Stand up Hawks!

It's time for the Hawks to stand up and to stand together.

It's time for the Hawks to stand up, stand together and show the world that they belong.

 

WITNESSVILLE - Now is not the time Hawks.

And the postseason is certainly not the appropriate place to come apart at the seams.

The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t need the assist.

So to hear the Hawks talk of not “sharing the ball” and needing to “attack from all over” screams of a team in need of reconstitution (and if you don’t like what you hear coming from the Hawks’ locker room since their Game 1 loss to King James and his crew that’s a good thing, because you shouldn’t).

It’s not something that can be done by a coach or general manager intervening. It’s also not something that can be fixed with one of those trendy players’ only team meetings or any of the other conventional tools used by most NBA teams.

This is a calculated regeneration of a team that can only come from individual catharsis, and the Hawks need it to happen 15 times in 15 different rooms at the tony Ritz-Carlton at Tower Center (where NBA soul searching goes on regularly in this city) before Game 2 of this Eastern Conference semifinal tonight at the Q (the arena better known as King James’ Camelot).

As meticulous AJC wordsmith Mark Bradley points out, the choice to either fight back or get smashed, belongs to the Hawks.

Each loss the Hawks have suffered this postseason has been uglier than the one before it. The average margin of defeat (24.2 points) is preposterous at best, and an affront to the game at it’s core.

No playoff team capable of winning a seven-game series, as the Hawks have already done, should be on the receiving end of tail-whippings of 15, 29, 26 and 27 points, respectively. Those lopsided efforts speak to a team that, despite nearly eight months in the fox hole together, still does not trust each other completely, a team that can’t muster the collective energy and focus to at least make a loss respectable as opposed to making themselves a spectacle.

The first thing you hear in the Hawks’ locker room after a bad loss is, “We didn’t play together. We didn’t help each other out. We’ve got to blah, blah, blah.”

If you think I’m making this stuff up, here’s a sampling (edited ever so slightly to omit the verbal offender’s specific identity) of what’s come out of the mouths of your Hawks after playoff losses the past few weeks:

“We just have to play with a sense of urgency like we did in Game 1. We have to get after them defensively. And as long as we share the ball offensively, I think everything else on the floor clicks.”

“We’re up against it now. And we’ve got look at ourselves in the mirror and realize that we can’t get out of this mess without doing it together.”  

“We’ve just got to pick up our intensity. We’ve got to do a lot of things. But it all stems from our effort. We have to play hard as a unit. That’s the key for us. And we have to bring that [today]. Because our backs are against the wall now, really against the wall. We’re going to see what this team is made of.”

“We came out and talked about hitting them first and not letting things get out of hand early like they did in Game 2. But we let them hit us first again.”

“We lost our composure, no doubt. Things weren’t going our way, calls weren’t going our way and we lost it. We let them build that big lead and it got to us. We were never in sync defensively and we just didn’t handle ourselves well.”

“In the second half we just didn’t get into any offensive sets. We were careless with the ball. We had too many turnovers. Any time we have 17 turnovers it’s never a good night for us.”

“It was very disappointing, knowing that we’ve come this far. Looking back on the first series that we had (with Miami), that was very tough, and I thought we would come into this game a little more enthused and come ready to play. I thought we had a pretty good first half, but the second half wasn’t so great.”  

It never fails.

Whenever things go sideways for the Hawks they all start speaking French (”We, We”). For once, it would be nice to hear someone talk about what “I could have done” or that “I didn’t give my team” what it needed?

Whatever the Hawks do, they'll have to do it without Marvin Williams and Al Horford at full strength.

Whatever the Hawks do, they'll have to do it without Marvin Williams and Al Horford at full strength.

On paper, there’s no way the Hawks should do anything more than annoy the Cavaliers for a few games. Al Horford’s sprained right ankle won’t allow him to play at full strength during these playoffs.

Marvin Williams has a wrist injury that followed his late-season back injury, shredding what was easily his best (and breakout) season as a pro.

So no one is expecting these Hawks to shock the world.

But these Hawks have defied paper logic since training camp, including making a return trip to the playoffs whenever publication on the planet predicted they would not.

That they’ve made it this far, even with all the setbacks, is a testament to the resolve of this stubborn but flawed bunch.

Just how stubborn they are and just how flawed they are will come into better focus as this series continues, be it three more games or more.

Whatever happens, the time has come for these Hawks to dispense with all the locker room rhetoric and simply play the game like a team that belongs. Play it for 48 minutes, with the required fire in the belly and without any remorse.

