Atlanta Hawks Squawks: Hawks 104, Bucks 96

Milwaukee– I told Smoove I thought this was the Hawks’ best road effort since they won at Utah way back on Feb. 22. He thought about it for a few seconds before agreeing. “Probably so, all-around. We pretty much led the whole game. Even though they went on a run in the second half, we didn’t bend. We kept fighting. We kept with our game plan and used our advantages.”

– And, what do you know, one of those advantages was stout defense. The Hawks were active and energetic from the jump. I don’t recall seeing many lulls. The Bucks stayed in it by making tough shots and scoring off some loose ball scrambles. They didn’t stay in it because of lax rotations, half-hearted closeouts or any of the other lapses we’ve seen from the Hawks lately.

– “Everything was solid from beginning to end,” Woody said. “We are going to need that the rest of the way. We’ll face Cleveland on Wednesday and then we’ve got to get ready for the playoffs.”

– It’s hard to find anything the Hawks did poorly. The 12 turnovers, I suppose, but look at some of the other numbers: 53 percent shooting, 52 points in the paint, six players in double figures scoring, 19 of 27 from the line, 48-34 advantage on the boards, 11 blocked shots, 39 percent shooting by the Bucks . . . you get the idea.

– The added bonus for the Hawks is everything that happened in this game sends a message to the Bucks, who pretty much gave the Hawks their best Bogut-less shot and couldn’t get a lead after the first quarter.

– “I think the focus was a little different tonight considering that it’s a potential matchup in the playoffs,” J.J. said. “Knowing we had this game and one more left, we wanted to go out with a bang and go into the postseason with some momentum.”

– J.J. was excellent. It’s not just that he scored 31 points, it’s that he hung back in the fourth and let others do their thing. He took just three shots in the fourth, only one of them in Iso. The hand doesn’t appear to be an issue so far. “He was solid tonight,” Woody said. “He shot it well and was probing the defense. He did a good job of knowing when he needed to make plays.”

– And how about Zaza? Al gets into foul trouble and the Hawks don’t skip a beat because Zaza scored, he rebounded, he kicked out for open jumpers, he was tough around the basket. “Zaza did a great job coming in,” Al said. “He came in and did what needed to be done.”

– With Crawford out Woody told Rook’ before the game he needed something from him. He got it. “He can stay in front of Jennings and Ridnour and all of those guards,” Al said. “That works to our advantage.”

– “Rook controlled the game for a little bit,” Woody said. “He made a few mistakes but a lot of that was guys not being ready for him delivering the ball”

Mo was solid as well. Bibby (seven rebounds!) was good. Al had a double-double despite playing just 25 minutes. Marvin was aggressive. See a trend here? “Everybody who played tonight contributed to the win,” Woody said.

– Smoove had six blocks. The Bucks’ guards thought they could go at him when he switched off to them. They were wrong. “They had their bigs switching on onto our smalls and taking advantage of that was difficult for us,” Scott Skiles said.

– The Hawks led from 4:20 in the first quarter. When the Bucks made their inevitable run to cut a 12-point lead to 89-87 the Hawks scored on five of their next six possessions.

– Look how many high-percentage shots the Hawks got during that stretch, too: Marvin slashed through the lane for a basket, Al converted a 3-point play, Al made an open jump shot, Marvin scored on a layup and J.J. made two free throws.

– That was game over. “We executed down the stretch,” Woody said. “It was a hard-fought victory for our team. (The Bucks) are playing for something as well.”

– The Hawks showed how they were in control in the first quarter. Al worked on Kurt Thomas in the post, and J.J. got to the basket. Once the Bucks focused on those two, Bibby shook free for open jump shots and made three straight 3-pointers.

– The Hawks moved 1 ½ games ahead of idle Boston. The Hawks would clinch the third seed if the Celtics lose at Chicago on Tuesday. If Boston wins, the Hawks would need to beat Cleveland at Philips Arena on Wednesday (edit: unless the Celtics also lose to Milwaukee in their finale) to finish ahead of the Celtics.

– “I don’t know if LeBron is going to play or not but it don’t matter,” Woody said. “We’ve been good at home this year and we need a win.”

– I’m out, Hawks fans.

