Archive for February, 2010

Bucks at Hawks, AKA Waiting on Big Z and Looking For Tough D

At least three reports surfaced over the weekend saying Zyrdunas Ilgauskas will re-sign with Cleveland.

His agent, Herb Rudoy insisted those reports are “very premature” and said the Hawks are still in contention to sign Ilgauskas.

“I’ve gotten a number of calls about that, and it’s absolutely not true,” Rudoy said today. “Could it happen? Absolutely. But he has not made a decision. That will be at least a few more days from now if not more.”

Rudoy said he wasn’t sure of Ilgausaks’ motivations other than a desire to play for a team with championship aspirations.

“We haven’t gotten past this whole thing of being traded away,” he said. “That was sort of expected but it didn’t make him happy. He’s got a lot of years invested in Cleveland, and that makes it a very complicated decision for him. He wants to win a championship, but I don’t know how (else) he will make a decision. He told me he’s taking his time, and that’s what he will do.”

According to reports, the list of …

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Hawks Squawks: Mavericks 111, Hawks 103 (OT)

– What is it lately about the Hawks and these surreal endings? First Phoenix, then Golden State and now J. Kidd goes gangsta on Woody.

Woody took the hit for the loss. No, that’s not a bad pun by me, that’s what he actually said (and he wasn’t smiling). ““He made a heck of a play. Jason Kidd is an All-Star, a Hall of Fame guard and he’s had a hell of a career. He did what he had to do. I’ve got to take the hit on that. I shouldn’t have been on the floor.”

– After Kidd ran into Woody, he woofed at the coach and Woody responded in kind as Hawks players, officials and Mavericks coaches intervened. It all happened right in front of me and I still can’t believe it.

– “It was a big deal,” J.J. said. “He just blatantly ran into our coach. I’ve never seen that.”

– As play continued Hawks fans near the court jeered Kidd, who shrugged his shoulders and told them: “Hey, it’s a smart play.” And I guess it was but, dang, that’s kind of messed up.

– “I saw him run towards him. I didn’t …

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Mavericks at Hawks, AKA Lineups, Perspective and My Big Z Delusions

Brendan Haywood and the new-look Mavs are here. (JOHN F. RHODES/DMN)

Brendan Haywood and the new-look Mavs are here. (JOHN F. RHODES/DMN)

I’m going to refrain from talking about how the Hawks can make some kind of statement about being an elite team against the Mavs. I do this mostly because I usually don’t like building up regular-season NBA games too much but also because I’m written out and need to hand off to the Hawks blogosphere. There’s good stuff out there on lineups, perspective, J.J.’s future and my delusions about Big Z.

– Both Hawk Str8talk (get well soon) and Peachtree Hoops are trying to figure out the best personnel combinations for the Hawks.

atl_hawk_luv says put Teague in the starting lineup not just because of the rookie’s speed and defense but because Bibby would help the bench and J.J. could see a “glimpse of his future with the Hawks” alongside Teague. He wants Mo instead of Marvin, too. Whichever lineup you favor, he’s clearly hit on the two weak spots among the starters.

hawksdawgs is “no longer clamoring for bench …

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Ilgauskas gets release from Wizards, Hawks make pitch

Hawks hope to convince Big Z to leave Cleveland behind. (giantbomb.com)

Hawks hope to convince Big Z to leave Cleveland behind. (giantbomb.com)

The Wizards and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas completed a buyout agreement this morning and the Hawks have already made their pitch for the 7-foot-3 center to join them instead of returning to the Cavaliers.

“Once he clears waivers and becomes a free agent (on Monday), hopefully he will consider us,” Hawks general manager Rick Sund said today. “We talked to his agent. He knows we are interested, as are a couple other teams.”

Hawks coach Mike Woodson and some key players said Ilgauskas would be a great fit.

“He’d bring ‘veteranship,’” Woodson said. “And he can still play. He’s a big presence on the block, he can make shots, he can make free throws, he can rebound and he can block shots. ”

Hawks forward Joe Smith said he plans to contact Ilgauskas, his teammate during Smith’s two stints in Cleveland during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.

“I will try to reach out to him and see what he’s thinking,” Smith …

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Hawks Squawks: Hawks 98, Timberwolves 92

Smoove beat down the Wolves. (John Bazemore, AP)

Smoove beat down the Wolves. (John Bazemore, AP)

– Well, at least the Hawks won. “It’s a good win,” Jamal said. “The first game at home after a long trip is usually a tough one.”

– It didn’t have to be so tough. The Hawks were up 76-61 after outscoring Minnesota 27-15 over eight minutes of the third quarter. During that stretch they looked like an elite team handling their business against the worst team in the West.

– But then the subs started trickling in and that lead started withering away. “That’s kind of been a trend,” J.J. said. “When you sit down guys to start the fourth quarter teams are always going to make a run. That’s something we need to work on, whether it’s guys playing harder or more attention to detail.”

