Hawks show toughness again

If you think the win against Charlotte was something, then I hope you saw the game against San Antonio. While the Bobcats are certainly a tough team to play against (they’ve competed well against some of the best teams in the league), the Spurs are a different animal. Mentally and physically tough, disciplined, this team executes well and never seems to be out of control. That’s not something that the Hawks have been known for in recent years. But they may have just turned a corner, and found a new “toughness resource” in the process.

Call Me Al….

Much like the Paul Simon song (featuring a funny cameo performance by Chevy Chase in the music video), the source of Atlanta’s newfound toughness has a name. That name is Al Horford. Often maligned as undersized and offensively deficient, Horford has taken his game to new heights. Was that the intention all along? Perhaps not, as Horford approached the game and his duties in a very workman-like fashion, doing exactly what was asked of him and nothing more: rebound, defend, get the dunk or layup if the ball is handed off to you. In his first year, Al narrowly missed a season average double double in points and rebounds. He followed that up with a second season that saw him miss 15 games, and played hurt during the playoffs (when he was able to play, that is). Averaging just under a point-and-a-half more, and almost half a rebound less than his rookie year, it looked like Horford might not be more than just a hard-working power forward who could adequately fill in at center. Historically, he has struggled with larger, more traditional centers, and it seemed that this would always be a problem.

Fast forward to the ‘09-’10 season where the problem didn’t go away, but a budding solution was coming into view. Horford’s quickness and work ethic began to show a way to combat his weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The Hawks started giving him the ball more, and he started producing with it. Still, the criticisms remain. Destroying teams without a very strong post presence isn’t and wasn’t garnering much respect (but isn’t that what the premiere big men do?) Averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors isn’t exactly something to sniff at. But it wasn’t enough. Perhaps not until Horford was named by the NBA coaches as a reserve player on the ‘09-’10 All-star team, did he get some measure of proper respect, even amongst the greater Atlanta Hawks fan base. Perhaps not until Horford began doing more than just holding his own against “true centers” like Andrew Bogut, Kendrick Perkins, Chris Kaman, Nene Hilario, and Brook Lopez. Yet all of those performances pale in comparison to Al’s second half resurgence against San Antonio’s Tim Ducan, late Sunday night. After a miserable first half that saw him outworked, outmuscled, and outplayed in general, Horford led the Hawks to victory in overtime by posting 22 points and 18 rebounds, making one good decision after another as time ran down.

It’s not that Horford has grown into a world-beater at center. Perhaps he should still be moved to power forward if the Hawks can find a way to throw in a bigger, effective and rugged defender/rebounder into the mix. But he has learned to be tougher. He has struggled in games, and there have been times where the Hawks needed him, and he didn’t get it done. He has learned to be more reliable on offense, to the point of where the Hawks are well-served to go to him late in games. How badly have the Hawks been needing something like that? Someone who can get the job done down low, via score or pass, rather than hanging it all on the guards? How badly have the Hawks needed toughness in the post, on both ends of the court, and not had it? Horford is still a work in progress, but that work is paying dividends even as we watch, and he will NOT stop working.

A new toughness has come to the Hawks’ squad. And it’s name is Al Horford.

 

Pump Those Brakes !

On second thought, does two tough wins at home mean a better, tougher team? Or does it mean that the Hawks simply still have glaring problems that cause them to have to play games down to the wire? Maybe we should be more concerned about how many points we win a game by.  Are good teams defined by margin of victory? Perhaps good teams are defined by how they win, despite adversity. Atlanta has had trouble with this, of course. Are we really seeing the Hawks turn a corner now? Or are we making too much of a two-game winning streak? Speaking of which, the wins against Charlotte and San Antonio has the Hawks at 7 and 3 in their last 10 games.  

The Hawks have had trouble finishing off games in the past, even recently. But they are also owners of a 28 and 7 home record that is good enough for a 2nd place tie in the East with the Orlando Magic. Might these last two tough overtime wins at home be an indicator of how this team might perform in the playoffs. Or are we just…again…making too much of  two games?

