Archive for October, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: Bobcats 99, Hawks 66

L.D. could have avoided a waste of time by staying in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

L.D. could have avoided a waste of time by staying in Atlanta. (AP Photo)

Charlotte–The Hawks were in Charlotte but they didn’t really show up. Can’t see how they got anything out of this.

– “Zero,” L.D. said. “Zero. Nothing whatsoever.”

– There were lots of ugly numbers but a few that stood out: Atlanta had 23 turnovers and 22 field goals and was outscored 50-28 in the paint. Sure, the bench guys played a lot of minutes but so did Charlotte’s reserves–and when Matt Carroll and Derrick Brown are taking it to you something is up.

– So much for that glow from beating the Heat. “The only thing we do get out of it is we’ve got to be a better club in these type situations,” L.D. said. “We can watch film and coverages and all of that but the bottom line is we didn’t bring energy, we didn’t bring any since of urgency. That is totally, totally unacceptable. We have got to be a team that comes out and is ready to play every single time we step on the floor. I don’t care what the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks at Bobcats

Charlotte–I started to ask L.D. about Smoove shooting more jump shots lately and before I could even finish the question he was rolling his eyes.

Remember that when L.D. was announced as the new Hawks coach he said he would get Josh off the perimeter and down in the post. Josh said L.D. is the coach and so he would comply.

Yet clearly it’s going to take some work for the two to get on the same page. Against the Heat last night Josh launched a jumper early in the game on a play that called for him to work in the post. He also fired a 3-pointer late in the game.

Each time Josh takes a bad jumper, L.D. is there to let him know about it. Like Woody before him, L.D. has seen that Smoove doesn’t always appreciate the feedback.

“He snarled at me a little bit early in the game yesterday but I was fine with it,” L.D. said. “I want him to establish himself down low. I don’t want him to rely on making perimeter shot.”

It’s a reasonable request considering the drastic difference in …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 98, Heat 89

J.J. and Hawks got by LeBron's Heat. (Curtis Compton/ ccompton@ajc.com)

J.J. and Hawks got by LeBron’s Heat. (Curtis Compton/ ccompton@ajc.com)

–This was nothing like the Magic game for the Hawks. They were ready from the jump, defended hard until the end and didn’t blink when the Heat threatened to open up a lead after halftime.

– Both teams went at each other hard and had their starters on the floor to finish. “It didn’t feel like a preseason game at all,” Jamal said. “As the preseason winds down, we’re just trying to get into a rhythm we can carry into the regular season and they are doing the same.”

– “Two teams came out and really made a statement,” J.J. said. “It was fun.”

– Props to J.J. for 27 points, six rebounds, six assists and just one turnover. He’s quietly been the most consistent guy in the preseason. You can see him start to figure out where he can find space in the motion offense. There are still some isos but, for the most part, he picks the right time to do his thing.

– “The Hawks have a little more movement offensively,” Udonis …

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Atlanta Hawks: Heat at Hawks

Zaza was raving the other day about a saying he saw on Twitter:

“Better to have it well done than well said.”

What he means is it’s time for the Hawks to stop talking and start doing. There are just two exhibition games left, tonight vs. the D-Wade less Heat and tomorrow at Charlotte. The season starts Wednesday in Memphis.

Can the Hawks get it together by then?

“I am sure that is a question on everyone’s mind after seeing us play five games we have already played,” Zaza said. “I am sure nobody is happy who is cheering for the Hawks. It starts from us, the players, the coaching staff, the management–nobody is happy.”

Yes, there have been injuries. There’s a new coach. There’s a new offense. It will take time.

But now the Hawks are healthy, the season is approaching and there has to be some urgency.

“We haven’t had really had the chance to play together,” Teague said. “At the offensive end it is kind of stagnant. We are still trying to figure things out. Guys really don’t know …

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Atlanta Hawks: How Rick Sund sees them

Sund changed his coach but not the core. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Sund changed his coach but not the core. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

When he was evaluating the Hawks at the end of last season, GM Rick Sund took a look at the other seven teams to play in the conference semifinals and did his own round-robin calculation.

The way Sund sees it–and he said most GMs look at it the same way–the elite teams are those that earn homecourt advantage in the first round and advance to the second round.

