–When things got tight down the stretch, you could see the Jazz thrive on the situation as the Hawks started hiccuping. Before the game, L.D. praised the Jazz for their mental toughness and discipline and then the Hawks saw exactly what he meant. Utah rallied for a W for the fourth straight game.
– “They are a team that has no quit in them,” L.D. said. “At no point in the game could we relax or take possessions off because this is a team that’s going to be solid for 48 minutes. We may get a little lead in them, but they have no quit in them.”
– It’s not like the Hawks quit, either. It’s just that for the third time in the last four games they weren’t good enough to finish off a quality opponent. Viewed in isolation, this wasn’t such a terrible loss for the Hawks. But placed in the context of those losses to Phoenix and Orlando and the surrender against Milwaukee, this was a game the Hawks couldn’t lose.
– It’s still early in the season but no doubt the Hawks are in crisis mode. “We have to learn how to grind in crunch-time situations,” L.D. said. “We’ve got to make the plays.”
– They did that when the opponents weren’t so tough. “I didn’t get too excited about 6-0 because we weren’t playing playoff teams,” J.J.said. “Now we are playing playoff teams.”
– He’s probably discounting the 6-0 start too much considering the four road Ws and signs of growth when it comes to closing out close games away from Philips. But clearly the Hawks have a lot of work to do to be considered anything but a middling playoff team in the East.
– Asked before the game how the Hawks could avoid another debacle like the Bucks game, L.D. said: “Make some shots.” Well, the Hawks made nearly half of their shots (35 of 71) and still loss thanks missing 11 of 21 free throws and giving up 15 offensive rebounds.
– On the free throws, L.D. said: “We work on them and practice. You just have to step up, focus and concentrate and knock your free throws down.” On the rebounds, he said the Hawks spent all of Thursday’s practice working on defense, with two sessions devoted to rebounding: “It’s a problem. It won’t be fixed until we get into our mindset that we have to pay more attention and be more focused. It will be worked on every day in practice, I can tell you that. It won’t be something we will let slide.”
– L.D. talks about focus and concentration and mindset, then you see the Hawks can’t execute the things he spends so much time on and you wonder if he can get this group of guys to do those kinds of things all the time.
– The Hawks made fundamental mistakes down the stretch.
– Marvin had a fastbreak layup and could neither score nor get fouled and instead fumbled the ball out of bounds
– Smoove tried to feed Al for a lob dunk that wasn’t there and Deron Williams broke it up.
– Kirilenko stole the ball from J.J.
– The Hawks played a great defensive possession, forcing Milsap to a rush a 3-point attempt, but left Al Jefferson alone to rebound the miss.
– And then Al missed the free throws. “It’s a tough loss to take,” Al said. “We were tough and we hung in there. I have to take the blame for not knocking down those free throws at the end. But I will just have to keep working because I know I will be back in that situation again.”
– “They just made plays to win the game,” Josh said.
– “We just have to put this behind us and move on,” J.J. said.
– Marvin seemed to be moving OK but he missed some easy baskets. Mo had s strong stint in the first half with three rebounds in eight minutes.
– The bench held the lead in the first half and extended it in the third quarter. All of the starters were back in after the Jazz tied it at 78-78.
– L.D. has instituted what he calls a “20-20″ rule: Guys who don’t play 20 minutes in a game now will do 20 minutes of cardio work after. So Zaza, JC2, Teague and Powell ran sprints and Twin hit the treadmill. I’m guessing Mo was exempt because he’s coming off an injury.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.