Bobcats at Hawks, AKA Here Comes Yet Another Gritty Opponent

Remember those stretches this season when the Hawks were running opponents off the floor? Forget it.

Here come the Bobcats Charlotte, who follow the Kings, who followed the Thunder. Different levels of talent among those teams. Similar levels of energy and effort.

The Bobcats allow the fewest points per game in the league. Adjust it by possessions, and it’s the same thing.

It won’t be easy for the Hawks to score. They tend not to like that. If they abandoned (or just failed to execute) the offensive plan at times against Oklahoma City and the Kings, it’s not hard to imagine them doing it more often against the Bobcats.

“We are going to have to grind for 48 minutes,” Woody said, “which is OK. Last year we didn’t have a lot of blowouts and we had to grind. That’s good. It helps keep guys on their toes. With blowouts, you start to take things for granted.”

The Hawks insist they aren’t doing that with the Bobcats. Of course, they said the same thing against the Thunder and Kings yet still lost focus for stretches. Maybe those Woody-Larry Brown-Stephen Jackson-Flip Murray connections will have them alert from the jump.

“They are a good team,” Smoove said of the Bobcats. “They are buying into that (toughness) philosophy. That’s how Larry Brown has his teams play. It’s going to be a fight.”

– You are concerned about this one. At Peachtree Hoops, hawksdawgs explains how the Bobcats tend to play with his emotions:

I did not circle this game as being a must watch game before the season started. Not because I thought the Bobcats were going to be bad but because the Bobcats make me cry. They find ways to eek out victories against the Hawks in the most painful way possible or they just beat the ever living crap out of Atlanta. Neither is good for my soul.

Blog commenter Astro Joe fears a Bobcats beatdown:

Anyone else concerned that Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Flip will come in tonight and punk us in our own gym? I am… I still think that we are a soft team. Charlotte may try to take our lunch money tonight and the Hawks will go whining to the refs (as opposed to fighting back). I have a nasty feeling that the Bobcats will wear their bully hats and we’ll be grousing about another heartless (effort).”

That was pretty much the theme of Woody’s post-practice speech to the team Thursday (regarding the Bobcats coming in straight gangsta, not about his team being soft). So the Hawks are aware, at least.

– Woody’s desk was piled with letters from an elementary school class in Charlotte asking him to vote Wallace as an All-Star reserve. Nifty PR move.

– The fans loved Zaza’s dunks the other night. But he’s from the leave-’em-wanting-more school: “If I do it every time, then it’s not as exciting anymore,” he said.

– The league announced the All-Star starters on Thursday night. The reserves, voted on by coaches, will be revealed next Thursday.

John Schuhmann at NBA.com thinks J.J. makes it, Al Horford gets a “tragic shaft” (hey, hey, easy) and Smoove is a “wildcard.”

– Talk amongst yourselves, Hawks fans.

MC

237 comments Add your comment

JOE GET THE HELL'ON JOHNSON!

January 22nd, 2010
1:33 pm

JOSH SMITH PLEASE STOP MEAN MUGGING THE REFS,AND PLAY BASKETBALL! JOE JOHNSON TAKE YOUR BORING @$$ GAME SOMEWHERE ELSE!

vava74

January 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

My quick take:

I am critical of Woody in a way that I consider balanced: I believe that part of the success we have is due to Woody and his switching defense. Overall, he is doing a good job.

However, I also think that Woody sometimes falters dramatically. In particular managing and adjusting the roster and the strategy to the adversaries (before and within games).

Today, against a coach that taught Woody, I expect him to be completely out coached and only a very very very very determined and hustling Hawks will be able to come out with a win.

Hence my hunch: CHA by 12

I sure hope that I am wrong, however, the Hawks have not demonstrated the fire and the mental fortitude necessary to win consistently. They need to understand that ALL matches have to be played with the intensity that they display against Boston.

That is common to many teams and players and one of the biggest coaching challenges.

For instance: CHA trounced MIA because Brown placed on the team’s billboard a stupid sentence by Beasley which, taken out of the context, sounded like a huge insult.

