Your first-place Atlanta Hawks

BOSTON - Only by a half-game over Miami, but pretty strange, I bet, for some of you to read.
I’m at Logan, waiting for a 7 a.m. flight back home. While I’ve got a few minutes, I figured I’d dump a few more quotes on you and look ahead. The big news is that Chris Paul won’t be in the lineup, out with a sprained ankle sustained Friday against Portland in new coach Jeff Bower’s debut. That obviously tilts the balance a bit in the Hawks’ direction.

Some links:
Boston Globe story on http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2009/11/14/atlantas_growth_spurt_was_the_biggest_factor/;
Boston Herald game story.

My http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-hawks/with-huge-rebounding-night-197066.htmlfiled after the print deadline.

From the locker rooms at the TD Garden:
Kevin Garnett: “They draw one on ones a lot, a lot of isolation basketball. Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are two of the best at that. I thought team-wise, they spread us out and they did a good job. Kudos to them. They beat us up tonight.

Crawford: “I could definitely tell (it meant a lot to the team to beat Boston). This is a big test for us. It’s only one game, but I think it does a lot for our confidence and makes us [know] that we can play against anybody, back home or on the road.”

Johnson: “They came out and made a run (in the third quarter). I think they went up six or seven. Like I said, we kept our composure, kept working, kept moving the basketball and mainly we got defensive stops that led to transition baskets.”

“Defensively, we had to do the little things. When there were loose balls, we were getting them. We were quicker to the ball than they were. Those are the things that count that don’t show up in the stat book.”

You can point to a lot of different parts of the game that factored, but I think that first half of the third quarter that Johnson referenced was pretty important. The Hawks got down seven, tied it up, then got down six and tied it up again. Not long after that, Johnson hit a three to go up 63-62, and the Hawks never trailed after that. It was like the Hawks took the Celtics’ best punch and then counterattacked.

I’ll be curious to see what shakes out in coming weeks. I think it’s not very realistic that they’ll play at this level all the time. They’re going to kick another one at some point like they did to Charlotte, like Denver did against the Hawks last Saturday, like it looks like the Lakers did against the Nuggets Friday. But I wonder to what extent this will increase their belief in what they’re doing and motivate them to keep the foot on the gas.

What do you think?

92 comments Add your comment

jay

November 14th, 2009
6:47 am

Gilk

November 14th, 2009
6:54 am

What have I missed … where is Sekou?

chuckw/deadjournalist

November 14th, 2009
7:06 am

gilk – sekou now works for nba.com; he’s no longer with the ajc.

great win last night, but tonight is the ultimate trap game. if the hawks can blow out n.o. w/o cp3, that will show as much growth as last night’s win.

The Real Hawk

November 14th, 2009
7:42 am

Marvin Williams: 23 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists.This from our starting shooting forward?
Averaging 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds for the 9 games this season!!!
Give those minutes to someone who can better use them and send Marvin to the bench,

jgsbirds

November 14th, 2009
7:48 am

Awesome win by the Hawks last night!!! Watched every second of it just like I do every time they play. They certainly have to couple it with a win tonight against the Hornets or that W will lose a bit of it’s luster.

I just loved how the Boston players complained all night about the officials. Wow! For any player off of Boston, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland or Orlando to complain about calls to me is absurd! I saw plenty of occasions last night where the refs blew the whistle on phantom calls on the Hawks. If I were a fan of any of those teams I would NEVER-EVER complain about officiating. Boston and LA have been getting “the calls” for decades now–So Please Pierce, KG, Sheed stop your b*tching! Give the Hawks some credit for kicking your tails!

Great Job Hawks–solidify it tonight!

Ree Roe

November 14th, 2009
7:58 am

Ken,

I find it interesting to read that you don’t think we’ll play at this level consistently on the road. True, everybody has off games, especially this team, but wasn’t last night’s game the sort of statement game that makes you believe that this team may have turned a corner?

