Hawks look to pad home record

Need a quick victory to add to your win column? The Toronto Raptors just might oblige you. Of course, this isn’t the attitude the Hawks should be taking as they prepare to fend off a squad that has zero wins in it’s last twelve games. In fact, that may be the perfect trap game.

The danger here is if the Hawks play lazy, lethargic, or disinterested, they run the chance of canceling out their road wins against the Raptors and Clippers. Doesn’t sound like a big deal though, right? Well consider this – the Hawks lost only 7 home games during the entire regular season last year. This season, they’ve already lost 7 home games, and the all-star break isn’t even here yet. On the plus side, the Hawks only won 19 road games last season. This season? They have 15 road victories already. How do we explain such a change in fortunes? Does this bode well for the Hawks, or is this simply a trade-off in the standings columns that will have no effect when the postseason comes around?

Regardless of the view on that, the Hawks need to become a better team at home. Two straight home games against opponents with losing records is a good way to pad that home record.

 

HAWKS VS RAPTORS

The Skinny : The Raptors will be missing Reggie Evans, Linas Kleiza, and Leandro Barbosa. That’s good news for the Hawks, whose backcourt rotational players would just as soon not have to chase the speedy Barbosa all over the court. Kleiza is a decent scorer and rebounder, and the Raptors could have used his help as well.

The Hawks will be missing Marvin Williams. Nothing against Williams, but that won’t hurt the Hawks nearly as much as the Raptors will hurt by missing their guys. This game should be won by the Hawks in a blowout. Will it?

LD sets the rotation

Despite what the numbers look like for the Hawks defensively, Head Coach Larry Drew thinks Atlanta only needs to go big situationally. That is certainly good news for forward Marvin Williams, who would have seen himself in a 7th man role (hey, Jamal is the Sixth man as long as he’s here) if Jason Collins became the regular starter at center. It’s also good news for Zaza Pachulia, who does not react well to being the third center in the game. It’s not necessarily his attitude, but rather the production in truncated minutes. Pachulia’s play  can be pivotal to the overall production of the bench, particularly in the category of rebounding.

Pick tonight’s star of the game

Which Atlanta Hawk has the biggest game tonight? Will it be Joe Johnson, who seems determined to make a 5th straight all-star bid? How about Al Horford, who may be getting his second appearance in the big game? Or Josh Smith? Jamal Crawford? You pick.

 

 

By Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

318 comments Add your comment

ATL FAN

February 2nd, 2011
6:04 pm

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
6:13 pm

Bargnani will give us trouble. Other than that, I ain’t worried. We might need Marvin around if Barbosa and Kleiza were playing. Without them, we shouldn’t.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2011
6:14 pm

From the previous blog, this trade posted by superiorblogman would be pretty good for the Hawks if taking on Stephen Jackson’s contract is not a big deal.

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4emghwv

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2011
6:18 pm

To revisit a point I made on the previous fan blog, against a team like the Raptors I’d be in favor of giving Teague extended minutes and running the risk of the Hawks not playing as well for the sake of giving him a chance to develop into a consistent contributor. If he fails, he fails. If the Hawks lose the game as a result, chances are it still doesn’t affect their playoff seeding, since they are 4 games ahead of the 6 seeded Knicks. If he succeeds, he takes a big step towards becoming the replacement to Bibby the Hawks so desperately need.

Tony from Stone Mountain

February 2nd, 2011
6:19 pm

Najeh, wasn’t Stephen Jackson already a Hawk alongside Jason Terry? Why would we want him back?

ATL FAN

February 2nd, 2011
6:25 pm

why would we want another SG period?

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2011
6:27 pm

Why not? The Hawks would be giving up one good player and one scrub for two good players, one of whom would add to the Hawks’ currently woeful front court depth. Stephen Jackson can either stretch the floor as a 3rd option in the starting lineup at SF or can come off the bench in a scoring role like Jamal Crawford, and Carl Landry can score in the post and give quality minutes off the bench.

Not like it will ever happen, but still, it’s one of the better trade suggestions I’ve seen on here.

Tony from Stone Mountain

February 2nd, 2011
6:32 pm

Our problems definitely don’t lie in the SG position…

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
6:43 pm

Najeh,

That is an interesting approach that I dont think most coaches will take (especially before the all-star break).

Regardless of a team’s home/road record during the season, teams want homecourt in the playoffs. So LD will do all he can to win and move up to the 4th seed (and maybe even the 3rd seed if Bulls and Magic fall on their face).

Towards the end of the season, I would be more open to that approach, but I think its too early to see it that way.

Although on the flip side, we have seen the Hawks lose to bad teams in games where Teague doesnt get any minutes, so we can lose with him, and we can lose without him.

