Late squawks: Hawks 102, Suns 101

–Dannnnnng!

–Wonder how many of those Hawks fans who left the game before the end will swear they were there to see it. Hawks down 100-96 with 10 seconds left and they win. What a finish.

–You can say the Suns choked this one away when Amare Stoudemire missed that free throw after Jamal Crawford rebounded Josh Smith’s miss and put it back. And you’d be right.

–But it’s also true the Hawks recovered from a bad start and forged a tie by making stops late. “We got some good bounces down the stretch and we capitalized,” said Hawks forward Joe Johnson. “We showed a lot of guts, poise and character.”

–And then there’s that shot. Johnson said the play was designed for him to catch Mike Bibby’s inbound pass off a curl. “Not only was I doubled, but Grant Hill grabbed my jersey.” I just watched the replay again, and it’s true.

–So Crawford up top was option No. 2 for Bibby. He said he practices long 3-pointers like that all the time and knew it was good when he let it go. “I started running back the other way. It felt really good, I can’t lie.”

–Nothing wrong with Jared Dudley’s defense on the shot. He didn’t give Crawford much space and got a hand up but it didn’t matter. “He’s a big shotmaker and he proved it tonight,” Johnson said.

–When Stoudemire went to the free-throw line with 3 seconds left, Crawford said he told Hawks assistant Larry Drew: “‘Give it to me, I’ll knock it down.’ He was like, ‘We don’t even have the ball yet.’”

–Crawford’s shot erased memories of a sluggish start for the Hawks. I thought the Hawks came out flat. Smith, though, said the Hawks actually were too keyed up. “We were real energized. All we had to do was calm our nerves down.”

–Three Suns possessions in the second quarter brought out the boos: Louis Admunson scored a layup as Smith watched, Leandro Barbosa beat the Hawks down the floor for a layup, and then Goran Dragic sailed in for an uncontested dunk and 33-21 Suns lead.

Grant Hill didn’t look old out there. He’s still quick enough and he’s so savvy. That makes him very tough some nights. This was one of them (21 points, 8 of 14 shooting).

–”Grant Hill can play, man,” Johnson said. “He’s still got it. He’s one of my favorite players.”

Mike Woodson wanted the Hawks to avoid going “ballistic” trying to outgun the Suns. They had to be tempted to do so but resisted, showing surprising patience at times. So that’s something.

–The Hawks attacked the basket early but missed a lot of shots in close. J. Smoove was the worst culprit. He started 0-for-6 until finally making a basket that was, of course, a tip of his own miss.

–But, to his credit, Smith didn’t let his troubles scoring in the paint affect the rest of his game. He had 15 boards and his effort and energy were key during Atlanta’s 28-point third quarter. “I can always depend on other things to get me going,” he said.

–At one point Woodson pleaded with Bibby to feed Al Horford in the post against Robin Lopez. Bibby obliged and Horford worked Lopez for two straight baskets. Then the Hawks went away from Horford. No, it didn’t make sense.

–With Lopez back on Horford in the third, Woodson again wanted it to go to him on the post but this time the Hawks didn’t even get it to him once. Horford led the Hawks with 24 points, but think what he might have done if not ignored for stretches.

–Not that any of that matters much after Crawford’s shot. OK, judging by your messages stuff like that still matters to some of you but, come on, enjoy this one for a minute.

–First game I’ve covered in months, late start and down to the wire. Of course.

–I’m out, Hawks fans.

66 comments Add your comment

matt

January 16th, 2010
12:35 am

jerrywest

January 16th, 2010
12:38 am

great first game report. thanks.

Gilley

January 16th, 2010
12:40 am

I rushed home from church to watch the ending of the game and it was all worth it! Go Hawks!!! Whooo!! Truth be told, Jamal Crawford deserves to be on the All-star team! Joe Johnson Al Horford Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith (if KG cant go due to injury, he may be placed by David Stern)

Mink

January 16th, 2010
12:54 am

My wife came in to the living room as I started the game on my DVR and said “I just saw the end of the Hawks game in the other room. Wanna know what happens?” Glad I gave her the quick boot and didn’t let her spoil it for me!

mark

January 16th, 2010
12:54 am

Joe would have missed it!

Wabe

January 16th, 2010
1:04 am

Almost 40 games in, and the Hawks sit on top of the SE division.

Hawk n the Ham

January 16th, 2010
1:05 am

Thanks MC

It’s interesting to hear how Woody wants the points to feed Horfy, only to be ingored. We have been harping on the Hawks working inside-out. All along everyone has been slamming Woody for letting every posession run through what JJ wants to do, thus not being an inside-out game.

