Late Hawks Squawks: Hawks 103, Clippers 97

– Blog commenter TheZaZaGuy said it pretty well: “I was at the game. Kind of worried, but we pulled it out. Basically, we’re just better.”

– Better offensively, at least, on this night. The Hawks talked about how defense got them back in it, and that’s true when you look at the 11 points off seven turnovers in the second half.

– Still, after halftime the Clippers scored 51 points, shot 46 percent and had 16 rebounds (six offensive). The Hawks were just better with 62 points, 55 percent shooting and 17 rebounds (two offensive).

– The game was low energy from the start all around: Hawks, Clippers, Philips and press row. Both teams played the night before and maybe the fans did, too?

– No energy excuses for the Hawks. The Clippers were playing a back-to-back, too, and it came at the end of their eight-game, 15-day road trip. They also are one of the worst road teams in the NBA.

– Yet the Clippers outworked the Hawks for most of three quarters. “The back-to-back had a little to do with it,” J.J. said. “But right now we’ve got to be desperate. Coming down the stretch run of the season, we need to get in a good position for the playoffs. We can’t have letdowns like this where we are fighting hard to come back pretty much the whole game.”

– Nights like this are where Jamal and J.J. make the difference (no caps on that for Jamal because, sorry, that nickname is just too wack for him). They combined to score 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting in the fourth quarter. “In the second half, especially the fourth quarter, Joe and Jamal began to do what they do best, which is score baskets,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “The Hawks are tough to contain when both of those guys begin to score the way they did.”

– Jamal recorded his fifth four-point play of the season in the third quarter. There was some initial confusion about whether that’s an NBA record. The Hawks later confirmed it was Crawford’s 24th career four-point play, breaking Reggie Miller’s record (according to Harvey Pollack’s NBA Statistical Yearbook).

– “I just shoot when people don’t expect it,” Crawford said. “By the time they react, I’m in my follow-through.”

– Before the game, Woody said the Hawks depend too much on Smoove and Al to rebound. Then Marvin goes out and posts his first double-digit rebounding game since Dec. 5 (!) and just his second of the season (!!).

– The Hawks still gave up 14 offensive rebounds a night after allowing 17 to the Thunder. It’s a worrisome trend.

– Here is how hard the Hawks had to work for this one: Marvin, Smoove and Al all had double-doubles, but it took 34 from J.J. and 22 from Jamal to win.

– There were a handful of times the Hawks simply got beat down the court for layups. It happened twice in a row when the Clippers built that 13-point lead in the third. The fans let the Hawks have it after that, and rightfully so.

– I counted three Iso-Joe situations in the fourth quarter. The results: J.J. was fouled by Baron Davis and made both free throws to cut the Clippers’ lead to 84-83; J.J. went down the middle of the lane for a layup to tie it at 86-86; and J.J. went baseline for a layup that tied it at 88-88.

– That’s four Iso-Joe possessions in two games, with six points and a turnover. Excellent so far but there haven’t been heavy doses of it counted in a game yet.

– And Hawks blog legend Sekou informs me that he coined the term “Iso-Joe.” So let me give him Ps on that before this thing ends up in some ugly sampling lawsuit that all parties later come to regret.

– J.J. and Crawford were big in the fourth but don’t forget Horford: 3 for 3 from the field, 4 of 5 free throws and three rebounds in 10 fourth-quarter minutes. “He was being aggressive,” J.J. said. “That’s what we need him to be every night.”

– I’m out, Hawks fans. And I mean that for real once this NyQuil kicks in.

MC

158 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

Sekou, who’s that? :twisted:

vava74

February 4th, 2010
12:42 pm

Yeah, the name rings a bell but I don’t seem to know from where I know him… :-)

KevinA

February 4th, 2010
12:44 pm

4 games left till a nice break. All are games we can and should should win. Maybe that hot 4th qt will get Al out of the funk he has been in. Our assists have been down until this last game. We have been playing ok but not as well as we can. A little hot streak is what the doc orders.

vava74

February 4th, 2010
12:47 pm

I would like to invite everyone to check out the game’s highlights on http://www.nba.com and in particular Joe’s baseline drive for a lay up.

You’ll see that he got hit pretty hard on his right arm while driving and….. (drum roll…) NO CALL!!!

Remember that we were either tied or 2 points down on that play…

vava74

February 4th, 2010
12:49 pm

I checked: we were 2 points down 88-86 with 4 minutes and something to go.

