Archive for December, 2009

About the story

For those of you who turned in after the game ended, an interesting thing happened on the blog after I posted my first version of the story. Let’s just say that a handful of posts on the blog questioned my mental acuity and my fitness to cover the team, in large part because the story did not mention the shot-clock situation that happened with about two minutes left in the game. (I don’t think it’s up anymore, as it has been replaced by the later version.)

In the interest of transparency, and because you might find what we do on our end interesting, I hope I can explain what happened.

Basically, I missed it. Here’s why, and hopefully this comes across as an explanation and not me making excuses:

The first story that I posted has to be filed right as the game ends, or shortly thereafter, before I go to the locker room. It’s called the “running” game story. We write them and post them online immediately to give readers the news as quickly as possible before going to the locker …

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The shot clock

I’ve put up a fresh story with quotes from the locker room.

As you might imagine, Mike Woodson was pretty steamed.

His full press conference (questions approximated)

Q: What happened with the apparent shot clock malfunction?

A: I’m not going to comment on it at this time. We’re just going to file a protest without a doubt, let the league review it at the two-minute mark and then see what they think.

Q: What role did that play in the game?
A: We’ve got a one-point lead with the ball going the other way and we’re rushing to get a shot because the clock is not in our favor. You figure it out.

Q: How do you rate the team’s defense?

A: It was a great game. If you’re a fan or you’re watching it on TV, it was a great game tonight, both ways. Both teams fought, didn’t want to give an inch. Unfortunately, it had to come down this way, but as an organization, we have to do what’s right for our organization and our basketball team.

Q: Is it difficult to lose a game like this?

A: Sure it …

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Cleveland, Cleveland

Greetings, all-

What to make of Tuesday night?

Jamal Crawford’s take: “We had a rough stretch scoring the ball and that hasn’t been the case all year. We look at it as a fluke, laying an egg, and hopefully come out tomorrow and get a win.”

I don’t know if I entirely agree with him, but I don’t think he’s so far off. I don’t know what happened in the fourth quarter. Crawford said that pressure built with each failed possession. Al Horford said that Cleveland defended the transition differently and caught the Hawks by surprise. After a sizzling start, Joe Johnson might have been as ineffective as I’ve seen him. Obviously, Cleveland had something to do with it. The Cavs are one of the best defensive teams in the league – first in points in the paint allowed, second in defensive field goal percentage and fourth in points allowed per game. Earlier this season, they held Milwaukee scoreless for more than 11 minutes.

Mike Brown, before Tuesday’s game: “Guys are doing a nice job …

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Hawks-Cavs thread

Greetings, all-

Hope everyone is enjoying some time off. This will be brief, and we’ll get to game time. I just saw the most interesting thing. Well, maybe that’s overselling it.

The Hawks have a practice gym next to their locker room at Philips Arena, and I was walking through there from the locker room to the media room. Joe Johnson had just left the locker room to go shoot, and when I saw him in the gym, I saw him throwing a ball to the far end of the court.

When I walked in the gym, I saw who (I assume) he threw the ball to – Shaquille O’Neal, who was practicing jump hooks with a Cavs staffer. Johnson left and got another ball, and started shooting with a team gopher. Mike Bibby came in shortly after, to work with Johnson on something, and as soon as Shaq saw Bibby, he makes a joke about a fixed game. I didn’t hear what they were talking about, but I’m guessing it had to do with Tim Donaghy’s allegations.

Bibby went to Shaq’s end of the court, and they continued talking …

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On to Indiana

Greetings, all-

Hope those of you who celebrated had a joyful Christmas. I spent mine with my family, including my two nephews who are in that Lego-toy car phase, so it was a lot of fun watching them enjoy their presents.

Anyway, onto the Pacers. I am at home and not with the team, so don’t have a lot to offer. I’ll say this. This is the last respite the Hawks get for awhile. Starting with the home-and-home with Cleveland, the Hawks play 11 of their next 17 against teams over .500. Seven are away, and seven are against Boston-Cleveland-Orlando. And of those “Big Three” seven,  all of them are back-to-backs. It’s some pretty tough sledding. Against Indiana, the Hawks had best gather their rosebuds while they may, as it were. (Hopefully I understood the poem correctly. I was an economics major, not English.)

