Atlanta Hawks at Bobcats: Closing Case (Updated: Bibby out, Teague to start)

Hawks, minus Joe Johnson, will try to close on the road like LeBron's Cavs. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Hawks, minus Joe Johnson, will try to close on the road like LeBron's Cavs. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

(Update: Bibby to sit out tonight with ingrown toenail on left big toe. He said he will test it before game at Detroit tomorrow. Teague to start at point guard in his place. Woody says reports from Atlanta indicate Joe Johnson (thumb) is “feeling a lot better” and could play vs. Toronto on Friday.)

The Hawks are on the road and, if they continue on their current course, chances are they will have a shot to beat Charlotte late in the game. But odds are they won’t close out a victory, and not just because they are without J.J.

In 13 road games since the All-Star break, the Hawks are 5-7 when they either had a lead or gained a tie in the fourth quarter. The Hawks blew leads in the final two minutes of four games and in the final six minutes of two others.

Compare that Hawks’ closing percentage to the other three top teams in the East:

  • In 12 road games since the All-Star break, the Cavaliers are 7-3 in games they led or were tied in the fourth quarter.
  • In 10 road games since the All-Star break, Orlando is 7-2 in games in which they led or were tied in the fourth quarter.
  • In 11 road games since the All-Star break, the Celtics are 7-1 in games in which led or were tied in the fourth quarter.

At the time of the year when serious teams win on the road, and at the time during those games when they make winning plays, the Hawks are fading. Still, the positive for the Hawks is they’ve almost always had a chance to win in the final period on the road since the break. They’ve been tied or leading in the fourth quarter at a higher rate (12 of 13 games) than the Cavs (10 of 12), Magic (9 of 10) and Celtics (8 of 11). The negative is that when the Hawks get to winning time on the road, the they are faltering at a much higher rate (58 percent) than those three.

This is the kind of thing that comes to mind when Woody says the Hawks have closed the gap on Cleveland, Orlando and Boston but adds that they are still learning to win at a high level. It’s a process, and there’s time to turn the trend around in the final four road games. The Hawks are focused on doing it because as as Mo told Ken. S “close” is little consolation: “In my opinion, if you’re in the game for three quarters and you lose in the fourth quarter, that’s no different than if you got blown out throughout the game.”

I wouldn’t go that far but you get Mo’s point. So why can’t the Hawks close out victories on the road? Looking at the broad statistical categories of points scored and allowed in the fourth quarter, the needle is tilted slightly towards scoring.

In those seven road losses the Hawks scored 14, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, and 22 points in the fourth quarter for an average of 18.6 points. That’s compared to their overall fourth-quarter points per game average of 23.9 on the road. They allowed 18, 35, 24, 31, 31, 25 and 24 points in the fourth quarter for an average of 26.9 points. That’s compared to an average of 23.5 points allowed in the fourth quarter in all road games.

That (admittedly simplistic) analysis suggests that lately scoring is a bigger problem than getting stops late in road games for the Hawks, at least in relation to how they usually produce in fourth quarters. And if you think J.J.’s absence means the offense suddenly flows more freely, peep Hoopinion’s recap from the Pistons game:

“With the probable exception of Al Horford and the possible exception of Jamal Crawford, I’m not sure anyone’s reputation came out of this game more improved amongst Hawks fans than did Joe Johnson’s as they witnessed more evidence that the team’s difficulties scoring in the fourth quarter are larger than the veteran swingman’s proclivities.”

Or maybe the answer isn’t in the stats. It could be like J.J. told Ken S., that it’s more about attitude:

“Diving on the floor for loose balls and things of that nature, a lot of that stuff we do here at Philips, we’ve got to take that on the road. I just don’t see a lot of that on the road, us diving for loose balls, taking charges. … That’s something we’ve really got to try to get to if we’re trying to make it to the next level, which is winning a championship.”

MC

304 comments Add your comment

Fundamentals

April 6th, 2010
3:24 pm

Big game tonight to show the readiness of our role players. Time to step up!

Cannon

April 6th, 2010
3:35 pm

Woody’s goal in the preseason was to play .500+ on the road, Unless we win all of our last 4 road games we will fall short of that goal. As a possible playoff match up we can’t go out their and lay an egg. We must let the Bobs know that we won’t be pushed around on the road.

Marcus

April 6th, 2010
3:43 pm

ditto cannon. Have to set the tone for ourselves and potential 1st round opponents.