That was – as declared by all the CHA players – in their heads all night long and took them to another level of aggression and concentration.

The biggest challenge: be like that ALL games: that is what makes a team excel and compete with anyone.

We have the physical and the technical tools to do it, but not the mental.

A good example is Zaza: in most games he lacks the aggression he displayed against BOS two years ago and that rubbed on him last year.

This year he is more passive and having difficulty adjusting to a lesser role, with less minutes and it shows on how he goes to the rim: usually he does not go with full force… he knows that his vertical jump is limited and instead of just grind his teeth and go as strong as he is able to, he drives like a wimp.

I like him and I think we did well by re-signing him, but he (and the rest of the Hawks as well) needs a wake up call and show some fire.

Maybe they should play videos of russian soldiers wearing the jerseys of the Hawks’ opponent on each given night and he would get a double double in just 15 min…

niremetal

January 22nd, 2010
1:44 pm

Charlotte always gives us trouble (but at least we’re not alone – they’ve won 6 of their last 7 against the Lakers), so tonight should be a good game. It’s superior talent against superior coaching. The good news is that the Bobcats don’t have anyone to cover JJ or Jamal. The bad news is that they have a roster full of physical players, and everyone on the Hawks outside of Horford and Zaza (and Mario – but I have a feeling he won’t be playing many minutes tonight) tends to shy away from that style of play.

Should be interesting…

Hawks Hack

January 22nd, 2010
1:48 pm

Why is everyone hating on the Hawks???… yea sure they have letdown games but so does everyone else in the league (Lakers lost to the Clippers) (Bostone lost to Detroit) and (Orlando loses to everyone on the left coast). 82 games is a long season and the similarity in talent accross the teams is very similar. Quit hating Atlanta and get your butts to the Highlight Factory or we will not be able to afford this team in coming years!!

dap01

January 22nd, 2010
1:55 pm

MC, you are a hard working man. Great blog!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Cunningham, Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: Bocats at Hawks, AKA Here Comes Yet Another Gritty Opponent http://bit.ly/75eCbr [...]

Darrell

January 22nd, 2010
2:07 pm

I see this shaping up like the Kings game, I think it will be a struggle, but as long as they get the W, before heading to Texas.

Fundamentals

January 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

At the end of the 10 Day we’re obligated to either sign Rio for the remainder or drop him. Any word on what’s brewing? No real sign of waiver news?

JeJe

January 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

We will lose tonight. G.Wallace owns us, Flip owned us last time, and S.Jax can play as well as anyone when he’s on. And that bit about the papers on Woody’s desk from an elementary school is interesting. Never got any of those types of updates from The God (Sekou)

theZaZaguy

January 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

I predict that we will do better against them than Miami did a few days ago.

Fresh

January 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

I don’t comment much but you’re doing great work MC.

Benjamin

January 22nd, 2010
2:47 pm

Looking forward to the game.

Mike is Back

January 22nd, 2010
2:48 pm

When the Hawks pick up their intensity on defense and pound the offensive glass…they can beat anybody…so the Bobcats do not scare me as much as our lackadaisical effort on defense. WE NEED OUR FOURTH QUARTER DEFENSE TO SHOW IN THE FIRST QUARTER. LOL

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GeeMack

January 22nd, 2010
2:49 pm

JeJe

I thought you were a Hawk fan? Don’t forget we have pretty good team here in Atlanta.

Melvin

January 22nd, 2010
2:52 pm

MC,
You are out of control with the number of blogs you post within a day. I understand that you were out of the profession for a period of time but don’t try to make up for missed time in one week. However, I like your work. I guess I need to keep a finger on the refresh button…

As for the Bobcats, they’re a scrappy team but if we can keep Felton out of the paint (i.e., not much PT for Bibby) and score at least 40 pts in the paint (by playing thru the post) then the Hawks should be able to beat the Bobcats. B-Cats would love to make this a run and gun type of game. It would be to the Bobcats advantage if the Hawks fall in love with the jumpshots tonight. Bobcats are good team but not unbeatable. I follow the Bobcats b/c they play in my backyard….