Come on Woody, start slapping folk on the back of the head Bobby Knight style!

E-DOGGY

January 16th, 2010
1:12 am

mykhalc

January 16th, 2010
1:23 am

welcome MC!!! great 1st and 2nd blogs man!!! nice win by the HAWKS!!! showed some gutsy ball tonite!!! Crawford…deadliest stroke on the team…PERIOD!!!

RLP

January 16th, 2010
1:26 am

Just watched Portland defeat the Magic placing the Hawks in first in the East. Wow Jamal Crawford.

What I have to say is that I would not miss this year for a guaranteed 52 wins by any means. What a great game. (And I thought that even before Crawford made that shot!)

David Smith

January 16th, 2010
1:47 am

Jamal Crawford has been clutch all year for us and his play off the bench has been nothing but phenomenal. He is one of the missing pieces that this team sorely needs (A serviceable big man would be the second) and, his surprising unselfish play has been a Godsend. GO HAWKS!!!

GTGrad

January 16th, 2010
1:50 am

Jamal Crawford for 6th Man of the Year.
My mom and my sister are even bigger fans of his.

Beck

January 16th, 2010
2:01 am

So glad I stuck with the game instead of changing channels. Great to see the fans in the building going nuts too. I love that JC has been bagged around the league by writers and commentators while on the Bulls, Knicks and Warriors and is now looking like 6th man of the year. His road to this season has been as hard as the Hawks rebuilding but we’re almost there! Great first half of the season and as icing on the cake: Orlando dropped one in Portland to give us the division lead!

Andrew

January 16th, 2010
2:52 am

I doubt anyone will even read this..but listen to the hawks announcer RYAN CAMERON’s shear joy after the shot. “AND WE WINNNNNNN!! AND WE WIINNNN!!! MAKE SOME NOIIISEEE” i love you ryan. you keep me laughin at work. lol

sam'l

January 16th, 2010
3:40 am

Wow. Thing about this. You almost expected Jamal Crawford to make that shot. The Hawks never gave up and they were rewarded. The Hawks thought they were going to win too. They were rehashing their plans coming out of the huddle…check the look on Bibby’s face while he’s walking out on the court…..

What does this mean to the team? The answer is….no one knows. The Hawks are as unpredictable as ever……

As an aside, I wish that Hawks announcer would stop claming the other team is offensive….not in character with what we are trying to build……. .

Now with the math….The Hawks can beat Boston, but not Cleveland or Orlando…yet. Assuming the first four teams remain the first four teams, there is one in four chances the Hawks will wind up in either one, two, three or four spots. Then, for each four spots the hawks can fill, there is a one in three chance that Boston will make it into a slot to face them in the first round. That is 1/4*1/3=1/12 times 4 =4/12= 1/3 chance the Hawks will face Boston in the first round.

Course, other teams are beating up on Orlando pretty good……and there is still that protest…..

tony

January 16th, 2010
6:11 am

WOW! My man Jamal Crawford is AMAZING! He’s my favorite player in the NBA. I’ve been saying all season long that Jamal need to be our go to guy especially in the 4th qt. The next time I see Woodson get on Jamal’s case for missed assignment and not JJ and Josh Smith he’s going to get a mouth full from me PERIOD! Treat all your players the same Woodson. Great shot Jamal!

Coach D

January 16th, 2010
6:19 am

Jamal “Clutch” Crawford!!!!!!!!

We’ve got to support this team!

Crawford was even playing defense, too!

Jed

January 16th, 2010
6:21 am

I’ll admit–I turned the game off the last 10 seconds. To add insult to injury, everybody is showing the three, but not the free throw play before that, which made it possible. My olation prize is the Michael’s enthusiastic rundown. Welcome to ATL, MC!!

octo

January 16th, 2010
7:08 am

If the NBA makes things right, we could see this replay in the CLE birthday boy game

Clyde

January 16th, 2010
7:08 am

G Money

January 16th, 2010
8:18 am

Welcome MC. I haven’t been blogging at all this year – was a season ticket holder last year. This was a great win and the revealing insight that you shared about Woody imploring Bibby to get Horford the ball is just the kind of nuanced writing we’re looking for. Bring it hard and often. This team deserves more coverage – hope you can deliver!

mountain_jim

January 16th, 2010
8:42 am

I also appreciate the inside insight MC. Welcome aboard!

