

I’m sure there are a million other ways. But Patrick Ewing is a famous example of a player who put up poor rebounding numbers when he played under a coach (Pitino) whose schemes often left him too far from the basket on defense, and improved his rebounding dramatically when a new coach came in who had him patrol the lane more. Shawn Marion’s rebounding numbers also spiked when D’Antoni came in and told him to crash the boards more and look for perimeter shots less. Etc etc etc.

But hey, we all know that in your mind, it’s up to the players to figure everything out for themselves.

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
9:21 am

nire—? who/what are you responding to?

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
9:39 am

Daniel,

Good to see ya back here, man. I was responding to a post that AJ made at the end of the last thread.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2010
9:41 am

Why does Woody run iso plays late in the game? Because Woody has the utmost confidence that his player (JJ or Crawford) will get a good shot off on their own. The more people involved in the play, the greater the chances that somebody else (not named JJ) messes up.

Why does Josh whine to the refs? He sees that JJ does not whine, and does not get any calls. So maybe Josh thinks that by complaining, he will get more calls. (I wish JJ would complain more, and Josh complain less).

Joe ball hogs because that’s what Woody wanted him to do when he first got here. 5 years later, it’s hard to change your way of thinking, especially when the head coach expects you to produce at a certain level. In order to produce at that level, he needs the ball in his hands. And Joe probably thinks that’s the best way for the team to win as well. (Remember how it took Kobe years to learn that “team” concept).

Since Pierce is just back from injury, I would like to see the Hawks run a couple for plays for Marvin early. If Marvin stumbles and fumbles (and misses), so be it. They should also do the same thing for the frontcourt. Give Josh and Al some early touches to see what they can do. Maybe get Perkins or KG to pickup a quick foul or two.

When the Hawks won in Boston, the Celtics shot 1-15 from 3. I don’t think they will shoot that bad again. Hawks need to rebound, and run. Even if the Celtics make the FG, Hawks need to push it. The Celtics bigs cannot keep up with Josh and Al in the open court.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
9:42 am

As for the cause of the proliferation of ISO-Joe plays…well you know my theory about THAT, Ray. And I blame the same person that I blame for Josh’s uneven development and the fact that Al and Marvin don’t get the touches they should.

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
9:42 am

ahhh.. ok, good to be back(?) When I get to blog, means I am at work… vaca was good though.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
9:43 am

Great post, O’Brien.

doc

January 7th, 2010
10:23 am

thanks rb. ill try tp find the link

the only reason for the whys is woody doesnt have that inventive of a mind. he always goes with what he has done over and over again even though it gets the same poor results down the stretch and after time outs. again i wish he would call time outs for defensive strategies and let the guys play on the other end. we dont win by his strategies is my thought, he doesnt change the flow of games. it is about how the guys get or dont get stops in critical points of the game. yes give him credit for teaching it away from games. he still doesnt manage games very well. case in point allowing nate friggin robinson to win a game.

funny the female sideline announcer asked coach drew at halftime if they had made any adjustments. cough cough, he said he felt they had done a pretty good job on him. then the guy came out and busted their chops. the durn female sideline announcer called who they needed to come up with a strategy on and we didnt do jack but allow him to drive to the basket unimpeded, not once did he go down nor once did teague come off the bench. btw, teague last night, did some good stuff on a guy who has killed us in the past d harris. wake up woody the clock ticks and each game you give away affects your contract more than the ones you win because expectations are there.

the reason why on jj has to be his coach says so. if not, then the why is, why isnt he coachable to do something his coach wants him to do?

the why of josh is it is what he is made of, it is his intensity and the thought that he never does anything wrong, it is always about someone else if there is a problem, a warriors attitude. he manifests it by shouting down the refs. all the better guys do it. bron bron went off and the refs ignored him, josh goes off and they get in his face. in other sports of the mano a mano type on the big stage, good hitters do it, they never missed a ball 2 inches off the plate; tiger never missed a putt as it was always a bit of turf that threw the ball off not his stroke. ultimately josh is going to have to let his game do the talking and take it out on someone else or another team or have a coach not afraid to take a hit for the team woody wont because he is a control freak. i guess that is another why, why doesnt woody do it instead of josh, trying to teach him a lesson isnt the right answer.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
10:41 am

Hmmmm….very good posts, guys.

Daniel ,

The AAU thing may not help in terms of hype, but Josh’s biggest problems seemed to stem from no college experience, no fundamentals taught to him in high school, etc. In general, it’s maturity, like you say.

However, it has not made him a bad person. Neither he nor his teammates have had even remotely the issues that many others have had (like Arenas and Crittendon, Delonte West, etc), despite this “stigma” of being a former AAU ball player or being from College Park, or any other background that may be used stereotypically. He has argued with this coach, he does argue with the refs. This is because he played AAU ball? I wonder what the explanation is for guys like Kobe, Lebron, Garnett, Wade, Carmelo, and so on? I do see one constant among them (though Josh is not yet nearly the player that they are, and probably never will be on that level): INTENSITY. One thing is for certain, he’s a better teammate early on than any of those guys were. Especially on the sideline, where he is always cheering his teammates on or reaching out to them on the bench (much like last night…the Joe ignores him a lot).

Just an observation. But you’re right….it’s maturity that has to be worked on here.

Question. If maturity is the issue, then why want Josh to complain less and Joe complain more?

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
10:42 am

Nire ,

Very good post at 9:11 a.m.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
10:43 am

Astro Joe ,

Makes plenty of sense, especially from the perspective of the coach.

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lacsho

January 7th, 2010
11:03 am

Why is the AJC pay Ken (whatever) when we have Big Ray. They need to offer you the main spot.

thomas22

January 7th, 2010
11:06 am

O’Brien- Good Post about Josh.

He’s got to let his game do the talking . I hope his whining was one of the things addressed in the players meeting because whether he believes it or not, it has a greater effect on the team than he thinks- because he complains so much the refs take it out not only on him, but the other players as well.

Last night the Hawks looked like the team that started the season (even though they were playing the Nets). Beating Boston tomorrow will definitely convince me, which I believe we can do.

JJ showed emotion finally! Al is still the most consistent player we have- Marvin definitely needs to play more aggressive.

Once Bibby decides he’s really the floor general things will be even better. Jamal is an asset hands down- but I’d like to see him to continue up his “D”. .

lacsho

January 7th, 2010
11:19 am

Correction: Paying

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
11:24 am

nire, I challenged your rebounding comment because rebounding (IMO) is about a team effort. Is it really that important if Smith is grabbing those extra 4 boards or if they are grabbed by a combo of the other 4 players on the team? Isn’t the measure of good coaching more about if your team is out-rebounding the other team and less if a single player (or two) is optimizing their personal rebounding stats? If you are telling me that those 4 extra boards for Josh are coming from the other team’s bucket of boards, that’s great. But I’m guessing that when Josh switches off, some of those boards are going to the teammate who is closer to the rim. If it ain’t helping the team, who cares?

It’s like the whole discussion about Marvin and his lack of aggression. Marvin is not likely going to be shooting shots from incremental possessions, instead, he would be taking shots away from his teammates. Who cares? Unless he is taking shots from a far less efficient player, it doesn’t help the team… just Marvin. And I’m not convinced that a coach needs to worry about the individual stats of a player. If we’re a top 5 offensive club, why do we care about the distribution of points?

I’m still not convinced that when Smith is on the perimeter of the offense, the play is designed for him to shoot from the perimeter. It may be designed for him to move the ball, wait for a cut, wait for a weakside pick that frees a player. It may not be that the play is designed for Josh to shoot, but that’s what he does (because that what the defense gives him). When he gets the ball with 2 seconds left on the shot-clock, then that’s on the team. But no one can tell me that Smith has demonstrated the discipline that he only launches a long-distance shot when the clock is running down. In summary, I don’t equate Smith shooting from deep with a play designed for Smith to shoot from deep. And I’m not entirely sure how anyone else draws that same conclusion. Unless you have convinced yourself that Smith follows his coach’s wishes each and every time and never deviates.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
11:48 am

doc, I disagree with you whole-heartedly that Woody is a control-freak. I think he is a guy who sllows far more freedom than most coaches. Too much freedom. I think he is more teacher and less manager. A teacher provides the tools for someone to apply on their own (teach them how to fish). A manager hoards the tools and disseminates info/tools as needed (here’s the fish). Woody teaches at practice and expects the players to demonstrate the knowledge on the floor. When they don’t, he’s at a lost. But that is NOT being a control freak. When we were high-flying earlier this season, it was clear that we were playing “Woody Ball”. Contesting shots, switching hard and rebounding well. All of that led to fast break oppos and points in the paint. It was the culmination of years of teaching. And when teams were able to make adjustments and/or players deviated from the lesson plan, Woody didn’t have a ready “plan B” ready. Still a problem (a big one) but NOT a control freak issue.

nire, back to you, the reason why I used to say (constantly) that Woody is better suited for a vet team is because vets know what they are supposed to do. Some folk prefer to teach the novice some prefer someone with some knowledge of the subject. A 11th grade trig teacher may struggle teaching a 1st grader about addition. Phil Jackson (I’m guessing) would never take on an OKC-type team. Woody was an awful match for the Hawks initially because he seemed to require a more advanced player, not someone who couldn’t even dribble. But now, he has a mostly veteran squad and the results are quite different.

