Missing Joe and the Triple P II

If there is anything you can count on about a Hawks loss, it’s the diverse, yet very predictable reasons offered by us fans. Many will blame their favorite whipping boy players (how does this not get old?). Some will blame the coach. Same stuff every time. But in all of this, one much maligned guy gets a break: Joe Johnson. So how much do the Hawks miss him?

 

With or Without You

First off, a sample size of two games is not even remotely enough to begin forecasting what the Hawks will be like if Joe Johnson is gone from Atlanta come summertime. Let’s be honest, most of us are thinking about exactly that. Rather than how many games down this, the final stretch, that Joe will miss, and the impact it could have on this team in its bid for the #3 playoff seeding. Rather than whether or not Joe will be fully healthy (and rested) for the playoffs and how that can affect this team’s performance in the playoffs. Seriously, do we want to go into the postseason for the third year in a row with a less-than-100% Joe Johnson? I know I don’t. The Hawks don’t, either. But that’s just not where the drama is. Skip all that other stuff that has to happen first. We want to know what this team could be like without Joe. So what the heck, let’s discuss a few points and/or ideas. Also, let’s remember what many of you have already stated: No team goes on without missing its best player, and the Hawks are clearly a better team with Joe Johnson, than they are without.

_ Let’s look at the two games the Hawks just played without Joe. Do they really prove anything? The Nets were easily vanquished once the Hawks got rolling. There wasn’t really much difference between that game and the other two victories. With or without Joe, the Nets currently do not have what it takes to compete with the Hawks (unless the Hawks allow it), much less beat them. That’s the most simple conclusion to come to. Not much to learn here about what the Hawks look like without Joe.

_The Raptors game, however, provided a little bit more data to work with. What does Joe bring to a game against a more sturdy opponent. You could say offense, but with Jamal Crawford around and doing his thing, Joe’s offense isn’t missed nearly as much.  Really, you’re looking more at offensive substitution. Joe’s 20+ ppg are easily offset by Jamal exploding for 30+ and Bibby scoring in the teens. However, if both guys are off, Johnson is missed noticeably and sorely.

_The one thing that simply cannot be accounted for is defense. Joe Johnson is on a totally different plane defensively, when he is putting forth the effort. Jamal Crawford is trying to overcome the better part of a decade of bad defensive habits and performance. Mike Bibby is past the point of being physically able to overcome his defensive deficiencies. Jeff Teague is a rookie who shows effort, but lacks sound fundamentals on defense. Mo Evans is decent-to-good, mostly when he is allowed to guard his natural position (shooting guard).  Here is where Johnson stands alone, head and shoulders above his backcourt teammates. Joe can guard the 1, 2, and 3 spots better than the rest of them. Better than starting SF Marvin Williams. Joe doesn’t play lock down defense all game, but when he gets on you, things are going to get real tough, real quick. As some of you have pointed out already, Joe’s defense against Hedo Turkoglu or DeMar Derozan could have made a difference in the game against the Raptors.

The Hawks are going to learn even more about themselves against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday, if Johnson is in street clothes again. If nothing else, it will give us another game against a historically tough opponent, to judge what the Hawks can do and be without Joe around.

_One last thing, and maybe it should be the first thing mentioned. For all the hype and drama surrounding Joe Johnson’s free agency (and it has yet to reach its zenith by a long shot, I assure you), we cannot reasonably get a fix on what the Hawks will look or operate like without Joe Johnson. Not right now. Why? Well, is there any reason to believe that Sund will leave the team looking exactly like this? I say NO WAY. While the options are likely to be anything but appetizing, if ownership and management are in any way serious about competing at more than just a middle level, they will be making moves to recover from something they may not be able to avoid. There could be a new coach, and that impact alone could be momentous (though in which direction is the question). Al Horford could find himself at PF. There could be a new SF in town. The bench mob isn’t likely to stay the same. You just never know. So let’s save that forecast for later, and maybe try to concentrate on what’s happening now, and in the nearer future.

 

Josh and the Jumper

Okay, so he promised no 3-pointers, and aside from a half dozen…cough, coughaccidents…Josh has kept his promise. But what about all these 20 and 21 footers? Smith makes some, but when he misses it usually looks bad. How many of these are coming during key points in the game? How many do you feel are losing us games? Some are of the belief that Josh needs to stick with scoring at the rim, or at least very close to it. I disagree (hey, is that news or what? ), as I feel that his game has room for growth into this area. I think the problem rests in more than one category.

