Coming up on Game 23

Hey, folks-

Hope all are well. A few things:

While some interesting things were said on the topic, I am going to completely not venture an opinion on the European players thing.

KevinA  – thanks for the number crunching (the Hawks are 8-0 when they hit 22 or more assists and 10-1 when JJ has five or more assists) . I think this obviously says plenty about what makes them go. It’’s something that the players and Mike Woodson recognize, that they play their best when they’re unselfish and when they get out and run. Al Horford says this a lot.

This isn’t exactly the most insightful observation you’re about to read, but this obviously happens most when they’re defending and rebounding to start their transition game. It’s trite, but they have to defend well to win.

One thing I’ll say about Jeff Teague – even when he wasn’t playing much, he wasn’t having too much trouble getting to the basket. But he had a pretty low percentage on his drives. It seemed like 1 out of 4 shots in the paint was going in and the rest either bounced off the rim or were rejected.

I asked Jamal Crawford about this, and he said Teague had to figure out the angles he was taking to the basket and so forth. So maybe he’s figured out something. I think it might be a little premature to say he’s ready for a steady diet of minutes – I’d feel differently if he’d gone for 19 points, 15 assists, four steals with just three turnovers against, say, Miami and Milwaukee and not Chicago and Toronto and, too, I don’t know if the NBA is similar to baseball and the NFL where a rookie can have success out of the box but then the “book” gets out on him and he plateaus – but he may well have turned some sort of corner. He would make the second unit, and in turn the team, so much more dangerous.

Anyway, Joe Smith will not be playing again Sunday. Wednesday against Memphis might be the day.

Things I’ll be watching against the Nets:

1) How is Brook Lopez defended?

2) How are the minutes apportioned with the second unit?

3) Can Teague keep up his excellent run?

4) Can the Hawks play even better than they have the past two games?

Apropos of nothing, but Charlotte is in the No. 8 spot in the East right now. and Miami is just one game over .500 (11-10).

245 comments Add your comment

Mychelfromatl

December 12th, 2009
11:36 pm

To adress a question from the old blog, look for the Lakers to come back to the pack as they start to play more road games. So far this season they have played more home games than anybody. By the way, they lost today in Utah. Boston on the other hand seems to be the bigdog of the league at the moment, and the Hawks have already shown they can beat them.

Mychelfromatl

December 12th, 2009
11:37 pm

First!!

I couldn’t resist.

Grandad

December 13th, 2009
1:41 am

1. I did not realize discussing European style b-ball was a race issue.
It is most assuredly a style issue determined by officiating, coaching, and yes skill level or athleticism. In many occasions South Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. get lumped in with Europeans. Tony Parker is European for example, and I don’t think it much matters if he’s Euro. or not he’s still married to Eva.

2. For the gentleman who wished for a grade from each of us; are you going to tally and give us the avg. scores/grade ?
Hawks – B+ (downgraded slightly for inconsistent play)
mr.w. – C+ (downgraded for inconsistent use of bench)
*** mr.w.*** student shows improvement ! Possible ‘B’ by mid-term !

vava74

December 13th, 2009
4:33 am

1) Quick elbow to the face should get Brook to slow down and know who is the boss. The Hawks have to be more physical and mean in some occasions.

If Brook knows that he may be whacked every time he ventures in the paint, maybe he will not be so dynamic.

2) The minutes on the second unit should be ample for Teague (15), Zaza (20 – since he is a good elbow distributor), Mo (15 who is hot) and Crawford (28-30).

3) There is no reason for Teague not being able to keep this run of good games. The Nets should not be a troublesome opponent, however, Woody must battle is unwillingness to play Teague more when the team is not comfortably up by a few points.

