Bucks at Atlanta Hawks Game 5: Quiet At Home

The Hawks like it here.

The Hawks like it here.

So how much conversation has there been among the Hawks regarding the rumors swirling around Woody’s future with the team?

“That’s the first I’ve heard about it when you told me,” Al said today at shootaround.

In addition to illustrating the often-insular world players occupy, the lack of buzz on the team about Woody’s status demonstrates that the familiar postures haven’t changed.

Rick Sund still is not going to do address Woody’s deal until after the season and there’s no guarantee an offer (even a “low-ball” one as described in the Yahoo! report) is forthcoming. ASG’s Michael Gearon Jr has suggested the Hawks’ postseason will have a bearing on that decision and others. Woody isn’t happy the Hawks haven’t started contract talks and has said so (though he also says he wants to return). The Hawks believe the lack of an extension hasn’t hurt Woody’s ability to coach the team.

The news to come out of the Yahoo! report is that there could be another job out there for Woody if he doesn’t return and the team’s willingness to sell their first-round draft pick for $3 million to raise money to re-sign J.J.. (That everything seems to be Joe-driven is causing great consternation for hawksdawgs at Peachtree Hoops.)

Meanwhile, the Hawks have a playoff series to finish. Asked about the Hawks’ confidence in coming back to Philips Arena, where they’ve won 14 in a row, Al said it “feels good to be back home” but then couldn’t help also talking about the Hawks’ troubles on the road.

“If we had the same swag that we have at home like we have on the road, we’d be a tough team,” he said. “But first we have to handle this game tonight. We are happy to come back here.”

– For all the consternation about the Hawks’ inability to win road playoff games (and I know most of that is because of what it would mean for the next round) this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headline summed up Milwaukee’s issues: Bucks must win at least once in Atlanta to advance.

Forget for a minute that four games into the series, the Bucks are talking about what it will take to advance instead of how they can avoid elimination. The Hawks desperately need to win. The way they did that in Games 1 and 2 was by slowing Brandon Jennings and hammering the Bucks with Smoove and Al. Look for Milwaukee to use a similar approach against those two tonight:

The Bucks worked hard to frustrate Hawks center Al Horford and forward Josh Smith in Milwaukee, after those players were dominant in the first two games. Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute defended Smith in Games 3 and 4 after primarily guarding Hawks guard Joe Johnson in Atlanta, and veteran center Kurt Thomas drew the assignment defending Horford.

And the Bucks have relied on help defense, with Jennings and other guards digging down on the ball when the Hawks’ big men begin to make their move in the paint. That did free up Atlanta’s perimeter players in Game 4, and the Hawks hit 10 of 19 three-pointers, led by Mike Bibby, who sank 5 of 7 attempts.

Smith still had 20 points and nine rebounds in 40 minutes in Game 4, but he wasn’t getting easy dunks off lob passes the way he did earlier in the series.

“He had a good game, and he scores in a variety of ways,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of the 6-foot-9 Smith, who was booed loudly by the Bradley Center crowd. “We’ve just got to keep him in front of us, try to make him take contested jump shots, try to keep him off the boards.

“We need to keep him from running out in transition, keep him from getting lobs after timeouts. We did that in both home games. Those are areas where at least we can have a little say-so in what he’s doing.”

– Woody has said he uses the switching defense to “hide” weak defenders. Brett LaGree, writing at Hoopinion, agrees but says switching also can make things harder for those weak defenders and the good ones:

It is hard to play good team defense without good defensive players.

Mike Bibby is a poor defender. Jamal Crawford is a terrible defender. Joe Johnson has amply demonstrated he cannot keep Brandon Jennings in front of him. Nor can Johnson fight through a Kurt Thomas screen. It’s no surprise that Mike Woodson has tried to address* these limitations. His singular method of address, to switch every screen, has pushed Josh Smith too often to the perimeter, exposing his primary defensive weakness (lateral movement) while simultaneously negating** his overwhelming strength (help defense).

*We’ll ignore, for the purposes of this discussion, how self-inflicted some of these limitations are.

**This is essentially what Orlando’s stretch 4 does to Smith when the Hawks play, and, typically, lose to the Magic.

MC

677 comments Add your comment

Effort

April 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

Mike you are a sports writer,but i think your missins your calling.The short time you’ve been in atlanta has shown great insight ab

Effort

April 28th, 2010
3:34 pm

Coach or Consultant is your calling.

lewis

April 28th, 2010
3:34 pm

bulls with Joe will be contenders

Effort

April 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

I know I know, poor grammer.