First of all,  it’s hard to find fault with his work ethic based on how the rest of his game has come along this season. But I can’t seem to shake the idea that he is working on his jumper either with the wrong methods, wrong people, or at the wrong time. Marvin expanded his range to 3-point territory during the summer. I think Josh should work on his jumper then as well. Why? Because there is more room for distraction during the season. There are other things to work on, and perhaps building on something you’ve started in the summer is better than trying to start something during the season. Some players have the capability to do both, but I don’t think Josh Smith is one of them. But what do I know? Maybe he has been working on his jumpshot during the summer as well. I kind of doubt it, though.

Second, Smith’s athletic ability is incredible. While he’s not impossible to stop when he’s going to the basket, most teams have difficulty doing so. The problem is that when you’re playing the better teams in the league, accompanied by the better coaches….you don’t get to play the way you want to. At least not all game long. Good coaches will let you have your way, then shock you with a change in defensive scheme in the fourth quarter. Or, they may take you out of your element right off the bat, putting the pressure on another player to perform. No matter how it happens, and with the offensive sets that the Hawks tend to run, Smith will find himself in a position to take a jump shot. Most of the time it will be open, for reasons that are obvious. What better way to make a defense pay than being able to hit the mid-range jumper when you’re left open?

Third, Smith’s passing ability has finally come to the forefront, as we’ve seen this season. Becoming a credible threat when left open on the perimeter can only enhance this skill of his. If teams are forced to run out on Josh, he can then flash past the defender to the basket, or he can pass it off to a teammate who is in position to score. What’s wrong with that? Here’s another thought: If Joe isn’t in town after summer, and the Hawks get a bigger guy to log some serious minutes at Center, where does that put Josh? You guessed it….on the perimeter.

So what do you think…should Josh Smith really just leave all jump-shooting alone? What about his free throws, are his struggles there linked somehow? What’s the best way for Smith to improve his outside shooting?

 

TRIPLE P (Possible Playoff Preview) Part II

Another possible first round opponent for the Hawks is the Charlotte Bobcats, a team who has played the Hawks tough nearly every time for the last few years. With the Hawks sinking back into 4th place, and the Bobcats only a game and a half out of 5th, the possibility of such a first round matchup becomes closer to reality than is comfortable. The season series stands at 1 and 1, with both teams having beaten the other at home. Two games are left. Friday’s contest is in Phillips Arena, while the last one will be played in Charlotte. The Bobcats probably feel like they smell blood, and will want to make a statement by taking one on the road. However, Atlanta has jealously guarded homecourt with a record that is fifth best in the League. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this game.

HAWKS VS. BOBCATS

The Joe Factor

Like it or not, we just can’t get away from talking about the team’s best player. However, there is some bad news that might actually turn out to be good…in a twisted sort of way. Fact is, Joe hasn’t played his best against the Bobcats this season. Maybe it’s the defensive concepts employed by Charlotte head coach Larry Brown, or simply the matchups against the players themselves. Either way, Joe has averaged less than 17 ppg on 12 for 29 shooting, along with about 4 assists and 2 rebounds per game. Now before you take that and run, consider that one contest was a 20 point loss to the ‘Cats and the other was a 14 point win for the Hawks. 17 points is 17 points, people. On the flip side of the coin, Joe also had most of his misses down the stretch of both games, when he was trying to make something happen on the offensive end of the court. At the same time, who now gets to defend Stephen Jackson?

Back On The Glass

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Hawks won’t likely win this game if they lose the battle on the boards by a differential of more than 4 or 5. When they lost to the ‘Cats by 20, they were outrebounded by 21. While foul trouble limited Josh Smith, there is no other reason for this to have happened, and the Hawks can’t continuously lean on Joe Johnson to help pick up the slack in this department. Of course, they may not even have that option in Friday’s game. In the home win, the Hawks were still outrebounded, but only by 2. Atlanta can win games like that, especially if they have a hot player on offense, a couple of support scorers, and make some defensive plays when they have to. But to win against the ‘Cats, getting busted on the boards simply can’t happen. It’s asking for a loss. To avoid this, Marvin Williams has to step up and stop lurking in the shadows, Josh Smith has to give his usual effort and stay out of foul trouble, and Al Horford needs to spend less time guarding the perimeter, while maintaining his focus in the paint. But if I had to pick just one guy who may be the main key to this, it’s Marvin Williams.

Share the Ball….Please!

This team has proven to be pretty capable with the ball, being one of the lowest turnover teams in the league. But that doesn’t seem to help as much as you’d think it would. Low turnovers don’t automatically equal high assists, and this team THRIVES on assists. You may or may not think the Hawks execute too many ISO plays, but we’ve proven we can move the ball around. The difference between doing so and not, is absolute night and day. Case in point, the loss to Charlotte included just 7 turnovers from the Hawks. Unfortunately, the assist total only came to 10. How about in the win? Well, the turnovers did more than double, increasing to 12. But the assists more than tripled, totaling 32. Could it be a mere coincidence that the Hawks also shot over 51 percent in the win, as opposed to less than 40 percent in the loss? We can argue this one all day, probably, but the fact remains that the more that ball is shared, the better the chances are that someone is getting a good scoring opportunity.

