Atlanta Hawks: Life without Joe Johnson

Man, what a bad night in Toronto. For the Hawks, of course, but also for me. They blew a lead and I nearly choked on deadline. I didn’t file a postgame blog due to technical issues with my aircard in Canada and also time constraints after clearing customs and hopping the Hawks’ flight. Then I got home at 3 a.m. today and immediately collapsed on my bed. Then today I had to go to the office and. . . aw, forget it, I’m here now.

I missed Woody after the game (like I said, bad night) but apparently he was upset the Hawks didn’t block out when Turkoglu missed that free throw. Mo and Jamal thought Marvin didn’t step out of bounds when he corralled the ball and quickly threw it to Horford.

“I feel like they got rescued when they shouldn’t have had an extra possession,” Mo said.

I didn’t see the play live because Woody was blocking my view and I never saw a replay that was conclusive. The Hawks still had a chance to win if they got one more stop but of course Bosh hit that sweet stepback jumper over Al, whose defense on the play wasn’t that bad (”Great play,” he said). It looked like Jamal’s final shot attempt may have been deflected by Sonny Weems but Jamal said he didn’t think it was. He said he just couldn’t get a clean handle on the ball.

Mo thought the Hawks should have went to Al more because the Raptors couldn’t handle him. But Jamal said the Raptors started fronting Horford to make straightforward entry passes more difficult, and Al said he had no problem with the Hawks going to the pick-and-roll because that was working, too.

But that game is over and the Hawks move forward. The Hawks were off today and offered no update on Joe Johnson. He remains questionable with the sore Achilles’ tendon and Mo is listed as the probable starter against Charlotte tomorrow night.

So how did the Hawks look in their two road games without J.J., one against the worst team in the league and another against a desperate opponent?

“Of course can’t wait for him to come back,” Jamal said, “but we almost went 2-0 without him.”

“I think we did good,” Smoove said. “I think it shows the maturation and growth of the team. When someone goes out–especially Joe Johnson, our leader–then other people have to step up.”

Those other people were Jamal, Mo, Bibby. Teague added his name to the list in Toronto. Jamal especially looked much more aggressive without Joe out there.

On the one hand, you might say the Hawks could have used J.J.’s closing ability against the Raptors. On the other hand, would his presence have meant Jamal wouldn’t have had as many opportunities to explode off picks and make plays? Would Al have been free to catch the ball in the high post and go to work?

Then again, the Hawks only scored 19 points in the fourth so maybe those questions are kind of besides the point. Or maybe Woody didn’t use his bench-guys-other-than Jamal enough in the second night of a back-to-back, particularly after his main guys used so much energy rallying in the second quarter (man, Jamal was fired up during that spurt).

Defensively, the Hawks definitely missed Joe. The Raptors made 11 of 19 shots in the fourth quarter. Weems made a couple big shots. Turkoglu bullied his way to five free-throw attempts in the fourth. J.J. could have helped with those guys.

In the big picture, the Hawks clearly are a much better team with J.J. out there. They need him back, and fast. The Hawks are four games back of Orlando with 15 to play and tied with Boston. But we’ve seen a glimpse of what the Hawks looks like without J.J. and it wasn’t too bad.

MC

109 comments Add your comment

rob706

March 18th, 2010
4:48 pm

rob706

March 18th, 2010
4:50 pm

Hawks look fine without J.J., but i agree, we need him back and i would like Jamal to be aggresive like that all the time, i have no problem with the agressiveness. If Teague gets that jumper, he will be fine too. Like the drives to the basket by JT0

dstdeelite

March 18th, 2010
4:55 pm

I want video evidence Marvin stepped out of bounds.

rms

March 18th, 2010
5:09 pm

O'Brien

March 18th, 2010
5:15 pm

MC,

There have been games where JJ played, and the Hawks still could not score more than 19 points in the 4th. Actually, that has happened 12 other games (not including last night), so I dont know if having JJ would have made a difference.

And with JJ out there, I dont think Al would have gotten those touches in the 4th, and Crawford might not have gotten that many shot attempts.

You raise an interesting point though. Why didn’t Woody play more bench guys in the second half, in the second game of a back to back, both on the road? I think that has become Woody’s trait. Except for a couple recent games, he has not played the bench guys much in the second half.

That being said, the players lost this game.

From the previous blog,

“But if Marvin does not step his game up by next season, he will be viewed as a HUGE mistake by Sund givng him 5 years, $37.5 mil, basically bidding against himself. Marvin’s contract (so far) is only adding to the mistake BK made by drafting Marvin #2 instead of the PG (Deron or CP3) that we badly needed.