“When you get through that first round, that validates that you are an elite team,” Sund said. “Now what I do is I take the record of all the final four in one conference and the others and see how you do against each other. It’s a great barometer because you play 20 games against [common] opponents.”

So how did each team fare against the others?

The Cavaliers were 13-7.

“That’s an incredible record,” Sund said.

The Magic were 12-8, no surprise since they steamrolled through last two months of the regular season. The Lakers were 10-10. And the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson on Hawks

Jackson and Van Gundy offered their takes on the Hawks.

Jackson and Van Gundy offered their takes on the Hawks.

Got on a conference call today with ESPN NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy (who of course is the brother of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy) and Mark Jackson (who of course was a candidate to succeed Woody).

Asked both analysts if it is realistic for L.D. to mold this group into a championship-caliber defensive team. Here are their answers. . .

Van Gundy:

“Somebody has got to tell me what Mike Woodson did so wrong, No. 1. He took over a team that won [13] games, and he kept winning more and more and more. Sometimes you just get beat by better teams. Orlando swept them–and you can say the blowouts [were a problem]–but Orlando is a better team. That’s just how it is. If they fired coaches that got beat by better teams, a lot of guys would be fired.

“I watched the exhibition game last night with Orlando, and it looks like they are trying to install some Princeton-type of movement offense. Defense is really coach-based. It is …

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Atlanta Hawks: Magic 102, Hawks 73

Magic's D suffocated J.J. and company. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Magic’s D suffocated J.J. and company. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

– The Magic have the kind of program the Hawks are trying to build. Yes, they have a top five player and the Hawks don’t. Orlando is deeper than Atlanta. But the Magic might be underachievers, too, if Stan Van Gundy hadn’t molded them into a team where every guy is expected to bust their tail defensively all the time.

– “They are one of the best teams in the league because they can defend,” Marvin said. “They can flat-out guard. A lot of people say it’s because of their offense but it’s because they guard. They have a lot of energy on the defensive end, and that’s why they’re one of the top two or three teams.”

– It’s just a preseason game but beforehand L.D. talked about a “new attitude” for the Hawks against Orlando. There was no sign of that. “I don’t seem them fearing us at all,” Josh said. “That means we have to go back to the lab.”

– The Hawks had pretty good defensive energy for a couple quarters but couldn’t …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. Magic

L.D. picks Dwight over shooters. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

L.D. picks Dwight over shooters. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The Hawks remember the sting from getting demolished by the Magic last may. Did they learn anything about how to play the Magic, though?

“Last year is over with,” L.D. said before the game. “This is a new year. We have to bring a new attitude and the way we approach the game. We will do some things a little differently than we did last year playing against Orlando. Will they work? I don’t know. But I do know we are going to try to take out some of the predictability of the things we have done in the past.”

L.D. mentioned the “pick your poison” aspect of playing the Magic. Dwight is the “1″ and the shooters the “4″ in their famed 4-out, 1-in offense. It sounds like L.D. picks playing Dwight more straight up rather than leaving those shooters.

But like with L.D.’s desire to make the Hawks an overall gritty defensive team, it’s not clear he has the personnel to match his desires. Hawks brass seemed to know it, …

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Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith’s new shoe commercial

Smoove repping the adidas adiZero Infiltrate in his first-ever national TV commercial.

MC

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Atlanta Hawks: More of the same

Practice today for the Hawks basically consisted of a video session and free throws.

“One of those days where I decided it would be more productive to just watch some tape instead of putting some wear and tear on them, especially with a game tomorrow,” L.D. said.

Everyone seemed subdued and tired, including L.D. He wasn’t enthusiastic about Atlanta’s performance in the 84-74 victory against New Orleans Saturday at Johnson City, Tenn.

“It was all right,” he said. “We’ve still got a ways to go as far as work and get to where we are trying to get to.”

His list of complaints is familiar: defense, rebounding, turnovers. And this time the Hawks couldn’t use the absence of their regulars to explain it. The starters plus Jamal all played at least 25 minutes while the Hornets went deep into their bench.

Now the Magic come to town after they crushed the Bulls Saturday. Orlando also beat down New Orleans last week.

“Watching then play in the preseason, they are looking like a team …

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