Hawks on wrong end of a blowout

It was supposed to be a blowout game. Expectations were certainly met on that front, but I don’t think either team saw it happening the way it did.

The Detroit bench torched the mostly listless Atlanta Hawks, while a less talented Detroit frontcourt showed a level of physicality that the Hawks hardly tried to match. To make matters worse, the Atlanta backcourt stayed overmatched all night, and never could seem to even things up, despite solid efforts from Mike Bibby on offense, and Damien Wilkins on defense. What can be said? Any number of cliches fit here, but at least it was a road game. A loss like this to a team with a record like that is hardly acceptable, but it would have been even more deplorable in the Highlight Factory. Anyway, we’ll all play the blame game with our favorite targets, of course.

Changing Lineups and Habits

Head Coach Larry Drew has been under the immediate pressure of trying to find the right lineup each night for each opponent while star guard Joe Johnson has been out. Perhaps there simply was no “right” lineup against Detroit, as they continually exploited the backcourt matchups, and the Pistons outhustled them from end to end. All too often, Rodney Stuckey was blowing by Mike Bibby (or Jamal Crawford), or Rip Hamilton was posting him up and/or running him off of screens. Damien Wilkins was able to help a good deal when in the game, but then the Pistons simply went to Tracy McGrady, who stayed hot from well beyond the 3 point arc. Without Joe, Wilkins and Mo Evans are the only credible defenders on the perimeter, as Marvin is too slow to contain guys like Stuckey and Ben Gordon. What were the Hawks going to do? Well, they could have made their presence felt down low, but outside of Josh Smith, that almost never happened. And, the whistles clearly did not go in favor of the Hawks last night, as Josh Smith was the recipient of several non-calls.

Unfortunately, this loss also highlighted some recent trends, some of which are good, and others not so much:

- Al Horford. His stats are better than ever, and his offensive game is now very much legit. However, Horford appears to be convinced that he is a power forward, and not a center, even when called upon to be so. One can certainly understand not wanting to mix it up all night with guys like Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. But Horford’s physical nature has become inconsistent. Again, it’s hard to read that in the stat box, what with Al putting up a career high 17 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. On some nights, Horford makes his presence known, outworking and outplaying his low post counterpart. On other nights, Horford does most of his damage from the outside, and gets his rebounds when the more physical guys aren’t on the floor. The Hawks need for Horford to mix up his game a little more, and get tougher down low. Again, his stats are great, but his demeanor isn’t always what the toughness-deficient Hawks need it to be. In short, the Hawks need Horford to be “The Boss” a little more, down in the pivot.

- Josh Smith. Say what you want about the electrifying forward. He doesn’t consistently bring it on the glass, and still gets discouraged if he’s constantly pushed hard off the block or fouled, and no whistle ensues. Still, Smith manages a respectable 8.3 rebounds per game and sometimes has games where it seems like every difficult-to-get-to rebound is his. Offensively, Smith has ceased to be a major liability on the perimeter. Clearly his hard work has paid off, as Smith hits jumpers on the regular, and is even shooting a smoking 46% from 3 point range. Safe to say, nobody saw this coming, and most never thought he would ever come up with a reliable jump shot. All of that considered, Smith still goes for his down low, looking to match up on post ups, and often succeeding. His 12 free throw attempts against Detroit (he hit 8 of them) are a testament to this, right on the heels of 10 attempts against Indiana the game before. What does this all amount to? It allows the Hawks to start games with a bigger lineup that has often included center Jason Collins. Say what you want about Smith, his expanded game has allowed the Hawks more options and flexibility, and it’s hard to argue with the results.

- Jason Collins. While Zaza Pachulia gets the lion’s share of the minutes at backup center behind Al Horford, it’s usually Collins that starts when the Hawks go big. Right now, Collins is arguably the Hawks most effectively physical center. Zaza has better stats, but lately when he has been physical, it’s not resulted in large numbers of rebounds, free throw attempts, or defensive plays that have stymied opposing players. It’s usually been a foul of some sort. That is certainly not to paint Zaza as garbage or someone who needs to be sent to the end of the bench. But when the Hawks go big, they go with Collins. And right now, he’s the most physically effective, particularly on defense.

 

Even when Joe comes back, we might be seeing a lineup that features the three frontcourt players above, particularly against certain teams. It’s up to Larry Drew what works best, but an effort such as the one against Detroit will nullify any lineup changes Drew could possibly come up with. In the meantime, how do the Hawks bounce back against Boston, who promises to be more physical, and execute much better? The last matchup ended in an embarrassing blowout. Will the Hawks have some pride and get after the Celtics? If so, they have a shot at this game, regardless of the matchup problems Boston presents (especially with Joe Johnson missing). If not, well….another blowout.

 

What do YOU think?

84 comments Add your comment

Ray

December 15th, 2010
9:25 am

Nice Article Big Ray

Hey have you heard that the Trailblazers were asking about JC1?