 

The Hawks follow this game up with another home game against the Spurs, so they could use the momentum of a good home win, especially after another road loss. Can they get this thing done, or will the surging Bobcats prove to be too much? How bad will the Hawks miss Joe if he can’t play in this game? Can Jamal Crawford continue to lead the way on offense, or will he go cold after four straight good shooting performances? Is Marvin going to show up? You know we were one trade away from seeing the uber-exciting matchup of Law vs. Teague, right?

87 comments Add your comment

RaJaH

March 19th, 2010
6:03 am

“You know we were one trade away from seeing the uber-exciting matchup of Law vs. Teague, right?”

SMH…..

[...] View full post on Google Alerts – Charlotte Bobcats [...]

Astro Joe

March 19th, 2010
9:21 am

Kind of funny, Al Horford tweets that couldn’t watch the end of the Gators game because he was too nervous. Fascinating how he can score in tight games, make clutch free throws and step up in late game situations, but he can’t watch a college game on television.

Now he knows what it feels like to be a fan, sometimes it’s torturous.

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
9:23 am

Good Blog Ray,

The more assists we have probably mean less ISOs, and more people are involved on offense. Sharing the ball leads to easier shots on offense, and its easier to set up your defense after your offense has scored.

I don’t think Josh’s jumper and FTs are related. His first 4 years in the league, he averaged .70% on his FTs. The last 2 seasons he is averaging .61%.

Marvin didn’t take many 3s early on in his career, because he didn’t have the range. The Spurs coach basically told Tony Parker not to take any 3s early on in his career either, because he didn’t have the range, and he was a better player driving to the basket (or setting his teammates up).

Josh is also a much better player driving to the basket, playing around the rim, or setting up his teamates. In the playoffs, teams will leave him open, tempting him to take those jump shots, so I don’t want him to fall in love with it.

Stop taking those long jumpers (until he has worked on it some more over the summer). But in the meantime, I hope Josh is staying after practice and shooting extra FT under the watchful eye of Mark Price.

The interesting thing to me is since we hired Mark Price, I really haven’t seen much improvement in our players and their shooting (or is it just me?).

If I’m the Hawks, Charlotte is the one team I don’t want to face in the first round. They have guard depth and front court depth, and they have an NBA championship HC. With or without JJ, I hope the Hawks play well and beat the Bobcats tonight. With the Spurs coming in on Sunday (and Orlando winning again last night), this is not the time for losing streaks.

vava74

March 19th, 2010
10:10 am

Ray,

You touched the right cord: our 4th quarter woes are a direct consequence of us being out coached at the end of games.

It’s typical: good teams (well coached teams) reserve their best defensive strategies (or a sudden change of strategy) for the last stretch of the game (obviously when they are still at a shooting distance from us).

When this happens, we fail to adapt and lose the games. It’s baffling to hear Crawford saying that he could not get the ball to Al because he was being fronted by TOR’s defenders (who, as we know, are fierce opponents…).

Why didn’t he drive and dish? Or played the pick and roll with either Al or Josh?

And why the hell Josh stopped finishing with authority? When was the last time he dunked in traffic? He needs to work on the ‘Nique jump (two feet set).

Josh’s jumper: yes, he should work on it and develop a mid range game. The problem is that he is still launching almost from 3 point land when should receive, put the ball on the floor and pop after one dribble (shooting in rhythm instead of with his feet set) when he managed to be at least 5 feet closer than from where he is currently shooting.

In summary: Josh first needs a midrange game (and better – more controlled – post moves) before he can be trusted to try mid to long jumpers.

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
11:13 am

vava,

That has been the Hawks makeup. If an opponent denies them plan A, they dont do a good job of passing the ball around and trying to come back to it (if time allows), or if the entry pass isn’t there on one side, they dont swing the ball and switch sides. And their plan B usually results in ISOs or jump shots.

Woody gets outcoached sometimes, but part of it is on the players too (especially JJ, Bibby and Crawford). They must be willing to pass the ball and not give up on a play so quickly sometimes, and they need to help guys get in position.

As for Josh not finishing with authority, 2 plays come to mind. The play at the end of the Knicks game in NY which got blocked by Chandler from behind). If he goes for the dunk, he might have been headed to the FT line. And the game against the Raptors, second to last offensive possession for the Hawks, he misses from up close. If he was going for a dunk, I think he would have been fouled.

