Atlanta Hawks – Slippery slope part II

It’s happening again. The Atlanta Hawks are slipping, and they’re gaining speed as they go down the slope of losing. Sure, teams struggle and that is the nature of the game. Struggling like this is a different story, though.

Writing On the Wall

Rick Sund said the Hawks were essentially playing to stay within the 3rd to 5th seed range of the playoffs. Perhaps we can guess that this means retaining as much as the 5th seed in a conference that has experienced some major moves that have increased the talent level, is acceptable. Maybe this is a reasonable thought, considering that the Hawks would have been hard-pressed to make any moves that could match the splashy significant of the triumvirate in Miami, the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony in New York, or the move that brought Deron Williams to New Jersey. In fact, the only move the Hawks did make seemed rather vanilla to most folks. Sure, it was a good move, but it was never going to be enough. Sund indicated that what the Hawks needed most was to change from within.

So, as the Hawks’ chemistry continues to be a problem, what seemed a distant threat at one time is now creeping up with a nearly inevitable feel – the Hawks are going to fall into the lower seeds of the playoff bracket. Fortunately, they won’t have to worry about falling completely out of the playoffs. Indiana is currently the 8th seed in the conference with a whopping 27 wins, while trying to stave off Charlotte, who has an identical record. So, the Hawks don’t have to worry about teams that are 10 games behind them.

But what of New York and Philadelphia, the current sixth and seventh seeds in the Eastern Conference?

 The Knicks now have a serious swagger and the talent to back it up. They still don’ t play defense well enough to win against the upper echelon of either conference on a consistent basis, but they’re a more credible threat than most, what with their star power. At 34 victories and with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games, the Knicks could overtake the stumbling Hawks.

The Sixers are going about their business much more quietly, but they too have now managed 34 victories after beating Boston tonight. Their record in the last 10 games? Eight victories, two losses. Like the Knicks, the Sixers have struggled at times against the better teams in the League, but they’ve pretty much stomped on those with inferior records. Worse yet, they have something else in common with New York – both have proven they can beat the Hawks into the hardwood this season.

Can Atlanta win enough to keep these two teams in their current places? Or is the writing already on the wall?

 

Cancelled Due to a Lack of Interest…

The way things are going, I can’t tell who is less interested right now – the fans or the players. Maybe both realize that not much is going to change this season. It was nice for a minute, watching the Hawks play better defense. However, this offensive ineptitude gets tiring really quickly. Some moments, the team seems like they’re sleepwalking while one player tries to do too much (usually resulting in a turnover these days). Other moments show frustration from some players (again…usually resulting in a turnover) and perplexingly subpar play from the team’s best players. All the while, the post game quotes and comments are becoming more and more bleak. Or should we say, apathetic? Larry Drew seems to have lost or let go of the reins to this stagecoach.  Tonight’s game clearly showed that once again, he’s talking to nobody in particular when it comes to his game plan. Are his days numbered as well?

It’s not that the Hawks are the only team struggling. There have been tears in Miami and anger and outrage in Orlando.  Even fans of the reining League Champs have something to gripe about. No, the Hawks aren’t the only ones with problems. But it just might be that they are the only ones who don’t seem to care.

 

UP NEXT

With 17 games left to play, the Hawks return to Atlant for a six game homestand that may or may not help stabilize things. First on tap are the Portland Trailblazers, a team that Atlanta beat on the road a couple of weeks ago with doses of offensive effectiveness from Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Between the lackluster play from the Hawks and the Blazers’ dual bid of wresting 5th place from Denver while staving off 7th place New Orleans, there is just no way to predict how this might turn out. But if the Hawks can’t find a way to motivate themselves to play better at home (at least), then they are likely to keep right on sliding….

 

….right down that slippery slope.

