Atlanta Hawks: Thunder 103, Hawks 94

Jamal had it going until the fourth. (AP Photo)

Jamal had it going until the fourth. (AP Photo)

Oklahoma City–If you didn’t see this one, just think back to the Hawks’ game at Orlando (the first time), at Miami, at San Antonio, at Boston, at New Orleans. This was pretty much the same thing–hurt by turnovers, dribble penetration, poor shot selection–except for the gory sight of a cut on Smoove’s head.

  • The Hawks are 2-6 in road games against teams with winning records. They either had the lead or were close to it in all of those Ls.
  • “It’s definitely frustrating,” J.J. said. “We are so close and then we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Maybe it’s a few bad shots, or maybe a few turnovers. We’ve got to grow up in that area.”
  • “You keep plugging,” L.D. said. “Hopefully at some point it will click in. We went into the fourth quarter with a two-point game; that’s a great position to be in. It’s a little frustrating but still I am encouraged we are putting ourselves in that position.”
  • This game probably won’t do much to sway L.D. from his tendency to favor his shotmakers. He sat Bibby for the entire fourth quarter and played Damien Wilkins. The Hawks scored just 15 points while holding the Thunder to 18 (when not including Ibaka’s bush-league dunk at the end).
  • Then again, it’s not as if the Hawks had the right guys taking good shots.
  • “It’s a little frustrating,” Josh said. “We couldn’t put the ball in the bucket at the end. We have got to be able to overcome. Jamal had it going pretty much the whole game and we kind of went away from that a little bit.”
  • One reason they went away from it is because Josh started jacking jump shots in the fourth. He was poised for a triumphant return after going to the locker room in the third quarter with a nasty gash courtesy of Ibaka’s teeth.
  • But with the Hawks down 85-81 and in need of good possessions, Josh fired up a 21-footer with 12 seconds on the shot clock. After Jamal missed a 3, Smoove came down and threw up a 3 with 16 seconds on the shot clock.
  • Jamal was incredibly efficient: 26 points, 8 of 15 field goals, 7 of 9 free throws, five steals, three assists and no turnovers. “My legs are getting back under me,” he said.
  • But when he missed three of four baskets in the fourth quarter Joe (1 of 4) and Josh (1 of 4) couldn’t help out. Al might have done so but he sat early in the fourth quarter after he was forced to play the entire third quarter with Josh out (you can forget about interior D covering up the inevitable assaults at the basket if one or the other isn’t in there).
  • J.J. missed three straight open jumpers after making his first and never really got on track. “I think we put various guys on him and made it tough on him,” Durant said. “He missed some shots that he normally makes but for the most part we did a decent job on him.”
  • It’s tough to criticize Joe too much when he had 11 assists against one turnover while being hounded all night. But there comes a time when he has to stop shooting when they aren’t going in.
  • “He missed typical Joe shots but he did have 11 assists and he was chasing Westbrook for the most part,” Drew said. “The last couple of games he is guarding guys he wouldn’t be normally matched up with.”
  • That’s another byproduct of Atlanta’s lack of perimeter defenders in the rotation.
  • “It may be a little tough at times because defensively I am normally guarding their main guy,” Joe said. “Then offensively I’m coming down and fighting against two or three other guys. So it’s tough and frustrating at times. But that’s neither here nor there. We could just make the easy plays and then things wouldn’t be so difficult but we just don’t do that.”
  • After the Hawks limited Golden State’s 3-pointers on Wednesday, the Thunder made 10 of 18. Of course some of those were high degree of difficulty daggers from Durant, who made all three of his 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter.
  • “They are a really good offensive team,” L.D. said. “They made some big shots. We tried to keep [Durant] off balance but when it came down to when they had to make a shot, he was the guy who knocked them down. You have to give them credit because defensively we mixed it up but he’s a shotmaker.”
  • The Hawks tried to play at the Thunder’s pace early and nearly got buried. They could have kept it closer if J.J. was hitting but they never could get consistent stops.
  • “We made very, very carless mistakes, careless turnovers,” Drew said. “The shot selection was not good. We talked about that at the very beginning. Against a team like Oklahoma you have to conrol tempo and limit their momentum. We turned the basketball over, had some ill-advised shots.”
  • Josh ended up not getting stitches for that gash: “I thought I needed some but they said no.”
  • “When I saw it, I got a little lightheaded, to be quite honest,” Drew said. “It wasn’t pretty at all. He came back with an aggression. I was very surprised he did come back.”
  • Josh was upset about Ibaka’s dunk. The shot clock was off and the Thunder were up 101-92. “That’s a sign of disrespect,” Josh said. “Everybody in the whole league knows that you don’t do nothing like that. We remember something like that.”
  • Smoove had a conversation with Durant about the play: “He said he was going to handle it because he knew that wasn’t right.”
  • The basket gave Westbrook his 10th assist for a triple-double.”It doesn’t matter,” Drew said. “You run the clock out. The game is over. You don’t make that kind of play.”
  • While it should be noted that L.D. left Josh in a game at Toronto so he could get an assist to complete his triple-double, the difference was that it happened with 4:30 left.
  • Happy New Year, blog people.