If JJ had lost the ball on account of that hit, we would not have tied the game on that play and only god knows what would have been the outcome of the game…

MannyT

February 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

I think there will be a wikipedia entry that states Sekou Smith held AJC record for Hawks blog posts until the end of 2010 when Michael Cunningham took the record in less that one season. ;-)

…and I hope the Hawks NyQuil wears off before 8 PM on Friday.

I have been thinking about this for awhile. Given the number of home games we have played compared to the other top teams in the east, our lack of injuries, and your performance note
– Here is how hard the Hawks had to work for this one: Marvin, Smoove and Al all had double-doubles, but it took 34 from J.J. and 22 from Jamal to win.

Is this team close to its peak? If no, what next Mike Woodson? If yes, what next Rick Sund?

BWAF

O'Brien

February 4th, 2010
1:27 pm

Woody had a point though about how much we depend on Al and Josh to rebound. Our guards need to help out, but I would like to see Marvin especially step up his rebounding (and defense).

If the Hawks dont win their division, they will probably be the 4th seed, which means a matchup with Cleveland in the second round. With the amount of calls that Cleveland gets, with the size they have, and as good as LBJ is, it will be tough for the Hawks to win with these kind of efforts.

Or maybe I’m looking too far ahead.

Anyways, we need to put bad teams away early so that our bench guys can get some burn.

newkid

February 4th, 2010
1:35 pm

Couldn’t make it to the game last night, so had to endure Nique. Poor guy; obviously worked on his floor game while a player (and improved immeasurably), but results indicate no effort has been expended to improve his ‘booth’ game over the past couple years. He’s absolutely abominable, and for the sake of both trained and untrained ears Fox Sports desperately needs to send him to the NBDL of broadcasting. Where’s the mute button?

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
2:03 pm

newkid, Amen.

OB, if the Cavs get either Jamison or Murphy, my vote is to suspend the Eastern Conference playoffs and just let them wait until the West figures out who will rep them.

northcyde

February 4th, 2010
2:06 pm

I agree that we depend too much on Al and Josh to rebound. Having said that, they also have to make sure they reach their season rebound averages. Everyone knows that with Marvin Williams size, that he should be a much better rebounder than what he is. It was definitely nice to see him grab 10 boards ( 8 in the first half ).

Fact is though, Smoove and Horford were getting outworked on the boards until that 4th quarter. Then once JJ and Jamal got it going offensively, the two started to rebound better ( especially Horford ).

If one of the strengths that you possess is your rebounding ability, then you must do that on a nightly basis. We expect JJ and Crawford to pace us offensively with their shotmaking, so the same holds true with the frontline and their rebounding.

Noah is going to be just as active as Camby was, when we play Chicago on Friday night. A bit reason for the loss @ Chicago in mid-December ( other than the 3 – 19 FG shooting of Smoove and Marvin ), was the fact that Smoove only got 5 rebounds in that game. If he doesn’t have it going offensively, he also can’t afford to take nights off with his rebounding.

Tracy Morgan

February 4th, 2010
2:07 pm

I wub it Cunningham, I WUB IT!

northcyde

February 4th, 2010
2:22 pm

Mike C. . . . since this fan base is either too jaded by JJ so-called “selfish” play to do it, how about coming up with a creative nickname to describe the lethal combination of Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.

We’ve had great basketball nicknames in the past to describe a great combo of players.

NC State had “Fire and Ice” – Rodney Monroe and Chris Corchiani

Golden St had Run TMC – with Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin

Even the WNBA team LA Sparks have “Silk and Smooth” – Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie

So since the fan base won’t do it . . how about using your creative talents to come up with a cool nickname for JJ and Jamal?

I’ll suggest “Cool and Crafty” . . but I’m sure you can come up with a better name than that.

theZaZaguy

February 4th, 2010
2:40 pm

Commentating deficiencies aside, I love Nique. He tells it like it is and isn’t afraid to criticize the guys that he mentors, unlike the yes-men homer commentators on some of the other networks (especially Cleveland). He has insights that normal commentators don’t have. Also, he’s a class act. People love him, and he engages everyone he comes across at the games. Say what you want, but I wish people would lay off him a little. I personally love the guy (maybe it’s because he always winks at me when I yell “I love you nique!).

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
3:26 pm

I have a nickname for the 4th quarter heroics of Joe and Jamal… “The Reason Our Frontcourt Isn’t Rebounding”.

At least, that’s what some have suggested.

