Hawks squawks: Hawks 112, Pistons 99

- Ken Sugiura sitting in for MC.

- I’m curious how you grade the game. To me, the most impressive thing was the second quarter. After jumping out early, I figured the Hawks would let Detroit back in the game, but they turned it up a notch, which, as you know better than I do, has not always been the case. One play that stands out is Jamal Crawford D’ing up Ben Gordon out beyond the 3-point line, poking the ball away and cruising in for a dunk.

- Jamal: “It’s contagious. I think that’s a part of my game, going towards the playoffs, I want to be a better all-around player than I was at the start of the season. I will be. I vow to be.”

- Real strong defensive showing in the first half. It seemed like every Detroit shot was contested. Lots of deflections.

- However, the Hawks got a little lax in the second half defensively. Of course, as was repeated a few times in the locker room, all teams go on runs. But not all runs have to lead to a team scoring 58 points in the second half, as the Pistons did, which was their fourth-best second half of the season.

- Mike Woodson: “If we can beat them by 40, we would have, but they played their butts off in the second half. Like I said, they’re professionals, too.”

- But perhaps the takeaway is that the Hawks got back on it and closed out the game strong.

- Al Horford: “We’ve had our misfortunes in giving up leads. Even though we blew a pretty significant lead, we were still able to hold them off and finish the game out the right way.”

- Interesting quote from John Kuester: “They know how to turn it on when they have to, and that’s going to be important, because as time goes on and you get ready for the playoffs, you have to be prepared to turn it for 48 minutes.”

- Will Bynum with his take on one of your favorite topics: “I think their switching defense gave us a problem early on in the game. It made it difficult for us in our offense, especially on the wings.”

- Josh Smith on Zaza Pachulia’s behind-the-back pass to Joe Smith: “It was nice. I know we’re definitely going to hear about that for a couple weeks.  He’’s not going to let that go.”

- Whaddya think?

190 comments Add your comment


March 13th, 2010
11:45 pm

From previous blog:

Response to northcyde:

I’ve been away watching ball all day.
I mentioned that back in the 50’s…inferring…that I played once upon a time. Admittedly, I wasn’t very good. That’s why I bacame a coach.
Loved the game, studied it, absorbed all I could for the past 40 yrs.
After a lifetime in the game, one learns not to waste time in practice
on situations that will never occur in a game. I understand, hand eye coordination, etc., but any drill should be game specific.
As for Josh:
Why hasn’t Wdsn taught him fundamental footwork, how to shoot FT’s,
How to shoot a mid range jumper in rhythm (and why doesn’t he run
plays designed to do so). I’ll stop there for now.
I’m sure Wdsn did a good job teaching Josh to:
*jump high *run fast *block shots *dunk and many other things which require hand eye coordination.

Sautee – I’m not sure many HS coaches run 3 man weave anymore.
I’m fairly confident it’s a staple for AAU teams.


March 13th, 2010
11:58 pm

woody is definetly not a smart coach


March 14th, 2010
12:17 am

at least they finished it off the right way

Big Ray

March 14th, 2010
12:17 am

The Hawks win. We love this!

Grandad ,

Sorry, but you just don’t understand.

Woodson is a very good coach. The Hawks are a very good team. You are an unrealistic human being with very unrealistic expectations. You are unbalanced and emotional. Resistance is futile, you WILL be assimilated.

Now get back into line with the other disobedient lemmings on this blog and stop trying to use your brain, or have your own opinion/view point. One will be provided for you, and that is the one you and the rest of the heathen masses should adhere to. You infidel, you.


Big Ray

March 14th, 2010
12:21 am

Or put another way….

Does YOUR boss have to teach you how to use a stapler? Or how about a keyboard or an ink pen? Do you work in sales or the corporate world? Does any of this have anything to do at all with basketball?

No, but it’s a great way to say it’s not Woody’s fault and he shouldn’t have to teach his players anything…..

Man, I have GOT to leave this rum alone. It takes away all my inhibitors…



March 14th, 2010
12:37 am

Big Ray:


britney spears

March 14th, 2010
12:49 am

Leave Grandad alone!

