Hawks get help from the outside

The Atlanta Hawks, seemingly unable to help themselves just now, are getting help. No, not a free agent player come to rescue them. Not a hypnotist to get them to focus on one thing (defense would be my choice). Not anything like that.

They’re getting help from an old enemy: the Boston Celtics. Say WHAT? Yes, those guys.

 After wrestling away the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics have lost two straight to teams that are not far north of a .500 record. In doing so, the Hawks and Celtics are tied with 40-23 records. Oh, Boston doesn’t mean to help. Not anymore than the Pacers meant to help us into the 8th seed (and subsequently, the playoffs) in 2007-2008. Appearing to have the driver’s seat locked up, the Pacers managed to lose more games than the Hawks did down the final stretch of the season, and eventually lost the playoff battle as well.

Deja Vu, anyone?

Could the same thing happen this season with the Celtics?

THEN AGAIN….

The Celtics are NOT the ‘08 Pacers. They aren’t weak, just damaged. They aren’t half built, just a bit dilapidated. The Pacers were trying to make do with Flip Murray at point guard (never a great option). The Celtics have one of the League’s better point guards in Rajon Rondo, and a nasty surprise off the bench in Nate Robinson. We’ve been burned enough by Nate when he was in New York. Could he do the same damage against us in Boston’s system? Perhaps it’s not the system, it’s how we defend him. Either way, the Celtics were and are a tough enough matchup without a guy like him in the mix. Then again….he’s no Eddie House. Don’t laugh. House is a guy who can’t be left alone anywhere on the perimeter. Nate can’t boast the same. He needs to get to the hole to help get his game going. But if you’ve been hanging around Hawksville for the last few months, you know that keeping penetrating guards under wraps is another problem Atlanta has. The Hawks are much stronger now, than they were in that season, but the Celtics are far, far stronger than Atlanta’s competition then, as well.

There are players on that squad with very strong wills, and very good skills. They have a good coach. Expecting them to falter after getting pounded at home is foolish. Expect them to fight to the finish.

GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES

As the saying goes, never look a gift horse in the mouth. The Hawks have a second chance now, and a third may not be coming. In fact, it’s folly to lay any expectations on a meltdown of one’s chief competitors. Make no mistake about it. Orlando may be who we chase in the division, but Boston is our truest competitor, and our best chance at . We need that #3 playoff seeding, and Boston needs it just as bad as we do. With both teams now neck-and-neck, the fight is on. Atlanta gets the first try at taking the lead with a game against Washington Thursday night. But there won’t be much breathing room. On Friday, Boston faces Indiana.

The good news is that while Atlanta’s remaining schedule isn’t the easiest, the Celtics’ schedule is just as rough, if not moreso. Of their last 19 or so games, only four are against opponents that are more or less guaranteed not to be playoff bound: Indiana, Washington, Sacramento, New York, and Detroit. The other 15 games are another matter altogether. All of the other teams have very good reasons for beating them. They’ll face the Bucks twice more (a team that beat them a couple nights ago, and is fighting to stay in the playoffs), The Cavaliers twice, the Rockets twice (fighitng for 8th spot, these guys never quit), Bulls (sliding, but still fighting for the 8th seed), Jazz, Mavs, Spurs, Nuggets, and Raptors. So, they have their work cut out for them.

The Hawks have to put the hammer down, starting in Washington Thursday night. Forget Orlando for the moment. Beat the team you’re really racing. That team is the Celtics.

Want more good news? Any tie-breakers with the Celtics are an automatic Hawks win, seeing as how the Hawks swept the season series with the Celtics. But that’s only good news if a tie is all you can manage. Forget the tie. Go for the win.

HAWKS VS. WIZARDS

Who are these guys? Losers of their last four, the Wizards are anything but the team that we’re used to seeing. And it’s not the losing that makes them unrecognizable, it’s the roster. Gone is matchup nightmare Antawn Jamison, who seems capable of doing 25 and 15 against us whenever he chooses. Gone is “tough juice” Caron Butler. What remains is a patchwork quilt of journeymen and youngsters, for the most part. The bench isn’t much to speak of, but the guys occupying it are generally serious about their craft, and can be solid enough if called upon.

