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 every night is hard to do. As a coach and your whole staff, we harp on it every single day. We could have an 80-point game [allowed] and I could show you 10 times in a game we got lucky and they missed a shot and we were not right. [Defense] comes from all five doing it all the time, where on offense you can have one guy make a shot and it works out for you. Defense, it is just hard.”

While he was saying that I’m thinking: If Doc Rivers has to constantly prod proud, veteran, tough-minded players to get them to do these things, then what chance does L.D. have of getting his younger, volatile, fragile players to play that way?

Mo had the telling quote after last night’s debacle: “The Celtics know who they are. We don’t have an identity, unless it’s when things go bad we go the other way. Maybe that’s out identity and we don’t know it.”

Maybe that’s how it is. Maybe it takes certain kind of players to play the way the Celtics play, and maybe the Hawks don’t have any (or enough) of those players. L.D. says he “very rarely talks about offense” and harps on defense but maybe there’s nothing he can do to make this group of players buy in to that.

“You can look at certain teams with certain players and you can see when the game hits a certain point where players they seem to take over, see certain teams when the game hits a certain point they tighten the screws up,” Drew said before the Boston game. “You can certainly see that. I don’t think we are there yet. I think we have to keep working on it. I do think we can get there. We have the personnel to get there. But we are not quite there.”

The day after

The Hawks players talked after the Celtics game. L.D. said the team met for breakfast this morning and watched video.

“Didn’t want to dwell on it, just wanted to make some points on it and then get ready for New Jersey,” he said.

So I asked Al if he their minds are right.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I’d rather hold all of my thoughts until once we get out here and play. We cant talk about certain stuff but we have to go out there and do it on the floor.”

Smoove took a similar stance on all the talking.

“If that [stuff] penetrates, then we should be good,” he said. “If it gets shrugged off, then maybe not. We are about to see.”

Party time?

L.D. elaborated on his postgame comments last night, in which he seemed to intimate the Hawks are doing too much partying before games.

“I didn’t say party,” he said. “We are not starting the game with a lot of energy. I don’t know if I am practicing them too hard. I don’t know if I am not practicing them hard enough. I don’t know if they are out at night. I don’t know what it is. It is something that is zapping our energy at the very beginning of our ballgame. It is something I have got to figure out what is going on with our team because we are too athletic to start at such a low energy level. Hopefully we will bounce back tonight.”

No rest for J.J.

One of the items the !$%^# blog monster ate last night concerned J.J.’s sore left hand. He got hit on the top of the hand during the preseason and still grimaces and favors it at times.

Good luck trying to get him to reveal how much it’s really bothering him.

“I’ve just got to deal with it,” Joe said. “The only thing that can keep it from hurting is resting but we don’t have time for that. I have to play through it. It’s nothing major.”

The fact that J.J. is wearing that bulky glove on the hand suggests it’s a problem. He said he would continue to wear it (”Got no choice) and that it doesn’t bother his shooting. The hand is not as sore after games when he wears the glove.

L.D. thinks the hand is bothering Joe more than he’s letting on. Would he consider taking the decision from Joe and giving him an extended rest?

“I will consider it, but a high probability of giving him time off? No,” Drew said. “We will probably just try to rest him days that we are not playing, especially when we have a couple days in between. Let him get it treated and keep him out. With those type injuries they always start to feel good and then you get it banged again and it becomes a lingering thing through the season.”

No T-Will for Nets

Nets swingman Terrence Williams (Go Cards) is out for two games due to disciplinary reasons. Dang, T-Will, get it together and rep The Ville right.

MC

376 comments Add your comment

ninja

November 23rd, 2010
6:59 pm

First!
Lebron James heads South, Mom still ridin’ West, Talent stayed put! HAHAHA! What a f’n clown LeBron has become!
For daily LeBron fun!
Follow me on Twitter!
http://twitter.com/ninja_ninja_

bigdave

November 23rd, 2010
7:13 pm

Ludacris.. Falcons DE Jamaal Anderson… and Devin Harris could be triplets..

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:16 pm

Great movement so far. Maybe too much motion…

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:16 pm

“Maybe that’s how it is. Maybe it takes certain kind of players to play the way the Celtics play, and maybe the Hawks don’t have any (or enough) of those players. ”

Jamal and Marvin for Prince and Ben Wallace. Make it happen.

Marvin f-cking BLOWS.

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:19 pm

smdh same B.S. as last night. Man whatever smdh this team here. and please ship Marvin out of here

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:19 pm

Mirror image of last night’s game.

Damn this “core” is good.

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:19 pm

Hawks behind 9-0 to Nets…

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

A suspended Terrence Williams > Marvin

uh-oh

November 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

its already 9-0 Nets

terrell

November 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

Here we go again. Great D there Bibby.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Looks like Dominique Wilkins has discovered the telestrator.

Wabe

November 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Man, had the Hawks taken Chris Paul or Derron Williams with that pick, we wouldn’t be having to deal with Marvin or Bibby…

All in the past.

Sux we’re still bringing that up.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Again, here is what I have been complaining about, lots and lots of jumpers, and nothing inside for Al and Josh. L.D. needs to get over his love affair with the guards and jumpers and utilize his big men more often.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:21 pm

The $126 million man continuing to build his mansion with all those bricks.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:22 pm

“Man, had the Hawks taken Chris Paul or Derron Williams with that pick, we wouldn’t be having to deal with Marvin or Bibby…”

It speaks to how poorly managed this team has been that they still haven’t found a long term solution at the PG position to erase that mistake.