One interesting thing from the article I wrote for Saturday’s paper, talking to Joe Johnson, Dominique Wilkins, Steve Holman and Peachtree Hoops blogger Drew Ditzel about …

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A very merry blowout

Greetings, all-

Somewhere over the Midwest – Pretty brutal loss last night. The defense was nonexistent, or, as Mike Woodson put it, “awful.” I suspected the Hawks wouldn’t have it last night. For one, Denver has just run over everyone that has come into the Pepsi Center – the Nuggets have now won 23 of their last 24 there going back to the regular season. In losing by 20, the Hawks have pretty good company – the Lakers lost by 26, Utah lost by 11, Miami by 18.

I agree with what Dan said in the game thread. The game was lost in the first quarter – the Hawks spent the whole game chasing. They could get the lead down to 8, 10, 12, and then the Nuggets dropped some more 3-pointers on them. Perhaps if they could have tied it up, they might have gotten some more energy from that, but I think they just didn’t have enough in them. I imagine the Nuggets believe no one can beat them at home, and that is a powerful thing.

Here’s the thing – the Hawks beat the same team by even more …

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Live from Denver International Airport…

Denver – This is a little later than promised (something the editors at my paper have heard more than a few times from me). I thought there’d be Internet access on the plane, but there was not. (I’ve since landed, and am now at a little table finishing up, before going to get my car.)

Anyway, my thoughts on Minnesota.

As I watched the game in the estimable company of Hawks sideline reporter James Verrett and Hawks PR man Arthur Triche, my impression was that the game was a little raggedy, that the Hawks weren’t really sharp and no one, save Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, played all that well. Minnesota was getting open looks at the basket and had more energy.

The man the Hawks call "Big Country"

The man the Hawks call "Big Country"

But, looking at the box score, and certainly the final score, it would certainly indicate that the Hawks dominated. The Hawks shot 48.9 percent and held Minnnesota to 41.1 and forced 22 turnovers. They were 9 for 20 from 3-point range and assisted on more than half of their baskets …

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Hawks-Wolves thread

Hey, folks-

Kudos to those of you smart enough to figure out that I meant to ask for the Hawks of the decade about to end, not the one that ended 10 years ago. But, thanks to those who answered it. Maybe we’ll try Hawks of the 2000’s next week for real.

I’m trying to eat, do my game notes and study up on the game right now, so this will be brief. For what it’s worth, the Wolves aren’t as abysmal as they were at the start of the season. They started 1-15, but are 4-8 in their last 12 and 2-2 in their last four. Don’t know what you know about them, but coach Kurt Rambis is installing the triangle offense made famous by Phil Jackson in Chicago and Los Angeles. It obviously doesn’t work quite as well when Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan aren’t part of the triangle.

Obviously, players to watch are Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn, a rookie point guard whom Mike Woodson gave some props to.

Enjoy the game.

I’ll blog tomorrow from the plane to Denver, assuming the weather lets …

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Hawks on a one-game losing streak – where’s the panic button?

Greetings, all-

I apologize in advance. I don’t have a ton of material today (”do you ever?” some of you are asking yourselves). I am not with the team – I am back in Atlanta, and the team went from Chicago to Minneapolis – and have been otherwise occupied with shopping for nephews (Clone Wars action figures) (that is to say, I was shopping for action figures, not that my nephews are four inches tall and made of plastic ) and spending time with my parents, who are here for Christmas.

Commander Cody. This guy was not easy to find.

Commander Cody. This guy was not easy to find.

Anyway, a couple select thoughts on conversation from the last blog. I don’t think Jeff Teague, at this point, would be a good option to play defense at the end of a game. If this were one-on-one, then, yes, Teague is a better option than Mike Bibby and perhaps Jamal Crawford. But he loses his man off the ball often. I didn’t get to ask Mike Woodson abut putting in Marvin Williams over Crawford, but I’d assume that the opinions being posited – defense …

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Six in a row

Greetings, all-

Hope you got to enjoy Friday night’s game. Wow. That stretch in the third quarter, I think it was one of those times where you didn’t really have to be a Hawks fan to appreciate what was going on. You just had to be a fan of the game, period. It was just five guys losing themselves in the flow of the game, totally committed and executing at a near flawless rate.

This is probably a stretch, and please don’t take this to mean I’m saying the Hawks are as good as the Michael Jordan Bulls, but I grew up watching that team and, particularly when they had Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen teamed up with Jordan – I remember assistant coach Johnny Bach called them Doberman pinschers – that team could turn it on defensively like nothing else.

The Hawks looked something like that against Utah in the third quarter. Josh Smith was unreal rebounding, blocking and altering shots and even that behind-the-back bounce pass to Al Horford on the break. Passes got deflected, Jazz …

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