Key Matchups

Did I mention that we don’t have to worry about Antawn Jamison in a Wiz uniform? While that may be a “quantum of solace”, there’s a minor problem. You see, this kid named Andray Blatche has emerged from the shadow of the bench, and it just so happens that his game is pretty effective. He’s got range on his jumper, and a big body (6′11″, 248). Having come forward as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder for the most part, Blatche’s future looks bright, and he’ll give the Hawks all they can handle. This could be a bit of a matchup problem for Al Horford or Josh Smith if the Hawks don’t figure out how to get Blatche out of his comfort zone.

Al Thornton had fallen on hard times in L.A., but a change of scenery and another shot at a starting job seems to have breathed new life into his game, though inconsistency is still an issue. Of course, like Blatche, playing for somebody other than Mike Dunleavy probably helped a whole heap. Upgrading to Flip Saunders ? So much the better. At any rate, both Thornton and Blatche can prove to be a pain in an opposing team’s hindquarters, but why have a tandem, when you can have a triumvirate?

The third guy who can prove to be trouble is none other than Randy Foye, a combo guard who runs the show in the backcourt, along with Mike Miller. Foye relies on his ability to penetrate nearly at will, given his weak shooting skills, and can be a load to contain if he is allowed to get hot. They key isn’t how often he gets in the lane. It’s how many good looks he can get from the arc. If Foye hits two or three 3-pointers, he usually scores well. In fact, only three times this season has Foye hit two or more 3-pointers and scored less than 14 points. All three times, he played less than 20 minutes.

On The Flip Side

The Wiz give up roughly 101 points per game, so a defensive team they are not. However, that doesn’t mean that Saunders won’t have them scrambling out there. Blatche and McGhee are both long-armed frontcourt players with good height, meaning they can bother shots if they put forth the effort. At the same time, Al Horford and Josh Smith have the speed to blow by their defenders and draw fouls on the way to the rim. If the Hawks want to establish an early lead, going to both would be a good idea. This is also a good opportunity for Marvin Williams to get back on track. Along with the task of corralling Al Thornton, Williams needs to get back to rebounding and being that efficient scorer that hits 3 of 5, 5 of 7, or 6 of 9 shots in a game.

The Hawks have a distinct advantage in the backcourt, provided that Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford are well rested and ready to go to work. There really isn’t a Wizard on the roster than can stop either guy, especially considering Josh Howard is out for the season with an injury. Both these guys and Mike Bibby need to step up their shooting, particularly if the Wizards try a zone defense. They also need to be on the lookout for cuts through the middle by Williams, Smith, and Horford. Oh, and a little pick-and-roll wouldn’t hurt either, would it?

Time for the Hawks to regain their lost focus. They’ll need it in this race.

74 comments Add your comment

KevinA

March 11th, 2010
2:44 am

I agree with the idea of atacking the rim. Marvin/JJ/Josh and Jamal need to take it to them eary and often.

Big Daddy

March 11th, 2010
3:45 am

I agree that Joe and Jamal need to step up their production and you mentioned the right word, “rested”. Joe, Jamal, Al and particularly Smoove looked tired in the 4th quarter against the Knicks. Woody is playing them too much. I noticed lately that he is, despite his promise to do otherwise, sticking to the 6 – 7 man rotation. Jamal and ZaZa are the only players getting any significant time off the bench. Also, I hope Woody is concentrating on how to play a zone. More and more teams are throwing it at us, particularly in the 4th quarter. With the guys already tired, they are jacking up three point shots. We have to do better than that.

Marcus

March 11th, 2010
6:17 am

We are missing a BIG opportunity …. the C’s are slipping and now we are even for the 3rd seed vs. us taking command. they got lumped up by 2 non-contenders to fall even with us.

Chills

March 11th, 2010
7:11 am

Where’s the Beef?

jg

March 11th, 2010
7:50 am

Right now we can’t afford to automatically put down a W against any team. If we come out and allow them to stay right with us or gain a big lead early we’re in trouble! For once this year I would love to see a beat down that goes from wire to wire–so we the fans don’t have to sweat another close game.

