So what to make of these Hawks?

What to make of these Hawks, who lately have faltered while losing games within their grasps and not always in the same fashion?

“Sometimes defensively,” Marvin said. “Sometimes offensively.”

They are well within striking distance of 50 victories at 40 with 19 games to go. Yet the Hawks are 23-19 since Dec. 26. And in the last two weeks, with the Southeast Division title out there as a carrot, they’ve blown leads in two ugly losses (at Golden State and vs. Dallas) and suffered from mental lapses late in two others they had chances to win (at Miami and at New York).

Overall, the Hawks’ offensive numbers are very good, maybe even elite. But lately when it’s time to win tight games, their situational offense often sufferers from poor ball movement, bad shot selection, untimely turnovers and a general lack of focus.

The Hawks are supposed to be a defensive-minded team under Woody. For about the last month, though, they regularly haven’t defended with intensity for more than a few stretches per game (and, again, this is the time of year when they are supposed to be cranking it up). Then again, as they showed Monday in New York, when they decide to get after it defensively the Hawks look very good.

“We got stops when we needed to get stops,” Woody said. “I am trying to figure out how come we just can’t do that the whole game? That’s what’s been mind-boggling to me as the coach.”

So, what to make of the (40-23, capable of scoring on anyone, good on defense when they lock in, inconsistent all around) Hawks?

“We are on schedule to better our record from last year, and that is progress is kind of how I look at it,” Woody said today before the team departed for D.C. “How it plays out in terms of the conference remains to be seen. We are four games behind Orlando with 19 to go. Do we have a chance to win division? Sure we do. But we are going to have to play lights out to get it done.”

They aren’t doing that lately and–cant’ say this enough–this is the time serious contenders do it. That 21-8 start was nice but of course no one will remember that if the Hawks slide down the stretch then flame out in the playoffs.

What’s the problem?

“I don’t know, man,” J.J. said. “We lose focus a lot and that’s something we have to get back to doing (and) really defensively. Once we get our defense going back, the offense will come back. When we need to get stops, we can get them. We know what we are capable of doing. We just need to do it for 48 minutes.”

What’s the problem with the defense?

“We will play five minutes hard, and then (for) two minutes have some mental lapses,” Al said. “We have to be in tune with what we are doing.”

“We seem to kind of not get the defensive concepts down on a consistent, night-in and night-out basis,” Smoove said. “We go good for three or four games and then we slip. We have to be more consistent on night in and night out basis because we are going to score points.”

And which concepts do the the Hawks struggle to grasp?

“Maybe coverages,” Josh said. “But really just the simple principle of keeping your main in front of you.”

Woody said that simple principle is part of the problem. He said the Hawks have been “pretty good” with his defensive concepts but that it might be time to adjust them.

“I think the fact that I am trying to–I don’t want to use the word ‘hiding’ guys–but we switch a lot of things, we try to be proactive,” he said. “Maybe we need to scale back a little bit in those areas. But I don’t want to take our aggressiveness away. I think we are just doing it (defending well) in spurts.”

– Mo Evans (flu-like symptoms) didn’t fly with the team to D.C. today and isn’t expected to play Thursday at the Wizards.

MC

288 comments Add your comment

TROTTINGHOME

March 10th, 2010
2:24 pm

woody has maxed out his coaching ability

allan in texas

March 10th, 2010
2:28 pm

Step your game up hawks!

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
2:28 pm

Has anyone thought that maybe our core has been together too long? Someone said this last year–we’ve had the exact same starting lineup for 2 years. No other team or ELITE team had the same starting lineup last year.

i.e. can we please get rid of Marvin and Bibby (give them away to the Salvation Army and let someone else play with them) and get some new starters? Also, if ticket sales SUCK, then how will our “owners” have money to spend next year like Orlando did after a successful year 2 years ago?

Would be nice for Michael Cunningham to reply to my posts for once…

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
2:29 pm

“I am trying to figure out how come we just can’t do that the whole game? That’s what’s been mind-boggling to me as the coach.”

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! I CANNOT imagine any other coach in the NBA saying this.

THAT’S WHY WE LOSE EVERY GAME IN THE 4TH. BECAUSE U CAN’T GET THE TEAM MOTIVATED.

WOODSON BASICALLY JUST SAID HE WANTS TO BE FIRED. HE SAID HE CANNOT CONTROL THIS TEAM FOR 48 MINUTES

Astro Joe

March 10th, 2010
2:37 pm

JeJe, can your boss control you for the entire workday?

