Postponement “blessing in disguise” with J.J. (flu), Zaza (hip) out

The postponement of the Hawks’ game at Washington on Saturday might eventually force them to play on three straight nights but they might have caught a break in the short term.

As it turns out, Joe Johnson likely wouldn’t have made the trip to D.C. Saturday due to flu-like symptoms. Also, Zaza Pachulia’s nagging left hip injury is flaring up.

“It could be a blessing in disguise,” Woody said of the postponement due to snowstorms in the D.C. region.

Pachulia sat out practice today and Johnson stayed home. Both players are questionable to play Tuesday at Memphis.

Woody said J.J. would be reevaluated on Monday. He said if Johnson doesn’t travel with the team to Memphis on Monday he could join the Hawks on Tuesday.

“We’ll have to gauge it when he comes in (Monday),” he said. “It’s going to be up to him what he wants to do.”

Zaza is scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

“My gut tells me he won’t make the trip,” Woody said.

Zaza said doctors haven’t been able to pin down the problem other than to say it’s possibly tendinitis. He said the pain is just above the hip area.

“I don’t know how it started,” he said. “It’s on and off. It’s started ‘on’ again. I just hope it’s nothing serious.”

The league hasn’t yet said when the postponed game will be rescheduled. But looking at the teams’ schedules, and taking into account the Wizards share the Verizon Center with the NHL’s Capitals and Georgetown University, it’s hard to see how the Hawks can make up the game without playing on three consecutive nights.

That’s what happened in 1996, when a rescheduled game due to postponement forced the Hawks to play on April 4, April 5 and April 6.

Either way, Woody said the league made the right choice to postpone Saturday’s game.

“It’s a mess,” he said. “Trying to travel and play under those conditions would have been tough.”

MC

93 comments Add your comment

O'Brien

February 7th, 2010
2:00 pm

If the Hawks do end up playing on 3 straight nights, it will be important that our bench is utilized.

Hopefully, after the All-Star break, Our bench will be able to step it up, and hopefully Woody will be able to give them minutes.

With ZaZa’s injury, I guess that probably decreases the chances of him being traded (if the Hawks were looking into it).

Nicky

February 7th, 2010
2:00 pm

Thank goodness, I may be able to prevent the inevitable.

Nicky

February 7th, 2010
2:02 pm

Thank you O’Brien for a reasonable early post. I refuse to use the “word”.

BONE

February 7th, 2010
2:32 pm

Hey ya’ll Atlanta is gonna be in the Haier Shooting stars competition on Saturday. With Joe, Steve Smith, and Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream.

BosnianBaller

February 7th, 2010
2:37 pm

Steve Smith and Joe Johnson on the same team.I think the Hawks are going to win that shooting stars thing

Hawk n the Ham

February 7th, 2010
2:40 pm

The Hawks win either way if the Celtics or Magic lose today. But I’m pulling for the Celtics, the more losses for the Magic, the better :)

RA

February 7th, 2010
3:03 pm

I agree with Hawk n the Ham.

RA

February 7th, 2010
3:12 pm

Orlando has had a couple of games recently that they’ve either lost or barely won. If I’m Woodson, sometime between now and the last game with Orlando, I’d be watching some serious tape.

dap01

February 7th, 2010
3:33 pm

Other teams play Orlando better than we do. How does ATL’s game plan against Howard compare to other teams?

Ree Roe

February 7th, 2010
3:51 pm

I hope Al & Woody are watching how Perkins is playing Dwight. 2 pts & 3 fouls for Dwight in the first half @ BOS and hardly any double teams.

-REEcently Roe!!!

O'Brien

February 7th, 2010
4:17 pm

Ree Roe,

Another thing that helps teams when they play Dwight is penetration from their PGs. Case in point, Howard committed a foul on Rondo driving to the basket. You will never see Howard having to guard Bibby or stop his penetration.

Also, other teams get calls when the Hawks dont. But a big part of it is because we shoot a lot of jump shots.

O'Brien

February 7th, 2010
4:47 pm

Man,

Magic with a big run. Which sucks for the Hawks. Because if Orlando wins the division, the Hawks will be the 4th seed, even if we have a better record than Boston.