 

Pick Your Favorites

I don’t know what’s more entertaining sometimes: how we fans want to call the game, or how the media wants to call it.

 

Here’s Scenario One:  I read the official site of the Atlanta Hawks, and there is a picture of Joe Johnson going strong to the basket (looks like he’s going to dunk it), and it reads that he had 20 points and 13 assists. Meanwhile, Al Horford’s 22 points and 18 rebounds gets the “sidekick” treatment. Before you go there, I have no issues with Joe Johnson, nor am I even suggesting that his contribution wasn’t absolutely crucial to this last win. But come on, man. How does Horford get the “sidekick” treatment in this one? Where is Marvin’s contribution? Wins are literally on a game-by-game basis. So do you as a fan think this was unfair in any way? Do I sound like I’m picking a favorite (and if you know me, you know I don’t have much to say about one of my “favorites”, he stunk it up too much last night)? Is there anything to being the front runner on a headline or the first person mentioned in a win?

Here’s Scenario Two: I’m reading the main page of NBA.com, and the headline reads thusly-  ”Working Overtime: It takes five quarters for the Hawks to beat the Spurs for the first time in eight games.” Aaaaarrrgghhhh!

What gives??  The accompanying picture shows Josh Smith looking like he’s laying up a finger roll as he flies past Tim Duncan. Now y’all know I love my boy, but….it’s not like he beat the Spurs up. In fact, his stat line was pedestrian by his own standards. Again, Horford gets the sidekick treatment, and the Hawks really got no respect at all. I mean, “It takes the Hawks five quarters to finally beat the Spurs for the first time in eight games” ??

Couldn’t we roll with “Williams has brilliant first half, Horford dominating second half, as Hawks beat Spurs for first time” ?

Okay, maybe I’m just grousing for no reason. Maybe even whining. Just a little bit. What do you think? Don’t be gentle…..

 

HAWKS VS. BUCKS….and then “You know Who”

No time for celebration for the Hawks as they travel to Milwaukee (a potential first round playoff opponent) Monday night. Chances are, there will be some tired legs coming off that flight, but this is the nature of the NBA. The Hawks will have to dig deep against yet another tough squad that is looking to solidify its own playoff spot in the East.

 

Focus…Focus…

The Hawks need to have two things on their minds as they prepare for this game, and one of them is NOT Orlando.

One - Atlanta has another chance to up that road record that stands at 17 and 17. The Hawks want to send two messages here, one to themselves, and one to a team that they may be facing in the first round of the postseason. Half of the message was sent to Milwaukee back on Feb. 28th when the Bucks came to town: “we won’t let you take one in our house.” Time to send the second half of that message. In the meantime, the Hawks need to leave a note for themselves: “establish a way to win on the road against playoff teams, especially those that play well at home.” No time like the present for learning that mentality.

Two – As has been mentioned here before (and I had to be corrected on this), there is no tie-breaker between Boston and Atlanta unless the Hawks can catch and pass the Magic for the division win. And since Boston is practically guaranteed to win their division, there is no such thing as a tie-breaker in the Hawks favor if they end up in a tied record with the Celtics, despite the season sweep. Catching the Magic is not impossible, but will prove to be quite the difficulty, especially if the Hawks keep losing to them. So right now, the Hawks may be best served by trying to have a better record than the Celtics.

Beating the Bucks in Milwaukee is not going to be easy, but it has to be done. Especially while the Celtics are facing the Jazz in Utah, where the Jazz are 27 and 8.

Keys to the Game

1) The Bucks are going to play tough on defense all game, but they are liable to go zone towards the end, as seems to be the trend these days for Hawks opponents. Atlanta will have to remember to get the ball in to Al Horford, who will make good decisions with the ball. Marvin Williams will need to make open shots, as he is most likely to be open. Atlanta will also need a good effort from Josh Smith, who helped will the Hawks to a win in the last game against Milwaukee with 22 points and 15 rebounds. However, Smith also has to be careful not to force passes into the defense, where Bucks defenders will be lying in wait. His 5 turnovers in that game also nearly helped lose the game, which would have effectively rendered moot his other good deeds. The tigher the game gets, the more the ball should go to Horford, who can get it to Johnson, Smith, and any others who have good scoring opportunities. Up top, same applies to Joe Johnson, who has been doing a better job of giving it up to others, lately.