Fundamentals

January 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Everybody on this blog should know Je-Je’s fickle by now.

I’m hopeful for a good effort tonight. Win or lose, we just have to run our offense, fight for the boards and play solid D. I still think we can win.

We gotta teach Hawks V2 a lesson. Can’t let our castoff’s beat us: Jackson, Murray, Law, Mohammud, Diaw.

ilovejoejohnson

January 22nd, 2010
3:08 pm

JOE JOHNSON GO SOMEWHERE ARE U SERIOUS?? WHATS A TEAM WITHOUT JOE THE HAWKS WOULDNT BE GOOD WITHOUT HIM THEY HAVE JAMAL CRAWFORD AND TO ME THATS THE NEXT BEST PLAYER, BUT DONT SLEEP ON MY TEAM YESS THIS WILL BE A GOOD GAME BUT THE BOBCATS OKK LETS BE FORREAL THERE NOT GONNA MAKE IT TO THE PLAYOFFS LET A LONE BEAT THE HAWKS DOING SO SO THAT BEING SAID HATERS FALL BACK AND GOOOOO HAWKSSSS!!

Wink

January 22nd, 2010
3:08 pm

If the Hawks want to stay in the game Woody has to deploy the “Bench Mob” against the gangsta Bobcats. That bench unit can go straight street ball. Jamal “Red Hot” Crawford, Jeff “Flash” Teague, Joe “sLow Post” Smith, Mo “Jumping Jack” Evans, ZaZa “SmackDown” Pachulia & Mario “Got Ya D” West. Ok enough with the names, but this bench can play with anyone.

They appear to play better as a unit, meaning no starters on the floor. They can post, run pick & roll, play good D, & run the break like a real basketball team, with good BALL MOVEMENT.

The Bench Mob is also pretty gritty as well!!!

Rod from College Park

January 22nd, 2010
3:20 pm

The key matchup and the reason we struggle with the Bobcats is the Gerald Wallace/Marvin Williams matchup at the the 3. Now they have added Stephen Jackson who can play the 3 or the 2. These two pose matchup problems for the Hawks on both ends because they usually outscore the great Marvin Williams by double digits, and they don’t have to check him on the defensive end, which allows them to roam. Now that they have added Jackson, one of JJ’s advantages of posting smaller 2 guards is gone. Marvin must step up tonight, and play with aggression on both ends of the floor. Felton also poses a serious mathup problem because Bibby can not stay in front of him, which causes our defense to rotate, which leaves shooters open. Woodson will have to make adjustments, Jamal will have to have a big game and Marvin will need to step up in order for us to win tonight.

Astro Joe

January 22nd, 2010
3:23 pm

OB, from the last blog, most of that offense was generated off of suffocating defense that led to fast break opportunities. When we were blowing out Utah, Denver and others at home it was not because of some sophisticated Princeton offense, we just hosed the opponent down with a fire extinguisher and pushed the tempo. It’s hard to do that when you’re taking the ball out of the net (as opposed to off the rim/backboard). And yeah, we need an enforcer in the worse way. Where’s Esteban Batista?

MC, thanks for correcting my spelling error, I will try to improve my efoort next time. :twisted:

Astro Joe

January 22nd, 2010
3:32 pm

Sautee, sounds like the preacher (Woody) has delivered the good word… time for the players to proceed with determination and purpose (and some brass knuckles hidden in their socks). Doesn’t Abdullah the Butcher still live in the ATL? Surely he has a few forks left over from back in the day. But y’all too young to remember those good ole days of Gordon Solie and Big Ernie Ladd.

Melvin

January 22nd, 2010
3:37 pm

Rod from CP,

You may see G.Wallace at the PF than the SF spot. Bobcats like to play alot of small ball with Felton and Flip in the backcourt. Jax, Wallace and Diaw in the frontcourt. Therefore, the Hawks need to attack the paint b/c Charlotte doesn’t have an enforcer/shotblocker (except for Wallace from the blind side) without Tyson in the game. Diop is soft….

