Looking for another good winning streak

Take a breath. Whew….made it back from that road trip without too many scars, and the road record stands at .500.

Maybe now the Hawks can do something they haven’t done since early/mid December. Namely, go on a winning streak that lasts more than 3 games. The Hawks have done it twice this season, but they could use another one. It comes harder down the stretch run but an actual win streak of more than 3 games breeds such confidence. And continuity. Consistence. Uh-oh, there goes that “C” word again. The one that haunts this team and leaves fans, experts, and even casual observers wondering if Atlanta can be more than just a dangerous squad that is better than the rest.

So can it be done?

Having ended a 17 year drought in Utah, the Hawks should be well on their way. Tonight, they face Minnesota, a team that is still struggling mightily. Next will be Dallas, which figures to be the toughest of the next 6 games. After that is a possible trap game against Milwaukee, which will feature rookie sensation Brandon Jennings, and talented 7 foot center Andrew Bogut. This will be the first meeting with this squad, this season. Following that is a trip to Chicago, where the Hawks face a depleted Bulls squad (Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons are gone, Joakim Noah isn’t anywhere near 100%) and a familiar face (remember Flip?), then two more home games against the Sixers and the Warriors (revenge is at hand). Do these next six games have any particular significance that sets them apart from the others?

Well, no and yes.

 No, because there are tougher stretches ahead. No, because all games in the last full month of the season are tough. No, because the Hawks have to be thinking about finishing strong in April, not the beginning of March. No, because the Hawks are playing just one road game, and they need to be more concerned about winning on the road than they are at home, where they are dominant.

Yes, because five of these games are at home, where the Hawks are a brilliant 21 and 6. Yes, because the Hawks trail the Boston Celtics by a game, and more importantly, they trail the Magic by 2 games. They really need to win this division. Yes, because after the next six games, the final nine home games include contests against the Raptors (hot on our heels and closer than comfort), Spurs, Magic, Bobcats, Lakers, and Cavaliers. In other words, six of the last nine home games are going to be tough ones. While many teams are mailing it in, come April…I don’t think two of our home game opponents will be (Cleveland and Toronto). So you see, it may be a crucial stretch. Or it may not. Either way, it’s an opportunity to up that win total, renew some confidence, and get rolling on the final stretch. Or maybe I’m just making too much out of the next six games. What say you?

 

HAWKS VS TIMBERWOLVES

The last time these two teams met, the Hawks walked all over the T-Wolves enroute to a 25-point blowout. And that was with Josh Smith playing just 20 minutes due to foul trouble. Of course, he wasn’t the only one. Zaza Pachulia took it upon himself to foul out in just under 20 minutes, and Randolph Morris showed he could top both of them by doing the same in just over 10 minutes. Still, it was an easy blowout. How? Solid games by Johnson, Williams, Horford, and Bibby, including a masterful performance off the bench by Jamal Crawford. Here’s an interesting tidbit: Four Hawks big men had at least 3 fouls in that game (Horford, Pachulia, Smith, and Morris). Minnesota went to the line 36 times. Of those total free throws, 22 were attempted by Minnesota’s guards. Seeing a pattern here? Chances are, you’ll see that pattern in several other games. Yes, the Hawks consistently have trouble guarding the opposing backcourt, and it’s our frontcourt that pays the price.

Key Matchups

Whatever happened to Al Jefferson? Poised to become an all-star on the heels of a season in which he averaged 23 and 11, the Minnesota PF-C has fallen on harder times. He has slowly worked his way back to roughly 17 points and over 9 boards per contest, but is he the same player some fans clamored for us to trade Al Horford for? Not hardly, and he seems to be having consistently trouble with his knees. In any case, he’ll have his hands full with Horford, who has been building and refining his own offensive game, and making the opposition guard him more. If the Hawks go to Horford early, he can open it up for the wing players and put all kinds of pressure on Minnesota.

Kevin Love is a frontcourt player’s dream teammate. The rebound-gobbling PF is also quick and smart with the ball and has one of the best outlet passes in the league. Nobody seems to be able to keep him off the glass, but it will be Josh Smith’s job to make it hard to do what he does best. The problem with him is that he has good shooting range, all the way out to the 3 point arc. Smith will have to deny him the ball out there, rather than chase his shot. The trap is that it keeps Smith away from the basket more, neutralizing what he tends to do best. However, Smith is also dangerous in the passing lanes on defense, and if he’s loose in the open court with the ball, only the quickest guards can catch him. Smith will have to play smart in this game to stay in it and have a positive effect. Of course, he should get help from Marvin Williams on this front. Williams can stretch the defense with his own perimeter shooting, and is a more than capable rebounder when he puts his mind (and butt) in that gear. Advantage? Hawks, as long as the frontcourt makes the effort on the boards, gets adequate touches on offense, and plays smart on defense.

In the backcourt, the Wolves shouldn’t have a chance. While Flynn and Sessions are quick penetrators, neither is a shooter by rote. In fact, the Wolves don’t have a perimeter shooter of any consequence, outside of rookie Wayne Ellington (and he’s not scaring anybody just yet). Instead, the Minnesota guards will look to get to the basket and draw fouls, something they had no problem doing in the last game. On the other side of the ball, Atlanta guards Crawford, Bibby, and Johnson can shoot the lights out of the gym on any given night. Crawford has been a bit up and down since a recent shoulder injury, and Bibby has seemed to be lacking in confidence or desire to shoot it. Johnson however, has been as good as any in the league, and hasn’t slowed down one bit since the all-star break. Advantage: Hawks by a wide margin, providing that at least two out of the Hawks three guards are shooting fairly well, and they do a decent job of denying penetration on defense.

All in all, a winnable game. In fact, it should be another blowout!

145 comments Add your comment

cole

February 24th, 2010
1:59 pm

westurd

February 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

Sautee

February 24th, 2010
2:05 pm

Nice job, Ray.

I want to see some killer instinct tonight. If we get them down, we need to step squarely on the throat. We SHOULD win this easily unless the team says “we should win this easily”. ;-)

cole

February 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

hawks have talent enough to push any team but with the coaching philosophy we’re in trouble. Marvin is really disappointing me (last year he was pretty good, however, Marvin gets his shot blocked more than any SF I’ve ever seen), bibby is not producing as much and for those who want jeff teague to run the ship…because woody will not allowing him time to play- he seems nervous and hesitant. anyways i’m a huge hawks fan, but as long as we have woodson who has no clue and no philosophy, just talent! then we will never get pass the second round.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
2:27 pm

Interesting tidbit. Check out the 82games.com pages for the Hawks, Cavs, Celts, and Magic. If you click on each player’s name and scroll down, you see a row labeled “Defense: Pts per 100 Poss.” The two numeric columns show how many points per 100 possessions the team allows when the player is on the court versus when he is off the court. Marvin has the best net rating (-9.6) for that not just on the Hawks, and not just among the SFs on those teams, but amongst ALL rotation players on those 4 teams.

Now that obviously doesn’t mean that Marvin is the best defender on the Hawks, much less among all the players in the East elite. No one stat can possibly capture that. But it means that we “lose” more points when Marvin leaves the floor than when any other player leaves the floor – ie it means that going from Marvin to his subs has been the biggest “step down” defensively in terms of points allowed. It’s true that our offense gets better when Marvin leaves, but not by nearly as much (points alw’d is -9.6; points scored is -4.0). Anyway, Marvin isn’t scoring as much, but the advanced stats pretty much all show that his defense so far this year is actually even better than last year’s. He’s not producing offensively, but really…who takes fewer shots if we want our SF to score more?

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
2:30 pm

Ray, good stuff. Don’t forget that Damien Wilkins usually plays quite well in front of his uncle (and his father usually attends his games at Philips). Josh sometimes cheats inside when guarding perimeter PFs, he’ll need to ensure that he stays close to Love who is both a good shooter and passer. I don’t think that Horford will need help with Jefferson but if he does I’d rather see it come from someone other than Josh.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
2:34 pm

Of course, the lesson from that particular stat might just be “we need a better defensive SF off the bench,” which many people have said. But all the advanced stats I’ve looked at on hoopdata, 82games, basketballvalue, basketball-reference, etc all indicate that Marvin has been one of the league’s best defensive SFs this year, and has shown a slight improvement from last year on that end.

The offense, of course, is another story.