MC

103 comments Add your comment

Remarkable

April 13th, 2010
12:09 am

Ree Roe

April 13th, 2010
12:19 am

Great analysis MC. Even though I’m one of Teague’s biggest critics I do think he COULD stay with Jennings off the dribble, but typically Jennings hasn’t hurt us when we’ve played MIL this season so I don’t kno if playing Teague vs Jennings for long stretches would actually benefit us. Anyhoo, solid overall road win & back to back road wins where we executed in the 4th. We should beat a depleted CLE team & enter the playoffs on a hot streak. Go Hawks!

-REElentessly Roe!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:19 am

I posted this on the last blog, but I’ll repost here:

To SWAT Native: huge thanks for the bargain hunter link dude, you probably saved me like $100. Got me playoff tix for games 1 and 2.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:20 am

Also from the last blog:

“i’m saddened by the state of discourse in this country. too many people have the attitude that if someone has a reasonable opinion that differs theirs it can only mean that person has some hidden agenda or bias or is just plain stupid.”

Co-sign. 100%.

Gilley

April 13th, 2010
12:21 am

We better beat the Cavs.

Remarkable

April 13th, 2010
12:21 am

That’s the kind of effort we have been hoping for from the Hawks. We can’t win for long with just a few players giving their best. We need everyone! Thanks guys for playing like we all know you can. Keep it up and we will see you in the Championship series. We can play with everyone in the East. Now just show everyone what kind of team the Atlanta Hawks are when everyone plays up to their potential.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:23 am

“The Hawks moved 1 ½ games ahead of idle Boston. The Hawks would clinch the third seed if the Celtics lose at Chicago on Tuesday. If Boston wins, the Hawks would need to beat Cleveland at Philips Arena on Wednesday to finish ahead of the Celtics.”

Not necessarily — the Hawks could get the #3 seed with a loss to Cleveland if Boston loses to Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Of course, I’d rather see the Hawks take care of business against Cleveland, and hopefully meet them again in the conference finals.

hawks is da bomb

April 13th, 2010
12:23 am

i was just wondering how we dont finish 3rd? Dont we have the tiebreaker over boston? Or am I missing something here.

hawks is da bomb

April 13th, 2010
12:28 am

Oh i see…. Its because the C’s would be a division leader so they get the automatic tiebreaker.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:29 am

I didn’t see this game until the last 5 minutes, but hopefully this game convinced any doubters that the Bucks are by far the easier matchup for the Hawks, compared to Miami. The one area where the Bucks have a decisive advantage over the Heat is coaching — I’d expect Skiles makes plenty of adjustments to counter what the Hawks were able to do in this game, but in the end, the Hawks have too much talent for the Bucks to pose any serious threat in the first round.

I’ll be happy to not see Dwyane Wade in these playoffs, and more importantly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pull the 4-5 upset over the Celtics, the way Boston has been playing.

Ree Roe

April 13th, 2010
12:30 am

@ Hawks is da bomb,

If BOS & ATL finish with the same record, BOS will earn the #3 seed by virtue of being a division winner. In order to be the 3 seed, ATL must finish at least a game better than BOS. We are currently 1.5 games ahead of BOS for the 3 seed, we (ATL) have 1 game remaining & BOS has 2 left.

-REEmarkable Roe!!!

Michael Cunningham

April 13th, 2010
12:40 am

@ Najeh: “Not necessarily — the Hawks could get the #3 seed with a loss to Cleveland if Boston loses to Milwaukee on Wednesday.” you are correct. fixed . . .

Melvin

April 13th, 2010
12:40 am

Najeh,

Can you post the link with the Playoffs Tix?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:41 am

Oh yeah, and looking at the box score, nice to see Marvin and Zaza step up in Crawford’s absence to provide quality minutes. Hawks will need some consistency from those two to go far in the postseason.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
12:42 am

MariettaTate

April 13th, 2010
1:04 am

ESPN reports that the hawks have solidyfied the 3 spot? so which one is right?

Big Daddy

April 13th, 2010
1:12 am

Good quallity win tonight. The guys played well, spread the ball around, did not panic when the Bucks got close and played their average for turnovers. Woody kept the 2nd unit for a prolonged time and didn’t even pull rook the first time he made a mistake. Things are looking up. Now if Jamaal heals well durning the next couple of days we should be a full strength for Cleveland. This is getting better. Go Hawks!!!!!