Hopefully, Celtics can pull it out.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 7th, 2010
4:57 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

February 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

Yeah, I was pulling for the C’s to pull out the win too. A 4 seed is pretty much a death sentence in Round 2. The Hawks have to win the division this year if they want to make the ECF, not only because there’s almost no way they beat Cleveland, but also because Boston is the best matchup for them among the top 3.

O'Brien

February 7th, 2010
5:06 pm

Magic Win. I think the Celtics are old, injured, and out of shape. I dont see them being a serious threat in the playoffs.

I think for the Hawks to beat Cleveland in round 2, we have to make a move to add somebody else. I just dont know if we can beat Cleveland 4 games out of 7 in the playoffs, with them having LeBron, with them having home-court advantage, and with them getting all the calls from the refs.

JD

February 7th, 2010
5:14 pm

Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are still drinking the Celtic “Kool Aid”. Each of them thinks the Celtics beat either the Hawks or Magic in a playoff series. Apparently neither of them has actually watched the Celtics play this season.

Anyone notice Ray Allen, an 89% free throw shooter, left the first of two short at a crucial point in the game? Dead legs, simple as that.

The announcers kept mentioning the number of double-digit leads the Celtics have blown since Christmas, yet none of them relates that statistic to older players like Allen, Pierce and Garnett. Garnett may be the most susceptable to a long season because he has been playing over 100 games as a pro since he graduated from high school, even though he is younger than Allen and Pierce. Professionalism, fortitude, experience and even work-ethic will not make up for the loss of strength due to age, wear and tear.

RLP

February 7th, 2010
6:27 pm

O’BRIEN:

I think you are wrong about the seeding. Earlier this year I posted the seeding as found on NBA.COM and I believe that the three division winners and the fourth place team are seeded by won – lost record first. I’ll research it and post again later.

vava74

February 7th, 2010
8:01 pm

Zaza’s injury could be good news for us. Perhaps we will finally see what RandoMo is really capable of doing.

JB

February 7th, 2010
8:32 pm

I think Charlotte might be the team I least want to play in the first round

JeJe

February 7th, 2010
9:18 pm

vava,

RandMo won’t get minutes. Horford, instead, will just play 45 minutes.

We all know Woodson doesn’t use players not in the rotaiton

JeJe

February 7th, 2010
9:18 pm

…..*Rotation in situations where players are out

vava74

February 7th, 2010
10:19 pm

Well, he will have to since Joe Smith is limited physically.

Jody

February 7th, 2010
10:27 pm

I don’t know what Van Gundy or Mark Jackson have been watching this year, but the Celtics are clearly the fourth best team in the East and would lose to the Hawks, Magic or Cavs in a seven game series.

With that being said, however, the Hawks have to make a move if they want to beat the Magic or the Cavs in a seven game series this year. Trying to exploit the isolation game won’t work against the Magic and Cavs the way it does against Boston. If the Hawks are intent on playing that style, they need to add another guy who has the “iso” ability. I think that would give them at least one distinct advantage over those two teams that they currently don’t have.

O'Brien

February 7th, 2010
10:43 pm

RLP,

I’m pretty sure the 3 division winners are automatically the top 3 seeds. So even if the Hawks have a better record than the Celtics, we will still be the 4th seed assuming Orlando wins the division. The NBA did it that way because they wanted to reward the division winners.

Another reason why the Cavs will be tough is because I think they will be well rested for the playoffs. Whereas the Hawks will be playing all the way to the end to try and catch the Magic.

Everybody keeps talking about these Celtics as being a great team. Even Woody said he thinks they are the best team in the East. I just dont know what these guys are watching.

The Celtics are old (and slow), they have a weak bench, and KG and Pierce have been injured. They are 2-8 against the Hawks, Magic and Cavs.

awantwin

February 7th, 2010
10:43 pm

The winter storm in the northeast was quite a powerful one. The postponement does give the injured guys a chance to get well…which is a good thing.

gwite

February 7th, 2010
11:22 pm

People keep saying “have to make a move”. Make WHAT move?(In regards to aquiring a “big”).

