Archive for December, 2010

Hawks-Cavs game thread

Greetings, all-
Ken Sugiura sitting in for MC again to give him a much-deserved breather. Dude’s been grinding. He is working on a story for Friday that I think you’ll find interesting.

A few notes. Jamal Crawford is out again with a back injury. He did not look like the definition of spry in the locker room before the game. He had some trouble even bending down to pick something up off the floor.

Marvin Williams wasn’t thrilled about coming off the bench Monday. It should be in the notes posted shortly. (It’s just before 7 p.m. right now)

Joe Johnson said he can’t fully extend his right arm yet. He’s still doing therapy – resistance stuff – and said it affects his release, which might explain a little. He’s 16 for 48 (33.3 percent) since coming back and 3 for 16 from 3-point range (18.8 percent).

Enjoy the game.

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Atlanta Hawks: MC speaks. You can listen.

Your boy dropped in the other day to hang out with Hawks blog legend Sekou and ATLien Lang Whitaker on the Hang Time Podcast. I suggest listening to the whole thing but if for some reason you can’t wait to hear me running off at the mouth, skip to the 17-minute mark.

Michael Cunningham

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 91, Magic 81

Al and Co. made Dwight work for his. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Al and Co. made Dwight work for his. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

  • You can put asterisks next to this W and the one at Orlando if you want. The Magic were without Jameer and just getting over the flu (a fact they were sure to remind everyone) for that Dec. 6 game. This time they sent out three rotation players who hadn’t even practiced with the team yet.
  • “We caught them at the right time,” J.J. said. “They’ve got new guys who haven’t gotten acclimated. They were a little vulnerable and we took advantage.”
  • With that out of the way, let’s acknowledge that the Hawks gave a good effort tonight and have seemed to figure out a plan for dealing with their arch-nemesis. “To be successful against them we’ve obviously got to be physical with Dwight,” Twin said. “We’ve got a lot of big guys on this team and we’ve got to use our fouls against him.”
  • I was as skeptical as anyone when the Hawks re-signed Twin and said Woody should have played him more so he’d be ready to do battle …

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Magic: Standing pat?

Snooped around a bit today to see if there any trade winds blowing for the Hawks in light of their inconsistent play, the Magic’s big weekend trade and the Celtics and and Heat streaking to the top of the East. Sorry, blog people, but all still sounds quiet.

I understand the consternation. It feels like everyone else is moving ahead in the East while the Hawks stand still. Miami, Chicago and Boston made their moves over the summer. Orlando (surprisingly) made theirs in December. The Hawks basically have the same guys, with the same strengths and weaknesses, still trying to prove they are on the same level as those teams.

All of the chatter surrounding trades doesn’t go unnoticed in the Hawks’ locker room, of course, though you won’t find guys openly advocating for a shakeup.

“I think we are OK where we are at,” Al said. “Joe is getting back healthy. That’s what I think but, at the end of the day, it comes down to management and what they feel like is best. If they feel like …

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Atlanta Hawks: Nets 89, Hawks 82

Devin and the Nets broke down the Hawks. (AP Photo)

Devin and the Nets broke down the Hawks. (AP Photo)

Newark, N.J.–The Nets a) are 2-1 against the Hawks and 6-19 against the rest of the league and b) have a penetrating point guard, a big post presence and a coach who gets them to play a scrappy defensive style. A and B are closely related.

  • “This is the type of defense we’ve been playing but we just haven’t been able to score,” Avery Johnson said. “We only scored 89 points tonight but it was seven more than our opponents.”
  • The Hawks got 30 of those points in the first quarter. They started off the game passing the ball around with ease and making lots of shots but then the Nets turned up their pressure. They wouldn’t let the Hawks catch it clean in the post and chased them away from rhythm shots on the perimeter.
  • The Hawks didn’t make of those things very difficult for New Jersey. Their entry passes to the post were poor and they were content to shoot lots of jump shots and fade away from the basket instead of go hard at it. …

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Atlanta Hawks at Nets: Magic make moves; Hawks wait and see

Newark–The Magic come to Philips Arena tomorrow with a whole new look. Hard to tell what it will mean for Atlanta’s division rival until we see how Orlando’s new pieces come together.

“They add guys that can shoot the ball,” L.D. said. “But they got rid of guys that can shoot it, as well. I was very surprised that they pulled the trigger on it. I had heard about but it just surprised me that they pulled the trigger.”

