Hawks are three above, with three left

Atlanta winds down the season against Washington, Miami, and Charlotte, and with a chance to make a slight improvement on their otherwise underwhelming record. Could the Hawks succeed in their final three games and at least match their 2008-2009 record of 47 wins? If the loss to Indiana last night, coupled with the need to rest ailing starters is any indication, then answer is quite possibly “no.” Besides, resting the starters is something the Hawks really need to do, what with their impending first round battle with the Orlando Magic.

In the meantime, guys like Jeff Teague should see plenty of minutes. But what about the backup bigs? It may be somehat prudent of Larry Drew to give Hilton Armstrong and Etan Thomas some minutes just in case they are needed in the postseason. We may even have another Pape Sy sighting, though that has nothing to do with the playoffs, and everything to do with trying to make offhand observations about a 2nd round draft pick whom we still know so very little about when it comes to basketball skills. This is also a good time to get Damien Wilkins upwards of 20-25 minutes, as he could be a bigger contributor in the postseason than we might automatically assume.


Hawks vs. Wizards

The Wiz have nothing to play for other than pride (not really) and experience (very young team). As such, they’ll play their starters for much of the game, which means they may finally earn that victory against Atlanta that has eluded them for so long. However, there is some attraction to an otherwise mundane game, what with the Hawks squaring off against a familiar face.  How will former Hawks first round pick Jordan Crawford fare against his “old” team? If nothing else, it will be entertaining to see just how well the trigger happy youngster does against what should be mostly second unit action, so perhaps any conclusions won’t be all that substantiated. Then again, Crawford may prove that he was a prospect worth holding onto. Which way do YOU see it?


Hawks vs Heat

A snoozer, most likely. The Heat will want to preserve their starters, so this will be a battle of backups and end of the bench guys. All the same, anybody wanting to see Teague play 30+ minutes will probably be pleased. That, and the work will do Teague some good. Sy gets another shot at another 3 minute stint, maybe longer. Then again, the Heat may still be fighting a late battle that could push them to play hard until the last game of the season.


Hawks vs. Bobcats 

Guaranteed a spot on the bleachers in the postseason, the Bobcats are another team with nothing to play for but pride. It’s entirely possible that this game is also a bit of a snoozer, and with no Gerald Wallace or Raymond Felton around, the ‘Cats may not give the Hawks as much trouble as they usually do. Still, a Teague/DJ Augustin matchup has to be worth something in the way of a tune-up for the 2nd year Atlanta guard. Why do I keep mentioning Teague? Because he, like Damien Wilkins, may actually turn out to be a key reserve in the playoffs when other things aren’t working. You just never know. So, some significant PT in the last three games certainly can’t hurt, can it?


So that’s it, three games and then the “true test” for this team will be staring them in the face. How will the Hawks prepare for the postseason? Should they go with Larry Drew’s assertion that they should keep playing to the last minute of the regular season, or should they gear back a bit and let the reserves do the work? One way or the other, I think the players are going to do what they each individually want to do.



Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

178 comments Add your comment


April 9th, 2011
5:09 pm

JC2 destroys Hawks. LD limits starter minutes to prevent them from being embarrassed by JC2. Got to justify the trade…would not want your first round traded prospect to make you look bad with the playoffs looming. How do you give up two first round picks (2010 & 2011), one of your core (Bibby) and a solid backup(Evans) for Kirk Hinrick & a big you don’t play. They will reqret the JC2 trade, especially next year when JC1 is no longer a Hawk. I already hate the it.

JC2 will join others that make our 17 points a night (120 million dollar man) look like a bad investment. He will join, Grainger, Roy, Gay, Iggy, just to name a few talents we could have had that scores more than 17 points per night. I say they only win one of these games, probably the Heat game.


April 9th, 2011
7:00 pm

Assuming JJ starts, I dont think he will let JC2 go off early. One matchup I would like to see is JC1 and JC2 playing each other.

I think LD would like to win 47 games, so at least it wont be the Hawks lowest win total since winning 37 a few years ago. He needs to be careful though, because if JJ or Al gets hurt, it would make the Orlando matchup even more difficult.