Rock Preston

April 6th, 2010
3:45 pm

I got the feeling we will lose tonight and we will hear the same “effort” excuses after the game.

tjhook

April 6th, 2010
3:47 pm

Let’s battle tonight, Hawks. Larry Brown wants the shine you’ve earned this year to go to the Bobcats

Ken Strickland

April 6th, 2010
3:56 pm

With the obvious pressure of the playoffs, and his head coaching career possibly hanging on the outcome, can Woodson overcome his built in fears and hangups and actually start doing the things this team needs most, which are things he’s been unable or unwilling to do his entire HC career?

DRAGO

April 6th, 2010
3:57 pm

if they lose they lose !!!!!!
we as fans are very familiar with the hawks losing games they have no business losing its second nature who can honestly say they shouldn’t be bumping 60 in the win column right now.

Westurd

April 6th, 2010
3:59 pm

its easy to skew stats…….common guys, we can make them read whichever way best supports your arguement and right now the arguement should is will the playoff determine how this season really stacks up?

Which the playoff started tonight, I don’t want to see that sissy Wade, but welcome all others fakers!

Go Hawks, get it done tonight!

Westurd

April 6th, 2010
4:01 pm

wow, sorry you had to read the above posting…..it hurt my brain, and I even wrote it.

O'Brien

April 6th, 2010
4:09 pm

MC,

I don’t have all the numbers, but I bet there have been at least 16 games this season where the Hawks have scored less than 19 points or less in the fourth (and probably only won 3). So although it has been happening more often, it’s been happening all season.

Others will point to the Hawks high scoring average and efficiency, but it would be interesting to see what those numbers are for the fourth quarter alone. Do you have (easy) access to those numbers?

But given our offensive struggles, it frustrated me when Woody said he doesn’t give a S#*! about the offense, because it will take care of itself. The players have to share some of the blame, but a big part of the blame goes to Woody (in my opinion).

O'Brien

April 6th, 2010
4:48 pm

Ken Strickland,

The interesting thing to me is some people say Woody has been coaching on a tight string because his job hangs in the balance, and if he had a contract extension he would be more flexible.

But my response to that is we have seen some of the same Woodyisms from 2,3 years ago, so I don’t buy the “he’s worried about his job” reason.

Woody has improved in some areas, but I don’t think it has anything to do with his job situation or lack of a new contract. Players have gotten better, and Woody has gotten better. But another part of it, is Woody is a stubborn coach who does not make many adjustments (my opinion).

Fundamentals

April 6th, 2010
5:05 pm

Woodson draws up when it’s all on the line b/c he doesn’t trust what he hasn’t taken time to develop. Riding Joe is great, but alone Joe is easy to crush. Horford is becoming a good late option, as is Crawford, but they too can be thwarted. We need a diverse well rounded attack. It comes at times, but it’s not polished. How about too many games where we just toss it to Josh where he fumbles it out of bounds or shoots and ill advised jumper. Our only real polished play is give it to Joe or Jamal and get out of the way. Next might be Horford up top for a short jumper. Other than that we’ve not expanded. It does come from Woodson tightening up. He was worried about his record. His team was worried about meeting expectations.

We wasted alot of games and development time this season meeting expectations. The poster that said we could’ve easily hit 60 was dead on. We’ve limited ourselves to meet expectations. It’s time to play to our full potential and let it all fly. I just pray limited development time for some doesn’t become our achilles heel.

Joe being out puts alot of pressure. We need these wins to prove our role players are up to the challenge. It’s playoff time boys. Time to man up! Solid D, solid boards = Hawks win!

No Crying IN Basketball

April 6th, 2010
5:07 pm

It is going to be interesting to see what life is like without JJ? Is this what next season will look like?Will Teague finally get some meaningful minutes and a chance to really contribute?

Fundamentals

April 6th, 2010
5:10 pm

Marvin is the man for the next two games. Show us something buddy. It’s time for a season high in pts & boards! He’s proven he can step in while Joe is away time and again…but I’ll admit he’s proven he can dissappear most anytime. We need you Marvin!!!! Tonight is the night!

Michael Cunningham

April 6th, 2010
5:17 pm

@O’Brien: the fourth-quarter scoring average is available at the links above. i looked for 4Q efficiency numbers but couldn’t find them. unless they are compiled somewhere i couldn’t find, the only way to figure them is to go back through the play-by-plays and track each possession.