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
2:35 pm

nire, Hoopinion has done some exhaustive analysis on those kind of stats and tend to look at the other side of that coin. Marvin usuaully is replaced in the line-up by Jamal… so instead of giving Marvin “credit” they assign “blame” to Jamal. And they also assign blame to Woody for playing Bibby and Jamal in late game situations… something they feel is a poor decision to have 2 non-defenders in crunch-time situations.

acie law scrub

February 24th, 2010
2:39 pm

don’t forget the scrub up in da club, Mr LAW the 3rd…when we face the bulls and ronald murray.

woody knew a dude couldn’t ball…..he knows the same about teague

Darren Collison was the pick

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:16 pm

Cole ,

Congrats!

Sautee ,

Thanks! Yes, I’m still up. An e-mail on my phone awoke me…

Nire ,

Those are VERY interesting stats indeed. It’s refreshing to see some of the nuances and details of the game presented, rather than just the same ol’ stuff about “Marvin sucks” or “just give him another year, he’ll be a superstar”, neither of which is near the mark, in my opinion. And I’m saying that with the disappointment that I’ve felt in watching his stats go down . Disappointment is one thing. Understanding is another.

O'Brien

February 24th, 2010
4:21 pm

Ray,

Plus Minnesota won a close game in Miami last night, so they should be tired. I will be watching Sessions, because he was on my list of PG to look at to replace Bibby this past offseason. But as a Hawks fan, I would love to see Sessions struggle mightily tongit.

“Four Hawks big men had at least 3 fouls in that game (Horford, Pachulia, Smith, and Morris). Minnesota went to the line 36 times. Of those total free throws, 22 were attempted by Minnesota’s guards”.

Good stuff. Defense begins at the perimter.

I look for Al and JJ to have big games tonight

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
4:23 pm

Spencer Haws anyone? It sounds like he may be available for pennies on the dollar:

Spencer Hawes isn’t injured. But when he showed up Tuesday evening at Arco Arena, his No. 31 jersey wasn’t hanging in his locker.

Hawes, the Kings’ third-year and sometimes-starting center was inactive for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

“I saw where he’s having a hard time understanding his role,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. “He should understand it (after) tonight.”

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:24 pm

Astro Joe ,

Thanks, man. I think there could be a more balanced view of the Marvin and Jamal analysis. Both guys clearly bring different things to the game. Jamal hurts us on “D” more than he helps, but helps us on “O” more than he hurts. Marvin actually doesn’t hurt us on offense because we’re not relying on him to provide it. As Nire points out, increasing his shot attempts means decreasing somebody else’s. And since he plays mostly with the starting lineup, who do you take the ball from?

Marvin is more of a situational scorer, as we look for points from our 2, 4, and have increasingly from our 5. Our 1 has relegated himself to a situational shooter. Like y’all both said LOOOONG ago, we can’t expect everybody to score 20 ppg.

As for having Bibby and Jamal playing late in games, that simply gives us our best chance at scoring, particularly from the perimeter, while still maintaining ball movement. But you already knew that….

P.S. I forgot about Damien Wilkins!

Acie law scrub ,

Darren Collison came out as a senior, if I recall correctly. He’s a player. But something tells me he wouldn’t see near the playing time, or look near as good as he does, if Chris Paul hadn’t been injured for so long. He’d be the backup pg. Getting maybe 10-12 mpg. 15 if he was really lucky. He wouldn’t get anymore than that HERE, behind Bibby and Jamal, under Woody.

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
4:26 pm

I suspect that because Marvin plays with Bibby more than he plays with Jamal, that Bibby’s defensive numbers are probably not as bad as many other PGs. Not that it means that he is a good defender (he never has been), but I’m guessing that the sites that nire is viewing would probably not show that he is an express lane at the tollbooth.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:33 pm

Astro ,

Don’t know what his cost is, or how we’d get him, but I’d rather have him on this roster than Collins and RandMo combined. The kid is big (true 7 footer), rebounds, and has shooting range. I’d take him. They can say what they want about him in Sacto, but that team is in a state of flux. Tyreke Evans is their new “it” guy, so much so that they shipped off scorer/shooter Kevin Martin. Hey, if they like Carl Landry that much and want Jason Thompson to play center for them while giving up on this kid, I’m all for it. I don’t know what Paul Westphal is talking about, personally….

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:38 pm

O’brien,

I hear ya. I liked the idea of Sessions as well, along with Jarret Jack, who is doing good stuff up there in Toronto.

Oh, and here’s another “my bad”. I used to think highly of Jose Calderon in favor of Mike Bibby. Well, I still don’t think that Bibby is necessarily better at this point in time, but Calderon certainly isn’t all I thought he was. Dude’s good for 11 and 6, and can hit the 3. But Jack is the one with the toughness and defense.

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
4:43 pm

Not a good time to be a center on a losing team. This one from Nellie:

Warriors coach Don Nelson sent one message by benching Andris Biedrins for good at the 7:23 mark of the second quarter.

Nelson sent an even louder message after the team’s 110-102 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

“I didn’t see any life there,” Nelson said. “I’m tired of not seeing any life. I’m very disappointed.

“This isn’t the first time we haven’t seen a light on.”

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:43 pm

Yep, just read up on it.

Jason Thompson will be the new starting center, Carl Landry will start in his old spot at PF. I don’t consider it a bad move, really, but it may certainly lead to discontent from Hawes.

Then again, if Hawes was removed from the starting lineup, does one assume there is a reason for it? Thompson is performing better than he is, but will he continue to do so at the 5 spot? Hard to say.

And if Hawes doesn’t like being relegated to the bench THERE, how would he feel HERE, where he is not likely to crack the starting lineup unless Woody decides Josh is a 3 all the sudden (and sorry, but Horford is NOT going to the bench, and neither is Josh). Or would it feel different if he was on a winning team?

Who knows, but the trade deadline is past, so unless he gets released, I don’t see us getting him til’ this summer, even if that’s a feasible move.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:45 pm

Nellie is an idiot. He is the extinguisher of life in Golden State. The lights are out because he keeps breaking the bulbs. He is ruining that franchise.

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
4:46 pm

Ray, I’m intrigued by the fact that Sund is seemingly interested in a jump-shooting center (as suggested by his interest in Big Z). So I will look for him to address that in the summer, if he truly thinks that would bring an added dimension to the team. And one of the obvious benefits would be allowing Horford to play against PFs, which should result in him expending less energy throughout the game.

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
4:48 pm

Ray, it’s one thing to be benched (Hawes) it’s another to be deactivated. I understand wanting to go with Thompson and Landry… but to have Hawes sitting in street clothes on the bench? That’s bad.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
5:11 pm

Hawes’s physical development hasn’t been what people expected. His frame definitely is big enough for him to be a more imposing physical presence, but it actually looks like he’s LOST weight since college. He just gets abused on the boards in a way that a 7′1 should not. There’s definitely potential there – he has good touch and good athleticism for a guy his size. But he clearly hasn’t put in the off-the-court work he should have during the past 18 months.

vava74

February 24th, 2010
6:15 pm

I have read somewhere that Hawes thinks very highly of himself and is very lazy. Not a good thing.

vava74

February 24th, 2010
6:18 pm

My preview for the next stretch: 4-2

losses coming from either Dallas, Chicago or Philly.

Personally, I think there is at least a 80% chance that we lose against Dallas if Bibby suddenly doesn’t start shooting 40% from 3 pt land again.

O'Brien

February 24th, 2010
6:32 pm

Speaking of bigs, what about Aaron Gray? Might he be available this offseason too? And who was it that drafted that big center from Ohio State (Mullens I think is his name, who didn’t even play very well in his one year in the Big 10)?

Its hard to find a good (young) 7 footer these days.

Ray,

Jack was my other PG of choice too. We could have gotten him for $4-$5 mil per year. Younger, tougher, and plays good defense. He is not the shooter that Bibby is, but Bibby is not the shooter that Bibby was…

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
6:38 pm

Astro Joe ,

I have to agree. Hawes getting deactivated has to be something attitude-derived. You don’t just deactivate a 7-footer who is giving you 10-12 points and 6-7 rebounds per game for nothing, even if his performance is suffering.

Also, the thing about the jump-shooting center is that it needs to be a guy who can get defensive rebounds like “Z” does. It can’t just be some dude who will stick around outside like Channing Frye does all day. Either that, or we add a Craig Smith type along with him. I love the idea from an offensive standpoint, though.

O’brien ,

Last I heard, Mullens was more raw than sushi. Dude’s been in the D-League too, I think. I couldn’t tell you if he’s seen 5 minutes of actual NBA game time.