I expect lots of minutes for Etan, Hilton, Teague, Damien and Sy. And when Al is in the game, I hope he rebounds.


April 9th, 2011
7:46 pm

Hawks looking horrible so far.


April 9th, 2011
8:28 pm

My only measure for the last few games is how few minutes JJ plays. So far, LD is failing that test.


April 9th, 2011
9:02 pm

27 minutes for Joe tonight, 28 for Al. In a meaningless game. When both guys are clearly still affected by nagging injuries. Less than a week before the playoffs.

Fire LD.


April 9th, 2011
9:08 pm


And despite playing almost 30 minutes, Hawks will still lose by 30. So what’s the point of playing them?


April 9th, 2011
9:12 pm


April 9th, 2011
9:27 pm

For all those people complaining about josh smith, I think these past three games has said it all. There is no one to fear in the paint for other teams, they were just running layup drills on the hawks. Not to mention, josh may take more jumpshots then he should (although this year he is hitting a decent percentage of them), but there is absolutely nobody on this team with a low post game other then josh. Al horford is basically a mid-range jumpshooter himself. I contend if you like him or not, josh is the most important player on this team (not the 100 million dollar man). When he plays well we are tough, when he doesn’t this team stinks.


April 9th, 2011
9:27 pm

I completely agree, FIRE LARRY DREW NOW!!!!


April 9th, 2011
9:30 pm

Larry Drew is a terrible coach in every aspect of the word- poor gameplanning, poor ingame coaching moves, poor playcall, poor motivation, poor chemistry builder. very poor offense and defensive efforts on a nightly basis. He needs to be fired immediately. What will it take for Hawks management to fire Larry Drew. Then Sund can go right out the door with him. Terrible.


April 9th, 2011
9:30 pm

My Hawks are out of the playoff before it get started. How are you going to rest players that have not did anything all year. They need to be playing these last few games to gather whatever chemisty they can gather. All year My Hawks have been under achiving and letting their fans down with a NO CARE atitude. This is one fan that will not be watching My Hawks for the rest of the season. ATL stand up and let your voices be heard,Rise Up!!!!!


April 9th, 2011
9:33 pm

This is the worst coach- #1 player combo in the NBA. Larry Drew is by far the worst coach in the NBA hands down, and Joe Johnson is the most overated, overpaid scrub of a basketball player, that considers himself a “jumpshooter”, yet is shooting like 29 percent from 3, and is a terrible shooter most nights, I would say 90 percent of his nights now are his 2-14 shooting performances now! Just sad…


April 9th, 2011
9:36 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot about the 100 million dollar man. That was on purpose!


April 9th, 2011
9:37 pm

Please for the sake of Atlanta Hawks basketball. Fire Larry Drew and his entire staff!!! Fire Rick Sund, and then entrap him with drugs and prostitutes, just to get him back for as much as he has screwed up this franchise for years. I have a few ideas on player decisions, but Rome wont be built in a day, with the pathetic shape this roster is in. Thanks for nothing Rick Sund and Larry Drew…

Michael Williams

April 9th, 2011
9:38 pm

Pathetic. Thats it.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 9th, 2011
10:20 pm


(c) Clyde


April 9th, 2011
10:52 pm

Hawks and Atlanta Spirit group = L-O-S-E-R-S. I won’t spend any more money or waste any more time on this group of underachievers!

Steven A.

April 9th, 2011
11:39 pm

Besides almost 20 mil for JJ and 7 mil for Marvin, another 4 mil for Zsa Zsa..
The Sundster has not done a bad job. And oh yeah, giving up the farm for
Kurt Heinrich. Even Billy Knight could have done better. Yikes..


April 10th, 2011
12:15 am

From MC’s writeup;

•I will see those excuses and raise you the Wizards playing five rooks among their 10 players, with there D-League refugees among them. Also note that the Hawks took their fourth 30-point L of the season and are now -48 in point differential despite their 44 Ws..