It’s a comforting feeling to know we are in the playoffs again this year–the discomfort to me right now is that the way we are playing and coaching doesn’t give me a lot of confidence against any team right now. Every team in the league (including the Nets) can beat the Hawks. That’s the scary thing about this team–when “on” the Hawks can just as easily beat any team in the NBA too..but those games are coming few and far between right now.

There’s still time for this team to get it back together however. This is not the time to be peaking–it’s close but not just yet. I watched the Celtics game last night and they really got smacked around. But Memphis hit every thing they threw up. I watched the Celtics play the Wizards earlier in the week and Washington was doing the same thing to them until about the last 3 minutes of the game when Boston turned it up defensively and stole the game right out from under the Wizards. Completely shut them down! I don’t think we have that ability to turn it up when we have to.

Finally, get things figured out now and fight hard every game no matter who we are playing. If that grants us the third seed than fine. If not–it’s still the playoffs man–as long as we’re playing with the fire and passion we’ve shown before we can still do some damage. I still think a small lineup change could make a big difference from here on out. Something like a minor thing like Joe Smith starting instead of Marvin or Mo Evans in place of Marvin. This move shouldn’t be treated as a Marvin demotion–but as a promotion to the second team in order to allow him to work on some lesser players from the other team.

Anywhoo just trying to think of way to rattle the Hawks’ cage a little bit–I think we’re still a couple of players away from sniffing the finals–but this team has been a joy to watch this year. I love the guys and will watch every game from here on out too–win or lose I’m with them. TIME TO MAKE YOUR LAST MINUTE ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE PLAYOFFS WOODY. Then that’s the time to take off.

O'Brien

March 11th, 2010
8:13 am

Ray,

Led by Randy Foye, the Wizards had a double digit 4th quarter lead in Boston a few nights ago (although they lost the game), so I hope the Hawks are prepared for a tough game.

I think Randy Foye has a good game against us (a lot of guards do, and yet Woody thinks his switching defense is hiding Bibby). And I think Thornton has a good game (like he usually does against the Hawks). Hopefully, Marvin will find some of his mojo.

I think our backcourt will have to carry the load, but I think we can get some fouls on Blatche and get him out the game.

I dont know how much stock to put in these numbers, but this is the Hawks record for the last 19 games each season Woody has been here;

04-05, 2-17
05-06, 6-13
06-07, 6-13,
07-08, 11-8,
08-09, 12-7.

I think they will improve on it this year.

westurd

March 11th, 2010
8:58 am

Maybe Marvin and Bibby can start on the beach and let JJ, Josh & Al start the game. 3 is the same as five these days.

Andre

March 11th, 2010
9:16 am

From my understanding if the Celtics win their division they will get one of the top 3 seeds, that go to division leaders. We would need to win our division to have a better seed than the Celtics. If the playoffs were to start today we would be the #4 seed facing the #5 seed Milwaukee Bucks. With the winner facing Cleveland/Miami winner.

MannyT

March 11th, 2010
9:38 am

The Hawks can (and hopefully will) be a #3 seed w/o winning the division.
http://www.nba.com/features/seedingprimer07.html

However, are we really any better off at 3 than 4? At least we keep games close vs the Cavs. Unless someone has slipped us some Mickey Kryptonite, we don’t want to see Mouse Daddy (Orlando) in the playoffs or anywhere else that has a basketball court.

The Wiz are exactly the type of team that has beat the Hawks lately…provided that they play some zone.

The Hawks will get into a run and gun, Flip Saunders style game – if they forget that their best offensive set is the defensive that gets a turnover and converts it into quick points.

BWAF

vava74

March 11th, 2010
9:53 am

Astro,

Carrying from last blog: Yes, unless Bibby starts to hits his shots again, I really feel that he is basically USELESS.

Everyone knows that you cannot do the pick and roll effectively with a PG who does not shoot and has lost the respect from the defenders.