Anything else is an injustice to those who have watched this team evolve from the 13-69 train wreck of a four years ago into the promising bunch that has defied all the odds the last year.

645 comments Add your comment

bagong_sali

May 7th, 2009
3:02 am

Hope the hawks would read this and work together. It’s frustrating that they always points to the same reason whenever they lose a game but does nothing about it, it’s like they never learn. This team can pretty much match up with any team if they come an work together. They need to realize that they don’t have a great player on their team (like DWade, Kobe or LeBron) so the only way they can match up well is by playing together. Hopefully they can watch some games of the Pistons during their 2004 Championship and see for themselve how good players playing together can overcome a team with a player like Lebron

Ed

May 7th, 2009
3:15 am

Hellava blog…you’re dead on!

Ariose

May 7th, 2009
4:15 am

Like I said, If Marvin doesn’t get into a groove we’re not going far in this series’. I hate to play the pessimist but that guy holds the key to this series’. WE NEED YOU MARVIN!!!!!!! Like i’ve said before, I’ve had a wrist injury before. It really is devestating at times, I couldn’t even pick up a pencil, let alone dribble a basketball. I applaud Marvin for his effort, but it might be better if he just shut it down. All it takes is one Screen-Sandwich from the Cavs and Marvin will be clutching that wrist and screming in agaony. Beleive me I know.

Oh and if Woody decides ever to take the shcakles off Acie during this series’, watch out. He has the potential to geve the Cavs all they can handle.

Maybe Horford and Marvin should take pain-killing shots like D-Wade did in the confrence finals back in 2007. Horford may be in trouble, there is nothing structrally worng with Marvin’s writ right now. It’s just that agonizing pain after spraining it doesn’t go away easily. If he could somehow numb the feeling in his wrist for the remainder of the playoffs, we might be in business guys.

Ariose

May 7th, 2009
4:17 am

Man all those errors….That’s when you know it’s time to call it a night lol.

smartguy

May 7th, 2009
4:30 am

FIRE WOODY

TRADE NO SHOW JOE

David Smith

May 7th, 2009
5:27 am

I agree 100% with you Sekuo. This team has infuriated and excited me with their inconsistent play the last four years (infuriated is a less vulgar term than some other words that came to mind). I could care less who is on the floor than what kind of effort they are putting out and this team is clearly not giving their all. We need someone to step up an be a leader (since joe doesn’t want the job) and set an example for this young franchise of players who are embarrising us as a city right now with their lackluster play. Injuries are not an excuse because this is the playoffs and Cleveland won’t slack off to let us win a game in this series without a fight. I’m hoping to see the same passion that made us revalent in the playoffs last year agaist Boston (Let’s hope our guys pack a lunch). GO HAWKS!!!

NCBravesFan

May 7th, 2009
5:38 am

Sekou – brilliant! I’ve been trying to get the words out of my mouth that describe exactly what I’ve been seeing the last 8 games with these guys and you’ve hit the nail perfectly.

From this casual fan’s perspective it’s not THAT they lose, it’s HOW they lose that frustrates everyone most of all.

doc

May 7th, 2009
7:16 am

yes sekou, i pointed that out last week that a leader self appointed or coach appointed needs to say i am letting the team down and not getting the job done. it hasnt happened ever. the effort issue never goes on his own shoulders verbally followed by action. way too passive and not a leader. when you go to war the leader nedes to be at the front taking the risk. say what you want d wade does it, lebron does it, duncan does it and kobe occasionally does it. shaq almost always did it. that is what it is going to take, a guy who succeeds because he isnt afraid of failing and does it on his own if necessary to show others it is about each one of them playing 100% on both ends of the court. there is no tomorrow in the playoffs. im tired of repeating it.

Big Ray

May 7th, 2009
8:26 am

SEKOU,

I agree. This gets old quick. Same stuff. Same words. And it IS the players. And I really don’t get it. What’s obvious is that this team does not get it, either.

What’s bad here is that we have injuries to Al Horford and Marvin Williams. Both guys contribute to the game. Obviously, that’s not the bigger issue here, though. The guys just can’t seem to get it together and KEEP it together. We do things in the first half of games that keep us in the games. Then we promptly do things early in the second half that take us right out of it. And of course, at that point, we give up.

Now, it would be easy to say that the Cavs are just better than us. Well, they are. But we can compete better than this, and we’ve shown it before. Not playing together is a disease that has few cures. I have no idea what it’s going to take for these guys to trust each other.