4) I hope they win, regardless of the quality of play. The crucial point is our mental toughness. After a string of good games it is easy to revert to a lazy attitude (Knicks game), forgetting to defend the paint and forcing the opponents to work for every basket. Josh and Al must have a good defensive game so we can run

Marcus

December 13th, 2009
7:29 am

Biggest foe: complacency
The Hawks still show that maddening tendency (esp. in AWAY games) to play down to level of the sorrier teams in the league. We should have no more than 2 losses: We should have beaten ORL on Turkey Day (2nd half brain laspes/selfish ball), NOA (w/o C. Paul, even though Bibby got hurt… that is what all this depth is for) and never taken NYK and DET (w/ at least 3 starters DNP due to injury) for granted.
CHA I give a pass, because it was the early part of the season and last AWAY game coming off a long West Coast road trip, LAL, well, we fell apart in 3Q.
If we show that we will consistently lay whoopings on those whose record dictate said whoopings are deserved …. we will have turned the corner.
I think either Ken’s articles or a blog somewhere mentioned that now through Jan. we face 9 or so teams who are very beatable and could really extend our Ws to match the elite in teh NBA. This will be a good litmus to see how mature we are as a team and focused on being around in late May/June 2010.

FoxNoise.net

December 13th, 2009
8:40 am

If Woodson can develop Teague this year it will be the icing on his cake for a big new contract.

rms

December 13th, 2009
10:22 am

If Woodson can develop Teague this year I will shave my head!

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
10:33 am

Grandad, thank you for answering the question. I’ll post the question again, for those of you who didn’t see it in the other blog.

- What grade would you give the Hawks overall?

- What grad would you give Woody so far?

My grade for the Hawks: ( A- ) . . only because of the meltdowns. Otherwise, they’ve played great basketball. This team has far exceeded my expectations ( and everyone else’s, even if they don’t admit it ), so far. This team is on pace to win 60 games. Not a single Hawk fan was predicting a season this successful. And the national media surely wasn’t.

My grade for Woody: ( B+ ) . . He had to make sure Crawford didn’t disrupt the chemistry of this team, and he’s successfully did that. And he didn’t succumb to the pressure of playing the bench more and possibly sacrificing wins to do so. Winning is the most important thing, and he knows that he’ll have plenty of time to develop the bench. Easily his best coaching stint of his career so far, and a legit candidate for Coach of the Year.

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
10:42 am

So in other words Marcus, you want this team to play perfect basketball.

No team in the NBA plays perfect basketball. Think about this though. Could it be that those “sorrier teams” are getting UP to play the Hawks now? I mean, it wasn’t too long ago that we were one of those “sorry teams”, and we really got UP to play the good/elite teams at home. And we won some of those games too. And it wasn’t because they played “down to our level”. It was because we took it to them and beat them.

Saying that the Hawks should’ve only lost 2 games, is an unrealistic criticism on this team. Because to do that, you discount the games that they DID WIN, that they probably should’ve lost. They should’ve lost @ Dallas, but didn’t. They should’ve lost @ Boston, but didn’t. They should’ve lost @ Portland, but didn’t. Honestly, this team has only had one bad week all year. One bad week out of 6.

You take the good and the bad with this team ( or any team ), and look at the overall picture. Whether they win pretty, or win ugly, the only thing that really matters, is that they WIN. And the same thing applies to losses.

RLP

December 13th, 2009
10:58 am

NORTHCYDE:

I agree with the grades you are giving. It is easier to give a grade to the team than to the coach because the NBA is a players league. There are very few coaches who have the moral authority to stand up to what the players want to do. The coach’s main weapon is playing time. I am not sure that fans looking in really know all that goes on behind the scenes. So when we make a grade on the coach I think there is a lot of guesswork involved. But ultimately you must look at the outcome when you are making a judgment. Since the team is where it is in the standings it is very difficult to hold back from a very good grade for the coach. I think your B is just about right.

This afternoon if the Hawks play right they will be tied for the divisional lead and for a second seed in the East!!!!!. This is a BIG game for this team. Go Hawks.

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
11:10 am

As for you other bloggers here: If this team keeps winning, it is important for all of you to drown out the negative opinions on this board. Do not let their poisonous rhetoric take away your joy of watching this team.

The Hawks will lose games that they should win, and win games that they should lose. But as long as this team keeps winning far more than they lose, support this team and praise the Hawks every chance you get.