Hawks will have to just “break through” with what they have. Any “moves” will just be a reshuffling of personnel, a la the off season “moves”.

RLP

February 7th, 2010
11:37 pm

O’BRIEN:

I thought so as well but earlier this year I found the following at http://www.nba.com/standings/team_record_comparison/conferenceNew_Std_Cnf.html

Playoff Tie-Break Procedures

Teams 1 to 4 in each conference are the three division winners and the team with the next best regular-season record, with the seeding of these four teams determined by regular-season record. The playoffs seedings of Teams 5 to 8 are based upon regular-season record. Ties are broken pursuant to the rules set forth below.

TBASTANSTS

February 7th, 2010
11:42 pm

Enter your comments here

jmthoughts

February 7th, 2010
11:42 pm

Re: seeding.
The top four are based on record only. If ATL has a better record they would be seeded ahead of BOS but, if they are tied, then BOS gets the higher seed b/c they would be a division winner despite the season sweep.

jean

February 7th, 2010
11:47 pm

joe please dont play craw 50

hawkfan

February 7th, 2010
11:57 pm

If I had to choose between the Cavs and Magic in Round 2, I would pick the Cavs. I dont think we can beat either team in a 7 game series, but at least against the Cavs the Hawks would have a chance if they could get out and run b/c Shaq and Ilgauskas WOULD NOT be able to keep up with Josh and Horford. Of course, they have this guy, #23 who is pretty good …

hawkfan

February 8th, 2010
12:03 am

But then again … playoff basketball generally has a much slower pace so it would be difficult to impose a running style of play. With that said, it’s like ‘pick your poison’. Either D Howard the Beast and his 3 pt shooting crew, or Lebron and his two 7 ft sidekicks.

jmthoughts

February 8th, 2010
12:09 am

I do think ATL should make a move. Hawks are currently a step below CLE and ORL and there is no getting past either one of them with the current make up. ATL is too small in the middle and the firm of Horford, Morris, Pachulia is adequate but not intimidating. If Hawks are to improve, now’s the time. Mgt is going to have to show they are serious about winning now if they want to keep JJ from bolting to the Knicks next year.

RLP

February 8th, 2010
12:28 am

There has been quite a bit of discussion on this blog about the “Elite” teams in the NBA. Based on what has happened so far this year I think there are only two teams in the league this year that are “Elite” – The Lakers and the Cavaliers. I think in the East it is clear that Orlando and the Celtics have fallen out of the “Elite” but have been joined by the Hawks on the second tier just below the “Elite”. For the Hawks this is a step up from where they were last year. For the Magic and the Celtics it is a step back. I think last year that Hedo was the Magic’s best player in the playoffs. Losing him hurt that team and the addition of Carter does not counter balance that lost. The injury to Garnett last year prevented the Celtics from maintaining their spot as an “Elite” team and this year injuries have really decimated their strength. I agree with those on this blog who question the analysis of the announcers of today’s game between Orlando and Boston. Right now I think Boston may fall even further behind the Hawks and the Magic.

As an Atlanta fan it is difficult to face the reality that this year’s team still lacks the maturity to compete night after night to the point that they can claim “Elite” status. Earlier in the year I thought this might be the team’s breakout year. But watching the team play it is obvious that they are not there yet.

I would compare this year’s team to the 1985-86 team. That year they faced Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. The Detroit team would go on to become know as the “Bad Boys” and win two World Championships in 88-89 and 89-90. But in 1986 they lost to the Hawks in the first round 3 games to one. The Hawks were defeated that year by the Celtics in the second round four games to one. The following year they won the Central Conference championship and won a franchise tying 57 games. Once again they faced the Pistons but this time it was in the second round of the playoffs. This time the Pistons won four games to one. The following year 87-88 their regular season record fell to only 50 wins. They again won their first round playoff match but faced the Celtics in the second round. They went up three games to two but in the sixth game play in Atlanta the Hawks lost by two points and then game seven featured the epic fourth quarter battle between Bird and Dominique. The Celtics then faced the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals. This was the series where Larry Bird stole the last second pass and throw to Dennis Johnson for a win in game six when the Pistons were on the verge of defeating the Celtics. They lost that series but then went on to win two championships while the Hawks fell back.