And attacking on offense? I saw ONE guy doing that in game 1 with any effectiveness. Even when he was missing some shots, he kept at it…of course until we went away from him in the second half, and the usual suspects either got shot happy or dribble happy. The most annoying thing about this is the fact that this team KNOWS how to play together. They won 47 games that way! You don’t win that many games without at least playing together SOME of the time.

I’m not down on these guys, but they should be able to compete. Winning will happen if they are the better team on the court any given day or night. It’s unrealistic to think they’ll beat the Cavs down. But I do expect to see more cohesion.

Atwork...

May 7th, 2009
8:28 am

Great Article! You can teach chemistry. It comes from playing together and knowing that if you mess up that someone has got your back. They just need to go out there and play basketball like they konw they can and let the pieces fall where they may. For the entire first half of Tuesday’s game i was proud of my Hawks for playing the way they did. I just want to see a complete game now. I think when they are on they can play with anyone…

Also sweet relief to see Josh Smith fake the outside shot for once and put it on the floor.

Westurd

May 7th, 2009
8:39 am

Sekou you should get a pulitzer for this piece. Its dead on my friend and “we” Hawks are in a lot of trouble. Did you say an average playoff lose of 24.2 pts? That is absolutely unbelievable.

I am 100% in support of our HAWKS, but man there is so much to talk about and not too much of it is positive at the moment. We can look back on the season with a smile, but only after the season is done. For now the HAWKS have to buckle down and not be scared of Queen James. Hes a ball player just like anyone else on the court and lets get out there and play 48 TOUGH MINUTES………NOW I’M ALL WORKED UP!

shresee2

May 7th, 2009
8:47 am

All of you are right. The way they lose is horrible. Even in the Miami series how can you blow out a team one night and get blown out the next. Team basketball for this team is key. You noticed in game 7 against Miami the ball movement was excellent. Joe is much better when he just reacts and not try to do a better basketball video on how to lose the ball in traffic. I think Bibby in the playoffs have shown better defense then he sometimes gets credit for. I think Bibby driving the lane getting the hook shot and the and 1 he got often against Miami was key. Everyone heard James say before halftime they have to keep Josh out of the paint. Josh is hard to defend under that basket. The hawks are a better team then the Pistons and need not be swept. The hawks cannot always wait to come home and try to win a game like with the Celtics series. If they want to be contenders and not pretenders they have to win on the road.

Big Ray

May 7th, 2009
8:49 am

Rod,

Look, we’ll never agree on Marvin Williams, and like you I could give a rat’s a$$ about that. Here’s what I think (and I hate to drag this back up): I think we should have drafted Deron Williams or Chris Paul instead of Marvin. And that is nothing against Marvin. I like the guy. He has potential. No, I don’t think he’s a superstar, and I don’t think he ever will be. But I think he can be a good player.

You can take this as excuses if you like (and I suppose that you will) but there are two major points I will continue to push on the issue.

Number one: Billy Knight thought Marvin Williams was a #2 pick. He’s the guy that picked him over two pgs that became all-stars. You can continue to get mad at Marvin for this, but it’s Billy’s fault. He picked him. Hey, like I said, Joe Dumars picked Darko Millicic over Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. Should everybody be mad at Darko for not being nearly as good as they are? Or should they point the finger at the guy who picked him?

Number Two. Our offense is chaotic as hell. Guys don’t trust each other. As Sekou mentioned above, this team has trust issues. You tell ME why our #2 pick isn’t featured in the offense more. You tell ME why he’s been the 4th option on offense most nights, for 4 years. Fact is, he’s still managed to average 14ppg and 5/6rpg like that. Should he just grab the ball, and say “hey fellas, I’m just going to score. To hell with y’all, I’m going to shoot if you give me the ball. Look, since you say you played Division I ball, I expect that know better. You don’t just defy teammates and coach alike. If the offense isn’t built for you, then you don’t take it over. Again, tell me WHY our offense isn’t built the highest draft pick we’ve made in the last decade or more? And don’t tell me “it’s because he sucks.” It ain’t that simple.

I used to stay mad as hell at Marvin, and have lambasted him on this blog for the last three years. This year, he really began to turn the corner. But we just couldn’t seem to get him the ball unless either one of our bigger scorers wasn’t available, or they weren’t doing well. When we DID get the ball to him early and regularly, he produced. But that was rare. Now he’s injured. I don’t see the point in kicking a man while he’s down, but hey I guess that’s how you roll. I guess he should be giving us 30 points while playing 12 minutes.

