Archive for March, 2010

Hawks Squawks: Bucks 98, Hawks 95

J.J. took over in the fourth but faltered late. (AP Photo)

J.J. took over in the fourth but faltered late.

– The Hawks couldn’t make a playoff berth official on their second try. Elias Sports Bureau screwed up by telling the Hawks on Friday they could clinch with a victory over the Spurs, but waited until Monday to tell the league “Oops!” The Bulls won tonight so the Hawks couldn’t even back in.

– It’s tough to get down on the Hawks too much after this one. They’ve still won four of their last six. The Bucks are hot. The Hawks played a tough overtime game against the Spurs and arrived in Milwaukee early this morning.

– But just when you are ready to say the Hawks are one of those rolls that might last into the playoffs, they squander a 12-point lead and fall apart at the end in front of rowdy road fans. At least they could say they didn’t have J.J. when that happened at Toronto.

– But he was out there this time, and his Iso-Joe duel with John Salmons in the fourth quarter gave the Hawks a chance. But then Dick Bavetta called him for …

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Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: Win And They Are In (Again)

Well, it turns out the Hawks haven’t clinched a spot in the playoffs after all. Elias Sports Bureau called the league to tell them that the Hawks would lose a tiebreaker if they lost all of their remaining games and finished in four-way tie for the final playoffs spot. Well, OK, then. The Hawks will clinch tonight if they win or Chicago loses to Houston. Really.

Anyway, at the moment the playoffs bracket looks like this. Assuming the Celtics are going to win the Atlantic, which is a safe assumption, they would win a tiebreaker with the Hawks. From

(-) Tie breaker not needed (better overall winning percentage)
(1) Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division
(2) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
(3) Division won-lost percentage
(4) Conference won-lost percentage
(5) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, own conference
(6) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, other conference
(7) Net Points, all games

Suddenly John Salmons, not super rook Brandon Jennings, is the story for the Bucks.

Suddenly solid vet John Salmons, not super …

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Hawks Squawks: Hawks 119, Spurs 114 (OT)

– The playoffs have been a foregone conclusion for the Hawks for a while now so clinching is a bit anti-climatic. But, man, what a way to make it official.

– The Hawks came back from 14 down, the largest deficit they’ve overcome to win this season. “Fantastic,” Woody said of clinching. “We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us. There’s still a lot of work to do before the playoffs. We’ve got to keep rolling. We’ll handle the playoffs once we get there.”

– The Hawks handled a Spurs team that wasn’t going to be an easy out no matter what the standings say. They have a history of winning in Philips. They are desperate to make the playoffs. Ginobili went for 38 and maybe 10 of those came with guys in his grill. Duncan had 29 and 13. The Spurs got calls. The Hawks started terribly.

– The Hawks still won because . . . well, because of pretty much everybody. J.J., Al Jamal and, I’ll be danged, Marvin all made winning plays–and I probably missed somebody.

– “We all play off of each …

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Spurs at Atlanta Hawks: Win and They Are In (Game is at 8)

So the Hawks can clinch a playoff berth with a victory against the Spurs tonight. Before you say “So what?” remember from whence the Hawks came.

“It wasn’t even pro basketball,” J.J. said of his early days with the Hawks.

Clearly the Hawks have higher aspirations than just making the playoffs. Still, making it official means something.

“It definitely does,” Josh Smith said. “When you go from the bottom up you appreciate the moments of winning.”

“That’s what makes it so special,” J.J. said, “knowing what you had to go through to get to this point.”

“It would be fantastic,” Woody said of clinching tonight. “It’s what we all push for. The first three years we wasn’t playing for nothing. Well, I can’t say that third year–we had a legit shot to make it but we had a lot of injuries. We finally made it in the fourth year, and now here we are.”

Then there is Jamal Crawford, whose losing goes back even further than the Hawks. Jamal asked Bibby how long he was in the league before he …

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Hawks squawks: Hawks 93, Bobcats 92 (OT)

What’s up, folks?

Ken Sugiura sitting in again for MC. He’ll be back Sunday.

It’s always interesting reading through the game thread after the game is over (which I just did). It looks like most of you (understandably so) did not see the game going the way it did, although, to your credit (I guess), you didn’t flip-flop completely. There was some measured acceptance of the win, but some “We can’t play like this.”