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

April 13th, 2010
1:20 am

Pachulia (or as Hubie Brown would say…Puh-choo-la) was impressive

N-Trigue

April 13th, 2010
1:20 am

Good game Hawks Go Bulls!!!!

Clyde

April 13th, 2010
1:40 am

Clyde

April 13th, 2010
1:47 am

The Hawks finished 1st in the 93-94 season and still lost in the second round.

FIRE WOODY

J.J.M.

April 13th, 2010
1:57 am

dang mo evans is opting out

Grandad

April 13th, 2010
2:02 am

Tiger Woods: [answer to yesterday's rebuttal]

Young fella, you made some very good points. valid & well said although
a bit snarky.
Alot to rebut, however, I will try my best to [not] leave anything out.

*The Bob Knight comparison was made primarily to illustrate the bullying
tactics which Wdsn appears to use when he can get away with it on young players. He played for BK and therefore it would be natural to emulate one’s mentor. [language included]

* Wdsn stoic: I’ll give you that one, unless he is trying to impress someone. For example; he comes across on the radio as someone who is trying to perpetuate an image of “I’m a bad ass” [e g Bob Knight].
Hence the rude language, of which I’m no virgin, but on public airwaves both ladies & children listen. It’s a shame that if my grandchild is in my car that I cannot listen to sports talk because of the offensive nature not only of Wdsn but a large portion of the hosts. Wdsn is a grown-up in a grown-up world therefore he should not present himself as a teenage ruffian. My convictions, entitled accordingly.
Most glib coaches both collegiate & pro handle themselves with poise and distinction as they would want their players to do the same.
It was once said people who express themselves by swearing, do so
because they lack the vocabulary to express themselves otherwise.
Honestly, I do not hear, that course talk from other coaches the way some seem to portray.
On that subject – I’ve been aroun a multitude of coaches for over
40 yrs. & most cuss for effect. That’s a fact. They don’t cuss in normal conversation. Enough of that!

*no injuries to speak of* how can you dispute that.

*Our core been together: You say it is full of holes.
Maybe yet in the same breath most on here say this is the best Hawks team in years, maybe 5th best all-time [assumtion Atl. all-time]

*Joe contract yr. – fact. + most players play well in a contract yr.
Joe an all-star. Joe nimbers’s down pos. due to Jam., Al, & Josh.

Marginal Improvement – right now 6 game improvement. I’ll concede,due
to my dissertation two days ago relative to exponential improvement.

*NOTE* We didn’t lose ‘Chills [last yr.] & when we did we replaced him with [Mo].

*Jamal > Flip. had nothing to do with ‘Chills’.

* @ the end of summer our bench was considered a strong suit!
egregious handling of Teague
Only lately has he realized the value of Mo
Zaza underutilized
J. Smith is probably scratching his head & saying why did I sign here?

*AND finally yes we are staggering across finish line trying desperately to finish ahead of Boston due to:
What? 6 consecutive losses on road?
yes 4th qtr meltdowns!
No idea how to attack zone!

I’m tired. You made good points, as did I. This conversation ceases.
Good evening ‘young fella’.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2010
2:14 am

Big Ray

April 13th, 2010
2:24 am

Well how about that. Woody gives Teague the thumbs up.

Eat that, Teague haters. Chew on it for a while. And stop telling those lies….

Big Ray

April 13th, 2010
2:25 am

Najeh,

That makes me nervous. Although, there is no reason to play Shaq in a single regular season game (this late-really?) before the playoffs. Still, as you say…..Go Bulls…

Grandad

April 13th, 2010
2:29 am

Big Ray:
We must look @ it as if it’s a play-off game.
No excuses for a lack of focus.

Big Ray

April 13th, 2010
2:33 am

Grandad ,

True that. I was just whining for a second about having to face Shaq. I don’t whine very often, so I had to make the most of it. LOL…

Cannon

April 13th, 2010
2:35 am

Tough break on the schedule, as LeBron has sat out the past 3-4 games. Hopefully we can get Phillips rockin and set the tone for these playoffs with a win over Cleveland. Or maybe just maybe Chicago will help us out Tuesday night, and then we could rest our starters.

GIVE WOODY A NEW CONTRACT!!!!!

vava74

April 13th, 2010
4:18 am

Three main reasons for the win:

1. al’s foul trouble;
2. Josh’z mild injury;
3. Milwaukee sucked on defense.