I don’t think he’s a star, but I don’t think he’s roster filler either. You can keep getting mad at a about a former #2 pick who is injured if you want to. I’m much more conerned about an all-star that we paid $70 million to, and traded two first round draft picks and another player for. That’s the real problem.

Funny, if you take away about 2 points or so, that all-star is giving us damn near the exact same thing your hated Marvin was, when he was healthy. Ain’t life ironic.

Rod From College Park

May 7th, 2009
8:59 am

Oh but didnt you know? If you are a number 2 pick in the draft then a hurt wrist cant stop you. We dont need Marvin hes just another body. Horford is out too. Hes a number 3 pick and he sucks for being injured too. Dont you know? If youre a high pick then you are supposed to be impervious to all pain and injury. Sorry azz suckers.

The hawks shoulda drafted me number 2. But they didnt so now I only get to complain about it on my computer.

Joe Johnson

May 7th, 2009
9:00 am

I am so tired. Woodson played me too much.

Mike Woodson

May 7th, 2009
9:01 am

I was trying to help you make the all-star team JOE!

Lebron James

May 7th, 2009
9:02 am

Trent

May 7th, 2009
9:08 am

Sekou, that is some disturbing stuff to hear about the hawks. There is no reason these guys shouldn’t be playing as a tight unit. Nobody will give them any respect, and this is why. They have to take an “us against the world” mentality and show the world that they mean business. These guys can expect to get disrespected by the national media if they continue to play like this. Joe Johnson has to suck it up and play better than this. Nobody expects him to become a superstar over night. And nobody expects him to score and dominate like the top players in the game. But we certainly should expect better than fifteen points a game. That is just not excusable. And being tired isn’t going to cut it as an excuse anymore. Of course it would probably help if we set some screens for him so he’s not dribbling for 23 seconds while thinking of how to beat two defenders.

Rod From College Park

May 7th, 2009
9:09 am

Niremetal, I will fight you and BigRay at the same time just to show you how much of a man I am.

Lacsho

May 7th, 2009
9:21 am

Nice blog Sekou.

To be honest I’d do a straight up trade Artest for JJ.

doc

May 7th, 2009
9:27 am

thanks woody for your contribution. remember that next year when you play the boy so hard he pulls up lame during the derby run.

Mike is back

May 7th, 2009
9:37 am

Great timely article Sekou, ditto for me too on everything that was said…the onus is on the players to trust each other…despite the flawed offensive scheme. Woody does such a poor job of in game adjustments…it’s encumber on the guys to communicate and work to together because the offensive scheme is so predestine. Once you hold that ball your in trouble…you got to trust that next guy will do his part and give up the ball.

We all know who the biggest culprit is I want call his name…Woody is right…when they run their sets they are a different team. What film has JJ been looking at? The problem is JJ is a born scorer his mentally is to score first. Once the offense gets bogs down everyone starts trying to win the game by themselves…they stop trusting each other…then it’s a bunch of F ing one on one plays…which always leads to disaster.

Woody why would you keep running the same play if its not working…haven’t JJ proved that he has problems picking up the double teams. He just does not possess the floor vision of Bibby. You make want to drop that one from the playbook. Exploit your mismatches and quit trying to get JJ going all the time…right now your best match up is Josh. But guys can’t stand there and pound the ball for 16 seconds on the clock…then try to get the ball in the post…it not going to work.

Flip is fine…he just playing to passive…he missing that Jazzy rhythm that make us say FLIP THE DAM SCRIPT. I don’t believe these little guards of Cleveland can shut Flip down for the whole series…Mo got his hands filled with LBJ…somebody else has to step up…U don’t know WHAT YA GONNA GET from JJ. We need another scoring threat to emerge that will help spread floor.

richbrave

May 7th, 2009
9:38 am

niremetal:

Born 1943 and reared in VIRGINIA – lifetime. Living in RICHMOND since 1966. Old VIRGINIA SQUIRES fan. One of only a handful based on the games I attended down at the coliseum. Saw DR.J as a rookie and was hooked for life on the ABA (nee: NBA). Finishing law? What institution? Just graduated from the UNIVERSITY of RICHMOND August 2008 – History.

richbrave

May 7th, 2009
9:46 am

BIG RAY:

Your 8:26 this a.m. sounds eerily reminiscent of the WIZARDS modus operandi. Steer clear of third period swoons. I put those on the coaching staff as much as the players. If the guys won’t pay attention to your half-time admonitions, the lack of respect for the coaches and each other is obvious. Personnel changes are then in order. Easier to replace a coach than a club’s playa’s. Just sayin’….