As of right now, you’re watching the 2nd best Hawk team in franchise history. Only the 1993 – 1994 Hawks got off to a better 22-game start ( 17 – 5 . . . won 14 in a row after starting the season 1 – 4 ).

As long as management doesn’t something stupid . . like do a “Nique” . . and trade JJ for an “up and coming star”, to prevent the organization from possibly getting nothing if they lost JJ at the end of the season, we have a shot to match the 57 wins that the 93 – 94 achieved. And unlike that team, we’ll have our franchise player intact.

That 93 – 94 team had win streaks of 14, 7, and 6. Their longest losing streak was 4 ( which happened right after opening night. Outside of the 4-game losing streak, they never lost no more than 2 in a row.

They had mini-game stretches in which they’d lose 3 of 4, or 4 of 6. But every time they’d go through those stretches, they turned around and would win 3 or 4 straight. So depending on how you viewed that team, they almost always won 6 out of 10 . . 7 out of 10 games.

When you do that, plus have stretches where you’re winning 8 or 9out of 10 games, it’s a recipe for success in this league. So that’s how people may need to start looking at this team. If you try to micro-analyze every loss, you’ll drive yourself crazy. They’re not going to play great basketball on a nightly basis. The only thing that matters, is that they consistently win games.

Keep supporting your team Hawks fans. And for you fans in the Atlanta Metro are . . . GO TO THE GAMES!!!

doc

December 13th, 2009
11:13 am

NC i see you found it! ;-)

look folks there are a ton of teams waaaay behind us at this point in the season and we clearly have room between us and the 5 spot in our league, no one expects it for us to inch into the top three, including coy man samuel, to cover his bet that woody needs honors and a new contract. in other words the guy sooo confident about his coach wont put the bar a bit higher than where we were last year. by now we see shaqis not the title assurance he once was with a supreme player.

i said it earlier and i will repeat it tis team is capable of being top three in our division. should woody or the team be decried if they dont? no, but i would only give them one more year with woody to do it and that is the rub. yup, do you place your chips on woody for a three or four year contract knowing within a year you might see his upside or truly evaluate what he brings and then make the decision.

let us see how he and the team respond to adversity with an expanded roster and there will be some. let us see how he readies the team for it now instead of waiting until it happens and then declare oh my injuries sidelined us and i didnt have the horses ready in the corral, like it happened in the cleveland series. now is the time to get teague ready to find out whether he can carry the load or learn to do it as at any time bibby can be further slowed by the slightest of injury decapitating his defense that he relies on and hampers his already over laden front line smaller than most in size bigger than almost all on heart. yup, i am in woody’s corner this year but i still have my eye on him and wont be complacent to suggest he still has rooom to grow and improve. i wont give him any more passes. look at what sloan, adelman, jackson do under similar circumstances … they continue to win.

truth, wherever you are there are three names i would put in front of woody in a second. probably more to come for your top ten list later.

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
11:19 am

Check that . . . add the 1997 – 98 Hawks to that list as well. They also started out 17 – 5 to begin the year, fueled by an 11-game winning streak to start the season. And the 1987 – 88 team started 16 – 6.

Still, you’re seeing something special so far with this 2009 – 10 Hawk team. It’s one of the best, if not THE BEST team we’ve ever had here. Enjoy it while you can, seeing that it tends to happen only once a decade.

Melvin

December 13th, 2009
11:29 am

From Twitter:

“Lorenzen Wright’s tryout in China unsuccessful.”

I guess they don’t like popcorn in China….

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
12:01 pm

@ RLP . . . on the Squawk, everyone there knows that I blasted the Jamal Crawford trade. Matter of fact, I HATED THAT DUDE for how he played in the past, with all of the terrible shot selection. I did not want that dude on the Hawks PERIOD. I hated him as much as some people hated Woody.

My comment to Woody in one of my rants when the trade went down: “Woody . . don’t let Jamal get you fired.”

I was afraid that he’d mess up our chemistry as a team. That he’d take away shots from Smoove, Horford, and Marvin. Well, all of that did happen, especially in the case with Marvin.

