Archive for November, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 96, Raptors 78

Raps couldn't control Smoove. (Rueters Photo)

Raps couldn’t control Smoove. (Rueters Photo)

Toronto–Maybe you are thinking the Hawks beat another lackluster opponent. But funk that: They beat the mess out of a lackluster opponent, and don’t think there isn’t a difference in this league.

– The Hawks dominated the Raptors because Smoove did it all, Marvin did more (again) and they didn’t let down in a circumstance where it had to be tempting. Yes, they are a much better team than the Raptors, but give them credit for leaving no doubt about it.

– Raptors coach Jay Triano summed it up: “You go one through five: DeMar got outplayed by Joe Johnson, Jose got outplayed by Mike Bibby, Andrea got outplayed by Josh Smith, Sonny got outplayed by Marvin Williams, Joey got outplayed by Al Horford. Nobody could score and we couldn’t stop those guys and that is why you have a 20-point game.”

– The Hawks have won three in a row after the famous Wednesday meeting so they deserve to feel good about themselves. “What we have been doing these …

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Atlanta Hawks: Sund still patient

TorontoRick Sund’s style as GM has been to be patient and take the long view, so it should come as little surprise that his outlook on what’s been an up-and-down start leans to the “up” side.

The Hawks haven’t been consistent but Sund noted the season is less than one-fourth complete.

“When we hit on all cylinders, we can really play well,” he said. “We are shooting the ball pretty good, obviously. We’ve either led the league or are second in field-goal percentage the whole season.

“When we pick up our defense, that is probably one of our biggest keys. When we play with energy, it helps our defense. I think Larry has done a really good job of getting them ready. Most importantly, I keep my fingers crossed we stay injury free. That is a big key for teams.”

Teague waits turn

Teague said L.D. hasn’t spoken to him about his reduced role lately. He plans to have that conversation with Drew when the team returns to Atlanta.

“It is part of coaching; it is part of the game,” he …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 99, Knicks 90

New York–So the Hawks had a meeting Wednesday and basically called each other out for not being mentally tough enough. They said that when there are defensive breakdowns guys spend less energy covering for each other than they do griping. Instead of staying with the effort, they give up.

Al was as skeptical as anyone that anything would come of it. “A lot of things were talked about,” he said. “You go out and do it, you feel good about it. I feel like we did it at times, sometimes not. The Washington game and this game, I’ve really seen it.”

– In regards of focus and intensity, the Hawks have improved in the last two games no matter the strength of their opponents. Clearly the Hawks opened the game with more bounce against the Wizards and Knicks. It’s hard to explain but you can just see it in the way they deflect passes, run the floor, crash the boards, and both move the ball and take care of it.

– “We are helping each other now,” Smoove said. “We are having fun again, …

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Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks: Teague’s time? It depends

Remember back when Teague was going to challenge Bibby for the starting point guard position? I don’t, either, because it never really materialized.

And now it seems Teague isn’t assured of regular minutes and will split time with JC2 based on matchups. So when the Hawks played Washington, which used a lot of zone defenses Thursday, L.D. gave JC2 the nod over Teague: “I just really wanted to go with another shooter.”

It could be different today against the Knicks and going forward.

[Toney] Douglas has got speed, he has got quickness, he looks to score,” L.D. said. “So there is a chance [Teague] may be the first guy coming off. But if I get in an instance where I need some more offense, if we get off to a slow start, which I’m hoping we won’t, then I could go with bringing in another scorer in like Jordan.”

L.D. acknowledged that less minutes for his best on-ball defender would put more pressure on the other perimeter guys.

“It puts more onus on every individual guy, …

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Atlanta Hawks: Unsolved mystery

I went down to Philips today but, due to unforeseen circumstances out of my control, I couldn’t get access to the team. (I did, however, get lots of time to hang out with the French-speaking Habs beat guys). This unfortunate turn of events (the lack of access, not the time with French Canadian hacks), combined with tight deadlines last night, means I did not get to query L.D. about the Teague situation.

So I’m not sure if Teague’s sporadic minutes lately are due to matchups (which had been L.D.’s previous explanation), some other special circumstance or are related to his performance.

Teague played early against Dallas but didn’t return after blowing a couple defensive assignments, while JC2 played 18 energetic minutes. Teague played just two minutes after halftime vs. Boston–and had a spirited exchange with coaches after L.D. called him out for missing another assignment–while Jordan played 18 minutes.

