Archive for January, 2010

J.J. (foot) and Smoove (Achilles’) banged up but expect to play vs. Kings Wednesday night

Hawks guard Joe Johnson (right foot) and forward Josh Smith (right Achilles’) both watched practice Tuesday but said they would be ready to play against the Kings Wednesday night at Philips Arena.

Johnson, who was limping a bit after treatment, said his injury is “nothing major.” He has started all 40 games this season.

“I ain’t going to be missing no games,” he said. “We’ve got something special going on here.”

Smith, who also has yet to miss a game, said he believes the bruise was caused by a strap on the back of his shoe rubbing against the Achilles’.

Continue reading J.J. (foot) and Smoove (Achilles’) banged up but expect to play vs. Kings Wednesday night »

Hawks squawks: Thunder 94, Hawks 91

– Did the Hawks not realize the Thunder would come out and play hard? It’s pretty much what that team is known for. Well, that and Kevin Durant’s sick skills.

– Durant had 29 points but that wasn’t really the problem for the Hawks. “We got outworked it seemed like in every aspect of the game,” said Josh Smith.

– I thought the Thunder would give the Hawks problems because of their scrappy, relentless style. So did Woody: “You try to alert your guys to get them ready. I thought we just thought we were going to show up and beat them.”

–The Thunder built a 15-point lead by relentlessly attacking the basket. The Hawks got back in it with stronger resistance at the rim and good work on the boards.

– The Hawks showed defensive grit in the fourth quarter. But the ball movement and shot selection were weak, so the Hawks never could gain the lead even as the Thunder suffered its own offensive drought.

– “We limited them to one shot, got a couple steals here and there, capitalized …

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Thunder at Hawks, AKA Kevin Durant: Dat Boy Good

Woody says Thunder forward Kevin Durant should be considered for MVP: “His numbers are ridiculous right now.”

Indeed. Durant has scored 30-plus in five straight games, including 36 in Oklahoma City’s 98-80 victory against the Heat Saturday. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra has seen enough:

“I’m glad that we don’t play (the Thunder) again this year,” Spoelstra told The Oklahoman. “Give us some time to figure him out. He is so big and skilled and can shoot it over the top of you. Even if you are there, he doesn’t even notice you. When he shoots it like he did (Saturday), it just makes it that much tougher. He has grown a lot. I remember in his rookie year, he was nothing like this.”

Zaza is back.

Jamal Crawford is quoted in an MLK Day/NBA piece in the Contra Costa Times:

“For the most part, players of this generation try to treat everyone equal no matter their color or gender. … Try to respect one another. There are still situations in life we can improve on, but …

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Heard ‘Em Say

Some Hawks talk from around the Web:

Chris Perkins, my boy from back in Miami, is the former Heat beat writer for the Palm Beach Post (we both got whacked from our gigs last year during cutbacks). Writing for Hoopsworld, Perk says the Hawks are a year away from being real championship contenders assuming they bring back Joe Johnson and Woody:

“Atlanta has beaten Boston three times this season. The Hawks (24-13) have the fourth-best record in the East. But does that mean Atlanta beat any of the top three teams – Boston, Cleveland or Orlando – in the East in a best-of-seven series?

Maybe. What it really might mean is the Hawks need to stay together for another year, when they’ll likely be atop the East and have a legitimate shot at the NBA championship.”

– He’s not writing about the Hawks, but Tim Povtak at Fanhouse uses them as a contrast to the old and injured Celtics:

“The Celtics will have trouble getting past the second round this spring. They were lifeless at home when …

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The Aftermath . . .

Something big happened for the Hawks last night.

No, not that. Yeah, Jamal Crawford’s dagger was exciting, and it was just rewards for the Hawks after they kept competing hard (if not always smart) after the game appeared lost. But this being the NBA, the buzz from a victory like this lasts for 10 minutes and then it’s on to the next one. For the Hawks, that’s Oklahoma City on Monday.