O'Brien

February 4th, 2010
3:30 pm

northcyde,

Good idea. Last year, somebody coined the term “FlipMo Squad” for Flip and Mo.

For Crawford and JJ, how about “Shake and Bake” (Jamal being Shake of course lol).

AJ,

From what I’ve been reading, Cleveland is willing to trade Big Z’s expiring contract for one of those guys. However, the Cavs also believe that whichever team gets Big Z might buy him out, therefore allowing him to resign with the Cavs 30 days later.

(Similar to what happened when McDyess got traded (by the Pistons I think), but resigned with the team that traded him 30 days later after his buyout). The Cavs will spend any amount of money to increase the likelihood that LeBron resigns with them.

I wonder if Sund has any ideas or trades on his mind? Or does he think the Hawks are fine the way they are, and just need to play with more focus?

Melvin

February 4th, 2010
3:36 pm

O’brien,

I like the “Shake and Bake” idea….

NorthCyde,

I remember the GA Bulldogs had a backcourt tandem in the 90’s with the nickname “Peanut Butter and Jelly”. Too bad I can’t remember their real names…lol

Daniel

February 4th, 2010
3:42 pm

newkid- poor ‘Nique, he is absolutely terrible. He has to be aware, doesn’t he? We have been complaining the past two years. They have to listen and critique themselves, right? Maybe he has pictures of someone important in a bad position?

Michael Cunningham

February 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

@northcyde: great idea. i will get on it as soon as my alleged creative mind isn’t so foggy. . . .

@theZaZaguy: agreed that Nique, while not polished as a broadcaster, is more honest than most local TV color guys. obviously he has the cred to say what he feels and isn’t afraid to bruise the egos of guys he interacts with daily. respect.

Blast

February 4th, 2010
3:55 pm

MC,

Get well soon, dude. We need you on Friday!

Yeah, it was nice to hear KG give Joe some props on National TV, naming him along with Kobe, LeBron and Wade as some of the most unstopable players in the league. Refs might refuse to acknowledge Joe in giving him his foul calls, but JJ has the respect of his peers, which matters a lot.

Blast

February 4th, 2010
3:58 pm

Also with his outburst of points the last few games, Joe has crept up to No.10 scorer this season at 22 per.

JM

February 4th, 2010
4:06 pm

not sure the great Sekou actually coined iso joe. i know i’ve been using it around here for a long time.

as for the game. i’m starting to see signes of the old Hawks, lack of effort and missing defensive assignments. that has to change because we cannot afford to slip to the fourth spot come playoff time.

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
4:30 pm

Guys, correct me if I’m wrong but the top 3 seeds go to the division winners regardless of record, right? If we finish in 2nd place in the SE division but have a better record than Boston(who will win their division), they still get the #3 seed. So it’s division winner or 4th.

I think Cuban was trying to lobby for re-seeding after the Mavs got hosed a few years back but I don’t think that Stern made any changes to the format… or did he?

theZaZaguy

February 4th, 2010
4:39 pm

Nique doesn’t need pictures. He’s nique. I frankly find that statement offensive.

And even though there are those of you who trash him and can’t stand his style, there are a large number of fans who say, “Yeah, what nique said was non-sensical,full of grammatical errors, and he’s probably distracted by his fine looking 20 something year old wife across the court, but he built Atlanta’s basketball legacy; The slam dunk competitions, the duel with Bird, and the crotch in Kevin McHale’s face. Not to mention Nique worked hard, improved his game every year, and never complained about his lot in life. He was a consummate pro and he gave his all not just to the hawks, but to this city and his family.

Unfortunately for Nique, there were people in his life that literally sucked him dry, which is most likely why he continues to work as much as he does. But he smiles, waves to the fans, signs autographs, and mentors younger players like the father figure that he is. A large number of us older fans have nothing but love and adulation for Nique, he was a part of our childhood and we really enjoy listening to him on the broadcasts when we can’t make the games.

Feel free to continue to criticize him, but remember he’s not going anywhere. He’s Nique.

Josh

February 4th, 2010
4:40 pm

MC, hope you start feelin’ better quick! great job with the post despite being drugged up on nyquil:P.

but yeah, had a chance to go to the game, and it was hard to see the lack of rebounding and overall effort in the first three quarters… but i’m glad they pulled this one out. hope they can finish strong before the break.