When we won 13, 26, 30, and 37 games, does anyone remember if we had any 30+ point losses?

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:42 am

So, um…the season was over a couple of games ago, according to the Hawks…

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:43 am

O’Brien ,

Maybe the losing was so bad and so constant that we don’t remember the 30 point losses. And guess what? It doesn’t matter. Those were bad teams. This is supposed to be a good one. So much for forward progress.

Meanwhile, Larry Drew continues to talk to the only people listening to him – the media.

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:50 am

Since the majority of the team isn’t going to show up, the tickets should be free for the last two games. Otherwise, why watch? That was ridiculous. The only thing more ridiculous is LD’s post game quote:

From NBA.com –

QUOTABLE: “You can’t just flip the switch. It just doesn’t work like that. I’ve been around this thing long enough to see that you can’t just turn it on and turn it off. You want to be playing well. You want to be clicking so that you don’t miss a beat once the playoffs start.”
– Hawks coach Larry Drew on his team’s embarrassing performance.

Yeah. Now where have I heard that before ? What this team does in the 1st game, it did in the 20th game. What it did in the 20th game, it did in the 40th game. What it did in the 40th game, it did in the 80th game. Congrats, LD. You’ve managed to have no positive effect on one of the team’s worst weaknesses, while saying the same things your old boss used to say.

Anybody taking notes here? Sund? Michael? Hello?

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:51 am

Man, we must have some defense. Jordan Crawford held to six points on 3 of 9 shooting. But he got 8 assists.

Not quite what you had in mind, Wink


April 10th, 2011
4:00 am


we have not played any inside D because no one is remotely caring about the outcome of this game.

the problem of the hawks is that they don’t know what to do, when to do it.

sure, Josh is important for our interior D, but when we won against the bulls at home, Josh sat that game.

yesterday, when we lost against the pacers – a game between two teams with their playoff seeding settled – what struck me the most was how much fun the pacers where having playing the right kind of basketball.

they were out hustling us by a mile even without going all out.

Al has been hurt for a while and JJ clearly has several injuries nagging him so what is the motivation for them to play these games? and to do it right?


I personally do not sanction – as a rule – 4 games of “we don’t need to care about winning” but both Al and JJ have proven in the past that they were work horses.

if even these two guys are no longer doing it, there is something really rotten in that locker room.

my guess, as I mentioned several times, is that it is a combo of:

a) LD being completely over his head;

b) LD’s system fed the players an easy song about winning by jump shooting;

c) Josh being undisciplined and frustrating by default took that song to his heart and regressed;

d) Al being a bit soft and tired to go at bigger guys took that song to his heart and went from Boss to Madam;

e) LD’s system and stubbornness completely over (too many minutes) and miss (PG slot) uses Jamal to great detriment of the Hawks having any discipline in their game and any defensive solidity:

Jamal does not know how to play the PG slot.
Jamal does not like to keep things within a structure and look for the extra pass. Motion offense? Where?
Jamal does not like to put an effort on D. You can’t be a team aspiring to be a contender playing on D 4 against 5 for 30 miutes per.


April 10th, 2011
4:01 am


Carried from previous blog:

You are wrong. I have no problem in Jamal having some ISO opportunities.

However, I don’t think his game warrants more than 10-20 minutes in a contender.


April 10th, 2011
7:51 am

Hey, ray I’m seriously disturbed by what I saw last night between the WIZ and HAWKS. The “ZARDS’ best and the HAWKS’ worst resulted in a mess. Everybody in D.C. is now ready to punk out the HAWKS team whenever they see them thinking they’re all that. What are SUND and DREW doing down there? Man, last night should never have happened.

BTW, what do you think of the WIZARDS pieces now that you’ve had a good look at them?


