Atlanta Hawks: The Blueprint–Remixed With Joe Johnson (sore Achilles’) out

J.J. to miss first game of season. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

J.J. to miss first game of season.

It looks like the Hawks’ good fortune with injuries finally has ended.

Joe Johnson (sore Achilles’) is not on the Hawks’ team flight. He’s been ruled out for New Jersey tomorrow and probably is out for Thursday Wednesday at Toronto, too. Mike Bibby (back) made the flight but is questionable for New Jersey.

J.J. will miss his first game of the season and just his fourth since 2007-08. He wasn’t available for comment because he was getting treatment (and napping, as is his custom).

“I’ve always said when somebody goes down it gives somebody else a chance to step up and play,” Woody said before J.J. was officially ruled out. “That’s why I tell guys they’ve always got to be ready.”

Woody wasn’t ready to say how he’ll adjust the lineup, in part because he wasn’t sure if he’ll be without both J.J. and Bibby. If it’s just J.J., then Jamal Crawford could get his first start of the season at shooting guard. But Woody didn’t rule out bringing Crawford off the bench, in which case Mo would get the call. If both Bibby and J.J. are out and Woody sticks with his preference for bringing Jamal off the bench, then the rookie Teague would get his first start.

– If the Hawks are serious about catching Orlando (and for that matter announcing themselves as contenders) then what you saw against the Pistons is how they need to look like for maybe 12 of their 17 games remaining.

The Hawks got after it on defense. They worked for good shots, controlled the tempo and played with energy. The Hawks jumped an inferior opponent (the standings say they’ve got lots of those left) and when the Pistons tried to make their inevitable run they let them know they weren’t going to rise up on that night.

That’s the blueprint.

“That was the perfect game for us down the line,” Josh said, “except for the turnovers.”

Could it mean the Hawks finally have figured out how to impose their will from the jump?

“If it becomes consistent, then I think so,” Smoove said. “But you really can’t gauge it from one game.”

It’s not easy to stay up in the NBA. The season is long. Bodies are tired and banged up (see J.J. and Bibby). The schedule can be rough (like those four games in six days coming up for the Hawks).

“It’s tough,” Al said. “But you realize every other team is like that as well, and a lot of these other teams aren’t playing for anything. You really have to focus in and get up and get motivated.”

Woody said he understands what it’s like for players at this time of year. He used to be one of them, after all. But as the coach of a team trying to make a breakthrough, Woody wants the kind of effort he saw Saturday more than just here and there.

“It comes down to who wants it the most,” he said. “We’ve shown signs over the last two years how much we really want it. Look back two years ago (in the playoffs), then the jump we made from that point to get to the next round last year. We could have quit in Miami when we lost homecourt advantage but they didn’t’ quit. They wanted to get to the second round and they made it happen.”

Now the Hawks want to win the division. They are 3.5 games back of Orlando with 17 to play so they’ll need Orlando to stagger a bit. And staying in front of Boston for No. 3 is becoming more important because the Bucks are looking like a team the Hawks don’t want to see in the first round.

The Hawks can’t control what the Magic does, except for that final meeting on March 24 at Philips. For that matter, they really can’t worry too much about where they end up in the playoffs bracket when they are still trying to perfect that blueprint.

“We’ve got to just get focused and get through the regular season and we will figure out that (playoffs) part then,” Woody said.

Pick my Cardinals over Cal in your bracket because they always follow a bad game with a good one. That also means don’t be tempted to pick them to beat Duke, though nothing would make me happier (a first-round loss for that team in Lexington would be a close second).

MC

119 comments Add your comment

Mike W

March 15th, 2010
4:06 pm

1st,1st, with joe out we finally get to see what teague co do with more than 5mins on the court

ant banks

March 15th, 2010
4:18 pm

dam i almost made it first

PMC

March 15th, 2010
4:20 pm

Probably a good thing really pre playoffs that Woodson will be forced into playing Teague more and the young fella knows he has to play well for them to win these needed games.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 15th, 2010
4:23 pm

You know, if JJ and/or Bibby miss some time, I would be interested to see how the team works. I’m not big on Marvin by any stretch, but If memory serves me correct, he stepped up when people missed time last year or the year before.

Would he step up again? How would the team flow on offense?
Without them, I think the Hawks might play a REAL run and gun style that suits them best anyway.

Teague, Josh, Crawford, Mo, Marvin and Horford all out and running would be fun to watch without a billion ISO Joes and Bibby slowly hopping around like he’s skipping. It would atleast be interesting to see.. with guys finally getting more PT, guys playing bigger roles, and just how things play out overall.