In the corporate world, you sometimes hire an exec with a vision that could take a company from one phase to the next. Think about the leadership needed to move a company like AT&T from your parent’s telephone company to one that now is a wireless/internet monster (with the super-cool iPhone as it’s flagship product). But could that CEO take on issues at a company like GM or Delta? I think that is a completely different skill set. Both CEOs could be masterful at their respective jobs while failing miserably if the match isn’t right. Circuit City had the wrong leaders, Best Buy had the right leaders.

I think that we continue to view the Woody that was mis-matched with the youngest team in the NBA. But that is no longer his roster and so, I think that we need to adjust our perspective.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
12:19 pm

AJ,

There’s one huge, supermassive difference between Marvin’s field goal attempts and Josh’s rebounds. When Marvin takes a shot, that’s one shot less for his teammates. But when Josh takes a rebound, that is NOT necessarily one rebound less for his teammates because about half of all rebounds are taken by the other team (on the year as a whole, the Hawks have almost exactly the same number of rebounds as their opponents – 1426 to 1421). So it’s NOT as if Josh increasing his rebounds will automaticall result in fewer rebounds for his teammates.

Quite the contrary, in fact. Take a look at the team game-by-game rebounding stats and Josh’s rebounding stats side-by-side. Josh’s rebounds fluctuate more than any other player on the team’s, and whether we win the rebounding battle depends largely on the number of rebounds he gets. The Hawks outrebounded the other team in 6 out of the 7 games where Josh grabbed 10+ rebounds and averaged 46.6 rebounds in those games; they lost the rebounding battle in 8 out of the 12 games where Josh got 6 or fewer and averaged just 41.2 rebounds in those games. The team averages 41.9 rebounds per game on the whole this year. (Not incidentally, the team also scores more when Marvin gets more points – they average 112.8 ppg in the games where he scores 14 or more, compared to 104.4 for the season as a whole).

And no one said that the possessions were “designed” to result in Josh shooting from the perimeter. On the contrary, if you read what everyone and his mother has said, the Hawks offense doesn’t seem to be designed to do anything at all. Which is why it so often ends up with an unpleasant result like a Josh jumper, a double-teamed shot by JJ, or a 20-foot jumper with a hand in his face by Crawford. The frequent lack of ball movement and off-ball movement is one of the most striking features of Woody’s system. Woody’s lack of a system is exactly the problem, unless you actually think that Woody has a system involving lots of movement and the players have conspired to ignore it.

doc

January 7th, 2010
12:23 pm

aj, the way he sits guys down for extended periods without obvious cause or neglects to think about them or relies on vets to do what he wants them to do without any room for ad lib suggests otherwise to me though you point out salient things about woody it is not the whole and what i was referring to as his control does extend probably to not delegating to assistants as well. not too sure on this one but that has been a complaint more than once.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
12:32 pm

AJ,

There’s one huge, supermassive difference between Marvin’s field goal attempts and Josh’s rebounds. When Marvin takes a shot, that’s one shot less for his teammates. But when Josh takes a rebound, that is NOT necessarily one rebound less for his teammates because about half of all rebounds are taken by the other team (on the year as a whole, the Hawks have almost exactly the same number of rebounds as their opponents – 1426 to 1421). So it’s NOT as if Josh increasing his rebounds will automaticall result in fewer rebounds for his teammates.

Quite the contrary, in fact. Take a look at the team game-by-game rebounding stats and Josh’s rebounding stats side-by-side. Josh’s rebounds fluctuate more than any other player on the team’s, and whether we win the rebounding battle depends largely on the number of rebounds he gets. The Hawks outrebounded the other team in 6 out of the 7 games where Josh grabbed 10+ rebounds and averaged 46.6 rebounds in those games; they lost the rebounding battle in 8 out of the 12 games where Josh got 6 or fewer and averaged just 41.2 rebounds in those games. The team averages 41.9 rebounds per game on the whole this year. (Not incidentally, the team also scores more when Marvin gets more points – they average 112.8 ppg in the games where he scores 14 or more, compared to 104.4 for the season as a whole).

And no one said that the possessions were “designed” to result in Josh shooting from the perimeter. On the contrary, if you read what everyone and his mother has said, the Hawks offense doesn’t seem to be designed to do anything at all. Which is why it so often ends up with an unpleasant result like a Josh jumper, a double-teamed shot by JJ, or a 20-foot jumper with a hand in his face by Crawford. The frequent lack of ball movement and off-ball movement is one of the most striking features of Woody’s system. Woody’s lack of a system is exactly the problem, unless you actually think that Woody has a system involving lots of movement and the players have conspired to ignore it.

And while I think that Woody is better-suited for a vet team than a young team, I don’t think he has what it takes to lead either to a title. The problem with leaving so much up to the players is that even the best players can be schemed against by a good coach. You need a coach who has an offensive system in place that allows for the creation of open looks within the flow of the offense, and who can make adjustments in-game as needed. That’s why the Bulls always fell to the Celtics and Pistons under Doug Collins’s “let Michael do everything” system, why the Lakers always faltered under a system that relied on the offensive skills of Shaq & co. to carry the day, why the Lakers collapsed against the Pistons in 2004 when Kobe stopped running the triangle when he got the ball, and why the Cavs always falter in the playoffs as soon as they face a good team with a decent coach.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
12:35 pm

Whoops, sorry…thought my first post didn’t go through. Ray, feel free to delete it :)

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
12:38 pm

Ray- I hope you didn’t take my comments to mean that I was suggesting something bad about Josh’s character more than he is still immature for a person of his age and life expierence. I threw the gun comment in to demonstrate how low some of these guys will go. I do not mean to suggest that Josh is a problem guy or some kind of thug. Absolutely not. He really seems to have his head on straight in general.

I was just pointing out that Josh’s immaturity (which we all agree is getting less but still too present) is demonstrated by pouting, whining and general lack of effort when things aren’t going his way. Honestly, like a spoiled little kid. Where did he get that mindset? Obviously, from his AAU/high school(semi-pro*wink*) youth. Some that have that expierence channel it into a supersized ego that helps them excell but rub some the wrong way (Kobe/LeBron), some desperately want to seem like “they are down” (Arenas/Melo) and some need their ego stroked to perform because they are so insecure on the inside(Josh Smith).

Hey, you asked us to try and understand “why” they act the way they do.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
12:44 pm

Tidbit: The past 25 title-winning teams have had 13 different leading scorers (Kareem, Larry, Magic, Byron, Isiah, Michael, Hakeem, Tim, Shaq, Kobe, Chauncey, Wade, and Pierce). But they only have had 8 different head coaches (Riley, Jones, Daly, Phil, Rudy, Popovich, Brown, and Doc). I can’t find a single example of a team that has won a title where the coach’s attitude was “you know what to do. Do it.”

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
12:50 pm

OK Nire and AJ:

I agree with AJ in general that Woodson is more of a teacher than a control freak. I think that Nire blames Woodson too much.
But, Josh rebounding the basketball is NOT made up from other players. When Josh is rebounding, this team plays at a significantly better level. When he in particular rebounds, the guards can get out and run, Horford isn’t being blocked down under the basket and in general his head is more in the game.

In fact, if Josh could translate his frustrations with the refs/bad play/ etc. into rebounding harder, he would become the All Star player that we know he can be.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
1:16 pm

nire, any relationship between payroll (reletive to the other 29 teams) and titles? Care to make a bet that a non-luxury tax team wins this year’s title?

I’m still confused how the combination of a lack of an offensive scheme and a relative middling salary (coupled with a 1 All-Star roster) has resulted in a high-scoring offense in the Eastern Confernce. It must be voo-doo. Or someone who is still living in the 2005-06 season.

doc, I also suspect that he is a poor delegator (with regard to his assistants).

O'Brien

January 7th, 2010
1:56 pm

I’m wondering, do the Hawks practice isos, or do we actually practice some set plays, move the ball, pick and rolls, set screens, push the tempo etc. If we practice isos, JJ should be better at it lol. (For the record, I don’t think we run a lot of isos in practice).

But during the game, we run numerous isos (especially when the game is tight), while Woody stands there with a glare and arms folded, while not doing anything about it. If that’s not what he wants the team to run, then do something about it. Which is why I think that’s exactly what he wants the team to run. iso JJ.

That being said, I don’t think Woody is a control freak. I just think he’s either stubborn or insecure. Two examples; his assistants recommended he play his bench more (the last 2 seasons), but Woody refused. During one of the playoff games, his assistants recommended that we double DWade because Wade was going off, but Woody refused (although the Hawks finally beat the Heat in 7).

The problem is, the way Woody coached the young Hawks team is very similar to how he coaches the vets (although he gives his vets a lot more freedom). When we were young, Woody would probably say “give the ball to JJ, and let him improvise”. We do run more now than we did back then, but when the game gets close, Woody tells our vets “give the ball to JJ, and let him improvise”. I will say this about Woody though. From day 1, he has been preaching defense and rebounding.

AJ,

If we had an offensive system, then we could run it and execute when we need a bucket. But what do we do? Run isos, and take a lot of jump shots. Sure, we try to create turnovers, rebound the ball, and run, especially early on. But when the going gets tough, isos get going.

I agree about poor delegation when it comes to assistants, and I still don’t know what Tyrone Hill is teaching our bigs.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
2:05 pm

OB, I heard Horoford complemement Hill recently for helping him with his low-post offense. Hopefully, he wasn’t just being kind.

