Archive for April, 2010

Josh Smith: “Everybody knows there ain’t nothing to do in Milwaukee”

Nothing to do here?

Nothing to do here?

Woody figures the Hawks will encounter a “hostile environment” at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center for Game 3 oN Saturday. It might be particularly unwelcoming for Josh Smith after he pulled a Joakim Noah.

A reporter mentioned that Milwaukee is different from Miami, the Hawks’ first-round destination last year (and lemme tell you, this is another reason Hawks management was happy to draw Milwaukee instead of Miami this time).

So what will Smoove do in Brew City?

“Maybe go to Ruth’s Chris or something,” he said. (Sorry, Smoove, but the nearest locations are in Madison, Wisc. and Northbrook, Ill.)

“There’s pretty much nothing to do,” Smith said. “Miami has some really good restaurants. I never really did anything in Milwaukee. I would be happy to just find a restaurant. I’m not bashing the city but I’ve never actually did anything in Milwaukee so I really don’t know what is around there.”

By now Hawks PR Man Arthur Triche, seeing where this was headed, had …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks’ Ballers vs. Magic’s Maulers?

Looked in on the Magic last night trying to gain some insight into what the Hawks might be up against in the next round (too soon?). Watched the Magic beatdown the Bobcats in Game 2 despite Dwight Howard’s foul trouble. Saw them suffocate Charlotte with D. Shoot, I even saw VC attacking the rim.

What’s that all mean for the Hawks? Well, Charlotte is a poor offensive team and the Hawks are a good one, so if the Magic were to hold the Hawks to anything close to 77 points then something is seriously wro . . . Sorry, what’s that you say? The Hawks have had their own problems scoring against the Magic? Oh, then nevermind about that, I guess.

Lots of attention has been paid to how the Hawks would need to figure out a way to slow Howard, control the Magic’s 3-point shooters, or do some reasonable combination of those two. Those are important factors, of course. But what might be more important for the Hawks, since they’ve shown more production and potential on offense than defense, …

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Atlanta Hawks Squawks Game 2: Hawks 96, Bucks 86

– Well, what can you say about these first two games? The Hawks are just too good for the Bucks, who are competing but just don’t have the size, speed or offensive talent to keep up. Especially not at Philips, where they haven’t shown the ability to keep it together when the Hawks are defending, rebounding and running and the crowd is roaring.

– “They outplayed us in almost every spot up and down the floor,” Scott Skiles said. “We’ve got two or three days to get better.”

– The fans at Philip were hyped again. Say what you want about the Hawks’ troubles filling the arena with paying customers, but the people they do get in the building are doing their part.

– That’s 14 Ws in a row at Philips. “It’s the fans here,” Woody said. “The fans have been great the last three years. They really enjoy the product on the floor and how we play. They’ve been huge in the playoffs, like a sixth man.”

– It’s obvious the Hawks use that to fuel their big runs. I’ve maintained that …

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Bucks at Atlanta Hawks: Game 2

Game 2 should be a test of the Hawks’ maturity, right? Because there’s a couple things that are clear after just one game in this series: The Hawks are too good for the Bucks, and the Bucks are too prideful to quit.

The Hawks just have too much physical talent all over the floor for the Bogut-less Bucks to handle. Scott Skiles has been pretty blunt in talking about his matchup dilemmas, basically saying the Bucks simply have to be more aggressive and active with their help defense. What else can the Bucks do, really?

Skiles can put Mbah a Moute on whomever he wants and it leaves a problem somewhere else. Carlos Delfino on Josh is not feasible, but neither is Delfino on J.J. Kurt Thomas is good for bodying Al in the post but not for chasing him on mid-range jumpers, while the opposite (or maybe neither) seems to be true with Ilyasova. And when Bibby is stroking jumpers too the Bucks can forget it.

So we know the Bucks are overmatched but I have to think they won’t be shook …

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Atlanta Hawks: ASG’s Michael Gearon Jr. Talks Hawks

Talked to ASG’s Michael Gearon Jr for a playoffs preview story last week. Couldn’t get everything in, so here are some excerpts from the interview:

Michael Gearon, Jr. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Michael Gearon, Jr. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

On the season

“It is good. I’ve been around the franchise since I was a kid. For us, when we came in here it was all about trying to build a team through the draft with a core group of guys, a young team. The goal we’ve had is get better every year. The goal this year is to move up from where we were last year. This is our third year in playoffs, and its’ not about making the playoffs. It’s about going as far as we can as a team.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys that believe in themselves, and when we are playing the right way we are as good as any team in the league. I’ve been waiting for this day since the end of last season, as a fan. Our your guys have matured, they are used to the playoffs.”