Astro Joe

March 19th, 2010
12:15 pm

Josh is learning. So are the Hawks with regard to how to feed the post against various defenses. And Al will need to continue to work on how to get open against multiple defenses as well. I’m enjoying the growth I see from this team and I do think that the team will “do us proud” in the playoffs.

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
12:56 pm

AJ,

I’m enjoying the growth too, and these guys are still young with lots of room for more growth.

2 interesting links from nba.com about our Hawks. Hawks have defense and defensive rebounding issues.

http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/john_schuhmann/03/10/hawks/index.html

http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/john_schuhmann/03/18/hawks.transition/index.html

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
1:05 pm

AJ,

I like the growth too. And the good thing is these guys are young, and there is more room for continuous growth.

I’ve been trying to post 2 links from nba.com talking about the Hawks defense issues, and their defensive rebounding issues. But I can’t get it to go through.

Marcus

March 19th, 2010
1:29 pm

O’Brien, if memory serves, the end of the last NYK game, Josh was going up 2-handed from side of the rim and the defender met him just before the rim and denied the dunk. He wasn’t going Charles Smith on us …. he was throwing it down, just a better block.

Astro Joe

March 19th, 2010
2:02 pm

vava74

March 19th, 2010
2:07 pm

AJ,

Nothing short of a miracle will produce a second round exit in more than 5 games.

I like the growth but I justifiably doubt that Woody is able to keep up with the players (yes, our offense is slightly better also on account of Woody’s making some progress, however it’s insuficient as these 4th quarter dry spells prove).

I hope that JJ resigns but unless we manage to get a coach which able to adjust within games and manage the roster rotation better, we will be stuck being a non competitive playoff team.

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
2:33 pm

Thank AJ.

vava,

The Hawks are capable of winning at least 2 games in the second round. The players must be able to execute the game plan efficiently, but Woody’s adjustments will be a big factor.

Assuming we play Orlando, do we continue to double Howard and leave the shooters open? Do we intentionally foul him and put him at the line?

If the switching defense is not working, do we go away from it? How do we respond to the zone defense? Will 4 starters (and Crawford) play the entire 4th? And if they look worn out in the 4th, what does Woody do?

The Hawks second round performance will be a big factor towards the length and salary of Woody’s next contract, so I hope he steps his game up.

Although reading the nba.com articles suggests that our defense has gotten worse as the season progresses, I just hope the players will do what Woody has always preached. Defend and rebound.

Hopefully, we wont have those 4th quarter scoring woes either.

Astro Joe

March 19th, 2010
2:55 pm

I f Woody is a decent coach for 40 minutes, I guess I’m not willing to believe that there are so many coaches available who are good for 45+ minutes. Based on the number of coaches who routinely get fired, seems like most are good for closer to about 32-36 minutes. Also, based on the fact that we will at a minimum, finish with a top 8 record in the league (which I think is top 25-30%.

And yes, there will be droughts in various quarters in the playoffs. Much like our team creates droughts for other teams, they will do the same for us. It’s part of each team trying to beat the other.

Marcus

March 19th, 2010
3:00 pm

Astro,
based on that analysis by Schumann……..what 1st round player in the 2010 draft could help address the transition D and/or improve rebounding?

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
3:32 pm

AJ/O’B,

That NBA.com article today reminded me of something I really noticed in the Toronto game. The one area of Josh’s game in which I’d say he’s regressed this year is more a matter of effort/strategy than skill: Far more often than in the past, he lingers a couple seconds on the offensive end to complaint to the refs about a missed foul call instead of running straight back to help stop a fast break. I saw the Raptors push and score at least 3 times when Josh did that in the last game. Now obviously I can’t blame the resultant points entirely on Josh; there are 4 other defenders on the floor too. But Josh is not just the best transition defender on the Hawks; I’d argue he’s the best transition defender in the league. Lots of teams won’t even attempt to run a 3-on-2 break if Josh is one of the 2 that gets back. Working the refs might help on the margins (and even then, it’s dubious unless you’re an offensive force on the level of Kobe or LeBron), but Josh needs to recognize that those 2-3 seconds he spends whining instead of running can be the difference between a fast break bucket and a bad possession for the other team.

As for what Josh needs to work on…I’ve said my bit on that. My view is that anyone who takes a 21-foot jumper should be shot to begin with (either step back and take the damned 3 or step forward and take it to the damned rim) because that is the least efficient shot in the entire game. And Josh is worse than average from that already-bad range. You can do the math on how much it makes sense for Josh to ever shoot those shots. Those are actually worse shots than the 3s he used to take.