T.C

March 10th, 2010
2:37 pm

Man im done with the hawks,they can’t beat the teams they suppose to smash speaking of the knicks.The hawks are a so called elite team and loose 3 out of 4 games to the knicks.I don’t see them getting past the 2nd round or even the first round for that matter.Joe suppose to be a superstar player i think not just a good player.I would have sent him packing along with bibby atleast i would have got something for him with all the newyork talk.I would have traded him bibby and a draft pick and got bosh or even wade.This team is all hype and no bite.

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
2:38 pm

Astro Joe,

As a current Associate at Golman Sachs, I am at the computer most of the day. It’s just the stress i have from being a multi-millionaire investment banker.
Thanks

Here*Not*There

March 10th, 2010
2:38 pm

Woody cant get the best out of his team for 48 minutes Its that Easy!!!! FIRE WOODY ……..has anybody made a webpage yet???

IceColdATLien

March 10th, 2010
2:43 pm

This is part of the maturation process of team that’s ALMOST elite. It also shows that Woody should hire an offensive guru. Woody just doesn’t have the ability to be creative with the offense or be able to strategically respond to opposing defensive schemes. He just goes all Iso-Joe…

IceColdATLien

March 10th, 2010
2:44 pm

… and maybe the GM should just force that kind of hire on Woody if he doesn’t do it on his own.

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
2:45 pm

Let’s do what the Clippers are doing and LET LEBRON choose his next coach/GM when he comes here

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
2:49 pm

Woodson is content just winning more games than last year LOL. He doesn’t care that we have GIVEN away at least 8 games this season.

People say we are like the Nuggets because we throw away games. No — the Nuggets have a REAL HEAD COACH, a LEADER at PG who is CLUTCH and an ALL-STAR, and a SUPERSTAR at SF.
We have a fake star (Joe…Barely puts up 20 ppg LOL), a horrendous fat lard PG (Bibby), a head coach who can’t motivate his team, and an awkward stiff at SF

Melvin

March 10th, 2010
2:51 pm

“I think the fact that I am trying to–I don’t want to use the word ‘hiding’ guys–but we switch a lot of things” – Woody

I wonder which player(s) he’s trying to hide… Yep, comprise the team for the sake of a few (or one)….

IceColdATLien

March 10th, 2010
2:53 pm

What do you really think, JeJe?

Nate33

March 10th, 2010
2:53 pm

Fire the coach. Everyone has been saying the last few years. He has benefited from a young team maturing and just naturally playing better ball, but I am sorry this guy can’t coach.

Tim Tebow's Tears

March 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

I was at the Garden on monday night. Embarrassing. The Knicks are a garbage team and the Hawks played down to their level seemingly just hanging around for 3’s to go down playing poor perimeter defense. D’Antoni had nothing to work with and found the 5 players that were hot and kept them in the game so he had a chance. Stubborn Woody takes out hot players in lieu of his final 5 (add Jamal who had a bad game) to close the game. Hawks got lucky they got close at the end and had a chance. Only defense they played was in desperation. They let the Knicks have too many easy looks early in the game. MAN UP Hawks and quit taking nights off.

IceColdATLien

March 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

Never heard the argument that the core of your team has been together TOO long. I’ve never heard it because it’s nonsensical. The only scenario where that idea would have any merit would be if the core is aging… which is obviously NOT the case here.
JeJe, please relax a bit. I don’t think blowing up the coaching staff is the right move. However, they should hire an offensive guru to get more creative and strategic on the offensive end. Woody just doesn’t have that skill, unfortunately.

jmarable

March 10th, 2010
3:00 pm

We have 2 unload marvin,somehow someway.a small foward should b a dangerous weapon.marvin scares no one but hawk fans.cant finish his drives to the basket,cant make open jumpers.and he is always left open,I WONDER WHY,walks like fred sanford.as if his back is killing him.BIbby cant play dead anymore.let alone defense and has the audacity to miss most of his shots.I tell u what.Teague would b my guy.he penertrates and plays nice D.if he played more woody would see we r better with him on the floor.

JeJe

March 10th, 2010
3:03 pm

IceColdATLien,

We just lost to a team that started Sergio and Bill Walker in its backcourt. Woodson is obviously at fault for not exploiting their horrendous backcourt.

Our starters have gone as far as they can go. Bibby and Marvin will ONLY regress (LOL and Marvin is like 23), and Joe will not get better. Smoove may get better but is not utilized in the offense nearly enough. What we need is a rough SF like Caron Butler.

We are stuck with Bibby and Marvin for 6 more years @ 40M+. Thanks Sund!

Section 303

March 10th, 2010
3:03 pm

Man, I hate reading the stupid Hawks quotes. They have said the same things year, after year, after year, after year… Same crap about losing focus, getting back to what they were doing, blah, blah, blah.