The point of recapping that history is because this year’s team stands very similar to the Hawks team of the year 1985-1986. It is my belief that this year’s team will finish third in the East. What they do in the playoffs this spring will prepare them to reach for “Elite” status next year. But that will only happen if management does not panic because of the danger of facing Superman in the playoffs and make a stupid move to shore up the center by giving away some vital cog in what makes this group one that is capable of battling for “Elite” status for a number of years.

Instead they should look at how Perkins plays Howard. I think Horford is capable of emulating Perkins which would allow the rest of the team to play the kind of lock-down defense needed to compete against the Magic. But I am also concerned by the way the Bulls defensed Horford Friday night. If other teams pick up on what the Bulls did then Horford will have some work cut out for himself this summer developing counter moves.

jmthoughts

February 8th, 2010
1:33 am

Doing a little history as well. The Hawks began in 1949 have won the Central Divison three times and 0 conference championships. The Magic on the other hand have four division titles and two conference championships since 1989. ATL has lost their last six against ORL by an average of 19.

I agree that a third place finish is likely given BOS’s current state and as of right now Hawks are only a game back of ORL but whether Hawks finish second or third it most likely is a ATL/ORL match up in the second round. So, it’s more than a danger of facing Superman in the second round and taking steps to address a weakness is a reasonable response to past history and current reality. You can stand pat and probably be third and go home after the second round again. If third place is good enough, then it’s good enough for this year. But why accept it if you have the ability to change it?

sam'l

February 8th, 2010
3:17 am

I’ve been a Hawk fan since 1957 when my grandfather gave me an old Philco radio to pick up KMOX 1120 with Bud Blattner and Jerry Gross in Saint Louis. The best teams at the time were Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and LA and San Francisco with Wilt.. The Hawks have somehow broken my heart for 50 years! They’ve always shown promise, raised hopes, and failed when it counted. I remember entire seasons coming down to the end of a playoff game where Maravich would dribble through four or five defenders and throw some loony pass out of bounds. Seems like it happened a lot. Then, of course, the Hawks were the worst team in the NBA the last ten years. This year, we have a different story……. .

I disagree that the Hawks cannot beat Cleveland. We were up in both games this year and should have won both. (Yeah, I think the time clock error sucked). . The Hawks lose when they stand around on offense no one cuts, screens or moves. They lose rebounds that way. The Hawks lose when they don’t play defense with a unified sense of purpose. The Hawks lose when a superfast guard starts scoring on them. The Hawks lose because they seem to lack coherent plays designed to take advantage of other teams’ weakness. The Hawks lose because the coach is not a fine tactician, can’t make adjustments and can’t motivate his team for crucial games. If I were making millions, I don’t think I would come out “flat” in 30% of the games. . .

Orlando loses when their 3-point shots don’t go in. I think in a playoff series, if they are really pressured,they would have 2 games where they might be off-target. I also believe Mario West should be unleashed on a regular basis against anybody anywhere who is doing damage. .

Like a previous blogger said, Woodson should be watching many, many tapes on Orlando. If this team dug in and played intelligent hard-nose basketball 100% of the time, they would have at least 5 more victories so far and I’ll say it again, they could go all the way this year…

One thing I do not understand is…..if Steve Holman (sp?) is correct in calling nonexistent fouls on opponents every other play, why do the officials get away with obvious mismanagement of the game. Or is Holman really delusionary?. And if so, why not find someone who doesn’t call every game like it makes him ill to watch. Another thing I don’t understand is the public address announcer. The beauty of the game is watching pure athletes and intelligent game plays. This guy acts as if people pay to listen to him go nuts. Please, let’s at least TRY to act smart unless we’re pandering to 7-year-olds.. ..

