Archive for January, 2010

Hawks Squawks: Magic 104, Hawks 86

This is a problem for the Hawks. (STEPHEN M. DOWELL, ORLANDO SENTINEL)

This is a problem for the Hawks. (STEPHEN M. DOWELL, ORLANDO SENTINEL)

– Maybe it’s as simple as the Magic has Dwight Howard and the Celtics don’t. But that’s not very helpful in contemplating the Hawks’ chances should they draw the Magic in the playoffs.

– “This game is all about matchups, and I think we match up well with everyone but them,” J.J. said. “They pretty much have their way with us.”

—- Al’s not big enough to handle Howard. Jason Collins and Zaza aren’t quick enough. Woody’s schemes haven’t been effective enough. “We’ve got to figure it out,” Woody said. “We’ll go back and look at the tapes and see how we can do a better job against him at our place (for the final meeting on March 24). He’s a load down there.”

– “We don’t know what looks to throw at him,” Smoove said. “When we tried trapping him we had success with it, but I think we waited too late in the game to do it.”

– “They just have our number right now,” Al said. “We have to …

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Hawks at Magic, AKA They Can Get Four Ws in One

Orlando– If the Hawks beat the Magic tonight at Pyramid Scheme Arena, then a) they finally figured out Orlando b) Woody coaches the East All-Stars, c) the Hawks extend their lead over the Magic in the Southeast Division to 1.5 games, and d) they stay in front of Boston for No. 2 in the East through the weekend. Lose, and none of those things happen.

So while finishing this week 2-2 would be good, 3-1 means some national shine. And, as Hawks PR Man Arthur Triche notes, it means Woody will be forced to come up with a story to explain his missing eyebrows to the hundreds of reporters who will ask him about them for four straight days on All-Star weekend.

– The smallish Hawks might get a large dose of the Magic lineup featuring both Dwight Howard and Marc

He's not Dwight, but he's big too. (www.totalprosports.com)

He’s not Dwight, but he’s big too. (www.totalprosports.com)

in Gortat that was effective against the Celtics Thursday night. Then again, maybe not. Stan Van Gundy seems to think the lineup is good for matching up with bigger …

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Hawks Squawks: Hawks 100, Celtics 91

(Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Celtics put out a hit on J.C. so he hit ‘em first (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

– Good, tough win for the Hawks. The Celtics were mad. The Hawks were ready. Philips (fourth sellout) was hyped.

– The tone was set before the game when Celtics center Kendrick Perkins called out Jamal Crawford: “We put a hit out on him today. Doc said somebody‘s got to step up and stop him.”

– “He owns us,” Rivers told his team.

– He still does. Crawford scored 28 points, including 18 in the first half, while dancing through the Celtics defense. He even had a 45-footer to end the first quarter and then uncharacteristically showed some real swag.

– Rivers said the Celtics had to “make (Crawford) score different ways,” and so he did. He went right at the Celtics despite the “hit” put out on him. He was 7 of 7 on free throws.

– Crawford heard about Perkins’ comments just before the Hawks took the floor. He got the word to his teammates. “I was kind of fired up, but I wasn’t too worried …

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Celtics at Hawks, AKA For Some Reason Hawks Are Really, Really Up For This

Star power and rings ought to get Hawks' attention. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Star power and rings ought to get Hawks’ attention. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images North America)

So why is it that the Hawks seem to get up for the Celtics more than any of the other members of the East Elite Tri-Council?

Well, when you consider that the Celtics boast three stars, won a championship in 2008 and owned the Hawks until this season, the real question is: Why wouldn’t the Hawks bring a little something extra against the C’s?

“We know we have to play on a totally different level against that team,” J.J. said. “They’ve got so many threats you can’t have no letdowns.”

If you are so inclined–and I know some of you are–you could take all the things that theoretically are working for the Hawks tonight and turn them around into signs of danger:

1. There’s that 3-0 record against Boston this season. That means the Hawks either a) have Boston’s number or b) can expect the Celtics, with prideful KG back, to do everything in their power to avoid their first four-game season …

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Smoove on All-Star “snub”: I’m not mad

The All-Star reserves were announced Thursday night, and that means its’ time for the predictable “snub” stories. Smoove has been included on a few of those lists after coaches voted J.J. and Al to the East squad but not him.

Smoove, though, insists he is not miffed because he doesn’t really think he got snubbed.

“The people around me, my family and friends, are more mad about it than me,” he said.

It was doubtful Smoove would be selected ahead of East forwards Chris Bosh of Toronto and Paul Pierce of Boston. They’ve been considered elite for a while now. Pierce plays for a contender and while the Raptors trail the Hawks in the standings Bosh is the main reason the Raptors are on track for the playoffs.

Smoove, though, could have been picked over Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace. But he says he doesn’t begrudge coaches for sending Wallace to his first All-Star game instead of him.