J from the A

December 15th, 2010
10:01 am

Al and Josh are beast, but they really cannot take over a game (offensively) like an on JC1 or JJ.

w/JJ out and Jamal being off, the Hawks really (I mean really, really) needed Marvin to show up on both ends of the floor.

O'Brien

December 15th, 2010
10:01 am

Hawks have not played since Saturday, so they were not tired. Detroit blew a 25 point lead against the Raptors, so the Hawks should have known Detroit would be focused.

But yet…THUD.

I am tired of hearing the excuse about not enough energy or urgency. This team has been losing these type of games on and off for 3 years, with the same excuses.

Defensively, we struggled at times, but to echo AJ’s point from the previous blog, the motion offense was supposed to help these offensive droughts.

We had 3 quarters last night where we scored 19 points or less. Its hard to win games that way. Ironically, if JJ played last night, we would have probably gone to ISO JJ in the 4th.

O'Brien

December 15th, 2010
10:14 am

Horford has played more minutes at PF this year, and he has played well. The problem is it reaffirms his belief that he is a PF, and that’s the position he wants to play.

So he is not playing the center position as physical as he should. With Josh’s improved jump shooting, he spends even more time on the perimeter.

Those 2 factors combined, is a clear indication to me that the Hawks need to find a Center who is better than ZaZa and Twin, because none of those guys can play major minutes at Center and be effective.

Right now, I’m not sure Al has the mind set to be a successful long term solution as the Hawks starting Center.

If Josh continues to improve, then he can play more minutes at SF, while Al gets more minutes at PF. But we have to find a center who can bang.

Ray

December 15th, 2010
11:23 am

@ O’Brien

That’s the problem I think everyone knew it would get to this point. Except ASG of course now that Al Horford has tasted his true position again he likes it there.

The only problem is who do we get for a C I say keep Jason Collins in case, but Zaza does need to go he’s not very physical in the middle.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
11:39 am

All of our losses seem to carry the same themes. Weak out of the gate, weak down the stretch. Josh forgets to do one or more of the things he doesn’t do consistently (crash the glass, close out on his man, get back on D, and stop shooting jumpers; yesterday, it was A-C), Marvin disappears, and Al seems to get a bit tight on key possessions. Without JJ, there’s no way we can recover from all three of those things happening at once. That goes triply in a game where Jamal goes 1-6 with 2 points (!).

Joe gives us a “safety net” on a lot of nights where the rest of the team is struggling. It doesn’t always make the difference, and if Joe’s off he can make things even worse, but it’s a security blanket that the Hawks are still accustomed to having I think. Joe can knock down shots when others’ aren’t falling, and can at least bother the quick guard who is running circles around us (hard as Damien might try, he really doesn’t have the foot speed or length to keep guys like Stuckey in front of him).

The frustrating thing is that in terms of skills and athleticism, this team is capable of so much more. It’s just becoming harder and harder to believe that any of them – much less all of them – will be able to “put it all together” as we’d need to do in order to follow the model of a team like Detroit or even Boston (I honestly think Joe/Josh/Al from the past year has equal talent to Boston’s Big Three; but they lack the drive and determination which makes those three a Big Three).

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
11:52 am

Oh, and by the by, the fact that Glen Davis is abusing guys from the center position in Boston should lay to rest the idea that Al is too short to play the position. Al might not be as built as Big Baby, but he is taller, longer, and more athletic. He is more than capable of playing the center position better than all but 2-3 starting centers in the league. Outside of games against the few teams with centers who can utterly overpower or effortlessly back down and shoot over Al, putting him at PF does not make us a better team.

I am increasingly convinced that Al has a mental block about playing C against the bigger and stronger guys, and that’s why he gets frustrated and despondent so easily against them. Instead of using the advantages he does have, he gets hung up on being smaller than the guy he’s guarding. The most frustrating part about it is that he was NOT like that his rookie year, when he showed a remarkable ability (esp for a rookie) to force his man to catch and shoot further from the basket (the strategy that BWallace, Perkins, and Big Baby take). Today, he seems to back down more easily when his man gets the ball deep in the post; and when he doesn’t, he overcompensates by pushing off his man, which leads to inevitable foul calls. It’s the one area in which Horford has clearly regressed since his rookie year, IMHO, but it’s in an area that’s pretty damned important for a big man.

O'Brien

December 15th, 2010
12:10 pm

nire,

Co-sign. Al’s biggest issues are mental (imo). He seems totally hung up on being a PF, so he doesnt do the things needed to be effective more consistently at Center against certain guys.

During the Spurs game, Najeh made a great point about Pop’s coaching and his players. His point was the Spurs players usually know what their roles are, they know their strengths, and they know their weaknesses.

As a result, they stay within their roles and limitations, and focus on their strengths.