Sorry. I’m going to have to give this up. It’s too important. Or would watching the Hawks beat the Lakers really be worth it all, for me, the other fans, the city, the coach and the team.. Wouldn’t that be nice!

vava74

February 8th, 2010
7:02 am

Impatience is a mother of bad decisions.

I agree with RLP and if you don’t mind my extra gain of salt:

During the summer I stated – to the disbelief of many – that 57 wins was our achievable goal for this season given the organic growth which JSmoove, Al and Marvin would be showing.

I was wrong on Marvin, but Crawford compensated that by being better that I thought he would be, and I still believe that we will finish – barring any significant injury – on or around the 57 win mark.

I also said that THIS would NOT be our year YET and that NEXT season should be the year in which we would reach the ECF and maybe even the finals. Obviously, this will hinge on JJ resigning with us.

The reason that this is not our year yet and next year should be the one is simple:

Lebron is balling and has a good supporting cast (this is probably the last year that Shaq and Ziggy are real contributors) and it is highly probable that next year – even if he wins the championship this year – he will be elsewhere “rebuilding” and adjusting to a new cast of teammates (please, someone in the west coast offer him the world).

Also, next year the Celts will be definitively dead – this year with a “bit” of help from the refs they may still win a 7 game series against us.

And finally: I still believe that the Carter trade has rendered the Magic less dangerous (regardless of the success that they have against us) and since they will fall short this year (probably against the Cavs) the “happy times” will be gone next year with Carter and J-Williams a year older and slower, a sense that the best opportunity is gone will be installed and SVGundy will be under a lot of heat.

We, on the other hand, if we re-sign JJ, will be again better and more mature than this year.

O'Brien

February 8th, 2010
7:49 am

vava74,

I really dont think LeBron will be leaving the Cavs. Based on salary cap, Cleveland will offer him more than any other team, and I just dont see him leaving to go to another team that might be a 5-8 seed next year. And its not like his new team will be able to afford 2 max guys.

Plus Shaq and Big Z are expiring, so Cleveland will try and find a way to add more players to make LBJ happy.

I do agree though that the Celtics are done, and the Magic will be on the decline even more next year. I think Miami could be a dark horse if they resign Wade and add a guy like Bosh or Boozer, but Hawks should definitely be top 2 or 3 next year if JJ resigns.

Astro Joe

February 8th, 2010
8:57 am

I would have liked to see the Hawks play a game without Joe… actually, to see them play a game or two without any one of their starters. I’ve been disappointed in our bench (Jamal excluded) so maybe having a spot start would have jump started someone. Woody may have started Mo against the Wiz (or even Mario) and kept Jamal in his 6th man role. Again, it would have been interesting to see… especially against a struggling team.

vava74

February 8th, 2010
8:58 am

O’Brien,

I think you may be overestimating Lebron’s character. He is still a very childish and spoiled brat and I take that he will look to make the move to NY/Brooklyn or to Chicago.

I wish Sterling had some sense in him and offered him an absurd contract for him to sign with the Clippers since the revenue he would attract would cover all and any luxury tax he may had to pay in double: sold out games, merchandise, new fans, …

I think that the idea of being in LA would appeal to Lebron, regardless of the bad history that the franchise has.

Baron, Jordan, Lebron, Griffin and Kaman would be quite a starting 5 and I am sure that it would easily win 55/57 games to the very least and would be competitive in the playoffs.

D Hawk

February 8th, 2010
9:11 am

RLP – good posting on the playoff seeding rules. I think the one caveat that may have people confused is the tie-break procedure for seedings. If Atlanta and Boston were tied in the seeding, Boston would win the seeding ahead of the other tie-break procedures assuming they are a division winner and Atlanta finishes behind Orlando. So Atlanta needs to make sure that they end up with a better record than Boston and/or Orlando to avoid the fourth seed.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 8th, 2010
9:18 am

If the seeding is as RLP says, it makes it even tougher on the Hawks. In order to get the matchup with Boston, they will need to not only win the division but also have Boston pass Orlando in the standings, which isn’t looking too likely.