April 10th, 2011
8:08 am

so this is the team that beat orlando and the celts just a few days ago?

wow, they are really thin and fragile, arent they?

well, i called 44 to 48 wins so they have covered my spread. the over under i think in las vegas was 46.5 or close to it so if you went to 46 or less you win. if pressed i would have said 46 wins thinking that would be a safe number for the hawks to win at least thinking optimistically, i might have undershot it a bit. that is how poorly they have played under their new coach. instead of getting better they have regressed. i actually thought they would buy in and the wins would come towards the end of the season when they got his concepts down after practicing and playing with it over a time. it has actually gone the other way with blow outs being the order of the day since mid-january and a coach unable to say anything of consequence nor sound the least bit confident in his team as though that is going to rally the forces.

i guess we now know the answer to the question of why woody didnt implement some of the ideas of ld. ld probably has the answer for it now as well. now, after having this guy in their franchise for 6 years, why did they hire him as a dark horse candidate at the last minute after interviewing some plausible coaches with some modicum of experience? i guess i already have asked that question on more than one occasion.

next question for inquiring minds of the most importance is who was responsible for this? are they really happy with their hire? havent we heard less and less from the big boys and sund not at all for the last few months? talk about putting the heads in the sand. doubt it is to be linked but gearon has not been as court side as usual in his seats.

well, my impulse is to say this season wont last past 6 games in the post season. it could be even more ugly than that. i said recently really have no clue with this team, not any more of a clue than i did after their lackluster preseason. i also said they have come out of the gate hard the last few preseasons so maybe they really can turn it on at will, so i guess i have to wait and see. i am not sure the pre and post seasons equate, as the other guy has been perfecting something and are at their peak. we are clearly not peaking at the right moment unless that team we have seen of late is a mirage and the team that beat orlando and boston magically appears next week for the post season is really them. in the magic we may have a team almost as flawed as we are so that may be the perfect opponent. again are we really that thin and fragile and is ld unable to be in anything but in panic mode?

then it is a very long season of canniblogging as i also dont see the game starting back up as expected in october for the normal preseason. anyone else see anything any different or be more optimistic than i am on either front? maybe we can just sit back soon and enjoy the final months of the nba together, before it is restructured into a new structure at the bargaining table.

now who corrupt coach won the ncaa’s and may do a manny on us and retire instead of a three game suspension which he serves next year when it probably should have been this year on the heels of the head coach of a team that was allowed to play his players in a bowl game that were clearly ineligible and he knew it all along and he still has his job? at least the pros call it as such instead of behind the facade of student athletes. i cant even get enthusiastic about college ball if the pros dont play. yuck.


April 10th, 2011
8:14 am

richie, i didnt see the game so i cant comment on the pieces. i can say, the mighty have fallen? we went through the paces is all i can muster, right now.


April 10th, 2011
9:24 am

Hire Doc Rivers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at the personnel he has in Boston. Older players have great years. He lifts them up doesnt he? He’s a true motivator to the players ands he makes them believe in theirselves and they can win.
Doc may end up being known more as a head coach than a player.
Atlanta would need to open up the bank to get this guy instead of opening up a check book because Boston would not want to see this guy go.
Larry Drew was handed a decent group of players in where he could have started with a lottery team instead and you see where thats gone. 2 different personalities Doc and Larry. One that is a Players Coach and the other thats A Player that wants to Coach.
The Owners need to make a decision after this season.
1. Do we fire Larry Drew and maybe embarass ourselves publically?
2. Do we keep Larry Drew and hope for better things to come next year because we owe him alot of money.
3. Do we resign high paid players
4. Do we trade up on the picks this year?
5. Should we do a better marketing campaign for next year?
6. Do you think we should lower the prices on seats?
Check List 2012
1. Fire Management thats a given
2. Hire Candidates in Management with proven records of winning with other organizations
3. Fire Larry Drew and his staff even if you still owe him money and dont worry about embarrassment
4. Get an exceptional Head Coach like Doc Rivers or the likes and fork out the money.
5. Now you have Mgmt. and a Great Head Coach and now the Players.
6. Trade Joe Johnson even if it cost yiou, trade for a #1 Pick or atleast shop him.
7. Re-evaluate every player on that team and shake things up. Atleast show some growth for the future.
8. Lower seat prices until they prove that their worthy of watching just like Arthur Blank did.
9. Get one Star Player that will draw fans and push the team (there arent any leaders on the team)
10. Finally and most importantly if youre in this for tax reasons then be honest and tell the fans. Atleast we wont have to try and figure out why things are going south with the Hawks or sell the damn team.
If you are here to win it then how about showing the fans in Atlanta that you are committed to the program and make precise calculations and upgrade the entire system.
We saw this with the Braves, Ted Turner did this as a tax write off in the beginning and even coached one game. Then he decided to commit to winning and you saw what happened with that. Then it all changed when he sold the braves and his CNN. They now are mediocre again at best.
I dont understand why some of these millionaires buy teams to just have tax write offs. I have always thought that you buy a franchise to be a great business and have high profits and show success. I can understand having a team for 20 years then selling it but disposing it from the get go dont make sense.
If i was to buy a franchise i would have to hire people that have a vast knowledge of the industry with a proven track record. Otherwise youre gambling 100 million dollars on nothing.
Get your Organization straight is 1st priority. Then hire a Coach that has the same qualifications as Mgmt does. I would certainly not have family or friends doing this for me because the stakes are too high.
So you have to ask yourself what direction do you want to head into? Is there a time frame until you sell it? How far are you willing to go to improve?
You dont have much time left to decide, you either change course and maybe hit the shore and rebuild your boat or you continue on your journey in open waters while your boat sinks.