And let’s not forget Marvin. If he remains a steady force on the glass and hit his open shots, opponents will be hard put to double up on the Hawks’ more potent offensive threats.

2) Do not let John Salmons go off as he pleases. A streaky shooter, Salmons can do more to hurt his team than help it if he’s not given open looks or clear paths to the basket. The Hawks should know this already, after watching Salmons torch them for 32 points in the last contest.

3) What Jerry Stackhouse did to us off the bench was outright embarrassing, and may have made him look better than he really still is. Then again, Stackhouse might have simply had a chip on his shoulder after hanging around Atlanta all summer long, then getting snubbed by management and having to go to Milwaukee for a job. It doesn’t matter either way. What matters is that our bench takes some pride in hustle, defense, and execution overall. And that our starters don’t let a minimum salary, 15 year vet outplay them for 27 minutes.

4) Either Mike Bibby or Jamal Crawford (and preferrably both) has to pick it up out there. Last time, the two of them combined for a depressing 5 for 22 from the field, leaving Joe out there by himself. These days, and with the weapons the Hawks have, if you see Joe having to take 20 or more shots to score 20 or more points, you can just about bet that at least two main rotation players are struggling badly from the field. More often than not, those struggles are showing up along the perimeter.

 

You know the drill. Speak your piece….

162 comments Add your comment

Hawks Power Past Spurs, Vintage Manu

March 22nd, 2010
3:02 am

[...] Hawks show toughness again | Atlanta Hawks Fan Nest [...]

[...] Hawks show toughness again | Atlanta Hawks Fan Nest [...]

BONE

March 22nd, 2010
4:16 am

TOUGHNESS LOOOOOOL ,IF THEY WERE TOUGH THEY WOULDNT GET INTO SUCH SITUATIONS IN THE 1ST PLACE,. THE HAWKS ARE SOFTER THAN COTTON AND WHEN THEY FACE THE BUCKS TODAY, THEY WILL GET SMACKED

i_am_soulstar

March 22nd, 2010
6:34 am

game against the Bucks = possible playoff opponent = statement game. Man, if the Hawks were to take a quarter off last night, I’m glad it was the first, because they played 36 minutes of great team basketball. Go Hawks!

[...] rest is here: Hawks show toughness again | Atlanta Hawks Fan Nest Posted in Show | Tags: a-tough-team, antonio-, are-certainly, bobcats, game, game-against, [...]

Astro Joe

March 22nd, 2010
8:20 am

Good stuff, Ray. Before the season started, I suggested a few areas where I would focus my attention this season, as I was less concerned with total wins and more interested in some metrics that I thought may be a better indicator of 2nd round playoff performance., Road record, record against winning teams, margin of victory and record against the Eastern “elite”. So far, I think we have done well on 3 of those 4 categories. And had the Hawks won that “shot clock” game in Clevelnad, I’d say that we would be covering all 4 fairly well.

I appreciate your (Ray) blog above as it reminded me of the importance of tonight’s game. I was ready to come here this morning and say “Woody should play his starters no more than 30 minutes and be ready for Orlando Wednesday, after 3 playoff-level contests)”. But we do need to get to 21 road wins and continue to show some physical and emotional toughness.

I’m loving this season, especially watching guys like Josh and Al make that next BIG step. And the team as a whole, I saw some really good things in the last few games.

O'Brien

March 22nd, 2010
8:22 am

Great win for the Hawks coaches and players.

Coming off a very good game against the Bobcats, Marvin had a great game against the Spurs (Good job by Woody encouraging him (again) to stop deferring so much). Marvin will be an X-factor in the playoffs, because teams will leave him open. Keep it up Marvin.

Great game by Al. 22 pts, 18 rebs, 8-15 from the field, and key plays.