Judging from the new info that has come out about the NBA owners’ demands in the labor dispute, it seems to me like the only way LeBron leaves is if a team like Olympiakos makes him an offer he can’t refuse. There simply isn’t any reason for him to go to a big-market struggling team like the Knicks or the Clippers if they can only sign him to three year deals and there is a hard cap limiting how much they can spend.

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 8th, 2010
9:25 am

Lebron on the West coast would be a dream come true and pave the way for a finals appearance for the Hawks.

Melvin

February 8th, 2010
9:37 am

Astro,

You beat me to it. I would like to see this team play a game or two without Joe. Before I get attack, I’m not wishing any ill will on Joe or him not being apart of this team. I want to see how this team play without him since the offense is design to rely on him so much. I want to see how Woody would adjust or which player(s) would step up. Again, in no way do I want Joe not apart of this team…..

GeeMack

February 8th, 2010
9:42 am

RLP & vava74

The Celtics and Magic are still considered “elit” teams because of what they’ve done the last 2 years (Boston’s championship & the Magic NBA finals apperance). I still put Boston ahead of ATL because I don’t think ATL can beat them 4 out of 7 win it counts.

I think the Hawks are better and they’ve closed the gap, but until you beat them in the playoffs the regular season is no indication of what can happen in the playoffs.

When the Hawks get to the eastern conference finals you will see them being mentioned as an elite team. Until then they are an ok playoff team.

GeeMack

February 8th, 2010
9:43 am

Elite & when

Astro Joe

February 8th, 2010
9:51 am

Melvin, the funny thing is that if Josh misses a game and we lose, people will say “see there, I told you Josh is the team’s MVP”. But if Joe misses a game and we lose, people will say “see there, I told you the offense is too reliant on Joe”. The spin would be annoying to read.

O'Brien

February 8th, 2010
9:51 am

AJ,

I remember last season, Woody seemed to coach better when he had less options. I agree that it would have been good to play a game or 2 without Joe. Maybe Marvin steps up like he did last season when Joe was out, and maybe Mo would start at SG so Crawford still comes off the bench.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Bibby miss one or 2 games either. That way, Woody will have to come up with a plan for Teague, and those minutes for Teague with the starters would be very valuable.

vava,

The thing with Lebron is he can be childish, but he wants to win. And even if he goes to the Knicks, they might not even win 50 games. Now Chicago might be a good spot, because we know how much LBJ loves Jordan. So maybe the Bulls try to work out a sign and trade with the Cavs.

But I dont see LeBron leaving the Cavs when they can offer him the most money and the most years, and the Cavs have been the #1 seed in the East 2 straight years, and LbJ might win MVP again this year. Plus, I think the Cavs will make a move at the trade deadline to convince Lebron to stay.

vava74

February 8th, 2010
9:52 am

GeeMack,

My ONLY concern against the Celts is the refereeing.

Strictly talent wise, we match up well against them and I can even see us beating them 4-2.

In relation to ORL, I doubt that we could ever win a series (in particular due to Woody, the mental block we have when we play against them AND the free pass which Howard has to “travel”, “charge” and “hack” as he sees fit when he plays against us), although I think we could put up a fight and fall 2-4.

Against CLE I have absolutely no hope: Lebron is raising his game to levels which – at his age – compare favorably even against MJ at the same age. Most probable outcome of a series would be 1-4.

IF – and it’s a big if – Lebron had the same focus and competitive juices which were MJ’s trade mark, he could develop into the best ever.

His combination of power and technique is unbelievable: he has a body similar to Karl Malone with the handles and control of MJ and the is developing an ability (and willingness) to hit the free man with a pass that border’s Magic’s.

Further to that, he is getting a huge PASS by the refereeing, which renders him virtually unstoppable right now.

GeeMack

February 8th, 2010
9:54 am

RLP

One thing you did not mention is that Hawks team never got passed the 2nd round. The Hawks never went and got a bonified star to play with Nique and wasted the opportunity to win it all.

Detroit on the other hand saw that Adrine Dantley was not the answer and replaced him with Mark Aguire and went on to win the Championship.

Sometime you have to give up a very good player to take you over the top. The Hawks are in that boat. The goal is not be mentioned as an elite team, but to win a championship.