Hawks Fans – Broken wings and other things

Well, we knew the Hawks couldn’t stay undefeated forever. Losing to the Phoenix Suns in a shootout at home in front of a somewhat sparse crowd probably doesn’t make the team feel any better about it, though.

It’s unfortunate that Atlanta, missing two regular rotation players, was not able to secure a victory despite exemplary efforts from Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith, all of whom played 40+ minutes. Meanwhile, there can be no head-hanging, as they travel to the home of the team that has beaten and broken them so many times in the last couple of years, otherwise known as the Orlando Magic.

Wing-less Birds

As some of you foretold during the preseason, the Hawks’ lack of depth at the small forward position is beginning to bite us. While the team displayed a heck of an effort in coming back from a nasty deficit against the Suns, the difference was defense. Perimeter defense, that is. The Suns continually abused the Hawks by getting mismatches on Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford. Oddly enough, Crawford’s defensive effort was probably the best we’ve ever seen out of him, but it just wasn’t enough to slow the jumpshot happy Suns, who also were able to get scores inside by posting Channing Frye and Josh Childress.  With Marvin Williams around, we probably would have won that game. Maybe even with Mo Evans, who has only played one game this season. The fact is, the Hawks are forced to play Joe Johnson there quite a bit, and supplementing him with Josh Smith. Not the worst of combinations, but hardly the most efficient.

Hawks blogger Niremetal brings up a good point. Did GM Rick Sund foul up by signing Etan Thomas, instead of another wing player? Thomas has yet to play a minute in the regular season, and hardly seems needed at this point. Unfortunately, the Hawks probably can’t do anything about this anytime soon, so they’ll have to suffer through the vengeance of the injury bug that left them largely untouched last season.

 

A Streak of Another Kind?

A bit of noise has been made about Atlanta’s strong start of the season, and you have to laugh a bit at the detractors. Sure, they have a point (namely that nothing is proven in the first 5 or 6 games of the season), but obviously the Hawks got people’s attention. That has to be a good thing, right? Ok, so in losing to Phoenix, Atlanta lost its first game to a known playoff team. Naturally, no one feels extremely chipper about tonight’s game against Orlando (except maybe Magic fans). We’d like a win, but…would we settle for not getting blown out and embarrassed? If the Hawks lose tonight, that will be two in a row. After Orlando, two more playoff teams come calling in the form of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz. Between injuries, an inconsistent defense, and who knows what else…could Atlanta be looking at a four game losing streak? The Bucks have Delfino, Maggette, and Salmons, all of whom are struggling from the field, to an extent. But all could be mismatches against a team with no small forwards, and Joe can only guard one guy at a time. Meanwhile the Jazz would look to use Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles, and perhaps rookie Gordon Hayward to their advantage.

If Marvin is back, then that helps a good deal. If not, look for the good teams to use that against us.

 

Fascinating or Fatigued?

Watching Joe Johnson get his groove back last night was a thing of beauty. We can only hope to see a similar performance against Orlando, but what is up with all of these back-to-back games? Larry Drew’s decision making and the play of the bench has helped to lower Joe’s minutes overall, but after playing 44 minutes last night, one can only wonder just how much energy he’ll have tonight. So too with Al Horford, who played 42 minutes last night, and has the unenviable task of dealing with Dwight Howard. The one guy I tend not to worry about? Josh Smith. I don’t know how he does it, but the guy never seems to be all that tired, nearly always finding the energy to try and make a play, even if it’s a bad one.

 

Is Twin in?

How should the Hawks approach this game, concerning the center position? Should they start Zaza Pachulia, or Jason Collins? My vote goes to Collins, as Pachulia is a needed weapon off the bench. Besides, he is likely to get whistled for two or three quick fouls against Howard early on, regardless of whether he committs them or not (you know what I mean). Does Etan Thomas see any playing time in this game?

Howard usually gets a few blocks on us, but also grabs double figure rebounds and coasts to 20 or so points on dunks and layups, but is he the real issue here, or is it the perimeter players who are going to give us the fits once again? With no Marvin (still don’t know if he’ll be ready to play in this game), the Hawks could be in for a worse time than usual. Is there a solution at hand?

What do you think the game plan should be?

245 comments Add your comment

allan in texas

November 8th, 2010
11:24 am

Keep it going Hawks!

J from the A

November 8th, 2010
11:54 am

Are we predicting the possibility of a 4 game losing streak? At worst, I say we may experience a two game losing streak.

Jameer and Vince might be out for the game tonight. I know the Magic are hella deep, but I think our guys will match up better with whatever lineups the Magic throw at us if Jameer and Vince are out. Even still, the Magic have had our number the last couple of seasons, and I’ll admit that the Magic are clear favorites (but I wouldn’t count the Hawks out).