Some points – The Bobcats have the Hawks’ full attention. Or at least they do now. Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson and Mike Woodson all noted how hard Charlotte plays and how well they defend. You might not know that Charlotte has taken three of four from Cleveland and had won seven of their last eight, including wins over the Lakers and the Magic. This isn’t a bad team.

Said Joe, “They play hard for 48 mintes. They don’t back down to anybody. Give them a lot of credit. Larry Brown had those guys rolling.”

I think some of that went into how the Hawks looked offensively, …

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Joe Johnson to play vs. Charlotte

Hawks guard Joe Johnson will play Friday night against Charlotte after missing the last two games with tendinitis in his Achilles tendon.

Johnson practiced with the team Friday morning at the team’s shootaround at Philips Arena. Johnson said his Achilles had been bothering for the last month and a half or two months.

“I just felt it was time for me to get a little rest off of it and try and let it heal up a little bit,” he said.

Johnson said he won’t limit his minutes on the floor against the Bobcats. In his absence, the Hawks beat New Jersey but lost at Toronto Wednesday night on a last-second basket.

“It’s going to be good to get back out there with the fellas and start us a new streak,” he said.

More to come later.

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks at Raptors: Woodson gives Bibby some needling

Toronto–Made it to Canada, where somehow it’s a nicer day than any I can remember in Atlanta for like the last week. (When I saw the border agents, for some reason all I could think about was: “She got a cousin at customs that get (stuff) through . . .”)

Chris Mannix of asked Woody if he’s concerned about Bibby’s problems with quick point guards as the Hawks head to the playoffs.

“You think Bibby has trouble with quick point guards,” Woody said, smiling. “I’m going to tell Bibby that. Maybe he better speed it up in the playoffs.”

Bibby and one of those quick point guards he has problems with. (Johnny Crawford,

Bibby and one of those quick guards that can give him trouble. (Johnny Crawford,

Chris Sheridan of got to Bibby before Woody could and relayed the exchange.

“You keep some things, some things you can’t,” Bibby said, and it looked like he would let it go and that would be it.

But after a bit he added: “I aint’ the only one who has trouble with quick point guards, I can tell you that.”

Bibby was offered the …

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Hawks Squawks: Hawks 108, Nets 84

East Rutherford, N.J.–This was a real professional effort by the Hawks, who never let the Nets back in it after taking control in the second quarter. And they did it without J.J..

– “It feels good,” Jamal said. “They are down but you can’t take anyone lightly. We are getting better at not giving teams a chance to put together a run and come back.”

– OK, so it was the Nets, who could end up historically bad. But these are the Hawks, who less than a week ago messed around with the Wizards and lost to Golden State’s skeleton squad not too long ago. Now they’ve looked sharp while beating down inferior opponents in the last two games.

– “There are no ‘gimmies’ in this league,” Woody said. “We’ve had games like this where we came out on the other end. I thought our guys came out focused.”

– The Hawks were a bit sluggish from the jump. It reminded me of the game in Washington: a low-energy start in front of a sparse, downtrodden crowd. I’m starting to think the …

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Atlanta Hawks at Nets: The Rook’ (Jeff Teague) gets his shot (updated)

Woody will watch and see if Teague can D up guys better than Frank Robinson. (Curtis Compton/

Woody will watch and see if Teague can D up guys better than Frank Robinson. (Curtis Compton/

Secaucus, N.J.–Joe Johnson is out tonight. He’s not going to play tomorrow at Toronto, either, and Woody said J.J.’s status is up in the air for Friday’s game against Charlotte at Philips Arena.

The Hawks say J.J. has a strained Achilles’ tendon.

“He’s day-to-day,” Woody said.

Bibby’s back is better and he will start tonight. In a surprise move, Woody plans to go with My Blog People MVP Jeff Teague at point guard and Bibby at shooting guard instead of using Mo Evans to replace Johnson.

It’s Teague’s first start.

“We’ll give it a shot,” Woody said, adding with a smile: “I can always sub early.”

“(Teague) has played with different combinations,” Woody said. “This is no different. He will do what he does best: push the ball, defend, get people involved.”

Teague, low key as always, said he’s ready.

“I’ve been playing basketball my whole life, and I’ve usually started,” …

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