Ray,

Thats just how the media is. if LbJ has 15 pts, the headline will still say LeBron only scores 15 but Cavs win. It will always be about the stars.

2 constructive criticisms though.

1) Woody’s switching. Good teams will use it against us, and we must be able to adjust 2) Josh – stop shooting those jumpers. That is part of the reason he went 5-16. Pass the ball, or drive.

Other than that, great win. Hopefully our guys will have the energy to beat Milwaukee tonight. If not, our bench better be ready to come in and give valuable minutes.

13 win fan

March 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

This is a great season. My team has improved I’m happy.

Melvin

March 22nd, 2010
10:11 am

The Bucks are 14-2 since the Salmons trade. Enough said…

Astro Joe

March 22nd, 2010
10:20 am

Melvin, and one of those losses was against?

i_am_soulstar

March 22nd, 2010
12:05 pm

YOUR ATLANTA HAWKS!!!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

March 22nd, 2010
12:17 pm

Last night @ the Hawks-Spurs game, while gettin’a drink I heard this woman called this guy ….. BIG RAY ! I thought uummmm …. I’ve never met you. But if it was you ….. They oughta call you Lil’ Ray from round da’ way, ….’Cause this cat was like 5′9″, ’bout a buck-fifty, w/ dreadlocks,and a marvin gaye t-shirt. Was that you ? Nahhhhhhhh ! ………………. By the way, Marvin and Al was straight BALLIN’ !

Astro Joe

March 22nd, 2010
12:43 pm

Looks like Acie returned to his 3rd string status with Rose’s return to the line-up.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=3219

drmaryb

March 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm

Blue-Ray

The Hawks are who we thought they were: A very cohesive and scrappy team. When we are not playing strong defense and rebounding, we look like a west-coast team. Sort of like the Warriors, with no real game plan. Like Captain Jack said, “We run in our sleep.”

But the Hawks are more than just a – “run & shoot” team. We do play really good defense, problem is…we don’t do it for 48 minutes. Only, when we have to! In the fourth quarter… and that doesn’t always work when you are re-lying on the “seemingly paid-off refs!” …to make the (ahem…ahem…) right calls.

So, here’s my point: Who are the Hawks? What is our identity? What are we to the rest of the league?

1. Long & Athletic?
2. Strong Defensively?
3. Great One-on-One players in Joe & Jamal in the 4th & un-stoppable at that point?
4. A club that shares the ball really well through-out the game & keeps defenses on the move?
5. Hard to beat, because you never know who to STOP on any given night?
6. A well disciplined and well coached team, who runs set plays..i.e.(pick & rolls) that you can’t stop….(ala: San Antone…Utah..who else runs a stapled system – with pick & rolls?) Help me out here.
7. Who are these HAWKS!

Are we a helter-skelter…(Nellie Team) that just run teams out of the gym?

I am so confused!

Melvin

March 22nd, 2010
8:03 pm

Astro,

Yeah, an overtime win at home (although I will take it). Let’s not act like they are some pushovers…

Sautee

March 22nd, 2010
8:05 pm

drmaryb,

While Woodson had undoubtedly improved, one of his true weaknesses is that he has not created specific roles to match the talents of this team. That said, it’s working pretty darn well as it is.

But that makes us a little schizo sometimes because we don’t have a true leader among the players.

Sautee

March 22nd, 2010
8:10 pm

Let me defend Woody a little. I can NOT assume that whatever roles the Hawks DO see for themselves were not a Woody creation (or at least direction).

I DO see improvement in plays, going inside more often, and rotations.

But I sorely wish we had plays that set up Josh in his sweet spot (other than the Bibby pick-and roll and the backdoor). I wish the guards would hit Al in the lane while he has his defender pinned deep.

More than anything, though I want us to keep sharing the ball. And THAT has been better lately.

Sautee

March 22nd, 2010
9:07 pm

Props to Woody for that play coming out of the time out to end the half.

Folks, he keeps improving as a coach

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
9:21 pm

Sautee, let’s wait and see how he will save the legs of the starters.