His entry passes were never his specialty and JJ ends up handling the ball most of the time (bad shooting PGs have to bring a lot to the table to justify playing time and need to at least drive well in to the paint, also, Bibby was never a pure PG to start with so now that his shot is off, his lack of PG game is hurting us).

I stand for the point I made previously:

Woody should get JJ to do all the pick and roll stuff from now on since everyone respects his shot and his ability to use space and go into the lane for his floaters.

Consequently, I believe that AS IT CURRENTLY stands, starting West would give us a better result than starting Bibby.

Mario would be able to remain in front of his man defensively and would cover our backs in transition instead of trailing the opposition’s fast breaks by a mile as Bibby does right now.

Also, although he does not shoot, he would bring in hustle with a few offensive rebounds here and there as well as a few back door cuts since he can finish strong and with authority (unlike most of our guys).

One thing which annoys me is that Bibby is not that old, he is in terrible bad shape. He pants after 3 or 4 minutes of play.

I actually think that he is not as bad defender as people want to think he his, on the contrary, I think he is a smart defender at this point of his career, however, being as slow as he is now, his smarts are not enough to compensate and overall he is a disastrous defender, in particular against faster opponents.

The basic concept, again, is not to say that West should start, but merely that IF he did start, I don’t see too much of a fall back, on the contrary.

So, along the same line, I believe that we could even start Mo alongside JJ in the backcourt and go big and back to Knight’s original concept of a tall and versatile team.

Basically, the JJ at the point experiment was destined to fail because the existing roster was extremely weak but now I would be willing to try it again.

All the above, obviously, is under the assumption that JT0 would never get out of Woody’s dog house.

Daniel

March 11th, 2010
9:54 am

Manny T- I agree with you. I want the three seed, because well it is better than the four seed. But, secretly I would rather play Clevland than Orlando. However, we have to consider Clevland in the playoffs (besides being a great team) you KNOW they will get ALL the calls.

Daniel

March 11th, 2010
9:59 am

vava- I am coming around to the idea that Bibby is more of a detriment than help right now. Using West more (not as a starter) is an interesting idea. Particularly given the fact that defensive energy and focus is such an issue. The only problem is that Bibby can get it going at any time and we stand very little to no chance in the playoffs if Bibby is not hitting shots. So if he sits too much how can he regain his shot? It is a tough spot in both directions. I still think Teague will be more involved next year. I see Woody protecting him not dogging him, but that is just my opinion.

niremetal

March 11th, 2010
10:03 am

My “keep an eye on” player for tonight is Mike Miller. He hasn’t been scoring in volume recently, but his efficiency this year has been staggering. He’s leading the league in 3P% (.521), eFG% (.643), and TS% (.665), and is shooting .534 from the floor overall. The Hawks sometimes have a tendency to leave opposing wings open on the perimeter. Can’t do that with him or Nick Young (shooting .410 from deep this year).

vava74

March 11th, 2010
10:09 am

Daniel,

JT0 just needs minutes on the floor. Nothing can replace experience during real action games.

Obviously he was bound to struggle with the transition from College to the Pro game, but that can be easily explained: he played with an aggression and fearless demeanor (from what I saw in from the clips I manage to get around the web) that will take time to establish against the NBA defenses.

I believe that practice is fundamental, however, it is not enough to make a player blossom, you just have to take the “risk” of playing him more.

He needs to get more shots blocked and miss more floaters and shots in order to understand what he can do and how fast he must execute in order to upgrade his game to the pro level.

vava74

March 11th, 2010
10:20 am

nire,

with our current perimeter defense, these two guys could easily go 15 for 20 from deep tonight…

Artoo Beetoo

March 11th, 2010
10:28 am

Jason “the beef” Collins needs to play more. It’s the only way the Hawks will win the cup this year.

doc

March 11th, 2010
10:29 am

agree with manny t that the cavs are beatable by us, the magic arent; be careful what you ask for. i would also think the 5 or 6 seed team depending on who it is could knock us off. say it is miami at one of those seeds we might struggle more than against toronto for instance if we were to draw them say at us at 3 and them at 6. that is a kind of win while you lose proposition and why the first round can be fun and the occasional upsets manifested.