With these Hawks, thats not the case. Players dont do a good job consistently of knowing their roles, and consistently playing to their strengths. They seem to zone in and out sometimes.

Thats how they played under Woody, and we’re seeing it again under LD.

vava74

December 15th, 2010
12:56 pm

Can you spell:

“players only meeting” ?

:-D

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
12:58 pm

I can, Vava: U-S-E-L-E-S-S

vava74

December 15th, 2010
1:22 pm

Why nire? The previous one produced this “good run” :-D so we need a new one before the Boston game.

Wally Walker

December 15th, 2010
1:37 pm

Trade Marvin

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
2:28 pm

I fear that the genie is out of the bottle with both Al and Josh. I think we have 2 players who prefer to play smaller than their previous assignment. And I think Sund now must find an upgrade to Collins and Bibby. Having Josh defend SFs weakens us on the perimeter and with defending the rim. PGs will face minimal resistance when they penetrate past Bibby and attack the rim. Likewise, Al is better as a low-post defender than he is chasing the many perimeter-oriented PFs in the league. Collins is good as a man-to-man defender on large bodies, but do we really want him defending pick and roll plays? I see how moving to their “natural positions” benefit Al and Josh, I just don’t see how it helps the team (as currently constructed). IMO, the ball is in Sund’s court to make an adjustment.

It’s funny, we always want coaches to “make the adjustment” but do we really expect LD to constantly change the players’ roles based on the opposition? When Joe returns, does he flex Collins or Marvin in/out of the starting line-up based on the competition? Aren’t we supposed to dictate the game instead of allowing the other guy to control who and how we play? IMO, the starting line-up should be static with in-game adjustments made as needed. But I don’t like the notion of having to match-up with the other guys… make them match-up to us. I hope LD picks a plan and sticks to it (when Joe returns).

Miles D

December 15th, 2010
2:36 pm

This one is on LD, clearly! When we play our big lineup, we flourish! When we don’t this is what we get! Even more clearly is four things are going to have to happen for the Hawks to be successful. First, Teague is gonna have to play more. Because if LD is gonna let a 12 yr. vet continue to make rookie mistakes, then he might as well play Teague, and at least he can be coached to change his flaws! Bibby’s play is like Favre! And at this point in his career it won’t get better but it WILL get worse! Second Marvin needs to be TRADED or become a eight man off the bench! But at this point I would prefer a trade, as ALL of us do. Third, play Josh at the 3 because though he had the high score he only had four rebounds and HE IS NOT A TOUGH GUY thats going to fight with Al against bigger, stronger opposition. But really I think we should dangle Josh as trade bait because whether we like him or not he is a large reason why our team has an identity crisis! AGAIN…SEVEN YEARS IN THE NBA and STILL NO POST GAME at the PF position is NOT WHAT WE NEED FROM HIM! And lastly, play Jordan Crawford period! I don’t get this “Woody like philosophy” there is a reason we drafted the guy in the first round! Now play ‘em, the future is now! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
2:52 pm

A “Woody like philosophy” from his lead assistant of 6 years? Wow, who would have thought something like that would happen? Speaking of common themes, I see Teague has gone from only playing 10 minutes/game under Lucipher to a whopping 13 minutes/game under dear old Uncle Larry. I guess we should credit Nick Van Exel for coaxing that extra 180 seconds of effective play out of our PG of the future.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
3:49 pm

Astro,

It’s funny, we always want coaches to “make the adjustment” but do we really expect LD to constantly change the players’ roles based on the opposition? When Joe returns, does he flex Collins or Marvin in/out of the starting line-up based on the competition? Aren’t we supposed to dictate the game instead of allowing the other guy to control who and how we play?

I agree with that to a point, but the line between being reactive and proactive can be pretty blurry when it comes to lineup changes. I think we have to put out the lineup that maximizes our ability to utilize our team’s strengths. That might mean different lineups against different teams.

A lineup change can be used either proactively or reactively. The key to me is not whether we make a lineup change, but rather how that lineup change is used. If use the lineup change is used to create and exploit mismatches of our own, then I’m ok with it. A lineup change is only an overreaction if it is done in a way that actually eliminates advantages that we otherwise would have over the other team.

Against Orlando, I actually thought having Collins in the starting 5 had a positive effect on our ability to exploit mismatches. Having Collins on Dwight means that Al doesn’t have to bang with Dwight on each and every possession, which helps conserve Al’s energy so that he is fresher (and not in foul trouble) later in the game. It also allows us to exploit the mismatch of Q-Rich and Lewis trying to guard Josh and Al in the post (which worked beautifully in the last game).

What is NOT good is to obsess over our weaknesses against other teams to the point where we are not utilizing the team’s strengths. Against Orlando, that means double-and-triple teaming Dwight on D and turning ourselves into a jumpshooting team on O in order to minimize Dwight’s impact.