Fundamentals

January 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Astro’s losing it with the wraslin comments. How about getting Ron Simmons to come out for the promo before the game. Kids nowdays would like Booker T. We definitely need to bring the energy and aggression early to set the tone.

Michael Cunningham

January 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

@ Melvin: haha . . . my bosses are all about digital, which means so am i. i’m an online kind of dude anyway so, yeah, i got to make sure i don’t go too crazy. which reminds me: if you want to get a head’s up when a new blog post goes up, follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ajchawks

@Fundamentals: see previous blog entry re: Rio’s new 10-day. you can sign a guy to two 10-days (consecutive or not) before you are obligated to sign him outright.

@dap and Fres: thanks, trying to do my thang.

@ astro: this means i get a pass on my (inevitable) next typo, right?

Fundamentals

January 22nd, 2010
3:43 pm

MC – That’s what I asked. After the next 10 days what do you think we’ll do? What are the options? Any rumors on waiver options? Any rumors on trades? I love Rio, but treating it like a business, there’s alot of potential till the end of Feb in terms of Waivers. Locking Rio in too soon might leave us wishing when a good waiver option drops in late?

Ree Roe

January 22nd, 2010
4:29 pm

lol @ all this worrying over a 3-15 road team. We good. Charlotte is scrappy, but were one of the elite squads in the NBA. If were focused we’ll overpower CHA

-REEcently Roe!!!

MsDee

January 22nd, 2010
4:41 pm

Yeah Ree Roe, but they could very well become 4-15 road team after tonite!!

O'Brien

January 22nd, 2010
4:41 pm

If the Bobcats go small, then Woody will go small, with Bibby, Crawford, JJ, Josh and Al (Bibby is the weaklink of course).

Rod from CP,

Marvin might be the second best SF on our starting five (JJ might be a better SF than him).

If the players come out flat, it will be their fault, because it sounds like Woody has told them all they need to get them going. However, if the starters are failing, it is up to Woody to make the adjustment.

vava74,

Agreed. Its superior talent vs superior coaching.

AJ,

Hawks need to defend, rebound, and run. 2 out of 3 will not get it done. Hey, I just rhymed lol

Traceman

January 22nd, 2010
4:54 pm

Rod,

Blaming our “struggles” (we did win 3 of 4 against them last year) primarily on the Wallace/Marvin matchup is off base in my opinion. Last year, Marvin averaged 17.5 ppg and 7.7 rbg in 4 games versus Charlotte while Wallace averaged 16.3 ppg and 9 rbg in 3 games verus the Hawks.

The real issue is Charlotte’s OVERALL physicality versus the Hawks. They beat us up and make us play at a much slower pace than we prefer. Wallace personifies what they do best as a team but he didn’t exactly dominate us last year by himself. He had games of 17/10, 11/10 and 21/7 against the Hawks last year. Marvin had games of 22/10, 6/6, 29/7 and 13/8 against them. Marvin more than held his own.

Justin

January 22nd, 2010
5:14 pm

This is one of those teams that I don’t like to see, even when they’re not playing well. That said, there’s no way they can catch us by surprise with the way they’ve been playing and the beating they gave us in Charlotte. Hawks have no excuse to sleep walk through this one. Most nervous about our 4th quarter offense if things are tight against a great defensive team, but think we’ll pull this one out.

terrell

January 22nd, 2010
5:15 pm

Your turn Rod. lol!

BOBCATS!!!

January 22nd, 2010
5:25 pm

Charlotte 102 Atlanta 91. Get over yourselves Hawks. You’re not that good.

Mac-Town'z Finest 478

January 22nd, 2010
5:27 pm

Plain and simple, When we do struggle it’s because as a team we’re soft and dont play with intensity.

I think Woodson and his one on one ISO offense is the blame for that. It makes the guys lazy on offense and they just sit back and wait for JJ and Jamal to bail them out…..then when thats not happening….you have have marvin and bibby throwing up bricks…..and Josh Smith trying to be a guard.