Sautee

May 7th, 2009
9:52 am

Sekou, don’t sugarcoat it like that, tell us how you REALLY feel! ;-)

Who was that masked beat writer, was it a Blog-Z siting?

And to kwooden, PLEASE do not put Joe Johnson in the same breath as Tim Duncan. PLEASE.

joejohnsonneedstomanup

May 7th, 2009
10:07 am

How can JJ talk about his teammates? He played well in 2 of 7 games against Miami. Now, he is in the second round of the playoffs and says he is tired. Josh Smith & Bibby are playing big minutes too. The guy sucked in game one. He is the prime example of we instead of I. Why do you think Smith didn’t get the ball in the second half. Because of our fearless tired leader. Mr. Spalding Ball tester. It can’t be a good offensive possession unless JJ dribbles it at least 8 times.
If he is so smart to see that they can’t win if he only shoots 10 times. Why didn’t he do something about it? We all watch the game he sure has the ball in his hands to make a play. Maybe he should worry about outplaying Delonte West. He hasn’t done that either.

Johnny Red Balls

May 7th, 2009
10:14 am

Fire. Urgency. Intensity. Anger. Killer Instinct. I want more from our Atlanta Hawks. I expect to see it tonight. Now you know.

Rod from College Park

May 7th, 2009
10:19 am

Big Ray,

Of course the above replies are not me. The problem I have with Marvin is that he has no basketball skills. He is a shooter and that is it. No dribble drive skills, can’t finish, no heart, clumsy….. I do blame Billy Knight, with him the same way I blame him for Sheldon Williams. I watched both kids in college, and knew they would not be great pro players. The problem I have with most of you is that you continue to make excuses for him. He is a professional athlete. I can not explain to you how many times I have seen him post up a smaller player and not be able to take advantage of it. You learn these things in high school. My original argument started because most of the blog members were doggin Josh, and giving Marvin a pass. He has done nothing to deserve a pass. Again, Marvin is the easiest guy on our roster to replace. Simple as that. Maybe he can’t step up on our team because he is not good enough. Maybe the guys on the team know that his game is weak, from practicing against him everyday, and don’t pass him the ball in the games, because they know he can’t do anything with it. I was not good enough to make it to the NBA, but I can tell you this, Give me 3 million dollars, no other responsibility, a practice facility that is open at any time, and someone to get the ball out of the net everytime I shoot, and I promise you I would be able to hit a wide open 15 to 20 foot jump shot. His game has not improved on any other level, but being able to shoot the three. I kept hearing what a good job defensively he can do on Lebron. He can’t check Gerald Wallace, how is he going to bother Lebron. It’s been 3 years, how long should we have to wait? Joe has not stepped up, but I actually can respect his game, and see his talent. I just don’t see it with Marvin. Another thing that I stated was that I have a good friend who I played with in high school, who was an advanced scout for the Hawks when Marvin was drafted, and based on the info I got from him, everyone was not on the Marvin Williams bandwagon. I don’t care wheter you are a GM, coach, scout, or a recreational player, if Chris Paul, Derron Williams, and Marvin Williams come in you gym to work out, there would be no comparison as to who you should select then or now.

Astro Joe

May 7th, 2009
10:41 am

Joe isn’t a leader. Joe isn’t rested. Joe isn’t a superstar. So what is it? On one hand, we acknowledge that Joe isn’t a player capable of picking a team on his shoulders and winning a playoff series. On the other hand, we say that his coach has abused him and that he is too much of a “we” guy. Again, sounds like divergent opinions. If Joe isn’t among the elite, then this team can only win if everyone is producing, including Bibby, Flip, Horford, Marvin, Smith, Zaza & Mo. So why the focus on Joe and his leadership skills? If he isn’t a true leader, then we have to accept that leadership will come from either another player or from the Head Coach (which isn’t optimal even if the coach is Phil F’ing Jackson). If we do acknowledge that Joe can’t do it alone, then it’s time to call-out all the other guys getting 24+ minutes a game and doing very little for the team.

The chemistry is clearly not championship-caliber but neither is the roster, collective player talent nor coaching. We didn’t need a series with the Cavs to highlight that this team is not a contender. The horrific road losses are the only thing that I have found surprising about this team. It suggests (to me at least) that they are a fair-weathered team. They are incapable of withstanding a rain storm. Instead, they allow a few drops to turn into a monsoon. That’s why I previously called them tin-men, they have no heart.

And if Joe decides to take a “it’s either Smith or me, one of us needs to leave town” approach during the off-season, he may find that he is the one packing the bags.