My biggest complaint about Woody against Orlando is that the team was obsessed with avoiding Dwight on offense and stopping Dwight on defense. When we put Collins in the game, the double and triple teams didn’t occur any less frequently, and we didn’t feed the ball to Josh or Al in the post (where they had newfound mismatches) any more than we usually do. In essence, under Woody, inserting Collins helped plaster over a weakness but did not create or exploit any strengths. The strategy that LD employed against Orlando – single-covering Dwight with Collins early on, and exploiting Al and (especially) Josh’s size mismatches on the other end – also helped plaster over a weakness, but the strategy changes that accompanied it also created and exploited our own strengths. That seems to me to be a much more proactive approach.

That’s just one example. As I said, it’s a fine line. To me, the things I want to avoid are making major trades in order to “match up” better with one team (at the expense of weakening ourselves against many other teams – as happened when teams kept trading for Deke early in the decade to “match up” with Shaq, and how Phoenix traded for Shaq to “match up” with San Antonio) and implementing offensive and defensive schemes that mask the other team’s mismatches without exploiting new mismatches that we have.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
3:50 pm

* eliminates net advantages that we otherwise would have over the other team.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
3:55 pm

Oh, and of course I forgot Cleveland trading for Shaq to match up with Dwight (Shaq at center actually weakened them against Boston and LA, even though it arguably strengthened them against Orlando). I’m alright with using our 11th roster spot to sign a big body to match up with Dwight. I’m not ok with blowing up the whole team to do it (unless said blowing up the team actually made us stronger against many other teams as well).

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
4:51 pm

nire, I could see using a different starting line-up for maybe 1-2 opponents… it feels like most recently, Collins and Evans are in one day and out the next. Almost like a baseball platoon… depending on if a righty or lefty is pitching. Maybe that is required to help us “survive” (to use Sund’s term) while Joe is out. I just hope a more static line-up is introduced.

niremetal

December 15th, 2010
5:08 pm

Astro,

I think against 25 out of 30 NBA teams, Bibby-JJ-Marvin-Josh-Al is our strongest lineup. But honestly, I would not be averse to a 3-4 game experiment with a “big” lineup for a few games once Joe gets back. Who knows? Maybe Marvin will re-find his groove coming off the bench and the bigger lineup will help us overcome our rebounding woes.

I also can’t resist pointing out that many of the league’s great coaches – most notably Rudy T, Popovich, and Doc – like(d) to experiment with different lineups throughout the regular season before settling on one or two come the playoffs. So far this year, Pop obviously has stuck with the lineup that has taken his team to a 20-3 record. But he has frequently done one-game and even multi-week experiments with different lineups. Heck, he even “platooned” Oberto and Elson as starting centers during their last championship run, using Oberto on the pick-and-poppers (Okur and Ilgauskas) while using Elson against Camby, and switching from Elson to Oberto midseries against Phoenix (who were using Amare at center). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with experimentation. Again, the key is whether you use lineup changes simply to paper over problems, or also to create and better exploit strengths.

Ken77

December 15th, 2010
6:30 pm

We must face the awful truth about these Hawks. They are at best a 7th or 8th seed in the east and out in the 1st round as currently constructed. This organization is simply not serious about championship basketball and that is the bottom line. There is more excitement about the Knicks who went out and got a superstar and a true poing guard in one summer and is now further along than these Hawks. Mark my word, these guys are one long losing streak from totally imploding and falling apart at the seams. This is why no true superstar player wants to come here and play. Sad,sad, so sad.

BeFrank

December 15th, 2010
6:52 pm

At this point in the season, although it is early, I think we can see the pattern for this team. They have not matured to the point where it is a given that they will play consistent basketball. They played down to the competition and could not get themselves inspired enough to get a win. This is where a Boston or a Los Angeles would just simply not let this type of loss happen. I am a major Atlanta Hawks fan from way back in the day and I already am starting to check out for this season because I see the pattern. We look like a team that will get into the playoffs and then exit just as quickly as we got in. Our team is not maturing like it should. I think we can start to look at coaching at this point. We also need to look at the basketball IQ and not just the length and the talent. We are simply not getting smarter with age.

Big Ray

December 15th, 2010
7:23 pm

Niremetal ,

Double and triple co-sign your 11:52 and 11:53 am posts.

Astro Joe ,

Yep. It’s either one of two things: A) Some dogs just can’t be taught certain tricks, or B) This is a 3-4 year development player.

I know this much – Teague may have until early or halfway through next season to prove that he’s a guy they should keep on this team. Otherwise, he won’t have to worry about that 4th year player option being picked up. Having to use a shooting guard as the backup pg is only going to fly for so long.

Big Ray

December 15th, 2010
7:27 pm

Ken77 ,

Are the Hawks currently 7th or 8th in the East? Are they on pace to end the season this way? Out in the first round? Beaten by whom ? 26 games into the season and playing without your top guy….it’s a bit early for those predictions, but what the heck….long as you’re around to see what happens in the end. ;)

Big Ray

December 15th, 2010
7:28 pm

Miles D ,

Playing Jason Collins at center makes us bigger, but what would it have done to slow Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, and Tracy McGrady?