JeJe

April 6th, 2010
5:18 pm

From last blog:

I don’t think Joe can carry this team, nor does he want to. HE IS NOT A LEADER. HE DOES NOT MAKE HIS TEAMMATES BETTER. HIS REBOUNDING NUMBERS FOR AN ALLSTAR SG, WHO IS PROBABLY THE MOST MUSCULAR SG IN THE NBA ARE A JOKE. Someone his size should be getting 7 or 8 boards a game, or 6 to give the benefit of the doubt.

The Hawks WILL lose in 4 or 5 games in the 2nd round. Am I being negative? No — I’m telling it like it is. I’ve been to plenty of games over the years, I’ve watched every game this team has played (including every single game of that horrendous 13 win season).

Cleveland and Orlando are:
-Deeper than us
-Better coached (Well, Mike Brown sucks, but they still have other coaches)
-In possession of bigger bigs than us
-Better shooting teams
-Aggressive and go after everything.

Woodson is a bad coach. Anyone who watches the game knows this. The guy CANNOT devise an offensive plan for EASY baskets. That’s my complaint about Joe — unlike Kobe, DW3, and LBJ, he cannot drive to the basket for easy layups. Everything with him is so damn toilsome (is that a word?) and he has to use such damn labor to get baskets after absorbing all that contact.

Onto Bibby, he is almost done. The guy is an egregious defender. Seriously: watch him switch onto someone after one of Woodson’s ingenious P&R switches, and the player takes one dribble and Bib is still standing there like a statue

Props to Rod about Marvin. I said before the last 3 years this guy would break out and average 18 a game. Hell, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports and all the others did too. And I KNOW that with all our offensive pieces, 18 is unreasonable, but AT LEAST make the open jumpshots or drive towards the hoop. The guy is so damn timid out there. From his interviews, you can tell he thinks basketball is fun but has no dreams of being as good as someone within his reach, such as a R.Jeff, Jamison, or Josh Howard.

DON’T SETTLE FOR BEING AVERAGE.

And like I keep saying, teams that WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS make TWEAKS in their starting lineups. Boston got KG, the Lakers got Gasol, Miami got Shaq.

This starting lineup has done as much as it can do — win some nice home games, do nothing on the road. Can anyone on here with a straight face honestly see us winning a road PLAYOFF game (where everything is twice as physical and adjustments are ubiquitous) in Orlando or Cleveland? Hell, I’m already scared of Miami in the 1st round.

Even our brilliant GM said we should shoot for .500 on the road but that doesn’t look likely.

JeJe

April 6th, 2010
5:22 pm

I try be optimistic about th team, but when it throws away 4th quarter leads and should have about 60 wins right now, it is very frustrating and disheartening.

THe only way BIbby is stepping up in these playoffs is by shooting more, which doesn’t do much for this team, since half his shots are completely contested and the PGs guarding him actually play defense.

Woodson doesn’t know how to figure our elite teams like the Magic and Cavs and ADMITS it. LOL.

Marvin has had about 10 good games in his illustrious career. Other than that, he is timid and doesn’t want the ball. That Spurs game he had 19 in the first half and 6 in the 2nd. WTF does Woody say to Bibby and Woody when they suck? That they are vets or something?

Sund is a moron for resigning Marvin and Bibby, one of which (Marvin) received MINIMAL interest from other teams. There were NO reports about Marvin receiving any other offers.

The first step in becoming a contender is not keeping THE SAME DAMN ROSTER FOR ANOTHER 10 YEARS. It is getting new ownership with the rejuvenating economy that SPENDS MONEY and will go into the LUXURY tax so we can bring in players, rather than running on scraps and bones for our payroll and being terrified about the lux tax. Didn’t Sund say the ASG told him they’d go into the Luxury tax if he promised to get the right players?

That was not what I heard from Bruce Levenson 2 weeks ago when he said the ASG is losing MASSIVE amounts of money on both teams they own. Couple that with the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a capacity crowd at Philips

FIRE SUND & WOODY

Delbert D.

April 6th, 2010
5:35 pm

Butler’s team looked like they were well-schooled in the fundamentals. By a 33 year-old coach, no less.

northcyde

April 6th, 2010
5:50 pm

To get a real good look at those wins and losses on the road during the All-Star break, the best place to see this, is at http://www.popcornmachine.net

Go to the Atlanta team page and click on one of the games. You’ll see a great statistical breakdown of the game, from quarter to quarter. You’ll see . .