April 10th, 2011
9:30 am


April 10th, 2011
11:20 am

one thing is for certain, as long as the hawks have rick sund as their general manager, the fans will wish upon a star and continue to watch the hawks lose.this can be fixed by ousting sund at season’s end. bring in a GM that will do whatever to win championships.finally, they should bring a proven coach who can discipline the players to get the maximum effort out of them. until these things happen, the hawks will sink in the waters of losing.

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:22 pm

Doc ,

Crazy as it may have sounded a year ago, I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head about Woody not implementing what Drew wanted to do. But maybe it has nothing to do with Xs and Os, and everything to do with the player personalities and habits.

As for the link, that’s just another example of the corruption that exists…

Big Ray

April 10th, 2011
12:25 pm

cdog ,

Sund may have one final chance to prove himself, but it will take bold and shrewed moves this summer to do it. His slow and deliberate methods have shown themselves to be inefficient in this organization.

But….I also feel that in order for any other GM to do the right things with this franchise, Ownership has to accept that GM’s suggestions and guidance. The ASG has to commit to making a winner, not commit to a budget. I feel no such hope with this group, however. They haven’t made smart decisions, and they’ve handcuffed GMs with their personal opinions/agendas.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 10th, 2011
12:52 pm

doc, that link you posted was right on the money. Sh-t like that is why I’m a fan of players like Brandon Jennings and Cam Newton who do their best to buck that system.


April 10th, 2011
1:31 pm

Rose 5-7, 15pts in the 1st qtr against the Magic. Add Jameer Nelson name to the list of bad defenders….


April 10th, 2011
2:10 pm

OK, so we let Drew go after the season. Who is going to come to ATL and coach this underachieving bunch with the ownership mess, no, worse than mess, that we have? No coach worth his 900$ suit would work for ASG. Until this brainless, hubris filled bunch of trust fund babies sells the team, there is no chance the Hawks get a proven coach.


April 10th, 2011
2:40 pm

Big Ray,

I think the ASG hired Rick because he was willing to play their game. They offered BK a 1 year extension, but he refused. IMO, he got tired of the ownership group and the way they did business. This offseason, Rick’s contract expires. And I cannot think of one reason why he should be retained.

And unless the Hawks advance to the second round, I cant think of any reason why LD should be retained (although the ASG’s reason will probably come down to money).

Va37 (half the man of Vava74)

April 10th, 2011
2:53 pm

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in America
Seatle, Washington is the per capita suicide capital of America
Jamal Crawford wears number 11.
Jamal Crawford is from Seatle Washington.
Jamall Crawford causes suicides.

It’s not a coincidence.