Ray

December 15th, 2010
7:43 pm

Nice article Big Ray as always

At this point in time I can already see that we have our Big 2 at least maybe 3 if Joe comes back and proves that something was bothering him.

It seems to me the way this team is constructed we need a PG like Deron Williams nothing against Teague, but the way he plays seems more fit for Boston or other teams.

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
9:01 pm

nire, 4-5 teams wouldn’t be awful. Keeping the same line-up for all 29 and making adjustments as early as 3 minutes into the game is yet another viable option. I suggested the other day that LD’s experimentation may be keeping guys from getting bored… so I am willing to consider that view point. But let’s face it, we’re not talking about a ton of combinations here… we’re not benching Josh, Al or Joe or Bibby (not when Teague is a borderline rotation player). So let’s also not pretend that we’re talking about an exponential number of combinations due to a wealth of productive players. We’re not… and starting Collins against more than 2-3 centers is the only thing that makes some sense.

Astro Joe

December 15th, 2010
10:12 pm

That Boston-NYC game was one of the best regular season games I;ve seen in a few years. I hate the Celtics, but it probbaly works out better for the Hawks that they won… now WE get to break their winning streak tomorrow night and get some TNT love in the process. Rondo looked pretty gimpy out there tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses the Hawks game.

doc

December 16th, 2010
6:43 am

aj, if stuckey needs to go out of the league then we have two guys that need to proceed him at point guard.

aj to follow you on zaza i disagree a bit. he has been remarkably consistent through his career except the two years where w had to have more offense from him as a starter.you suggest deterioration. look at his numbers throughout and he has avg exactly what he gives now, 4 and 4 for 15 minutes a game. this goes back to milwaukee. sadly, he has not shown any organic growth along with marvin. unfortunately, marvin regressed to where we dont know what we will get from him from game to game. sadly, we know exactly what we can get from zaza now nothing more and nothing less. finally, neither guy has gotten better in the last three years as young developing players that are part of the top seven where we desperately needed them to do just that. people can only wish either of them had come as far as big baby in this time even though he was the “head case”.

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
7:08 am

“(It was) not mismatches, not fatigue,” a fuming Van Gundy said. “It was a lack of effort, lack of toughness (and a) lack of any desire to defend anybody … We’re finding every b.s. excuse in the book right now. That’s what we’re doing.” . . .

“It was the same in every game of the trip, even the Clipper game,” Van Gundy said. “We just had a big enough lead at the half to survive. Our offense died in the second half of every one, and we play no defense. We play no defense, whatsoever.

“On this trip we were one of the worst defensive teams in the league. If that doesn’t change, we will be a very bad basketball team.”

Sound familiar? Only this time it’s Stan Van Gundy talking about his very own Orlando Magic. I guess this disease is universal…

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
7:10 am

Jamal, square peg

Walker also weighed in on what will probably be a continuing theme, the dilemma Jamal faces when asked to run the team:

Crawford takes way too long to get the team going in an offensive set, sometimes defaulting to breaking down his man off the dribble to create some offense for himself. Last night in Detroit, there were times when the shot clock got to 10 and the ball was still in Crawford’s hands without a single pass.

Crawford is misused in this capacity, he needs the freedom to spot up, come off picks, and score the basketball. Getting guys in the right position and cranking up an offense is not his forte. Getting guys to foul him while knocking down a three is.

Excellent point by Jason Walker. In fact, it echoes what some have said around here. This was where Jeff Teague was supposed to step in, but hasn’t. Still needing a solution at point guard, and still not getting it.

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
7:12 am

I’m not taking a single thing for granted against Boston. They play with more heart and determination than us on any given day, and that my friends is a sad but firm fact.

doc

December 16th, 2010
8:29 am

for nire:

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1610/10-great-cheap-cars/

corolla didnt make the list though criteria not evaluated thoroughly by me.

Sautee

December 16th, 2010
10:25 am

Big Ray,

Co-sign that 7:12 post.

doc

December 16th, 2010
10:55 am

agree sutee, as much as i dislike that team i admire every effort they put forth on the court. it is well worth the price of admission. if only we had that kind of effort with every play. that is the essence of what our guys have to learn if they really want to be among the best as a team.

dap01

December 16th, 2010
11:00 am

We are a poorly constructed team. We have no poor pg and c play. Those are the positions that are filled first while rebuilding successful teams.

The Hawks went through years of rebuilding to only have Josh and Al to show for it.

But hey, we were able to trade a lottery pick (Childress) for a $3m exemption that we will never use.

Rufus1

December 16th, 2010
11:02 am

Losses have in common…..