For the Hawks sake, I hope Marvin turns it around. He is young (only 23), but this is his 5th year in the league under the same coach, and he’s been getting starter minutes since year 2.

I dont understand why he can’t be a better (and more consistent) player, and I can’t understand why we dont have other options at the SF position (Mo is a backup SG)”

Michael Cunningham

March 18th, 2010
5:33 pm

@O’Brien: “There have been games where JJ played, and the Hawks still could not score more than 19 points in the 4th. Actually, that has happened 12 other games (not including last night), so I dont know if having JJ would have made a difference.”

yeah, maybe not. but i do think it made a big difference defensively vs. DeRozan. and i think better to have J.J. on Turkoglu the way he was abusing Marvin, who always has trouble with physical guys like that.

“For the Hawks sake, I hope Marvin turns it around. He is young (only 23), but this is his 5th year in the league under the same coach, and he’s been getting starter minutes since year 2.

I dont understand why he can’t be a better (and more consistent) player, and I can’t understand why we dont have other options at the SF position (Mo is a backup SG)”

maybe he’s just not going to get any better. like i’ve always said, if all he did consistently was make wide open shots or rebound–just one of those–that would help a lot. last night was another game where he did neither and it hurt the hawks. agreed the roster seems unbalanced at SF, but i give Mo credit. he’s not afraid to get his nose in there.

O'Brien

March 18th, 2010
5:52 pm

Thanks for the quick response MC.

Mo Evans gives it his all out there, and I think no matter where you ask him to play, whether he starts or comes off the bench, he seems willing. And his salary does not hamper the Hawks very much.

But if Marvin does not get any better, Sund (and Hawks fans) will regret the day Marvin got his 5 year, $37.5 mil contract (just like we regret the day he was drafted #2).

If I had a choice, I will always prefer to have JJ out there, and I think we will need him to beat the Bobcats Friday night. Hopefully the days off will get him ready for tomorrow night.

Hawks need to continue to win their home games to hold off the Celtics.

BC

March 18th, 2010
5:56 pm

learning,i don’t know.it seam’s that the ability is there,but when dose the heart to close show up.the team just dose not have the mental toughness as a group, to put together with the physical attributes.to many times this team has let a game that is in the W bracket slip away.i know a ten plus lead going into the fourth doesn’t mean any thing if you don’t step up as much as the team,or more than the team your playing against.
did that sound like woody?,sorry,it just piss’s me off so bad when i see this team lay down against a team that it is better than.even without JJ.
the ball distribution and scoring was great,but the D,sorry there i go again.
i promise woody did not put me up to this!

VenomSpitter

March 18th, 2010
6:04 pm

Mo should start and we should slide Joe to the 3. Marvin can get his duck on while he sits on the bench.

Lacsho

March 18th, 2010
6:05 pm

After watching last night’s game, it’s evident the Hawks are lacking that Veteran leadership. When the game got out of control, no one stepped up for the Hawks to settle the team down. The Hawks never really regained composure. Even though we had the lead, a leader like Billups, LBJ, Nash, Kidd, etc … would’ve corralled the team together to put the Raptors out of business. The raptors were on the ropes, and we let them off the hook. The Raptors punked the Hawks last night. They were the aggressor on the floor. Bibby and Josh were out of control. Last night was the perfect night for Big AL to step up; he should’ve been more vocal and demanded the ball. Big AL has to put this team on his back and be the vocal leader. Without that vocal leader this team will always be inconsistent.

I think we win the game with JJ last night. He’s not a vocal leader, but his defensive presence was missed. I think Woody needs to shift his focus to offense; the switching defense doesn’t work. We have a very strong athletic team, and the focus should be on offense. We should dictate the pace of the game, and make the opposing team adjust. It always seems like we play to the other team’s strength.

This team doesn’t look like a team that’s going deep in the playoffs. It seems like we will be content if we make it to the second round. Meanwhile theirs a team in the west who had the same makeover as the Hawks, this team is the OKC Thunder. At this pace OKC will surpass the Hawks next year. Their rebuilding process seemed less painful, and now they’re a force in the west. Their lead player has already committed to resigning this summer, and he’s their true leader. SMH the hawks never get players like that.

nique

March 18th, 2010
6:14 pm

woody and marvin suck

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:15 pm

HawksFan11
March 18th, 2010
5:01 pm
Northclyde, OB, Rod, Truth,
All great analyses, all acurate stats. But the one that caught my eye early and often last night was interior defense, or the lack thereof. If you read my in-game posts, you’ll remember “If the Hawks lose this game, it’s all on the big. PERIOD!”
Here is an alarming recount of layups by quarter, converted by each team:
Hawks 3 7 5 0 = 15 layups = 30 points
Raptors 9 7 4 6 = 26 layups = 52 points
Intimidation in the paint was not the Hawks’ strong suit last night.
The mindset of this team seems to be “let ‘em score, we can outscore them later.”