JeJe

April 28th, 2010
3:37 pm

I TOLD YOU ALL. WOODSON PLAYED TEAGUE 48 MINUTES IN THE REGULAR SEASON FINALE AS A WAY OF SAYING “HERE YOU GO. YOU WON’T BE PLAYING IN THE PLAYOFFS.”

WOODSON DOES NOT USE THE BENCH IN CLOSE/PLAYOFF GAMES

Effort

April 28th, 2010
3:39 pm

Lewis your right without Beasley.

JeJe

April 28th, 2010
3:39 pm

To contact the main offices of Atlanta Spirit LLC, please call (404) 878-3800.

EVERYBODY CALL THIS NUMBER AND TELL THEM THAT WOODSON SUCKS AS A COACH

JeJe

April 28th, 2010
3:41 pm

lol @ BIBBY TRYING TO GET SHOTS OFF BUT BEING COVERED TIGHTLY.

THE OPPOSING TEAMS KNOW HE HAS NO SPEED, ATHLETICISM, OR HANDLES, SO THEY JUST COVER HIM CLOSE TO PREVENT HIM FROM TAKING HIS “DEADLY” 3 PT SHOT

Wabe

April 28th, 2010
3:51 pm

“*Solution – we do have a defender quick enough to stay in front of Jennings. We all know who he is [J.Teague]. Yes – Wdsn is stubborn.”

We’ve all come to the consensus that Jennings is the problem. Some have suggested we double him, but we haven’t even tryed our hand at throwing different bodies in front of him. It seems there’s always a big that ends up on him, and we all know why.

Look at what the Lakers did last night. A clear-cut adjustment. They too have gaurds that couldn’t contain Westbrook. They made an *adjustment* and put Kobe on Westbrook.

Nick S

April 28th, 2010
4:09 pm

My question is at what point does Sund walk into practice or Woody’s office and give him the “Drumline” speech? Don’t give me that edutainment speech just get our boy, in the case Teague, on the court. We need a coach similar to Mike Smith to coach the Hawks. Someone who gets on his players behinds and makes adjustments when necessary.
If Brandon Jennings is killing you by getting in the paint, you pull Teague to the side and tell him your only job on thios court tonight is to stop him and PUT HIM IN!!!!! Who gives a flying flip if he can’t shoot or run the point. Move JJ to SF and Let Jamal run the point.
Lastly, Woodson must stop switching on the point guard…..when Jennings comes in then Teague, or Mario for that matter, should be meeting him at the scorers table.

No Crying

April 28th, 2010
4:29 pm

It seems apparent that Woody’s contract will come down to how well the Hawks do in the playoffs, and that has been the intent of management all along. What other reason could there be for not initiating negotiations for a contract extention. The Hawks will have to win this serises and compete in the next for his extention to be assured. If the Hawks lose to the bucks, then Woody will probably be gone. If we beat the bucks then get swept out of the playoffs against the Magic then Wody will probably be gone. They will have to win at least two games in the next round for Woody to hope to stay. We do not have the injury excuse like we did last year against the Cleveland Lebrons. Time to put up or shut up.

Westurd

April 28th, 2010
4:30 pm

Argh, how frustrating are these Hawks……..and by Hawks I mean Woodson! Please let Teague play Jennings for at least 5 seconds. Please, stop being stubborn fool you old goat!

Ken Strickland

April 28th, 2010
4:36 pm

Has anyone else wondered if Woodson’s coaching staff is as dense and unimaginative as he is, or do they know offering suggestions to his stubborn butt has proven to be a waste of time? I find it hard to believe that at least one of his assistants hasn’t noticed how ineffective Woody’s beloved switching DEF has been. I also can’t believe not a single one of them hasn’t thought that using Teague, instead of Zaza, Horford, Smoove or JJ, to guard Jennings might help improve our overall DEF effort.

Isn’t it funny how we Hawk fans are complaining about Woodson’s unwillingness to make adjustments and utilize stategies, when he’s obviously too stubborn and mule headed to admit something needs changing or adjusting, or listen to anyone that does. Maybe now you WOODY LOVERS understand when we say this teams wins inspite of Woodson.

lewis

April 28th, 2010
4:37 pm

looking forward to / dreading tonight’s game

lewis

April 28th, 2010
4:39 pm

Ken Strickland

You’re not the only one. I believe the assistants will be let go with Woody.
Either they don’t know what they’re doing or they’re incapable of speaking up.
Whatever it is, they’re not getting the job done. Sund needs to step in.
There is more than one way to play offense and defense. I’m just not sure they know that.

