Lakers at Atlanta Hawks: Yeah, it’s big

The Hawks are still taking it one cliched game at a time.

It’s just that this one is bigger than most.

“There’s always more energy when you play against the top teams,” Jamal said. “You get a chance to measure yourselves against the best teams and the best players. Those games are always a lot of fun. I don’t care what anyone says, they are a little more special.”

Even Woody, loathe to acknowledge that any game is bigger than the next, said this one is significant.

“You want to play your best,” Woody said. “When you play the world champions it is a test to see how you fare.”

In the big picture, the standings are the most important reason for the Hawks to get a W. They aren’t going to catch Orlando but for the first time Woody said finishing ahead of Boston for No. 3 in the East is important, too.

“It’s a major goal,” he said.

There’s also the matter of getting 50 victories for the first time since 1997-98. That seems almost certain but you never know.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t win 50-plus games if everyone is committed to finishing the season strong,” Woody said.

–The Lakers have a guy named Kobe Bryant. He’s pretty good. He’s also angry about the Lakers’ effort in their loss at New Orleans on Monday and worried they might get complacent as the season winds down.

“Everyone is on edge is I think is a good way to put it,” he said today.

The Lakers are in a sort of holding pattern. They aren’t going to catch Cleveland for the league’s best record and homecourt in a potential Finals meeting and Dallas won’t catch the Lakers for No. 1 in the West.

Bryant wants them to stay sharp, anyway. From the LA Times:

“It’s important for me to put my foot on the gas and have in our mind’s eye the kind of urgency that we need to play with in order to defend [the championship],” Bryant told NBA TV host Ernie Johnson and analysts Kevin McHale and Chris Webber. “The trap that you run into is you play with that sense of urgency when you’re down 10, 12, 13 points and that’s the kind of mentality I do not want us to have going into the postseason. You kind of lollygag around for a series and now you’re down, 3-1, now it’s time to play. You kind of fall into that false sense of security and all of a sudden it’s time to go and sometimes it’s too late to turn it on.”

Phil Jackson said the Hawks remind him of Oklahoma City in the West.

“The Hawks have a little more experience obviously than Oklahoma City,” he said. “They are still relatively young but with Bibby, Johnson and Crawford it gives them experienced guards. Both (teams) are tremendously athletic.”

– It will be interesting to see Kobe and Jackson’s triangle against the Hawks’ switching defense. I asked Jackson about the pros and cons of that approach.

“I personally watched the San Antonio-Hawks game a week ago Sunday and Ginobili was tearing them up,” he said. “Certainly it is tough for them to guard Ginobili with one person. I started watching Josh not really wanting to make that switch all of a sudden after Ginobili goes by two or three times. That’s the issue. Who are you going to switch on Kobe? Are you going to switch somebody on who does not have the capability of staying with him. We have always admired the ability for teams to switch. It’s a remedy against what is prevalent in this league and that’s the screen-roll.”

Kobe said the Hawks “are the only team in the league that (switches), but they have the athleticism to do it.” In fact, he said the Hawks “are the most athletic team we’ll face all year.” Not sure about that but you get his point.

What are the keys to attacking the switches?

“Just understanding what their defense is doing and countering it,” Kobe said. “Our offense is pretty flexible. If we are paying attention to what they are doing, hopefully we can capitalize on it.”

– Jamal said the Hawks’ shootaround was all about defense. Kobe probably was discussed at some point.

“He’s one of the best to ever play the game,” Jamal said.

“He’s probably going to get his with the number of shots he takes,” J.J. said. “We’ve got to contain the others.”

MC

259 comments Add your comment

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:05 pm

lets get it…!

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:10 pm

Lets do this. Not expecting anything from Duck 2nite tho

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:13 pm

The hawks can’t make lazy passes

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:14 pm

Man Josh please don’t start this

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:15 pm

Duck let Fisher drive on him smh

L

March 31st, 2010
7:15 pm

i see u Bibby!!!

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:15 pm

Bibby is on fire

northcyde

March 31st, 2010
7:16 pm

Is the arena full right now? You mean the fans made it ON TIME?

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:16 pm

Is Bibby cooking with grease early????

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:16 pm

Josh was about to yolk that thang NBA Jam style..

Sleepy

March 31st, 2010
7:16 pm

Bibby 7

Lakers 4

?????????

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:16 pm

L

March 31st, 2010
7:17 pm

Josh and Odom is going to be a good matchup tonight

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:18 pm

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:20 pm

where was the foul????

Sleepy

March 31st, 2010
7:24 pm

Bibby blew his load early and now hes done :)

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:25 pm

how many steps… sheesh..

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:26 pm

fuuck is that

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:26 pm

jjjjoeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:26 pm

Hawks are getting touch fouls….

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:27 pm

Man Josh. NO JUMPERS

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:27 pm

gasol is eating whorfords AZZwhole

joBjo

March 31st, 2010
7:27 pm

euro center battle!

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

let jammal cross kobe so this place can get Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiive

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

good foul Joe…

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

Man how many fouls r they gonna call

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

lol right on cue

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:31 pm

Enter your comments herethankfully Woody won’t overplay JJ

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:32 pm

about time the hawks get a call…

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:33 pm

Jamallllllllllllll

L

March 31st, 2010
7:34 pm

come on Marv…give us something tonight!!!

joBjo

March 31st, 2010
7:34 pm

Mo beefed up for Kobe. so far so good.

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:37 pm

Ohhh… Jamal made the refs call that foul…

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:37 pm

good opening qrt.

joBjo

March 31st, 2010
7:38 pm

give Z a rebound on that last second shot

Najeh Davenpoop

March 31st, 2010
7:40 pm

Can’t watch this game (wish I could). Looking at the box score, nice to see the Hawks with the advantage on the offensive boards — that’s an area they can use to decide the game if they put their minds to it, seeing as how the Lakers are without Andrew Bynum. Seems like they are relying a lot on perimeter shooting to score so far, which probably isn’t all that great of a strategy going forward, although I guess if J-Smoove has 4 dimes already it means they are at least getting him touches inside. Seeing Horford with 2 early fouls sucks — I really thought he could use his bulk to hold his ground better against Gasol (who I’m assuming he’s guarding).

northcyde

March 31st, 2010
7:43 pm

The backcourt had 21 of our 29 1st quarter points. That should open up some room for our frontcourt in the 2nd quarter.

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:44 pm

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:44 pm

ZaZaaaaaaaaa

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:44 pm

Deniece Williams “Silly of Me” on the organ..

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:45 pm

Mo Bodies Kobe lol

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:45 pm

Jamal torchin

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:46 pm

Jamal was about to shake him again

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:49 pm

http://tv9sports.webs.com/ <for whoever not by the tv link to game

bigdave

March 31st, 2010
7:52 pm

Josh jabbed Fisher

Melvin

March 31st, 2010
7:53 pm

ZaZa is playing well….

joBjo

March 31st, 2010
7:53 pm

cry baby Jackson. lol

terrell

March 31st, 2010
7:53 pm

Marvin was on the ground 1 min into the 1st qtr. lol! Boy, Josh just got away with an offensive foul.

VenomSpitter

March 31st, 2010
7:53 pm

Bibby is probably like “I never like u fisher, I couldn’t stand u in 2002 and can’t stand ur old azz now”

BONE

March 31st, 2010
7:53 pm

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck LA AND YOU 6ITCH AZZ FANS IN HERE WIT THAT DEAD AZZ YELLO N PURPLE ON!!!!!!!!!