anyway i said at the start of the season we should finish ahead of the c’s based on our youth and their age and could give the cavs a hard time based on the same formula if we stayed healthy. well we are close approaching that and i would be disappointed if we didnt show some of that down the stretch. we are faltering so yes i am disappointed in what i see now, essentially a team just 4 or 5 games over 500 for the middle half of the season after a torrid start and no signs of getting back that mojo.

i saw some really good behind the scenes chatter recently and look forward to it when it goes mainstream. i guess that is called foreshadowing.

o’b i hope it is the same but with the cavs, magic, lakers and spurs on the list among others just not sure. cant assume the cavs might lay down for us in the last preferring us over the c’s by maybe wanting a win if necessary to get us by pushing us to four depending on the situation, sort of controlling their destiny. it will be interesting who they choose to go after if the race is close and down to the wire between us and the c’s.

dr.maryb

March 11th, 2010
10:33 am

The Hawks, Lakers & Celtiche have definitely hit the proverbial “Wailing-Wall”.
Better to do that now than in the PLAYOFFS?

The Hawks are gonna be fine – We the FANS are just magnifying every game to the Nth degree.
Lenny Wilkens said it best, “All a coach asks is that his team gives itself a CHANCE to WIN!”
This team has done that.

I like our CHANCES! I think the Hawks may be dissapoointed that the GM did not go out & get us any help in the post. So, now we got to back to the biz of just playing scrappy b-ball.

[...] discusses Davis’ audition for ‘The Blindside’ Pacquiao fights for the Celtics AJC     Hawks get help from the outside Enterprise    CELTICS NOTEBOOK: Shots have been lacking for Pierce and Allen Grizz Den   [...]

dr.maryb

March 11th, 2010
11:06 am

Blue-Ray

Your writing skills are out – standing. You definitely should be chasing stories as a Beat – Writer & not chasing criminals as a Beat – Cop.

Your vernacular, grammar, stlyle & perspective is not lost on this blog. Your’e my All-Star!

Hey they Hawks will go far. As far as Joe can take them without a proto-typical center.

Q: Who is gonna Stop – “The Beast in the East?”
A: No One!

O'Brien

March 11th, 2010
11:11 am

Although the Hawks have played the Cavs tough, I really think they will be the harder matchup in the playoffs. We already know that LeBron is going to get all the calls, and Marvin (or Mo, or JJ) wont be able to do anything to slow him down.

Plus they have added Jamison, who I think will give us fits. And we can’t matchup with their front court (Big Z, Shaq, Hickson, and Varajao). Since the issue with these Hawks is partly mental though, they might feel like they can beat the Cavs, especially since we’ve played them close and the shot clock malfunction contributed to one loss.

With the Magic, we have have the bigs (Al, ZaZa, Collins and RandMo) to play Howard and Gortat (even if our guys foul out). And I think just by playing D12 one on one will help, plus if we can do a better job rotating on defense to the shooters.

vava,

Bibby is not giving us anything much right now. I think he knows it, the team knows it and Woody knows it. But as a veteran, they will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt, and wait for him to start making shots again. And it is quite possible that Bibby can make big shots for us in the playoffs, so they will keep going to him.

But Woody should cut his minutes now. My plan would be to give him 5 minutes or so each quarter, but if he is sucking it up from early, I would reduce his second half minutes.

When Chauncey went down, Ty Lawson stepped up. When CP3 went down, Collison stepped up. Teague is not as good as those guys, but we won’t know what he is capable of if we never give him a chance, especially while Bibby continues to struggle.

And with Teague in the game, I would reduce the switching (although Teague picks up silly fouls sometimes).

vava74

March 11th, 2010
11:16 am

OB,

I have read somewhere that Teague owned Lawson in college ball.

I don’t know the accuracy of this report, however, I think his upside is bigger.

Maybe it is just the difference in experience and skill set. Lawson and Collison had 4 full years of college ball if I am not wrong and are more pure from a PG skill set point of view.