Big Ray…..you just like to hear yourself talk, but you make NO SENSE AT ALL!

william cranman

March 14th, 2010
12:51 am

Hey Ken,
What ever happened to Sekou Smith?


March 14th, 2010
1:10 am

at least the Knicks whipped the Mavericks, Hawks arent the only ones


March 14th, 2010
1:12 am


Would you PLEASE EXPLAIN what would happen if Boston and Atlanta finish tied for the 3rd best record in the East? I KEEP hearing Bob and Dominique say Boston would hold the tie-breaker because they will win the Atlantic despite us beating them 4 times? Is this true? From what I read, I thought we would win the tie-breaker since we won the head-to-head matchup.


March 14th, 2010
1:16 am

I confess, I was playing Britney. So yeah, I personally attacked “Big Ray”

Grandad had a perfectly good point. Josh (who is playing brilliantly and who has grown immensely) SHOULD know how to shoot free throws and how to hit a mid-range jumper. It wouldn’t hurt a “great coach” like Woodson to maybe direct Josh a few feet over to Mark Price to learn how to do that so that when Atlanta trails Cleveland by 1 in a critical playoff game,, the Cavs don’t purposely guard everyone but Josh and them foul him. Or watch his midrange jumper clank off the rim. Plus in a zone I would think it would be a huge plus to have everyone on the floor make their midrange jumpshot.

So, I guess when somebody sees something and has a suggestion,that makes perfect sense, the appropriate response is to absorb it and go with it

Woodson doesn’t make the critical adjustments that win games. He is NOT a tactical coach. Big Ray pretends that he himself is a tactician but apparently he can’t see OBVIOUS things in front of his own eyes or extrapolate that out to real situations.

I’m asking myself why this should be so annoying…….


March 14th, 2010
1:29 am

Big Ray, if you think WOODSON IS A GOOD COACH, I don’t know how much CREDIBILITY you really have. Good coaches:

1. Wouldn’t allow Josh to shoot 20 foot jumpers
2. Would have an answer when teams switch to zone defense
3. Would have Teague playing with more confidence
4. Would have guys in motion on offense
5. Would run more plays to Horford and Josh IN THE POST
6. Wouldn’t allow constant switching on defense which causes players to be out of postion to rebound

Woodson is NOT a good coach. The progression of the Hawks is NATURAL, meaning I could have coached the Hawks the past 4 years and they would have improved. The Hawks play well most of the time IN SPITE OF Woodson, NOT BECAUSE of Woodson.


March 14th, 2010
1:33 am


You think that was directed @ me or was it sarcasm?
Quite frankly,I’m dumbfounded.


March 14th, 2010
1:44 am

I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that BIG RAY was being sarcastic.


March 14th, 2010
1:52 am

Barry & sam’l:

I’ve been quite outspoken about Wdsn’s coaching accumen.
My statement above had nothing to do with tonight’s game
but a response to [nc] who came back @ me for an earlier
rant on Sat. To my knowledge Big Ray has always been most
cordial on this board. Thus my dumbfoundedness.
Now, back to Wdsn, it would be redundant & repetitive to
list his shortcomings. Although, a rebuke from Big Ray or
anyone else will not contain my thoughts in the future.
The one really positive trait our young men have is they
seem to be good citizens. Wdsn, being the one constant,
during their tenure must get some of the credit.


March 14th, 2010
3:26 am

Barry, how can you consider Woody not to be a good coach? You stated you could have coach this team the last 4 years with favorable results. You think you could coach as good as a playoff tested coach, yet you’re on this blog and no on anyone’s staff in the league? …..