Lacsho

February 4th, 2010
4:56 pm

I use to complain about Nique, now I actually enjoy him. We must keep in mind Nique didn’t major in broadcasting, I think his major was slam dunks (anywayz) I find his heat check comment funny, and most of the time, he’s on point with his in game critiques.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 4th, 2010
5:08 pm

Would PULEEZE give Nique a break man???
You know who I’m talking about. Multiple culprits know who you are.
Let the man take a stab at commentary without griping on his vocabulary and grammar! He would have took us to the finals in 94 if he wasn’t traded so let him speak like only he knows how. If its that bad take ya a** to Phillips. SMH. I’m in the NO and don’t have the priviledge to view most of the games on local tv…be grateful for that. SMH

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 4th, 2010
5:09 pm

Would YOU….Thanks Lascho I concur

cp

February 4th, 2010
5:09 pm

newkid lol. Yea he has been brutal. I love what Nique did for this organization but its clear he does not work on his craft. Its one thing to tell it like it is but a lot of times its as if he isn’t even paying attention to the game if you go by his comments. His on the court accomplishments have nothing to do with how bad he has been in the booth. Nique seriously needs to work on his broadcasting skills. He should do what Mike Fratello said he did. Watch a lot of film and just practice calling the games.

As far as the Hawks go, they really need to rebound the ball better. When the playoffs come and teams slow down the tempo it is essential that we rebound better. We cant afford to give teams second and third chances to score per possession. Guys need to block out better and get on the glass. We are also need someone to help Crawford out from the bench come playoff time. He has been great so far but if we are going to make any noise in the playoffs somebody other than him has to come off the bench and play well.

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
5:13 pm

Nickname suggestions for Joe and Jamal:

‘Nique & Reggie (Theus) – It Sounded Good at the Time

Lamar and Khloe – Is This Supposed to Last?

Leno and Conan – Likely Chance Someone Gets Betrayed

Tiger & Elin – Someone is Leaving with a Ton of Money and the Other is Staying with a Ton of Money

Penn & Teller – Two Magicians but One Doesn’t Talk

Shareef and Big Dog – It Sounded Good at the Time, Part 2

Nickname Suggestion for Bibby, Marvin, Josh and Al:

Jackie, Tito, Marlon & Randy

Nickname Suggestion for Woody:

Papa Joe

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 4th, 2010
5:14 pm

ZaZa Guy too – thaks man. Nice to see I’m not alone on this one. I’m an 80’s baby and am all too famliar with Nique’s legacy. The griping in asinine to me, but that’s your human right to be like that. Some have more respect for the old school though – regardless of how well they speak.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 4th, 2010
5:17 pm

cp,
you don’t know if he is working on his craft or not – maybe he is a slow learner.
Go sit in phillips and listen to Ryan Cameron or just (as Iron Mike said it best, “Turn off your station”)

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
5:17 pm

One more… Tupac and Biggie.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 4th, 2010
5:24 pm

Astro Joe
The Jermaine, Tito…one was good but you lost me on Pac and Biggie – they got murked over some bull – not the fate I envision for Jamal amd JJ.

JJ Evans and Michael Evans from Good Times – Dynomite!!

theZaZaguy

February 4th, 2010
5:26 pm

How about Iceman and firestar.

Lacsho

February 4th, 2010
5:26 pm

Hawks Fan In NO- I feel you Bro

AJ- Tupac and Biggie LMAO!!!!!!!!

RA

February 4th, 2010
5:29 pm

Ray Glier wrote a fairly interesting piece on the Hawks ajc page about the Dwight Howard problem. I actually liked Woody’s point of view. In a nutshell, he said that the regular season and the playoffs are two different things. I believe that whether you’re talking about the Hawks and the Magic, or the Hawks and the Celtics. They’ve got one regular season game left with the Magic, and thirty some games left with everyone else, that’s where the focus should be. Glier also uses a quote from Rashard Lewis that I found helpful:

“They don’t have anybody who can guard Dwight inside,”

If his attitude is typical of the rest of that team, we may yet have an advantage come playoff time. Conceit can be a power ally, to an enemy.

Astro Joe

February 4th, 2010
5:36 pm

Hawks Fan in NO… rumors that Joe and Jamal have feuded. And Tupac and Biggie did appear together on a song.