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
11:32 am

I dont think this Wiz team will be an easy win. Blatche is the guy on the Wizards that scares me. He’s been playing lights out since becoming a starter. And Thornton always given the Hawks problems. Foye, lit the Hawks up in the 1st half last time they played.

As for the playoffs, I dont think there’s easy team for the Hawks to matchup with in any round despite any regular season success or lack thereof….

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
11:40 am

OB,

I’m interesting in seeing how the Hawks will matchup with the Cavs now. Although they added Jamison who is an All-Star talent, he makes them smaller up front. Other than Lebron, the Cavs length was an issue that gave the Hawks problems. Shaq, Big Z and Varejao would control the boads that created too many extra possessions on offense and limited 2nd chance points on defense.

vava74

March 11th, 2010
12:35 pm

Jamison is kind of a softie but his outside shot will be very dangerous for us since it will either draw J-Smoove out of the paint or kill us from 3 point land.

With him, the Cavs are a worse match up for us.

aDrummer

March 11th, 2010
12:42 pm

I hope we get to play the bucks in the first round lol

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2010
12:43 pm

There’s a huge difference between winning A game and winning a 7-game series. I like our chances better of winning A game against the Cavs… I like our chances of winning a 7-game series better against the Magic. IMO, a 7-game series often goes to the team that can best rebound and defend the rim for 48 minutes and for the vast majority of games. The Cavs (once Z and Shaq are added) are just much too big and deep in the frontcourt. They can send wave-after-wave of quality bigs over 48 minutes.

Likewise, I’m not fearful of any 1st round opponent against us in a 7-game series.

O'Brien

March 11th, 2010
1:02 pm

Astro, co-sign.

I think the only top 4 team in the East that should be worried in the first round is Boston. And I prefer playing the Magic. Plus their shooters can be off.

Hawks need to take care of business and get the 2nd or 3rd seed.

Melvin

March 11th, 2010
1:02 pm

Astro,

Good point…

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
3:13 pm

For those of you who may be interested in the “peak oil” issue, here are a couple of links:

http://topnews.us/content/212981-peak-oil-period-be-attained-2014-alarm-scientists

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse/chapter-3-exponential-growth

The exponential growth chapter is EXTREMELY important. Do yourself a favor and listen for 6 minutes or so.

I admit to having my head in the sand about this, but no longer.

And my apologies to all who think this is a waste of blog space.

JimDawkins

March 11th, 2010
3:50 pm

Woodsen looks more like a barber or hair stylist than an nba coach. The guy is completely clueless when he is ranting and raving on the sidelines, foaming at the mouth on the sidelines and knocking over nba players like Jason Kid of the Mavericks. Woodsen hasnt got the foggiest idea of what to do to coach an nba team. FIRE HIM TODAY!

Sautee

March 11th, 2010
3:58 pm

truly1

March 11th, 2010
10:32 pm

YOU DO KNOW THAT WE CANT TIE WITH THE CELTICS BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING TO WIN THERE DIVISION AND DIVISION WINNERS BRAKE THE TIE SO EVEN THOU WE BEAT THEM 4 TIMES IT DOESNT MATTER

Big Ray

March 11th, 2010
10:33 pm

First and foremost, I’m glad we got the win tonight.

I didn’t get to see the game (working), so reading the box score and column is about all I’ve gotten. If I stray in my observations, please let me know:

1) Good thing the Jamal we came to know and like was around for the evening. We needed him. A lot.

2)Mike Bibby was on. That’s always good to see. When he’s hitting shots, it seems like he does other things to help us get by (4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals). When he’s not hitting shots, it’s like the other stuff isn’t happening either. Am I wrong about this?

3) Again, I didn’t see the game, so were we out of position most of the night, or did we just not give a rip about rebounding? We got the tar beat out of us on both the offensive and defensive glass, and Joe led us in rebounds. I don’t like that, it’s not a winning combo…

4) Didn’t get a lot from the bench out side of Crawford and Pachulia. Still, good to see Joe Smith involved in the offense. Now if we could get a little more production out of him, though when he does, he usually doesn’t see the floor again…

5) The free throw shooting was ugly, led by Smith and Williams, who seem to have the same disease tonight.