I think what are losses have in common is MO starting…except the Spurs, but our defense we excellent.(until the 4qt)

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
12:13 pm

doc, I guess you’re right about Zaza. Somehow, I thought he was supposed to be a little more than a 4 point performer in 12-14 minutes/game.

O'Brien

December 16th, 2010
1:18 pm

ZaZa’s impact cannot be quantified in just points and rebounds.

How many illegal screens does he get called for? And how many fouls does he commit because his defense is soft. He averages 2.5 fouls in 14 minutes (Al averages 3 fouls in 33 minutes).

How many misses does ZaZa have on offense because he must take one dribble or bounce instead of going up strong.

How many rebounds have slipped through his fingers?

What this team needs is a guy like Noah at Center. He will get you 12 rebounds every game, does not worry too much about his offense, and usually plays defense with energy (although even Noah struggles against some of the same guys Al struggles with).

But I dont know how the Hawks will address their need at Center. It would have been nice to trade Jamal for a Center (before JJ got hurt of course).

mirenetal

December 16th, 2010
1:39 pm

You guys need to stop all this trash talking about Zaza Pachulia. He is undoubtedly, unreservedly, unabashedly one of the best backup centers in all of basketball. Seriously, I would take him over Shaq, Dampier, Gortat, and any other supposedly relevant backup center. Zaza is good stuff, and Jason Collins is also wonderful. It’s a good thing that brilliant Mr. Sund does not listen to you nerds. Shut up about that trade exception, you do not know anything about basketball and you show it every time you post.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
2:09 pm

If the Nets don’t land Melo, I’d like to see the Hawks gamble on Troy Murphy as a center. No, he is clearly not a traditional center, buthe is 6′11″ and an elite rebounder (when healthy) and in a line-up with Aland Josh, he could stretch the defense and maybe, just maybe, Al and Josh would play closer to the basket. He has an expiring contract so if it doesn’t work out, no harm is done. Given the intense dissatisfaction with Marvin, I doubt that many would object to Murphy replacing Marvin as a starter. And if nothing else, it would allow us to potentially be one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.

Players like Noah don’t grow on trees… the other “fantasy” option is hoping that Portland holds a fire sale in 4-6 weeks and make Camby or Pryzbilla available. Camby and Al would be an amazing duo.

doc

December 16th, 2010
2:31 pm

o’b odd that zaza didnt foul much when he was the only center on the team but that has been asked of him is my guess when he went to the sub category. the wishes of folks here wanting a more physical presence in the middle seemed to be answered as well. if i remember the mantra heard was we often criticized him for euro soft; now he is a foul machine. ;-) gosh he cant please everyone can he?

Melvin

December 16th, 2010
2:45 pm

Astro,

I wouldn’t mind a gamble on Murphy depending on the package that the Hawks will have to trade to get him. I mention him in the past as a guy that the Hawks should target. He could play as a Stretch 4 and some 5 in the right situation but most of all; we could use his rebounding ability. At this point, I think Jamal production may be too valuable to trade (unless it’s an beatable deal ). Not sure if the Nets would be interested any deals that doesn’t include an expiring contracts (at least prior to the Melo situation is settle).

mirenetal

December 16th, 2010
2:47 pm

Zaza is greatness. Much superior to slow footed Shaq and dim witted Dampier types. Stop hating on him and talking out of your arses.

Melvin

December 16th, 2010
2:49 pm

No Jamal for tonight. So the number 1 and 4th option will be in street clothes tonight. Will the Hawks 5th/6th option Marvin step up tonight?

mirenetal

December 16th, 2010
2:51 pm

Marvin is greatness. You are talking out of your arse or lying. I can smell it.

niremetal

December 16th, 2010
3:06 pm

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
3:39 pm

LD has bought into Horford as a PF. If he is “a-scared” of playing Horford against the Celtics’ “long” rookie center… then let’s just be done with the nonsense and call Al a PF. Seriously, Al being defended by KG is better than Al being defended by the rookie? Meanwhile, watching Marvin chase Ray Allen around those screens should be great fodder for those who seem to blame him for all of the Hawks’ ills (Marvin is the new Woody).

Oh well… this may be one of those half-time sessions when Charles and Kenny don’t even mention the Hawks.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
4:05 pm

You want to try some different line-ups? With Joe and Jamal out and the team looking for some offense to stay with a red-hot Celtics team, start Jordan Crawford and take the leash off of him. And I would want him starting with Bibby, someone who can set-up the rookie and calm him down when needed. LD has nothing to lose tonight, so try something truly daring… and that ain’t starting Jason Collins.

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
5:42 pm

Astro Joe ,

Depends on who you are. Marvin is the new Woody for some, others pick different surrogate targets. We all have our crutches, it seems.

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
5:43 pm

Nire ,

Dyslexia or doppleganger? :)

Big Ray

December 16th, 2010
5:45 pm

Either way, I don’t know if I’m looking forward to this game or not.