Gray? Good head on his shoulders, but slow as molasses, and released by Chicago. Don’t know if he picked up a job elsewhere.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
7:34 pm

Watching Teague flying around the court, Flynn can’t get away from him. Somebody please let this kid get 15-20 minutes tonight, he’s earning it…

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
7:35 pm

Oh man, I was gonna die a happy man if Zaza had gotten that 3 off.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
7:37 pm

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
7:45 pm

WTF….Jeff Teague should have like 5 assists by now, but we can’t finish! Finally Joe Smith finishes on a wide open layup after he and Zaza are done crashing the boards (and each other).

Jamal is jacking shots and not making them, and only Mo Evans seems like he’s in a groove.

Teague looks good, though. He needs to start taking (and making) some mid-range jumpers to keep the defense honest, and to relieve some pressure on Jamal.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
7:45 pm

Bob Rathbun : “That young man just needs playing time.”

Preach it, Bob…

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
7:47 pm

There’s this guy over in China:
http://www.asia-basket.com/player.asp?Cntry=CHN&PlayerID=107106

13 and 9 ain’t bad for a rookie. Unless you consider that he’s doing it in China, which is a low level of competition even relative to other overseas leagues.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
7:50 pm

I hate to say this, but Zaza’s rebound totals for tonight are already misleading. Three are offensive boards, but it’s from his own fumbled misses, or have resulted in misses, then a defensive rebound for the other team. Those kinds of rebounds don’t help us. I hope he tightens it up out there. He looks like he did in most of ‘08.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
7:57 pm

Ray,

He got a nice offensive rebound off a guard’s missed shot awhile back. Not really his fault that it didn’t lead to a bucket.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
8:10 pm

Defense was good, but another zero-production half for Marv.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
8:10 pm

Oh, and thanks Josh – my fantasy team was getting killed this week before that half!

Sautee

February 24th, 2010
8:15 pm

You mean Marvin was on the court?

vava74

February 24th, 2010
8:24 pm

nire, are you using LP or a feed tonight?

can’t find a working feed anywhere…

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
8:24 pm

Shooting like crap and not defending much better. Joe is not Joe, Jamal is not Jamal, and Horford is struggling.

The good news? We’re up by 8, we can go on a run and close this out in the second half, and Josh is playing quite well.

vava74

February 24th, 2010
8:26 pm

finally got one!

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
8:30 pm

Nice look by Joe to give that ball back to Bibby.

Two in a row for Bibby from the arc and aren’t we glad to see him hitting those!

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
8:46 pm

WHEEEEEE! I love a good run.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
8:48 pm

LP, I’m afraid Vava.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
8:52 pm

Silly foul by Teague there. Why bother to try and block Kevin Love trying to take a 3??

vava74

February 24th, 2010
8:55 pm

yes, it was a stupid foul, but he will only stop making them by learning with his mistakes.

note that Love is shooting 41% from 3 point land this year

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
8:59 pm

Vava,

Yeah, I know. I’ve seen him hit a few and I’m always surprised when it goes in. Maybe I’m underestimating him still.

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
9:00 pm

Attaboy, Big Al!

niremetal

February 24th, 2010
9:20 pm

Dear T’Wolves Training Staff,

Please give Corey Brewer a burrito and a protein shake.

Sincerely,
Niremetal

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
9:20 pm

Ha! I know some of you hated to love that last play by Josh….

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
9:23 pm

Man is it good to see Bibby playing well and hitting shots, especially with Jamal absolutely sucking out there.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
9:26 pm

It seems we are determined to keep them in the game…

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
9:28 pm

Marvin has a crappy game, so Woody sits him in favor of Jamal. Jamal has a crappy game, yet Mo still only plays 13 minutes, despite shooting 4 for 7.

What gives?

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
9:32 pm

Game ball to Josh Smith with Bibby (he made shots!), Al (hustle and rebound make up for offensive struggles) and Mo (Best of the bench) getting shout-outs.

Catch y’all later!

vava74

February 24th, 2010
9:32 pm

Big Ray,

“Woody gives”

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
10:05 pm

Vava, so how did Lucifer do coaching the team tonight?

Astro Joe

February 24th, 2010
10:38 pm

Melvin, there’s this reading comprehension program at my son’s elementary school… kid is supposed to go and grab a book, read it and take a test on the PC. You earn points based on the number of books you read and your comprehension score. At the end of the school year, kids with a bunch of points attend an awards breakfast with their proud parents.

So last year, my wife is ticked off that my son’s Kindergarten teacher has not allowed Lil Astro to participate in this program by January. The teacher says during our parent-teacher conference that she doesn’t think Lil Astro is ready to join the program. Of course, being the engaged parents that we are, we’re reading with Lil Astro at home every night. But we’re not teachers and have very little to compare his reading skills with other kids. All of the parents say that this is the best Kindergarten teacher at this school, so I’m willing to go with her expert opinion. My wife ain’t buying it and is just about ready to call Attorney nire in Philly or any other legal shark. A few weeks past and suddenly, Lil Astro comes home and says that he took his first reading test as part of the program and got 5 out of 5 answers right.

So of course, my wife glares at me and says “I told you so” in her wonderfully indignant way. But my viewpoint is “the teeacher worked with the child until he was ready and his success isn’t proof that he was ready weeks ago, it’s proof that he was ready at the time he took the first test”. A year later and my wife and I are still at odds about “the real story”. I think it comes down to your level of trust in the teacher and how you think they are motivated. I figured the teacher probably gets credit for having most of her kids successfully participating in the program and so she isn’t going to hold back Lil Astro and shoot herself in the foot. My wife thought that she may have had different motives.

So when Teague plays well in game #50-something, don’t expect me to listen to an “I told you so” because I will believe that Teague played well because he was ready at the time that the teacher put him in the reading program for extended minutes. And that possibly, had he tried to start the program earlier, he would have been discouraged with an 0-5 and 4 TOs.

Lil Astro earned enough points, went to the awards breakfast and my wife glared at me and the teacher throughout the assembly. But Lil Astro still gets his shot blocked too often at the rim, so we’re still reading with him every night for 10-12 minutes. When his reading gets ragged, I turn to his older brother, Astro Jr… he’s a reading veteran who has made the reading All-Star team 5 years at the same school. In another year, Astro Jr becomes a free agent and will be looking to sign at the middle school who offers him the most library books, pizza and Star Wars merchandise.

Hmm, did I mix my metaphors?

Rod from College Park

February 25th, 2010
12:30 am

“But all the advanced stats I’ve looked at on hoopdata, 82games, basketballvalue, basketball-reference, etc all indicate that Marvin has been one of the league’s best defensive SFs this year, and has shown a slight improvement from last year on that end.”

OK. LOL

vava74

February 25th, 2010
2:56 am

Astro, brilliantly, specially keeping Crawford in the game cold as an iceberg and defending ZERO.

I love Craw but only an idiot would think that yesterday he would at any given point start hitting his shots. He was clearly off mark and a defensive liability while Mo was playing well.

Bad coaching which COULD have costed the game.

Also, he continues to fail – as you pointed out he should – to integrate the subs with some first teamers.

Finally, we got torched AGAIN by a bench player – I know that he always plays well with his father and huncle watching – but if even I knows this, why no one in the team seems to know it?

Big Ray

February 25th, 2010
3:48 am

Nice little story there, Astro .

Unfortunately you missed the whole moral of the story. Never take the teacher’s side over the wife’s side. EVER. If you simply MUST be your natural contrarian self, then don’t do it out loud. We’d hate to see you missing from the blog again (only THIS time, never to return).

;)

Ed

February 25th, 2010
5:17 am

Thought this was an interesting take on JJ looking 3-5 years down the road.

Is Joe Johnson really an elite free agent to be?
Wed Feb 24,2010 10:38 PM ET By Kurt Helin
The math is pretty simple. There are three sure-thing, worth-the-max-deal free agents available this summer: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. There are eight teams that have cleared enough cap space to sign a max-level free agent, eight franchises that have sold hope this summer to their fan base.

One, maybe two of those teams is going to get the big-time player they want (there’s a chance none of the big three leave their current homes). That means a second tier of free agents may well get overpaid by some general manager trying not to look the fool.

Joe Johnson’s name gets tossed in with that second group all the time. But the insightful Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus ran the numbers and thinks signing Johnson will be a mistake because his game is about to fade away, like so many jumpshots.