big shocker

April 28th, 2010
4:42 pm

we have got to be more physical with their small guards,jennings or ridenour: a few aggressive fouls by marvin or zaza(who are contributing nothing right now in this series, big shocker) let them take the fouls and let little erkle jennings start looking over his shoulder instead of dribbling around the court until he finds an outlet or outruns the defense for a layup. I agree with Nick S, why did we draft teague?he is very fast, hello, let him have a go at shadowing jennings,harassing him the way jennings abuses bibby. got to tell josh to quit launching 25 ft plus jumpers, not your strength big boy.
crisp passes, and for once, Block out on the boards!!I was appalled at all of the cheap second and third shots the bucks got because of three guys on the boards blocking out horford and mr.stand around marvin. Now it is time to get super aggressive and shut these guys down. Do it Hawks!!!!!!!!

northcyde

April 28th, 2010
4:47 pm

But who has Teague stopped all year? In Game 1, Jennings lit him up too.

I’m not against trying Teague vs Jennings, but some of you act like he’s the obvious solution to the problem. What happens when Jennings doesn’t have the ball? Teague’s off the ball defense has been horrible as well this year.

Like I said . . I’m not against trying him. But if he gets torched, or looks lost ( like he has all year ), then all of the Teague talk needs to cease.

I’m hoping you guys are right though, just for sanity sake.

BirdDawg

April 28th, 2010
4:54 pm

If Teague does get abused, then you move on to the next possible solution. Maybe Mario, or even playing straight up man defense. Maybe none of it works, but at least it’s something different than the switching defense which is proven to be ineffective against him. At the very least it will give Jennings some different looks which should slow him down somewhat.

Wabe

April 28th, 2010
4:57 pm

No northclyde, no one’s saying JT0’s the solution to the problem for sure, but his quickness gives us the best chance of staying in front of him.

You yourself have said that we need to negate Jennings production. You’ve also suggested doubling Jennings. But, we tryed that at times the last game. The only problem was we were doubling him too far out, which left Delfino and Illyasova open in the corners. I think our best bet of slowing him down is to throw different bodies at him. Doubling him isn’t off the table, but we need to mix up what we do. As others have mentioned, we’re too predictable at the moment. Jennings knows he can dictate the matchup he gets because we’re constantly switching. JT0’s done a good job fighting through screens, and I think should be given a nod. Maybe he’s the counter.

If you noticed in the games that JT0 did check Jennings, Jennings may have gotten buckets, but they were tough buckets. Teague stayed in front of him, you just have to credit Jennings for making tough shots.

It’s worth a shot.
The status-quo isn’t working.

sleepy

April 28th, 2010
4:57 pm

Everyone is too focused on thinking ONE PLAYER is gonna stop someone that handles the ball a much as Jennings . This is just STUPID

Its like the Bucks saying that the Salmons sucks at defense because Joe is scoring when Joe is gonna get his no matter simply because the amount of touches he is gonna get due to the way our defense is setup .

This is not like someone with limited chances(Stack,Ridnour,any of the bigs ) being allowed to go off and go crazy .

Someone please tell me who else did you guys think was gonna do the scoring for this Bucks team with Bogut out ?

The only way to attack a point guard scoring that well is to do it on BOTH ENDS of the floor.We keep magically think we are gonna find this mythical player that can shut down the primary scorer of a team without attacking him on both ends of the floor .

It simply aint gonna happen .

In game 3 jennings had 13 pts and in game 4 Delfino is the one who did us in .

People need to stop trying to blame this on Jennings scoring and start blaming the real culprits the disappearance of AL and Smoove on the road for long stretches of time .

Now we are back to the hey we have a dominate low post game …………but it only seems to work at home . That is another argument within itself .

lets go out play in attack mode these next two games and it get this series over with

lewis

April 28th, 2010
5:14 pm

its not just Jennings i’m worried about. It’s Dererk Fisher, Jameer Nelson, Russel Westbrook, Tony Parker, Mo Williams, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Chauncy Billups, Derek Rose, Rajon Rondo, Raymond Felton…

Mike Bibby is the worst PG in the playoffs. I can hit open looks, play no defense and pass the ball to Joe and lob it to Josh as well.

DawgBoi

April 28th, 2010
5:27 pm

How about the Hawks stop being so darn lazy and switching everything. It’s not a good defense! The Bucks obviously want us to switch and we just go right ahead and put any slow big we have on Jennings so he flies right to the rim. Stop letting the Bucks DICTATE what you do on defense! If you put any of the other playoff coaches on our bench, this series would have already been over. Unfortunately, the Hawks have no shot at winning anything more than this series b/c of Home Court. Maybe we can go get Marc Jackson out of broadcasting or something. Oh, and we still need a true superstar. Joe isn’t the guy. Go get WADE!