Expectations have risen now…this isn’t the same ol Hawks folks. I think we’d all be disappointed if we saw them scuffle with a team like Charlotte again on the road. Hawks by 20 tonight

-REEcently Roe!

littile dave

November 14th, 2009
7:59 am

just woke up from watching the game on tv this morning,3.30 am it finished in england,at 3 am my wife and kids came running down stairs thinking we were being robbed but no it was me screming my head off, they think im mad.wat a great win .GOOD TIMES.

Truth-Serum

November 14th, 2009
8:23 am

I enjoyed the game. Woodson has got his troops unified. I now that under Sekou this was a radical anti woodson hate cell masquerading as a hawks blog page, but is nice to pubiish that Woodson is a great coach and doing a great job.

Way to go Hawks. I also enjoyed ESPN’s broadcast of the game. In Josh and Horford we have to very good powerforwards as was noted. Now if we can just get a center this team is ready to take it to higher levels.

Shout out to Pachulia. Way to step your game up! You are finishing in the paint, creating your own shot, being physical and limiting your turn overs. Good job, keep it up!

Great stretch Birds.

Teague makes a lot of rookie mistakes,but by the years end he wont be a rookie any more.

Good rotation Woody and as ESPN noted the second “wave” could have closed out the game against Boston. Next up, New Orleans – a coach and Chris Paul. Show no mercy, play hard and focused. Get Teague and Collins some time in the game.

Truth-Serum

November 14th, 2009
8:25 am

*(correction)
I know
- = Minus a coach and chris paul

truly1

November 14th, 2009
8:34 am

Ken Dont let woody put you to sleep about teague we have aready seen what he can do to rookie point guards. He will kill there confidence teagues numbers are going down game by game. Hopefully he will stay with teague and give him more meaningful minutes then he can learn but to not give him consistant minutes he cant just turn it off and on he is a rookie not a veteran. He cant be just ready when he has not played real minutes in 4 or 5 games.

truly1

November 14th, 2009
8:37 am

I wonder how many people still want to argue with me about crawford being and upgrade over flip? Have we forgot about flip Yet? I HOPE SO

Rod

November 14th, 2009
9:09 am

Marvin needs to see more bench time I agree he does not play inside more follow Josh Smith Marvin drive to the basket more because last year your jumpshot was falling this year not so much,Josh Smith 2nd in the league in FG% @59% and YOU haters said trade him you were all smoking crack he is now mature which I expect once you hit your mid 20’s he is a all around guy give him his due now!

The Hawksta

November 14th, 2009
9:19 am

Wow! What a game last nigh! Great coaching by Woody! He had a plan and stuck to it! Total team effort fellas. Made a lot of fans proud last night!

Ken you are winning us over good job!

Duke

November 14th, 2009
9:27 am

Joe Smith played a solid game. Kudos to Woody for getting him 15 mins.

Traveling Hawk Fan

November 14th, 2009
9:37 am

Great to see the team on National TV. Traveling so much that I havent seen used the season tix I have. They get better every year since Woody’s been there, so a NEW CONTRACT is in order! Sign JOE too!

Rufus1

November 14th, 2009
9:37 am

Rod

I was one who said trade Josh…I was wrong. He is play like a star. I still don’t agree with you about Marvin.

riley hawkins

November 14th, 2009
9:38 am

as a team the hawks are better and more mature in their approach to each game

David

November 14th, 2009
9:40 am

It’s only one game. In an 82 game season, one win or loss doesn’t mean very much.

Nside Hawksfan

November 14th, 2009
9:52 am

Keystone win of the season last night. And I thought last week against Denver was great, but wow.

Go easy on Marvin. Understand that on any given night different players are going to step up based on mismatches. Marvin has had and will get his! This is about riding the chemistry the Hawks have built over five years. It’s ALL happening! That two deep rotation is for real. As fans, we can just enjoy a truly great team all season and into a deep playoff run.