There are a couple of factors at play here. First, Johnson’s statistics have never matched his reputation. Second, players of Johnson’s ilk–above-average starting wings–have tended to decline in a hurry in their early 30s. By year three, just two of Johnson’s top 10 comparables (Steve Smith and Jalen Rose) were offering their team any kind of value. A max deal (five years) for Johnson could end up very ugly.

Pelton is not the only one questioning if Joe Johnson is a good fallback, over at Blog-a-Bull (where they are already focused on the free agent market, because it’s more interesting than the Bulls on the court right now) the conventional wisdom is Johnson has a good year or two left, but his contract will likely be for five.

Pelton’s calculations — he is one of the best out there with the modern “moneyball” advanced statistics, the guy is just flat out good at this — say that GMs would be better with Manu Ginobili. Sure, the 2010 Manu is not as good as the 2006 version, but he is going to give some team a couple good years and his fade will be a little slower than Johnson. Just ask the Thunder after what Manu did to them Wednesday night.

Pelton even suggests that going after Rudy Gay or David Lee would be better long term than Johnson. Maybe even Tyrus Thomas.

Pelton is going to be right about this, and some general is going to be very, very wrong.

Astro Joe

February 25th, 2010
9:20 am

Ray, good point. No wonder I often sleep on the couch. :lol:

Vava, I thought that they were integrated in the 2nd half. I think the second unit needs to figure out their individual roles. In oter words, they need to stop waiting for Jamal to do all of the scoring. I see that Joe Smith and Mo are beginning to come around. But I think some of the unit’s issues are that they are used to Jamal carrying the scoring load and for the past 2-3 games, he has struggled to match his usual production. There’s not yet a “pecking order” withthew 2nd unit… and as many are apt to say, they won’t have one unless they continue to play together. I don’t mind seeing them as a unit in the 1st half… just not closer to crunch time at the end of the game..

doc

February 25th, 2010
10:07 am

nire, isnt jj the guy that does a lot of the sf work when marvin leaves the court? interesting stat and like all how relative is it? should i assume jj is a worse defender than marvin? to go a bit further, last year we rarely lost when marvin was injured and mo started, was that meaningful?

good read on the blog here guys, good job to ray as the moderator, even if he is the big gay one.

doc

February 25th, 2010
10:24 am

ray, dalllas looking pretty good. will be one of the better tests this month.

anyone want to throw mcmillan into the coy fray. still jockeying for the playoffs with the injuries they have had. wow, only one game out of 6th place in the west, 8 over 500.

niremetal

February 25th, 2010
10:49 am

Doc,

Two things:

1) We were 10-6 last year in the stretch where Marvin went down and Mo started in his place. People always seem to remember that we won the first 6 after Marvin went down hurt (part of that 7-game homestand win streak that shot us past Miami and Philly). They seem to forget that we then lost 6 of the next 8. Our winning percentage with Mo and Marvin was basically identical. In any case, it’s always the same pattern when a Hawk goes down hurt: We win the first couple because Woody is forced to make adjustments. Then, once other teams catch on, we lose. The same thing happened when JJ went down in ‘06-’07 (4 game win streak, then lost 9 of 10) and Josh last fall (won the first 2, then dropped 4 in a row). The exception seems to be (ready for this, Truth-Serum?) Horford. Apparently, his void is the toughest to fill.

2) According to 82games, Mo gets the 2nd most minutes at SF on the team, followed rather closely by JJ. Mo actually has the team’s second-worst defensive rating (the worst is Jamal’s). JJ’s is middle-of-the-pack on the team. JJ is less effective as a defensive SF than he is as a defensive SG, though, so having him guard SFs full time is not an ideal situation. Mo is MUCH more effective as a defensive SG than he is as a defensive SF. As I said – the lesson from all this might be just that we need a better defensive SF to come off the bench.

niremetal

February 25th, 2010
10:57 am

And doc – if this were a fair world, McMillan would be running away from the pack in the COY race. I’m sure Scott Brooks will end up winning because the writers always seem shocked when teams stacked with young talent and led by a young superstar finally break through (up until last year, every award for the previous 5 years fit that mold). It’s much more impressive to me that the Blazers are competing for home court advantage despite losing 3 rotation players to season-ending injuries, having Roy play hurt most of the year, and having Juwan Howard as the starting center most nights. That team seems likely to break the record for most different starting lineups used in a season. McMillan and his assistants have had to make adjustments on a near-nightly basis, and have played nearly a quarter of their games with 9 or fewer players dressing. In my eye, it shouldn’t be close.

doc

February 25th, 2010
11:20 am

nire:

“The exception seems to be (ready for this, Truth-Serum?) Horford. Apparently, his void is the toughest to fill”. chuckle

“As I said – the lesson from all this might be just that we need a better defensive SF to come off the bench”. amen. when the run with mo started and folks seemed to want to make something of it i just chuclkled. now where is chills? heh heh. chills, crawford and a real deal big off the bench, yup we would be real contenders. by now, chills might be the starter and marvin playing the role he played in college to become the number two draft pick.

“McMillan and his assistants have had to make adjustments on a near-nightly basis, and have played nearly a quarter of their games with 9 or fewer players dressing. In my eye, it shouldn’t be close”. sing to the choir bro.

good stuff as always.

Astro Joe

February 25th, 2010
11:26 am

nire, thanks for that answer on Marvin and Mo last year. The Hawks were very good at home last year and slightly below average on the road and I distinctly remember that Mo became a starter right when he had a long home stand. I think we would have won those games if Othella Hunter had been starting.

I admit that when I think of Mo, I think of Childress. So I have a bias against Mo… as I liked Chill a lot. And no, Evans did not run Childress out of here but his presence on the roster is a result of Chill being in Europe. But even with my bias in full-on rage, Evans is a very streaky shooter and at best a “willing defender”. If there were a way to play him in the backcourt with Teague, I think it would do wonders for both of them. Evans would be able to sprint more from the wing and Teague would have a running mate plus wouldn’t have a backcourt partner who dominates the ball. IMO, when Teague is paired with a big combo guard like Joe or Jamal, you are taking the hot fudge and nuts off of him and he becomes nothing more than vanilla ice cream. And I think some of his struggles is learning how to be vanilla. The good thing about the hot fudge and nuts is that you can be Publix-brand vanilla and still be a good sundae. Take away the fudge and nuts and you need to be better than the store-brand.

doc

February 25th, 2010
11:30 am

just like i always said jj was worth the price even though some vehemently disagreed and didnt accept those in the knows accounts, i will say that 7.5 to 8 mil would have satisfied chills and his desire to become a recognized cog in the wheel rather than an under appreciated role player that sund made him out to be.

of course, i have no knowledge of this but it is my best guess on what i read in the aftermath of that fiasco. it is also what i would have paid him in line with what marvin got the next year as they were about the same quality, except i trusted chills explosiveness and ball skills, defense and ability to play more than one position which we all know marvin cant as he is by far the least movable piece on the team though he is the highest draft pick. yup i always thought chills to be the better of the two. shoot, the guy wasnt into money except to save it as he and marvin would save their per diem bucks to find out who won the frugality award each year. it wasnt totally about money more about respect. money does equal that in a way among these types. with a stanford education chills’ wasnt stupid either and may have been smarter than the gm, mr sund.

doc

February 25th, 2010
11:36 am

aj, here we go on the chills bandwagon again together. gee, i enjoy your company. :-)

gradybaby

February 25th, 2010
11:43 am

Coach Woodson has not a clue about what could improve his team…so here is my advice to old Woody.
Bibby is a liability as a starter. He can’t defend anyone in the NBA, college or high school. He can’t push the ball on offense because he is slow as molasses (bench him). Woody it is time to start Teague, stop killing the kids’ confidence. Look at Marvin…he is so lost, yet you continue to start him also. I am glad Josh doesn’t listen to you or he would be in the same condition as Marvin.
Marvin needs to be traded so he can grow under a different system (coach). Start Evans or bring the other Josh back from Greece. Finally, Woody it’s time for you to order a few of those how to coach videos. ISO Joe will no longer be your primary (only) call on offense… go hawks

Astro Joe

February 25th, 2010
12:23 pm

Is Bibby really a worse defnder than he was when he first got here or is it that without his jumper falling, his defensive liabilities are more glaring?

Bibby (I thought) had a nice game yesterday, not great but probably what we should expect on an average night. I’ll be interested to see if he can carry over some momentum into the next game against Kidd, JT and the Mavs.

Big Ray

February 25th, 2010
7:40 pm

Gradybaby ,

I understand how you feel, but might you not be rattling the sabre at the wrong guy?