Idiot Watch
March 18th, 2010
11:03 am
A. Bargnani 22pts against no defense from horford.
03/17 Atl W 106-105 38 8-14 .571 2-4 .500 4-6 .667 0 1 1 3 3 8 11 2 22
truthspitter
March 18th, 2010
10:33 am
Excellent post!
truthspitter
March 18th, 2010
10:33 am
Woody is good coach. Marvin is garbage and I hope he just has a nervous breakdown and retires today. Josh since he decided he wanted to play skilled has forgotten how to finish around the

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:16 pm

If you read my in-game posts, you’ll remember “If the Hawks lose this game, it’s all on the big. PERIOD!”
Here is an alarming recount of layups by quarter, converted by each team:
Hawks 3 7 5 0 = 15 layups = 30 points
Raptors 9 7 4 6 = 26 layups = 52 points
Intimidation in the paint was not the Hawks’ strong suit last night.
The mindset of this team seems to be “let ‘em score, we can outscore them later.”

UGA

March 18th, 2010
6:17 pm

Can someone tell Josh Smith that shooting jumpers in not his thing? Anytime he shoots that wing jumpshot it’s a turnover. It has a 1 in 10 chance in going in. Maybe Woodson knows something we don’t………….which I doubt.

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:17 pm

Here is an alarming recount of layups by quarter, converted by each team:
Hawks 3 7 5 0 = 15 layups = 30 points
Raptors 9 7 4 6 = 26 layups = 52 points

UGA

March 18th, 2010
6:18 pm

Quite honestly, I don’t think we want to be the 2 or 3 seed. We have a much better chance at beating the Cavs than we do Orlando. As long as we don’t get the Heat in Round 1………they’ve had our number this year.

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:21 pm

Hawks 3 7 5 0 = 15 layups = 30 points
Raptors 9 7 4 6 = 26 layups = 52 points

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:21 pm

A. Bargnani 22pts against no defense from horford.
03/17 Atl W 106-105 38 8-14 .571 2-4 .500 4-6 .667 0 1 1 3 3 8 11 2 22

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:23 pm

Lets see, “We lost the game in the paint where the other team scored 22 more points, and the other team’s center scored 22, is that a coincident.

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:23 pm

Defense!!! Horford plays no Defense!

March 18th, 2010
6:38 pm

So in the 4th quarter they had 6 lay ups and we had none. Looks like there center shut us out at the rim and our center open the door and had a welcome party.

Chris

March 18th, 2010
6:38 pm

I don’t think JJ would have made any difference. The ball moves a bit better without him there, but we did see a lot of “Iso-Jamal”. I do not think that Woody is a bad coach, but when I watch the Hawks, I can’t help thinking that if I owned the team I would be ready to see if somebody else could take them to the next level.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 18th, 2010
6:39 pm

“Looks like there center shut us out at the rim and our center open the door and had a welcome party.”

The day Andrea Bargnani shuts anyone out at the rim is the day the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl.

Section 303

March 18th, 2010
6:53 pm

Najeh, you leave the Detroit Lions out of this…

Tough loss. Another one that we will all think back to if the Hawks are heading to the road for game 1 of the 2nd round. Can’t keep letting this happen. What a waste of some good performances (Jamal, Al).

Rock Preston

March 18th, 2010
6:57 pm

Where’s Clyde??

cp

March 18th, 2010
6:57 pm

Honestly we will need JJ to come back next year. If we lost him I’m confident other guys would step up their game but not Marvin. The way Marvin has played has made me realize even more we cant afford to lose JJ.

cp

March 18th, 2010
6:59 pm

Can one of the stat guys on here post the percentage Josh is shooting on those long 2 pointers? I’m glad he has stopped shooting the 3 but the long 2 is just as annoying. I’m just curious to see what the percentage difference is from him taking 3’s last season to the long 2’s this season.

Astro Joe

March 18th, 2010
7:06 pm

“But we’ve seen a glimpse of what the Hawks looks like without J.J. and it wasn’t too bad”.