I have lost a lot of faith in this team. They just are flat out not as good as I thought they were. Whatever spark, excitement, whatever they had at the beginning of the year is long, long, long gone. They look slow, unprepared on D, and can’t make a d@mn clutch shot to save their lives. Just sorry….if there was a panic button around, I would hit it.

nique

March 10th, 2010
3:08 pm

woody is definitely holding this team back. he needs to be fired, but i think the only chance of that happening is if they lose in the first round.

VickSwitchHitter

March 10th, 2010
3:10 pm

Ive had it. I wont watch the hawks again. They are a complete waste of time. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness of the Hawks. They are undefeated against Boston. They are winless against Orlando. They are winless against the Cavs. They are 1-3 against the lowly new york knicks. They lose to golden state and have to almost play a perfect game to get revenge against golden state in the rematch game. It makes no sense to follow the hawks because they are like a rollercoaster up and down. You never know when you are going to see them look great (steller against Boston at 4-0 against them) or you might watch a pathetic performance for 48 minutes (new york knicks game). Im tired of wasting my time watching a product that shows flashes of brilliance, but then when you are expecting a win against a mediocre opponent golden state, new jersey or new york, it doesnt happen. I wont watch them again. The talent is there for them to dominate on most nights and the hawks did that for much of the first 25 games (starting out a brilliant 19-6); but since then they have been up and down like a rollercoaster and I dont think the Hawks are more than a flash in the pan. I think Im going to pass out or have respiratory problems watching the Hawks. The other night against the Knicks it appeared the Hawks had a victory when Horford made his shot at the end to make the score an apparant Jawks victory at 100-99, just before the refs reviewed the play and noticed that Horford’s shot came late after the buzzer and then the Hawks victory was reversed and overturned into a knicks victory. My question is why didnt the Hawks blow out knicks by 20-30 points (say 130-100) instead of purposely making the game a nailbiter. I cant watch the Hawks waste their talent anymore.

rob

March 10th, 2010
3:11 pm

if they lose in the first round, it will be hard to say there was any progress regardless of our record. 19 games left? we MIGHT break 50 wins, but we will keep that 4th seed, and see the Cavs in the second round IF we make it out the first. With Toronto, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Charlotte looming down there, i wouldnt want to see any of these teams. Better be glad the Knicks arent in playoff position

jb

March 10th, 2010
3:12 pm

let woody walk after this season

Luke M

March 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

To build off of Marvin’s quote, it’s sometimes Bibby, sometimes Woodson.

theZaZaguy

March 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

I wouldn’t panic…yet. I actually think that this team has matured since last year. We won what 47 last year? we’ll probably win 52-54 this year. One thing I’ve noticed is that our highs may not be as high, but our lows aren’t as low. Last year, we lost to Boston early, got in a funk and lost I think 4 in in a row.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we have far shorter losing streaks this year than last. We bounce back from tough losses when we really want to, but I think the hawks kind of have an attitude in the back of their heads that they’ve pretty much proven themselves during the regular season and they’re ready for the playoffs.

Ryan

March 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

Ok, dont watch them anymore. I for one, will continue to go to games and pay for tickets, and watch games despite living 2 and 4 hours away.They have gotten better every year for I believe 5 years. ATL doesnt deserve good teams honestly. The sports teams of ATL are constantly disrespected for one reason or another by fans that wont even pay for tickets and its quite disgusting really. The cubs havent won anything for decades, and yet they sell out most games. The Braves have to struggle for tickets. The Hawks have a chance to be good for YEARS and yet JJ wont return next year because for the most part, ATL fans suck. They will still hit 50 wins and possibly go a round further into the playoffs. THey play Cleavland and Boston well. Orlando is the only team that owns the Hawks. All you haters go to New Jersey and cheer for the Nets.

Tmac

March 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

Because every other team in the NBA knows that the Hawks are limited.

Limited in coaching ability, limited in offensive plays, limited in players who can produce in crunch-time.

When your starting small forward can’t shoot and turns the ball over on a regular basis, you are limited.
When your starting center (no fault of Horford) is small for an NBA center, you are limited.
When your 6th man is your 2nd best scorer, you are limited.
When you continually get outscored in the 4th qtr to lose games, you are limited.

Nuff said.

S Hawk Fan

March 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

It is way past time for Woody to be let go!!!! The Hawks would be much better off with another coach! Hire Avery Johnson before someone gets him!!!! But I doubt the clowns running the hawks will do the right thing! But if they don’t then I will not renew my seats next year!!! Period!!!!!!!