I don’t disagree that we need to imrpove our late game execution. That is obvious. But should we ignore what works for about 90% of the games and for about 90% of the 48 minutes? If we’re not doing something right in the first 44 minutes, then we’re probably not close enough to worry about which plays get called in the last 4 minutes (see Miami game).

The problem with the ISO (IMO) is that Joe is not opting to do anything other than shoot. I am guessing that there is a pass option associated with each ISO play. Of course, the teammates need to move in order to free themselves to receive a pass.

Daniel

January 7th, 2010
2:21 pm

It doesn’t matter what kind of offensive system you run or don’t run, if the team plays lazy, players pout and don’t rebound.
It also doesn’t matter when the team plays with energy, keep their head in the game and rebound.
And, I know Woody teaches that.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
2:58 pm

Astro Joe,

The luxury tax only came into being in 2002. The ‘03 and ‘05 Spurs did not pay the luxury tax. Neither did the 2004 Pistons. Neither did the 2006 Heat. The ‘07 Spurs did pay the tax, but only $200k worth. Four teams had higher payrolls than the Spurs in 2007. The ‘08 and ‘09 champs both paid a hefty tax, but five had higher payrolls than the Celtics when the Celts won in ‘08 and four teams had higher payrolls than the Lakers last year.

Is there correlation? Yes, because you need to have the talent to contend, and it’s tough to get that kind of talent without spending a lot of money. But deep in the playoffs, every team has enough talent to contend. The teams that end up winning titles are the ones who play well together and who can make adjustments when things go wrong. The Lakers payroll wasn’t any higher relative to the league average in ‘00 than in ‘99 or in ‘02 compared to ‘04 (on the contrary, it was even higher in ‘04).

Larry Brown took a team with inferior talent and dismantled a Lakers team whose guards refused to execute the system that Jackson wanted to implement. The ‘99 Spurs similarly were able to shred a talented Lakers team that didn’t play together.

Would the Hawks do better if they upgraded a couple players on their roster? Of course. But Woody isn’t maximizing the talent he has right now. You might be willing to sell this team’s roster short, but I’m not. We are one of the few teams in the league that goes 9 deep and does not have any glaring weaknesses in its starting 5 (even though there are many people on here who will argue until they are blue in the face that their disfavored player is a glaring weakness). JJ and Josh both are All-Star caliber players, and Horford and Jamal are damned close. We have equal or better overall talent compared to the ‘07 Jazz, the ‘03-’08 Pistons, the ‘02-’03 Nets, the ‘02 Celtics, the ‘03 Mavs, the ‘03 Celtics, the ‘04 Pacers, and the ‘04 Wolves – all teams that made at least the Conference Finals. Hell, I’d even say that we have the talent to go toe-to-toe with last year’s Magic, and I think that if we traded coaches with them, the Hawks would be the better team.

You imply that Woody is getting the most out of this team. If that’s true, then Woody is a good coach (a view I myself held a couple years back). But for months on end, you have bobbed, weaved, bent over backwards, and done everything else in your power to avoid answering what exactly you think a coach should do. Because from the way you (and Samuel and Truth-Serum) tell it, how well a team does depends almost entirely on the talent it has – if they don’t do well, it’s because the players aren’t good enough or didn’t execute. But if that’s true, then the coach is irrelevant. It would be funny if it weren’t such a blatantly contradictory position. But that’s what happens when you start with a conclusion and then try to justify it, instead of starting from the other end and building a conclusion.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
2:59 pm

*strike the ‘03 Celtics

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
3:06 pm

To be clear: My view in 2006-2007 was that ISO Joe was pretty much the only reliable way for us to score points when we needed to. Our second best offensive player was a topic of constant debate, and I wavered between Tyronn, Josh, Marvin, and Zaza depending on the day of the week. But during the last two years with the arrival of Horford and Bibby (and now Crawford) and the maturation of Josh and Marvin, it’s clear that we do have players who have the ability to put a good number of points on the board when given the opportunity. The last straw for me was the 2 games we won when JJ went down hurt last year and we took back-to-back road games anyway. And as soon as JJ came back, the offense went right back to the way it had been before.

Woody’s offensive “system” has not evolved as quickly as the players within it. Put another way, the team has outgrown its coach.

MannyT

January 7th, 2010
3:38 pm

Why, is Astro Joe one of those highly effective habits people?

My take on the Ys

Why DOES Woody run ISO plays late in the game?

If most folks were always on the brink of losing their very well paid gig, I would suspect they would like ISO Joe. If Woody’s going down, it will be with his best player making the final decisions. Often talent is more important than scheme in a brief, end of game situation.

While I might think differently, I am not risking a multi million dollar job if I’m wrong. Thus I get the ISO Joe thing. I just wish Woody could come up with some options to fool some of the people some of the time instead of fooling none of the people all of the time.

…and like doc said…he does not appear to have that innovative, on the fly thing that allows you to use something old in a new way when it comes to time out plays.

Why does Josh whine to the refs?

How often does someone tell a pro athlete that he is wrong? Now put on top of that consideration that sometimes Josh is correct that he was fouled, but he is not getting the call. Maybe his life patterns say complain when you get wronged even if it gets you in more trouble. I wish I could swap 10% of Joe for 10% of Josh on this one. Joe almost never complains. Maybe Joe needs to give some visuals if he doesn’t want to say, REF, the only way X can guard me is to foul me. Make that call. X needs to know he isn’t a stopper but a misdemeanor assult guy.

Why does Joe turn into a ball-hog at certain points in the game?

This one is easy.

1. No traditional point guard that demands the ball.
2. He was brought here with the idea that he should have the ball in his hands.
3. He leads the team in assists.
4. No one seems to challenge him on it. (Although a good argument from his teammates might be that we all get better when we touch the ball. Sharing D Love.)

BWAF

MannyT

January 7th, 2010
3:50 pm

The Hawks should take a lesson from the Rockets.
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/12095/good-newsbad-news-for-the-rockets
“We’re not playing the way we’ve talked about playing,” says Adelman. “We’ve walked the ball up the court. We need five people running up and down the court and we’re not doing it. We’ve got to change that. We can’t have one group playing one way and then the next group playing different.”

Adds Battier: “We’ve had slippage in the chemistry department. You can just tell by the way we play. We haven’t been as unified at both ends of the court. You can say that with pretty good confidence because the second group that comes in, the guys off the bench, have great chemistry. They play together, they move the ball, they space the floor and they rely on each other to play good basketball.

“I think the tendency for the first group right now is to really try to do it themselves and try to carry the team out of the slump. We’re not doing it out of malicious reasons; every guy feels that they can help the team and raise the level of play. But we’ve gotten away from trying to do it collectively instead of individually and it’s resulted in some pretty bad basketball.”

Sharing D Love!

BWAF

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
3:54 pm

nire, I think we’re the 4th best team in the East. I said it during ther summer as rosters were being tweeked and I still believe it. Anything less than that would be disappointing. But so far, the players and coach are meeting my expectations. And closing the gap requires several variables… that would likely require more from ownership, coach and players.

Lastly, wouldn’t we see diminishing returns if “the team had outgrown the coach”? When something goes stale, I thought it loses it’s potency… we seem more potent than ever.

I guess I simply have problems separating players that have only played for one coach from that coach. I can’t definitively say that player X would be better/worse with a different coach. (For example, would Jordan Farmar be better if he were coached by Larry Brown?) I guess I just don’t possess that same ability to disconnect student from the teacher like you. When I look at guys who have left the team, I can’t think of too many examples where they accomplished much more. Even guys like Al Harrington seem to be the same now as they were then. Diaw is the exception (debatable) but I struggle to think of anyone else. And usually, a sample of one isn’t much of a trend.

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
4:35 pm

First off, how the hell is Diaw debatable? Woody used him as a spot-up shooter and he was terrible. D’Antoni used him as everything but that and turned him into a Sixth Man Award contender. From the split second he left the Hawks, he’s been leaps and bounds better. It started within a week or two after his debut with the Suns. And it has continued with two new coaches and one new team. The fact that you label him as “debatable” as to whether he is a solid player that Woody would clueless on how to use pretty much says it all.

As for diminishing returns. We face the exact same issue of not moving the ball and not getting any offensive flow when the going gets tough in a game, which is why we have only won one close game (against Dallas) in the past 6 weeks, and none for the past month. And we have exactly the same record now as we did one year ago, despite having pretty much indisputably a deeper, better roster with a core that is still young and has been together longer than any team in the East. How is that NOT diminishing returns?

niremetal

January 7th, 2010
4:40 pm

Let’s see. We have exactly the same record as we did a year ago, despite having 1) an indisputably upgraded bench; 2) a starting 5 with one of the league’s lowest average ages (still); and 3) a core that has been together longer than any other team in the East’s. How is that NOT diminishing returns?

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
6:53 pm

Manny, yeah, me and Covey are good buddies.

doc and I were on board for Adelman several years ago. He’s still one of my favorite coaches and he is doing probably his best job this year. I also love how they handled T-Mac… that team is excelling as a group of hard-hat workers fighting for everything. They don’t need a glamour boy messing that up. I love those tweeners like Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes and Joey Dorsey. But then again, I was the guy hoping that we would strongly consider Dajuan Blair in the 1st round.

doc

January 7th, 2010
7:06 pm

aj i say amen to that. adelman has been huge to keep those scrubs competitive. karl did the same magic last year after losing camby, ai and melo through preseaon and after the season started, melo for a significant amount of time before he came back from injury. talk about band aids, no easy task. a friend of mine is into basketball and saw a couple of their games out in denver visiting his daughter in december last year and just shook his head as to who he placed and where to change the course of the game. i dont know if there are really any of those guys out there to make a difference mid stream like karl did in denver one year and hubie did in memphis. stay the course and let these guys work it out.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
7:53 pm

doc, if someone promised me that we could get one of those guys, then I would sign-up for that. But the general track record of NBA GMs just doessn’t support the notion that we would get a definite improvement. More than likely, we would lose the 80% while seeking the 20%.