Josh doesn’t strike me as someone who lacks in work ethic, so I don’t think practice has ever been the issue with regard to his jumper. The issue is mechanical. If he wants to be consistent from outside 10 feet, he needs to overhaul his shooting mechanics to get rid of 1) the up-and-back-then-forward “hitch” in his shot; 2) the fact that he tends to fade slightly whenever shoots; and/or 3) the fact that he doesn’t elevate at ALL when he shoots (he has a 40″ vertical and I, with a 10″ vertical, seriously get about the same elevation as him on my jumper). But overhauling shooting mechanics at the age of 25 is really risky. In fact, I can’t think of a single player in NBA history who successfully overhauled their shot after their first or second year in the league. That’s why I think Josh needs to work on post moves and his turnaround in order to survive offensively once his athleticism fades. Plenty of NBA players his size survive with a close-in game well into their 30s. Josh can too. His main value will always be his defensive anticipation, and that will always be there as long as he keeps his effort level where it is now. I don’t want Josh spending his summer on what I think would prove to be a fruitless effort to turn him into Zach Randolph or Antonio McDyess.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
3:35 pm

And PS – there’s a big, big difference between extending the range on a solid mid-range jumper (like Marvin, TP, and Majerle way back when did) and developing a solid jumper in the first place.

Astro Joe

March 19th, 2010
4:17 pm

Marcus, I’m on record as being a fan of Jarvis Varnado specifically and a “tweener” in general. I’m been on the tweener kick for at least two years now. Guys like Jason Maxiell (before he discovered Moon Pies), Brandon Bass and Craig Smith intrigue me. I like Varnado because I think his ability to block shots and rebound would be valuable to our second unit. I have no visions of him being anything more than an outstanding defender for 20 minutes a gmae off the bench.

nire, I agree with your assessment. In addition to trying to lobby to the refs for himself, he is now doing the same for his teammates. Frankly, I don’t hink that he has the credibility with refs to argue anything. While he has matured as a player, I think refs would be hard pressed to give him the same praise. In terms of his development, I’d like to see him continue to work on his east-west offensive skills. He’ll be able to out-quick PFs longer than he will be able to jump over PFs.

Schulman touched on a big part of our problem in transition, offensive rebounding. I understand that his stats say that it isn’t a huge part of our offense but he is wrong. This team feeds off of energy and emotion and the plays that are “high energy” plays tend to lift this team to another level. Blocked shots, offensive boards, steals, dunks… those send this team to another level. I don;t see the same passion for defensive rebounding (unfortunately) nor for defending so well that it results in a shot clock violation. They would rather go for the steal than play man-up defense. But anyway, the desire to :live for the moment” sometimes means they don’t transition well to the next phase because they are still living in the previous phaas. My guess is that is a young-thing.

Flappin' Hawk

March 19th, 2010
5:33 pm

Josh has more mechanical moves in his jump shot than Shakira has hip thrusts. The dude has long arms so he’s got the ball cocked way back behind his head with his elbow bent way below parallel with the ground. Like a golfer’s swing with a lot of hitches he has to get a lot right on his follow through to be accurate from long range. If he could learn to shoot the jumpshot with the upper arm parallel to the court and take some of that extra arm movement out of his shot his accuracy would increase. Just watch any Pete Maravich video or even JJ Redick’s shooting video. If Smoove had a jumper he would be a perennial allstar no question. Keep shootin’ em, Smoove…just please change your long range form!

Sautee

March 19th, 2010
7:39 pm

AJ,

Yeah, I think Varnado could be what we HOPED Solo would be. Maybe doesn’t shoot as well.

I’ll say this. I think he has the best hands of any big in college. And terrific instincts for blocks.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
7:58 pm

Man, what the hell is with these ‘Cats? They beat up on us, the Lakers, and no one else, I swear…

O'Brien

March 19th, 2010
8:05 pm

nire,

They beat up on the Cavs too (but yet they have lost twice to the Nets).

AJ,

One thing I found interesting from that article, is that although the Hawks get more than their fair share of offensive rebounding, they dont turn them into points often enough.

But rebounding is mostly about effort, and for whatever reason, we dont box out and show the desire needed to get a defensive rebound consistently.

I think Marvin (6′9″ SF) should average more rebounds than he does, and I would like to see Al and Josh average 10-12 rebounds each. I dont know how much of it is caused by the switching, or if we are in a hurry to get back on offense, so we run out too quick.

But I would like to see Josh stop whining, and just get back.

As for draft picks, I like the kid melvin or nire mentioned (SF Paul George), and I also like Varnado. If Varnado can give 12-15 significant minutes off the bench (defend, rebound, block shots for the second unit), that will be good enough for me.

vava74

March 19th, 2010
8:46 pm

Charlotte problem is that they have a few players – like Jax – that man up and put a good effort against stronger opposition but relax against lesser opponents.