Westurd

March 15th, 2010
4:29 pm

someone answer me this? What are Teagues strengths?

I’ve been rallying for more Teague time all season, but finally realized he is soft and out of control and is no were near (if ever) ready to run a team? Seriously, why are we still fighting for more Teague time……..oh, and that jump shot ouch…Makes Marios jumpers look Jordan!

Westurd

March 15th, 2010
4:30 pm

With Woodys hand forced due to JJ’s injury its make it or break it time for Teague……..good luck rook

i_am_soulstar

March 15th, 2010
4:30 pm

Hate to lose Bibby and JJ (both out at the same time?? maybe they’re playing hooky) but it just might be a blessing in disguise. Forces Woody’s hand on different bench rotations, and allows the fans to see if Teague can really get down for the better part of 48 minutes. I still hope we play inside-out ball.

I wonder if ball movement will be better with JJ out?

MannyT

March 15th, 2010
4:31 pm

I hope Crawford stays as 6th man during these injuries. It will put some pressure on the other guys to perform with the first unit. It should also add more ball movement to the offense. I’d be quite surprised to see a bunch of ISO – Mo!

I think the real pressure will be in backing up Marvin. That often fell to Joe. If the opposing SF has size, we have problems…especially in Toronto.

BWAF

MsDee

March 15th, 2010
4:44 pm

I believe Teague with do just fine!! If I had to choose a team to play under these circumstances, I would have picked New Jersey. I hope we dont take the team for granted cause we should definely win this game even w/o JJ and Bibby!

Josh Wilkins Jr.

March 15th, 2010
4:49 pm

Looks like JC will get the start with Mo Evans getting heavy minutes, 20 or so. Looks like Devin Harris will go ape bananas regardless.

Senator Blutarski

March 15th, 2010
4:50 pm

good to rest some players with nagging injuries, so they’ll be fresher come playoff time, plus some other guys will get to sharpen their game with increased minutes–

Ray Ellison

March 15th, 2010
4:58 pm

I have a question for everyone. I just recently got back from the Horn of Africa after a one year tour and I am curious to how the hawks will do. Do they have enough to get to the Eastern Conference Final? I don’t want to say NBA championship as i have a wife who is a die hard laker fan and is looking over my shoulder at this time…lol. Anyway, could Atlanta make noise in the East this year? Also, it seems that each year, the Hawks have improved in regards to their record. Shouldn’t that warrant Woody enough to get a contract extension? I know a lot of people aren’t sold on him, but he has improved the team each year, meaning that the players are actually listening. Any comments would be good. Thanks.

Ree Roe

March 15th, 2010
4:59 pm

Well all you Joe & Bibby bashers finally get your wish. We’ll see how we compete

-REEpeat it to Roe!

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

This is a blessing in disguise. Both the Nets and the Raptors are very beatable even without Joe, so there’s a chance this doesn’t even affect the Hawks in the standings. More importantly, it’s a golden opportunity for Teague to get time with the starters, and other bench players to build some confidence. The Hawks need to learn how to score points consistently when Joe is not firing on all cylinders, and maybe this will help them figure that out.

At the very least, if the Hawks do beat New Jersey and Toronto, it will be interesting to see the ensuing debate between the pro-Joe and anti-Joe crowd.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

Oh yeah, and this is a perfect time of the year for Joe to get some rest too, with the playoffs not too far away.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2010
5:05 pm

“What are Teagues strengths?”

Seriously? He’s the only Hawk who can split a double team, he has gotten pretty reliable with that floater in the lane, considering he’s a rookie he does a pretty good job of protecting the ball… he’s not Steph Curry or Brandon Jennings, he needs work on his jumper, but he’s pretty damn good. Good enough to deserve 15-20 minutes per game, anyway.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2010
5:06 pm

Co-sign Mac and MannyT. I’d like to see Marvin step up and fill some of the void, and it would benefit the team as a whole to have Crawford in his familiar 6th man role.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2010
5:10 pm

“And staying in front of Boston for No. 3 is becoming more important because the Bucks are looking like a team the Hawks don’t want to see in the first round.”

The Bucks happen to be hot right now, so you’re right, but at different times of the year all the teams from #5-#9 in the East have looked tough. At least the Hawks seem to match up well with Toronto and Chicago, but Miami and Charlotte in particular would be very tough for the Hawks, if they come into the playoffs peaking. I’d probably rather see Milwaukee than either of those two teams, actually.

tjhook

March 15th, 2010
5:34 pm

this is the week where Woodson will make some money or be exposed for his lack of offensive strategy. And Teague I believe will do a credible job at the point. And we may see a Othello Hunter sighting at some point this week.