Speaking of GMs and their track records… how long does Dumars survive in Detroit? One could argue that he traded Chauncey Billups for Ben Gordon… while giving Rip an extension. Oh and I think that the owner may be paying for 3 head coaches. Chasing that brass ring (again) sounds great in theory but in practice, you often end up chasing your tail.

O'Brien

January 7th, 2010
8:23 pm

doc, AJ,

I dont think Woody is the best coach for the Hawks, but when I look at who is available, you guys are right. There is no guarantee that the next coach we bring in will do any better.

I’m sure all the available coaches have their warts, but we just dont know what they are because we havent watched them up close like we do the Hawks.

If Woody would bring in an established offensive coordinator , or an established assistant coach (someone who has been an NBA head coach before, or an assistant on a championship team), I think that would help tremendously.

doc

January 7th, 2010
8:24 pm

aj, dumars doesnt have billly knight to help him anymore. ;-)

doc

January 7th, 2010
8:25 pm

o’brien, careful what we ask for, eh?

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
10:14 pm

Yeah… I’m convinced that we would end up with PJ Carlesimo or Bob Hill.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
10:53 pm

First off guys, let me tell you that the repartee here has been FANTASTIC. This has been some of the best reading of posts in a while, if you ask me. Looks like Astro Joe’s idea was a hit! And all it took was a little ol’ e-mail (hint, hint to the rest of you).

Second, the spam filter is on hyperdrive. Sorry if not all of your posts are coming up right away. As I’m able to check into the system and check up on comments, I find what’s in the spam filter and sift through it. If some of your posts get eaten by the “blog monster”, don’t feel bad. I posted a few comments on this blog and others in past blogs on “general use” computers at work, and watched my own comments get swallowed up as well. Since more and more are getting digested, I’ll have to check more frequently.

One thing though: when your comment gets rescued, it posts at the time you actually submitted it. So if it’s 11 pm now, but you posted at 9 am, a rescued comment will show up at 9am, not 11 pm.

Addressing a few people/topics:

Daniel ,

No, man. No way. I was pontificating along with you, nothing more. I just felt that while Smith has his issues, he has been trouble free in so many ways that it’s been amazing. Look at other talented youths over the years, some with college experience, some without- Leon Smith (anybody remember him? 1st round pick of the Spurs in ‘99), Eddie Griffin (RIP), Michael Beasley looked like he wasn’t gonna make it for a second there, Javaris Crittenton (he just deep-sixed himself), and many, many more.

I’m not a big fan of AAU ball, but it exists, and I’m not going to bash it completely. Some good things probably happen there, but I’ve never gotten close enough to know, so I can’t judge too harshly. But AAU isn’t the whole story. Josh had no college experience, which would have helped. And then he had no veteran player or players in front of him until this year, where he can learn from Joe Smith some. But that’s 4 years of NBA experience, most of it as a starter, with no mentor. Not good for a kid coming out of high school, without the otherworldly talents (and more importantly FUNDAMENTALS) of other high school-to-pros types such as Garnett, Kobe, Jennings, etc.

Nah, I’m not trippin’ off of your reply. Just puffing my cigar alongside your pipe in the “thinking room”…. :)

Astro Joe ,

If we got PJ Carlesimo, I’d petition Rick Sund to sign Sprewell to a 10 day contract, just to choke him out again….same with Bob Hill….

MannyT ,

Great posts. Especially on the “why does Joe ball hog” question.

Niremetal ,

What the heck. I’ll leave them both up. By the way, caught some of your other posts in the spam filter. They’re up now….

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
11:28 pm

nire, are you suggesting that we will win 47 or fewer games this season?

How many sterling seasons has Diaw had? One (two if you include this year). Excuse me if I don’t get overly excited by a 10-12 point a game scorer… especially at $10M/year.

Joe blew one lay-up in Chicago after missing a shot in the lane against a smaller defender. There was NOTHING wrong with either play… the player just missed. And of course, your time-based analysis of how long since we’ve won a close game is wildly misleading, giving the number of blowout wins we’ve had in that span. But hey, we all embellish sometimes, right?

nire, where did you predict the Hawks would finish this season? 2nd? 3rd?

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
11:32 pm

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:06 am

well saban aint singing moon over miami is he? would have liked to see the game if colt had played.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
1:08 am

I said 3rd, AJ, ahead of either Cleveland or Orlando.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
1:11 am

This roster is good enough to win 55 games, and it’s good enough to get to the ECF. I’ve said that ever since we signed Joe Smith. But under Woody, I doubt we get higher than 50 wins and I seriously doubt we make it past the second round of the playoffs.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
7:00 am

Good to see Astro clicking on all cylinders… it immediately takes the blog to a higher level.

Nire, you are relentless arguing all points worth arguing. Aren’t you studying to be a Lawyer? You’ll be a terrific one.

My take:

Woody goes ISO on account of a cumulation of factors:

1. Lack of a point guard who is able to breakdown defenses with his dribble (sorry folks, JT0 is not there yet);

2. Lack of X-O’s skills;

3. Fear of looking for other options which may end up in a TO;

4. He trusts JJ.

The consequence of this is that either:

1. JJ manages to get by the defense and is hacked without a call going our way (many times);

2. JJ is completely boxed in double or triple team defense away from the basket and immediately after he crosses the half court or receives the ball from the sideline after a TO.

Since everyone knows that the only play in crunch time is ball » JJ » ISO this makes it really easy to defend); or

3. JJ launches a bad shot and misses in 70/80% of the tries.

Why Josh complains so much:

1. Because he is right in 70% of the occasions and does not get the calls.

2. Because he is immature and childish, although good hearted.

Why does JJ ball hogs… Again, due to a number of reasons:

1. He believes he is slightly better than he is and he came to ATL to be THE MAN.

2. Because he is given that responsibility and Woody does not know enough X-O’s to get him better shots.

JJ would be DEADLY if he got the game winning shots out of screens. When have seen him take shots this year out of screens every once in a while and ALL GO IN.

His stroke is smooth and quick even without his feet set and the Hawks employed a bit of X-O’s on their offense we could be vastly more effective.

Overall I think that Woody is a very likable fellow and has done a very good job, however, unless he evolves, I think that the Hawks have reached the point where they have outgrown his coaching skill set.

Also, I am not impressed at all with John Drew’s ability: against the Nets we were smoking hot but playing a very unbalance type of BBall.

If by any change we had gone cold we could have been in trouble because the team was playing exactly in the same way that kills us against better teams and when out shots are no falling.

Whilst Glenn said during halftime that the Hawks were playing too dependent from their outside shot and should hammer the Nets inside, Drew said that out offense was doing great and that we should continue to play exactly the same way.

It worked, but only because the Nets’ perimeter defense was non existent and we were hot beyond any reasonable levels.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
7:07 am

A few major typos: “We have seen…”, “If by any chance…” and “Drew said that our…”

doc

January 8th, 2010
8:29 am

yeah, it is good to see aj back at work … heh heh

vava74

January 8th, 2010
8:55 am

Yet another major “LARRY Drew”!

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
8:58 am

vava- you should be ashamed with all your typos. I mean my Portugese is perfect…. Just messing with you, man. Quit being so hard on yourself.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
8:59 am

Hey vava,
will you root for Spain or USA in the World Cup?

doc

January 8th, 2010
9:00 am

vava at halftime drew also said we had done a pretty good job on nate in the first half and no adjustments were necessary. ouch!

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
9:05 am

Alright, I am going out on a limb here (not a real stretch for me)

I say we sweep this weekend two wins against Boston and one against Orlando and come Monday the top 4 in the East are all within a game and a half. The Hawks put that miserable 4 games behind them, Clyde is so happy with Alabama he actually says to keep Woody. Rod loves Marvin’s clutch play and aggressiveness and Nire says it is not about stats its about wins!!!!

Hey, it is frozen outside so maybe H*ll has frozen over.

wordsmithtom

January 8th, 2010
9:14 am

Daniel, I want some of what you’re smokin’

Growing concerned about the poor use of the bench. Like last year, this will bite them in the butt. Not just Teague; but Smith isn’t getting much play.

Feels like Woody is playing scared. In the pool hall, we have an expression: Scared money can’t play. Well, this coach acts as if he’s coaching scared. In the long run, that’s a recipe for failure.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
9:22 am

wordsmithtom- My tongue was firmly planted in my cheek on that one. But, hey I am rooting for it! I think Joe Smith’s playing time is due to his age and injury. To be fair to Woody, Teague has been very erratic again with his play.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
10:08 am

Daniel,

You’ve asked and I’ll answer: I’ll root for USA.

We have an historical rivalry with Spain which completely overrules rooting for them. Since inception (1149 – our date of independence) Portugal was embattled against either the realms which preceded Spain or against Spain itself.