* basic stats on the team and the players per quarter
* the different lineups Woody used during the game
* where a team went on a run . . etc.

Put the cursor arrow over one of the player’s bars in a particular quarter, and it’ll show you all of his stats for that quarter. I always look at the popcornmachine stats the next day after a Hawks game.

It pretty much lets you know WHEN a game broke down ( or broke open ) . .

WHO was in the game when it broke it open ( or down ) . .

then from those two elements, figure out WHY the game went like it went.

With all the talk about how bad the offenses have broke down in the 4th, the defense in the 4th has had even bigger breakdowns. The difference between us and those other teams, is NOT their offense in the 4th . . . it’s their ability to stay in the game or keep a lead with their DEFENSE, that makes the difference.

What the Hawks have to do, is start winning games more in the fashion of how they won the Orlando game . . . by playing lockdown defense ( especially when we’re having problems scoring ). Look at that Toronto game without JJ a few weeks back. We pretty much play the perfect game without him, but still lose, because we couldn’t get stops at the end of the game.

The reason why Woody doesn’t give a s**t about the offense, is because he KNOWS that it’s really the defense that is losing games for him.

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
6:00 pm

northcyde COCAINE IS A HELL OF A DRUG

U actually think it’s the defense losing the games and not the putrid offense. So none of those 7 min scoring droughts are a problem.

Look I don’t know how long you’ve been watching basketball but I’ve watched enough basketball to know what the problem is. If this team had a consstent offense then they would have at least won 8 more games by now.

MAN U NEED TO STOP SMOKING WHATERVER IT IS U HAVE BEEN SMOKING.

Michael Cunningham

April 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

@northcyde: thanks for the link, very nice

Daniel

April 6th, 2010
6:11 pm

Sorry Venom Spitter,
Northcyde is exactly right. Please check the scoring averages vs. the points allowed per team and you will clearly see the difference between the Hawks and the Cavs and Magic. Sure, seven minute scoring droughts are not good, but those are less frequent than you seem to remember. How about leads lost in the 4th quarter? How about being outscored in the 1st quarter?

I really don’t see how you call a team with the 102 ppg (the same as the Magic by the way) putrid. The difference is we are giving up 98 ppg and the Magic 95.

But, hey don’t let the facts get in the way of a good tirade.

terrell

April 6th, 2010
6:33 pm

Bibby must’ve had that toe issue going on all year, considering the way he’s been wabbling around. And from last blog, Cdog, I dont care if Woody is orange, he still sux. How you gonna come on here and call a black man a racist towards Woody? Wtf?

O'Brien

April 6th, 2010
6:34 pm

thanks MC.

northcyde,

I will admit that defense is a problem too. But its not the only problem. Offense has cost us games. Here are some of the fourth quarter points scored, and the result.

Cleveland 20, Hawks 10, Hawks lost by 11.
Cleveland 24, Hawks 22, Hawks lost by 5.
Phoenix 18, Hawks 14, Hawks lost by 8.

I dont know how many examples of these type of games are out there, but thats 3 examples of games where our defense was ok, but our offense sucked in the fourth.

With no Bibby and no JJ, it will be interesting to see how the team responds. It’s not necessarily about whether we win or lose. The main thing that I am looking for is our effort.

Guys need to step up, and we need to keep the game close.

terrell

April 6th, 2010
6:36 pm

Fundamentals, dont hold your breath waiting on Marvin to shine, or you’ll be in a world of trouble.

b.j.

April 6th, 2010
6:42 pm

the hawks role players must step up tonight very tight race with boston for third, and i honestly think we have a better shot in the seconed round faceing orlando jamal,marvin,and the rook have to really ball tonight