That being said, Teague played well against Dallas the last game, so he deserves some minutes tonight. If he gets minutes tonight and plays well, then give him minutes the next game. That is the approach LD should take.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
6:48 pm

As for tonight’s game, i think Calderon has a big game for Toronto, and for the Hawks, I think Jamal has big game only because he is due to break out of his slump.

Ken Strickland

February 2nd, 2011
6:58 pm

Since JCalderon is one of the two players I wish the Hawks would pursue in a trade, I’ll be keeping an eye on his overall performance against us. I want to see how much of an impact he’ll have on us compared to the impact Bibby will have on them.

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
7:27 pm

That was just awful. Bargnani took a jumper with Josh on him and Josh didn’t even try to box him out. Bargnani went to the basket unimpeded. He blew the lay-up, but just an infuriating example of how Josh’s effort and focus still is just not there.

Kevin McHale my ass.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
7:45 pm

nire,

And 2 possessions later, Josh stays with him and blocks his shot. Josh has the talent, but he needs to stay focused.

Ken S,

2 bad possessions for Teague, and then one good possession with an assist. keep an eye on him too.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
7:54 pm

Good minutes by Teague so far. he started off slow with a couple bad possessions, but since then, he has had 2 good defensive sequences, and an assist and 2 points on the offensive end.

He has to continue to play well to earn more of LD’s trust.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
7:55 pm

Bibby was actually leading the break on that one.

Man, the arena is empty. And the Raptors suck.

O'Brien

February 2nd, 2011
8:08 pm

Meanwhile, Bibby bricks another 3. And then he misses another 3. Dude is 0-3 from behind the arc, and 0-5 from the field. Plus he is getting beat by Calderon.

Yup, I expect more minutes from Teague in the second half.

Meanwhile, Al has 12, 8 and 4. It would be nice to see him mess around and get a triple double.

And great half for JJ.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2011
8:21 pm

“That was just awful. Bargnani took a jumper with Josh on him and Josh didn’t even try to box him out. Bargnani went to the basket unimpeded. He blew the lay-up, but just an infuriating example of how Josh’s effort and focus still is just not there.”

Smoove jumped at that shot trying to block it and barely got out of Bargnani’s way to avoid committing the foul. His momentum was carrying him away from the hoop as Bargnani’s momentum carried him toward the hoop. Blame Smoove for leaving his feet, but that wasn’t a lack-of-effort play.

Funny, though, that you point out one of the two bad plays he made in that half (the other one being a jump shot out of rhythm that he bricked) when he made several very good defensive plays and set up teammates with four or five open shots.

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:00 pm

Najeh,

BS. I just watched the replay and he was already back on the ground with balance regained when Bargnani began moving toward the basket. He didn’t even try to box out crash the glass. He began moving towards midcourt for an outlet pass. He’s having a good game, but that was a pathetic play.

I was about to mention that JJ just made one of the worst passes I’ve ever seen, but I guess that’s out of bounds because he’s having a good game too, huh?

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:13 pm

I never said Josh was a bad player. Just not first ballot Hall of Fame material. I don’t see how you can argue that considering that he’s in his 7th year and has yet to make an All-Star or All-NBA team. Well, unless you’re doc :twisted:

Najeh Davenpoop

February 2nd, 2011
9:16 pm

“I was about to mention that JJ just made one of the worst passes I’ve ever seen, but I guess that’s out of bounds because he’s having a good game too, huh?”

No, I just think it’s funny how Smoove’s mistakes are always magnified (not just by you). On the other blog I pointed out two or three bad decisions he made in this game.

I don’t have DVR so I can’t go back and see that play again, but if we are talking about the same play, there’s no realistic way Smoove could have stepped in front of Bargnani without fouling him when his momentum was carrying him in the opposite direction.

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:16 pm

After tonight, JJ will be at 20.6ppg and 5.5apg with a .450 FG%. Can we say that his elbow is ok now?

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:17 pm

Najeh,

Josh was right next to Bargnani at the time Bargnani released his shot. His momentum was no longer carrying him in the opposite direction. He was on his feet with his balance restored. Sorry, but you’re not remembering that play correctly. At all.

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:21 pm

In case you need any further proof of that, Josh DID start to move in a direction other than where his momentum HAD been carrying him (toward the sideline). He just turned left and moved in the direction of midcourt instead of turning around and moving toward the basket. It wasn’t momentum that prevented him from going for the rebound.

