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

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
7:43 pm

Najeh,

Lopez has twice Al’s minutes so far.

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
7:45 pm

i watched a game the nets against miami lopez couldnt buy a basket

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:46 pm

ZaZa is terrible. At this point I would rather see Collins out there.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Nice outlet pass by Teague.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Teague with a good steal, and pas ahead to Josh, who slams it.

Maybe that will get us going

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Thats the Josh we have been missing. He hasn’t dunked on somebody like that in a long time. Good d by Teague

Melvin

November 23rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Ok hopeful that dunk by Josh can wait this team up (for the rest of the year)…. although he travel….lol

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
7:48 pm

“Najeh,

Lopez has twice Al’s minutes so far.”

At the time I posted that, he had two more minutes than Al.

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Josh ran down the lane with the ball but never put it on the floor. See, Zaza, you don’t always have to dribble before you shoot.

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
7:49 pm

Bad angle by Al on the shot off the block.

Melvin

November 23rd, 2010
7:49 pm

That play by Jamal is what been missing from him all year…

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:50 pm

Quick. Trade Jamal while he is hot

cp

November 23rd, 2010
7:53 pm

I have no words to describe Teague’s jumper. He really needs to fix that release

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
7:54 pm

Najeh,

And when I posted it was Lopez 12 and Al 6.

terrell

November 23rd, 2010
7:55 pm

If Teague work on his shot this summer, he might be pretty good. Defense is pretty good already. WAY better than Bibby’s.

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
7:55 pm

Rev,

I thought Lopez got a piece of it.

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
7:56 pm

If you’re LD, and Lopez is on fire…Why dont he play Twin at Center, Al at PF, and Josh at SF?

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

O’B,

My thoughts exactly

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

how the hell can we ever get any offensive rebounds when we never have anyone ever under the boards

northcyde

November 23rd, 2010
7:58 pm

See Jamal? You don’t have to chuck away from 3 point land to be an effective scorer.

glw

November 23rd, 2010
8:00 pm

rusty,

I was thinking the same thing. Atlanta is such a jump shooting team. No one ever goes to the board, unless its Al or occassionally Josh. And if Al pops out for a jumper, there is no one there. Still trying to figure out what purpose Marvin serves offensively.

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
8:01 pm

yea nortcyde to bad your buddy the 124m man cant do that

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:01 pm

There goes Al, out for the rest of the quarter. Now, we have to put up with the walking tree in Collins for the rest of the half and hope that the Nets don’t build up another 10 point lead. I bet I can guess what the next play will be for the Hawks. There’s about a 90% chance that it is either a Jamal Crawford jumper, a Joe Johnson jumper, or long jumper/wild shot by Josh. I hate L.D.’s coaching. Can’t wait to get a new coach in here.

Melvin

November 23rd, 2010
8:02 pm

With Lopez has it going like this in the 1st half, I’m sure we will hear from T.S. before the night is over.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:02 pm

Haha, looks like I was right. A long jumper by Josh it is.

J.J.M.

November 23rd, 2010
8:03 pm

all crawford does is shoot jump shots…how bout try driving and dishing

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
8:03 pm

Another player going for a record performance against the Hawks. Reminds me of the Braves in the mid-70’s.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:03 pm

And what happens in the next possession? A long jumper by Jamal. LOL. This offense is no less predictable than what we were running last season.

terrell

November 23rd, 2010
8:04 pm

Why does Brooke Lopez, Nate Robinson, Damien Wilkins, etc… turn into AllNBA players when they play the Hawks?

J.J.M.

November 23rd, 2010
8:04 pm

smh josh so dumb he doesnt even attempt to dunk on people anymore

cp

November 23rd, 2010
8:04 pm

Is it really that hard for Josh to just give up the ball on the break and fill the lanes SMH

J.J.M.

November 23rd, 2010
8:05 pm

lmao 10 point lead just like that

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
8:05 pm

Great block by Josh

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
8:06 pm

they really need to give teague a real chance to develop & they need to play jc2 ahead of mo

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:06 pm

cp, Josh likes to play “hero” basketball a little bit too much. He thinks he can do everything. All of a sudden, he even thinks that he’s some sort of elite jumpshooter. He takes more jumpers than Joe and Jamal some games.

Melvin

November 23rd, 2010
8:06 pm

Terrence Williams is in Avery’s doghouse and the Nets simply dont want Troy Murphy (the feeling is mutual). The Hawks need to make a deal happen….

cp

November 23rd, 2010
8:07 pm

@Patrick and whats frustrating about that play is that he had Bibby wide open. He should have just given up the rock instead of trying to do to much.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:09 pm

J.J.M.,

What did you expect when you saw twin come in? At that point, I knew all of our offense would be Joe, Josh, and Jamal taking long jumpers. I’m impressed that we are only down by 10. It might get worse too, since Josh will start trying to be a hero and bring the team back in the third quarter. Oh, and don’t worry about Jamal being taken out of the game even if he misses his next ten shots or gives up 10 consecutive points to his man. L.D. just wants to “get him into a rhythm”.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 23rd, 2010
8:09 pm

28-17 rebounding advantage for New Jersey. 0 boards for Smoove, 3 for Horford.

19 free throw attempts for New Jersey. 4 for Atlanta.

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
8:09 pm

smoove, you need to get real,honestly man

Rev in Tampa

November 23rd, 2010
8:09 pm

Great job Hawks! You shaved 30% points off the Nets shooting pct from the 78% that the celtics shot last night. (Sarcasm)

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
8:10 pm

Jamal,

When you read this please tell Josh that the blog loves him, but we wish he didn’t try to be Magic Johnson.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:12 pm

Interesting statistic: Jamal Crawford, off of the bench, has played more minutes than anyone on the team. Is this looking familiar? Is L.D. going to shave his eyebrows soon?

O'Brien

November 23rd, 2010
8:13 pm

For +/- rating, guess who has the lowest so far? JJ. he is -12

rusty

November 23rd, 2010
8:16 pm

really beginning to believe that horford is a lousy defensive player what the hell does a few inches matter

Sautee

November 23rd, 2010
8:17 pm

O’B,

Better than last night when he was -34 in 23 minutes.

Patrick

November 23rd, 2010
8:17 pm

O’Brien,

As bad as JJ’s +/- rating is right now, don’t be surprised if he takes 10+ shots in the second half and never leaves the game. The first play of the third quarter for the Hawks will probably be for JJ.

mykhalc

November 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

wake me when the Hawks find a ‘real’ leader…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

northcyde

November 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

REBOUNDING

New Jersey frontcourt: 24 – ( starters have 20 rebounds )

Atlanta frontcourt: 10 – ( starters have 5 rebounds )

Really?????

Ron Johnson

November 23rd, 2010
8:21 pm

Do you guys think that we are even capable of beating the Clippers anymore? How about the T’wolves?