But Woody did something that I thought was critical to Crawford’s success. First, he and JJ told him to NOT worry about being a playmaker on the team, and just concentrate on scoring. That’s what he tried to do in the Indiana game on opening night, and passed up shots.

After he got the green light from Woody and JJ, Crawford felt comfortable, and started balling.

But the 2nd thing that Woody did, was to NOT surround Crawford strictly with the 2nd unit, especially if his shot wasn’t falling. Earlier in the year, the 2nd unit as a group was NOT ready to play with each other. They were routinely losing leads and playing horrible defense as a unit.

So he started to surround Crawford with some of the starters. That way, if Crawford struggled with his shot, he’d have people around him that he could defer to, instead of shouldering the entire scoring burden himself with the 2nd unit.

Most important though, it was necessary to see how JJ and Crawford could play with each other. Woody also needed to see if the 3-guard lineup ( with 2 known bad defensive players ) could be as lethal as people thought. That was more important to establish, than playing the bench players right off the bat. He knows that he has plenty of time to get the bench integrated with this team, but he had to make sure Crawford knew his role and could be effective in it first.

That decision won the game @ Portland and @ Sacramento, enabling us to get off to the quick start at 4 – 1.

A lot of people are complaining about Teague’s playing time or the amount of minutes that JJ is playing, but they aren’t looking at the other side of this. Everybody isn’t going to play as much as they think they should. What matters is how these players play together in certain units.

Crawford is currently shooting 46% FG, which is far above his career average. He’s still erratic from 3 point range, but he has the advantage of going up against 2nd team guys, and the advantage of NOT seeing the other team’s best perimeter defender guard him. When on the floor with JJ, it’s JJ who they’re still trying to stop. That’s enabling Crawford to do his thing even more on the offensive end.

In the last 3 games, the bench seems as if they’re starting to learn how to play each other, especially defensively. If that happens, it allows Woody to give them consistent extended minutes each game. He’s handled the bench excellent in my opinion. You don’t give Teague 15 – 20 minutes during tight games, when you have the option of playing Bibby or Crawford at the point. We have way to many guards who can get the job done, to trust a rookie PG in those situations.

Woody has said that Teague’s playing time will increase as the season progresses, and I fully believe him. But he’s not going to allow Teague to struggle, and possibly cause this team to lose in the process.

Very good coaching job by Woody so far.

doc

December 13th, 2009
12:06 pm

maybe the suv’s there are bigger and he couldnt keep up with the demand. probably said the smog there through his game off. funny melvin and sooo true. the guy backed up to the pay window for five years because he had a big butt that gm’s liked not because he could play.

northcyde

December 13th, 2009
12:09 pm

Almost football time, but the questions still stand for the board:

- Give the Hawks a letter grade so far:

- Give Woody a letter grade so far:

Nate ArchiBALL

December 13th, 2009
12:12 pm

Hawks – B+

Woody – B

JeJe

December 13th, 2009
12:33 pm

WOODSON, PLEASE USE YOUR BIGS TODAY. DO NOT LET AL PLAY 38 MIN AND GET DESTROYED BY BROOK. GIVE COLLINS AND ZAZA BIG MINUTES.
PLEASE

i_am_soulstar

December 13th, 2009
1:25 pm

happy Woody doesn’t have the extension yet.. He’ll clearly have to develop Teague and prove he can take the Hawks to the next level to get it

niremetal

December 13th, 2009
1:52 pm

Jeje,

You do realize that Horford shut Lopez down the last two times they played, right?

KevinA

December 13th, 2009
2:11 pm

Lost 3 games to these guys last year – no more of that. Limit Lopez and thay are toast. Hawks by 20 with playing time for all.

O'Brien

December 13th, 2009
2:19 pm

Ken S,

Another thing I’ll be watching, is how do we play Devin Harris? I will not be surprised to see Woody go back to his switching defense (we know Bibby cant keep up with Harris).

That being said, I look for the Hawks to win this game big. Just keep passing the ball, and forcing the tempo.