Josh Wilkins Jr.

March 15th, 2010
5:43 pm

I have visions of a Bibby/Crawford duo and it frightens me. Bibby made the flight… he’ll “weasel” his way into the lineup.

[...] has a sore achilles March 15, 2010 tags: achilles, injury, Joe Johnson by Luke Mayeux Michael Cunningham reports that the Hawks will be without Joe Johnson for tomorrow night’s game vs. the Nets, [...]

northcyde

March 15th, 2010
6:02 pm

Regardless of what goes down tomorrow night, Woody will still be an idiot, in the eyes of the fans.

- If he doesn’t start Teague . . . IDIOT

- If Teague doesn’t play at least 18 minutes . . . IDIOT

- If Teague struggles . . . IDIOT ( for not having him ready )

- If Teague plays well . . . IDIOT ( for not already playing him more )

- If Mario West plays more than Teague in the 2nd half . . . IDIOT

- If Crawford plays 40+ minutes in a win . . . IDIOT

- If Crawford plays less than 40 minutes in a loss . . . IDIOT

- If Smoove played 40 minutes period . . . IDIOT ( and will be accused of trying to “hurt Smoove”, like he “hurt JJ and Bibby”. )

- If Mo plays more than 25 minutes . . . IDIOT ( because it means that he probably didn’t trust Teague enough )

- If Crawford takes more than 20 shots ( which is highly likely ) . . . IDIOT ( because he simply treated Crawford like he would JJ )

- If Horford doesn’t get more than 15 shots . . . IDIOT

- If Smoove takes more than 5 jumpshots . . . IDIOT

- If Marvin doesn’t score 15 points . . . IDIOT

- If Woody doesn’t play a Zaza – Horford – Smoove lineup at some point in a game . . . IDIOT

IF Woody doesn’t play Collins or Morris . . . IDIOT

********

In the eyes of most fans, Woody’s IDIOT label will not change. And if it ain’t on this list, they’ll find something, to justify calling him a IDIOT.

northcyde

March 15th, 2010
6:08 pm

I predict that Crawford will play 42 minutes and take 24 shots.

Stat Man

March 15th, 2010
6:18 pm

What I saw in the Pistons game was a team without a basket in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the 3rd quarter. A team that managed to get outscored 46-27 to start the 2nd half and let a crappy team once down by 28 get it to single digits AT HOME.

MC – please explain why this is the way they I need to see them play if they are going to catch Orlando.

If you ended it at …see them play in the first half. OK, but once again our coach was “outadjusted” in the 2nd half.

Bottom line – the Hawks need to concentrate on the #3 spot, not Orlando. You get the #3, then AND ONLY THEN, you go for the #2 spot. You can’t win 5 in a row all tonight – and trying to catch a team 4 games up on you with only 17 to play will elicit that mentality.

I say it’s good JJ is out! (1) We get to see more of our bench & (2) we get to prove or disprove we can win or not without him. Just be thankful the two he figures to miss are against the worst team in the NBA (and if we lose to a team with a .106 winning %, then Woody should be fired on the spot) and a Toronto team that has lost 9 of it’s last 10.

ant banks

March 15th, 2010
6:25 pm

i see boston droppin’ to the 5th seed and milwaukee movin’ to the 4th!! you heard it here first!!! they are scarry. as a result, i think that they will move michael redd. do the hawks want michael redd this summa?

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
6:30 pm

LOL @ Northcyde’s 6:02 pm post. That was a good one…

Big Ray

March 15th, 2010
6:33 pm

This is a good opportunity for minutes for Teague, but what are the expectations for him? Should we expect him to get 20 points and 10 assists? Anybody who unequivocally supports Woody by bashing Teague (and this isn’t everybody who supports Woody, so don’t go there) will take any chance they can get, waiting for Teague to fail or otherwise fail to dazzle. One game does not a player make.

He played well against New Jersey earlier, but I’m expecting solid, not spectacular play. We’ll see what happens. He should get more than 10 minutes this time around, provided he is not stinking it up out there. If he stinks it up, then of course he will go to the bench. Nothing unreasonable about that…

ant banks

March 15th, 2010
6:33 pm

BIG RAY,

looks like we will have the 3rd seed locked up. what do you think about the “hack-a-howard” strategy when we face them in the 2nd rd? collins, zaza, morris, and horford have 24 fouls between them. anytime they go inside to howard i would foul him. this would slow the game down, get howard frustrated, and possibly win a game for us. WHY WON’T THIS WORK RAY?