Boy

January 16th, 2010
8:58 am

how did the Hawks get Crawford for two zeros? That has got to be one of the best trades in Hawks history. thank you Sund. I guess the trade that brought Nique to the Hawks might have been better.

mountainman36

January 16th, 2010
9:34 am

yep – quite a game. i feel like we stole that one, but hey it counts. Besides the ‘elite’ teams steal games every season, so no worries.

YES – that was one heck of a trade for JC. It has to be one of the best Hawks trades, but one of the best NBA ever as well. He has completely changed the dynamic of this team, wicked good trade.

jerrywest

January 16th, 2010
9:41 am

you can watch the whole game replay at espn.com. download espn360. just like TV.

Nate ArchiBALL

January 16th, 2010
9:41 am

I saw two other Jamal Crawford plays down the stretch that were important ….. the two drives to the basket where he passed to Josh Smith for dunks. We need to see more of that in the offense. Too bad we can’t get that from Joe Johnson or Mike Bibby.

MannyT

January 16th, 2010
9:46 am

There were a lot of people that left the arena with about 40 sec to go. There were even some that stayed that thought the Hawks had no chance at that point. This was one of those nights where things fell in place.

The Phoenix shot that circled the rim but would not go in…like Spirit the Hawk used to do ;-)

The Jamaal put back after 2 Sun collided on Josh’s free throw.

…and the 3 bomb.

We couldn’t hit a shot in the paint to start, FG% was bad, but we got it done.

This was almost like pro wresting. It went back and forth until it looked like we would lose, then victory at the end.

Bottom line…winning close is great excitement

For all those people that make excuses about attending the games, you should have seen the place going wild at the end. That is why you go to games.

For all those people that call first in the parking lot, on MARTA, or cruising down the connector, that is why you stay at the game!

BWAF

Dan

January 16th, 2010
10:14 am

I hope none of you who were there last night left early!! Hours later and I am still on a high from Jamal’s shot! Incredible! We have something special going on at the Highlight Factory.

Of course, I get up this morning, go grab my paper (yes, I still get the paper), and the AJC is talking about Tech and UGA hiring D-cordinators. WTF! And, people down here wonder why the rest of the world sees Atlanta as a JV sports town…

nunna yo biznezz

January 16th, 2010
10:20 am

hey andrew,i heard ryan too,lol..

did u hear him say,”woooow”!!!!!

nunna yo biznezz

January 16th, 2010
10:23 am

listen for ryan at the 1:07 mark..he sounded like a young james brown,”whoaaaaaa”!!!!!

Fundamentals

January 16th, 2010
10:41 am

Welcome MC. You’ve done well with your first articles/blogs. We’re passionate about our Hawks. I hope you enjoy covering a team that’s a few steps above your Miami Heat.

Mountainman is right, we stole that one from PHO. I was absolutely shocked! Awesome finish, awesome fight to stay in the mix despite the trouble with the zone. Even with the shot it was a great team effort. We wouldn’t have made it without each player doing their thing. Good sign to see everyone stay together and stay involved all the way to a win when it looked like PHO would take the game.

Sad to see Teague w/ a DNP. When the zone is giving us trouble why not use him? He’s used to breaking down the zone. Dissappointing to see him sit when speed was obviously needed.

Monday is our next big test, slowing down Durant. Feels good to sit atop the division. Next is sitting atop the conference. It’s not that far away. We’ve got the potential to do it. GO HAWKS!

ILL-logical

January 16th, 2010
10:42 am

Let the walls of the church say amen!A star may have been born last night, a star who is a leader -both on and off the court-and is the truth and the light.

Sautee

January 16th, 2010
10:43 am

Michael,

Very nice job on the blogs AND the game story. Lots of juicy little bits.

One thing, though…. you have Horford going against BROOK Lopez in the game story and not Robin. Easy mistake to make, but it’s in there. Thought you’d want to know.

Your comment about Woody pleading with Bibby to go to Al makes me think that while we are all thrilled with our record, Woody’s approach of “letting the guys do their thing” on offense might have some flaws. The NBA is a league of matchups. When we have a favorable matchup we need to exploit it until the other team adjusts.

And how telling is it that Woodson has to “plead”?

“Horford led the Hawks with 24 points, but think what he might have done if not ignored for stretches.”

You will find that a common theme on the blog. Many of us feel that Horford AND Josh need more touches. And here’s why: Not only are they capable scorers that shoot a higher % than the perimeter players (as they obviously should), but they are both good and willing passers who mostly make good decisions.

Michael, you are off to a great start. Ignore the haters who WILL come out of the woodwork.

Ramon

January 16th, 2010
10:55 am

Michael, good coverage on the game that you provided. I like that in your first game write up, you actually questioned the decision making of the ‘veteran’ players.