And AJ , I don’t know what’s with the string of DNPs for Jordan Crawford. But it’s great fodder for anybody who wants to make…oh, shall we say “slyly observant” comments about the similarities between one head coach and his rookie, and the ghost of Hawks coaching past…. ;)

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
9:32 pm

Funny how Teague looks like a different player when he is playing “guard” and not PG. And no Jamal in his backcourt is also noteworthy.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
9:42 pm

Why don’t the officials simply call 2 tech on all Hawks players and call it a day?

It would be simpler

vava74

December 16th, 2010
9:53 pm

disgusting officiating but Al has to throw it down instead of putting his head down and dribbling again

vava74

December 16th, 2010
9:54 pm

where’s everyone? I bet that now that you know that I am up you all simply turned off your tv sets and went to bed earlier… :-D

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
9:58 pm

vava, I’m ignoring you, hoping that you will fall asleep.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:02 pm

I am considering going to bed… but you better pin this defeat on the refs.

it has been a nauseating exercise to watch this game…

niremetal

December 16th, 2010
10:07 pm

Josh is playing alright D tonight when he gets a chance to catch his breath, but the Celtics are exhausting him by running him off multiple screens. It’s clearly affected him on both ends. Smart strategy by Doc.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:08 pm

vava, the refs didn’t decide to play Collins for fear that Horford couldn’t get off against Erden. I’m not sure if I spelled his name correctly, BECAUSE HE IS A SCRUB ROOKIE WHOM OUR COACH SHOULDN’T FEAR AGAINST OUR ALL-STAR CENTER.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:09 pm

nire, had he been matched against KG, that screen trick would not have been a plausible tactic… again, why the F is Collins playing?

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:11 pm

niremetal

December 16th, 2010
10:12 pm

WHOA. Marvin did his best Josh impression on that block.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:17 pm

Astro,

Marvin has been playing well at the 2 spot taking advantage of his height advantage (he did give too many open looks to Ray Allen though).

Doesn’t that offset what you claim to be damaging us?

What is damaging us is not Collins, who moves well on D in and out of the post.

Contrary to what you mentioned earlier today, he defends the pick and roll well because he is smart and has a high basketball IQ.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:23 pm

Bibby in, Nate makes him pay.

Less than 30 second elapsed?

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:25 pm

vava, I didn’t see Marvin scoring “over” SGs as much as he’s been making distant jumpers tonight. But putting your two bext offensive options (Al and Josh) in a less than optimal match-up in favor of the player who gets the 6th most shots isn’t especially bright (IMO). IMO, the Hawks can’t beat Boston playing their style of ball, we needed to play at a faster pace tonight… and Collins isn’t in catalyst for operating at a faster pace. We should have tried to take advantage of tired old legs.

Melvin

December 16th, 2010
10:27 pm

Marvin has really played well tonight. Only if he would have had help from Josh and Al…

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:27 pm

vava, Bibby is smart and has a high b-ball IQ, what does that have to do with having the physical tools to defend quick players?

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:32 pm

Astro,

He has been making jumpers over smaller opponents, getting to the line on fouls by smaller opponents

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:32 pm

Teague has more FGAs than Horford. How does that happen?

Melvin

December 16th, 2010
10:32 pm

Too many opens shots and the Celtics are making. Gameover…

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:34 pm

vava, you don;t design a game plan that makes things hard on Al and Josh to make things easier for Marvin. And Teague can’t get more FGAs than Horford. The offensive game plan tonight was F’ed up.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:34 pm

Astro,

Bibby would be an excellent backup for us.

As a starter he has too many games where he is over matched and without JJ and or Jamal drawing the double teams and leaving him open he has a lot of trouble launching the 3 pointers which make him valuable

Melvin

December 16th, 2010
10:36 pm

Load up the plane and get the hell out of Boston…

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:40 pm

we played a good game.

the refs were fundamental in keeping the celts close (and Horford quickly off the floor with the second foul) when he had them on the ropes and then with another series of bad calls they got what they wanted.

It should be noted that Horford was called for his 3rd fall immediately at the start of the 3rd quarter whilst the Celts hacked away at will.

some coaching issues, but nothing major since with limited personnel… it was difficult, after all, BOS still had the big 3 to play with tonight.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
10:40 pm

vava, I don’t disgaree about Bibby, but you can’t bench him for anyone on this team. I’d love to have a PG good enough to send Bibby to the bench, unfortunately, we don’t have one. I wish we had a center that would send Collins and Zaza to the far end of the bench (evidently Horford is no longer that guy)… but we don’t.

niremetal

December 16th, 2010
10:51 pm

I didn’t catch the beginning of the game (was closing the deal on my new Corolla), but from what I saw I actually didn’t think much more could have been expected considering who we are missing and who we were playing. Of course, the Celts were missing Rondo as well, but frankly Nate causes us as many problems as Rondo usually does anyway.