Improving the team is something I think most people expect the GM to do. Getting the most out of the product that’s on the floor would be the coach’s job. Then again, that’s just how I see it.

Is wanting Teague to start the same thing as wanting him to play the bulk of the minutes at pg? Think about this: Royal Ivey used to start for us. But he only played only 10 mpg. Big difference between the two. I wouldn’t mind seeing the young cat start a few games with the other starting four. However, which games is this a good idea to try it, and how long do you leave him in?

If not starting a guy kills his confidence, then how can you blame Woody for Marvin’s lack of significant progress? Seriously, it’s a little hard to take a man to task for a player’s performance when he’s been starting for years, then turn around and say that another’s confidence is shot because he doesn’t start.

And what makes you think Josh never listens to Woody? Woody says “defend and rebound”, and this year we see the best efforts from Josh in both categories that we’ve ever seen. If anything, Josh FINALLY listened. On offense, well, I can’t answer for that. I think Woody doesn’t know enough about teaching and constructing to be either blamed or credited too much for various guys’ offensive growth, or lack thereof. He is far more focused on things from the other end.

Not taking you to task, just wondering what your expounded thoughts might be on the above subjects.

Big Ray

February 25th, 2010
7:48 pm

Nire ,

Exceptionally sharp analysis of Mo and Marvin. I have to agree with Doc and Astro by saying I miss Josh Childress. And no, that’s not a shot at Sund. I just miss the guy. I think you’re right about a better defensive small forward off the bench.

I don’t know why that hasn’t been talked about more, and sooner. After all, where did Mo play for the last team he was on? Orlando deployed him at the 2. Dude is obviously a 2 who can play 3 in a pinch.

Astro Joe ,

Love the idea of playing Mo at 2 alongside Teague at the 1, and I think you have the bench problems pegged. These guys have to figure it out as a unit and quit letting Craw do what he’ll naturally do if you leave it up to him, and him alone. Love the sundae analogy. Nobody does the analogies like you do!

Big Ray

February 25th, 2010
8:34 pm

Doc ,

Good to hear from ya, and touche on the last part of your 10:07 a.m. post. Had me laughing…15 yard penalty assessed for that late hit…LOL

Nire ,

A fair world? Heck, if it was a fair world, then teams with key injured players should also get automatic wins for two out of every 4 games they have to play without their key players. No seriously, I don’t think it’s about the sports writers being “shocked” about a team stacked with good draft picks doing well. I think they habitually fall in love with teams built that way, that actually succeed, and the coach gets the side effect love in the form of a COY award.

I like to coin it as “media darling.” Let’s be honest, they aren’t nearly as in love with Scott Brooks as they are with Durant, Westrbook, and Green. At the same time, lest I seem too disingenuous, there have been plenty of other teams with lots of young talent that have taken forever to bring it together, and some who have not done so at all.

I’m not saying Brooks should win it all, but there is something to be said for a team, young superstar not withstanding, that is able to do so well so quickly , in the West no less. And their superstar player is a guard/forward who doesn’t dominate the ball in the same way a Chris Paul or even a Lebron James does. He doesn’t make his teammates better in a direct fashion, he does it by being a supreme threat that they can feed off of. Again, he’s the latest in a group of media darlings, and even Brooks will feed off of that.

At the same time, I do think Brooks deserves some credit for holding together a group of young guys and for the speed of their current success. They are a tough, energetic team that usually gives anybody a run for their money. They already have a team identity. Of course, you’ll note that “Brooks deserves some credit” is not the same as “Brooks should win COY.” It’s an award I just don’t care as much about.

Adelman and McMillan certainly deserve major credit for doing what they’ve done without key players at their disposal. Are they able to do this without key veterans? I doubt it, but even then, that is something only a very good coach can do, as veterans can be harder to deal with than younger players, as you have to earn their respect.

Suffice it to say that the media looks for the latest and greatest, not the details and inner workings. Byron Scott benefitted from Chris Paul and the success they had in ‘08. Mike Brown benefitted from Lebron and the Cavs 66 win run. It hasn’t always been this way. But I think lately is has. Sometimes it’s been about the popularity of a team. Did D’Antoni really deserve it Phoenix? Or was that Suns team just capturing the hearts of the media? How about Avery Johnson in Dallas? Wasn’t he handed a team that was already built, vets, stars and all? Sam Mitchell got it in Toronto in ‘07. Why?

Fair? Hah. Find me something in the NBA that is…

Big Ray

February 25th, 2010
8:40 pm

What’s funny is that nobody has won COY more than once since Pat Riley, and he got it three times. Even Phil Jackson has only had it once. Same with Gregg Popovich. How does Rick Carlisle get it, but Rick Adelman never has? Oh, that fairness thing again.

Hubie Brown deserved it in ‘04 when he turned the Grizzlies into a 50 win squad. Sure wish that guy was still coaching, but don’t blame him for not doing so.

Choochoo

February 25th, 2010
10:00 pm

I like the idea of Sund having a Plan B for other free agents once the “Big Z” debacle is over.

I’d rather think about that than all the smug and/or sour comments about it being impossible for Ilgauskas to end up anywhere but Cleveland. Likelihoods are one thing. Guarantees are another.

[...] Big Ray on the Hawks New Streak [...]

O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
10:27 am

AJ,

Agreed with your post about Teague and Mo playing together. As Ray pointed out, Mo Evans started a few games at SG on a playoff team, and that’s really what he is. A backup SG.

I am disappointed that Sund did not find a suitable backup SF this past offseason or at the trade deadline. We have a mid-level and our bi-annual, but all we ended up signing was Joe Smith, Hunter then West, and Collins, while we have 3 SG on the team.

doc,

I think Chills would have signed for $6 mil, because I dont think it was about the money (initially). I think he wanted Sund to recognize how important he was to the team and the fact that Woody had him in the game at the end (not Marvin).

But Sund clearly thought of him as a utility player, and would not give him the money he was looking for. The ironic thing is Marvin is making $7.5 mil, and so far, he has looked like a utility player.

An interesting note is ever since Marvin has been here, he is rarely on the court at the end of games. Woody would have Chills in, sometimes Flip last year, and this year, its been Crawford. Marvin needs to step it up to help the Hawks (and Rick Sund) out.

“Is Bibby really a worse defnder than he was when he first got here or is it that without his jumper falling, his defensive liabilities are more glaring?” AJ

I think its both. He has gotten older and slower, so his defense (which was always bad) has gotten worse (plus I dont know if his ankle is fully healed). Combined with jumpers not falling, he was looking almost useless out there some games. I hope he gets it going again.

Big Ray,

I would love for Woody to bring Hubie Brown in during training camp as an (offensive) consultant.

MannyT

February 26th, 2010
2:05 pm

After the next CBA you are more likely to see other guys with Chills in the Euroleague than having the ‘fro back in Atlanta.

That’s the way I read my economic crystal ball.

On another note, since we don’t have a good backup for Marvin @ SF, maybe the regular season is the time to experiment with a little Nellie Ball. For teams with front courts that do not scare you offensively, run an ultra small line up.

Bibby or Teague
Crawford
Evans
JJ
Josh

Go small, go fast, disrupt everything and you can easily switch or not on pick & rolls.

If Dirk shows up at center tonight for even a few minutes, I’d unleash this lineup.

BWAF

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
2:41 pm

Manny, that’s too small for my tastes. We’re already small, that line-up is approaching something related to blue people living under a mushroom.

O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
3:01 pm

MannyT,

Have you seen whats happening in the NFL now? Teams dont even want to franchise tag guys anymore. They just letting them become FA, so they dont have that high contract to pay next season.

I’m with AJ though. That lineup is too small. For the speed, I’d go with Teague, Mo, JJ, Josh and Al.

Rod from College Park

February 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

Since I have been blocked from posting on the other blog (no vulgar language used, no KKK refereces) for some reason, probably telling the truth, I will post my reponse here.

Traceman,

Marvin Williams went second in a draft that included the likes of Bogut, Darren Williams, Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, Charlie Villanueva, David Lee, and Nate Robinson all drafted in the first round. Durant went second in a draft which included Oden, Horford, Conley, Jeff Green, Noah, Thaddeus Young, Aaron Brooks, Rudy Fernandez, and Al Thorton. I don’t think I would be wrong in saying that Marvin’s draft was more talented as there are 3 all stars there with Granger who is probably the best SF in the game, and Bynum and Bogut were on the verge of all-star consideration. Durant’s class has Durant and Horford (all stars), Noah right on the verge of all star voting. Below are draft analyses from Marvin’s draft, by reputable sources:

Summary: Williams is Insider’s No. 1-ranked player in the draft. He’s a versatile forward who can play both inside and out. Still developing but has the trappings of a superstar.