That could have just been a matter of getting Jordan some minutes in a …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 116, Wizards 96

Hawks got the 'Joe of old' vs. Wizards (AP)

Hawks got the ‘Joe of old’ vs. Wizards (AP)

– It seems unnecessary to quibble about the opponent under the circumstances. The Hawks ended their three-game losing
streak with a professional effort. They took control early and never let up, played physical against a bigger team and made John Wall look like an ordinary rookie.

– This felt like one of those beatdowns the Hawks routinely delivered to overmatched teams at Philips last season. They quickly established they were the faster, sharper, better team and never let the Wizards believe they could play with them.

– “We only put up one word on the board: ‘Energy,’” Mo said. “I think we fulfilled that. Everybody played with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, and we played together for the first time in a long time.”

– “We haven’t had a game like this all season long,” Smoove said. “We really did bring the energy and the effort tonight. We were able to bring it at both ends of the court. We were just helping each other out and …

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Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks: New starters cure for slow starts?

L.D. is using the same starting lineup tonight. If the Hawks continue to open games with no energy then he said there could be changes.

“If we keep getting off to these slow starts, I may have to start thinking about doing something with the lineup,” he said. “I just can’t continue to allow us to constantly get off to slow starts. I may have to do something to shake it up. We’ll see what happens tonight.

“But I can’t sit here and just constantly allow us to keep getting off to those type starts because we are burying ourselves early and we are having to exert so much energy fighting back. That may be something we have to start thinking about.”

The Hawks had another big meeting Wednesday morning. To their credit, they are tired of all the talking, too.

“I’m a vet,” Mo said. “Talking doesn’t mean much to me. We’ll see how we respond tonight and over these next few games. We should have enough pride in what we’ve done the last two or three years where we shouldn’t need any …

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Atlanta Hawks: It could be worse

Don’t think so? I give you the Miami Heat.

From Adrian Wojnaworski at Yahoo! Sports:

For now, though, Riley doesn’t need a new coach. He needs to support Spoelstra after allowing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to publicly embarrass and undermine their coach. The losing has created the Riles-to-the-bench hysteria, but James and Bosh had to come out and pop Spoelstra for practicing them too hard and playing them too many minutes.

The Heat lost again on Wednesday night, 104-95 to the Orlando Magic, and that’s three straight now. The greatest free-agent class in NBA history is 8-7. James and Dwyane Wade(notes) still can’t flourish together on the floor, and the Heat, possibly without Udonis Haslem(notes) for the rest of the season, are powerless to protect the basket.

“I like the fact that we are where we are,” Bosh said, trying to convince himself. “We could be 15-0 right now thinking we have the world in the palm of our hands. We would be fooling ourselves.”

It …

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Atlanta Hawks: Nets 107, Hawks 101 (OT)

This was not good for the Hawks. (US Presswire)

This was never good for the Hawks. (US Presswire)

Newark, N.J.–There’s not been much in between for the Hawks when they lose. They have seven Ls and they’ve all happened in two basic ways: Surrender from the start, or falter at the end.

– This one was in the latter category, and what does it say about the Hawks that losing in a competitive effort at New Jersey represents progress? That’s how it goes when you show any life at all the night after melting down to the Celtics.

– Better effort, but it’s still a loss. That’s three in a row and seven in nine games since the the 6-0 start. Can’t use the good opponent crutch for this one, either.

– “As long as we stay together, we will be all right,” said Bibby, stoic as always. “You lose some games. You can’t win all 82. We’ve got a lot of games left. We can’t get down.”

– You had to figure Atlanta’s tendency to earn tightrope Ws in these road games against also-rans would eventually go bad. Unfortunately for them, it happened the …

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Atlanta Hawks at New Jersey Nets: ‘Defense is hard.’ Are the Hawks?

Newark, N.J–Over and over the coach preaches defense. He tells his players to execute the coverages, give maximum effort, and stay after it even when (or especially when) things get hard. Most of his preparation time is spent on defense. Pretty much all of his talks are about stopping opponents.

And yet despite all of this, the coach says his team doesn’t do these things to his satisfaction.

Not, I’m not talking about L.D. This was Doc Rivers talking last night before his Celtics waylaid the Hawks. He was asked if things like defensive intensity and focus come from players and not coaches.

“It comes from both. As good as we are at times, last year we were up and down all year. I think that’s a sell every night. It’s just easier to play offense. Defense is hard, and defense is every possession. Defense is hunger and focus and being down on the weak side every single time. It’s amazing how many times we show film of guys standing straight up. It’s hard. Defense is hard. To do it …

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