 

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

344 comments Add your comment

doc

March 12th, 2011
9:58 am

joey

March 12th, 2011
11:10 am

the hawks if they pay with heart and work their butt off for the whole game they can beat any team but thats their problem they have no heart, the only time i saw them have heart was when the beat the bulls in atlanta 2 weeks ago al horford, they need to pound the ball in the paint and then kick it out to open jump shooters>>

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
11:36 am

Cosign doc’s 9:58.

dap01

March 12th, 2011
11:46 am

LD is a joke, his usefullness is over in ATL. The team is one terrible mess. The collection players make it seem as if no plan existed when putting them together. Billy Knight was in left field. Sund don’t yet have the internet. Woody was a fake, LD is not a leader. JJ is a jump shooter, JC is a street baller, we have 2 power forwards and nothing else.

The Hawks are the worst at developing players. Yet they keep blaming the players.

I was a fan of the Hawks through that LONG and PAINFUL rebuilding process and this is what we have. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

bjrufino

March 12th, 2011
12:34 pm

I want to tell Joe Johnson that it’s time to become the Joe Johnson of 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09 season. Come on Joe we need you to step and give us a win. Please Joe please!!! I’ll support and pray for our Atlanta Hawks team.

Steven A.

March 12th, 2011
12:39 pm

THANKFUL TO THE LORD THAT I DID NOT INVEST MY MONEY IN NBA LEAGUE PASS.

” ONLY IN AMERICA”
Can someone be as absolutely INEPT as RICK SUND and LARRY DREW and continue working and earning wages in this economic enviroment.

doc

March 12th, 2011
12:43 pm

yeah nire i am very articulate and profound there arent i? ;-)

going back to the last blog, in a round about way i was agreeing with you after being left with my mouth open on initial read. i also agree as well with ray who maybe said it better in terms of what he hasnt done in relation to the expectations that go with his contract, suffering through one of his worst years in the league. just the same, i point out, it is not like he has fallen off the edge of the earth, just maybe it appears so with contract in hand:

“you are right though, he shows absolutely no emotion whether he makes or misses, whether you call it disinterest or not. he is 29% from three this year and pumping away. really the problem is, maybe he is just not that good because he is only avg two points less a game this year as in years past. maybe it is a function of the contract gets in the way of us all seeing him for what he is, a good player incapable of really putting the team on his back for long stretches. gosh, i hope he finds his touch soon.”

though by the numbers he isnt far off, what he has done overall seems off as ray pointed out with some interesting numbers. he isnt as big this year in the clutch as he seemed in the past. the problem is, is it “disinterest” as you and ray disguise it as there might be something deeper crawling in him or is he just quitting on the team as he might have last season during the playoffs and maybe for the same reasons. is it disinterest or lack of desire which might be a better word instead of quit.

whatever it is, his game has to improve for this team to be competitive along with jamal increasing his production. the month of january they were both bringing it, now neither are. we were living by the sword. unfortunately, the whole team is out of synch but the guys with the ball in their hands most of the time have to find a way to pull it together to rise up to their previous standards is my point about the two. that is why i focus on those two guys as the bellweather twosome of the hawks. as they go the hawks go, simple equation.

my line on josh and al is they have not fallen too far back from last year performance though the way folks want them to execute it leaves folks concerned, ok pizzed. i dont think either guy can have the impact except for occasionally on the outcome of the game. neither one is an amare for long periods of time, steady yes but huge rarely. balance to the team would have possibly corrected this,as they are both undersized in their roles for the long haul but that is a long worn out term and theme on the blog.

Astro Joe

March 12th, 2011
12:51 pm

doc, I’m worried about the back-end of our bullpen, Chipper and McLouth. I could see us competing for a wildcard spot but ultimately falling short. Of course, that assumes that we stand pat… the Braves have crazy pitching talent in the minor leagues and I could see them making a big trade in July/August to get that elite slugger they need. So put me down for somewhere betweem 82-86 wins. how about you?

Oh, and Fredi will be better than LD.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
1:16 pm

Given the way Kurt Thomas handled himself against Horford in the Bucks-Hawks playoff series, would it have made more sense to sign Kurt Thomas instead of Etan?