Member of the underclassman all-star game at the 2002 adidas ABCD Camp. Terrific talent and ultra versatile. He can certainly play both forward positions. Not as tall as Drew Gooden but shares some of the same traits that made Gooden a star. Has such an incredible feel for the game. Super touch from all over the court. Has a presence about him that will make him a star.

Notice the word star in both analysis, which is something Durant has lived up to and Marvin has not. Marvin was also considered the best player in a stronger draft, see the insider’s write up, but as is the case in NBA history, the big man is more in demand. If Durant was in Marvin’s draft, he would have gone #2 also as Milwaukee needed a center, and they decided between Bogut and Marvin. Marvin and Durant were both deemed to be stars, and one has lived up to it and one hasn’t. Where your Durant was a much better prospect nonsense is coming from, I have no idea.

The Hedo, Wallace point is that in their 4th and 5th years they were improving to become the players that they should be not getting worse like Marvin.

I did not confuse talent and skill. Marvin is not a talented player in my eyes. When Marvin is playing well, he is a good jump shooter, and an above average free throw shooter which are skills, not talents. He possesses no more talent than Mo Evans. He just happens to be 6’9 with a 7 foot wingspan. Josh Smith possesses talent which has to be harnessed for him to become the best player he can be. What does Marvin show you that make you think that he is so much more talented or athletic than Mo Evans? Clumsiness and goofiness do not make you athletic or physically talented.

Other teams put the more physically talented and athletically gifted players on Joe because they don’t have to put those players on an unathletic non-talented 6’9 forward because he can’t hurt them offensively.

Josh Smith stepping up in the playoffs last year does say a lot. If you walk out on the court, there are no excuses. I would rather a guy suck in the regular season, and step up in the playoffs. I wish I had that kind of belief in Marvin this year, but unfortunately I don’t.

Mike Vick was a great kid until he killed those dogs. Jason Williams was a great guy until he shot a man. Great kid or not he is not producing. Support him if you like. I won’t until he produces consistently. In a lot of businesses a motto used a lot is Talent = Performance. Can you say that about Marvin?

richbrave

February 26th, 2010
5:48 pm

Any thoughts on CRITTENTON’s apology on the radio show and the fact that the injury to his foot is STILL not right?

richbrave

February 26th, 2010
5:51 pm

Looks to me like JJ is ready for his retirement contract.

richbrave

February 26th, 2010
5:54 pm

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
4:45 pm
Nellie is an idiot. He is the extinguisher of life in Golden State. The lights are out because he keeps breaking the bulbs. He is ruining that franchise.

Uh-h-h, not a big fan of NELLIE-BALL I’m guessing.

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
6:29 pm

rcihbrave, I missed it (Crit’s call to GA Tech Show)… I will try to find it this weekend). I heard something about it on the local sports radio show but did not hear he actual statement.

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
6:33 pm

Brendan Haywood has been a very tough match-up for Horford in the past. Hawks will need to focus on rebounding in this game, Mavs have good rebounders in most positions (Mr. Kidd can still pull ‘em down and start that break). And the Mavs are playing with super-confidence since the trade… and the defat of the Lakers. This won’t be easy.

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
6:35 pm

defat=defeat… I don’t want to dumb-down Ray’s blog.

niremetal

February 26th, 2010
6:37 pm

Ray,

I wonder if Nellie is trying to goad the refs into tossing him again like he did back in the early dog days of Dallas :)

niremetal

February 26th, 2010
6:56 pm

Well, the ship has sailed apparently:

http://twitter.com/PDcavsinsider/status/9697958400

WKNR 850 AM’s Michael Reghi, who I will join in minutes, is reporting that Z has decided to re-sign with the Cavs.

Assuming this is true, I’m surprised that he did it this quickly. The buyout was finalized yesterday, and teams aren’t even allowed to sign him until Monday because he has to clear waivers, if I’m not mistaken. Announcing his decision before the ink even dried on his buyout rather than even pretending to entertain other teams’ offers will raise a lot more eyebrows about there being an honest-to-goodness prearranged deal than he’d get if he just waited a week.

His agent is an idiot.

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
8:17 pm

I’ll give the Hawks credit for their full-court marketing effort to land Big Z. Sund showed his strong interest early and Woody mentions his intent to start Z to the national media which results in a mention during the broadcast of the Mavs game. I don’t know if they ever had a chance to talk numbers but they pretty much did everything else (short of having Kim Z. make a personal appearance at dude’s house).

O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
8:21 pm

AJ,

I think it was just a marketing ploy by Woody to try and sell big Z a starting opportunity here. i really dont think Woody would start Big Z and Josh at the 3. And I dont think I would like that starting 5 either.

None the less, it was a good marketing ploy…

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
8:40 pm

Astro Joe ,

Good points about Dallas matchups…

Richbrave ,

It’s not Nellie-ball that bugs me. It’s Nellie-player relations. Schizing out on your guys is no good. Say anything we want about Woody, he is a straight up guy, no BS games. Either he likes you, or he doesn’t. No 180s in the middle of the season.

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
8:45 pm

Looks like we’re doing okay so far. Double digit lead, Joe is straight smokin’ the Mavs, Horford struggling from the field against a big lineup but still more effective than his counterpart.

Bibby is back to hitting some shots, despite an underwhelming FG%. Everyone who has played significant minutes is in double figures except guess who….Marvin.

We going to see anything from the bench besides double figure shot attempts from Crawford? Looking like a 6 man rotation night, though Zaza just came back in.

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
8:47 pm

Josh making free throws: a beautiful thing. Geez, look at dude’s stat line: 12 points, 8 boards, 6 assists, 6 steals, 1 block. Is there anybody in the league like him?

Key stat in this game right now:

J.Kidd 3 for 12
J. Terry 4 for 11

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
8:49 pm

Mavs going “small ball”, so Woody inserts Joe and Mo from the bench. Hmmm…a counter-tactic or just an opportunity to rest starters?

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
8:52 pm

Astro Joe ,

I see some people shouting your ideas on MC’s blog. I believe it was you who first started talking about integrating or “sprinkling” reserves in with starters, rather than using the bench as a 5 man unit. Rep yoself, Homey!

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:05 pm

Mark of a true scorer: when your shot isn’t falling, get to the line. That’s Jamal’s saving grace tonight, as his shot continues to elude him. 3 for 8 from the floor, but 6 of 6 from the line. Take it how you can get it.

Meanwhile, I wonder how the “fans” posting venom early in the game feel now? We have a decent double digit lead that we should be able to hold on to, and there’s 7 minutes or so left.

Let’s go Hawks! Don’t lose that lead!

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:10 pm

Jamal heating up just a tad here in the second half othe 4th quarter. Nothing but good news!

How about Joe Johnson? 27 points, 10 assists, will probably finish north of 30. WHAT A PLAYER!

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:11 pm

Problem: J. Terry heating up as well, and Nowitzki still going strong. Mavs are a TOUGH team, even without “tough juice.”

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:12 pm

This is bad. How will we adjust/respond?

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:15 pm

Some of the old Bibby back. GREAT to see!

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:19 pm

Hah! Would love to see Woody put the chrome dome on kid, Zaza style. :lol:

Take it home, Hawks. Leave Jason Terry feeling like a punk.

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:22 pm

Somebody please tell me we are not done in by an illegal screen and a Jason Kidd 3-pointer. Not like this….not like this…

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:23 pm

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:24 pm

Do we have enough gas for overtime, assuming the Mavs don’t make the last shot? Am I talking only to myself again?

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:27 pm

Overtime it is. We rarely get to this point. Do we know what to do, and how to do it?

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:28 pm

Mavs may be hot, but we shouldn’t have lost that lead. Another blown 4th quarter lead. Why are we reverting to old habits?

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:42 pm

Well, there goes that game. If this is a preview of playoff basketball, I’m worried.

I’m not surprised that we don’t know how to beat a good team in overtime. We rarely play a game into overtime, and I have no idea if we practice for such things. Couple that with very heavy minutes for the top six guys, and you have a formula for failure.

The good news :

Good efforts by Joe and Mike. Nice to see Mike getting his shooting stroke/confidence back.

Good all-around effort by Smith. Incredible stats.

This was an important game that we needed to win. We didn’t get it done. Not much else to say.