ant banks

March 15th, 2010
6:36 pm

as far as y’all sayin’ that woody is givin’ teague the AC LAW treatment…heard a commentator the other day say that this is law’s last year in the league. he sucked on 3 teams, the hawks, gs, and charlotte, so woody was right there. he will play teague when teague IS ready

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
6:43 pm

LOL @MannyT… iso-MO. Hilarious.

northcyde, you forgot, this also should mean extended minutes for RandMo to prove that he is the second coming of Olajuwon in the low post. And either his success or failure will result in several bloggers calling Woody an…

Regarding this “I’m glad they’re hurt”…be careful what you ask for. :evil:

Astro Joe

March 15th, 2010
6:45 pm

ant banks, you forgot the Chicago Bulls. Law has played on 3 teams THIS season. Or , I should say, he has practiced with 3 teams this season (I don’t think that he actually did much playing).

Benjamin

March 15th, 2010
6:45 pm

Jamal, if you’re reading, I know something about you.

You’ve scored 50 with three different teams, right?

Tomorrow night… big minutes vs. the Nets… make it four….. :)

Go Hawks.

Ken Strickland

March 15th, 2010
6:48 pm

NORTHCYDE-sounds like you’re finally beginning to get the picture, except you have yet to realize it. People, don’t get your hopes up about Teague’s chances of getting extended mins. Woodson will make every effort to limit his mins and prevent him from showing Bibby up, mark my words. He’ll split his mins with MWest at PG, and jump down Teagues throat whenever he makes the slightest mistake.

Even though he’s a rookie, there’s no possible way Woodson will give Teague the same leeway that he routinely gives Bibby to play through his mistakes and bad judgement. And trust me, as bad as Bibby has played this yr, that’s proven to be a whole lot of leeway.

Teague will have to play error free basketball and not be too spectacular in his overall play in order to get extended mins. Isn’t it amazing that with only 17gms remaining in the season, Woodson can’t decide what he’ll do or who he’ll start at PG? TALK ABOUT A HC WITHOUT A DAMNED CLUE!

Josh Wilkins Jr.

March 15th, 2010
6:53 pm

Acie should not be compared to Teague. Law had the gall to be pictured with a beer belly somebody posted here some time ago, hahahah.

Blast

March 15th, 2010
6:55 pm

Good test for Woody and team playing without Joe and maybe Bibby. Hawks actually move the ball better without Joe.

Would love to see Jamal go for 50.

Go HAwks!

Ken Strickland

March 15th, 2010
6:55 pm

BIG RAY-Why suggest Teague be pulled and his mins limited for stinking up the court when Bibby has been doing it for most of the yr, and his mins and opportunities to work through it haven’t been jeopardized, even to the detriment of the team?

O'Brien

March 15th, 2010
6:56 pm

I remember one game earlier in the year against New Orleans, when Bibby got injured in the first 5 minutes, and did not play for the rest of the game. Teague only received 5 minutes PT, while Collison and the NO guards ripped us apart.

However, that was early in the season, and JJ was playing, so Woody can go either way with Teague’s PT, if Bibby does not play.

I dont mind JJ being out, because he can use the rest, and we are playing lesser teams.

If JJ is out, I would like to see Woody start Mo at SG (which is his natural position anyway), and bring Crawford off the bench.

If Bibby and JJ are both out, I’m not sure which way to go. Do you start Teague and Mo so that we can bring Crawford off the bench? I guess you could, and just run the offense through our front court.

Teague should get more minutes, so I hope he plays solid enough to give Woody the confidence to give him more PT as the season continues. But I’m sure if he doesn’t play well, people will say “See, thats why Woody does not play him”.

MC,

The Bucks are hot right now, but their one loss was to the Hawks. I think the Bobcats are the team that could give the Hawks the most trouble. If the game is close, LB will outcoach Woody, and if the Bobcats are healthy, they are deep (bigs and guards), and can get hot from the outside.

That being said, if the Hawks play up to their potential, the Bobcats (or any first round opponent) will be lucky to win 2 games against us.

The Truth

March 15th, 2010
7:14 pm

This maybe a time when:

The 13 man roster makes no sense
The lack of bench utilization might back-fire
The Teague development factor will take center stage
Woody coaching (in general) takes center stage

PMC

March 15th, 2010
7:37 pm

I’m not certain what Teagues strengths are either, but he needs the practice in case he’s called on to produce in the playoffs. I mean they thought highly enough of him to draft him so it’s time for him to step up and start producing. Hopefully he’s good with the ball and distributing.

PMC

March 15th, 2010
7:40 pm

I’m not here to bash anyone. I support the team. Injuries happen though and this is a perfect time for these guys to step up and show what they can do making a run at Orlando for that 2 seed and the division. Here is the opportunity and it’s not against Lebron… it’s New Jersey.