RA

February 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

There’s one thing that concerns me to no end. When the Hawks lost to Oklahoma city on Monday, they had a matchup that was working. It seemed like Marvin Williams could score on Kevin Durant whenever he wanted to. That would have done two things at once. It would have made Durant work on defense and it would have opened up some more scoring, but they didn’t exploit the weakness. They need to get better at finding what works and milk it.

vava74

February 4th, 2010
6:20 pm

Astro, don’t get on my nerves! :-)

I did not say that Crawford an JJ were to blame for the lack of rebounding: I did not attributed guilt to players but to a “general lack of involvement of the front court on offense” since the get going.

As you could see from the Clippers game, Al, Josh and Marvin got more touches and in the end the three were more active on the boards (not an optimal performance, but significantly better).

I personally do not agree that when a guy is with a hot hand that we must privilege him on offense: that usually spells disaster and there are plenty of examples.

Yes, sometimes we need someone to step up, however, that should be the last resort.

It is fundamental to motivate and energise Al and Josh that they get the rock early and often: moat of our landslide wins this year started with big first quarters by Al and Josh and TYPICALLY with fairly quiet 1st quarter performances by JJ.

As for ‘Nique, I find his performance as a colour commentator kind of “endearing” in spite of his “unrefined” speech. I also agree that it is refreshing to hear someone speaking so frankly and unfiltered as be does.

Would it be nice to have someone with the quality of Hubie? Yes, but in comparison to what I have been hearing, ‘Nique ends up being above average because of his frank and uncerimonious tone.

Rod from College Park

February 4th, 2010
6:21 pm

RA,

When the Hawks lost to Oklahoma city on Monday, they had a matchup that was working. It seemed like Marvin Williams could score on Kevin Durant whenever he wanted to.

You are joking right. Marvin can’t score over 14 points when he is not guarded. It would be very stupid of our coach to keep going to a guy who has not proven he can score consistently. Marvin will make one or two moves per game, that make you think that he has game, then he falls, get blocked or losses the ball. That’s his MO. It’s very hard to exploit anything with Marvin. You can just hope that you actually remember that he played from game to game. The only to players, who every night have an advantage over whoever is guarding them are Crawford and JJ. As much as we hate to admit it, it’s the truth.

vava74

February 4th, 2010
6:23 pm

RA,

I agree. I said around here that the best way to keep Durant under control would be pound him and force him to defend, get tired and pick up fouls.

vava74

February 4th, 2010
6:46 pm

We should have played JJ at the SF slot against Durant all night long both on offense and defense.

Rod answer this

February 4th, 2010
6:56 pm

Rod,

True or false is Al Hortford 6 ft8 playing center in the NBA?

RA

February 4th, 2010
7:08 pm

No Rod, I have no sense of humor of which I’m aware. And I didn’t suggest that Marvin has an advantage night in and night out. I said that on that particular night he did. Marvin Williams has game, but all of Atlanta’s schemes complement the games of JJ and Jamal. That’s the thing that I hate to admit.

Ramon

February 4th, 2010
7:49 pm

RA, I would say that if Marvin was used in a way that Rip Hamilton is used, I could see him being productive. But at the same time, I still think the answer is with getting Josh and Al up to 12-15 shot attempts a game. With both of them shooting over 50%, they would be up around 17-19 ppg. This would also put more pressure on opposing teams front courts.

Melvin

February 4th, 2010
8:51 pm

rusty

February 4th, 2010
9:32 pm

i love nique & wished he was our coach

Melvin

February 4th, 2010
10:37 pm

Astro,

In response to your Playoffs seeding question at 4:30, the top 3 seeds are awarded to the three divisional winners ranking them by records. However, the team with the best regular record gets homecourt advantage no matter the seeded rankings. Checkout the link below for clarification.

http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?title=NBA_Playoffs_Format

RA

February 4th, 2010
10:39 pm

Ramon, I think you’re right. When you look at the elite teams in the league, what you can’t miss is the fact that they’ve got more than one person who they can run plays for at any given time. Except for the occaisional isolation in the post, I see very little scheming for Smoove and AL. Fortunately, Al’s got a post presence that reminding me more and more of Karl Malone (laugh if you want to, but that’s what I see). Smoove is getting his points mostly from transition and some nifty one-on-one play with his back to the basket. I just wish I could see more plays run for them, but it would be hard for Woody to integrate new schemes in at this point in the year. It’s kinda sink or swim…

As far as Marvin is concerned, on nights when he has a matchup advantage, and he’s trying to be agreesive, Woody needs to encourage that by giving the man the ball.

lp

February 4th, 2010
10:40 pm

Penn & Teller for a nickname

Classic