That’s the main problem about hiring “thug type” players who have the talent but don’t have the work ethic to bring it every day.

Also, this type of player may have a good initial impact – if they addapt like seems to have – but then their “novelty” status (at both ends) fades.

vava74

March 19th, 2010
8:51 pm

Like Jax seems to have

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
8:56 pm

The starters were mostly atrocious in the first half with only Marvin truly responding worth anything. Josh was making one “almost good” pass after another, and I think part of that was the ‘Cats realizing he can pass, and staying in the passing lanes.

Joe looked incredibly aggressive on both sides of the court, but after not getting a couple of foul calls and then getting nailed for a traveling call that was utter BS, he slowed down.

The ISO was in full effect, and I could see where one player didn’t want it a couple of times, and had to yell at the others to get them moving.

They were also getting their clocks cleaned on the glass.

Enter the bench. Man, what an injection of energy, defense, cohesion. I was proud to see it.

vava74

March 19th, 2010
8:58 pm

Man, get Bibby and JJ out of there and somebody slap Josh out of his slumber!

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:00 pm

Finally! Nice move, Josh.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:30 pm

It’s abundantly clear that JJ should have been held out tonight. He’s like Lieutenant Dan out there tonight.

Josh: You’re an MVP when you play within yourself. But you look terrible when you try to play like you’re Nash.

FEED AL.

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:32 pm

LOL@ Nire !

And co-sign the rest of the post…

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:40 pm

Strong move by Tyrus, and it should have been an and-1. He’s played much better since he got out of Chi-town.

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:41 pm

Need to keep feeding Al. Good things coming from that.

Poor Joe can’t buy a good play tonight. Geesh…

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:41 pm

Nire ,

It’s amazing what a change of scenery and much better coaching can do for a player.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:45 pm

I’m tellin ya…these ‘Cats…

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:48 pm

Everyone in the arena but Josh saw Felton coming behind him. Man we got away with that one.

Feed Al.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:50 pm

Someone must have told Joe what I said!

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:53 pm

This is some kind of exciting. Even Vava has to come out of the doldrums for a moment. ;)

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:56 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Look. I know y’all just hate Josh taking that jumper, but WTF was he going to do?

And if it had gone in, it would have been the worst thing for him, and YOU KNOW IT.

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
9:57 pm

And whomever thought that play was “designed” that way is clueless.

It was helter skelter, Joe dribbled over there but couldn’t get loose, and the closest guy who was open was Josh. There you have it.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
9:57 pm

Why was Josh there? At first glance I thought that was Marvin because that’s where he’d usually be. Frankly, I’d rather Jamal or Joe take a heavily contested shot and have Josh crashing the boards to get the miss (we already won one game that way this year) than position Josh deep in the corner like that.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:01 pm

No one is saying the play was “designed” that way, Ray, but someone needed to make it clear to Josh that he has no business being 20 feet from the bucket with 4 seconds left to play. We have a better chance with him getting an o-reb off a miss than we do with him shooting a long jumper. Designed or not, someone needed to tell him where should and shouldn’t be with 4 secs left.

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:02 pm

Bad shot, Joe. Just because you’re feeling it doesn’t mean you should be forcing it.

And then a beautiful O-reb by Marv, swing by Josh, and shot by Joe!

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
10:04 pm

Somebody tell me why Woody is calling a timeout? What’s he going to do….design a play?

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:04 pm

These Bobcats play physical…not that we didn’t already know that…

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:04 pm

I think Wallace took down Marvin hard on the last play, Ray. He might have wanted to check and see if Marv was hurt.

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
10:05 pm

Nire,

You know why Josh was there. ;)

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
10:09 pm

Well, we definitely know what play was drawn up on Woody’s little chalk board….

Plan A: ISO

Plan B: Another ISO

Plan C: Guess what?

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
10:11 pm

Joe the hero! I love it!

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:12 pm

HHHHHEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL YEAH!!!!!!!1

Big Ray

March 19th, 2010
10:13 pm

I can’t think of a better ending for that game. I really can’t.

Now if we can just keep the bench from injuring Joe via celebration :lol: :lol:

Has Jason Collins ever moved that fast? :)

vava74

March 19th, 2010
10:25 pm

Woody sucks big time gentlemen:

called a time out with 1.19 to go with the hawks up by 3 after a miss by Jax.

results?

1. Gave a breather to the defense to rest and regroup.

2. Gave the ‘cats enough time also to regroup offensively and for Larry Brown to stop Jax from shooting more from 3

3. We came out WITHOUT ANYTHING DESIGNED OFFENSIVELY AND WENT INTO ISO JOE AND ISO JAMAL

that is a clear testament of Woody’s complete ineptitude!