I won’t lie, I have questioned if the Hawks were offered Robin Lopez for Zaza and Randolph, would I take that deal. Sometimes when you’re 7 foot, you don’t even have to be good, just be active, and you will make a difference in a lot of the games.

Another thing it is great to watch on the replay and see how Horford NAILS Grant Hill with that pick.

KingCobra

January 16th, 2010
10:55 am

Jamal Crawford is a clutch performer, a tremendous acquisition for the Hawks that we basically got for nothing. He is as clutch as you have and when you have a star-studded team like the Hawks with Josh Smooth, Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams and “Big” Al Horford, it wont be much longer before the Hawks will be hoisting the “Larry O’Brien Trophy”. The Suns game is a testimony of what can happen when a team keeps fighting and never quits. It was great to see the Suns set for the gun sounded. Great Win the for the franchise!

J. J.

January 16th, 2010
11:37 am

I agree with Clyde…FIRE WOODY.

Gamer

January 16th, 2010
11:52 am

The Hawks are a authentic contender for this SEASON NBA CROWN!!!! As long as the current starters stays intact and key reserves players stay healthy and focus!!!

THIS TEAM IS SET TO MAKE BEDLAM IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

GO HAWKS!!!

rms

January 16th, 2010
12:03 pm

Time to focus on Kevin Durant and the Thunder!! I got a bad feeling about that team….

Gwinnett Fred

January 16th, 2010
12:03 pm

As proud as I am of the Hawks, I am equally dissappointed (embarrassed) about the pathetic AJC.

Can you please explain how more than 12 hours after the game, there is not a single articla about his great win that has quotes in it?

How can it possibly be true that I can get BETTER, DEEPER and QUICKER game information from ESPN, CBS, FOX, etc. than I can get from the own home teams newspaper – FOR A HOME GAME!!!!!!!

Oh yea, I forgot, the local colleges signed assistant coaches, so 99% of all resources have been delegated to that big development.

SAD!

Moashe

January 16th, 2010
12:16 pm

I agree with you 100% Gwinnett Fred, I get the paper everyday and it’s shame that the group you mention and the Thrasher, the out of season Braves get more coverage than the Hawks.

Call it as I C it

January 16th, 2010
12:43 pm

Am I the only one laughing at that last play? C’mon Woody, that’s the best you got? Gee, what a surprise that the Suns would double-team Joe. So your second option is a 28-footer?! You had 3 seconds, enough time for an extra pass or two. Time for a drive and dish. That shot isn’t a quality shot. Hubie Brown even commented before the play that NBA teams have multiple plays to get a quality shot in that situation. Woody, you got lucky. Not your best effort. Time to go back to the drawing board.

MuscleFlexer

January 16th, 2010
1:04 pm

The Hawks have a golden opportunity here with the talent that they have to push the limits of the nba and get to the crown. The Hawks CAN and WILL win an NBA CROWN with the current group that they have. I think they can get it done this season. Ok. Dont panic everyone; we know how great Jamal Crawford is at being clutch down the stretch. Continue to use him for that purpose. Joe Johnson will always be Joe Johnson. He is one of the top 5 elite players in the game. We dont have to every worry about Joe. Al Horford is greatly improved over last year and looks to me like a dominant force inside and out. What a tremendous improvement he has made on his game. Josh Smooth, another vastly improved player from last year. He doesnt turn the ball over much anymore which is key. We need to utilize him more as a lethal weapon feeding him inside the basket and on breakaways for the alley-oop. Smooths jumping ability is so great and his vertical leap is so high, its almost as good as Dominique Wilkins’ was. If you feed Smooth on the fast break and give him the ball to let him finish at the rim; just lob the ball up there and he will slam it home. You can use that play whenever you need a cluth basket. I saw Smooth develop this shot in the Miami series last year. The X factor on the Hawks is Marvin Williams. Williams is lethal driving to the basket late in the game moving without the ball, waiting the ball to be fed to him so he can kiss it off the glass and score the easy layup. I saw him repeatedly do this with ease in the Wizzards game the other day. That is another weapon you can use late in the game when buckets are hard to come by. The Hawks have the talent and they are ready to explode. All they need now is confidence by beating a few of the elite team and they will stand head and shoulders above the crowd. The Hawks have arrived and have landed at Phillips arena AS AN ELITE TEAM. They are there now and ready to contend for an NBA title. Go Hawks!

Gwinnett Fred

January 16th, 2010
1:09 pm

Call it as I C it:

So you KNOW that play was what Woody drew up as his #2 option. Wow, you must have had great seats right behind the bench to hear that. No wait, you said you heard Hubie comment, so you were at home on your butt while 17,600+ of us REAL FANS were cheering the team on.