I think after Crawford, Horford has been the most impressive Hawk this year. We still need another big though, someone tough atleast.

ew11

January 22nd, 2010
5:28 pm

Not that I’m picky or anything…but you have a typo in the headline. Unless we’re really playing the Bocats or there is some inside joke there that I’m not seeing.

JeJe

January 22nd, 2010
5:43 pm

GeeMack,

Just stating the facts. 103-87 Charlotte

JOE GET THE HELL'ON JOHNSON!

January 22nd, 2010
5:52 pm

I LOVE JOE JOHNSON, REMEMBER HE AINT RESIGNING WITH THE HAWKS! THE NBA FANS DONT LIKE JOE JOHNSON’S BORING GAME AND THE FACT THAT HE DISAPPEARS WHEN THE BIG SHOT IS ON THE LINE,WHY DO YOU THINK THAT JAMAL CRAWFORD IS TAKING THE LAST SHOT? INSTEAD OF JOE JOHNSON? HE IS NOT CLUTCH! HE WAS EXPOSED IN LAST YEAR ALLSTAR GAME,THE NBA FANS KNOW HIS GAME IS BORING AND THATS WHY THEY VOTED ALLEN IVERSON OVER JOE FOR THE STARTING ALLSTAR GUARD SPOT!

P.S NO GAME JOE JOHNSON AINT COMING BACK NEXT YEAR,REMEMBER HE IS PLAYING FOR A CONTRACT SOMEWHERE ELSE IN 2011!

mountainman36

January 22nd, 2010
5:57 pm

I am concerned about this team too, but they are BAD on the road, so hopefully that helps, but i just dont see the hawks putting thier collective foot on charlote’s throat. They have something to prove, and Bibby doesnt seem to think we have anything to prove….i hope hes the only one. scrappy team that just KILLED miami, help to 65 points…seriously killed.

my worries stem from the fact that when presented with good defence we turn into a jump shooting team. we cant win as a jump shooting team. we need fast breaks and paint points.

I bet ZaZa gets a technical or a flagrant foul tonight…I hope he does, we may need an enforcer tonight if the bobcats get going early.

JOE GET THE HELL'ON JOHNSON!

January 22nd, 2010
5:57 pm

TOO BAD THE NBA FANS DONT WANT JOE JOHNSON AS ITS STARTING GUARD,IM GLAD HE DIDNT MAKE THE STARTING LINEUP,JOSH SMITH SHOULD BE A ALLSTAR INSTEAD OF NO GAME JOE JOHNSON,HE IS THE RON GANT OF THE HAWKS!

northcyde

January 22nd, 2010
6:00 pm

When you play a great defense, it’s always good to have a few ISO players who can make shots for you. That’s what this game will come down to. That, and keeping Wallace from having a huge night on the boards.

JJ will pace us early, and Marvin or Bibby will make early shots. Horford is the guy who has the advantage tonight. Look for a 20+ point & 10+ rebound game from him tonight. And look for a 20+ point & 7+ assist game from JJ. At least 4 of JJ’s assists will be 3-pointers.

And when JJ and Crawford get in the game together in the 2nd half, this will be the time in which we tale full control of the game ( if it already haven’t happened by then ).

The other thing that Charlotte lacks ( and it really shows up when they need a basket ), is a fairly good percentage guy to put the ball in the hole. Captain Jack can ball, but he’s more streaky than Crawford. And while Felton/Augustin may have decent games, they’ll have a BIG PROBLEM guarding Crawford. Flip may end up playing some PG and guarding Crawford.

The Cats are playing great ball, but all that ends tonight. Hawks will slowly but surely build the lead from the opening tip. No jetlag tonight folks, unlike back in November when we played them. Hopefully some of you in Metro Atlanta will go to the game tonight.

Atlanta 104 – Charlotte 89

mountainman36

January 22nd, 2010
6:00 pm

joe johnson hater – please stop typing all caps. lame. you can get your point across without YELLING at us.

iverson got voted a starter because his name was in the news all season. no one knows who joe is unless they watch a lot of basketball. most all star voters are passing thru fans, they vote for names, and ususually those names are known because they have talent, thus it usually works out. tracy mcgrady is another good excample – he should have gotten 0 votes because he didnt play.