On Woody’s performance

“He’s done a good job. Getting the third seed, 53 wins, each year …

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Atlanta Hawks Squawks Game 1: Hawks 102, Bucks 92

– Any questions about the Hawks’ ability to crank it up for the playoffs were answered immediately. They buried the Bucks from the jump in a wave of energy. The Bucks were shook. “The first half we were a little shell shocked,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.

– Once that early energy jolt wore off some of those other questions about the Hawks resurfaced but set those aside for a moment and admire that display before halftime. The Hawks shared the ball. They exploited mismatches on offense. The were sharp when switching on defense. They defended with vigor.

– They did all of those things and used a rowdy home crowd at Philips Arena to rattle the Bucks. “We’re at home,” Woody said. “We’re playing playoff basketball and we’re playing in front of our fans, who were fantastic tonight. That’s the energy. We came out and jumped them right away.”

– The Hawks scored 34 points in the first quarter, their third-highest total for the period in the franchise’s …

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Bucks at Atlanta Hawks: Game 1

Finally, it’s time. Now that I’ve partially recovered from the emotional trauma of stupidly getting my Blackberry wet yesterday and quietly weeping as I drifted into a fitful sleep . . . I’m ready. (Advice: Backup your smartphone data. Now.)

Got on The Google to find as much Hawks stuff as I could:

ESPN.com’s John Hollinger is picking the Hawks in 5, based in part on this research:

It turns out that in the first round, when the home-court team has won the regular-season series, it also has won the playoff series 41 straight times.

I repeat: 41 straight. Forty-one and oh.

The last team to defy the rule was the 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs, who lost the season series to Phoenix 3-1 but topped the Suns in a 4 versus 5 series in the playoffs; each team had won 56 games that season. It happened three other times in the 1990s, so the odds are slightly better than the daunting 41-0 figure indicates, but in the big picture we’re looking at a success rate of about 5 percent.

Brett …

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Atlanta Hawks: Trophy Talk

Is it really there for the Hawks to take?

Is it really there for the Hawks to take?

There’s a feeling in the Hawks organization, from the players up to ownership, that the Eastern Conference playoffs bracket is more wide open than most assume and the Hawks can make a deep run if things come together. If that seems like silly talk from a group that hasn’t even won a second-round game and was a combined 1-6 against the Magic and Cavs in games that mattered this season . . . well, what’s wrong with the Hawks feeling confident? Beats the alternative.

They did win 53 games. They are the No. 3 seed. With those credentials, the Hawks can think big, and so that’s why the Lil’ Larry O’ Brien Trophy sits on the ledge of the eraser board in the locker room.

“That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day,” Woody said. “It’s not about just making the playoffs. These opportunities don’t come along very often. We don’t know what’s going to happen next year. The other 15 teams are thinking the same way, so why shouldn’t we? It’s …

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Atlanta Hawks: Send-Da-Bucks (UPDATE: Playoff Schedule)

This didn't mean much in the big picture but it sure looks cool. (Reuters photo)

This didn’t mean much in the big picture but it sure looks cool. (Reuters photo)

EDIT: The NBA released the schedule for Hawks-Bucks:

Game 1 – Sat April 17 Milwaukee at Atlanta 5:30 PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 Milwaukee at Atlanta 7:00 PM NBATV
Game 3 – Sat April 24 Atlanta at Milwaukee 7:00 PM ESPN
Game 4 – Mon April 26 Atlanta at Milwaukee TBD TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 Milwaukee at Atlanta TBD TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 Atlanta at Milwaukee TBD TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 Milwaukee at Atlanta TBD TBD

All games also to be televised by either Fox Sports South or SportSouth.

*If necessary

– Not much to say about the game. The Hawks won 99-83, Rook’ looked good and nobody got hurt. Cavs coach Mike Brown summed it up: “Glad to get this game over with. Now we can focus on the playoffs.”

– It was a weird night. I spent more time looking at the out-of-town scoreboards than the main one. You probably did the same. I vaguely …

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Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks: Sitting On It (UPDATE: Marvin to play, other starters to sit)

Cavs coach Mike Brown said today at shooataround that LeBron and Shaq
won’t play tonight. Woody said he hadn’t made up his mind: “Game-time decision.” But chances are Hawks starters won’t play or get only token minutes considering the Hawks can’t improve their playoff seeding and that’s the way Woody approached last season’s finale under similar circumstances.

(EDIT: In pregame, Woody said Marvin would start alongside Teague, Joe Smith, and Zaza.)

The consensus among Hawks players is they’re fine with sitting.

“If anything, it helps after such a long season, Al said.

These two will watch the game tonight. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

These two will watch the game tonight. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

For Brown, the main motivation behind sitting LeBron and Shaq is to avoid injury. “That had a lot to do with it,” he said.

This will be the fourth healthy scratch in a row for LeBron. Shaq just recently was cleared to return after missing six weeks with a thumb injury.

The Cavs will enter the playoffs with their full lineup of LeBron, Shaq, Mo …

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