However, I don’t think the Hawks lose to the Bucks (even if Marvin and/or Mo are out). It would be a huge disappointment if we did.

Against the Jazz, I say the odds of pulling out a win are about 50-50. Both the Hawks and the Jazz are really good teams. If the Hawks can keep Derron Williams contained, I think the Hawks will match up well with the Jazz, especially if Marvin and Mo are back by then.

I say the Hawks will be 8 and 2, 7 and 3 at worst by the time the game against the Timberwolves ends on Sunday.

I think the Hawks end the month of November 13-4, 12-5 at worst (assuming no more injuries),

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
12:10 pm

Good Stuff Ray. The Orlando game is a toss up, especially if Vince/Jameer doesnt play but I expect the Hawks to protect the homecourt against the Bucks and Jazz…

O'Brien

November 8th, 2010
12:41 pm

Ray,

I’m not sure why Etan was signed. We already had Al, ZaZa and Twin.

And with Mo Evans being in the last year of his deal, I think they would have been better off signing another wing player and using this opportunity to evaluate him for next season.

Another reason to sign another wing was Mo and his $2.5 mil expiring contract. He could have been trade bait. Or they could have signed a third string PG, because if Bibby gets hurt, we could be in more trouble.

As for the game tonight, maybe we will finally see Etan. My game plan would be to play Dwight one on one, and send him to the line if you have to (no And ones please). But stay on the shooters at all costs. A 2 from Howard is better than a 3 from the perimeter.

Like you, I would also start Twin. Hopefully he can give us productive stretches of 5 minutes at time.

I like the fact that Vince and Jameer are not 100%, but Hawks will still have to make shots, something that we struggle to do against Orlando.

Willie Coyote

November 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

The Magic’s perimeter game has and always will be the real danger with this team. If Dwight goes off on you but you stay at home on the perimeter guys, you have a better than average chance of beating them.

You have to be solid on the perimeter. The draw and kick along with the post and kick they do will get you blown out. Stay with Dwight as best as you can and make him shoot over you. Cut off penetration & hustle to the shooters.

The Hawks have the ability to do this but they just don’t seem to do so against the Magic.

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
1:31 pm

Dammit, Ray, I thought you were talkin’ about buffalo wings, man. Had my mouth all ready for some chipotle-sauced goodness.

Anyway, Etan was signed to defend Dwight. Collins will give him a taller body to shoot over while Etan should be able to deny him preferred position down low. The obsession with Howard likely led to the decision to have 3 back-up centers behind a young All-Star center.

The signing that I struggle with is Pape Sy, not because he’s injured but because I doubt his ability to provide the type of wing defense we need immediately. Surely they could have helped him land in a better European League for at least one year while they brought in someone else to provide immediate, proven perimeter defense.

One more thing, Joe has averaged almost 42 minutes/game the last 5 games. I’m not sure who is benefitting from the bench production, I guess the frontcourt.

atlienforlife

November 8th, 2010
1:32 pm

Anyone who knows anything about basketball can see how much we missed Marvin. His defense and rebounding was needed. But more importantly, the rotations were all out of wack, as well as the floor spacing. Everyone can gripe about him not living up to a #2 pick, but he is a vital cog of the team.

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
1:49 pm

atlienforlife, AMEN!

dstdeelite

November 8th, 2010
2:34 pm

Game plan? Is forfeiting an option? We have a mental block against this team. These back to back games are a killer. Everytime we play them, I hold out hope….then the game starts. By the second quarter, I’m ready to destroy my tv. Go Hawks!!

O'Brien

November 8th, 2010
3:08 pm

dstdeelite,

Agreed about the mental block. Howevever, one glimmer of hope is that we used to have that mental block against Boston (playing them in Boston). We were able to get over the hump last year and beat them in Boston twice.

We’ll see what happens tonight.

AJ,

If Etan was signed to defend Dwight, shouldnt LD have given him a few minutes of court time just to get some of the game dust off, especially since we play Orlando game 8 of the season?

I can remember last year when Woody didnt give Collins much time in the previous games to get some dust off, but he went to him against Orlando. Of course, he was rusty, and the refs were quick with the whistle.

And keep in mind, the reason why JJ is playing 42 minutes the last 5 games, is because he plays SG and backup SF, since there is no Mo.

I’m okay with the Pape Sy signing IF they were going to bring in a 15th guy to be another wing. But if I had to choose, I would choose the wing.