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

Anyway, it was just one play. And I only brought it up because it was another example of how Josh’s focus can lapse even from possession to possession. As O’B said, he followed it up with a perfectly-timed block a couple possessions later. No one has ever disputed that Josh has the physical tools. He just lacks focus (and fluidity…which is why I’ve always preferred “J-Smash” to “J-Smoove”).

niremetal

February 2nd, 2011
9:30 pm

All that being said, great win. Yeah, they were seriously undermanned but that’s the kind of trap game that I’m always scared the Hawks will lose.

In a weird way, maybe we should view it as somewhat promising that the Hawks are now 31-18 and very much in the hunt for a home court playoff spot despite the fact that they’ve yet to string together more than 2 or 3 games where they’ve played their best basketball. We haven’t had any real super-hot streaks of outstanding basketball like they’ve had at least once in each of the past 2 years, which might have something to do with the on-again-off-again injury situation. If they can get hot between now and the end of the season, a top 3 seed or even a division crown is definitely possible.

vava74

February 2nd, 2011
9:31 pm

OB: “Good minutes by Teague so far. he started off slow with a couple bad possessions, but since then, he has had 2 good defensive sequences, and an assist and 2 points on the offensive end.

He has to continue to play well to earn more of LD’s trust.”

And that was the exact moment in which LD took him out of the game! I simply don’t get it. The minute the kid starts to heat up LD takes him out.

That’s plain bad.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
7:17 am

Good win for the Hawks, and great games overall by JJ, Al, and Josh (whose jumper was on early). And Mo had a good 3rd quarter, which we really needed.

I’m disappointed we let an undermanned Raptors team who had lost 12 in a row hang around so long, but such is life in the NBA and Hawksville sometimes. But we found a way to win.

”If they can get hot between now and the end of the season, a top 3 seed or even a division crown is definitely possible.” nire .

I like your optimism, because a division seed means they overtake Orlando AND Miami. However, I don’t see them overtaking both teams.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
7:20 am

vava,

Bibby started off 0-5 from the field (0-3 from behind the line), and was getting beat by Calderon. Fortunately, the Raptors are bad, so it didn’t hurt the Hawks too much.

I think this is a game where LD should have found more minutes for Teague, who only played 11, with 3 and a half of those minutes being the last 3 and a half minutes of the game.

Overall, I thought Teague had an ok game. The bad; he had 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in only 11 minutes and he didn’t use his speed as much as he should. But on the positive side, he had a couple good defensive possessions, and 2 assists.

In a game like this where Bibby was struggling early (although he hit a big 3 late), and Teague played ok (imo) in his first few minutes, I think it would have been a good teaching opportunity to give Teague a few minutes later in the game with the starters to see how he responds.

Every game should be an audition for the next game for Jeff, and I think he played well enough last night to deserve PT in the next game.

vava74

February 3rd, 2011
7:30 am

OB,

Teague, like all inexperienced players takes time to “warm up” and get his game flowing.

His substitution for Bibby after he had strung together 3 good plays was, IMO, criminal.

Teague started off by having a TO and missing a floater, which was not a good omen, however, he was working hard on D playing defense with his feet and getting by TOR weak screens and got Zaza an easy bucket at the rim.

His hustle on D rewarded him with 2 possessions gained (no steals credited but when he was decked by DeRozan he had swiped the ball) and his dribble penetration, which may still be a work in progress handed Zaza – a notoriously poor finisher at the rim – an easy layup.

Immediately upon entering, Bibby drove to the lane and missed/got blocked for a semi-floater, bricked a 3 and got easily man handled by Calderon on a pick n roll play.

Inexcusable IMO since he is not rewarding Teague even when he contributes.

Naturally, Teague’s second stint also started slow and the final, lasting, but ultimately wrong impression is that Teague sucked.

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
8:39 am

I will be very interested to see what kind of crowd shows up on a Friday night to see Blake Griffin. It should be close to a sell-out but I’m not sure that he has yet become “must see” for the casual basketball fan. Also, will LD go back to the big line-up even with Marvin returning from his suspension? I’d rather see Jordan forced to guard Al 18 feet out than see him cheat off of Collins and defend the paint… especially since Joe should be able to get into the lane constantly against the Clippers backcourt.

Do the All-Star reserves get announced today? I think the Hawks get two, Joe & Al.

Big Ray

February 3rd, 2011
8:46 am

Not bad. I started getting pretty aggravated when we gave up the lead and were down by a point (61-60), but then we roared back into control and stayed there for the most part.

Helps the home record, that’s for sure. The Hawks don’t seem to have the home pride/swagger that they had last season. Where did it go?

As much as I blame Teague for some of his issues, and acknowledge that I think he needs more development time than we really like to see…..LD is starting to confuse me with how he plays the kid. I’m sure I’m missing something. I mean, it’s not like he’s one of the reasons we kept giving up the lead last night. Not even close.