Va37 (half the man of Vava74)

April 10th, 2011
3:05 pm

On March 20, 1980, Mt. St. Helens had a 4.2 magnitude earthquake.
It triggered larger earthquakes killing 60 people.
Jamal Crawford was born on March 20, 1980.
Jamal Crawford causes earthquakes.

It’s no coincidence.

Va37 (half the man of Vava74)

April 10th, 2011
3:07 pm

In 1980 Japan surpasses America as the leading automobile manufacturer.
In 1980 America’s inflation rate soared to nearly 14 percent.
Jamal Crawford was born in 1980.
Jamal Crawford is bad for the economy.

It’s no coincidence.


April 10th, 2011
3:30 pm

Rose has been killing Jameer and the rest of the Magic, and he has 10 FTA. But I wonder how different it might have gone if Dwight was patrolling the paint.

Give credit to Orlando though. No Dwight, and nothing to play for, and they are only down 1 with 3 secs left.


April 10th, 2011
3:43 pm

Jameer to DRose: “I’ll catch you in the second round.”

Even that the Hawks won the particular series ORL still does not respect the Hawks as a competition. Can’t blame them for that since the headless Hawks do not respect themselves as team.

Astro Joe

April 10th, 2011
5:15 pm

I’m usually pro-management but I’m with the players on this one… LD should be resting these guys and in lieu of getting “official rest”, these guys are playing through the motions. IMO, the one-word headline for this season was REDEMPTION. They built a roster, hired a head coach and rallied behind the theme of beating Orlando and redeeming themselves for the epic beatdown last season. And as luck would have it, they get to play Orlando in the first round. So of course their minds aren’t on the Pacers or Wizards. And can they simply “turn it on”? Yes, of course they can… and they have for the past few seasons. Remember the beatdown they put on Miami and Milwaukee of game 1 of both of those series? LD just needs to stay the F out of the way at this point.

Astro Joe

April 10th, 2011
5:57 pm

Tiger gave us an entertaining Sunday afternoon. Even though many other players are doing as well (or better), most sports benefit from having a clear-cut “champ” to root for (or against). I hope this serves as Tiger’s return to greatness. Where’s Lefty?


April 10th, 2011
6:13 pm


April 10th, 2011
8:01 pm

Trade Marvin Williams back to UNC…..Please


April 10th, 2011
10:25 pm

On the Hawks…yes they have underperformed. Not saying it is likely, but if the Hawks make it past the Magic, most of LD’s failures will be forgiven by most. If he makes the same progress as Woody with a much smaller salary, management will live with it.

Until the ASG see some positive cash flow (new investor, sell something, etc) they are unlikely to spend big on a coach. I suspect they could have gotten Thibodeau to interview last summer if the salary was attractive. We chose to select from the use coupon, hire with discount option.

For all the JC2 frustration, he was never going to get the minutes here that he got in DC unless they traded JC1. If JC2 had shown enough in practice to make that a viable option, I’m sure the Hawks would have moved the bigger salary. They still wanted to win games. JC2 was good for the long term, not winning this season.

I think the Heat will play their starters on Monday. They need to stay ahead of Boston to get that 2nd seed. Boston wins the tiebreaker b/c or head to head record.

If that Times NCAA article bothered you, check out this one by Dan LeBatard.

…as our friend Astro Joe has often said…follow the money!

Big Ray

April 11th, 2011
12:15 am

Larry Drew on whether the Hawks need to change their offensive approach?

“I am not sure,” he said. “We will have to see. We went through the whole season like this. Maybe so, maybe not. Whatever the system is we have to come out and be professionals and play through it.”

Brimming with confidence…

Big Ray

April 11th, 2011
12:19 am

O’brien ,

Per your 2:40 pm post, I have no doubts whatsoever that what you say is true. No doubts at all. Came to that conclusion some time back, though at first I thought Billy was run off. I later realize he ran away .

Big Ray

April 11th, 2011
12:20 am


Why do I get the strangest feeling that “The department of unintended irony” and “Va37 (half the man of Vava74)” are the same person? Just a hunch….