“He’s worked hard over the last nine years and it’s paid off,” Smith said. “He definitely deserved …

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Horford on first All-Star berth: “It’s like a dream come true for me”

NBA Eastern Conference coaches voted Hawks guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford to the All-Star team, the league announced tonight.

The Hawks last had two All-Stars in the same year in 1998, when Dikembe Mutombo and Steve
Smith
both made the team.

It’s the fourth straight All-Star selection for Johnson but the first for Horford. The Hawks selected Horford with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Florida and he’s already an All-Star at age 23.

“It’s like a dream come true for me,” he said. “When you’re playing basketball as a kid, you envision yourself making it to the NBA. And once you make it to this level, you work so hard to get to an All- Star level.

“It’s just a blessing for me to take part in this game.”

Johnson, 28, is the first Hawks player to reach four consecutive All-Star games since Mutombo from 1997-2001 (the game wasn’t played in 1999 due to the lockout). The Hawks acquired Johnson in a trade with Phoenix in August 2005.

“It means a …

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Hawks Squawks: Spurs 105, Hawks 90

– Well, what can you say about that? The Spurs were desperate after three straight home losses for the first time in forever, and so they took the Hawks to the woodshed for 30 minutes. “They were very hungry for a win and you felt that vibe from the start of the game,” Jamal Crawford said.

– Still, it was shocking to see the Hawks so slow-footed and overwhelmed in what’s supposed to be their kind of game. “We love that kind of tempo, but I guess we weren’t ready to play,” Smoove said.

– “We just didn’t come out and match their intensity,” J.J. said. “They were more hungry.”

– The Hawks trailed by 15 after one quarter and lost by 15. They played the Spurs even for three quarters but, other than that rally early in the fourth quarter, it sure didn’t feel like it.

– The Spurs scored 16 of their 36 first-quarter points at the rim and had 18 fastbreak points. “We gave up so many layups to start the game it was like a track meet,” Woody said. “We are supposed to be the team …

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Hawks at Spurs, AKA Messin’ With Texas

San Antonio– It’s been interesting to see perceptions of the Hawks in Western Conference outposts Houston and San Antonio. Both teams were scuffling and coming off worrisome efforts and both considered the Hawks a threat to continue their slides.

Rockets coach Rick Adelman was matter-of-fact in talking up the Hawks like they are an elite team. He worried about their ability to score one-on-one and their open-court prowess. Then the Hawks used their one-on-one scoring ability and open-court prowess to beat his team. Afterward, Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, a Rockets TV analyst, said of the Hawks: “They are a team that has it all, and they proved it tonight.”

Pop's Spurs falling off?

Pop’s Spurs falling off?

Now the Hawks are in San Antonio, where Spurs guard Tony Parker tells the San Antonio Express-News (last item): “They’re good — long and athletic. A little bit like the Bulls.” Normally, that might be taken as a backhanded slap since the Bulls are eight games behind the Hawks in the East, but

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Jeff Teague not voted to All-Star rookie team. Woody: “That’s because of me”

Woody, Teague and Sund (photo via i.cdn.turner.com)

Woody, Teague and Sund (photo via i.cdn.turner.com)

San AntonioJeff Teague didn’t make the roster for the Rookie Challenge game on All-Star weekend. It’s not surprising: The Hawks drafted Teague 19th overall draft , and the rookie team (voted on by NBA assistant coaches) usually features guys playing big minutes for bad-to-middling teams. And that’s how it is this season: of the nine players on the rookie team, only San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair is playing a major role for a team aiming for a serious postseason run (he’s another one of those second-round steals for the Spurs even if his bad knees only hold up for a couple more seasons).

So when Woody says Teague didn’t make the team “because of me” (calm down, haters), what he means is he hasn’t played Teague the kind of minutes it takes to get more shine. That’s how it’s going to be for Teague this year as long as Bibby and Crawford are healthy. The Hawks are thinking big, and in this situation 99 percent of rookies just have …

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The eyebrows have it

Houston– The Hawks canceled practice today. They (and me) showed up at the Toyota Center and, no lie, it was overrun by schoolchildren. Just the thing I needed to remind me why I have no kids (knocked on some wood). So the team headed to San Antonio and I’m at H. W. Bush Airport waiting on my flight. I recommend the chipotle chicken wrap with a side of black beans at Bubba’s Bar and Grill in Terminal C.

Anyway, missing the Hawks today means no snooping around to get to the bottom of Woody’s missing eyebrows. Since Woody wasn’t willing to tell the story, a few theories have emerged:

Smoove said Woody did it to keep the guys relaxed before they played a big game. Now, this could mean Woody decided to use it for that after the fact once he realized there was no damn way his players weren’t going to kill him for that look. Smoove says he was the first one to say something when Woody came into the locker room: “I think everyone else was afraid.”

– FSN South/SportSouth Hawks …

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