Michael Cunningham

You keep plugging. Hopefully at some point it will click in. We went into the fourth quarter two point game, that’s a great position to be in. It’s a little frustating but still I am encouraged we are putting ourselves in that position.

You keep plugging. Hopefully at some point it will click in. We went into the fourth quarter two point game, that’s a great position to be in. It’s a little frustating but still I am encouraged we are putting ourselves in that position.

219 comments Add your comment

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 1st, 2011
12:29 am

NEW YEARS!!!!!!

……same Hawks

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 1st, 2011
12:31 am

at what point does all the post game talk turn into improved performance on the court??? Poor shot selection, careless turnovers, etc.

slimjr

January 1st, 2011
12:31 am

slimjr

January 1st, 2011
12:33 am

Sund your team are Pretenders……….Not worth watching anymore. We already know the out come…

slimjr

January 1st, 2011
12:39 am

“Now 2-6 in road games vs. opponents w/ winning records”

Now you see Sund we are paying attention to how pathetic your team is playing the good teams on the road.. It is only going to get worse for ya.. We are not fooled by the garbage your putting on the floor..Just wait till the playoff’s to come, it will be a spectacle just like the previous two years…

doc

January 1st, 2011
12:43 am

He missed typical Joe shots

geez how often will we continue to hear this?

i hope josh doesnt need that late dunk to get ready for the next time. getting upset about it is about as bush as doing it … to the victors the spoils. defend it by taking the guy out in a hard foul if you dont like it.

HAPPY NW YEAR GUYS AND GALS, many thanks to MC and his merry band.

Rick

January 1st, 2011
12:43 am

I don’t know how much longer I can handle the disappointment and depression before I just stop watching the team play. It might be different if I knew they were improving or that they at least were attempting to correct their mistakes, but there is no sign of any of that. Even from management, there is no sign of making possible changes if the current personnel just can’t get it done. It’s basically failure after failure when it really counts. Defeating inferior teams on occasion doesn’t mean much if you can’t handle anyone who even matters.

Han

January 1st, 2011
12:52 am

Joe is a combined 18-51 (that’s 35%) on FGs during his last 3 games. At what point will Drew realize that he is just taking too many shots. At what point will Drew realize that Al needs more involvement in the offense, at what point will management realize that we desperately need to get a well-rounded defensive point guard in order to progress and solve our greatest issue: inability to prevent dribble penetration? This organization is so frustrating. It’s unbelievable.

I’m curious, how do some of you other fans manage to keep watching the Hawks play? What is your motivation?

Hawks vs Thunder

January 1st, 2011
12:53 am

“Maybe it’s a few bad shots, or maybe a few turnovers. We’ve got to grow up in that area”

gotta start by taking your own advice for JJ

Steven J.