Al and Josh had to seat forcing Woody to play the bench. This way Al and Jso were fresh down stretch and the bench had the oportunity to contribute. Zaza was terrific and apart from the shooting performance JoeS gave us quality minutes.

Milwaukee had an awful defensive effort. It seems that they are orphan in the middle after all.

SWAT Native

April 13th, 2010
7:19 am

To Najeh,

My pleasure, dude. It’s a sweet deal.

O'Brien

April 13th, 2010
7:28 am

Congrats to the Hawks and Woody on win #52. Most of us predicted they would be in the 50-55 win range, and in that regards, they did not disappoint.

Our road record is 19-22, and they wanted to finish at least 21-20. However, 19-22 is still a 3 game improvement from last year. Hopefully, we will win at least 3 more road games next season.

The Hawks showed energy, focus, and played defense the way Woody wants it to be played. And everyone (including Marvin and Teague) contributed to the win. The only issue for me is FT. We shot 19-27 (70%). In the playoffs, every FT gets magnified, so hopefully we will do better in the playoffs at the FT line.

This game shows that if the Hawks play up to their capability, it doesn’t matter who they play in the first round, Hawks win. IF they play up to their capabilities.

I would love to see the Bulls win tonight. That way, Woody can limit his starters minutes (especially JJ, Crawford, and Bibby) against the Cavs.

Go Hawks, Go Bulls.

Nacho

April 13th, 2010
7:57 am

Woody coached a good game tonight. I hope that the Hawks continue to sharpen the focus going in to the playoffs.

Cali girl

April 13th, 2010
7:59 am

GO BULLS! CAUSE WE COULD USE THEIR WIN–REALLY!!!

SWAT Native

April 13th, 2010
8:12 am

Everybody’s a Bulls fan tonight! You would think Michael Bleeping Jordan was playing!

phar71

April 13th, 2010
8:16 am

GO bulls!!! It would be great to rest Crawford, and JJ.

Section 303

April 13th, 2010
8:25 am

So, Bogut’s out for the rest of the season, including playoffs?

D was great last night. There was a stretch at the 10-minute mark of the 4th, that I thought was one of the best Hawk defensive efforts all year. It was the possession that ended with a forced three by Ridenour (sp?). Hawks cut off all lanes, Teague especially. They were just really active. Joe Smith blocked a shot with 6-seconds to shoot…that kind of D will win games. If they can only sustain it for 48 minutes…

I really don’t give a sh#t about Wednesday’s game. I just hope no one gets hurt. There is no need once game 1 gets here, it won’t matter if they beat Cleveland or not.

GeeMack

April 13th, 2010
8:42 am

I really hope Shaq & Lebron play tomorrow night. This will give the Hawks a chance to see where they stand against the best team in basketball at full strength.

Also I hope the Hawks finish 3rd, and not just to avoid Clevland, but a second round match up between Cle & Bos/Miami is more entertaining than a Hawks team that intimidated by Lebron.

Justin

April 13th, 2010
8:46 am

Hope the bulls win tonight because that locks up the 3 for us and you know Miami is gonna get the 5 since they just have to beat the Nets at home. We shouldn’t have any trouble from the Bucks in round 1. Plus, I want to see the Bulls get the 8 spot because nobody wants to see Bosh-less Toronto play the Cavs in round 1.

JeJe

April 13th, 2010
8:47 am

It’s funny how when we lose, it’s always because we have had injuries, but when we lose to teams like Detroit, no one mentions how injured those teams were.

Good job, Hawks fans!

Justin

April 13th, 2010
8:47 am

How funny would it be if Shaq and Lebron play Wednesday and we rest JJ and Jamal and beat them.

JeJe

April 13th, 2010
8:48 am

JT0 looked like he was about to cry, trying to break away from Woody when he was taken out

Greg

April 13th, 2010
9:15 am

You guys want the Bulls to win so the Hawks can back into the 3 seed. What does that say about the Hawks when we don’t even have confidence in them to beat the Cavs when the game means nothing to Cleveland and they’ll probably only play their key players limited minutes, if any? Actually, if the Celtics win tonight, the Cavs will come in motivated tomorrow night to beat the Hawks….so they can play the Hawks instead of the Celtics in round 2.