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

Sund needs to call Houston because it sounds like they are already thinking about holding a garage sale. And either Battier or Jeffries (both expiring deals) would greatly help us with perimeter defense.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jamal Crawford Fans and Michael Cunningham, Suns Fan Zone. Suns Fan Zone said: Hawks Fans – Broken wings and other things: Losing to the Phoenix Suns in a shootout at home in front of a somew… http://bit.ly/cfa5gV [...]

westurd

November 8th, 2010
4:21 pm

Can we impose a black out by choice? I hate Orlando!!! It reminds me of when I tried playing ball with my older brothers and getting whooped everytime……um, Go Hawks?!?!

niremetal

November 8th, 2010
4:44 pm

Both Battier and Jeffries are expiring, AJ, so I would be shocked if they were on the block. They’ll probably try to unload Martin, Lowry, and possibly Scola. You basically never see expiring deals getting traded in firesales.

Was disappointed in both the coaching and execution last night, but I can’t really blame any Hawk too much. We tried going straight-up on D early for awhile and failed miserably. Then we tried switching, and the Suns simply used that to get the mismatches they wanted. We weren’t stopping the Suns from scoring last night – Gentry and Nash are too smart. I was pushing for us to fire Woody and get Gentry before the Suns hired him, but to no avail. He’s one of the smartest coaches in the NBA, and is an absolute genius at exploiting mismatches. Add Nash to the equation and the Hawks had no chance. The only truly inexcusable moment was no one coming to help Bibby on Frye on that last key possession.

We made the necessary adjustments offensively after struggling early and then again early in the 3rd. But it wasn’t enough with Marvin and Mo out. I’m not too worried yet about the guys we DO have, but I’m more and more irked about the obsession with signing extra bigs in the offseason, which means that our roster lacks the spare parts we need.

i_am_soulstar

November 8th, 2010
5:05 pm

“We’d like a win, but…would we settle for not getting blown out and embarrassed?”

I hate that I feel this way.

doc

November 8th, 2010
5:17 pm

josh powell, etan, twin and pape sy were not on my wish list nor many others nire, is my guess, to fill out the needs at big and point since that appears where sy is targeted. get me a complete roster is all i asked starting with bigs. one would have been sufficient if talented. no one knew of mo’s injury either, except the hawks until camp. throw in a rook at a position we are already overloaded? can you say unbalanced roster?

i was certainly irked or very exasperated to watch chills play last night in a back up role with a splint on his finger and do with ease what mo works hard to do night in and night out and marvin struggles to do night in and night out as a starter for about two mil a year more than it would have taken sund to get chills on two occasions. chills was guarding our two guard a lot if i remember correctly who had a very bad night in a size mismatch. maybe it wasnt jamal was cold. he also almost took out smoove’s throw down and barely got him from behind. the guy is a player. the fun thing is he is so into the game, such energy. what did sund miss here?

funny, someone on the other blog wrote wanting to know when sy was going to be back. geez he never showed up.

Big Ray

November 8th, 2010
5:52 pm

J from the A ,

Not at all. The possibility exists, but I don’t think this team lays down for a four game losing streak. We could have beaten Phoenix. We know well how to beat Milwaukee and Utah. Orlando of course, is another story…

Big Ray

November 8th, 2010
5:55 pm

dstdeelite ,

You aren’t the only one. Then I think about how much that 47″ flat screen LCD 1080 TV cost….and I just change the channel. ;)

niremetal

November 8th, 2010
6:23 pm

Doc,

I don’t think Childress is worth the price he’s getting paid for the role we’d ask him to play (basically, Mo’s). His defense is very good, but his offense is entirely off of hustle points. You like having guys like that on your team, but not from a wing getting paid 6yr/$34M. Look at guys like Sefolosha ($3.25M this year), Tony Allen ($3.0M), Anthony Parker ($2.85M), and Matt Barnes ($1.7M) and you see that good perimeter defenders tend to be quite cheap. Hell, you can even find some on minimum contracts (Anthony Carter). At Chills’ price and with his limited offensive game, you’d better be as good as Battier or Bowen defensively, and Chills frankly is not even close to that level. He’s “very good” on defense, not elite. And when you consider that his ability to even get garbage points on offense will go way down once his athleticism starts to wane…yeah.

Also, I don’t see Marvin “struggling” to do what Childress does at all. On the contrary – watching Childress last night, it was apparent that he really hasn’t progressed at all from where he was in 2008 on either end of the floor, whereas Marvin’s defense is FAR better than it was back then. I’d take Marvin over Childress 8 days a week. And having both of them would be unnecessary in light of the fact that we also have JJ and Jamal.