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:43 pm

Nobody listening anyway….:lol:

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:44 pm

Figured we wouldn’t have enough gas for overtime. Not surprised at all.

“I had to see something for myself.”

Well, you got to see it again.

Big Ray

February 26th, 2010
9:48 pm

Really disappointed in Al Horford’s performance.

Disappointed in a lack of adjustments to a zone (a zone???) defense.

First round flop if we play a tough team that has paid attention to what stalls us on offense.

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
9:58 pm

Yeah, Ray, I was saying over on MC’s blog how bad we looked against the zone… like we had never seen that defense before. All the blame needs to go to Woody and the backcourt for that poor showing. I am disappointed in Jamal because he does all of that tricky dribbling stuff during against a normal defense to get in the lane but against the zone, he didn’t even try to penetrate. WTF was that about? And Woody obviously didn’t do much to help them adjust. Just a bad showing by Woody and his vet guards.

But it was good to see Bibby make a few clutch 3s. That’s two solid performances by Mike.

9-32 from Jamal and Al.

BONE

February 26th, 2010
10:04 pm

Woodson is coming out with a new book everybody it’s called “HOW TO LOSE WINNABLE GAMES” with a foreword by Marvin and Bibby

O'Brien

February 26th, 2010
10:06 pm

It was the same thing that happens when we play Magic. Somebody leaves to double Dwight, and the ball rotates to the shooters who make us pay. Hawks have not learned when to double-team, and how quick (or slow) to double team.

We leave to double, Dirk ends up open because we dont recover in time.

We have also seen this zone before. i dont remember which game it was, but that was the game when Woody said “the jump shots looked appetizing to us”, but they weren’t falling.

And on a night when Al was clearly struggling, he still played 50 minutes, going 4-16.

And ZaZa only played 2 minutes. Was ZaZa hurt?

Astro Joe

February 26th, 2010
11:14 pm

This feels like that 2nd Cavs game… instead of our fine columnists focusing on the late game collapse they got wrapped up in the shot-clock issue. Now, they are abuzz about Woody’s blocking foul on Kidd and not our inability to defeat a simple zone defense.

Geez, yet another reason why I personally can’t get too upset about this team, because there is no one in the media to hold them accountable so why should I continue to yell at the rain? I will only lose my voice. The ones who have some clout to do the yelling tend to focus on the stupid stuff.

richbrave

February 26th, 2010
11:35 pm

Richbrave ,

It’s not Nellie-ball that bugs me. It’s Nellie-player relations. Schizing out on your guys is no good. Say anything we want about Woody, he is a straight up guy, no BS games. Either he likes you, or he doesn’t. No 180s in the middle of the season.

Back in the day, I think that was a problem he had on the CELTICS also. Been a while though. Maybe I don’t remember too well after what….40 years more or less.

niremetal

February 27th, 2010
12:07 am

Missed most of the game. I’ll just let people pick their favored scapegoats…

Big Ray

February 27th, 2010
7:58 am

Nire ,

That’s going to happen anyway, but if you DVR’ed it then you’ll see what has everyone so pissed. We seriously had those guys beaten in every sense of the word until the last 5-6 minutes. Disgusting.

Astro Joe ,

Hearing that from Jamal ticked me off as well. Badly. The problem is that I don’t think he’s learned any better about it since he came here, and I had really hoped that he would.

Yes, the adjustments (or lack thereof) really killed us in this game, but as you say, our veteran guards didn’t step up at all. Well, Bibby was easily the best of the three, with the coolest head.

You know what’s aggravating about Jamal’s tricky dribble? It’s not just that he doesn’t use it enough to get to the basket. It’s that he’s nothing more than a faster version of the same damn thing that JJ does (jab steps and dribble displays, culminating in a jumpshot), with less separation from his defender.

If nothing else, use all that stuff to get CLOSER for a higher percentage shot, if not a drive to the rim. They both used to do it more. Lately, they’ve been doing it less.

Lest I sound too hypocritical, I love to watch them do it when the jumpers are falling. Hate to see it when they’re not. That’s the honest truth.

O’brien ,

See my comments this morning on MC’s blog about the “appetizing jump shots.”

Despite how it looks, I’m not trying to take pot shots at Woody. I seriously think this is a flawed philosophy that he has, that his veteran guards are following up. It’s going to get us in worse trouble in the postseason if they don’t figure this out.

O'Brien

February 27th, 2010
12:07 pm

Ray,

Although Bibby stepped up, lets not forget that the opposing PG had 32 points, 16 rebounds, and 17 assists.

And although Josh had a great game, the opposing PF had 37 points, 9 rebs and 4 assists.

But Woody has to learn how to adjust the switching defense, and he has to come up with an offensive that relies less on jumpshots at times. And he has to get it through these guys heads to share the ball.

I posted this question on the other blog. At the end of the season, does Sund blame Woody for not developing his bench, or does Woody blame Sund for not giving him better bench players?

vava,

where you at? If the Golden State loss really ticked you off, what do you think about this loss?

doc

February 27th, 2010
12:33 pm

now teams are beginning to know that you dont even have to be good or stay close to win against this hawks’ team that metamorphs into something despicable in the last ten minutes of a game. gee the only team that works hard against us and puts us away early is orlando.

i have also heard word resiliency use about this team. i dont see comeback wins only front runners that arent finishing games anymore. comebacks during games is true resiliency.

ray, i put the bulls eye right where it belongs as woody is slumping worse than crawford, zaza and marvin are.

doc

February 27th, 2010
4:24 pm

my comments are missing here, blog closed for repair?

Sautee

February 27th, 2010
4:29 pm

O’Brien,

That’s an excellent question and I would guess that either side would tend to blame the other. For Woody’s sake he’d best make a stronger argument, since Sund has the final say on the head coach.

Big Ray

February 27th, 2010
7:33 pm

O’brien ,

The point about Bibby was only that he was finally back to hitting shots. The fact that he gave up more than he produced is a long-standing issue.

That PF opposite Josh is one of the best in the game and also one of the worst matchups for Josh. Despite perhaps popular opinion, Josh routinely struggles against perimeter-oriented PFs, plain and simple. Inject one of the best in the game and you have a compounded problem.

While we’re not forgetting what the other side was able to produce, let us also not forget that despite all of this, we were up by 13 with 6 minutes left, and the score was STILL tied at the end of regulation.

Not making excuses for anybody, Bibby failed to contain Kidd, and Josh failed to contain Dirk. But the reasons why are nothing new. This requires adjustment. I don’t think I need to say anymore…

Big Ray

February 27th, 2010
7:33 pm

Doc ,

Searching for your comments now. They should be up in a minute or two….they’ll post at whatever time you typed them…

Astro Joe

February 28th, 2010
9:54 am

Dirk and Kidd are eventual HOFers, I’m not sure why anyone would expect much different from those two. Execute against the zone and the play of the HOFers is immaterial.

vava74

February 28th, 2010
9:55 am

Hi everyone
I travelled Friday afternoon to visit my “in-laws” over the weekend since they don’t get to see their grand daughter as often as my folks and it’s her second birthday today.

Since there isn’t any internet at my girlfriend’s former apartment I couldn’t get to watch the game so I slept over it. I did wake up spontenously at around 4am to check the result and to see if my prediction was correct.

I must say that I was not surprised at anything that I read.

The reason why I have been saying that our record is deceiving is that we initially built a good record by surprising a lot of people who had rulled us out as contenders amassing wins mostly against medium and low teams.

Now our game plan has become known around the league and predictable. Opposing teams adjust and we don’t counter adjust.

Another telling factor indicating that our record is deceiving is our record against playoff teams. We got some interesting wins against Boston, but only two of them came with their roster at full strenght.

Our home wins against Denver, Utah and Portland came with out oponents playing at the back end of a long east coast trip or undermanned or a combination of both. And of our west coast wins, only Dallas and Portland are relevant.

As I said previously, yes there is merit in our record, but it smells at the same time to under and over achievement.

If we look at our roster it smells to underachievement if we look at Woody’s meager playbook and game plan it smells to overachievement.

To me, the hard fact is that Woody has been bailed out by individual spurts by either JJ, Crawford or in particular Josh with his game changing heroics.

Finally, Woody’s lack of offensive game plan and orchestrated plays implies that our success is linked to the individual ability that each player can bring.

This is why our bench looms so dreadful. Having less talent and no set plays to generate easy baskets the bench players are always testing the limit of their offensive ability instead of collectively inserted in plays where they can contribute within their limited ability.

vava74

February 28th, 2010
9:59 am

Looks so dreadful. There are several other minor typos or grammatical errors since I’m typing on my iPhone but I think you can get the sense of what I am saying.