Melvin

May 7th, 2009
10:54 am

I’m confuse by the quotes below. Exactly who’s the veteran that was suppose to have some playoffs experience under his belt and could help lead the younger players on our team during the toughest part of the year. I can’t understand why so many repeatly dog Josh. Here we are in the 2nd round of the playoffs and look at Joe (our team captain) mentality are we suffer our worst lost of the playoffs. Give me JOSH on my team anyday…

“I’m tired,” Johnson said afterward, “but I’d never use that as an excuse.

“We’ve got to tap into our reserve energy right now and get it going,” Josh Smith said. “We’re all tired right now. I think every team still playing has to kick it into that extra gear this time of year. That’s just the way it goes in the playoffs.”

ILL-logical

May 7th, 2009
10:54 am

Because if you give the ball up, there’s now way you’re going to get the ball back. I played 40 minutes and took 10 shots. And we can’t play like that. But I don’t know if everybody knows that. And that’s why, if we don’t figure it out, this might be a short series.”
JOE JOHNSON

And Woodson says don’t worry,don’t worry-cause if there is a h#$% below… .

Sorry about that but the excrement seems to be hitting the oscilating wind device here.

All anyone is asking is that the team play hard,consistently and compete.Period. Now the season’s accomplishments are going to be put under a more intense scrutiny and that may reveal some very,very inconvenient truths.
I am not advocating making the perfect the enemy of the good but
this situation -the blow outs followed by the winning- is not being swept under the rug for a change and accountability may be called for.To bad that it didn’t happen sooner , we still may have had little chance against the Cavs but the effort would be totally different.

ILL-logical

May 7th, 2009
10:57 am

And by the way, the Hawks have a winning record,including road wins, without Joe in the line up over the last 2 years. Look it up

kwooden1

May 7th, 2009
11:13 am

Doc, responding to last nights comments.

Again, I disagree in terms of the comparison with Duncan. Tim does produce and always has because he’s always been top 3 at his position. Joe isn’t. I think everyone is asking for something that isn’t there. If you want Joe to take over a game then you want to see him shoot 20-30 jumpshots! If you want him to work more of screens to get hope, then talk to Woody! You want more ISO JOE!, didn’t think SO. I think Joe can pass out of the double teams quicker, but part of the problem is guys not getting open quicker. Player’s fault and Woody’s fault!

The main issue I always see is the lack of post scoring. The HAWKS aren’t a prototypical team with a top notch low post player to pass into. Woody doesn’t run an offensive that enable pushing the ball after made shots, so there constantly stuck in the half court. Without a consistent low post player (especially with Horford hurt), all five guys are going to have to make the offensive work.

What I don’t want to see tonight is Joe shooting 20+ jumpshots with no else touching the basketball. I hope that Joe plays a smart game, passes quickly out of the double teams and finds good match-ups. Hopefully Smith will not get baited into taking jumpshots either and attacks his defender. This is still going to be a tough game because Evans, is smaller and slower than Lebron! Bad match-up!

GO HAWKS!!!

Rod from College Park

May 7th, 2009
11:22 am

Coach Woodson has to push the tempo. We can not walk the ball up the floor, and try to play a half court game. Pushing the tempo will prevent the double team from coming. See Denver. Joe has to be more aggressive. Stop complaining, whining and throwing cheap shots in the media and sep up. Show some emotion. It might pump your teamates up.

kwooden1

May 7th, 2009
11:25 am

Comment on the Blow-outs.

What I’ve seen is that if the lead gets to 10+, the HAWKS start to trust their sets less and less. I’ve never thought they were comfortable in the sets and Bibby confirmed this by letting Woody know the illogical of a set that puts your PF around the 3 pt line!! I also think they put to much pressure on themselves when they get down. They start missing free-throws and making bad decisions. But I don’t think the HAWKS are the only ones with that problem. See the HEATS 4 losses!! I think we’re all under estimating the lack of Playoff experience this team has also.

Either way I expect a better game all around and a different result!

GO HAWKS!!!

oldmike

May 7th, 2009
11:28 am

Love this post Sekou. I keep wondering what it’s going to take for thsi team to play hard game after game and make the plays to win. They have the talent to do it, just not the concentration. That speaks volumes about the long term prospects for this tram as currently constructed. I think it needs a major forward overhaul. Either guy can go, but one needs to and we need to bring back a center or true point guard and let that PG run the team. Not run the offense through JJ>

Mz. Hawkdafied

May 7th, 2009
11:34 am

Thank you Sekou! I am tired of the talk and excuses too. We should have done this, we should have done that. Yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Forget all that talking, I wanna see some action.