More important for the big picture, a couple hours after Crawford’s game-winner the Magic got blown out at Portland for its sixth defeat in eight games. The Hawks, winners of five of their last six, moved a half game ahead in the Southeast and are No. 3 in the East. The Magic is shook, with forward Matt Barnes wondering out loud to the Orlando Sentinel about the team’s resolve after it failed to compete against the Brandon Roy-less Blazers:

“It’s like we are going through the motions. Just because you went to the Finals last year, you can’t go out on the floor and expect teams to lay down. We …

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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 …

Continue reading Late squawks: Hawks 102, Suns 101 »

Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is. . .

. . . not Hov’, and that’s fine by me. Because what’s Jigga got that I don’t except fame, talent, money and Beyonce? I’ve got a beat and a blog, baby!

Seriously, tonight’s game is my debut as the permanent replacement for my man Sekou Smith on the Hawks beat. I’m new to Atlanta but this is a reintroduction of sorts because I’ve been out of the sports writing game since last May. That was not by choice but because of cutbacks at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where I covered the Miami Heat among other things. Grad school was calling my name until the AJC called me up. I feel fortunate to land here.

My last personal experience with the Hawks was covering that ugly playoff series with the Heat in ‘09. Since I got this gig I’ve been following Ken Sugiura’s fine coverage (big thanks to Ken for so graciously going out of his way to help me make a smooth transition). I tried to keep up with all things NBA and Hawks and caught as many games as possible for an …

Continue reading Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is. . . »

Whaddya think about 52 wins?

Greetings, all-

Hope you are doing well. Got some links, one of which will lead me to a question.

First, a hoopsworld.com column touting big things from the Hawks next season.

“(T)he Hawks need to stay together for another year, when they’ll likely be atop the East and have a legitimate shot at the NBA championship.”

A must-read for any Hawks fan. Slam writer Lang Whitaker got virtually unlimited access to the Hawks on their road trip to Dallas in early December. There’s some great stuff in here.

Dime magazine says that Josh Smith is one of the top five athletes in the NBA.

The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro weighs in on the Suns as they near the halfway point of the season.

Does this sound familiar?

“The only difference I can see is that we were hungrier at the start of the year,” Steve Nash said. “We left nothing to chance. We came out and played hard and were rewarded for it. I don’t feel like we’ve had the same attention to detail and hunger. We’ve got to get back to being a …

Continue reading Whaddya think about 52 wins? »

Wizards-Hawks thread

Greetings, all-

Thanks for all the love. It really means a lot to have passed muster with you guys. Just a couple notes, and we’ll get to the game.

1) Mario West is going to dress tonight. Zaza Pachulia is at home with flu symptoms, so Mike Woodson won’t have to sit anyone to see what “Greasy,” as he’s known, can do. As you can imagine, West was pretty fired up about getting an opportunity.

2) Mo Evans may not play. His wife is delivering their first child. Woodson didn’t know where things stood when we talked to him, around 5:40.

3) I asked Woodson about playing zone against the Celtics, particularly how much they’ve played it in the past and this year.

“We played (some) zone last year. Probably the year before we played zone a lot. It’s kind of shrunk over the last couple years but two years ago, we played zone a lot. That won us a lot of games. Last year, we played it some. Mainly, we tried to play it in back-to-back games where you kind of, instead of chasing guys a lot, …

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Back from Boston

Greetings, all-

Just got back from Boston and am in the office, waiting to head over to Philips for practice.

Some links:

Two Boston Globe stories from last night’s game.

Game story that focuses on Glen Davis‘ flagrant foul on Marvin Williams, and what happened after.

“I was surprised,’’ Davis said. “I’m a big guy. I don’t feel like I did it intentionally. Really, when I was coming down, I was trying to hold him from falling. The refs made a decision. I can’t get mad and upset at them.’’

A column questioning the Celtics’ status at the top of the East.

(Joe) Johnson, who finished with 36, is a quiet assassin. The former Celtic – can you believe he was traded to Phoenix for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers? – is one of the league’s best pure scorers and shows no emotion when he snuffs the confidence of opposing defenses. The Hawks are a young team and Johnson is only 28, but he has a veteran savvy that teammates pick up on.

From the Boston Herald:

“We still feel …

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