Looks like Woody is going to luck out and get to play the Bucks without their best player instead of the Heat. That will probably allow him to keep his job as the Hawks will probably beat the Bucks in 6 games….if we play the Heat, we’d probably lose in 6. What difference does it really make because they are going to get owned by whoever they play in the 2nd round. With a numbnuts coach like Woody, they will never be taken seriously. I can’t believe you some of idiots are talking about re-signing Woody now. Why? Just because they’ve won a few more games this year than last? Jamal did that, not Woody. He’s won ONE playoff series in 6 years as coach. If he doesn’t win at least one this year and play the Cavs or Magic tough, he should be OUT.

Mike is Back

April 13th, 2010
9:27 am

MC, Great Stuff, I really enjoyed watching different guys stepping up and making a contribution, Marvin looks like he starting to come around. I think the bench is starting to shape up. When you think of the level of play, we have been receiving from guys like, JC, MO, Zaza, JS, and Teague. The Hawks could be a formable foe…in the playoff.

I thought Josh played with more focus, determination, and discipline than I seen an a while…when he plays like that on defense…its contagious…everyone starts to gets after.

GREAT WIN, GREAT ENERGY, GREAT EXECUTION….GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melvin

April 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Greg,

We prefer the Bulls to beat the Celtics so we could rest our starters instead of them trying to grin out a win before the playoffs.

Samuel

April 13th, 2010
9:40 am

“They had their bigs switching on onto our smalls and taking advantage of that was difficult for us,” Scott Skiles said.

It’s funny how all the opposing coaches and players see our ability to switch as an asset yet our expert “bloggers” like to criticize the master “Woody” for deploying it.

I would rather play Milwaukee but I aint scared of Miami. Brang em on.

Woody=COY
Josh=DPOY
Jamal=6MOY

The Truth

April 13th, 2010
9:49 am

Kudos to Hawks on their win and JJ in particular; some blogs ago I described JJ road performance against Cleveland as being disinterested or spiritless which contributed to the disappointing loss. I suggested JJ pedestrian-like performance was a factor in that loss. As often the case during a road game, the Hawks does not have the luxury of being energized in front of a home crowd. In these cases, the whole source of their swagger is redistributed from other places. For young team like the Hawks with the absence of their screaming fans, they look to their leaders to lead in tangibles and intangibles ways. Last night JJ energizing performance was an illustration of how you spell a WIN on the road. With no Crawford, JJ set the table for his team and they responded. I hope JJ is taking notes of himself. During a pre-game interview with Mo Evans, he described the Hawks as being an underachieving 50-win team. He suggested the Hawks still has so much more potential once they resolve their issues. He might just be on to something. We shall see.

bigdave

April 13th, 2010
9:55 am

whats in the water in Portland…

Roy with yet another injury and possibly out for the playoffs… ive always thought Joe was the 3rd (Ric Bucher might think higher) best SG in the league and his iron man status makes it a no brain’er…

O'Brien

April 13th, 2010
9:56 am

Samuel,

The expert “bloggers” who criticize the switching do so only when it gets abused and Woody (and the players) make no adjustment. Because when the switching is working, it can really give an opponent fits.

However, there are some games where opponents (like the Spurs) ran the pick and roll consistently to get the matchup they want, taking advantage of our bigs against their guards. The Bobcats used it to their advantage the last game in ATL too. And when we lost to the Bucks previously, they abused the switching defense. Orlando has taken advantage of it too.

Lots of opponents struggle with our switching defense. No argument there, and Woody should not be criticized for deploying it.

But surely, an expert blogger like yourself will agree that if we run into an opponent who is taking advantage of the switching (which has happened numerous times during the season), then Woody needs to adjust.

Astro Joe

April 13th, 2010
9:57 am

Greg, most of us want the Bulls to win so that the Hawks can rest their key players in that last game… it’s not about fearing a Cavs team that will likely keep their top 2-3 players in street clothes. And can a team “back-in” to a playoff spot in the 82nd game of the season? Hawks have put themselves into this position based on winning 52 of 81 games… they haven’t backed-in to anything. Last season, we rested our key players in the final contest against Memphis. Ideally, we will do the same with a Bulls win tonight.

I have a feeling that the Celtics are too experienced and too old to care if they face the Magic or Cavs in the 2nd round. Too experienced to fear either and too old to risk an injury in these next 2 games. Meanwhile, the Bulls are fighting for a playoff berth. Here’s hoping that Joakim has another 18/18 game like he did the other night (along with 20+ from Rose).