Milwaukee–(EDIT: Jamal Crawford (toe) is out. He said he hurt his right toe late in the Wizards game when (he thinks) big JaVale McGee came down on his foot while challenging a shot. He said he had turf toe during his New York days but that injury was “much worse” than this one. Crawford hopes to play Wednesday vs. Cleveland even if the game has no bearing on seeding for the playoffs.)
Tense scene at Hawks shootaround today. Woody was going over the Hawks’ defensive rotations and he felt some players were taking the lesson too lightly. So Woody told them in salty terms he didn’t see what was so funny considering opponents had been exploiting the Hawks’ in that very situation late in games.
Woody headed for the bus without talking to reporters. (Edit: In pregame Woody said: “That’s my time. That’s time for me and my staff. I don’t want to have to keep repeating myself because that means you’re not listening.”)
Clearly he’s not happy with the Hawks’ focus with game No. 81 tonight.
“That just comes with having a young team,” J.J. said. “Honestly that’s something we need to work on as players is locking in and having more attention to detail. Because that does come back to haunt us late in games.”
These things happen over the course of a long season, of course, but the circumstances had to bother Woody.
The Hawks are still playing for the third seed in the East. They aren’t a very good road team and have a tough task against the Bucks tonight, especially
if with Jamal (toe) sits out. Leaving shooters open due to lax rotations has been an issue for much of the last half of the season–you only need to look back to the Wizards game Saturday to see how the Hawks can be nonchalant about rotating and closing out.
The Hawks seemed to take Woody’s blowup in stride.
“It can be tough late in the year like this,” Al said. “You don’t want to look ahead but you can’t help but look ahead at the playoffs. We have to do a better job as a team trying to key in and finish the right way.”
– The Bucks are 3-1 in games without Bogut. Old pro Kurt Thomas is picking up most of Bogut’s minutes and as pointed out by Charlie G., my old colleague at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Bucks are adjusting on the fly without Bogut:
“Bucks coach Scott Skiles has to do a balancing act with his lineup now that Bogut is absent and the team is relying on a center trio of Thomas, Dan Gadzuric and Primoz Brezec. At times, Skiles has elected to go with a smaller lineup, as he did in the fourth quarter Saturday with Brandon Jennings, Luke Ridnour, John Salmons and Jerry Stackhouse combining with 6-10 Ersan Ilyasova.”
Thomas is in his 15th season. Obviously there’s a dropoff from Bogut to Thomas in production, skill and size. But Thomas still is a pretty good pick-and-pop shooter
and a tough rebounder and post defender.
“He’s a very solid vet that knows how to play,” Horford said. “That’s the kind of guy you like to have on your team.”
Look for Al to take Thomas out to the perimeter, where he should have little trouble zipping by him.
– The only thing that can be settled for the Hawks in the playoff picture tonight is eliminating Charlotte as a potential foe. That happens if Miami wins at Philadelphia tonight to draw 3 games clear of Charlotte with each team having two more to play. Both the Bucks and Bobcats would win a tiebreaker over the Heat.
Jon Newberry at Hawksbasketblog breaks it down: “(T)here are too many possible scenarios of how things could shake out to go through them all. The simplest scenario is if we win our last two games against Milwaukee and against Cleveland and Miami wins their last two game. In that case the matchups would be ATL (3) vs. MIL (6) and BOS (4) vs. MIA (5).”
– THHB has a poll up at Peachtree Hoops asking who Hawks fans would rather face in the first round. So far it’s the Bucks in a landslide.