What’s up, Sekou readers?
Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for your patience in waiting for this blog to get churning again. My name is Ken Sugiura, and I have the unenviable task of following up the master. Sekou, if you weren’t aware, took a job down the street at nba.com after five years of excellent Hawks coverage for the AJC. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but Sekou is a great guy, a great reporter and we will miss him plenty.
I’m going to be filling in on the Hawks until a full-time replacement is hired. I’ve got a good bit to learn, but I’m looking forward to it. As Sekou shared with me, it’s a good group to cover and the team, obviously, is on the way up. Hopefully it’ll be a fun ride, however long it lasts.
Anyway, I’m here for you guys, so fire any questions at me you’ve got, either on the blog or e-mail. I don’t have the wealth of NBA knowledge that Sekou does, but I’ll do my best to get you answers.
Enough blathering – on to the two-game trip to New York tonight and Boston Friday.
From Mike Woodson on down, the talk Monday and Tuesday was about defending better, which obviously will be a factor in both games, against the “Seven seconds or less” Knicks and then the three-headed monster in Boston.
Different guys were saying they need to get back to defending the way they did last year. The sample size for this season is small, obviously, but some numbers for comparison – 2008-09 – 96.5 points per game, 45.4 FG percentage from the field, 35.3 percent from three-point range. This year, 102.1, 46.0, 40.0.
One thing I heard a few different times was that the players aren’t doing a good job of communicating – calling out switches and the like.
Said Joe Johnson, “When we’re guarding our man and we’re supposed to switch, we’re not calling the switch. I think we’re assuming more than anything. It’s just guys not on the same page. Therefore, two guys are going on one man and another guy’s laying it up.”
Al Horford also mentioned the communication lapses, but added that “I think it comes down to effort.”
So, something to be watching for tonight (Wednesday) and Friday.
You may find this interesting …
Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague and Horford all mentioned looking forward to playing at Madison Square Garden. For Teague, it’ll be his first trip. Horford said it’s probably his favorite place to play, citing the arena’s history.
Said Crawford, who played a little over four years there, “It’s like you’re on stage. … The court’s lit up and the crowd’s kind of dark. It’s like you’re on a stage performing. So it’s really cool.”
Crawford also mentioned that over his time there, he became friends with Knicks fans such as Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Adam Sandler and Fat Joe.
Said the rookie Teague of going on the road, “Flying from city to city, you’re getting on planes, carrying bags and having so much luggage. It was kind of difficult at first, but now I think I know how to pack a lot better. I took too much stuff last time.”
One big difference between college and NBA road trips: “No homework at all. That’s a good thing.”
Anyway, let me hear from you, readers – Is 1-1 a successful road trip? Woodson has mentioned multiple times that he wants the team to go .500 on the road, so he said that the West Coast plus Charlotte trip was good, because it was 2-2, despite the trip-ending disaster in Charlotte.
What do you want to see from the Hawks?