My big gripe is that this was not a game where Collins’ presence was necessary. At all.

vava74

December 16th, 2010
10:55 pm

Astro,

Horford was kept off the game by the refs AND again crapped his pants. His shots only started to go down in the second half. His first jump shots to start the game where short and tight.

You could clearly see that he had problems dealing with the pressure which the Celts placed on him AGAIN.

On LD’s option to use Al and Josh at the PF and SF slots:

Do you remember what Garnett did to Josh in ATL? I think LD tried to give him a different look defensively.

Unfortunately the refs thought differently.

On the fact that this game plan gave more shots to Marvin instead of Al and Josh:

Well, it seems that you don’t take into consideration that WE NEEDED to have some perimeter offense in order to free up some space inside.

Marvin gave us the perimeter offense we needed.

The problem was that Josh was whacked repeatedly and did not get the calls and you know what happens after that: he loses focus and confidence and misses everything he throws up and shies away from playing inside and was mostly a non factor.

Al played only 25 minutes and got the shots that the BOS defense gave him. He did not have more because he did not bang and did not collect any offensive rebounds which could be converted into points (he had 2, but 1 was on the final minute after a long 3 by Marvin).

Garnett was 8-10, Erden 5-6 and that was a direct consequence on how the officials were calling the game: you touched a Celt, you got called for a foul.

They masked that well with meaningless fouls in the perimter on Pierce and Daniels but the true fact is that the inside the game was called completely differently for both teams.

Another example were 2 clear fouls on Powell (whacked on his forearm) which were converted into 2 TO (steals).

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2010
11:05 pm

vava, okay, the refs stole the game from us. Go with it. I’m not.

Teague’s play supports what I’ve said ad nauseum… he needs to be placed in a role where he can be offensively aggressive… more of a “lead” guard and less of a PG. And he and Jamal are as compatible as oil and water.

Yet another game where Marvin plays well and Josh stinks up the joint. They rarely (almost never) perform well together.

Boston was without their top 3 centers and their starting PG and were playing a back-to-back game. Our captains were at best “uneven”, sure, I expected to lose but not expecting to see such a poor effort from our captains.

O'Brien

December 16th, 2010
11:06 pm

Did not see the game, but it looked like Marvin played well. If only we can see this Marvin more often.

Teague looked better with no JJ and no Jamal, but he did have 4 turnovers. I’m surprised to see Josh go 0-8.

I know the Celtics played last night, and played w/o Rondo and Shaq, but Hawks played w/o Jamal and JJ, on the road. As a result, I can’t find fault with our effort.

So Hawks selected Pape Sy with the 53rd pick. Boston selected Semih Erden with the 60th pick. Which one is looking like the better pick so far?

O'Brien

December 16th, 2010
11:07 pm

AJ,

Like you, I am surprised that Josh and Al didnt give us much. But I’m glad we kept it close for most of the game.

O'Brien

December 17th, 2010
12:29 am

So the rumor is Braves are close to signing Uggla for 5 years, $60 mil. What do you think, Doc?

doc

December 17th, 2010
12:56 am

o’b, it starts to make up for throwing so much away for tex and spending on lowe, chipper, kawakami and mclouth. i wonder if he could play center like the old second baseman for the stros that made the switch. i dont like the idea of him, gonzalez, mccann and mclouth up the middle. pitching better be b!tching good.

nire to heck with the game tell us about the new ride.

vava74

December 17th, 2010
6:32 am

Astro,

Fine, you are blind as a bat.

2 quick fouls on Horford (both minor touch fouls) which made him miss part of the first quarter and the whole of the 2nd quarter.

2/3 fouls on Josh not called which lead to him being frustrated and completely out of sync on offense.

Note the difference about what was called when Al or Josh tried to drive or back down their defenders and what was called on Al.

1 foul on Powell not called.

These were the most blatant examples during the first half and you should note that the tendency was: BOS can play physical inside at will, ATL can’t touch playing D.

Several other calls during the second half were going the same way:

at least 1 on Al when he drove (and instead of hammering it down he dribbled) and went up after a fake he got whacked in the head.

at least 2 on Josh. One of them was sooooo obvious that even McHale acknowledged it and said that Josh had done everything right and did not get the call.

1 on Powell (he got whacked on the forearm but it was judged clean strip)

1 on Teague when he slipped (before Nate got his hands on the ball he pushed Teague down onto the floor)

These plays amount to 8 or 9 possessions, most of them crucial.

If you don’t want to see it, fine.

One final note, there is absolutely no f*cking reason for ATL people not go and support the team.

Yes, they are not elite yet but the Hawks are playing in a mortuary. Compare that with the added pressure which the refs feel in BOS, SA, …

They won championships, I know, but you have to support the team every single game like the Bos series of 3 years ago.

ATL fans either don’t show up or show up only to cheer if everything is going the right way. That doesn’t cut it.