If LD really wants to change things up, one option is to start Jeff Teague. That way, the starters can compensate for Teague’s (lack of) offense, and Hinrich can play with Jamal and help offset Jamal’s defense.

After the trade, when he started Teague and brought Hinrich off the bench, the Hawks played well the first few games. Maybe its worth ging back to that lineup to try and provide a spark.

doc

March 12th, 2011
1:18 pm

aj, agree with your concerns. i tend to think maybe about 88 to 90 wins this year unless the kids at the back end of the bullpen fall apart. if everything comes together they might go north of there. phils will be tough but they have a few missing pieces they didnt have last year. uggla a huge addition will help as he is a gamer.

as far as fredi, he is a proven commodity, LD uh, not so much.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
1:18 pm

Doc,

Sorry. I don’t see how you can possibly conclude that Josh and Al don’t impact the outcome of games “except for occasionally.” If anything, I think whether Josh is focused and (to a lesser extent) Al is aggressive has more of an impact on the outcome of Hawks games than anything else.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
1:22 pm

From MC’s writeup;

“In the second half it was like we forgot everything we did in the first half,” Hinrich said.

“I don’t think we did what we did in the first half to stick around which is move the basketball and get good looks,” J.J. said. “We started playing a lot of one-on-one and our shot selection wasn’t the greatest.”

“We definitely didn’t have the movement we had in the first half,” Jamal said..

Aren’t we all tired of hearing the same excuses?

kwooden

March 12th, 2011
1:22 pm

Usually I’m pretty positive about the team and I’m looking at the good instead of the bad. But last night was a disgraceful performance! I missed some of the other games, so maybe everyone else had this feeling several games ago. The players and coaches really need to take a long look at themselves and what they are bring to the table. The 3rd and 4th were just terrible when it came to ball movement and real effort. Josh was making terrible plays and LD needed to sit him down! Joe and Jamal weren’t even trying to get open, they were taking turns dribbling up the court and taking contested jumpshots. We all know they are a jumpshooting team, and so do they, so why isn’t anyone working harder to get an open shot?? No one moves on this team! I blame that on the players, but also LD needs to start taking people out if they aren’t going to run the offensive. Guys need to use screens a lot better and run a lot harder to the ball. The only guy I respect on this team right now is Damien! He’s the only one working hard on both ends of the court.

doc

March 12th, 2011
1:51 pm

nire historically they havent bern the go to guys is my point made there. jamal and jj are during crunch time.

doc

March 12th, 2011
2:09 pm

neither one gets the ball down the stretch nor do they blow up for more than twenty at a time in a game like jamal and jj are there to do. al wont do 30 and 15 but occadoonally but as ray pointed put jj frequently went there last year. crawford can as well, josh not so much. it is rare they can carry the yram. sure if they falter in their efforts then we get raked but that is more at the other end. they have important roles but scorong isnt it. plays are rarely called for them.

doc

March 12th, 2011
2:33 pm

finally nire, josh can be focused as hell and al aggressive as hell but if jamal and jj continue to misfire and not carry the load of the scoring, which last year was about 40 per game then we dont win especially in a close game where plays go through either jj or jamal. that is what i am referring to as outcome of a game. that is what they get paid to do and their roles. i dont want plays for josh set up as he hasnt shown he can do it and only recently has it been for al; one cost his services for a few games, the other got us a win against the bulls.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
2:47 pm

Yeah, you’re right doc. It’s up to JJ and Jamal. Whatever.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
2:49 pm

sure if they falter in their efforts then we get raked but that is more at the other end. they have important roles but scorong isnt it.

Since when did “outcome of the game” mean just “scoring?”

No, really. I’m bored both by the team and by you at this point. Both are far too predictable.

Sautee

March 12th, 2011
4:18 pm

nire,

“No, really. I’m bored both by the team and by you at this point. Both are far too predictable.”