I don’t like many things that Woody does in terms of game adjustments. But EVERY coach has their own flaws. I don’t understand how some fans want it both ways. Some of you guys scream that ASG is cheap and the GM’s haven’t brought in enough talent on the bench. But that SAME roster Woody takes it and advances to the second round with 3 starters injured! So you’re telling me he’s doing better than over 20 coaches in the league in terms of winning, with a less favorable roster, but he’s not a good coach. —Can we spell contradictory—

Philadelphia and Washington was said to have better and deeper rosters than the Hawks when the season started. Flip Saunders and Eddie Jordan names were mentioned on this very board as great guys to replace Woody because they utilize structured offenses. So now into the season, not only have Woody lead his team to more than 15 victories more than both of those teams, the entire year his offense has left the Hawks with the most efficient, least offense, and highest scoring team that the Hawks have had since moving to Atlanta.

Then you have fans who say Woody plays favorites and leaves Marvin and Bibby in the starting lineup when he shouldn’t. Well if I was a coach, and a lineup had me winning 65% of the time we play, I think I would be reluctant to make changes to the starting lineup. When was the last time you remember the Hawks winning more than they lose. The Hawks just as many wins against playoff teams as they do against the lower teams.

On last season, there was no team in the second round of playoffs who’s team salary was within $9 million close to being as low as Atlanta’s.

By the way, that bad coach Woody has his team in a better playoff seeding than even Doc Rivers who’s team is a contender.


March 14th, 2010
3:36 am


The Hawks are a good team because they have a talented roster in a WEAK eastern conference. Name one game where you can say the Hawks won because Woody OUTCOACHED someone. We in because we are better and more talented than most teams. Additionally, Doc Rivers head headed for a platter before the Celtics aquired Garnett and Allen. You are CONFUSING a good record with GOOD COACHING. It’s not the same thing!


March 14th, 2010
3:37 am



March 14th, 2010
6:17 am

Grandad: I thought Big Ray was being sarcastic, and the intended targets of his post were the folks who tend to gloss over some of the apparent issues the Hawks are having on defense (among other things).

(Sarcasm does tend to get served in healthy helpings with Rum, from what I know.) :)

The Grinch

March 14th, 2010
6:58 am

Big Ray’s posts were about as obviously sarcastic as they could well be, and just in case nobody got it he even added a winking smiley face. At least that’s MY take, and no, I have no idea who he is. Just wondering why everyone’s jumping on him.

Woodson is absolutely awful. He would be a decent defensive assistant on a team loaded with veterans, but as a HC of a team full of young and dynamic players who need to be taught and motivated he’s perhaps the worst possible choice in the NBA.

Let's Get This Straight

March 14th, 2010
7:26 am

“Like I said, they’re professionals, too.””
LOL Woodson acting like we’re the best team and we’re playing worse teams.

No, we lost to Detroit without its 3 best players 2 months ago


Let's Get This Straight

March 14th, 2010
7:30 am

These quotes are killing me.

Joe saying we can’t get relaxed in the 3rd quarter. If that’s so, WTF have the Hawks done the last 4 years? Intentionally get relaxed?

So many typos in this article too


March 14th, 2010
7:31 am

Yeah, leave grandBytch alone. She is trying to get some glory for herself and pretend that the months of stupidity, ignorance and folly on this site can be legitimized and justified by a time 40 years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. GrandBytch tried out for a team and was cut in the first 5minutes,”get the hell out of here, we are trying to win”, coaches reply).

From that point Grandbytch went out and created his own players, team, league. His was the only team in the league so they never lost. His players was made up of mostly stray cats and dogs, but again, they never lost.

So now, after six months of experience as a Hawks blogger Grand bytch is ready to critique Woodson who in his short head coaching career made last years top ten in the coaches poll and this year will be a top five and a serious candidate for the Coach of the Year award.

Good job Woodson!

Get 2 teams in your leagues Grand bytch aka The Grinch.

Extendz my Woody.


March 14th, 2010
7:41 am


Doc Rivers is coach a recent NBA championship team that has many “legitimate” present or former allstars, like Pierce, Wallace, Garnett,Ray Allen and not to mention the up and coming Rondo….

With all that talent at his mighty coaching disposal woodson almost always gets that asssss! with one legitimate allstar, JJ.

Woodson has done more with less then almost any coach in the NB-fc-cking A.


