– Woody was dang near prophetic before that loss to the Thunder on Monday when he said: “We are still trying to learn how to win at a high level.” A big part of that is matching the effort and intensity of so-called “lesser” opponents, and Woody said the Hawks “didn’t put up a fight early” against the Thunder.
So during the Tuesday film session the coach called on his veterans to lead the defensive effort.
“I put it right on them,” Woodson said. “And that’s how it should be. They should want more. Thy should want more from each other, and hold each other accountable, but they are not getting it done.”
Joe Johnson agreed.
“It’s definitely on guys like me, Mike (Bibby), and Jamal (Crawford) to get us all on the same page, especially on the perimeter,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of breakdowns and that puts our ‘bigs’ in tough positions.”
Bibby said “we always can put a little bit more effort in,” but added: “We’ll be fine. I’m not really worried about it.”
Woody, though, notes that he’s a coach, and so “I’m selfish. I want more, like every coach.”
– That includes Kings coach Paul Westphal, who told The Sacramento Bee he plans to send out a new lineup tonight with Donté Greene taking over for Omri Casspi at small forward and Spencer Hawes replacing Jon Brockman at center.
“It’s time that (defense) becomes an all-the-time thing for us,” Westphal said.
Are coaches ever happy?
– The Hawks should expect a scrap from the Kings, another try-hard team that won’t wilt in the face of superior talent. The Bobcats had them down 24 in the third quarter on Monday but the Kings got back within 94-93. They lost their fourth straight game but they didn’t quit.
– The Kings are third in the league in offensive rebounding percentage. That’s effort.
“They play hard,” Smoove said. “The are young and talented. We can’t take them lightly.”
– So why did the Hawks not come out fighting against the Thunder?
“A lot of it is attitude,” Woody said. “We can’t be comfortable, man. It’s nice to sit at the top of your division but you have to play like every night you want to hold onto it, and we didn’t do that (Monday).”
– J.J. on Crawford taking the last shots against Phoenix and Oklahoma City instead of him: “The plays are not getting fully executed. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s nothing against Jamal. He makes big shots for us. You never know, the next three or four game-winners, I might take them. We’ll live with it.”
– Smoove is ditching the sneakers that he says caused a bruise on his right Achilles’.
– Woody didn’t have much to say about the NBA’s denial of his protest of the Hawks’ Dec. 30 loss at Cleveland:
“Disappointed. I just won’t comment beyond that. What are you going to do?”
No doubt the Hawks didn’t like that stuff from David Stern about the clock error having “no clear impact” on the game’s outcome. Of course it did. I mean, deny the protest if you want but don’t say something silly like that.
– I saw that players voted J.J. the most underrated player in an Sports Illustrated poll. I wondered how a guy with three All-Star appearances, going on four, could be considered underrated. Then I saw LeBron James got a vote and decided I had to stop looking at that poll.
Still, though, J.J. probably is underrated. A deep playoff run this spring should take care of that.
– I’m relieved to discover there actually are nice winter days in Atlanta. It ain’t Miami, but I’ll take it.
– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.