Maurice L Zackery

November 14th, 2009
9:54 am

One MEANINGFUL WIN, David. Last year they would have lost this game once Boston took the lead in Boston. They fought back and took a game from the B crew! Great Game Hawks! Let’s win 10 in a row!

hoho

November 14th, 2009
10:04 am

DAVID- one game means as much as the others do in the standings. Considering the Hawks haven’t won in Boston in a few years (since before the Celtics championship) I’d say this win does mean more than 1/82 of the season. That said, any game means a lot. Every win means even more. Just ask the teams who have missed the playoffs by a game or two. Wins in Nov. are as helpful and meaningful as those in March.

Samuel

November 14th, 2009
10:08 am

WOW,

I missed the game. My high school football team played the first round of the playoffs last night and won. What a game too.

Looks like it was a very impressive win. I’ll watch it in a few. The Celtics are on of the best teams in the league but for some reason we play well against them. That playoff series I guess. Another thing I noticed is that KG said the ISOs are what bothers them. I guess it’s because they can’t help as much. They are not great one on one defenders.

Good to see so many cudos for Woody. I don’t really know why it’s taken so long, we’ve only lost two games this year. Oh well! Teague got his chance so you guys can STFU now.

Hell yes, this warrants an extension. Sund is looking kind stupid if you asked me. Everybody talking about the Hawks and how much they have improved but their head coach doesn’t have a contract? Just plain wrong.

Yea Ramon, I saw that Tim Floyd coup right away. It’s amazing how this “crook” keeps getting good coaching gigs.

The Knicks and Nets are a combined 1-18 and you scrubbs are talking about Woody. Please!!!

Woody=COY

Bailer

November 14th, 2009
10:09 am

even tho I am not a basketball person I have been excited every year since they won 13 games Woodys first year

JeJe

November 14th, 2009
10:11 am

Our rebounding and defensive effort were superb last night.

Thanks for writing daily blogs.

Much better than that other guy we had here

I MUS WRITE

November 14th, 2009
10:17 am

Good win last night… Finally we get over the mental hurdle(Winning in Boston). Josh has really improved his off the dribble game,the man is just all over the floor….Play hard every game and the recognition will come -All star maybe.
Marvin on the other hand looks like his usual timid self, he seems to be regressing IMO – How many would trade him for GForce(Gerald Wallace)

Ditto Truth Serum 8:23 post…. Whadd up Ken

Amazing -after a win like this the board would have been up to 300 posts,Maybe sum of the regulars cant let their Bromance with Sekou go, Man Crush get over it Sekou is gone. No posts from Barney Fife and Perry Mason-WOW……..

Whass wrong fellaz -Ken didnt give yall highliters LMAO

ILL-logical

November 14th, 2009
10:21 am

Here is a name for future referene: Jason “JT” Thompson. the 6′11″, 250 lbs, second year Sacramento King is presently playing the 4 for the resurging Kings but after Hubie Brown’s constant reminders last night that a) Al is not a center and b) he is not 6′10′, I began to think about how in the next two years- my time line for the Larry O’ Brien trophy to be carried down Peachtree- who could the Hawks afford to get to fill the critical 5 spot in the starting line up? Someone who has the heft and height to go toe to toe with the big bangers of the lakers; Celtics and Cavs for a 7 game serise as opposed to the episodic game.
So far, JT seems to have some intersting rebounding statistics; can score well on the block and is in the second year of a rookie deal. I plan to keep an eye on him as the season proresses.

Truth-Serum

November 14th, 2009
10:26 am

I MUS WRITE – I appreciate the co-sign. Thats means something coming from you.

Great post Samuel, ditto on the STFU!TO THE HATER NATION.Enter your comments here

Bubba

November 14th, 2009
10:29 am

This Hawks group is a well-coached team. Hats off to Mike Woodson. It’s early, I know, but so far everything has happened the way Woodson said it would happen, and when it would happen. The rebuilding, the cohesion, the balance and structure. This team is a legitimate contender, and Woodson’s the conductor. I’ll smile and say, “you were right” when he says, “I told you so.” I think he’s earned it.

John

November 14th, 2009
10:30 am

Go Hawks…… Let the Haters be your motivators

Pearson

November 14th, 2009
10:34 am

Significant win last night. Last years team would have wilted when Celts got 7 point lead. The team will really show their maturity with a strong win tonight against the Hornets.

