Archive for April, 2010

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 …

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Johnson out for two games

Greetings, all-

You may have seen the story we put up Monday saying that Joe Johnson will not make the trip for the Charlotte and Detroit games Tuesday and Wednesday.

The thumb that he injured defending Ron Artest in the Lakers game last Wednesday is still bothering him – he aggravated it early against Cleveland on Friday. Johnson and the team decided to let it heal up and hopefully be ready for the playoffs rather than let it linger. Johnson described himself as “very frustrated” with the injury. Mo Evans will start in his place.

“I’m just trying to rest up and do whatever it takes to get it back 100 percent before the playoffs start,” Johnson said Monday after practice.

Obviously, this doesn’t bode well for the Hawks in their impending road swing. They’ve got Charlotte and Detroit back to back and will be home against Toronto on Friday, which is the earliest that Johnson could be back.

Charlotte is two games behind Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee for the No. 6 spot and has given …

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Hawks squawks: Hawks 91, Pistons 85

– Greetings, all. Ken Sugiura sitting in for MC.

– Not a pretty game. Mike Woodson: “We played pretty well in spurts, but we played well enough to win the game.”

– Detroit was outmanned, but hung in. I’m still not sure how, as they shot 37 percent from the floor. The two players who took the most shots — Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva — were a combined 10 for 31. Ben Gordon didn’t even score. Said Jamal Crawford, “They compete. They play hard. They have a lot of talented guys. They’ve got (Rodney) Stuckey, Gordon, (Will) Bynum’s capable of putting up some numbers.”

Joe Johnson was out with a sprained right thumb, which may explain why he was 6-for-17 against Cleveland on Friday. Before the game, Woodson wasn’t sure if he’d be ready for Charlotte on Tuesday.

Al Horford on Joe being out: “He’s usually our go-to guy and a big part of our team. I know they’re missing a lot of guys, too, but we’re so used to playing together.”

– Not a great night for Jeff Teague. He got …

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Hawks Squawks: Cavaliers 93, Hawks 88

It was more scowls for Smoove and the Hawks after another loss to Cavs. (AP)

It was more scowls for Smoove and the Hawks after another loss to Cavs. (AP)

Cleveland– What I saw was similar to what happened at Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Toronto, New York, Miami and Golden State. The details may differ somewhat but the bottom line doesn’t: The Hawks couldn’t make plays to close out a close game on the road.

– If the Hawks win just three of those seven, they would be 20-16 on the road and just one loss behind Orlando in the Southeastern Division. Instead, the Magic is running away from them and the Hawks haven’t proved they belong in the discussion with Cleveland and Orlando in the East’s elite.

– So I asked Woody about what I called a “persistent problem” with failing to close out road games since the All-Star break. He didn’t like that characterization. ““I wish I knew (why),” he said. “But I can’t say it’s been that way since the All-Star game, but it’s been that way against the Cavaliers. We’ve had close games against them and we can’t find any offense …

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Atlanta Hawks at Cavaliers: Sliding Scale of Success

They can still finish third in the East, above .500 on the road and win 50 games.

They can still finish third in the East, above .500 on the road and win 50 games.

The Hawks’ regular-season goals are on a sliding scale and even after that W over the Lakers they are trending down.

Remember when winning the division was the main thing that mattered? Well, due to their struggles to win on the road and Orlando’s continued hot streak, the Hawks aren’t going to do that. So they’ve moved the scale down a notch from winning the division to finishing No. 3 in the East.

That’s an interesting development because it suggests the Hawks are thinking about where they want to be in the bracket. After all, they get homecourt in the first round and don’t get it in the second regardless if they are No. 3 or No. 4. The only difference will be their first-round opponent (right now that’s Miami instead of Milwaukee) and whether they get Cleveland or Orlando in the second round (it’s the Magic as it stands). They’ll never say it publicly, of course, but my guess is the Hawks are …

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Atlanta Hawks: Fans on Fans

He's really not but Woody appreciates the effort.

He’s really not but Woody appreciates the effort. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

My story and blog post on visitors feeling the love at Philips sparked a lot of feedback both in the blogosphere and in my inbox. (I’m not trying to take credit for being the first person to raise these issues, just saying these are the reactions to that story.) Since these Atlanta fans know Atlanta fans better than the new guy, here are some highlights:

More than one emailer advanced the transplanted ATLiens theory:

The other day your article in the AJC Sports section, indicated that Atlanta’s professional sports teams bemoan the fact that some players from opposing teams received loud cheers, rather than “boos!”

What these Atlanta players need to realize is: simple demographics. Atlanta, and much of the Southeast and Southwest benefited from demographic changes in the country, basically, receiving transplants from the Northern states, and even California. Three decades ago, there were about …

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