Hey couch potato fan, unless you know something, don’t show your ignorance. All I know was I saw Woody (1) call a perfect 1st Qtr timeout to snap the team out of a funk – which they did; (2) get T’ed up to defend his players that thought they were getting shafted – which worked; and (3) called a timeout 4 minutes into the 4th to regroup the team and make subs after the unit that started the period couldn’t finh the hole.

Woody has had PLENTY of moments to be justifiably jumped all over – but that last play wasn’t one of them. Give the Suns credit for defending the inbounds very well and then give the Hawks (Crawford) credit for improvising to get the best shot possible.

So either get your facts straight – or shut up.

Just calling it as I see it!!

richbrave

January 16th, 2010
1:18 pm

And thanks GEORGIA for sending the UNIVERSITY of RICHMOND one DARRIUS GARRETT by way of Powder Springs. He had 14 blocks against UMASS wednesday night and gets the start tonight, his first as a soph. We now have three of five starters on our men’s b-ball team from GEORGIA to wit: KEVIN ANDERSON, pg; DAVID GONZOLVEZ, sg; DARRIUS GARRETT, pf. And NIKITA THOMAS on the women’s starting five. Thank you again GEORGIA. Keep ‘um coming.

FireWoodson

January 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

And take defenseless horford with you.

J.J.M.

January 16th, 2010
1:41 pm

I wonder why the hawks never use confetti after a win

d.carter

January 16th, 2010
1:41 pm

Dear Woody,

Coach please study the phoenix offense backwards and forwards…This is what the hawks offense should look like!!!! Constant slew of pick and rolls and backdoor cuts from the strong side of the pick instead of standind around waiting for joe to dribble 82.8 times just to jack up a fadeaway jumper… Please swallow your pride and call alvin gentry humble yourself and ask for some of the finer points of the offense…

Thank you sir,

your biggest fan

D.carter

PS LONG LIVE BILLY KNIGHT

ricknole

January 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

I have havent been so excited about a Hawks game in a long long time. Wow, just unbelievable!

doc

January 16th, 2010
1:58 pm

just got around to checking out the results from last night. family digs getting in the way. no choice but to carry on. got to like it that someone else got the shot and delivered. i think jamal is an assassin and will only get more so as he develops confidence in the team around him.

said it at the beginning of the season, i smell something special and this team might deliver more than expected. i also still think we can be viable to the wire against the big boys. i like our chances to sneak up there if one of the older teams lose at top player. no it wouldnt be backing in because teams that put an emphasis on trying to get one with older guys also know the margin between health and injury is smaller.

nice to get this in front of a national audience as well. begins to take the pressure to perform off these guys as they did it to the c’s and now the suns for all to see.

now to check around the league.

btw, nice blog comments to start it off mc. thanks made me fel part of the action. rarely have we gotten the thoughts of woody. still dont know why it is so hard for the team to feed horford. at least we know what woody wants.

go hawks!

Ken Strickland

January 16th, 2010
1:59 pm

Last nights win was great, as well as exciting. However, in all good conscience, I can’t overlook what some of you seem to be more than willing to overlook. It’s something I’ve made an issue of for sometime, and I’ve gotten jumped on by others as a result. I don’t know exactly what it is about Bibby that has Woodson so mezmerized, but we’d be a much better team overall with Teague starting and Bibby coming off the bench, or playing him far fewer mins.

As stated above, Woodson instructed Bibby to go inside to Horford so he could go after Lopez. Bibby did it a couple of times, and even though it worked, he decided to do his own thing thereafter. As stated above, Woodson made the same plea to Bibby on another occasion, but got ignored. Now we’re starting to see a major part of the reason we end up shooting so many jumpshots and certain players get excluded from the OFF.

We don’t need this type of arrogant, selfish BS from a slow, none penetrating, one dimensional veteran PG that plays NO DEF. You’d think a veteran PG like Bibby would understand and appreciate the personal advantage of having an inside scorer that was as hot as Horford, especially with this passing skills. Bibby’s selfish play could have cost us a win last night.

What’s even worse is Woodson’s long standing refusal to do anything about it, or anything Bibby or JJ does. I’ll bet if he’d played Teague and told him to feed Horford, Horford would have gotten fed consistently. And if they started overplaying the post, Teague would have taken it to the hoop on them, like Crawford did on several occasions.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. WOODSON AND BIBBY ARE THE HAWKS 2 WEAKEST LINKS.