Yeah, against two wretched defensive teams. Some things should just be left unsaid by the local paper. If Joe walks, life will go on. But how many teams get better when losing a 4-time All-Star still in his prime (and with an ownership group that is losing money like a Toyota dealership)? Seems to me that we need propaganda aimed toward keeping Joe, not media who stroke tallies his shot selection and evaluates his value to the team during a two-game set against ineffective defensive squads.

Astro Joe

March 18th, 2010
7:09 pm

cp, you mean something like this (see Shooting Details)?

http://www.82games.com/0910/09ATL9.HTM

Truth-Serum

March 18th, 2010
7:11 pm

“The day Andrea Bargnani shuts anyone out at the rim is the day the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl.”

Well lets look at the stats

Hawks 3 7 5 0 = 15 layups = 30 points
Raptors 9 7 4 6 = 26 layups = 52 points

Lets see in the 4th quarter they scored 6 layups over horford. In 4th quarter the hawk were unable to score any baskets on Bargnani. The stats are above with a quarter by quarter break down tell the truth. I know you like horford and he is a nice man. But his lack of defense is hurting us big time.

O'Brien

March 18th, 2010
7:11 pm

cp,

A few weeks ago, I remember reading that Josh is shooting 27% on his jump shots (I dont know if that includes 3pt shots too).

If I’m not mistaken, they also said he was a career avg 34% jump shot shooter.

He needs to stop shooting those jump shots, unless he is consistently making them in practice.

Truth-Serum

March 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

I guess Detroit is headed to the super bowl! Andrea Bargnani shut the hawks out in the fourth and Horford sponsored a dunk-a-thon.

Dick Long

March 18th, 2010
7:17 pm

Hey Mike Cunningham, re-post that picture of bibby defending again nate robinson and horford standing beside them watching and waiting for a free rebound.

Ken Strickland

March 18th, 2010
7:18 pm

you can fool yourselves all you want, we lost this gm the same way we’ve been losing them down the stretch even with JJ.

TO THE HORFORD HATING MORON(S)-There’s only ONE(1) dominant NBA center, and that’s DHoward. AHorford is NOT a dominant center, and he’s proven he doesn’t have to be to be effective. Once again, let me show you just how completely STUPID AND MORONIC you are. Your INBRED STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE, along with your hatred for Horford and need for an excuse to bash him, prevented you from realizing he defended and dominated CBosh, not Bargnani.

He held Bosh to 6-19 shooting, 10REB’s, 2-2FT’s, 4AST’s, 0BLK’s and 14pts, while registering 7-11 shooting, 14REB’s, 4-4FT’s, 5AST’s, 2BLK’s and 18PTS. WE WEREN’T HURT IN ANYWAY BY THE PLAY OF AL HORFORD MORON.

Dick Long

March 18th, 2010
7:24 pm

Ken, I think you got it mixed up, Bosh is a power forward which is josh’s job, Horford is the center.

Idiot Watch

March 18th, 2010
7:27 pm

“The difference between the two as HC’s is BKnight knew fundamentals and how to teach them, how to coach and how to win college championships, and WOODSON DOES !”

There is a difference between with a blogger with sense and one without. A blogger with sense understands that at the college and high school level teaching fundamentals is a must. Most of the athletes have been recruited based on there physical assets not their court knowledge. Training at the Bob Knight level is very high schoolish, sophomoric. Thats why he often had to yell and get physical with the boys.The Bob Knight level is to prepare you from the pros by teach fundamentals and work ethics so you will be ready for the pros.

Unless you are a project child, like ken Strickland, you are suppose to know the fundamentals when you are drafted. Thats why it was said of Horford that he was the most NBA ready player in the draft.

Yes, Bob Knight was Woodson’s College coach, and woodson did have a very good college career. But It was Larry Brown who was Woodson’s mentor. Get your facts straight, ken.

Larry Brown knows how to win championships, and KEN STRICKLAND DOES NOT!

Yea, GeeMack, The Woody haters, AKA, Le Bubba Crew are wide open! It use to be they would only come out after dark, I guess they have taken some sort of potion and now they dont shrivel up in the day light.!

The pros are not a “lets start from the basics” and give it the old college try league. The NBA is a Billion dollar business and its about winning, not teaching the fundamentals. If you need fundamentals stay in school or in Kens case, go to school. I wont buy tickets to the park and rec league, ken.

Since Acie law is the Topic of the day, how many teams has he been with know? how much organic growth is his game today? Acie is a very slow learner and will never be a starter and never have an impact on the game. He will always be a bench guy, just like Ken Strickland. So Ken, sit you assssss back on the bloggers bench, you and team Bubba.