Westurd

April 28th, 2010
5:28 pm

Can we just get to the jump ball already

TigerWoods

April 28th, 2010
5:30 pm

well i believe the time to keep asking for Teague has passed. He is not playing this year, unless it’s garbage time. Our head coach Wooden knows of all of Teague’s deficiencies. You all are panicking. You think i win grand slams if i panic? No. You stay with your strengths, what got you 53 wins.

Count it, 53 wins, number 3 seed in the east, with Bibby as the point guard. Now again this is for people like Wabe who seem to like to repeat themselves, Teague is not NBA ready. He needs to go to the minors and get experience. The kid fouls, can not shoot straight, and is a turnover waiting to happen.

Is Bibby a bad defender? Is Atlanta summer hot? Of-course he is bad. But look at his +/-, it usually is in the + column. That is what head coach wooden sees. Bibby is stable, shoots, and rarely turns the ball over.

ok, all together, we need a true center.

Debbo

April 28th, 2010
5:32 pm

Collectively, the Hawks are the laziest, most overpaid bunch of malingerers in the NBA.

So who cares if they win or lose.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 28th, 2010
5:37 pm

I have 2 extra tickets for tonight’s game. Anyone want them? Reply on this blog and I’ll tell you where you can pick them up. It will be $25 for the pair.

O'Brien

April 28th, 2010
5:39 pm

Northcyde,

I am a teague fan, but I agree with u. If Jennings is having his way, and teague is not getting the job done, then get him outta there.

That being said, if I’m woody, I would consider starting Teague (in game 6). That way, he is out there with the starters to help him out, giving Jennings (and skiles ) a different look.

And teague will help us get out and run, which is what we do best.

Plus Nelson lit up the bobcats, and if he continues to play at that level, then he will light bibby up too. So its possible teague could help us next round too.

But that’s why I blame woody for not giving teague more burn during the regular season. If he had, I don’t think teague would be such a liability.

Ben

April 28th, 2010
5:44 pm

najeh davenport, where would I have to pick the tickets up at? Can you email them?

DawgBoi

April 28th, 2010
5:50 pm

At least Teague is quick enough to keep Jennings in front of him..

big shocker

April 28th, 2010
6:02 pm

no one is saying teague is the answer…but what we are doing now is not working. jennings is not the only problem, but he and ridenour are creating lot’s of opportunities for the other shooters by driving the lane, dribbling around the court until he finds the open man or shoots the layup. different looks and speed will help. In game two, jj harassed jennings into multiple turnovers. He did not make a difference in that game, and it began with going after his little punk a**.Same with salmons. His fall away jumper is so scripted, drive the lane, fall away for an easy jumper. When he is aggressively defensed, his shot is consistently off. Just tired of seeing wide open threes with nobody within ten feet of the shooter. I bet if you let teague get into the game, he will produce for you, and if not, hell, pull him.He can’t have more turnovers than bibby has in the last few games(if someone is guarding him tight, he is ineffective.only deadly when wide open.)biby has been a real nightmare the last two games handlng the ball. i agree with O’brien, if teague is not ready, shame on woodson for wasting him this season. tired of first round picks not producing(except Horford)
Get Physical with these jokers, let some of the second team deliver some meaningful fouls that will send a message(no frickin layups) and get out and run. delfino did us in because everyone is chasing flippin jennings as he dribbles for days, and then delfino or anyone else is wide open.And for goodness sake marvin, play some ball, get a rebound, something. I would rather see you foul out than Horford. at least horford will take it inside with authority.

DawgBoi

April 28th, 2010
6:03 pm

oh wait, we just switched on that pick and roll. Jennings to the bucket for two or Thomas from the elbow for two. Either way, teams know how to get offense on the Hawks..

Big B CH 99

April 28th, 2010
6:10 pm

For one, Teague should have gotten a lot more minutes during the regular season so that he’d be ready to play significant minutes come playoff time.
Probably should have played Mario 5-10 min instead of 1 min a game if nothing else he could wear down their ball-handlers w/ his swarming defense.
Since we know the Bucks are under-sized w/o Bogut I would go w/ a 3 guard line-up rotating between Joe, Mo, Bibby, Teague, & Mario. I would have Teague or Mario in the game whenever Jennings is on the court & tell them that their responsibility is to guard Jennings. Don’t worry about Offense, look to get the ball to Joe, Al, or Smoove.
Being able to rotate between Teague & Mario is great, b/c when U play the kind of D that I want them to play on Jennings U will get called for some fouls.