No more blowouts. Blowouts mean you didn’t even try or fight. One to 5 point losses mean you never gave up.

The Hawks’ problem is mental. Did anybody think beyond just making to the second round? It’s like okay we made it to the second round and that’s it. Or you kidding me? That’s why the Hawks’ goal should have originally been to earn that championship trophy. They can’t just quit in the second round. No one controls the Hawks’ destiny but them. It’s not written in stone that the Cavs are gonna win. As long as the Hawks are in the playoffs the possibilities to advance are still there. Another opportunity presents itself tonight. Yes the Atlanta Hawks need to stand together and make the most of it and stop wasting our time and energy. And theirs as well.

dap01

May 7th, 2009
11:38 am

This getting blown out was exactly like last year’s playoff. The Hawks either win or they completely get blown away. Is it preparation? Is it poor game plans? Is it the players? Coach? What is the real issue?

dap01

May 7th, 2009
11:44 am

Has Woody ever said why Josh is camped out at the 3 point line? Has Woody suggested an another spot where Josh should be? Woody laughs at Bibby’s question but surely someone has asked it before because that same pathetic offense has been run over and over and over for years.

Ken Strickland

May 7th, 2009
11:45 am

Although Bibby had a good OFF game, I saw his poor DEF cause Horford to pick up one foul and Zaza to pick up 2. He has got to be the easiest PG in the NBA to screen and the easiest to blow by.

This team has been very frustrating for me, and Woodson’s coaching style, demeanor and limitations just rubs me the wrong way. And as a result, I’ve become too fixated on his issues. After DOC brought it to my attention, I decided to back off and not respond as much. That approach allowed me to see that I wasn’t the only one frustrated with the way the team is being handled, and most of the regulars have become redundant as well, whether any of you will admit it or not.

As long as Woodson is the HC, I’ll limit my comments and involvement with the Hawks, because I just can’t continue dealing with his BS.

The Truth

May 7th, 2009
11:52 am

Sekou
Your article resonates so well. You are hitting all the right nerves these still young Hawk players need to hear. What you say is nothing but “The Truth”.

It is interesting how the post season has shed some new revealing light on these Hawk players that we probably never would have otherwise seen:

1. I think the debate as to whether Josh could be a legitimate low post threat has been answered. He seems to have even more upside potential. He is earning himself the “face of the franchise” label

2. Bibby has definitely emerged to be the leader we all thought he was. Resigning should be a priority.

3. Even though he is injured, Al is still my Mr. Yeomen. However, he does need to hit the game this summer and work on his offense game.

4. Mo Evans has still not convinced me that he is a 3-point threat. He is the reason why the opponent double teaming strategy is working so well against JJ and Bibby. He is always the lone guy wide open for the jumper and he has struggled though he is a descent defender. We could upgrade at this position.

5. Though he struggled in the game 1, I still think Flip is a real baller. He has showed up most of the time so far in the post season. Contract renegotiation should be priority.

6. Even though I like Zaza’s heart, he is more of a banger than a leaper. In fact, he’s not much of a leaper at all but can box out very well. His main assets are his bulk and muscles.

7. JJ (tired prone) is TBD :)

8. Marvin (injury prone) is TBD

9. Acie Law (injury prone) plays way too passive to be effective. He has lost his Mojo under Woody. Also, he has become too comfortable with the PG in Training Title. He may have earned himself the “trade bait” label.

9. Solomon Jones has shown potential if Woody would trust him more. I still believe he has some offense game as well. His basketball IQ needs some more work.

8. Rest of bench is irrelevant

doc

May 7th, 2009
12:07 pm

ken are you saying this team is a little hot and cold? dont mean for you to hold out on us but yes we all feel your pain. :-)

at some point it has to bear that the team doesnt compete well on the road. it doesnt affect my overall perspective of a grand season, does affect how i view the team long term. that will take care of itself when 5 guys are ready to sign to stay or go. simple math, they dont all stay and that might be part of the rub now as well. to be answered are we stayers or leavers like the warriors, clippers and wizards ended up after their brief shows in the playoffs?

so tonight i watch for signs of life. saturday i go and see what they are made of as the phillips should rock like it hasnt before, and dont come and talk of how great springsteen was there it cant come close to game seen when it wasnt even filled and what is capable when full if this team plays for its home base. optimism does rein even now.

doc

May 7th, 2009
12:13 pm

truth the truth is we arent very deep are we? maybe 8 real nba players on the roster is my take unless coached up or let out of the cage to play. time will tell.