My initial reaction is that the Magic probably got better on the perimeter but without Gortat will have issues in the frontcourt when Dwight gets into foul trouble. The former just means the Hawks will have the same challenges as always in defending the Magic; the latter means the Magic (as presently constructed) will have to go small when Dwight is on the bench and that helps the Hawks.

J-Rich is a more versatile scorer than VC. Arenas comes with a bad knee and baggage but he says he’s ready to come off the bench and so will immediately fill a need for Orlando. …

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Hawks 90, Bobcats 85

Greetings, all

Ken Sugiura sitting in for MC again. Michael stayed up in the northeast rather than bounce back down here for one game. He’ll be back with the team Sunday for the much-anticipated tilt with the Nets. Hmm, Sunday game at 1 p.m. I wonder if anything else will be on TV at that time?

The story, obviously, was the return of your favorite four-time All-Star. Joe Johnson surprised everyone when he showed up to the arena and wanted to give it a go. In recent days, Johnson had been working out and shooting on his own and was not feeling pain, which was encouraging to Larry Drew. Still, he wasn’t anticipating this quick a recovery.

Actually, the Hawks had their walkthrough before the game Friday without him. But he was shooting 3-pointers without pain, and he shot so well against assistant coach Nick Van Exel Thursday that he joked about getting on a plane to play in Boston. When he told Marvin Williams before the game Friday that he wanted to suit up, Williams didn’t …

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Hawks’ Johnson back from elbow surgery

Hawks guard Joe Johnson will return to the lineup two weeks ahead of schedule after having right elbow surgery. Th efour-time All-Star will start Friday night against Charlotte at Philips Arena.

“The therapy just went great, the swelling’s gone down,” Johnson said. “We’ve just been shooting (with) no pain. It’s just feeling great, so I just didn’t feel like it was necessary to wait another two weeks and leave the guys hanging out there like that when I can really get out there and give ‘em everything I got.”

Johnson had surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow at the beginning of December. He had been expected to be out four to six weeks. His return was so unexpected that coach Larry Drew thought trainer Wally Blase was kidding when he told Drew that Johnson could go Friday.

The Hawks went 5-4 in his absence but have lost three of the last four.

The return comes at a fortuitous time. Guard Jamal Crawford will miss his second consecutive game with a back …

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Atlanta Hawks: Celtics 102, Hawks 90

Boston–Here’s the thing: The results don’t show context. They don’t note injuries or bad luck or nice efforts or anything like that. They only show Ws and Ls and for the Hawks they show that they can’t beat the better teams on their schedule.

  • You know the list: Phoenix, Orlando, Utah, Dallas, Miami, San Antonio and now Boston. “We have got to have these games,” Marvin said. “It’s not really early in the season anymore. We’ve got to do a better job closing these games out.”
  • The truth is the Hawks went to Boston and had a chance to win without J.J. and Jamal. They’ve never been completely healthy for any of their games against the best teams.
  • “What you have got to understand is we don’t have all our weapons,” Smoove said. I don’t think you can really measure where we are at as a team like those teams that you are naming unless we have all our horses running.”
  • I know that sounds like too much excuse making for fans, and I get that. But you know what? Smoove makes a fair …

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Atlanta Hawks at Celtics: Can they do it without J.J. and Jamal?

BostonJamal is out with a sore back. J.J. is back in Atlanta.

Is there any chance the Hawks can go back home with a W?

Under the best circumstances, it would be difficult for the Hawks to do it; it will be dang tough while missing an All-Star and Sixth Man Award winner. Then again, somehow win this one and it really would mean redemption for that Nov. 22 surrender at Philips.

On Boston’s side, Rondo says he’s in despite a balky ankle. (Update: Celtics GM Danny Ainge says Rondo to miss “weeks” with injury.) Shaq says he’s out. Even if Shaq plays, L.D. said plans to send out the big lineup with Twin at center.

“I want to play Al at the four,” Drew said. “The rookie [Semih Erden] is real long. I like the matchup better moving Smoove to three and Marvin to two; it gives us an advantage on the offensive end. We will match up Smoove on Pierce [to] put a little length on him to see if that bothers him. We will try to do some thing offensively with Allen having to defend Marvin. See …

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