For the less knowledgeable in world history, at a certain point in time (1494) we signed a treaty with Spain whereby we split the world in two hemispheres giving exclusive exploratory rights to half of the world to each nation.

This was called the “Tordesillas Meridian”.

Under the treaty Portugal got a bit of South America (because we already had secretly reached Brazil and found America a good few years before Columbus), all of Africa, the Indian Ocean (including India which was Columbus objective) and all the way to Japan.

Spain got most of America, the Pacific Ocean and the a bit of the Philippines. A bit later we traded the Moluccas Archipelago for a bit more of Brazil, thus moving the Meridian a bit further to the West.

Also, during a short period of time and due to a dynasty hiccup we shared the same ruling kings and lost our independence (1580 – 1640).

Overall I like Spain a lot: they are a lively people and have a certain “pizazz” that we lack. We are the least latin of the latin nations since we did not have the benefit of having the Mediterranean Ocean bathing our shores and giving us easy access to trading routes to other nations (we only face the Atlantic which, on wooden boats made trading and inter cultural exchanges far from a joy ride).

However, in spite of the fact that Spaniards individually (or in small groups) are a very likable people, as a nation they are quite annoying most of the times.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
10:13 am

doc,

Drew is the offensive coach… so what does he know? (I know that he should know)

Also, during the first half we had Teague on Nate for a few minutes, didn’t we?

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
10:14 am

vava- Great answer man. Thanks, It is really cool to get your perspective on this stuff. That is kinda what I thought you would say, but wasn’t sure.

I will actually root for Spain (love Torres and Alonso– I am a Liverpool guy) and even England. USA first though!!!! I will certainly be rooting against France like everyone else. Henry should be ashamed to show his face.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
10:32 am

Daniel,

Interesting preference in English football.

I am sure that you know that Liverpool is one of the most hated clubs, if not the most hated club in England and the people from the city itself are also commonly referred to in a derogative way due to their lack of sophistication and horrible accent.

Football (soccer) is such a rigged sport that I don’t watch it any more, however, my preference always went to Argentina since my parents were immigrants there (my mother grew there, came back to Portugal for a short period, met and married my father and he went back to Argentina with her, where my brother was born).

Consequently I typically root against Brazil which is a rare occurrence here in Portugal since they were our colony and we speak the same language (although the difference between portuguese portuguese and brazilian portuguese is far greater than british english and american english – the best comparison would be between british english and the english spoken in american streets. To add up to the black people introducing their own input to the way portuguese is spoken in Brazil, they also had a lot of immigrants late 19th/beginning of the 20th century (in particular italians) who added their own “flavors” to the language.)

Can you notice that I have a lot to do in my office but I am avoiding doing it by wandering around these marginal issues??

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
11:15 am

yes, I know we are “hated” to some extent. I am also a fan of a lower level club called Luton Town, which is just north of Heathrow, kinda immigrant slummy area. I just feel allied with the “leftovers”. Plus, Gerrard is my favorite player of all time.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
11:17 am

We have some cold weather (18 degrees) and a little snow, like an inch so the whole city is shut down for the most part. That is why I have so much free time at my desk today as well.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
11:21 am

well, I don’t have the free time… I am just procrastinating!

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
11:44 am

Vava ,

Your 7a.m. post….off the chain. Very good, very interesting answers.

Daniel ,

Your 9:05 post….great stuff. And going out on a limb is what it’s all about!

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
11:47 am

Larry Drew is the offensive coach? I heard he was the “pg” coach, but I don’t see much evidence of that either.

I recall the attempted mass exodus of the Hawks assistant coaches when Billy Knight was still here (hey, one of them actually made it outta here to the Heat staff).

I recall Woody saying a year or two ago that he fought his assistants all year long on a couple of issues.

And I can only think that Astro Joe has it right: Woody is most likely rather poor at delegation….

vava74

January 8th, 2010
11:55 am

Big Ray,

Thanks for the props!

Your post – and Astro’s lead – were excellent topics since they touch the chord of most of what is discussed around here apart from Truth-Serum’s usual nonsensical posts, Rod’s pet hatred on Marvin and JeJe’s general negativity …

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:01 pm

vava, the point is i think he was maybe part of the discussion and planning that went on at halftime. i figured he maybe over heard something of import to pass on to the listeners.

vava dont forget the capacity to scroll a very powerful instrument. sometimes it makes it go away completely. it is kind of like if a tree falls in the woods does it make any noise if no one is there to hear it?

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

daniel @ 9:05 ROFL.

hmmm caps still work.

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:18 pm

uh ray i said that woody doesnt delegate first aj for once was agreeing with me. heh heh

the latter was more important to say than to correct you and get the cred placed on my crown where it is deserved. ;-)

i know, you cant remember everything, only think you do.

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:19 pm

so i guess i can say officially; “hey ray, thanks for the non-props man!!!”

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

Ray, I think that Drew produced a “How to be a PG” instructional DVD for kids. Kind of ironic, huh?

If I remember correctly, Drew wanted to get to Cali so that he could be closer to his son for his senior year in high school. Now, his son is playing for UNC… so I wonder if he would prefer to join LB’s staff.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
12:31 pm

doc- thanks for the props man.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
12:33 pm

Big Ray,

I’ve seen somewhere that Larry Drew had more responsibility on our offense as opposed to other assistants. Maybe I’m wrong but I was under this impression.

doc, I am afraid that I am not following you on this last one. Are you talking about by off-topic posts taking up too much space in the blog?

vava74

January 8th, 2010
12:44 pm

“…my off-topic posts…”

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
12:45 pm

vava- He was referencing your statement about JeJe and Rod. He was agreeing with you. Not that doc needs me to post for him…. just did it anyways.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

OK. That make sense!

I felt that doc was a bit cryptic since I did not feel that the references made to TS, RD and JeJe were that relevant and did not look at his post with that in mind!!

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
1:05 pm

BLOG CREDIT CORRECTION:

It was indeed Doc who said Woody may be poor at delegation, and Astro who agreed.

Ok, we return you to your regularly scheduled programming….

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
1:07 pm

Astro Joe ,

Irony indeed. As to why Drew wanted to move, I can’t argue with your synopsis, as I don’t really know why. I just recall that he and one or two other guys were trying to get the heck out of dodge at the same time. Don’t know if that was because of Woody or not….

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
1:08 pm

Daniel ,

I see you liked my “defense” of JeJe on the other blog…. :)

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

Yeah Ray… that was some good stuff, he and I don’t get along. And I consider myself such a likeable guy. Glad you made the correction for doc, can you do something about tickets, too? Since you seem to have all the power.

shyt talker

January 8th, 2010
1:22 pm

A simple test is to see how often the team that score more points in the paint wins the game. Looking at the past two regular seasons (06-07 and 05-06) it comes out like this:
Pts in Paint
edge Won Lost Win%
1-5 323 279 53%
6-10 464 347 57%
11-15 221 131 62%
16-20 211 105 66%
21+ 170 61 73%
Any Edge 1389 923 60%

So at a glance it can seem impressive, but keep in mind you would expect an advantage since we know the team with more points in the paint has at the least outscored its opponent in that one department, which means the opponent has to make up points elsewhere (free throws, field goals made outside the paint) to win.
Another way to examine the issue is to look at season long totals and whether they have much correlation to overall team success.
Team Points in the Paint Stats
The table below shows the per game points in the paint for each team during the regular season.
Team Pts in Paint
(Off) Pts in Paint
(Def) Pts in Paint
(Net) Won-Lost
Orlando 43.2 34.0 9.1 40-42
New York 45.2 38.1 7.0 33-49
Utah 43.1 38.2 4.9 51-31
Miami 40.6 36.1 4.5 44-38
New Orleans 41.8 37.8 4.0 39-43
Golden State 46.8 43.9 2.9 42-40
Houston 35.3 33.0 2.3 52-30
Cleveland 40.3 38.1 2.2 50-32
Denver 46.7 44.8 1.9 45-37
Milwaukee 45.3 43.5 1.8 28-54
Phoenix 43.8 42.3 1.4 61-21
New Jersey 36.6 35.6 1.0 41-41
San Antonio 39.9 38.9 1.0 58-24
Chicago 35.7 35.1 0.6 49-33
Seattle 42.6 43.6 -1.0 31-51
Philadelphia 39.9 41.2 -1.3 35-47
Dallas 35.3 36.9 -1.6 67-15
L.A. Lakers 42.1 43.7 -1.6 42-40
Detroit 35.3 37.2 -1.9 53-29
Indiana 36.7 38.7 -2.0 35-47
Boston 39.0 41.7 -2.7 24-58
Washington 38.9 41.6 -2.7 41-41
Memphis 42.5 45.4 -2.9 22-60
Charlotte 39.1 42.0 -2.9 33-49
L.A. Clippers 36.9 40.0 -3.1 40-42
Portland 38.1 41.2 -3.1 32-50
Sacramento 38.5 41.8 -3.3 33-49
Atlanta 38.7 43.0 -4.4 30-52
Toronto 35.3 40.0 -4.8 47-35
Minnesota 35.0 40.4 -5.5 32-50

Now if you look at correlations over the last two seasons (so include 05-06 as well) you get the following:
-.11 for PTS in PAINT on Offense
-.34 for PTS in PAINT on Defense
+.20 for net Pts in Paint
The 95% CI’s are huge with just a 60 team-season sample, but the basic premise is offensive points in the paint don’t have a huge impact, defensive points in the paint allowed are the most connected to winning record (it’s showing a negative correlation since fewer points allowed in the paint is the goal) and the net is somewhat related to record.
Over the past two season the eventual NBA finalists ranked 1st (Miami 05-06), 8th, 9th, and 13th in net points in the paint…but the 2005-06 conference finals losers were Detroit (ranked last in the league in net pts in the paint) and Phoenix (ranked 26th).
So you find good and bad teams at both extremes in the rankings, albeit in both years the top fifteen teams in net points in the paint outperformed the bottom fifteen as a group, winning 54% overall in 06-07 and 53% in 05-06.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
1:34 pm

good grief, shyt talker, I thought I was nerdy and bored. Thanks for making me feel better about myself.