As soon as the legs start to lag, all those jump shots which are going in will start to rim out…

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
9:45 pm

Here we go… I just want us to score 20 points on the 4th.

It seems that when we do it we either win or go to overtime…

Still worried about the jump shots. We need to go inside and draw fouls so we can get them in the penalty.

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
9:48 pm

drmaryb ,

I think the Hawks are solidifying their identity even as we speak. We haven’t known “who they are”, and neither have they. It’s been a long transition period, and some individual growth processes are the key to the whole thing.

2 for John Drew ,

Nope, wasn’t me. Try about 6′0″ (in shoes) and about 310, with very short hair. T-shirt comes standard….

O’brien ,

Good post.

Astro Joe ,

You picked some very good categories as indicators on where this team is going, and how much it has improved. Those very same things are coming to the surface even now.

As for Acie, I figured he’d go back in the cellar once Rose came back. Rose is just too good (and too pivotal to that team’s performace), and Law is a backup in this league, period. I think we can see that now, even those of us who harbored the idea of him being a starter some day.

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
9:51 pm

Awful perimeter defense… Now they are hitting the shots. We need to change to a more conventional defense for a few minutes and deny those shots…

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
9:53 pm

This is something I have to say for Woody, that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves:

When a player is developing and improving in a significant fashion, such that as can benefit this team….Woody is not holding that player back.

We’ve accused Woody of holding Marvin back from being a better player. Has he really? We’ve watched Marvin do great things at times (but not that often). He stepped up against the Spurs, but has he always done that when given the opportunity? Has he always done what needed doing when we needed him to do it?

I’d have to say “no.”

Now take Al Horford. All of the sudden, Horford has shown that he can be a presence in the paint on the offensive end, and a guy we can run our offense through as needed. Not in every single case or in every single game, but quite steadily enough that it’s become a staple of our offense.

Woody hasn’t gotten in the way of this, and Al is blossoming…

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
9:55 pm

What a bogus call!

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
9:58 pm

We are going to lose this one. We are not defending and with salmons on fire woody just sits and waits…

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
10:00 pm

On a related note, I think we are seeing some physical evidence, lately, of why Josh Smith didn’t make the ASG, and Al Horford did.

I know it seems like Smith had done more for the team at the time. Maybe he did. But can anybody deny what we’re seeing NOW?

Speaking of Josh Smith, he’s playing like poo poo lately. Last night was enough to get by. Tonight is another story.

Meanwhile, we need to withstand this early 4th quarter run, and go on one of our own.

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:07 pm

Why those jump shots from Josh? Why is he even there?

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
10:10 pm

Jennings looks like he should be playing behind Teague. :lol:

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:11 pm

Bad shot. JJ has been carrying us but this was a stupid shot

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:13 pm

And a stupid foul

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
10:14 pm

Ok, so they scored. Now what are WE gonna do?

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:16 pm

This team has no brain…

Big Ray

March 22nd, 2010
10:21 pm

Disappointed in Joe. It is what it is. Toast of the town one day, tarred and feathered the next.

Melvin

March 22nd, 2010
10:23 pm

Astro,

make that 15-2 since Salmons becoming a Buck… How dumb is the Bulls GM. They were competing for the 5th seed in the playoffs with Salmons and now they may possibly missed the playoffs. And what if they dont sign that big FA this summer they would have traded Salmons away for nothing. Man I wish we could have gotten that guy…

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:25 pm

Too much perimeter offense and very little perimeter defense: Ridnour looks like an all star againts us all the time…

Al was 5 for 5 from the field and Josh was 3-4 inside moves 1-1 from midrange (elbow) and 0-4 from outside.

Jamal carried us in the first and Joe in the second but that was bound to end like it did. Skiles put in a new defensive assignment on JJ and our plays consisted in ISO dribble. Not a single pick to force a switch.

Bewildering…

Melvin

March 22nd, 2010
10:26 pm

Big Ray (and Astro),

Take your blood pressure pillow before reading MC’s latest article on Josh taking jumpers…lol

vava74

March 22nd, 2010
10:27 pm

Melvin, the Bulls were sheding payroll so they can have cap space this summer.