– Another game where Woody used the bench guys and they didn’t get it done as a group. Wither art thou, Big Z?

– It’s hard to fault the effort much when the Hawks beat a good rebounding team 46-38 on the boards. Maybe they blow out the Timberwolves if they …

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Timberwolves at Hawks, AKA The Other Side

Woody makes his point. He does have a few good ones.

Woody makes his point. He does have a few good ones. (AP Photo)

OK, so we know the one side. Woody doesn’t use his bench guys enough. There’s not enough variation in the offense, particularly late in games. These are valid concerns with evidence to support them and I’ve already put them out there.

Now, as your humble beat guy free of emotional attachment to the team and dedicated to perspective, I must present the other side(s) and then allow you to fuss at me.

First, the standings. Two games behind Orlando, one game behind Boston, 27 games to go. Yeah, that doesn’t necessarily tell us what’s going to happen in the postseason and it doesn’t mean you don’t fret over the Hawks’ problems. But at least look at the Hawks’ place in the standings and note that it’s pretty good.

Also, the offense: ninth in points, fifth in efficiency, first in turnover ratio and 12th in true shooting percentage. Again, those numbers don’t mean you don’t have concerns but at least look at them and …

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Hawks Squawks: Hawks 105, Jazz 100

Salt Lake City–Forget that Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko sat out with injuries for the Jazz. Remember that the Jazz had won 17 of 19, the Hawks had lost 15 straight in Utah and of course they were coming off that debacle at Golden State on Sunday night.

– “It’s big, especially with that long flight home,” Jamal said. “You don’t want to be sitting there thinking about a loss the whole time.”

– The Hawks showed resiliency in winning this one. They were down 85-79 and 95-94 but lots of guys made plays: Al (that blocked shot to stop a fastbreak layup), J.J. (that 3-pointer from the corner and a fadeaway jumper), Josh (blocked shot) and Crawford (the steal and two free throws).

– The Hawks went 2-2 on the trip. “It was a big win after an upsetting loss last night,” Bibby said. “We could have won 3 of 4 but .500 is pretty good.”

– Blowing that 18-point lead at Golden State tested the Hawks’ mettle. “After last night we could have folded it in,” Al said. “Especially with the …

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Hawks at Jazz, AKA Woody Says No Need To Panic

Salt Lake City– After the Hawks’ collapse at Golden State last night, Woody said he needs to diversity the offense late in games because the isolation game has made the Hawks too stagnant.

After watching the video, he backed off from that stance a bit.

“We’re good when we are moving the ball,” he said. “But we’ve won a lot of games. I am not going to take them out of their domain. We’ve won a lot of games early with Joe and Jamal making plays off the dribble, either for themselves or for other people. When it works, it looks good. When it don’t work everybody thinks you are standing around and not getting anything accomplished.”

To Woody, the stagnant offense was kind of besides the point to the Hawks blowing that 18-point lead.

“That didn’t beat us last night,” he said. “We give up 35 points in a quarter when we’ve held this team to (73) points in three quarters. That’s a problem. We had breakdowns defensively on transition defense. Our court balance coming back, it was …

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League not considering blocking Ilgauskas return to Cleveland

Cleveland–If Big Z wants to return to Cleveland after the Wizards buy out his contract the league doesn’t plan to stand in his way.

A league official with knowledge of its procedures said there’s been no discussion by the NBA about blocking Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ return to Cleveland after he secures a buyout. The official said the NBA would only look into the matter if there were evidence of a prearranged deal for Ilgauskas to re-sign with the Cavaliers after being traded to Washington and released. The Wizards plan to buy out Ilgauskas’ contract soon, and he then would have to wait 30 days to re-sign with the Cavaliers or he could sign with another team immediately after clearing waivers in 48 hours.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday night that the league would not allow Ilgauskas to return to the Cavaliers. The Times cited as precedent the league blocking Dallas from trading Jerry Stackhouse in 2008, but the league barred that move after Stackhouse told media a deal was …

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Hawks Squawks: Warriors 108, Hawks 104

Stephen Curry and the Warriors took one from Hawks. (NBA.com Photo)

Stephen Curry and the Warriors took one from Hawks. (NBA.com Photo)

Oakland– That’s two games in a row where an all-systems failure led to a dispiriting loss for the Hawks. Same scene after each one, too: J.J. sitting dejectedly at his locker, still in uniform while his teammates hit the showers.

– Not hard to figure why he was bummed about this one. The Hawks did so much right to build an 18-point lead, then blew it by doing everything wrong.

– “We were too comfortable,” Al said. “We thought we could just let them make their run and come back and we would still win.”

– Instead the Warriors took it from them. They had just eight healthy bodies and probably no more than two players on the court who could crack the Hawks’ rotation. Yet they were poised while the Hawks fell apart.

– “We just failed to execute coming down the stretch,” Woody said. “We had a comfortable lead and we stopped doing the things that got us the lead. Defensively, we just shut down.”

– “We definitely …

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