LOL, like THAT response wasn’t??????

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
4:20 pm

Sautee,

It’s hard to respond unpredictably to predictability ;)

Sautee

March 12th, 2011
5:48 pm

nire,

Can we ride bikes now?

godsmack

March 12th, 2011
6:10 pm

I WISH THE THRASHERS WOULD STAY AND THE SHETTY HAWKS WOULD LEAVE.YOU WOULD SEE FAN SUPPORT FOR THE THRASHERS IF THE AZZ HOLES THAT OWNED THEM WOULD PUT THE MONEY INTO THE TEAM LIKE THEY HAVE THE HAWKS…I KNOW THIS IS A BASKETBALL BLOG BUT HOCKEY IS MUCH BETTER TO WATCH THEN A BUNCH OF OVERPAID NOTHINGS DRIBBLING A BASKETBALL…

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
6:42 pm

I’m glad LD is changing it up, but wow. I did not see this type of coming. From twitter:

His starters are Teague, Hinrich, JJ, Josh and Al. said LD: We’ve lost 4 in a row. Got to shake things up.

Interesting…

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
6:44 pm

Actually, Al is out tonight (injured from the Bulls game). So its Teague, Hinrich, JJ, Josh…but I’m not sure who the starting Center is. I’m guessing ZaZa.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
6:45 pm

And Pape Sy will dress.

I hope the hawls blow out the Blazers so we can see some Pape Sy up close.

RED ZONE 1

March 12th, 2011
6:51 pm

I can’t say it enough, K.Hinrich for Louis Williams, J Smooth for Javale Mcgee and 1st rd pick, use that pick to obtain Chandler Wilson from the Nuggets. Let Teague and Lou battle it out for the the starting pg position.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
7:16 pm

Teague with a layup, and a steal. And a good pass into the paint to Josh which leads to FTs

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
7:24 pm

Once Teague starts making his jumpers, watch out.

Why didnt Josh give the ball to Hinrich right next to him? And Kirk was asking for it too! Come on Josh. That play led to a foul on Kirk on the other end, so now Kirk has 2 fouls and has to sit.

2 turnovers already for Josh. And then a tip-in, and then a block. Good. And now another turnover. 3 turnovers already for Josh.

I wish Josh would just focus on defense and rebounding, and let the offense come to him.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
7:39 pm

Jeff Teague just had the best 10 seconds in Hawks history. No really. 3 steals and 6 points in 9 seconds. Wow.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
7:45 pm

He’s sucking wind now, but he’s earned it.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
7:52 pm

nire,

I know that this is an abnormality for Teague. But this is why I said teague should start. He looks so much better when he plays with the starters

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
7:59 pm

In case anybody is wondering where Josh Powell is…Twitter update; From Hawks PR guy.

“We were made aware of a traffic incident that occurred en route to [Powell] coming to the game, reportedly near the arena. That’s as much as we know about the situation at this time. We do understand charges have been filed but beyond that we have no further comment.”.

niremetal

March 12th, 2011
8:05 pm

That doesn’t sound good…

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
8:21 pm

It does not sound good at all.

As for the game…Where has the hawks offense gone? These have been their points the last 4 quarters;

10, 16, 19, 16. Wow. 4 straight quarters under 20 points.

Joe has 4 pts, 1 rebound and 1 assist in the first half. We need him (or Jamal) to get going.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
8:23 pm

Wow. 3 on 2 fast break, and Hinrich pulls up for a jumper.

richbrave

March 12th, 2011
8:35 pm

Watching the HAWKS for the first time in quite awhile, I have to say it didn’t impress me as an up and coming team. They seemed stale in the frontcourt. HINRICH seems to be contributing fairly well for ATLANTA.