O'Brien

March 18th, 2010
7:29 pm

Thanks for the link AJ.

As for the media and how they treat JJ, I dont think thats a big issue to JJ.

For example, if he goes to New York, what does he think the media will do the first time the Knicks go on a long losing streak? Or if he has 2 or 3 bad games in a row? The NY media is ruthless, and will turn on him in a heartbeat.

They key for JJ coming back will be how much money the Hawks offer, and does he think he can win here. Those will be his 2 main factors (in my opinion).

Dick Long

March 18th, 2010
7:31 pm

Since the Hawks were pick by most experts to win 44-47 games, the next one that they win will put them at the level projected by most experts. Its nice to know that he hawks are playing at or above their talent level!

Dick Long

March 18th, 2010
7:32 pm

“As for the media and how they treat JJ, I dont think thats a big issue to JJ.

For example, if he goes to New York, what does he think the media will do the first time the Knicks go on a long losing streak? Or if he has 2 or 3 bad games in a row? The NY media is ruthless, and will turn on him in a heartbeat.”

HES HAD PLENTY OF HATE PRACTICE WITH THE BUBBA CREW ON THIS SITE!

Joe Mama

March 18th, 2010
7:35 pm

“AHorford is NOT a dominant center, and he’s proven he doesn’t have to be to be effective.”

WE DONT KNEW HIM TO BE DOMINATE BUT IT WOULD BE NICE IF HE’D PUT DOWN THAT HAMBURGER AND PLAY SOME DEFENSE. THATS ALL I ASK PLAY SOME F-ING DEFENSE!

cp

March 18th, 2010
7:46 pm

Thanks for the link AJ… Yea O’Brien he needs to stop . I figured it was pretty low but wow. Although he is not shooting the 3 pointer, those long 2’s are just as bad.

Michael Cunningham

March 18th, 2010
7:58 pm

@ Astro Joe: “Seems to me that we need propaganda aimed toward keeping Joe, not media who stroke tallies his shot selection and evaluates his value to the team during a two-game set against ineffective defensive squads.”

first, there shouldn’t be propaganda of any kind. second . . . come on, dude. i didn’t come close to doing that. and you must have missed this part: “In the big picture, the Hawks clearly are a much better team with J.J. out there. They need him back, and fast.” as for Iso-Joe, i’ve explained more than once i started the Iso-Joe count because it was a topic of discussion and i wanted to attempt an honest evaluation of its effectiveness instead of just assuming it’s a bad thing.

i expect better from you.

Clyde

March 18th, 2010
8:09 pm

Back from Rio and I think I met my wife to be.

FIRE WOODY

VenomSpitter

March 18th, 2010
8:21 pm

Clyde your wife to be is named FIRE WOODY. How ironic

Clyde

March 18th, 2010
8:22 pm

Good one venom

Astro Joe

March 18th, 2010
8:56 pm

@MC, I believe in the power of the pen. Articles that celebrate Josh’s leadership (yours) and his maturity (SI) will likely result in an ASG berth even if that was not the intent. That’s good. But I also believe that there is another side of that same coin.

Hopefully, the myth of iso-Joe as the predominant play of the Hawks can go the way of the Candyman and other urban legends. “Iso-Joe”. (Don’t say it again). “Iso-Joe”. (You better stop now). “Iso-Joe”. (Oh NOOOOOO. The double-team comes, a turnover and the Hawks lose).

Isn’t there something about the power of the last sentence in writing? I could have sworn that the first few sentences and the last are the key ones. Maybe I’m just remembering from my marketing days and journalism is different.

Grandad

March 18th, 2010
8:58 pm

Sybil:

A.B. had nothing to do with the Hawks [Wdsn's] failure to attack inside
during the final minutes of the game. Had we kept going to Big Al late,
we would have won going away.
As for defense, you cannot say, so and so, guards so and so, because,
so and so is a [4] and so and so is a [5]. Switching defense causes
mismatches all over the floor.
Just like on this board.
Your are perpetually mismatched.
Even with your switching defense[alter-egos].
G’day.

Astro Joe

March 18th, 2010
9:02 pm

Oh yeah, and the power of a title. “Life Without Joe Johnson”. EGADS!!!!

I’m sure that title may produce top 5 clicks and hits for the year on this blog.

Wonderful.

joBjo

March 18th, 2010
9:14 pm

get back the 2 points from idiots running their mouths and getting techs and we win the game.

northcyde

March 18th, 2010
9:46 pm

Josh Smith shooting from 16 – 23 feet out: 28% as of right now