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:43 pm

Vava,

We won. The most important play call of the game worked. Enjoy it :)

niremetal

March 19th, 2010
10:47 pm

JJ in the first three quarters: 0-9

JJ in fourth Q and OT: 7-12

I guess he didn’t like the Lt. Dan crack :D

Big Ray

March 20th, 2010
1:28 am

That was a play call at the end? Man please, that was all Joe.

vava74

March 20th, 2010
5:36 am

nire,

you know as well as I do that we did not win the game, it was Jax who lost it with those stupid 3 consecutive shots from outside.

he bailed Woody big time who was horrendous in the bench to close game.

One of the most stupid time outs EVER.

Joe mama

March 20th, 2010
7:44 am

Rebounding was not great. I was surprised to see the Hawks actually had more rebounds, 51-49. ”

“Charlotte is top 10 in the NBA in rebounding differential. If you can out-rebound them you are doing well on the boards. Especially for a team like the Hawks, which is near the bottom of the league in rebounding differential,”

Please excuse the fact that a RETIREE THEO RATLIFF and his helper match and bet us in the paint were we have the youthful hore. 52-46. We should have dominated this team in the paint and this would have been a blow out if we had a “real” center.

Astro Joe

March 20th, 2010
9:47 am

Ray, Mike Fratello dissected the play at the end on NBA TV last night. There were actually 3 options according to Fratello. Jamal was the first option, he came off of 2 screens set by Al and Joe. If he is covered then Bibby is supposed to go to Joe who would likely be defended by a smaller player because of the screen set for Jamal. And guess what? Felton switched off on Joe and he shot over Felton. The 3rd option was Bibby, who threw the ball inbounds but was available for a return pass and shot. Again, this is the way Fratello diagrammed the play on NBATV when he does his segment where he breaks plays down. I know, some will find it hard to believe. I will look for video evdience.

vava74

March 20th, 2010
1:31 pm

Astro,

That final play “worked” but I think it was sheer luck.

Mike Fratello has Woody in high regard (I watched the NJ game on a feed with his commentary).

vava74

March 20th, 2010
1:33 pm

So I think there was a degree of “goodwill” associated with his analysis of the play.

Melvin

March 20th, 2010
1:58 pm

Manny T,
Always good to see you.

Doc,
You missed a good one. The crowd was going crazy.

Astro,
From the expensive seats, Joe shot didn’t look like it had a chance.

Big Ray,
As for the last shot by Josh in regulation, I thought he should have ran the baseline for a layup/dunk b/c Joe had drew his defender on the drive.

Astro Joe

March 20th, 2010
2:38 pm

Less than 4 seconds left on the clock, man, you guys act like there are a few dozen decent options. I guess you;d perfer a blocked dunk attempt to a made jumper, huh?

Vava, others have agendas, why not Fratello?

O'Brien

March 20th, 2010
3:34 pm

Lots for me to get to.

First of all, good win for the Hawks tonight. Our players hung in there, and battled back in the fourth when it would have been easy to give up.

Great game by Marvin, 12 pts, 14 rebounds. I just wish we could get these kinds of games from him more often.

Great job by the bench, and props to Woody for only playing Bibby 15 minutes.

Joe was Joe. He struggled, but came through in the end. And to think, some people think the Hawks should let him go. We need JJ more than he needs us.

Hawks had 2 plays in the Sportscenter top 10. Dunk by Josh, and JJ’s game winner.

My (constructive) criticism is:

Woody has to realize that there are certain teams against who the switching defense has not been effective. Charlotte is one of them, so why do we continue to switch? Especially at the end of the game. And I wish Woody would make better use of his timeouts.

Some bad turnovers by Josh trying to make the Jason Kidd passes. Fortunately, they didnt cost us.

However, Charlotte helped us out too. If Jackson makes both FT, we’re down 4, and in trouble. Also, Felton went too quickly on that last possession, so that gave the Hawks 4 seconds to score.

But overall, great job winning this game, and we made enough plays to win. Bring on the Spurs.

Astro Joe

March 20th, 2010
4:35 pm

One more thing ion Fratello’s analysis. he didn;t qualify it as a good/bad play… just a designed play. And when he illustrated it (think John Madden on the telestrator), it was clearly a defined play to either get Jamal open or Joe switched onto a smaller defender. And the contingency appeared to be Bibby. Now, if you are suggesting that the play was the wrong one to call, have at it. But it wasn’t some hap-hazard playground, turn right at the crack-on-the-pavement kind of play.