Darryl

November 14th, 2009
10:37 am

There are scorers like Johnson and Crawford and there are shooters. Marvin is not a scorer in that he is clumsy when he tries to create his own shot (BAD FOOTWORK!). He showed us last year that he can be an effective shooter when playmakers create shots for him.

Pearson

November 14th, 2009
10:43 am

Fans….face it. Hawks have a very strong squad. Don’t get sucked into ESPNs love for Boston, Orlando and Cleveland. Hawks need to use this early part of the season to launch a 10 game winning streak. Sund, time to seriously start inking that contract extension for Woody.

hawk's hawk

November 14th, 2009
11:01 am

Great win Hawks, everybody played pretty good. Marvin still needs to find his groove, alil bit better. Good Win, don’t have a let down against the Hornets. Go Hawks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Strickland

November 14th, 2009
11:14 am

Last nights gm was virtually a repeat of the 3gms we won in Atlanta during the 07-08 playoffs against Boston, only this time we showed much more confidence and maturity. We’re now consistently playing the uptempo style of basketball I’ve been advocating we should play for 2+yrs now, which is a style that takes better use of our talent. As a result, we’re either at, or near the top of the NBA in points in the paint, fastbreak points and PPG. That’s because we’re running and attacking the basket instead of relying so much of jumpshots, like in the past. This style of play has led to a lot of high percentage baskets per gm.

These results raises the obvious question, WHY DID IT TAKE SO MANY YRS, AND THE THREAT OF POSSIBLY LOSING HIS JOB, FOR WOODSON TO FINALLY ACCEPT WHAT HAS BEEN SO OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE ELSE? He also needs to get with his assistants and come up with something better than that BS switching DEF. It’s downright stupid to constantly force Bibby into mismatches with the likes of KGarnett and KPerkins and expect him to hold his own. It’s just as stupid to force Horford, Smoove, Zaza and JSmith into mismatches with the likes of RAllen, PPierce and RRondo and expect positive results.

How stupid or deep in denial does one have to be not to realize we’re helping the opposition when we deliberately put ourselves at a disadvantage by switching and creating mismatches for them to take advantage of? We all know Bibby is weak defensively, but I want all of you Woodson lovers to answer the following questions and decide which makes more sense to you.

(1)Do you think it makes more sense, as Woodson obviously does, to constantly switch and have our best shotblockers out on the perimeter getting beaten off the dribble by PG’s Bibby can’t guard, which leaves Bibby to protect the basket while guarding the likes of KPerkins or KGarnett, which we repeatedly saw last night?

(2)Or, would it make more sense not to switch and allow Bibby to play his man straightup, and most likely get beaten off the dribble, while our shotblockers remain in or near the lane to protect the basket?

We won that gm last night because our BIGS used their superior speed, quickness and athleticism to pound them on the OFF boards and got a lot of 2nd chance opportunities and points. We can’t expect that to happen on a regular basis, so we have to tighten up our DEF effort and approach. We’ve seen how long it’s taken for Woodson to rely less on his preferred jumpshooting halfcourt OFF and accept the advantages of playing uptempo and attacking the basket. How long is it going to take for him to realize or accept that his switching DEF isn’t helping Bibby defensively, or the team?

This is an 82gm season, and what worked in 1 or 2gms might not work over the course of the season, so corrections have to be made. We haven’t done well defensively using his switching DEF since Bibby’s been here. While we became a better team with Bibby’s arrival, we were actually a better DEF team before his arrival, and that’s been proven.

A lot of you will continue to say, BUT WE’RE WINNING. Well, Cleveland was winning last yr as well, and led the NBA in total wins with 66. But because they were winning, they failed to address a major weakness, their inability to efffectively defend the pick and roll. As a result, they got their butts handed to them on a platter by the Magic, who exploited that weakness big time.

The fact that we’re winning despite these problems means that if we resolve these problems now, we can become even stronger and more confident, while continuing to win in the process.