Mike is back

May 7th, 2009
12:16 pm

shresee2, excellent point. The Hawks can’t always depend on home court for a win…especially against LBJ. They must and I think they will step up tonite and become contenders instead of pretenders. I just want them to compete for four quarters. AT LIKE U BELONG TO THE BIG DANCE.
Despite JJ admission of exhaustion…I think he will step. Woody has to share some of the blame. Everyone will be watching to see if JJ comes out with his tail between legs looking tired…will they see a beaten man…or A warrior trying to catapult his team into the Eastern Conference Finals. THIS WILL BE A DEFINING MOMENT FOR JOE!!!!!!!!

Everything time you read Josh comments he is sounding more and more like the team leader. If he wants people to take him more serious…he has to get rid of the bonehead plays. He always had the emotional quality…now he has learn to play to his strengths…we have seen flashes of brilliance…now he has to make the commitment to take his game up a couple notches if he WANTS HIS NAME to be mentioned among the elite in this league.

Josh appears to be growing up before I eyes. LBJ didn’t say he would stop’em…he said…we got to stop him. THAT’S THE ATTITUDE THE HAWKS HAS TO ADOPT!!!

GO HAWKS…SHOCK THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

May 7th, 2009
12:18 pm

If Smith is literally next to the paint on each and every possession (as everyone who seems fixated on Smith being on the perimeter at times seems to desire), you do realize that means that Varejao (in the case of this series) is standing close to the rim to stop any drives to the rim, right? Here’s what I guess you see on the opposite end of the floor. Teams find ways to position their PF away from the basket to keep Smith from being able to provide help defense close to the rim. If the Hawks want to create lanes for guys like Joe, Flip and Marvin to drive and get into the paint, doesn’t it make sense for our C and PF to take the opposing C and PF away from the lane? It doesn’t mean you do that on each and every play but you have to do that on sets where a drive to the basket is an option.

Horford isn’t Shaq and Smith isn’t Karl Malone. Those others guys were clearly good for 25+ points in the paint. There are VERY few offenses designed that way these days. With the no-hand-check rule in place, finding ways to create driving lanes is essential.

ZULU

May 7th, 2009
12:20 pm

Blogs are for the purpose of us (the public)to respond to. I enjoy reading a number of the ‘regulars’, I have missed Samuels comments as of late. Sekou, you said all that needs to be said at this time. EXCELLENT COMMENTARY(!),S.K.S.-S.

Nick

May 7th, 2009
12:34 pm

Because of injuries, our best chance is to play small ball tonight …

PG – Bibby
SG – Flip
SF – Joe
PF – Evans
C – Josh

Look, without Horford and (yes) Marvin, we aren’t going to even come close to snatching more boards than the Cavs. Z is simply too big (he didn’t have a lot of rebounds Game 1, but his ability to box out cleared the way for LeBron and Varejao) … so why not just concede that aspect of the game to them? Even Za Za looked mortal on the boards against the Cavs.

Let’s push the tempo and let Josh run Z off the court. Force them to play fast. The Cavs are the best defensive team in the NBA, so let’s not let them get set. Joe won’t have to face double teams if the offense is moving. LeBron in the open court is scary, yes, but if we run, you reduce them to a three man team (Williams, West, and LeBron). Z can’t run. Varejao is a man-on-man guy, not a transition guy. Wallace, Wally, Smith, etc. off the bench are all old.

For real. Take the fight to them. Get out of the horrid offensive schemes that get Joe trapped/doubled and leaves everyone complaining about playing “team ball.” The best way to share the ball for these Hawks would be to just run. And if it doesn’t work? You say you did it because of injuries and go back to the way you always play the next home game …

The Truth

May 7th, 2009
12:57 pm

Astro Joe
I agree, if Al (C) and Josh (PF) were more of an offensive threat from the perimeter, I can see an offense picnic of easy lay-up baskets for JJ and Bibby because the C/PF defenders would have to follow them out to the perimeter to guard them. However, because Josh jump shot is still suspect and AL mid-range game is also inconsistent; their defenders are baiting them to take that shot. The defenders are playing the odds of them misfiring and winning the battle.

niremetal

May 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

No joke – give Hunter and Pachulia lots of minutes tonight and make it a tough, physical game. If they’re gonna beat us, at least make sure they feel us in the morning.

King James

May 7th, 2009
1:22 pm

After tonight:

HAWKS = 0 – 2

Hawks will lose the series in four games