GREAT game by Joe. I don’t see how he doesn’t make the all-star reserves list. Dude blew straight up in January and looks like February will be more of the same. I say Al should make it too, and Josh misses again.

doc

February 3rd, 2011
9:17 am

nice to see the big dog, jj, is hunting again with a 5/8 performance behind the arc. it is still startling to see his % from that area for this season. i hope this harbors the coming of an excellent end to the season where he puts this team on his back for a while and leads. if he does which i am inclined to think he can do, along with a healthy stable cast, i continue to be slightly optimistic we could slide into the fourth position and gain the home court advantage for round one.

this team has accomplished a lot though we dont want to see it and only see or comment on the isolated and intermittent bad rather than what is good more consistently in spite of the lack of depth and the injuries, to voice our pet peeves and assure all know we are right. the two healthy guys have maintained their standards and have shown growth which was absolutely necessary as jj went through his injury, marvin went to the bench due to injuries and poor judgment along with losing his aim, jamal has had his own injury to deal along with several misfires and bibby though stroking away continues to be a liability that others have to cover for and do it well. it is maybe because there have been several guys substandard behind the arc this season that because of this bibby has been front and center and teague unable to crack the line up. the reality is this offense needed a sharpshooter more than a point guard as jj covers it well from his position.

anyway, again i say cudos to these guys and LD for accomplishing things that i fretted about during the summer. from the perspective that, no we dont advance beyond the first round as we have too few horses to compete in a seven game series, we lose jamal and wonder what will replace what he gave, owners cant spend more, we make few really good moves in the off season to balance the starting five and bolster the bench and possibly face a lock out and dont see any basketball next year, so like AJ did last year, i will enjoy this season and accept it for what it is. i think they will exceed my expectations and challenge 50 wins. i hope so, go get em guys.

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
9:19 am

Josh’s jumpers watch update:

vs. NY: 3-4 (2-3 on 3s)
vs. Dal: 1-4 (1-3 on 3s)
vs. Tor: 5-9 (0-2 on 3s)

Total: 9-17 (3-8 on 3s)
FG%: .529
eFG%: .618
eFG% vs. season avg: +.179
vs. ’09-’10 avg: +.333
——————————————————–
Easily the best 3-game stretch Josh has had since I started the watch back in late December. Also the lowest 3-game jumper attempts total since I started the watch. Coincidence?

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
9:29 am

Since Jan 3, JJ is shooting .532 from the field (not a typo) and .391 from deep, for an eFG% of .584.

Quietly, Al dropped slightly off his season pace in shooting/scoring in January, posting season lows in FG% (albeit by a tiny margin) and PPG. It was very quiet, though, because I didn’t notice any dropoff in his performance. He also averaged an even 10.0rpg and posted a career-best (by far) 4.5apg for the month.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
9:45 am

From the game notes;

J.J. on playing fewer minutes (and games) this year: “It has helped me in a lot of ways. My body is feeling pretty good and it makes me be more aggressive when I am in the game knowing my time is a little limited.” MC .

Whatever it is, he had a great January, and February is off to a good start. All Star reserves should be announced tonight, and I think JJ and Al get in.

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
9:51 am

nire, Al was a little banged up (funny, I have already forgotten what his issue was… ankle or wrist?) in January.

doc, I disagree that Marvin’s short move to the bench was performance related, there certainly wasn’t anything from LD that suggested it was anything related to Marvin (more related to keeping Al from battling the handful of exceptional post players).

Big Ray, maybe LD is more concerned with how Teague gets results and not just the results. I didn’t see the game so I can’t give a specific example… but maybe he was getting decent results without displaying the desired sense of urgency or aggression that LD demands.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
9:51 am

Big Ray,

I’m not sure if you saw (your boy :wink: ) Josh’s comments or AJ’s comments on the other blog. If not…from ajc.com;

Smith said he plans to appeal the $25,000 fine levied by the NBA for his obscene gesture during Atlanta’s game vs. New York on Friday. Smith motioned to his crotch after he made a 3-pointer.

Smith got word of the fine on Sunday morning.

“I was upset,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of players, past and present, doing the same thing. I wish they had sent me a memo saying I couldn’t do it before I did it.”.

I know the league has been inconsistent with their fines for these offenses, but to think it was acceptable?

I second what AJ said. Is this really what we want to hear from our co-captain? ‘Others have done it and gotten away with it, so I thought it was ok to grab my crotch during a televised basketball game?’

Really Josh? C’mon Man!