Ian

April 28th, 2010
6:11 pm

This city does not care about the Hawks. Yet another game not sold out? Tickets going for as low as $10? Pathetic! Even on TV the ratings are terrible. This is a baseball and college football town, that’s it. Does it really matter if the Hawks win this series? Orlando will destroy Atlanta.

big shocker

April 28th, 2010
6:20 pm

move the hawks to the norhside and you will sell out every game. going downtown is a nightmare.

sleepy

April 28th, 2010
6:25 pm

You want Thomas taking that shot because he cant make enough to beat you . Does anyone think Thomas would go for 30-40 from the Elbow ?

All you have to do is to have AL and Smoove to show on the screen and roll and then get back to there man and allow the guards time to recover . The responsibility is on the guards to keep working hard to recover to there man . of course jennings will hit a few shots but over the long haul it takes away the special match ups that they have been trying to exploit .

I just find it amazing that Woody is claiming to be protecting them without even giving them a chance at first . I have a feeling that pride would click in with the two veteran point guards and we would get some positive results . What coach protects me from a point guard by matching me up with a guy usually 6 inches taller and 40 lbs bigger lol .

Woody simply is under the belief that oohhh we have so many guys similar in size that we can just switch everything and confuse the offense but the fact is that the switching is predictable and thats why it doesnt work .

Could someone please tell me when was the last time with as much as we switch that we sprung a surprise trap on someone ?

One possession we should switch

next possession we surprise and trap the ballhandler all together on the pick and roll

next possession we play it straight up and the guard goes over the top of the screen

next possession the big shows hard and forces the guard to turn away from the basket and to take it towards the sideline until the guard recovers

Salmons is averaging 20 ppg on 50% shooting and has gotten to the line 18 times while only making ONE 3pt shot this entire series . Maybe we should hide whoever is guarding him and let Bibs and Craw play Jennings straight up

big shocker

April 28th, 2010
6:28 pm

hey ian, you’re right, we should just lay down and quit. fans are hungry for a winner, the hawks are close. do us all a favor and watch glee or go ice skating. Maybe orlando has a seat at sea world for you.
Go Hawks.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 28th, 2010
6:29 pm

Ben, I’ll be standing in front of the Great Wraps in CNN Center with them no later than 7:30. I’ll be wearing a red pre-2007 style Joe Johnson jersey.

Ian

April 28th, 2010
6:29 pm

Big Shocker are you serious??? The Hawks are close? Ha! Far from it moron and they will be worse next year.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 28th, 2010
6:30 pm

I’m picking them up at will call so I can’t email them, sorry.

Big B CH 99

April 28th, 2010
6:33 pm

I forgot about Jamall, but obviously he’d be in the rotation. No one knows if Teague can guard Jennings or not, but at least let him try.

I’m sure Mario can guard him, but U don’t want him on the floor too long b/c he is a liability on Off.

Greg

April 28th, 2010
6:35 pm

Ian, the last two sentences of your comment explain the previous comments you made in your post.

Greg

April 28th, 2010
6:35 pm

Referring to Ian’s post at 6:11.

Slick

April 28th, 2010
6:40 pm

Hawks are D-O-N-E.

DawgBoi

April 28th, 2010
7:05 pm

I know Thomas won’t beat us from the elbow, but you got the point and made some good ones of your own sleepy. Either way, the Hawks biggest problem is that people like us here on this blog can see how the Bucks have hurt us but apparently the coaches and players think that they just have to switch faster.

northcyde

April 28th, 2010
7:22 pm

Dawgboi . . . I’m almost positive that the coaches know more than the fans, even if we think we know. Until some of us sit in on the Hawks during film study, we won’t know for sure what the problem is.

One thing is for sure though, the Hawks are definitely NOT closing out shooters on the perimeter like they did in Games 1 and 2. That’s part of what the coaches are talking about.

DawgBoi

April 28th, 2010
7:25 pm

northcyde. . . but you are not 100% positive..

terrell

April 28th, 2010
7:59 pm

Ok Woody, Jamal got his freakin 6th man of the year award. Now you can start him at pg and Mo at sf and bring Bobbling Bibby and Dufus Duck off the bench. Why wouldn’t you START your best players?????

bigdave

April 28th, 2010
8:06 pm

big one right here.. lets get it..

Najeh Davenpoop

April 28th, 2010
8:06 pm

Player intros are going on and this place is half empty. The fans who are here are loud but clearly the sh-tty last two games have made some of the more fair weather fans rethink their decision to come to this one.

VenomSpitter

April 28th, 2010
8:08 pm

Here we go with switchin