S Hawk Fan

March 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

Ryan…. how does it feel to be on a island by yourself???

Terry

March 10th, 2010
3:24 pm

What’s wrong – coaching, coaching, coaching

Ryan

March 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

Pretty good to be on an island by yourself than herded like livestock ;) . Horford is one of the best centers in the NBA. How is that limited? Josh Smith is unstoppable and playing amazing basketball in points, blocks, assists, rebounds, and steals. Every player cant be a superstar. Our biggest weakness right now is Bibby, but Crawford is pretty much the starter so Woodson has minimized that issue.

cdog

March 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

jb, you are mistaken about who needs to walk.the one who should walk is rick sund.i keep telling everyone he is the reason for the hawks reaching a standstill. his failure to provide the coaching staff with the neccessary players will keep the hawks at a stifle to be be eliminated in the second round.i don’t believe sund is that dumb where he can’t see what is needed to get past the cavs, majic and celtics.i believe he is trying to purpose cause woodson to be ousted as the head coach so he can bring in one of his buddies. people keep refering to the hawks personnel as exceptional talent, if they believe that then they are dumb as they probably looks.remember doc rivers was about to be fired in boston? then along came the needed big man and talent provided by danny ainge who is a winner.the difference here is we have a loser for a GM in rick sund

PMC

March 10th, 2010
3:26 pm

They can score and score with anyone. They just have to play solid team defense for the entire game. High energy, getting lots of second chance points, grabbing boards denying good looks and angles. If they concentrate on defense for the next 19 games I think they will easily top 50 wins.

Fire Woody

March 10th, 2010
3:27 pm

Woody friggin sucks.

Sund is a godsend for not caving and renewing his contract.

Let’s hope he stands strong at the end of the season.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 10th, 2010
3:27 pm

I have to say I have started turning the channel late in the game if its close and the hawks run one or two iso plays , or take a long jumper without moving the ball around , I say here we go again turn the channel to a sanford and son rerun and check the close loss out on sportscenter the next morning. I bet aunt ester could motivate these guys

EVOLONE

March 10th, 2010
3:29 pm

@BS Hawk Fan

I agree with Ryan…..now there are two of us on that island.

Wabe

March 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

“As we near the playoffs, we’re going to have to get better defensively, without a doubt,” Woodson said. “Because those are the teams that win playoff basketball, the teams that defend and rebound.”

If Woody was really concerned and wants to improve on the defensive end, it’d be good to see him get a guard like JT0 out there to pick up the defensive effort on behalf of our gaurds. Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s just a rookie and I’m not saying that increasing his PT will solve the Hawks defensive problems, but they will surely have a better chance with JT0’s young fresh legs and quickness than they are with Mike Bibby. AT THIS POINT, there’s absolutley no reason for the Hawks not to increase the kids minutes. We’re getting nothing from our PG and the offense often stagnates late in games without any PG play. I mean, seriously, think about it, we just lost to the Miami Heat and NY Knicks again, for the third time against each team. It makes little sense to me at this point not to tweak our approach.

To those concerned about the risk that would present itself if we handed of the reigns to the rookie this late in the season. But, I say to you guys that at this point, the Hawks have a very little chance of catching the Magic or the Cavs playing the way we are. It’s obvious we need a spark or a jolt, so why not let that come in the form of a rotation change? I know this is highly unlikely to happen, but I just can’t get why. This is why I hate lovin this team sometimes.

antman

March 10th, 2010
3:31 pm

The only team we play hard against and play with emotion ans a sense of urgency is against the celtics! Everyone talks about matchups and who we don’t want to see in the playoffs but there is no reason u should beat the celtics 4 times and loose to the knicks and the heat 3 times, those victories don’t mean anything anymore if we finish behind boston or no way close to the magic! If our focuse was being better every night and trying to over take the magic instead trying to be the celtics rival! We would be in second place trying to catch the cavs!

Ryan

March 10th, 2010
3:31 pm

When the young, quick guards are destroying us, Teague should play. Bibby cant cover Rondo, Curry, Paul, etc etc

IceColdATLien

March 10th, 2010
3:32 pm

Poor JeJe… just can’t understand how Bibby and Marvin aren’t the core of the team. JJ, Smoove, and Horford are the core. JJ is an all-star the last four years, so I’m not sure if I need him to get too much better cuz he’s so damn good now. Smoove and Horford are still basically kids with much upside still remaining.

Bibby and Marvin, along with ZaZa, Jamal, and Teague, are very nice pieces around the core. Is it enough? No. Is it progress over last year? Yes.

I don’t think it’s the players we should be concerned about. It’s the lack of offensive creativity and imagination that’s problematic.