Hawk n the Ham

March 14th, 2010
8:58 am

It was nice to see the Hawks put the foot down in the 2nd quarter, after already being up big.

It was nice to see JT0 playing late into the 2nd quarter, penetrating and drawing fouls.

It was nice to not have a hair pulling night watching the Hawks playing ‘down’ to their competition.

It was a nice game. Go HAWKS!!!!


March 14th, 2010
11:05 am

Mr. Sugiura . . . I grade the game as a B+

The first half was arguably the best half of basketball we’d played all year. Everybody, and I mean everybody played well. We shot 73% in the first half. We played excellent defense. And like Bynum said, the switching defense definitely gave them problems in the first half. So they get an A+ in the first half.

The 2nd half . . lol. When the Pistons came out and started to get to the rim, I think everybody was saying “here we go again”. They outscored us like 10 – 1 in the first 2 – 3 minutes of the 3rd. That enabled them to quickly cut into the large decifit. We pretty much let them cut 14 points off of that 27 point halftime lead, within the first 8 minutes of the half.

But to the Hawks credit, they hunkered down on defense again, and started to make like difficult for the Pistons again. And JJ finally hit some 2nd half shots, going 6 – 8 FG in the half, and had 7 points in the decisive 11 – 4 run in a 3 minute span in the 4th, that sealed the game.

So if I gave them an A+ for the first half, I’ll have to give them a B- for the 2nd. Can’t give up 58 points to the Pistons in a half, under ANY circumstances. But we didn’t crumble, so that’s a positive for the half.


March 14th, 2010
11:15 am

I have yet to check out hot spots for the last few weeks but you have to realize that Josh and Al need to keep working on them 15′ jumpers. Do I wish they would stay away from those 18′ and beyond? – yes. These guys like Howard know they will need to be proficient at some point and extend their range or their careers will be shortened by years. No one can jump forever.


March 14th, 2010
11:18 am

Issue 2

I have chose to beat a dead horse. Teague needs 15 minutes and Bibby 20. I will assume if Bibby is hitting his shots the math need not apply. But for most games the math should apply.


March 14th, 2010
11:22 am

Issue 3

Win lose whatever, Marvin needs at least 10 attempts and Al 14. No excuse. Just a matter of balance. This does not account for free throws.


March 14th, 2010
11:23 am

Issue 4

ZaZa needs to play 16 minutes with either Al or Josh. I hate the Joe Smith and ZaZa together.


March 14th, 2010
11:28 am

JJ needs to be replaced by Mario at least two more minutes every game in the third QT. No love for Mario, just we need our All-Star fresher for the end of games.


March 14th, 2010
11:30 am

Big Ray, you are right on. Some of these people want to find a way to criticize Woodson just because they feel like it. Let me just say, no team, and I repeat NO TEAM, should be up on any other team by 28 points at half time. So the fact that they let the pistons get back in it is not great. But they still won by 13 points. So lets not complain too much. Also they have 43 wins (or 42 wins I’m not sure) so let’s chill.

This is the best hawks team I’ve ever seen, and its the best hawks team we’ve had for a very long time. And you know what, Woodson is at least part of the reason why we’re where we are now.

Finally, I have to respond to Grandad’s comments about Josh Smith where he says:

“Why hasn’t Wdsn taught him fundamental footwork, how to shoot FT’s,
How to shoot a mid range jumper in rhythm (and why doesn’t he run
plays designed to do so).”

Are you serious?!? Did you really just say this after saying you were a coach and a teacher and a basketball god in the last paragraph.

Trivia Question(i.e. look this up and you’ll see how stupid you sound): Who is the current player with the most career points?


March 14th, 2010
11:33 am

Issue 5

Nire is wrong

We should expect our guards like JJ and Jamal to pass the ball in a fine offensive scheme that only works when we are passing the ball. Any ISO should not last longer than 2 sec. I realize that we do a lot of ISO by all of our players – just do it quick.