Big Ray

February 28th, 2010
1:00 pm

iphones. I like my HTC Touch Pro 2.

A.HORFORD

February 28th, 2010
1:59 pm

FREE BASKETS, FREE BASKETS, STEP RIGHT UP AND GET YOUR FREE BASKETS….TAKE A PICTURE DUNKING ON ME….FREE BASKETS, FREE BASKETS, HOW BOUT YOU BIG RAY? THROW ONE DOWN ON ME…. FREE BASKETS FREE BASKETS! DO LIKE MICHAEL JORDAN AND STICK YOUR TONGUE OUT AS YOU DUNK ON ME….

O'Brien

February 28th, 2010
2:15 pm

How about them Celtics? Losing at home to the Nets yesterday. Wow. Based on how badly the Celtics have played, I hope we dont put too much value into our 4 game sweep (except for confidence).

vava,

On the outside, our record looks really good, but if you dig deeper, you realize that there are cracks. And if not fixed, those cracks will get bigger and bigger. We have not had any kind of injuries this year (Marvin missed 1 game with the flu, and ZaZa and Crawford missed 1 game). But after being 19-6, we are 17-15 over our last 32 games. Thats a long stretch to be playing .500 ball

Although Milwaukee is playing well (8-2 in their last 10), we are playing at home, and I hope the bitter taste from the Dallas game is still in the Hawks’ mouth. I would like to see us come out and put a beatdown on the Bucks.

Ray,

I can’t help but wonder how things might have been if the Hawks had let Bibby go and gone after Jarrett Jack as some of us (me and you included) had suggested.

Season averages;

Bibby: 9 pts, 4 assts, 37% from 3 (82 makes), 54 FT made, horrible defense in 28 mpg.
Jack: 11pts, 5 assts, 41% from 3 (58 makes), 136 FT made, and better defense in 29 mpg

Not to mention Jack is younger and cheaper. Oh well, water under the bridge.

That being said, I hope Bibby is able to continue his current stretch where at least he is making shots.

Speaking of phones, any feedback on the Motorola Droid from Verizon?

Astro Joe

February 28th, 2010
5:24 pm

Considering that our deceptive record is within 2-3 games of other Eastern Conference powers, are there records also deceptive? Considering that we have played more winning teams than Boston and Orlando, are there records even MORE deceptive? And who, exactly, is being deceived?

niremetal

February 28th, 2010
8:32 pm

Last play of the game: ISO-Joe. No screens, no movement.

Wish I could say I was surprised.

O'Brien

February 28th, 2010
9:25 pm

AJ,

How many games have Boston players missed due to injury? What about Orlando’s players? Not to mention that Orlando had a bunch of new players this season, so there is always Chemistry issues.

The Hawks have been injury free this season, and we have the same starting 5 that we had last year.

I’m just saying, that there are cracks, and we need to get it fixed. Once again tonight, 18 points in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, our 4th quarter defense was good.

That being said, Hawks pulled it out, and I’m happy for the victory.

If Hawks finish as the #3 seed, Chicago might be our first round opponent, so I hope we find a way (and the energy) to win tomorrow night.

niremetal

February 28th, 2010
9:45 pm

Gotta love the main blog. Confirmation bias galore.

O’Brien,

Watching my two fav teams, it’s remarkable how drastically different their luck with injuries have been. I think the Hawks must have stolen some of the Blazers’ karma or something…

O'Brien

February 28th, 2010
9:52 pm

nire,

I enjoy this blog so much more, although there is not much activity on the Nest tonight.

Hawks have been very fortunate when it comes to injuries. Even the Bucks have been bit by the injury bug. They lost Redd for the year, and I think even Bogut missed some time. Miami has been playing without Wade, Bosh has missed time for Toronto, and the list goes on.

I just hope it doesnt come back to bite the Hawks, because imagine if one of our players gets hurt the last couple games of the season, or the first game in the playoffs.

We would not know what to do, because we haven’t faced that kind of adversity all year.

doc

February 28th, 2010
10:10 pm

nire, i was there and the last play included no movement by jj who ended up with a terrible shot and no effort to try and draw a foul. josh would have made more of the chance.

glad to get out of this game with a win. they are a tenaciuos well coached team.

o’b some sanity here, kind of.

niremetal

February 28th, 2010
10:17 pm

Yeah O’B, I’ve actually said a couple times that it almost would be better if we lost a starter for a week or two right now just so we have more of an idea of what to do in case it happens at a more critical date later in the year.

niremetal

February 28th, 2010
10:25 pm

Doc,

Yeah, but drawing up a play is the coach’s job. No one was moving to get open, no one was trying to set a screen. In other words, the play call from the bench was “give the ball to JJ, everyone else get the hell out of the way.” Everyone in the building knew it was coming. The Bucks defended it well. JJ took a tough shot and missed. Could he have driven and tried to draw the foul? Maybe that’s a good idea at the end of the half, but at the end of the game the refs swallow their whistles. You have to be mugged in order for the refs to blow the whistle with less than 5 seconds left in a tie game.

The one thing I definitely wish he HAD done was take the shot sooner so that there’d be a chance for an o-reb (assuming the Bucks were out of timeouts). But there isn’t a coach in the league who calls for a drive on the last play of the game. End-of-game plays are designed to create an open look. As good as JJ is at creating separation, a predictable ISO play call was not a good way to accomplish that.

Also, considering that Josh heaved an off-balance, contested 3 with 9 seconds left in a clutch situation less than 2 weeks ago, I don’t see how you can say with any certainty that he would have done better. ISO plays are not exactly his strong suit. The better play call wouldn’t have been to give the ball to anyone else necessarily. But it would have involved getting more than the guy with the ball involved in the play. That, however, is too much to ask for with this coach.

Astro Joe

February 28th, 2010
10:58 pm

OB, kind of a double-edged sword. Players are good enough to get playing time but aren’t developed enough if someone gets hurt. I guess that means that they are good enough for 12-15 minutes now but nothing beyond that. Well, that may be true for Teague but every other bench player has been around long enough to know what to do. Joe Smith, Zaza and Mo better know what to do if there is an injury… they have all started previously and are not wet behind the ears. The question becomes, are they GOOD enough to keep the ship afloat, not “are they developed”. If Terrapin Joe, Mo and Zaza aren’t developed by now, well…

Back to the “these teams have been hurt” argument… what do you think extra roster expense buys you if not quality depth? Let’s put it this way… if you could simulate a bench vs. bench tournament on NBA Live or NBA 2K or some other video game, who would finish in last place across the Hawks, Celtics, Magic and Cavs (again, bench players only)?

I applaud anyone who thinks that our roster is so good that with the right strategy and right line-up at various points in a game, that they could win a 7 games series against the Magic or Cavs. I ain’t buying it.

Every component of this team is lacking in comparison to the teams ahead of us. Is our best player better than any player on the other 3 teams? Is Woody a better coach? Do we have a higher payroll? Do we have a deeper bench? Old schoolers say it’s a big man’s game… do we have the best big man? New schoolers say it’s a PG’s game, do we have the best PG? I have no delusions of grandeur here. I’m just enjoying a team that is above average, relevant and generally very exciting. I’d be much too frustrated if my expectations were any higher.

Astro Joe

February 28th, 2010
11:06 pm

nire, Bucks had 2 20 second TOs at the end of regulation… at best, he could have shot the ball with 2 seconds left in case there was an offensive rebound to grab. But they definitely had a TO to call and move the ball to half-court and possibly win the game.

I think in those kind of situations, the ISO play is the right call because it gives you the best chance to manage the game clock. And with the oppsoing team having TOs, that is as important as the quality of the shot. That, and of course, fewer passes should mean a less likely chance for a turnover, which would also be harmful in that situation.

Big Ray

March 1st, 2010
1:52 am

Big Ray

March 1st, 2010
1:52 am

Not sure why I announced that at 2 a.m…..silly me….

vava74

March 1st, 2010
4:15 am

Astro,

ISO with no movement as decoy or screen?

dr.maryb

March 6th, 2010
4:11 pm

Blue-Ray

No-Man c*an mearsure another Man’s HEART.
If so, The DRAFT would not be a Lottery.

Down the Stretch? Losers become Spoilers. Why? Because: “This is the NBA Man!”
-Joe Johnson-

Plain & Simple … The Hawks MUST impose their WILL upon All future opponents!