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

I’m sure that Nate did everything right in this brewing conflict between player and coach… because, if nothing else, his name isn’t Woody.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindblazersbeat/2010/01/practice_exchange_between_andr.html

Fundamentals

January 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

Definitely interesting development in Portland. With all the injuries some real discontent might make them make a change or two. Some nice pieces there we could use?

Any rumors yet on our 13th man situation?

MannyT

January 8th, 2010
3:20 pm

Astro, thanks for the Portland story.

It reinforces the idea that a coach wants the final say…especially given the job most likely at risk is his own.

Vava & Daniel, I’m not much for soccer, but the history lesson was interesting.

Trying to find 2 sled dogs to get me to the game tonight. Not wild about driving among folks who don’t respect ice.

BWAF

Fundamentals

January 8th, 2010
3:37 pm

Are the roads icy in the ATL? They’re clear here in the NE GA Mtns.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
4:39 pm

Daniel ,

Come on, now. Ya clown…

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
4:42 pm

Daniel ,

Wish I could get you those tickets you SHOULD have won earlier….

Astro Joe ,

You’re going to need another ladle soon. The one you have now has GOT to be about to break…LOL. Good link, though.

I’ll say this: substitute Woody’s name with Nate’s and tell me if he survives all the injuries, or uses them as fuel for another contract instead…..

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
4:46 pm

Found these parts of the article interesting:

The exchange culminates Miller’s simmering discontent that has been evident since the end of training camp when Steve Blake was awarded the starting point guard position even though Miller outplayed him.

Although he never made a scene about his frustrations, Miller brooded for much of the early season and periodically took veiled shots at McMillan and management, insinuating he was lied to when the team courted him this summer in free agency.

He has mildly complained about the team’s “methodical” playing style, and more than hinted that McMillan is a “controlling” coach that stifles free play. He also has slipped into interviews he is confused about his role, which has twice alternated between reserve and starter, and recently has expressed bewilderment over a growing trend of playing little, if any, in the fourth quarter.

On Thursday, the normally quiet and introverted Miller erupted. Shortly after leaving the team’s practice facility, Miller sent a text message to his agent, Andy Miller, the agent said.

When reached by phone, Andy Miller said he had yet to speak with Andre, but when he heard an account of the day’s events, Miller didn’t sound that surprised.

“What happened today is probably the culmination of events and conversations that have taken place since the start of the season,” Andy Miller said. “What’s happening is that unfortunately, the transition of Andre to the Blazers wasn’t as seamless as hoped or imagined from the outset. Whether Andre is able to be integrated over time remains to be seen. Certainly, it is taking longer than anticipated.”

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
4:57 pm

1) Who says Miller outplayed Blake? Did someone from the Blazers organization come out and say “Miller outplayed Blake in training camp. But we don’t want him to start. We want him to sit on the bench and be confused.”

2) Clearly, somebody figured that Blake fit better into the starting lineup. And I’ll venture a guess here. I’m guessing Miller came in thinking he had the starting gig in the bag, and training camp confirmed the decision he had made in his own mind. Better individually (statistically) doesn’t mean better for the starting lineup, or the team. Strange, the much bally-hooed Jamal Crawford never had that issue, and how many of you think Bibby is better than he is, individually? What does Jamal think?

3) What’s confusing about “You’re not guaranteed to start every night, we’re going to start you as needed?” I guess in the 37 games he’s played, the 21 games he has started in weren’t confusing, but the 16 he didn’t start in were utterly confusing. Uh-huh.

4) I’m having a hard time drawing parallels here between McMillan and Woodson. Woody has had his scrapes, but never has a player leaked that kind of mess to the press while playing for the Hawks . That’s right, not even the often hated-on Josh Smith, who has had the most public dust-ups with him. Not even Anthony Johnson, who actually left the facility one time (I believe THAT was during practice). Even the players who seemed to have issues weren’t even remotely as vocal about it (Childress, Stoudamire).

5) Andre Miller was unhappy about the arrangement from the get-go, right from the moment he was notified that guaranteed starting every single game was not going to happen. Lucky we didn’t sign him, eh?

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
5:05 pm

Yeah Ray… sounds like a player who is frustrated by a lack of playing time. A guy who feels that he flat out beat the incumbent for a starting nod but was sent to the bench anyway. And a guy who feels that he can do more for the team than he has been allowed to prove (not to mention a player with a proven track record over 8-10+ years). And a coach who decided that his personal history with the incumbent (Blake) means more than any recent performance differences.

That’s my interpretation. And I know that Nate is often listed as among the best coaches by some of the folk on this (and Ken’s) blog.

My opinion? Sometimes, a coach’s instincts are an integral part of a decision and a coach will ultimately win/lose by using his instincts to make a decision. But I think most every coach uses that in the equation (and so do most bosses/execs).

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
5:13 pm

If there were a report (from virtually any source regardless of credibility) that player B (who is a well-regarded crafty vet) had out-played the incumbent starter (another crafty vet) and Woody chose player A as the starter, I’m fairly sure that few would give Woody the benefit of “who said that player B outplayed player A).

I posted it mostly because I thought that some bloggers should see that ish happens between players and coaches on other teams. Even well-repsected coaches like Nate (and well-respected players like Miller) can have beef. And I fully expect that they will quickly squash the beef because they each want to win (more than they want to be right).

doc

January 8th, 2010
6:13 pm

ray, what took you so long arent you supposed to be monitoring this 24 hours a day to take thgings off that are obscene?

KevinA

January 8th, 2010
6:13 pm

My take on the Joe Johnson and Woody conundrum.

I would love to see JJ and Woody stay but am increasingly dismayed by the style of play that keeps the Hawks from realizing their full potential. Simple team concepts like pushing the ball to take advantage of our big’s speed is just one problem. Getting the first couple of passes early in the shot clock is another. Why Bibby and JJ like to walk the ball up the court with Woody’s blessing is unacceptable.

When we attack the rim with ball movement and unselfish play the Hawks can beat anyone. When we allow ISO and individual play to dominate we go stagnant on offense and defense.

Both Josh and Al are the corner stones of our future. They both pass well and play team ball. Why Woody and the guards do not utilize their skills more is puzzling.

We still have over half the season to prepare for the playoffs. I would like to think Woody and the guards can turn it around.

If not – somebody has to go.

shyt talker

January 8th, 2010
6:29 pm

Home NBA Stats More NBA Stats Points per Game Average Scoring Margin Fastbreak Points per Game Points in Paint per Game Average Biggest Lead Average Points Unanswered 1st Quarter Points per Game 2nd Quarter Points per Game 3rd Quarter Points per Game 4th Quarter Points per Game Overtime Points per Game Offensive Efficiency Points from 2 pointers Points from 3 pointers Shooting Efficiency Average 1st Quarter Margin Average 2nd Quarter Margin Average 3rd Quarter Margin Average 4th Quarter Margin Average Half Margin Average Margin Thru 3 Quarters Average Overtime Margin Field Goals Made per Game Field Goals Attempted per Game Three Pointers Made per Game Three Pointers Attempted per Game Free Throws Made per Game Free Throws Attempted per Game Effective Field Goal % Free Throw % Free Throw Rate Three Point % Three Point Rate FTA per FGA Two Point % Two Point Rate Shooting % Offensive Rebounds per Game Defensive Rebounds per Game Team Rebounds per Game Total Rebounds per Game Offensive Rebounding % Defensive Rebounding % Blocks per Game Steals per Game Block % Steal % Assists per Game Turnovers per Game Turnover % Assists per FGM Assist / Turnover Ratio Personal Fouls per Game Technical Fouls per Game Personal Foul % Opponent Points per Game Opponent Average Scoring Margin Opponent Fastbreak Points per Game Opponent Points in Paint per Game Opponent Average Biggest Lead Opponent Average Points Unanswered Opponent 1st Quarter Points per Game Opponent 2nd Quarter Points per Game Opponent 3rd Quarter Points per Game Opponent 4th Quarter Points per Game Opponent Overtime Points per Game Defensive Efficiency Opponent Points from 2 pointers Opponent Points from 3 pointers Opponent Shooting Efficiency Opp Average 1st Quarter Margin Opp Average 2nd Quarter Margin Opp Average 3rd Quarter Margin Opp Average 4th Quarter Margin Opp Average Half Margin Opp Average Margin Thru 3 Quarters Opp Average Overtime Margin Opponent Field Goals Made per Game Opponent Field Goals Attempted per Game Opponent Three Pointers Made per Game Opponent Three Pointers Attempted per Game Opponent Free Throws Made per Game Opponent Free Throws Attempted per Game Opponent Effective Field Goal % Opponent Free Throw % Opponent Free Throw Rate Opponent Three Point % Opponent Three Point Rate Opponent FTA per FGA Opponent Two Point % Opponent Two Point Rate Opponent Shooting % Opponent Offensive Rebounds per Game Opponent Defensive Rebounds per Game Opponent Team Rebounds per Game Opponent Total Rebounds per Game Opponent Offensive Rebounding % Opponent Defensive Rebounding % Opponent Blocks per Game Opponent Steals per Game Opponent Block % Opponent Steal % Opponent Assists per Game Opponent Turnovers per Game Opponent Turnover % Opponent Assists per FGM Opponent Assist / Turnover Ratio Opponent Personal Fouls per Game Opponent Technical Fouls per Game Opponent Personal Foul % Games Played Possessions per Game Win % – All Games Win % – Close Games Opponent Win % – All Games Opponent Win % – Close Games NBA Team Points in Paint per Game
Gainers Rank Chg Rating
New York 19 — +0.1
Toronto 17 — –
Denver 6 — –
Miami 26 — –
LA Lakers 4 — –