Rock Preston

March 10th, 2010
3:32 pm

Nique…They wont have to fire Woody’s non coaching butt…His contract expires at season’s end. They wont renew him. I hope they dont. He hangs his hat on the increases in wins over the last 4-5 years….thats it!!! He hasnt contributed any real coaching ability since he’s been here. Time to get on the next thing smoking Woody!!! Peace out Bro!!

S Hawk Fan

March 10th, 2010
3:33 pm

Wow …. how is the kool aid taste on the the island? Are you guys willing to travel to watch him coach next year? Because he won’t be here!I guess you guys can root for big Paul at GT next year!!!!

Cory Dillinger

March 10th, 2010
3:34 pm

Enter your comments here

Ryan

March 10th, 2010
3:36 pm

Not saying woody isnt the anwser. Saying that we have a young team that is still improving and shouldnt be bailed on. JJ doesnt want to resign due to the fair-weather fans. In my opinion? Woody is horrible on offensive side. But dont bail on the team.

LY Munz

March 10th, 2010
3:36 pm

Did you ever ask why they are still having these 2 minute lapses and are “not in tune to what we are doing” 63 games into the season? Is it lack of efffort, talent, conditioning? Losing 3 times to the Knicks is unacceptable. If this they win at least 2 of those and don’t blow leads to Dal and GS in the last 2 weeks we are tied with Orlando.

Whereas Orlando seems to be getting stronger, we are getting weaker. Marvin fooled us with those 2 double doubles last week and is back down to his pathetic self. MC, from what you see out of him in practice, shootaround, etc. does it at least look like he has the desire to make himself better? Does he feel bad about his sub par performance all year? If the answer to those 2 questions is yes I at least feel a bit better about him maybe turning the corner.

If he doesn’t care though, he will only get worse. Carlos Delfino makes less than half of what Marvin makes and is averaging the same points and boards while also being more consistent from 3. Can you imagine if we had saved 30 million by just signing Matt Barnes instead last year where would be. That guy has the tenacity and fire at the 3 spot that would have really helped this team out defensively and in the locker room. His defense and Crawford’s offense would have been a great tandem at the 3. Alas, Rick Sund’s lack of creativity like many NBA GM’s led him to take the easy route of just re-signing his own guy to a deal worth too much and for too many years despite the lack of offers around the league.

drmaryb

March 10th, 2010
3:39 pm

Working for Goldman Sachs is nothing to be proud of: The last I heard was that you guys were standing in a soup line looking for government cheese and hand-outs for the average american worker.

If I were you? I would go somewhere and hide, before somebody comes and arrest you for stealing!

bob dylan

March 10th, 2010
3:40 pm

Bring back J-Chill in time for play-off run!!!!! Hey, it could happen

O'Brien

March 10th, 2010
3:40 pm

MC,

Could you ask JJ what happened to the focus he talked about at the all star break? What happened to being scrappy? Because this is the time of the year when good teams should be more consistent and more focused, but not these Hawks.

Its always about focus with these guys. How many times must we hear them say “we weren’t focused enough”. Too many times. I dont know why, and I dont know who to blame, but they need to get it together, because they are 3 games behind Orlando in the loss column, and the Magic have the tie-breaker. Time is running out.

Woody says our record is better than last year, and that is the progress he is talking about. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but just because we win more than 47 games, that’s not enough progress. If we win 40 games, but win 3 games in the second round, thats more important. If we win 52 games and get swept in the second round, is that progress? Sometimes I wonder if Woody is so focused on the regular season wins that he loses track of the playoff goal. Or maybe I’m just too critical of Woody.

Melvin,

“I think the fact that I am trying to–I don’t want to use the word ‘hiding’ guys–but we switch a lot of things, we try to be proactive,” he said.

Bibby is the only horrible defender among our starters. So we change our defense to accomodate one guy? How many times have we seen Horford or Josh having to guard a guard? Or Bibby guarding a big? And the fact is we still switch everything even if Bibby is not in the game.

Woody said he might need to adjust, and I agree. But why is it taking him this long to figure out that he needs to adjust? The switching is part of the reason why teams like the Knicks and Warriors beat us.

However, regardless of what Woody says (he has made comments in the past and not backed it up anyway), I dont think we will make any adjustment defensively. I think we will continue to switch every game, all the time, regardless of the opponent, and regardless of the game situation.

All he will do is continue to preach defense to the guys, even when its not working. I also wonder if the players are tired. Theyhave played a lot of minutes this season, and when you’re tired, its easier to lose focus, especially on the defensive end.

drmaryb

March 10th, 2010
3:40 pm

correction: from the american workers…