Mike is Back

March 15th, 2010
7:46 pm

Well between HS basketball playoff and flu bug…I have not been able to see any games lately…sorry to hear about the injuries to JJ and Bibby.

If given the opportunity to start…I think Teague will be fine…if nothing else it will be a great learning experience for him. I also think Marvin will step up…he will move up the food chain with JJ out.

I agree with the sentiment that the Hawks should concentrate on locking down the third spot…they will still get a better draw than fourth. I think the toughness match up for the Hawks in the first round is definitely the Heat…the reason I say that is because Wade will get his Super Star calls like last year…as long as the Hawks have home court advantage…they can make it out of the first round.

GO TEAGUE, AND GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAD-DONNA

March 15th, 2010
7:58 pm

northcyde, if you’re a Woody fan, then your an idiot!

Barry

March 15th, 2010
8:09 pm

Hey Y’all:

This the final stretch of the regualar season. Teams in the NBA need to be real afraid of playing our HAWKS. I still believe we have need seen the best out of this team. This team is playing primarily without a center and is not far from leading in the Eastern Conference. This is a complement to the type of young, atheletic smart players they have on this team. I am more than confident this team knows how to hype each other up for games. With a little nastiness from Woody on that end is all this young, knitty, gritty, hawk team needs. This is going to be FUN to watch. The Hawks are going to be a DANGEROUS team for everybody in the league and everybody in the league knows it. THE HAWKS ARE GREAT WHEN THEY PLAY TEAM BALL. Being a New Yorker, they remind me of the old Knick team with Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave Debuscher, Willis Reed, Cassie Russell, Mike Bibby, Earl Monroe, etc. That team was not the biggest in the league, with an average size center, but man, when they moved that ball around and hit the open man, who were definite sharp shooters, they burnt everybody in the league toward their NBA championship. And yes, DEFENSE was their staple point. This Hawk team is a mirror image of that team but they have to move that ball around and hit the open man, like POETRY IN MOTION, and STING that shot. Most of the games the HAWKS won this season they have done that. the games they have lost, they played more “ONE ON ONE ” basketball throughout the game. It is good sometimes in certain situations, but definitely not all the time “WITH THIS TEAM!!”. This is a “POETRY IN MOTION” team that plays EXCELLENT DEFENSE”. The HAWKS have to move the ball efficiently and quickly, RUN AND GUN, and PLAY DEFENSE and we are the NBA CHAMPIONS. WE CAN DO IT!! AND IT IS GOING TO BE A JOY AND PLEASURE TO WATCH. These Hawks are ready. LET’S TAKE IT TO THEM AND
“SHOCK THE WORLD!!!”

GO HAWKS!! LETS MOVE WITH “POETRY IN MOTION” AND DEFENSE. LET’S “SHOCK THE WORLD!!!!!”

SSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN. TELL EVERBODY!!!!

…………………………………..”SHOCK THE WORLD!!!”……………………………….>

The Truth

March 15th, 2010
8:41 pm

Watching this Celtic – Piston game; sure glad we didn’t chase Charlie V. This guy really sucks on defense and has been struggling on offense as well.

Samuel

March 15th, 2010
9:14 pm

HC without a clue holding down the 3rd spot in the East? Who’s the idiot here?

Fire Teague Now Express

March 15th, 2010
9:18 pm

Northcyde’s 6:02 pm post. That was a good one…?

Actually The AJC ran a pole to and asked if fans thought the Hawks could win a championship with Woodson and the answer was an emphatic yes almost 70%.

Its only in this Klavern of hate that is so ignorantly opposed to Woodson and the hawks.

drmaryb

March 15th, 2010
9:18 pm

NORTHCYDE 609 PM POST:

Great Stuff …. Nuff – Said! OMG! I can go to sleep now… Nite-Nite to all the haters!
You got your Wish!

No Jj
No Bibby

LOL! I suspect these may be PHANTOM INJURIES to give the People what they want.

So, when the team regresses You can all SHUT-UP! Oh my bad…there’s still to bash & gouge!
-sniggles-

drmaryb

March 15th, 2010
9:24 pm

Correction for TYPO:

OMG! My bad..there’s still Woody (The MAN w/a CHAMPIONSHIP – RING!). Still on the bench.

So all the haters can still bash & gouge the village IDIOT till the end!
(Compliments of NORTHcYDE). N-Side… U. ROCK. MAN!

Fire Teague Now Express

March 15th, 2010
9:50 pm

Teague’s strengths are tour overs and pine riding!

Fire Teague Now Express

March 15th, 2010
9:50 pm