A mediocre post season with Salmons was not worth the risk of missing out on the free agent bonanza.

Disappointed Don

March 22nd, 2010
10:33 pm

Inexcusable, the midcourt mugging JJ committed in plain sight against a player who didn’t even have the ball. How did he figure that blatant assault wouldn’t be called? And once again, too much dribbling without an option at game’s end. Not smart, enlightened basketball.

Melvin

March 22nd, 2010
11:06 pm

Vava,

What if they dont sign any of the big name FA’s?

O'Brien

March 23rd, 2010
7:43 am

Good game by Joe. Considering he missed some games for his Achilles, and has picked up basically where he left off, says a lot. Hawks need to resign Joe.

That being said, if that was Josh who committed that foul against Salmons, people would be quick to jump on Josh. Joe has to do a better job of not getting a foul called in a tie game down the stretch like that.

I won’t be too hard on the guys though, because we’ve played 4 close games in 5 nights, against playoff teams.

Disappointments from the loss;

1) Free throw shooting. You can’t go 6-13 in a close game against a good team on the road and expect to win.

2) We didn’t go to Al Horford enough in the 4th. He was 5-5, we saw what he did against the Spurs in the fourth quarter, and he also had a good fourth quarter against the Raptors. But just like in the Toronto game, down the stretch, Hawks did not find a way to get him the ball enough.

3) Nothing from Marvin. This guy is so up and down, I don’t get it.

4) Hawks had 4 more FG than the Bucks, but the Bucks were +4 in assists, and +7 in rebounds.

5) fourth quarter defense. Playing back to back, maybe our tired legs was a contributing factor though.

Two Special Requests:

Can somebody please tell Woody that teams are taking advantage of the switching defense? Even Ridnour was making shots over Al Horford. The switching has been abused by the Bobcats, Spurs, and now the Bucks. Adjust Woody, adjust.

Can somebody please tell Josh to stop taking those long jumpers (unless the shot clock is under 5 seconds)? What was he doing posted up by the 3 pt line on that pass from JJ? Same thing against the Bobcats, he was posted up by the 3 pt line for the last shot. He should be on his way to the paint.

niremetal

March 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

Marvin touched the ball about 4 times after a game in which he couldn’t miss. Not sure what he’s supposed to do – guys don’t “demand the ball” mid-game in the NBA unless they are a Kobe/LeBron type.

And considering how few defensive adjustments we saw last night, I thought this was appopriate.

niremetal

March 23rd, 2010
9:24 am

And Horford literally couldn’t miss, but still only got 5 shots last night.

The $#!% works.

O'Brien

March 23rd, 2010
9:50 am

Melvin,

I can understand Chicago dumping Salmons and taking a chance on landing a big FA this offseason. Imagine if Wade or JJ signs with them? Then it will be worth it. They could have kept Salmons only to see him get injured anyways.

I admire them for taking a chance, instead of standing pat. But if I was a Bulls fan and they miss the playoffs, and dont get a big name FA, I would be ticked off lol.

And I read the Josh jump shooting article. Just because Josh gives everything he has on both ends of the floor is no reason for Woody not to get on him about his jump shots. If Al was taking 3s and shooting poorly, Woody wouldn’t get on him because he plays hard on both ends of the court?

If what Josh said is true, I dont think thats the right attitude for Woody to take.

But Josh has to realize that he hasnt been a good shooter for his entire career, so why does he think all of a sudden, it will get better if he stays confident and keeps taking them? Making them in practice is one thing, but I still think he should spend the offseason working on it some more and take it less during the game.

nire,

Woody needs to adjust the switching defense, because the good teams are taking advantage of it, but he is too slow to make any adjustments. I think it will be abused in the playoffs when teams consistently run the pick and roll to get the matchup they want.

vava74

March 23rd, 2010
10:26 am

The most strikingly stupid event of the game was Woody wasting his last TO to call a ISO play which did not even involve a pick or any decoy movement by Jamal.

Just a simple clear out ISO play.

Why did he waste a TO for that? To give enough time for Milwaukee to rest and focus on the inevitable ISO play?