March 14th, 2010
11:37 am

As I’ve been saying all week, the Hawks are mentally tough, even if they don’t play “right” all the time. Hawks have won 8 out of 11 games ( 73% ) . . . and 21 of their last 32 games ( 66% )

After 65 games, these are the top 5 records in Atlanta Hawks history ( not counting St. Louis ):

* 1993 – 94: 46 – 19
* 1986 – 87: 44 – 21
* 1996 – 97: 43 – 22
* 2009 – 10: 42 – 23
* 1985 – 86 . . 1987 – 88 . . 1997 – 98: 40 – 25

( As most die hard Hawk fans should know, not ONE of those teams made it to the Eastern Conference Finals )

With a current .646 winning percentage, the Hawks are tracking to post the 4th best regular season record in Atlanta Hawk history ( not counting the St. Louis years )

The team the 2009 – 10 Hawks are probably most similar to, from a historical franchise perspective, are the 1987 – 88 Hawks, who finished the season 50 – 32. That Hawk team took the Celtics to 7 games in the East Semifinals, before losing in the Garden in that epic Nique vs Bird showdown.


Team comparison:

1987 – 88 Hawks:

Offensive rating: 5th
Defensive rating: 14th
Pace: 21st out of 23 teams
#4 seed ( lost tiebreaker with Chicago, who also finished with a 50 – 32 record )
Home record: 30 – 11 ( 73% )
Road record: 20 – 21( 48% )

2009 – 10 Hawks:

Offensive rating: 3rd
Defensive rating: 14th
Pace: 27th out of 30 teams
currently the #3 seed ( fighting off Boston for that seed )
Home record: 26 – 7 ( 78% )
Road record: 16 – 16 ( 50% )


The 1987 – 88 team struggled in the 1st round with a 42 – 40 Milwaukee squad, but did take care of then in Game 5 ( 1st round series back then only went to best of 5 ). Then they went on to face the top seeded Celtics, and battled them to the death.

Just wanted to illustrate how special this season actually is, in case some of you don’t realize this.


March 14th, 2010
11:39 am

Issue 6,

I know longer do balance watch. The Team has evolved. Not perfect by any account but not the glareing weakness it was early in the year. Now the new idea is attack the basket. When we do it by all players we do better. We need those foul shots.

PS like always – feed a big – get a win. Love the fact Al is finally getting his shots.


March 14th, 2010
11:44 am

Issue 7

We are close to putting this issue to rest. Get the offense to start it’s sets early – every time. This issue is much improved but still rears it’s ugly head when the other team has had a run. We need to push – not slow it down when we blow possessions.


March 14th, 2010
11:52 am

Zach . . . Big Ray was being sarcastic. He actually believes none of what he typed.


March 14th, 2010
11:56 am

Issue 8

The idea JJ needs to take over games. Jamal has the same problem. No problem with either taking shots in the flow of the offense. That is the key word – flow. A pass should not end the offense. Once again a problem that has improved. I love the new direction. Will the engrained DNA of the guards take over when we are down? Prob. Next year I will expect better yet.


March 14th, 2010
12:01 pm

Issue 9

I have just pointed out a few ideas that might make our team better in the short term. But no matter what happens I love these Hawks and their future potential. Yes we are in year three of a 5 year plan. Josh, Al, ZaZa, Teague and Marvin will improve. We have years of good ball ahead of us. Got to love it.


March 14th, 2010
12:03 pm

KevinA . . your points are well taken. The only problem is, when Horford and Smoove face big defensive minded frontlines, most of what you say goes right out the window, because they become less effective.

In the game we lost up in Detroit earlier in the year, Big Ben absolutely destroyed us on the boards, and even scored some points. While Josh and Al did their thing last night, don’t overlook the fact that JJ and Jamal were a combined 17 – 23 FG. On most nights, it’s their ability to create and make shots, that separates us from the rest of the teams in the league.

The balanced concept is great . . but only if those guys are making shots. No way I want Marvin taking 10 shots, if he’s already 1 – 5 FG in the game. He’s not JJ or Crawford. He’s not going to turn it on at the flip of a switch offensively. If he’s hot, then yeah, get him the ball. If not, I simply want him playing defense and rebounding the basketball.