MyView

November 14th, 2009
11:17 am

One big positive that I took from the game was the way woody used the bench early. Sure they gave up the lead, but it allowed our players to get quality mins in a big road test. Hopefully he will continue to trust them in big spots.

Also, I liked the way the announcers gave the hawks their props. We should have more than 7 national tv games.

Mz. Hawkdafied

November 14th, 2009
11:17 am

Tired of the STFU comments. Your opinion isn’t more important than Bubba Crew, the Woodson Haters, or Sekou Lovers, or anybody else. So take your STFU comments and stick them up your you know what. Did you not see a better rotation? Did the Hawks win against a great Boston team with a deeper rotation? I guess it doesn’t hurt to be nitpicky every once in a while HUH! Besides its all about the ATL Hawks as a whole and not just one individual.

I’ve never left a comment that said FIRE MIKE WOODSON, or had my comment POSTED ON SEKOU’S BLOG, etc. So can’t categorize me in either group. I guess you can put me in that nitpicky group though cause I am one of those who bitched about the tight rotations. But in all fairness to myself and those who nitpicked about seeing the depth, we sure got our chances to see that depth at work last night. And guess what it worked. Worked like butter against an elite team at that.

Pearson, you’re right last night showed us and the world that the ATL Hawks have the potential to be a strong squad and finish the year higher than expected. “NOW YOU KNOW” :-)

In MY OPINION the game ball goes to Coach Woodson for making last night win a total team effort. Gotta say it, the rotation showed the depth of the ATL Hawks is alive and well.

In MY OPINION, MVP honors goes to the entire ATL Hawks squad cause again it was a total team effort. Don’t need to elaborate on that, you saw the game right.

Mz. Hawkdafied

November 14th, 2009
11:23 am

Careful Ken Strickland some might call your constructive criticism nitpicky even though you make a good point.

sansho1

November 14th, 2009
11:25 am

Marvin will never live up to his draft status, so it’s time to stop looking at him through that lens. I agree with the above poster who said this particular offense doesn’t play to his strengths — he’d look a lot better if we had a penetrator at the point. But we’re not the Atlanta Marvins, so whatever on that.

As long as he brings energy on perimeter D, gets out and runs on the break, and hits a few open jumpers, I’m not going to worry about him. Jamal is getting the crunch-time minutes anyway, and I like him coming off the bench.

O'Brien

November 14th, 2009
11:34 am

Samuel,

Lets not get carried away with the extension for Woody just yet. He needs more of these games in the regular season, but more importantly, in the playoffs. I agree that he coached a good game last night, and he even gave Teague some minutes, although Teague was messing up. Good job Woody.

Ken,

You’re right. The switching defense does not work. Maybe Woody could switch for everybody else, but not for Bibby’s man. Because more often than not, Bibby gets caught in a mismatch. And a good team will exploit that.

If we go to double, they will find the open man. And lets not forget, Boston shot 1-14 from 3’s. If they had made 2 or 3 more from long distance, it could have been a much different game.

That being said, Hawks win, get some confidence, and some national recognition too. Hopefully we can sweep these 4 home games.

Mz. Hawkdafied

November 14th, 2009
11:39 am

The rookie made mistakes but did contribute to the Hawks rebound total. He got two defensive rebounds. So like I said total team effort. Can’t have too many rebounds.

Still rook needs to see some action. Learning is not all watching and listening, and sometimes hands on learning works best. Hell mistakes are a part of learning anyway.

Rufus1

November 14th, 2009
11:41 am

The Big 4
The Big 4

I wonder what all those people who thought the hawks weren’t close to the big 3, think now. The Crawford trade bigger than the Rasheed signing.

Boston=OLD

Hawk=Young and Athletic

Najeh Davenpoop

November 14th, 2009
11:56 am

Maybe the Hawks can’t play like this every game; it is after all a long season and teams do bring it in some games more than others, it’s just a fact of life. We certainly don’t want to see them burn themselves out in the regular season and have nothing left for the playoffs. But I do think after this game it’s fair to expect them to bring it against every elite opponent and play everyone tough. This means no 20 point deficits in the 3rd quarter against the Lakers, no Game 4’s against Cleveland at home, no 121-87’s against Orlando.