6) Judging by the stat line, Josh Smith made a lot of plays, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he played well. Did he or didn’t he?

7) Al Horford’s offensive involvment/effectiveness really does seem to be progressing nicely.

8) I knew Blatche was gonna rip us a new one. I didn’t know McGee would join him.

A win is a win, is a win, is a win. I’ll take it, pressure’s on the Celtics…

Big Ray

March 11th, 2010
10:41 pm

truly1 ,

After reading MannyT’s link, I stand corrected.

niremetal

March 11th, 2010
10:55 pm

Didn’t see it either, Ray, but as you said – a win is a win, no matter how small.

Astro Joe

March 11th, 2010
11:17 pm

Seems like wins like this count for less in the standings than other victories. But somehow, that only applies to the Hawks. At least, that’s my sesne after visiting MC’s blog.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2010
8:47 am

Did not see the game, so all I have is the box score.

It was good to see Bibby have some good numbers. I hope he can keep it going, (as opposed to one good game out of every 5). And Crawford looks like he is officially back as the SMOY. I also like Josh’s contribution in other ways (5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks).

The 2 things that concern me are missed FTs (15-25), and the rebounding (42-29). Those are stats that can cause you to lose a game. I do think the switching contributes to missed rebounding opportunities, because our bigs are out of position sometimes. But part of rebounding is also about effort, and the Hawks just dont seem determined enough to get the rebound sometimes..

That being said, good win for the Hawks. This Wizards team gave Boston all they could handle (in Boston) a few games ago, and almost won that game. So I’ll take the road win and move on.

What did you guys think of the “To sign or not to sign JJ” discussion on MC’s previous blog? I’m actually thinking that maybe the Hawks should NOT offer him the max 6 year deal (unless year 6 is a team option).

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2010
9:07 am

OB, I agree that in a perfect world the 6th year would be a team option. But would that be a deal breaker, or to nire’s great point a few days ago, do you gamble that somehow (with the new CBA) that his last year will be a valuable trading chip (like we have seen over the past few years). No doubt, it’s a gamble because one would assume that the owners will look to eliminate the trading of expiring deals as a way to manipulate the salary cap.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2010
9:11 am

OB, I saw most of the game and the rebounding was both effort and size disadvantage. Several times, McGee and Blatche simply reached over our bigs and grabbed the rebound. Also, the refs allowed the Wizards to get away with a lot of “over-the-back” fouls (but I’m not whining). There was a stretch when NO ONE could hit a free throw. Like there was a virus at the free throw line.

But what you would have liked is that Woody played Zaza, Joe Smith, Marvin, Jamal and Teague together at the beginning of the 4th quarter. And that unit playeed really good defense and extended the lead.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2010
10:00 am

I have concerns about whether or not JJ will be productive in year 5. He will be 32 going on 33, and he has played a lot of minutes in his NBA career. I dont think we will get much production out of him during year 5, and thats when we would need to trade him (even if trading him in year 6 won’t be a problem).

I like the Patriots model. Get rid of a guy one year too early, instead of one year too late.

Good to hear that our bench finally played well as an entire unit. If Teague continues to work on his game (he is the unproven one), that has the potential to be a solid bench unit.

Along those lines, I eventually agreed with vava about moving Marvin to the bench, and starting Mo at SG and JJ at SF (although that might seem drastic). So even if Marvin starts, I really like the idea of giving him more minutes with the bench players.

Good job Woody. Hopefully our bench will play well and force Woody to give them more PT.

With the rebounding inconsistencies, the Hawks need another big whose main focus is to rebound. Maybe that rebounding/blocking machine from the SEC (Mississippi St) can help us out.

vava74

March 12th, 2010
12:36 pm

OB,

Since JJ’s game does not depend from his physical skills as much as for instance Wade, I think he will still be very productive until later in his career.

I actually think that JJ should continue to get 15ppg 5reb 5ass at 32/33 since he will probably adapt his game to be more of a facilitator and spot shooter rather than depending on mid-range game.