Make no mistake . . when we start facing defensive minded frontlines, the difference is going to be JJ and Jamal. Their ability to take over a game at any given time, is what will propel us in the playoffs.

Ree Roe

March 14th, 2010
12:05 pm

I’ve read alot of comments about how Woody plays his starters too many minutes…well here’s Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy’s take on bench play & resting/playing his starters:

“Orlando Magic news: Blowout wins give Orlando Magic starters some much-needed rest, Orlando Sentinel, Tania Ganguli

The Buzz: “People always talk about the rest,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, ”but if you’re playing 28, 30 minutes a night and then all of a sudden in the playoffs you want 42 minutes out of a guy, they’re not going to be able to do it.”

I’m not a Coach Woodson fan, but this does make his strategy of playing the starters a ton of minutes make sense.

-REEligiously Roe!!!


March 14th, 2010
12:10 pm

Northcyde I love the facts you gave out in your blog. But what got me is you use the word “special” about this season. Sir thats the problem most Hawks fans are happy with 50 win seasons and 3rd seed playoff. Then to have that “special” to end in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Now Im not here to determine what fans should think is “special”. But from eyes special would be at least making it to the finals and winning 2 games. If we fall short of that sir I have to say this is not a “special” season. Can say its better than what we have saw In the last 10 yrs but my heart lie next championships. Not good seasons.

DJ Augustin and Raymond Felton

March 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

Cant wait to put the Hawks out in the first round, they cant keep us in front of them.


March 14th, 2010
12:21 pm


March 14th, 2010
12:03 pm
KevinA . . your points are well taken. The only problem is, when Horford and Smoove face big defensive minded frontlines, most of what you say goes right out the window, because they become less effective.

My very first point is one that we have not even tried against the “big” teams. Al shooting that 12-15′er to draw the big’s out of the paint.


March 14th, 2010
12:22 pm

Point taken Duke. But we’re a franchise that’s not used to winning anything, nor less watching a top10 team. The word “special” is used in context comparable to Hawk seasons of the past, not necessarily in the context of what reaching the NBA Finals would be like.

The facts are that 50 win seasons are rare around here . . especially in the past 10 – 15 years. So if this year’s team gets to 52 – 55 wins, the year ( so far ) has to be categorized as being “special” to Hawk fans.

Ree Roe

March 14th, 2010
12:24 pm

Surprised noone mentioned this, but last night’s win clinched consecutive winning seasons for the Hawks for the first time since 97-98, 98-99

-REEticulated for Roe!


March 14th, 2010
12:28 pm

In the game we lost up in Detroit earlier in the year, Big Ben absolutely destroyed us on the boards, and even scored some points.

I understand our rebounding problem with some teams. There are a couple of things we could do that Woody has yet to try. Play Josh at the 3, al at the 2 and ZaZa at center. Play more Marvin and Evans instead of Bibby and Jamal. I think many times JJ and Marvin are ecpected to get back instead of crashing the boards to protect Bibby and Jamal. PS this is why we miss Chills.


March 14th, 2010
12:31 pm

The most important thing our frontline needs to do, is rebound the basketball. Scoring is an added bonus, but I’d much rather see a 13 rebound game from Horford, than a 18 point scoring game. The same goes for Smoove. Give me 12 rebounds from him, instead of 20 points.

If both of those guys are hitting the boards, we’re going to be OK in most games. But if we’re getting 18 and 6 from Horford and 20 and 5 from Smoove, the scoring looks nice, but the rebounding would trouble the hell out of me. So a 13 and 13 game from Horford and a 14 and 12 game from Smoove, would be much more desireable.


March 14th, 2010
12:39 pm

In a switching defense we need Marvin, Bibby and JJ crashing the boards. It has to be a team effort. I will agree Josh and Al could box out better. And Woody keeping them fresher with more bench play.


March 14th, 2010
12:45 pm

Watch our guards close next game. Many times they take off to get bk while the ball is in ther air. If your Bibby – why? They will blow by anyways. I would prefer to give up a couple fast breaks and get rebounds.