Losers Rank Chg Rating
Charlotte 16 — -0.3
Okla City 15 — –
Memphis 1 — –
Atlanta 3 — –
Phoenix 13 — –

shyt talker

January 8th, 2010
6:30 pm

Opponent Win % – All Games Opponent Win % – Close Games NBA Team Points in Paint per Game
Gainers Rank Chg Rating
New York 19 — +0.1
Toronto 17 — –
Denver 6 — –
Miami 26 — –
LA Lakers 4 — –

Losers Rank Chg Rating
Charlotte 16 — -0.3
Okla City 15 — –
Memphis 1 — –
Atlanta 3 — –
Phoenix 13 — –

shyt talker

January 8th, 2010
6:46 pm

Pts in Paint
edge Won Lost Win%
1-5 323 279 53%
6-10 464 347 57%
11-15 221 131 62%
16-20 211 105 66%
21+ 170 61 73%
Any Edge 1389 923 60%

So at a glance it can seem impressive, but keep in mind you would expect an advantage since we know the team with more points in the paint has at the least outscored its opponent in that one department, which means the opponent has to make up points elsewhere (free throws, field goals made outside the paint) to win.
Another way to examine the issue is to look at season long totals and whether they have much correlation to overall team success.
Team Points in the Paint Stats
The table below shows the per game points in the paint for each team during the regular season.
Team Pts in Paint
(Off) Pts in Paint
(Def) Pts in Paint
(Net) Won-Lost
Orlando 43.2 34.0 9.1 40-42
New York 45.2 38.1 7.0 33-49
Utah 43.1 38.2 4.9 51-31
Miami 40.6 36.1 4.5 44-38
New Orleans 41.8 37.8 4.0 39-43
Golden State 46.8 43.9 2.9 42-40
Houston 35.3 33.0 2.3 52-30
Cleveland 40.3 38.1 2.2 50-32
Denver 46.7 44.8 1.9 45-37
Milwaukee 45.3 43.5 1.8 28-54
Phoenix 43.8 42.3 1.4 61-21
New Jersey 36.6 35.6 1.0 41-41
San Antonio 39.9 38.9 1.0 58-24
Chicago 35.7 35.1 0.6 49-33
Seattle 42.6 43.6 -1.0 31-51
Philadelphia 39.9 41.2 -1.3 35-47
Dallas 35.3 36.9 -1.6 67-15
L.A. Lakers 42.1 43.7 -1.6 42-40
Detroit 35.3 37.2 -1.9 53-29
Indiana 36.7 38.7 -2.0 35-47
Boston 39.0 41.7 -2.7 24-58
Washington 38.9 41.6 -2.7 41-41
Memphis 42.5 45.4 -2.9 22-60
Charlotte 39.1 42.0 -2.9 33-49
L.A. Clippers 36.9 40.0 -3.1 40-42
Portland 38.1 41.2 -3.1 32-50
Sacramento 38.5 41.8 -3.3 33-49
Atlanta 38.7 43.0 -4.4 30-52
Toronto 35.3 40.0 -4.8 47-35
Minnesota 35.0 40.4 -5.5 32-50

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
7:44 pm

KevinA, but the Hawks are among the league-leaders in fast break points. I’m sure that they could do better but they are not likely going to score significantly more fast break points than they are now. And while it isn’t pretty, the offense has been effective for the vast majority of games. We definitely need to improve our half-court sets, which will be tested during the next 3 games. All I know is that Smith and Horford are scoring more than in previous seasons… so something is seemingly getting better, right?

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
8:22 pm

AJ,

Yup. I love how people talk about Bibby and JJ walking the ball up the court all the time when we’re top 3 in fast break points, and were #5 last year. I guess all those fast break points come in spite of having a backcourt that doesn’t push the ball. Yeah, right.

Sorry, but it’s complete and utter BS. KevinA, I know you love to hate on the backcourt, but you’re becoming to Bibby/JJ what Rod is to Marvin and Clyde/Truth to Horford – a blind hater. The worst part is that you’re not alone.

And while I’m sniping, WTF is up with the ESPN announcers. It’s painfully obvious that they haven’t watched a single damned Hawks game this year.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
8:31 pm

I like that we’re neck and neck with these guys so far, but that doesn’t win you the game, and they have better “close game” tactics than we do.

My vote for “what in the heck?” plays so far goes to two plays:

1) ISO Josh at the top of the arc, off the dribble.

2) Lob to Mike Bibby.

And what gives with the ESPN announcers? Gushing all over the Celtics like they’ve already won the title for 2010. Kendrick Perkins, best low post defender? Gimme a break….

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
8:34 pm

I’ve seen that Bibby lob 3-4 times this year, Ray. If nothing else, it has the element of surprise :-D

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
8:34 pm

Perkins is one of the toughest matchups for Al Horford. He’s just quick enough to stay with him on some plays, but more importantly, he’s got about 35-40 pounds on Al. Case in point? Al has played all first quarter and still doesn’t have a rebound. Of course, part of that is having to switch on defense, which takes him away from the paint area….

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
8:42 pm

Jeff Teague hit the mark on his only shot attempt. Does that mean he gets to stay in 30 seconds longer? Maybe he’ll even get to come back a second time. Maybe that’s pushing his luck. :)

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
8:43 pm

Nire ,

As in “SURPRISE….the recipient of that lob CANNOT JUMP!” ? :) I just couldn’t help it, sorry….I did see your point, I just….hell, I don’t know…had an Astro Joe moment….

:lol:

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
8:44 pm

Ummm, is anybody seeing the defensive effort Teague is putting in against Rajon Rondo?

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:00 pm

That’s one thing I like to see. Joe backing his defender down in the post, drawing defense, making a good pass to a teammate who hits the shot.

Something I don’t like seeing: Josh getting the ball so far from the paint, where ‘Sheed is sure to pick his pocket.

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
9:09 pm

i really do not like the way we “abuse’ of the switching defense. It just not work against some teams (like the celtics). The bigs guarding guards, at the periphery? and Bibby guarding Perkins at the paint? are you kidding me?

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:14 pm

Kiki ,

You said it…

Subpar game for Al Horford is hurting us. Zaza has been little to no help off the bench. Perhaps time to give Collins or RandMo a try?

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
9:20 pm

Cosign you all the way big Ray. Will Woody get out of his confrot zone and be a little creative?

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
9:21 pm

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:29 pm

Ball movement is slowing down a bit…

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:30 pm

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:34 pm

Sweet block by Smith.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

Great decision by Josh, great shot by JJ.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:38 pm

Come on, Joe, the rest of the team hadn’t even caught up with you yet, meaning absolutely no chance at an offensive rebound, or even an option for you to pass! Don’t do that…please….

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:39 pm

The starters have been playing great tonight. They look like a team that’s been playing together for several years.

Horford didn’t have the stats in the first half, but he and Josh have done a phenomenal job keeping the Celtics out of the paint. No stat for forcing a team to take long jumpers instead of shots at the rim.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:41 pm

Josh, you have to be ready for a missed shot. Both hands up, man. that could have been rebound number six, and a fast break opportunity.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:41 pm

True that, Nire

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:42 pm

Refs swallow the whistle when Pierce hits someone, I swear.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:43 pm

Joe goes into the teeth of the defense and gets a no-call, Pierce is allowed to travel, then gets a jump ball (or whatever). Welcome to the NBA.

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
9:46 pm

As soon as Joe gets the ball movement dies. It’s the same play over and over, and is frustrating to see how the other 4 players clear the way to watch the play. This offense won’t carry this team anywhere but 2nd round.

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
9:48 pm

Well Big Ray, looks like Big Al decided to fire it up!!

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:51 pm

WHY THE HELL WAS NO ONE BESIDES MO TRAILING THAT PLAY

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:52 pm

Nice block by Horford. Too bad it was against a Celtic, which means an automatic foul.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:54 pm

Hawks have been whistled for twice as many fouls as the Celtics despite the facts that the Hawks have taken a higher percentage of their shots in the paint.

JUST SAYIN.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:55 pm

Kiki,

It’s nice to see Al come alive, isn’t it? A bit too late perhaps.

As for the clearout ISOs, I wonder if maybe just maybe they are executing the plays they have been taught? I mean, all four guys (since Joe or Jamal is the one with the ball) thinking the same thing at once? Nahhhh….

Dawgs Man

January 8th, 2010
9:55 pm

15 point lead which was nice, but now down to 8. The choke begins.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
9:58 pm

Hey look, Sheldon still sets illegal picks. I guess it wasn’t Woody after all….