This has been standard procedure with Woody: the Hawks have the ball following a miss by the opponents and instead of capitalizing on that fact – since following a miss a team’s spirit goes down and the nerves go up – he does the opposite: gives the adversary the opportunity to re-group and we take no advantage since there is no actual designed play drawn up from our side.

Then, the fact that it was our last TO makes it a stupid decision beyond belief.

vava74

March 23rd, 2010
10:36 am

Another thing:

I think Woody has been using Jamal too much.

I think he fades as the game goes and that he needs to sit back and see the game from the outside so he can get in as a rhythm changer.

I think he is more productive (final balance) when he plays only 30/31 minutes than when he plays 35/36.

And why the hell Woody did not try West against Salmons?

Skiles saw that JJ was torching MIL several possessions in a row BUT THEN he put in Mbah a Moute to stop him with great results.

That IS COACHING.

O'Brien

March 23rd, 2010
11:03 am

vava,

Crawford is used to being a starter, so I dont know if I fault Woody for playing him 35-36 minutes per game. Plus having him out there takes some of the pressure away from JJ or the other bench players.

If you put West in the game on Salmons in the fourth quarter, who do you take out? Bibby? I think Woody prefers to have his offensive guys in there. I would have liked to see more of Mo in there instead of Mario, because at least Mo gives you a presence on the offensive end.

And thats what makes you wonder why the Hawks didnt take a flyer on Stackhouse earlier in the season. Was it his game, or was it his attitude? You can never have enough decent bench players in my opinion.

Astro Joe

March 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

Melvin, the Bucks were without a clear “go-to” scorer and Salmons has clearly provided that to the team. His value is far higher to the Bucks than it was to the Bulls or would have been to just about any other team.

i did read the article about Josh and his jumpers. I’m not surprised. Josh is an audacious player and that has propelled him to become an outrageously productive player this season. But it will also mean that he will continue to go places he ought not go. I have learned to accept both sides of the “Josh coin”.

Ray, speaking of Josh, I don’t like his body language the last two games. Maybe he is fatigued… he has probably used more mental energy this season to suppress some of his bad tendencies and he is likewise playing a lot of games and a lot of minutes. But in both the Spurs and Bucks games, he has looked more than a little disinterested on the court. I don’t expect that tomorrow night against the Magic. I understand that players need to take a break while working, many of us do the same everyday.

vava74

March 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

OB,

If we are not involving the other 4 players why do we need them to have any offensive ability?

With the switching defense burning us like it was and relying on JJ, I would even consider going with a line up of JJ, West, Mo, Josh and Al to close yesterday’s game.

Mo could be roaming the t3-point line, Al and Josh could set screens, crash the glass and get a few post ups for them.

West could be watching out our backs insuring that we had some transition defense.

vava74

March 23rd, 2010
11:46 am

Astro,

Josh needs more minutes on the bench.

He is typically the most active guy in the court and that is very difficult to sustain day in day out.

Joe Smith has been playing well enough to warrant 16/20 minutes of action and if necessary Marvin could also chip in with some minutes at the PF slot against more athletic teams (against whom Joe could struggle more due to his age).

O'Brien

March 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

Give Josh credit though. Even when he seems disinterested (especially on offense), you can still count on his blocks.

Afer the All-Star break, he had some monster games, and having played 4 games in 5 nights, you wonder if its finally catching up to him.

Joe Smith played 15 minutes last night, which is good. But the 3 previous games, he played 7,8 and 7 minutes. Down the stretch, I hope Woody is able to find the time to give his starters a few extra minutes of rest here and there, because we need them 100% rested for the playoffs.

But he’s in a tough position, because we’re tied with Boston, and there is a slim chance of catching Orlando. So Hawks need to keep winning.

vava,

I think you have to go with JJ, Crawford, Al and Josh down the stretch. But the 5th player is where you have to have a pretty good feel for the game (time, score, and who’s played well so far) to know who to go with.

The bad thing is, I dont think Woody has a good feel for the game down the stretch in a tight game like that.