clarkekent

April 6th, 2010
6:59 pm

woodson does not put his players in position to be great. bibby and horford should run the pick and roll like bibby and c-webb did in sac-town. this will also make bibby more aggressive going toward the basket freeing up josh for rebounds. more plays should be run with marvin and josh cutting to the basket not standing around the 3pt line waiting for Joe to make a move. scoring droughts are the reason we lose games in the forth not defense. when you can’t score for 5-7 mins in the 4th qrt you will lose in the NBA. your missed shots gives run outs for easy scores for the other team. And for the hawks, we shoot a lot of jumpers which when missed is the being of any run out fastbreak. a lot of the scoring droughts come from tired legs as well. Woodson does not play is bench much in the 2nd half. if the games are close the bench will see not any playing time. i do not consider crawford a bench player more like a 6th starter. Tired legs lead to short shots. missed free throws, bad defensive rotations, none contested jumpshots, losing loose balls, not blocking out and poor rebounding. Woodson has tried to play the bench more and they have been productive but if the are playing well /or not, he will pull them to get the starters back in regardless of how they have been playing .. woodson will not ride the hot hand of a player unless it is Joe johnson or Crawford. if MO is hot he will pull MO for marvin .. if teague is playing well he will pull teague for bibby. and to put it all in a nut shell
-poor bench use
-tired starters
-no ball movement
-no offensive identity
-too many 4th qrt jump shots

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:00 pm

Teague better be ready

G-Money

April 6th, 2010
7:04 pm

People, please do not be deceived with the Woody can or can’t coach them up crap. From 1999-2009 Shaq and Tim Duncan has split 8 championships. Shaq was on some pretty loaded teams with Kobe, and on year with a younger, healthier D Wade. Duncan had an aging David Robinson in ‘99, the other years he had tremendous support with Ginobili and Parker. The Celtics won it all after McHale took care of his buddy Ainge in the Garnett giveaway. Kobe and Co. won last year with the gift Gasol. Which leaves us with that unspectacular, nevertheless talented Pistons team of ‘04 which Woody was an integral part of the coaching staff. You see folks, you can chew your gums until the cows come home, the fact of the matter is you are not going to win an NBA championship with substandard talent.

tiger woo

April 6th, 2010
7:05 pm

To put it all in a nut shell – the Hawks are 49-27 – # 3 in the East – and all I hear on here is fire Woody and Woody sucks. First of all, no way Woody gets let go (if at all) until after the playoffs, so let’s put that issue to bed.

Ya’ll are a bunch of whiners . . .

Ree Roe

April 6th, 2010
7:07 pm

So Teague gets the start. I HOPE he does well, but I have little confidence in his ability to effectively run this team. Hopefully I’m wrong, but from what I’ve seen from him all season I doubt it. We need a big game from our front court tonight to win this. Lookin at you Quackman Williams

-tREEat Roe!!!

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:14 pm

Marvin u suck

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:16 pm

Damn Teague got rejected. But at least he’s driving.

JObJO

April 6th, 2010
7:16 pm

Wallace got the worst do in the NBA?

JObJO

April 6th, 2010
7:17 pm

how the hell does a millionaire get an ingrown toe nail?

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:17 pm

God Marvin pay attention and catch the ball

J.J.M.

April 6th, 2010
7:18 pm

gerald wallace is on team jordan?

niremetal

April 6th, 2010
7:20 pm

Embarrassingly sloppy so far.

Ree Roe

April 6th, 2010
7:21 pm

SMH @ Quacks & this lineup right now. I kno it’s early, but somebody PLEASE tell me why Teague deserves more playing time. I’ll wait

-fREEquently Roe!!!

J.J.M.

April 6th, 2010
7:21 pm

this game not worth watching

JObJO

April 6th, 2010
7:22 pm

Mo and Teague afraid to shoot on that possession. So Smoove misses a shot with one foot on the 3 point line. sad.

Dan

April 6th, 2010
7:22 pm

Jeff Teague SUCKS!!!!!!!

MAD-DONNA

April 6th, 2010
7:22 pm

This will be a bad game for the Hawks! There is absolutely NO leadership on the floor!

JObJO

April 6th, 2010
7:23 pm

what ever happened to crashing the boards? no Hawk does it.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 6th, 2010
7:24 pm

Is Teague responsible for the abysmal defense so far in this game?

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:24 pm

Nique said continue to playour offense and they’ll be fine LMAO

What offense

Taylor

April 6th, 2010
7:26 pm

hello blow out, damn I wish the Braves were on tonight!

VenomSpitter

April 6th, 2010
7:26 pm

I don’t care if JJ and Bibby are out. That doesn’t mean that u don’t come to play.

The Cavs could have Shaq and Lebron out and they would still compete

Ree Roe

April 6th, 2010
7:26 pm

@ Najeh, isn’t Teague responsible for setting up the offense?

-gREEt Roe!

JObJO

April 6th, 2010
7:28 pm

why don’t Hawks run plays like that that gets easy layups like the Bobhawks do?