Where is game will probably suffer is on defense: see Finley’s game as an example since I believe that they have some similarities.

As for the Patriots policy, I am not much of a football fan but wasn’t the dumping of older but still serviceable defensive players the Patriots’ Achilles heel this year?

vava74

March 12th, 2010
12:37 pm

my goodness, so many typos and grammatical glitches…

O'Brien

March 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

vava,

It hurt the Patriots some this year, but they still went 10-6. And (off the top of my head), they’ve still had a good run of like 7 seasons out of 8. Although JJ might be our Tom Brady.

If this team had the revenue like the big market teams, I would not be as skeptical of a max contract for JJ. But we will need to resign Crawford, give Al an extension, get a starting PG (if Teague is not the answer), and upgrade the rest of the bench.

And I’m also worried about JJ being injured, because he has played a lot of minutes. For his career, he is averaging 37 mpg.

Maybe he would be willing to take a “hometown” discount to stay with the Hawks.

niremetal

March 12th, 2010
1:34 pm

O’Brien,

Not even Duncan agreed to a contract for less than he was worth at this stage in his career. It was 4 years after he got a contract that guaranteed him a fifth and sixth year (and at the max) that he agreed to take a paycut to give the Spurs cap flexibility. And Duncan is the only player in the league who has done even that. We can’t expect JJ to take a relative paycut at the front-end on what will be the last and most lucrative long-term deal of his career.

JJ is unlikely to have serious injury issues due to minutes because his style of play doesn’t stress his body like most wings do. He’s not a high flier, he doesn’t barrel into the lane and crash unnecessarily to the ground in an effort to get a whistle, and his strategy for scoring is based on creating separation rather than drawing contact. Players with his that style of play – like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and guys like Alex English and John Havlicek in the days of old – tend to be productive and healthy for a long time. That’s the upside of a player having less-than-elite athleticism.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2010
2:00 pm

A hodge-podge of good info/insight attached. I like the Gladyr update and the note about which playoff teams don’t have a resident statistician. (and some think that we’re an offensive coordinator away from being a contender… it will take more investment than just a clever dude with a clipboard).

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/?gcid=C12289×022&gtkw=Hoopinion

niremetal

March 12th, 2010
2:14 pm

LaGree is behind the ball. I’ve been giving Gladyr updates all year long :twisted:

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2010
2:40 pm

nire, yes you have. And the other guy too. But I don’t recall you rpoviding a Dionn Glover update? :lol:

lexluther

March 12th, 2010
3:43 pm

My prayer is that Marvin Williams take a very hard look at himself in the mirror. Decide right now that he is going to be a force both offensively and defensively the remainder of the regular season. I hear Nique say all the time that he needs to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball and I agree. MARVIN..play strong. Drive the rock to the basket with determination. Stop letting guys strip the ball when you are in the paint. Produce like a number 2 pick. Work hard, inside then out. Make your jumper a second option. Do you part man. You got it in you I see it. Jamal, Joe, Josh, Al and Mike see it too. You are from the SEATAC area. GO HARD!!!!!

lexluther

March 12th, 2010
3:53 pm

And another thing…. If that guy Mike Woodson want to put up a good stand for a contract extention I suggest this. You didn’t take Teague in the first round to hold down bench space. We are going to need his speed both offensively and defensively in the playoffs. Get this cat some minutes with the first unit. Get him adapted to pushing the ball up the floor with the quickness of Al, Josh and Marvin. A few quality minutes with the first unit will pay big dividend in the playoffs. Believe me.
Also, play Joe Smith more!!!!! Yes he’s an aging vet. But the guy is still producing and he needs to air out before the playoffs. You are probably saving Collins for SHAQ huh. Listen, the guy can still play. He was on some quality teams in Jersey. Let the guy earn some of that money ya’ll paying him. Moe, Mario, ZaZa are going to do their parts. Jamal is a given. But if you don’t take this advice to heart you mark my words you shall be amongst the million looking for work next season.
BETCHA!!!!!