January 1st, 2011
12:56 am

Han,

The answers to those questions is probably “never”. Drew is set in his ways and likely won’t change his policies. Also, the ASG is basically a disgrace in every facet when it comes to management. Don’t expect anything from ownership. They have made 1 good move in the past year and that has been giving Horford an extension. Aside from that, they have done nothing to help the Hawks progress. ASG is, without a doubt, the worst ownership group in pro sports, and they win that title by an absolute landslide.

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 1st, 2011
12:58 am

That’s what I’m saying fellas….these guys come out with the same stories post game…but the product on the court remains the same. It’s evident that this “core” just PHYSICALLY and/or MENTALLY CANT DO IT.

I

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
12:59 am

I did not see the game, but once again, Hawks get close in the fourth quarter, and then they fall apart.

Also, 15 points in the fourth. This happened alot under Woody, so when will Sund realize that the players have to share the blame? Make a move Rick.

O'Brien

January 1st, 2011
1:02 am

“The Hawks are 2-6 in road games against teams with winning records” MC .

Which is why the Hawks need homecourt advantage to advance in the playoffs.

“But with the Hawks down 85-81 and in need of good possessions, Josh fired up a 21-footer with 12 seconds on the shot clock. After Jamal missed a 3, Smoove came down and threw up a 3 with 16 seconds on the shot clock.” MC .

When will Josh get it through his head that he needs to be more selective with his shots? This has been going on for way too long.

““It may be a little tough at times because defensively I am normally guarding their main guy,” Joe said..

This is why we need Marvin to be a lock down defender. If he was, then JJ would not have to guard the main guy, and would conserve JJ’s energy for offense.

But JJ needs to stop taking 3’s altogether. He was 0-6 tonight, and is now 33-118 (28%) on the year. Unacceptable. To me, taking those 3’s are bad shots right now.

Sean G.

January 1st, 2011
1:03 am

@MAC-Town

I really think that a coach entirely new to the team would have done wonders for the team, but regardless of the coach, the same defensive issues on the perimeter would be there. We can’t really do anything to solve those unless we upgrade our personnel at the point guard position. With the currently lineup, you are bound to give up something, regardless of how good your help defense is.

Jordan

January 1st, 2011
1:09 am

I see a lot of different questions on here that we would all like to get answers to from the players, coaches, management, etc. But, what I really want to know is:

When is L.D. going to finally abandon the Horford treatment. I’d like to see what our record is in games where Horford is forced to miss more than half of the first half due to L.D. placing more importance on him not fouling out than on winning the game. I bet the record isn’t very good. I can’t even remember the last time we won a game when L.D. used the Horford treatment. It definitely has a negative impact and so far this season, it hasn’t had a positive impact in even a single game.

Jordan

January 1st, 2011
1:10 am

To point out the obvious, the first sentence in the second paragraph of my last post was supposed to be a question.

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 1st, 2011
1:12 am

I agree@Sean G.

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 1st, 2011
1:15 am

They’re exposing the Hawks on NBA Tonight on ESPN2 now. SAME F___ING story. They’re talking about how they left Durant wide open on 2 key possessions in the 4th. I mean come on, this guy isnt Joe Johnson, he’s a real superstar. You cant expect him to brick clutch 4th quarter bucket attempts..

Ira Post

January 1st, 2011
1:21 am

Well, you can sum up where the Hawks are mentally. When you worry about a team scoring a meaningless basket instead of just running out the clock and not “why the hell don’t you get your act together and win the game” this Atlanta team will continue to struggle against good teams. The difference in team abilities are not significant. Joe, get your priorities in line.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 1st, 2011
1:23 am

“this guy isnt Joe Johnson, he’s a real superstar. You cant expect him to brick clutch 4th quarter bucket attempts..”

LMAO… sad but true.

Happy new year, and hopefully happy new management.