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
9:56 am

OB, funny, LD is at least batting 50% in that “minutes played/fresh legs” category. Joe is in fact playing about 1.5 minutes less this year than last year. At the same time, LD recently said that Bibby is playing the right amount of minutes to be fresh in the playoffs. Yet, Bibby is actually playing 3 more minutes/game this year vs. last season, so I wonder how LD knows that he will be fresh in May. But hey, it sounded good and a lot of fans stay impressed with the sound bites.

Back to Joe, an offensive scheme that allows him to get easier shots without having to body-blow his way into a quality shot attempt likely has a positive impact on him as well.

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
10:05 am

OB, “I wish they had sent me a memo…”, maybe something like:

Dear NBA Players:

The League has determined that grabbing yourself, playing with your privates or fondling your jewels is not a sanctioned action by our players while representing our organization and your team. The only balls that should be handled during a game should be stamped with a Spaulding logo and signed by David Stern… other balls should not be touched (unless you’re KG and your next game is nationally televised against the Lakers). We realize that you needed this memo in order to know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior related to your genitalia, please contact your local Union rep if further clarification is required.

doc

February 3rd, 2011
10:28 am

AJ the reference to poor judgement was getting a two game suspension as you come back from an injury to only go sit another two games. the other reference is that the team has had to “overcome” his surprising lack of consistency to accurately shoot the three ball this year as he had been reliable in the past, not withstanding his lost games due to injury. no, i didnt imply his benching was performance related on his part by LD.

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
10:50 am

Spaulding? I didn’t know Groucho made basketballs ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h22w6oWMt54

ATLSportsNation

February 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

If you’re an Atlanta/Georgia Sports fan and want to talk with other fans, check out our NEW message board.

http://www.atlsportsnation.com/forum

We have team forums for the Falcons, Bulldogs, Hawks, Braves, Yellow Jackets, Thrashers, etc. Please register and post! Be apart of a huge site in the early days of existence. See ya there!

vava74

February 3rd, 2011
11:47 am

Astro:

“Big Ray, maybe LD is more concerned with how Teague gets results and not just the results. I didn’t see the game so I can’t give a specific example… but maybe he was getting decent results without displaying the desired sense of urgency or aggression that LD demands.”

Astro, in the 2/3 minutes preceding Teague’s “removal” from the game by LD in the second quarter, he was playing ultra-aggressive but under control D, managing 2 swipes/change of possession in our favour and broke down the defense for a missed/semi-blocked lay up and a dish to Zaza.

The reward? BENCH.

Subsequent possessions with Bibby? A terrible drive into the lane which ended on an air ball, a bricked 3 and being mangled by Calderon and Amir on a pick n’ roll.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

doc,

If Marvin’s move to the bench was performance related, I think it was based on team performance, not Marvin’s performance.

AJ,

Good stuff. And I think it was Al’s wrist that was hurting.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

AJ,

Regardless of how Teague got the results, his results (in the first half)were better than Bibby’s.

Bibby’s First half; 13 minutes, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 rebounds, 0-5 from the field and bad defense (his funneling wasn’t working).

Teague’s first half; 6 minutes, 1-2 from the field, 1 turnover, 2 assists, and better defense than Bibby.

After that, Teague played the last 100 seconds of the third quarter, and the last 3:28 of the game.

I think LD is missing out on some of the (in-game)teaching opportunities when it comes to Teague.

doc

February 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

who gets to be schooled by blake tomorrow?

doc

February 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

sorry to have mislead folks in the comment about marvin being on the bench. i am old school and say folks that are injured are on the bench and not moving from there. he was in the suit seats on the bench due to his knee and then his back. he never stayed on the bench for long when healthy as i saw it except at the end of games even when he didnt start pretty much getting his minutes though his nose was tweaked at the thought of not starting. i would rather him get upset at not finishing rather than not starting. again the old school way.

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
2:19 pm

Regardless of how Teague got the results, his results (in the first half)were better than Bibby’s.

That’s only if you conflate “statistics” with “results.”

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
2:20 pm

I suppose I should say, the mere fact that Teague had better stats than Bibby does not mean that he played better than Bibby. Since I didn’t catch the period of the first half where Teague was in the game, I’m in no position to judge whether Teague outplayed Bibby or not.

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
4:22 pm

From Hollinger’s ESPN chat today:

Kyle ((ATL))
John – Youre my go to guy when it comes to the Hawks….. Any hint at what they are thinking approaching the trade deadline?

John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
48 wins! cool! We’ll take it!

John Hollinger (2:25 PM)
Seriously, I’d love to see them make a move for a real point guard, but I think they’re way too content to merely be good and happy to ride this core for as long as they can.