And speaking of the ‘trade,’ JORDAN CRAWFORD continues to get court time and impress. If he doesn’t get hurt, I think the WIZARDS will have found something valuable in the young man. The other night he scored 22 and tonight against the CLIPPERS he has 12 off the bench at the half. Some amazing acrobatic moves around the basket. His dribble drive penetration is great due to his herky-jerky flow. He slows up, then when he sees an opening, he puts on a burst, and blows right by his man. His offense is way ahead of his defense, but that’s to be expected. It will come along in time.

And one game into my grandson’s sophomore season, he had three doubles in his first game with two fly-outs, one of which went for a two-base error, one run scored, zero left on base, and one caught stealing. No RBI’s, strangely enough. After the first, a fly out, he ended up leading off all but one time and that went for a two-base error.

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
8:49 pm

Just getting home. Teague goes from DNP-CD to starter!!!! What is the maddness to LD methods????

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
8:51 pm

KPT… Keeping playing Teague, LD….

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
8:52 pm

KPT… Keep playing Teague, LD….

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
8:53 pm

Melvin,

You have missed one heck of a game from Teague. LD has no excuse not to start him the next game. His numbers across the board are ridiculuos.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
8:54 pm

I’m loving the defense and fastbreak this quarter. Good to see JJ and Jamal get going.

Josh has had a good quarter too. However…he could have easily had 7 turnovers for the game. In addition to his 5 turnovers, he almost had 2 offensive fouls called on him.

And most of his turnovers is because he wont give the ball up on the break. Give the ball up on the break Josh!

richbrave,

That’s a good start for your grandson. Hope he keeps it going.

As for Jordan Crawford…I thought Rick should trade Jamal this past offseason (after resigning JJ, and drafting Jordan), because Mo Evans and Jordan Crawford could handle backup SG. And Jordan could easily turn into a poor man’s Jamal (for a lot less).

But typical Rick is not a proactive guy. So he waited until they forced his hand into making a move…and had to get rid of Jordan. Assuming we lose Jamal (we cant afford to resign him) we will be in the market for a backup SG this offseason.

I’m happy for Jordan though, because he was never going to get PT this season.

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:03 pm

Astro,

I’m curious to hear your analysis of Teague play tonight. The young kid finally played extended meaningful mins tonight and he produce….

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:05 pm

OB,

I will watch the re-boradcast tonight.

O'Brien

March 12th, 2011
9:09 pm

Melvin,

After the trade, Teague played decent enough with the starters. But for some reason, when he comes off the bench, he does not play the same way. he is not as aggressive.

So I will continue to say that LD should start Teague, and if he starts out slow, then he can bring Hinrich in right away. but if Teague plays well enough, then Hinrich can come off the bench with jamal to stabilize the bench.

Meanwhile, Josh is 4 assists and 5 turnovers away from a quadruple double :smile:

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:10 pm

KPT, LD…..

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:25 pm

I almost forgot how a win feels…

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:33 pm

OB,

I’m sure Hinrich is going to be thrill having to go to the bench for another young PG (Rose, Hall and Teague)…

Melvin

March 12th, 2011
9:40 pm

Teague played 44mins and the Hawks didnt lose….

Big Ray

March 12th, 2011
9:48 pm

lil fella ,

I can’t reveal everything in one post, now can I? Trust me, I’ll be unveiling my “two cents worth” when the season is over. Not that it matters all that much what I think. I’m just a fan. But I am interested in everybody else’s opinion.

O’brien ,

In regard to LD’s comments on hard fouls, I hear you. Of course, he could play Zaza if he wants hard fouls. Dude knows how to deliver them.

Big Ray

March 12th, 2011
9:51 pm

Steven A. ,

Steven A.

March 12th, 2011
12:39 pm
THANKFUL TO THE LORD THAT I DID NOT INVEST MY MONEY IN NBA LEAGUE PASS.

” ONLY IN AMERICA”
Can someone be as absolutely INEPT as RICK SUND and LARRY DREW and continue working and earning wages in this economic enviroment.

Yep, see it every day. It gets worse. You can even stop working altogether and serve NO function in society…and still collect a paycheck.