Lastly, against a team playing really good defense (like the Bobcats), virtually any and every play with 4 seconds left onthe clock would require a portion of luck. And guess what, the same was true the other night in Toronto.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
6:16 pm

Astro Joe ,

Actually, I was just being a smart alec about the game-winner. I believe it was a designed play as you describe, and I saw the game. But I’m also so happy that Joe took the shot and hit it. I wasn’t being a smart alec about THAT PART at all.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
6:18 pm

Vava ,

You’ve really reversed your view on the Hawks. It’s almost disconcerting. But, everybody does have a right to the way they feel and think, so it is what it is. Let’s see how they do against the Spurs, with clinching a playoff spot at stake.

vava74

March 21st, 2010
7:45 pm

Ray,

i did not reverse my view. It’s the Hawks – in particular Woody – who did not lived up to my expectations.

the play worked, but was far from being something to write home about. JJ made a difficult and contested shot.

yes, the play did produce the switch allowing JJ to hit the shot over Felton but it was a good match up pretty far for the basket.

I am happy, but I am not pleased. Fortunatelly Jax gave us the game with the 3 stupid three pointers and with the two missed FT.

Sautee

March 21st, 2010
7:49 pm

I hate it for Tony Parker, who I enjoy watching. But it certainly helps our cause.

Sautee

March 21st, 2010
8:25 pm

Well, I take it back. They apparently don’t miss Parker, at all.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
9:13 pm

Somebody send EMS to Rod’s house. Marvin has shown up for this game.

vava74

March 21st, 2010
9:14 pm

I’m new around here. who’s that guy playing with the #24 for the Hawks? ;-)

vava74

March 21st, 2010
9:28 pm

Anyhow, brace yourself for what is coming:

Shorter rotation in the second half and… we will fade in the 4th…

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
9:30 pm

Vava,

We gonna have to get you some anti-pessimism juice, lol!

Seriously, I know precisely why you’re worried. Hope for better, my man, hope for better.

vava74

March 21st, 2010
9:37 pm

why Al doesn’t finish like this all the time?

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
9:51 pm

ESPN dunk by Horford.

Somebody must have said something to him at half-time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Woody said he was out there playing like a b**ch. In which case, that’s one of the best coaching jobs by Woody I’ve ever seen.

Maybe he’s gone to the Phil Jackson school of “Insult your players so they respond and play better”. He already called Bibby out…

vava74

March 21st, 2010
10:04 pm

I hope JJ doesn’t feel tempted to “take over the game” and start to launch contested jumpers…

vava74

March 21st, 2010
10:05 pm

maybe Al is just too nice… he will now go home and feel bad because he dunked on such a nice guy like Duncan…

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:06 pm

Spurs will try to go on a couple of runs, and we need to be ready for that.

In the meantime, we need to go on a run of our own. I don’t want to play down to the very wire against these guys.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:12 pm

Crawford heating up, Joe taking some shots. We’ll need both to be on to finish this game off.

Hopefully we don’t forget about Horford.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:12 pm

Is Joe passing that ball or what?

If this is what y’all call ball-hoggin’, I want some MORE of it!

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:26 pm

This is exactly why I don’t like playing teams like this down to the wire.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:29 pm

Perhaps I should have braced myself, Vava…

vava74

March 21st, 2010
10:44 pm

close call Ray… but I could still be right.

why didn’t Woody called a timeout?

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
10:56 pm

Al Horford is a straight monster. I don’t want to hear one word about his performance tonight being because of this or that, or “it was only against this sucky team.”

20 and 18 against Tim Duncan. WOW.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
11:00 pm

Ball game. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

vava74

March 21st, 2010
11:00 pm

great win.

SA were undermanned so I am still not excessively happy since without Parker they are a 5-8 seed in the west, at best.

Duncan had a great game but Al responded well with a lot of grit.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
11:10 pm

No tears in my beer on this win. I’m ecstatic.

Two of our highest offensively productive players shot like CRAP, and we still beat one of the most highly disciplined and focused teams in the league.

Last season, we couldn’t beat them when they had Parker, but no Duncan. Hawks played through some adversity of their own making and came out on top. I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever.

Big Ray

March 21st, 2010
11:12 pm

Make that our THREE top offensive players.

Jamal: 7-18

Joe: 8-23

Josh: 5-16

And we still won. In overtime.

Sautee

March 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

JeJe posted this on MC’s blog. Thought it was interesting enough to repost here:

JeJe

March 22nd, 2010
1:48 pm

“Had a group meeting with Bruce Levenson before the game and he pretty much said we will NOT overpay for JJ this offseason because he’d be 35 in the 6th year of his contract. He referenced to KG, who is 34, and has 40M left over 2 years, as someone who has regressed tremendously and may mess up Boston’s payroll.”

I hope that is the case.