O'Brien

December 13th, 2009
2:22 pm

northcyde,

I give the Hawks B+ (I almost gave them A-), and I give Woody a B-.

JeJe

December 13th, 2009
2:38 pm

niremetal,

“Lost 3 games to these guys last year – no more of that. Limit Lopez and thay are toast. Hawks by 20 with playing time for all.”

RLP

December 13th, 2009
3:00 pm

I thought I read somewhere that Devin Harris is not at full speed and may not even play today. Anyone have any knowledge about that?

Ree

December 13th, 2009
3:20 pm

From NJ.com:

The good news: They’ll have enough guards to get through the 48, and there’s some extra manpower: Devin Harris and Keyon Dooling both will play, and Eddie Najera is going to suit up. Ditto for Bobby Simmons

He did sprain his left pinky last night though.

cp

December 13th, 2009
4:05 pm

This is the type of game we should win but sometimes we play down to our opponent. So hopefully the Hawks come out early focused and ready to play. The way the Nets are playing this year if we get up big on them early then we should easily win.

Ken Sugiura

December 13th, 2009
4:16 pm

Update – Marvin Williams will not be playing (upset stomach). Mo Evans will start in his place.

JeJe

December 13th, 2009
4:29 pm

Oh no. Marvin is out! What a loss for this team. His 10 ppg (apparently he averaged 14 according to some people here), awkward athleticism, and inability to hit shots anymore will truly be missed!

Like I said, refer back to my post last Sunday when we blow this game or come close to.

And Brook will have a field day as usual

KevinA

December 13th, 2009
4:32 pm

Hunter may get some burn tonight. If the we get off to a good start this will be a good thing. We need Josh to get out of his mini slump and go back to All-Star play. A 20 Pt game wound be good timing.

bigdave

December 13th, 2009
4:57 pm

LETS GET IT…

bigdave

December 13th, 2009
4:58 pm

home just in time… Hawks need a good win, Falcons tried to ruin my day….

Big Ray

December 13th, 2009
5:16 pm

Northcyde ,

Nice posts. Very nice.

KevinA ,

I wouldn’t mind seeing that from Smoove.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2009
5:17 pm

bigdave ,

Yeah, the Falcons had me cryin’, man.

O'Brien

December 13th, 2009
5:19 pm

With my untrained eye, it looks like the Hawks are switching. Which is one of the reasons why Josh has 2 fouls….

Hawksfan

December 13th, 2009
5:20 pm

we need smoove weak call

bigdave

December 13th, 2009
5:21 pm

Nique… they’ve won games…

niremetal

December 13th, 2009
5:21 pm

Not just you, O’Brien. They’re switching.

niremetal

December 13th, 2009
5:22 pm

Good drive-and-dish by Bibby.

BONE

December 13th, 2009
5:26 pm

So I just came on and I see we are losing to freakin new jersy. Terrible

O'Brien

December 13th, 2009
5:26 pm

I think its Ken Strickland who has consistently made the point, that when the Hawks play straight up defense, they defend better.

Here we are, switching, and the Nets are shooting lights out (7-11). (And with no Josh in the game, there is no one to cover up our mistakes on defense).

On offense, I like the way Mo’ has bene playing. If he was 6′9″, I wonder if he would be our starting SF (considering his price tag).

JB

December 13th, 2009
5:27 pm

nire, I love Al but Lopez is a better player. If somehow we could trade for Lopez I don’t think any of us would turn that down.

niremetal

December 13th, 2009
5:28 pm

JB,

Horford for Lopez? A lot of us would turn that down.

BONE

December 13th, 2009
5:29 pm

Wow Hawks playing down to competition again.

BONE

December 13th, 2009
5:29 pm

Niremetal Lopez is better than Horford. I still like Al tho.

niremetal

December 13th, 2009
5:30 pm

That was some ugly basketball there…

O'Brien

December 13th, 2009
5:33 pm

Good job by Woody putting Teague in the game. I hope we stop the switching now.

bigdave

December 13th, 2009
5:33 pm

Sekou in the building i see…

BONE

December 13th, 2009
5:33 pm