No, I just wanted a solid warm body at SF – someone who could guard bigger SFs and give us an extra perimeter defender off the bench for times when we’re in an injury crunch. I’m not talking anything fancy. Sasha Pavlovic and Ime Udoka are still available. I’d even have settled for Devean George. Just someone who can go out there and make it tough for the guy he’s guarding to score.

niremetal

November 8th, 2010
6:25 pm

In other news…WHOA:
http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2010/11/08/trade-chatter-still-bubbling/

Sekou says Hawks and Pistons may be discussing Jamal and Teague for Tayshaun and filler (possibly Will Bynum). I dunno about Teague-for-Bynum, but I sure as hell would take Prince for Jamal.

O'Brien

November 8th, 2010
6:59 pm

Nire,

I’m not sure I would give up teague so early either. He still has some potential.

Do u think prince can offset jamal’s bench scoring?

As for the warm body at SF, I agree. And the bad thing is they had so many options.

As for Houston, I don’t think we match up well with them for trades.

vava74

November 8th, 2010
7:12 pm

On a SVG interview, he said that the Hawks have gone back to ISO Joe and the switching D just as they played under Woodson and that was a clear evidence that Woodson was doing a heck of a job in ATL.

The catch: he barely contained a smile when he said in a same sentence “Woodson” and “heck of a job”…

vava74

November 8th, 2010
7:21 pm

J-Smoove is looking like Larry Bird out there… I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief…

lukas

November 8th, 2010
7:21 pm

I like what i am seeing: Josh hitting jumpshoots, Twin playing good defense, the 3-point arc well covered. Keep it up!!

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:22 pm

Oh my, 2 fouls in the 1st qtr on Howard….

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:23 pm

The Magic is a much different (slower) team without Jameer…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:25 pm

Great start for the Hawks.

niremetal

November 8th, 2010
7:32 pm

Oh, I’m loving this so far. SVG is the one being forced to adjust. The Magic are discombulated. If the Hawks had hit a couple more open jumpers, this would be a 15-point game instead of a 10-point one.

O’Brien,

If I had to guess, I would say that offensively, Prince loses us about 6 ppg relative to Jamal in the same minutes. But I think he saves us a few more than that per game defensively relative to Jamal. Remember that Tayshaun has never been asked to score before.

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:34 pm

I was about to make a negative comment about Jamal, but that would be redundant at this point. Come on Hawks…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:34 pm

Zaza doesn’t look ready to play either.

niremetal

November 8th, 2010
7:35 pm

I’ll give Gortat this much – he hustles. But then again so does Zaza. And they both have stone hands.

lukas

November 8th, 2010
7:38 pm

Zaza’s mistakes hurt us big time. This is a game where i would like to see what Etan Thomas has to offer.

vava74

November 8th, 2010
7:39 pm

yuk… Crawford doing his thing (2 TO/bad passes and several bricks)…

When he is hot, he is hot like hell, when he is cold, he cold like the south pole…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:39 pm

Bye-bye Zaza.

vava74

November 8th, 2010
7:40 pm

yes, Zaza had two bad TO and a few defensive lapses… he and Crawford…

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:41 pm

ZaZa played terrible this half…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:43 pm

D-12 has made an adjustment.

lukas

November 8th, 2010
7:43 pm

Get the starters IN!!!

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:45 pm

I know this was said in the passed but Jeff definitely defers too much to Jamal…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:45 pm

Horford with a foul on Gortat and Anderson… not exactly the offensive forces down low that you want to waste first half fouls on.

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:45 pm

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:46 pm

The Bench didnt help at all this half. Matter of fact, they made things worst…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:47 pm

Melvin, IMO, Teague won’t reach his potential while paired with Jamal.

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:52 pm

Redick got one of those Duke calls on that charge…

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:53 pm

Well, LD will likely give the bench another short trial in the second half… our starters are doing fine, the bench? OB, remember, we recently discussed how the bench would fare against better competition. After about 6 quarters, it ain’t looking too good.

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:54 pm

Astro,

He has to learn to take control of the team when he’s on the court. He’s the PG (same as QB) so it’s up to him to Orchestra what happens on the court…

Melvin

November 8th, 2010
7:54 pm

Here come Ethan….

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:55 pm

Hawks have 8 TOs… 6 by the bench.

Astro Joe

November 8th, 2010
7:57 pm

Melvin, I’m not sure that he is a conductor… he may just be a decent cellist.

vava74

November 8th, 2010
7:59 pm

work in progress people. work in progress.

right now we need to incorporate Teague’s speak (when he gets it back) into the first unit and when Crawford is not in.

i agree with Astro (I even felt an earthquake due to this), Teague does not mesh well with Jamal…