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
9:58 pm

My goodness, JJ cannot get a foul call to save his life.

Dawgs Man

January 8th, 2010
9:59 pm

Yay. JJ to the bench.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:01 pm

Yeah, but that was a foul on Zaza. Ok.

Hubie calling it like it is, surprisingly.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:03 pm

Marvin is having a decent game. 11 points, 3 steals, 6 boards. Meanwhile Pierce has 12 points, 2 steals, and 5 boards.

Not bad at all, Marvin!

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:04 pm

JJ NEEDS to go to the bench. The ESPN gods won’t give him a foul call….

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:07 pm

Alright, come on Woody. Time to bribe the refs.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:08 pm

Bad defense and all, Crawford is an outright assassin.

Uh-oh…Woody’s nerves just can’t take it anymore, here comes Joe.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:08 pm

Oh my god. That was the most ridiculous shot I’ve ever seen.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:09 pm

OMG….Jamal Crawford…best recovery I’ve seen all season. Notice I said RECOVERY, and not “best PLAY”

Doc

January 8th, 2010
10:09 pm

Sitting courtside well almost. Need tohold onto this lead As the c’s are not invincible inthisbuilding. Gottangomand get my thunderstick on . Btw fewest c fans. Ever nice to see a hawk dominant crowd. Let’s go hawks and Jamal sweet.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

We need Bibby back in. I don’t really care who goes to the bench, but the offense is haphazard right now.

Dawgs Man

January 8th, 2010
10:16 pm

The usual 4th quarter choke is rounding out nicely. I hope not, but it looks like we will lose again.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:17 pm

ISO-Joe out of the timeout. Brilliant, Woody.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:18 pm

I think there’s a 5 year old in Uzbekistan that didn’t see that coming.

5 year old in Uzbekistan

January 8th, 2010
10:22 pm

No, I saw it too.

Kiki

January 8th, 2010
10:26 pm

HORFORD with MAN’s rebound!!

Doc

January 8th, 2010
10:28 pm

That was yard!!!!!

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:29 pm

Our starting backcourt has 15 assists to 6 turnovers. For the team as a whole, it’s 25 and 15. That’s huge against a defensive team as good as Boston’s.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:30 pm

Tell you what. ISO is ISO, but ISO Jamal is waaaaaaaayyyy faster than ISO JJ.

Jamal carries the torch this time around. I’m happy. Give me this win, and make it two over the Celts for the season. Yessir, I’ll take it. No hate from me for anyone on this Hawks squad, coach and all.

And don’t try cheapening it by mentioning Garnett’s absence. We beat them in Boston, now we beat them at home.

Uhhhh…assuming the refs don’t find a way to give it to them in the waning seconds, that is….

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:33 pm

Big win! Hopefully this will give them a much-needed confidence for the rest of this tough month.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:37 pm

Too funny.

We beat the Celtics for the second time this season and the ESPN crew just can’t take it.

My favorite is Byron Scott saying “Yeah, they won, but I’m just not convinced.”

Hey Byron, didn’t you just get fired from coaching? Didn’t you have one of the game’s best players? STFU.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:38 pm

Yep. Orlando awaits, and that is a different matchup altogether.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:40 pm

Ray,

He also said “Let them beat them when they have KG.”

Uh…Byron? They did. Less than 2 months ago. In Boston.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:48 pm

Tell it, Nire !

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
10:52 pm

I guess I should give him a break, though. He probably didn’t notice since he was about to get his azz fired at the time.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
10:53 pm

You know, JJ didn’t shoot well, but on nights that he’s going 5-16, I love it when he picks up 8 assists, like he did tonight.

It’s the nights that he goes 5-16 and gets 2-4 assists that bother me.

But that wasn’t tonight. He did the deal tonight.

niremetal

January 8th, 2010
11:46 pm

Not to mention that he played outstanding defense on the other end, especially down the stretch. There’s no stat that shows how many times JJ forced Shuttlesworth or The False into a bad shot.

The Hawks defense tonight was truly a sight to behold. They had a couple brain farts in the early second and late third quarters, but otherwise made the Celtics take tough shots on nearly every possession for the entire game.

Shyt Talking

January 9th, 2010
7:23 am

“Perkins is one of the toughest matchups for Al Horford. He’s just quick enough to stay with him on some plays, but more importantly, he’s got about 35-40 pounds on Al. Case in point? Al has played all first quarter and still doesn’t have a rebound.”

I support Jerry’s Kids too!

The switching actually benefits Horford because he is unable to MAN-UP against centers who are on teams that play at a higher level. He is adequate against teams that use powerforwards as center while they search for a legitimate center. He puts up decent numbers against them but they also put up decent number against him.

Zaza is a much better defensive center than the pf horford and is a more physical defender. Zaza doesnt have Al’s athleticism.

The switching defensed is design to compensate for the defensive liabilities , aka: Horford and Bibby. Horford is a weak defender and there is no excuse that will make him a better one.

Im glad Zaza got significant playing time during the stretch that determined whose game it was last night.

Shyt Talker

January 9th, 2010
7:59 am

Astro Joe, scoring 1 basket more a game is not a significant improvement. Sorry to disagree with you.

Non Mental, why do the Horford apologists try to associate Josh when trying to defend criticism of Horford? Josh doesn’t need Al to defend his play, but Al certainly needs Josh, both figuratively and literally. (Figuratively in that you can’t make a defense of Al without stealing from Josh’s stellar play)
Josh is a man, and handles his business on any level of physical play against the very best at the power forward spot. He stands on his own merit.
Al is weak defender in the post and is only adequate as an offensive tool. He cannot create his own shot and must be setup and freed from his man with a clear path to the basket in order to score and often pad is marginal stats with garbage put backs from missed rebounds. No, Non Mental I don’t hate Al, he’s a nice fellow and a good power forward, but a less than decent center. We would be better served with a more physical presence at the 5.
What is blind and hateful is your ignorant suppositions that stats showing Atlanta is amongst the lowest teams for defending points in the paint is not reflective of the hawks being a jelly filled donut at the 5 spot and any one addressing that is hating.
Do the research fart breath. Facts don’t hate, but your ignorance hates truth.
P, fccking S, If Rivers is a better coach than Woodson then why does Woodson always seem to get that AZZ with less talent when they face each other?………

Boston, Pleeeeeze, don’t come to the cage without KG and expect to win. It May not happen with KG but it definitely aint happening without him!

Shyt Talker

January 9th, 2010
8:02 am

*often pad his marginal stats with garbage put backs from missed-shot rebounds.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2010
11:25 am

Shyt Talking ,

Could you PLEASE stop posting with those kinds of names? I don’t have an issue with your opinion (though I think the Boston Celtics would certainly disagree with it), but the names man…come on, now. It’s not like people don’t know who you are. Just like your friend Ken Strickland, you say the same stuff over and over, and about the same person. Just don’t use that kind of name. I’m surprised the filter didn’t catch it, to be honest, and I’m not the one who controls that thing.

doc

January 9th, 2010
11:32 am

didnt seem like sheed is a difference maker anymore based on his effort last night or did i miss something? i know he and doc argued for a long time on a call together trying to convince them there was a foul on rondo, but that was about it for his imprint on the game.

Doc

January 9th, 2010
12:06 pm

What Ray a dose of non truth in the morning? something to chuckle about on a cold morning

hawklifer

January 9th, 2010
12:16 pm

“I thought the Hawks were more physical than us, and they really attacked us, especially in the second half,” he said. “Right now, you have to give it to them. They are the better team.”

Even the celtics coach knows the hawks have what it takes, even down low in the paint. If al and josh are garbage guys then how does a top team like the celtics explain giving up sixteen points and ten rebounds to al, as well as fifteen points and eleven rebounds to josh? The explanation is simple, both guys are for real. When they bring it they are hard to stop. It does not matter if they are both forwards as long as they are beating the competition. Kendrick perkins is considered a real tough center but he gave up a lot to al horford and josh smith in the second half when they beat up on him in the third quarter. Those guys have what it takes as long as they bring it. That is the only explanation for having beaten the top team in the east twice already.

Big Ray

January 9th, 2010
12:21 pm

Heh. Yeah, Doc , apparently it’s never too early…

Come on AJC

January 9th, 2010
12:30 pm

THIS SORT OF THING IS ALLOWED?

“What is blind and hateful is your ignorant suppositions that stats showing Atlanta is amongst the lowest teams for defending points in the paint is not reflective of the hawks being a jelly filled donut at the 5 spot and any one addressing that is hating.
Do the research fart breath. Facts don’t hate, but your ignorance hates truth.”

Big Ray

January 9th, 2010
9:45 pm

Man, what is with us and the Magic? Good God that was awful!

vava74

January 9th, 2010
10:05 pm

Woody has not realized yet that the switching defense does not work against teams that shoot well from 3pt land.

We lost in the pre-season against ORL and twice already in the REG with them shooting lights out from 3pt land.

The same happened in our loss against CHA with Bell, against the Knicks (twice) with various players shooting well from 3pt land (Galinari, Harrington and Nate in particular), against DEN with JR Smith also shooting the lights out.

This was visible with both the first team and the subs in garbage time.

The switching defense also works really bad against quick/explosive point guards.

An interesting stat is that JTO had the best +- stat of the team.

Big Ray

January 10th, 2010
2:47 pm

New blog up.