J from the A

November 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Josh to Joe! … of course, some will only remember the bad plays w/e

J from the A

November 23rd, 2010
7:24 pm

Big 3 from Josh! … of course, everyone will remember the 1 he misses.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:25 pm

Avery Johnson has those Nets playing pretty good team defense. I don’t know that they have the players to be an elite defensive team, but they are communicating and forcing the Hawks to do things they don’t want to do.

J from the A

November 23rd, 2010
7:25 pm

Bibby penetrating, drawing the foul! … you get the point.

Starting to look a little better on both ends of the court … of course, it is only the Nets w/e.

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:25 pm

Hawks are committed to the motion offense. Hopefully this means that the players are committed to listening to Drew.

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:27 pm

I think LD has lost his confidence in Marvin. He shouldn’t even be starting . They have picked up their energy. And Lopez is having his way

Jae Evolution

November 23rd, 2010
7:28 pm

Joe Johnson…you are making sports critic’s eat their heart out with your recent play…come on.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:28 pm

“I think LD has lost his confidence in Marvin. He shouldn’t even be starting . ”

I think Marvin has lost his confidence in Marvin.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
7:29 pm

Where is the equal opportunity on offense? Joe is again dominating the ball and has 4 field goal attempts already, meanwhile Josh has 5. Al only has 1. The Hawks managed to get a little bit of penetration, but if those jumpers weren’t falling, we’d still be down by 10.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

raise your hand if you would take Outlaw over Marvin

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

Here comes the bench to kill the momentum again. I still don’t understand why Josh Powell is in the NBA.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:31 pm

Patrick,

Al is shooting over 60% from the field on the season. You would think they would get him more shots.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:31 pm

Raise your hand if you’d take Damion James over Marvin.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:32 pm

Najeh,

Josh Powell is a great locker room guy. Just ask Kobe

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
7:33 pm

so much for ld doing anything different

TheAntiMe

November 23rd, 2010
7:33 pm

“It is something that is zapping our energy at the very beginning of our ballgame. It is something I have got to figure out what is going on with our team because we are too athletic to start at such a low energy level. Hopefully we will bounce back tonight.”

9 – 0 Nets. I guess they still haven’t figured it out yet. The Hawks aren’t the bouncers, they’re the bouncees.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:34 pm

Powell and Zaza are standing around while the Nets’ big men make sh-t happen.

I don’t care how good they are in the locker room. You don’t score points in the locker room. The game is played in the court, where they are pitiful.

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:34 pm

bench comes in lead goes right back up.. and they are getting out hustled out there smh.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:35 pm

Nice, confident take by Teague.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:36 pm

Zaza stood around that entire possession guarding nobody.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:36 pm

Lopez has looked unstoppable.

I wonder how long before somebody posts the Lopez for Horford trade

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

Raise your hand if you’d rather have ANY of the Nets’ big men over Powell and Zaza.

Including Joe Smith.

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

Jamal is just not the same.

Freshfromatl AKA Fresh

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

*Walk into house from work*

*Turns on T.V.*

*First thing I hear? Nique says “Hawks Shouldn’t Try To Get It All Back At Once.”*

*Looks at schedule With Blank Stare…See’s the Hawks Are Playing The Nets*

*Change Channel In Disbelief and Pure Disgust*

*Goes On With Life*

O'Reilly

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

We need to get a coach who wasn’t a guard in the league. L.D. seems way too biased. I can’t even express how annoyed I am with his offensive strategies sometimes. He has no idea how to utilize the strengths of his team. Almost everything the Hawks run is to the benefit of Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford. And, if a play gets broken up, it almost always results in a long jumper for Josh. Start running some pick and roll and pick and pop for your All-Star center, or some back-cuts for the invisible man since he doesn’t attract much defensive attention anyway. Throw some lobs when you have the opportunity, use the speed and athleticism of the team. I’m so tired of L.D.’s obsession with jumpshots and getting his guards “into a rhythm” shooting the ball. It’s like he ignores everyone on the team who isn’t a guard named Joe or Jamal. I’m also tired of this obsession with “developing the bench”. Outside of Teague and Jordan Crawford, there’s nothing to develop, and those guys barely play as it is. He’s not going to turn Pachulia or Powell into all-stars, and he’s not going to get starter-quality production out of a bench that doesn’t have the personnel to achieve that caliber of play. L.D. needs to take his head out of his rear end, realize what he is working with, and utilize the strengths of his team, rather than trying to make them into something that they are not and putting them into positions where they are at disadvantages.

Melvin

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

I just turn on the game. My goodness, Hawks are getting beat by 10 at the end of the 1st qtr by the Net…SMH

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

In fairness to Al, they haven’t got him involved in the offense at all. I am confident that he can score on Lopez. But for him to only have one board compared to 5 for Lopez is inexcusable.

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:39 pm

LD is taking the Woodson approach, keep doing the same thing over and over again even if it doesn’t work smdh

RealSquawk

November 23rd, 2010
7:39 pm

I wonder how many of these losses will happen before something gets shook up.

And then I worry that the wrong players will be shook

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
7:40 pm

what the hell is mw doing,bench his azz

terrell

November 23rd, 2010
7:40 pm

The 1st qtr blues continue. Last year we had the 4th qtr blues. This year we lost on the road and won at home. This year we’re winning on the road and losing at home. Go figure. Like MsDee said, we need to hire Woody as an assistant. Even this thing out a little bit. lol!

terrell

November 23rd, 2010
7:41 pm

I meant last year we lost on the road and won at home.

stizz

November 23rd, 2010
7:42 pm

Marvin is terrible and the d is atrocious.

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
7:42 pm

za za plays like a zombie sit him down

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:42 pm

Teague is quick. I wish he could shoot.