Obviously the Hawks are not going to go undefeated from here on out. But I’d like to think they will bring it against every elite team and make everyone have to work to beat them. And as they showed in NYC on Wednesday, they are good enough now that they can take it easy a little against bad teams and still win.

icecold

November 14th, 2009
12:03 pm

i cant wait till the power rankings come out!!!!!! since boston number one. and we both lost two games. and the lakers lost to the the team we blew out 125-100.. and the suns lost two games… we should be top 4… actually. maybe the suns need to go first… cuz they will never put the hawks at the number one slot.. but then it should be the hawks at number 2. then lakers. then boston… then next, next next

my power rankings

1. suns 8-2
2. hawks 7-2
3. lakers 8-2
4. Boston 8-2
5. miami 6-2
6. denver 7-3
7. Orlando 7-3
8. portland 7-3
9. or 10. cleveland 6-3 or Dallis 6-3

does anybody agree????

David

November 14th, 2009
12:11 pm

Maurice L Zackery and hoho,

You and others overstate the importance of the game. In an NBA season, any team can beat any other on a given night. The Hawks lost to Detroit–does that make the Pistons better than the Hawks? No.

You can’t put too much stock into one game–see where the teams are after a significant amount of the season has been played for a better barometer of how good a team is.

Truth-Serum

November 14th, 2009
12:15 pm

Mz. Hawkdafied, excuse me if I laugh. I dont think Woodson had a valid bench in which to have a rotation last year. DUH?! In order to have a good rotation, you need good players. Im sure this is a mere oversight on your and Ken part…Excuse me if I laugh.

Woody is an excellent coach, ignoring the ingorance and hate moving ahead and getting it done! Just win baby.

As far as the Bubba Crew, and the Woodson Haters Im with Samuel and the real hawk fans….STFU!!

Blast

November 14th, 2009
12:16 pm

Hawks are gonna make a lot of noise this year. I fully expect them to win the next 4 home games to take their record to 11-2. Chris Paul or not, no way they lose to NO tonight!

Dezz Nuttz

November 14th, 2009
12:18 pm

Ken, You can talk beat off the dribble if you like…Beat of the dribble Dezz nuttz!

Big Ump

November 14th, 2009
12:26 pm

How stupid of deep in denial does one have to be not to see that at the moment the Hawks are playing good basketball and that the HC coaching a good one also. I don’t know what will happen in the future and neither do you. The Hawks are winning not because certain bloggers saying that what they been advocating for years about the up tempo games. If you realize it or not which you proably don’t, that you have to have the right pieces together to run the up tempo games. Also because some of us don’t bash the HC like you do don’t make us Woody lovers. We just give credit when it due and criticize when we feel that he team and HC
not doing a good job. We just don’t have a one track mine like some bloggers do.

wordsmithtom

November 14th, 2009
12:32 pm

First: Good job with the blogs Ken. Fans are excited over win, as they should be. You fan the flames with extra blogs. Nice work.

Second. Shoutout Sansho 1. Marvin’s no Dominique Wilkins at the 3. Never will be. But, he does defend, works hard, and is a TEAM first player. To give up on him at 23 because he’s not Chris Paul would be a big mistake. Ask Paul Pierce if MW can play….
Also, Marvin won’t be whining because he’s on the bench at the end of games where the JJ/Crawdaddy pairing makes more sense. Winning at the championship level takes TEAMWORK. Like when Robert Horey was at the Lakers helping stick the dagger into other teams. You never saw him bitching about not starting or how many minutes he got. He just kept grinding.

Finally: Shout out to Coach Woodson for fine job substituting to keep pressure on the older Celtics. They had no answer for the young studs in the 4th quarter who had adequate rest, unlike their Boston opponents.
Some nights you play 7; some nights you play 11…a lot depends upon matchups, who’s tired, and intangibles like do you play the next night? Good job Woodson.

David

November 14th, 2009
12:35 pm

icecold,

No I disagree. Boston is still the best team in the east.