JOE GET THE HELL'ON JOHNSON!

January 22nd, 2010
6:03 pm

RON GANT COULD NOT COME THRU IN THE CLUTCH FOR THE BRAVES!

JOE JOHNSON IS THE SAME GUY FOR THE HAWKS,HE CANT COME THRU IN THE CLUTCH!

P.S. IM GLAD YOU DIDNT SIGN YOUR CONTRACT EXTENSION NO GAME JOE JOHNSON! YOU NEVER CAME THRU WHEN IT REALLY COUNTED,YOU DISAPPEARED IN BOTH PLAYOFFS 08 AND 09! WE WONT MISS YOU!

JOE GET THE HELL'ON JOHNSON!

January 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

KOBE COMES THRU FOR THE LAKERS!

LEBRON COMES THRU FOR THE CAVS!

D.WADE COMES THRU FOR THE HEAT!

DURANT COMES THRU FOR OKC!

MELO COMES THRU FOR THE NUGGETS!

BUT NOT NO GAME JOE JOHNSON!

Traceman

January 22nd, 2010
6:13 pm

It’s so funny to me how many people take JJ and what he brings for granted. The guy is doubled every night and yet he is an All Star LOCK.

Crawford has been EXACTLY what I thought he would be for this team. He is an unbelievable scorer and he is the perfect 6th man but his all around game is not on JJ’s level.

In fact, Crawford is our FOURTH most important player on the team behind JJ, Al and Smoove. Those 3 guys all deserve All Star consideration and it won’t shock me if all 3 get the nod.

Iverson could very well keep Smoove or Al from making it as one of the “wildcard” picks. I have a feeling if one of them get bumped it will be Smoove as Al is every coach’s dream and the coaches vote for the All Star reserves.

My EC All Star team:

Centers (2) – Howard, Horford
Forwards (4) – James, Garnett, Bosh, Wallace
Guards (4) – Wade, AI, JJ, Rondo
Wildcards (2) – Pierce, Smoove

Close but no cigar –

Lee (Al DESTROYED him head to head and the Knicks record is well below .500)

Rose – maybe next year (he can have AI’s spot if AI doesn’t play due to injury)

Lopez – 3-38? Enough said.

Noah – close but gotta go with Al

Bogut – close but gotta go with Al

Traceman

January 22nd, 2010
6:20 pm

With regard to my previous post, when I said:

“Rose – maybe next year (he can have AI’s spot if AI doesn’t play due to injury)”

AI is Iverson not Al Horford. The computer shows capital i and capital l as the same character in the blog.

Traceman

January 22nd, 2010
6:21 pm

Whazzup Northcyde! I’ll be in the house as loud as ever. Are you in town?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

January 22nd, 2010
6:26 pm

Hawks lose tonight unless nique turns back the clock and dresses they are too wishy washy , lack of coaching maybe ?

cp

January 22nd, 2010
6:33 pm

After the beatdown they gave us last time I wont be chalking this up as a win just because of their road struggles. The Bobcats always give us fits. If the Hawks come out flat this game could be over early because the Bobcats play great D and the Hawks have those scoring droughts from time to time. Bibby will have to guard Felton and I don’t see him being able to keep up with him. I’m hoping for a win but wouldn’t be shocked if we lose.

Traceman

January 22nd, 2010
6:44 pm

Last year, we beat CHA by 5, 4 and 5 and we lost by 7. Anybody expecting anything other than a knockdown, dragout slugfest is bound to be surprised. I HOPE I’m surprised and we beat them by 20 but I’ll settle for a 1 point win.

Michael Cunningham

January 22nd, 2010
6:52 pm

@ ew11: no inside joke, that’s a typo. fixed. see, @astro joe, i already need that pass.

@ Fundamentals: got ya . . . last i heard Sund didn’t anticipate being active at the trade deadline. i plan to check in again with him soon and will report.

joBjo

January 22nd, 2010
6:56 pm

When are the Hawks going to trade Joe? we can’t just let his contract expire and get nothing for him, he cost us 2 1st rounders.