Johnny

January 1st, 2011
1:35 am

When can we get a real coach, a new coach, who won’t play favorites so that we can see what this team can really do? We may never know what this “core” is truly capable of if we continue to watch them under the direction of Woody junior. Larry Drew seems like a nice guy, but he really has no business coaching this team, and is in way over his head. It’s obvious that he doesn’t even have the mentality or personality needed to control the team. The guys who think they are great basically just do whatever they want out there with no consequences and could care less what Drew think about it, since they know they won’t get benched. Joe can take as many shots as his heart desires, and Josh can brick as many long jumpshots as he feels like on any given night.

How can you expect the team to improve or even utilize their potential and skill when they have a total misfit trying to lead them? The ASG made two absolutely horrible moves this offseason by signing Joe to a max contract and hiring Larry “Disappointment” Drew.

K.W.

January 1st, 2011
1:39 am

The Hawks are who we thought they were (Dennis Green Voice).

Steam Street

January 1st, 2011
1:41 am

ASG, I hope you are happy with what you have caused. Look at what you have done to this franchise. The team is declining and regressing. Joe Johnson’s insane contract has crippled the team, and to make things worse, you hired the worst possible coach available this offseason. I can’t believe this. If you were just going to get a watered down, inferior clone of Woodson, why did you fire Woodson in the first place. What a disgrace.

Dan's Dickau

January 1st, 2011
1:46 am

The Hawks are like the new girls you meet at a club when you’re on vacation. They’re fun and exiting for a one night stand when you catch them on a good night, but once you really get to know them, you don’t want to have anything to do with them.

Damon

January 1st, 2011
1:50 am

@K.W.

“The Hawks are who we thought they were (Dennis Green Voice).”

Here’s something to reinforce that concept:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYKIcnj1MJY

David

January 1st, 2011
1:57 am

@Damon

LOL. I wish our coaches had that sort of passion. L.D. looks like he doesn’t even care after the team loses.

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Fatboi404

January 1st, 2011
2:46 am

AJC,

Can we please add a link to the box score? I want to read AJC online first, but I can get a game recap and a box score link on the same page on Yahoo Sports. I love my Hawks and my local paper. Please make this happen. GO HAWKS!!

Hawks Suck

January 1st, 2011
3:09 am

They were much better last year and the year before. It seemed they were headed in the right direction, up. Now they are headed in the wrong direction, down. The biggest change was Larry Drew for Mike Woodson.

Thanks Sund. I guess I can follow roller derby or something.

Ken Strickland

January 1st, 2011
3:27 am

While I didn’t see the gm, one look at the box score revealed one problem. If Marvin had played 25:59mins and scored only 5pts, with 1 assist and 1 rebound, our resident Marvin bashers would be blaming him for everything that went wrong. But since it was Bibby, there isn’t a single complaint or comment about him DISAPPEARING one game after a very solid overall performance.

Why does LDrew think he can rely on Bibby and get different results using basically the same stupid gimmick DEF approach Woodson used so unsuccessfully? Bibby is, and will always be, a DEF liability, and as long as LDrew refuses to address the situation, teams will continue to successfully exploit it.

Bibby couldn’t be the starting PG for any other NBA team, and overall, he’s still the NBA’s biggest liability at PG. The Hawks are inconsistent, and will continue to be as long as LDrew continues to think he can depend on him by continuing to try and compensate using gimmicks to cover for his OFF/DEF limitations and inconsistency.

We won’t improve one bit as a team until we get a PG in here to replace Bibby, or give Teague the job and allow him to develop. Based on what I’ve read about the gm, it seems JJ wore down trying to defend both Westbrook and Durant. Having Marvin, and playing a PG that’s ready, willing and able to play DEF, would have certainly lightened JJ’s DEF load.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 1st, 2011
4:51 am

“If Marvin had played 25:59mins and scored only 5pts, with 1 assist and 1 rebound, our resident Marvin bashers would be blaming him for everything that went wrong. But since it was Bibby, there isn’t a single complaint or comment about him DISAPPEARING one game after a very solid overall performance. ”

Agreed on Bibby being a major liability in a lot of ways, but a big reason why he probably doesn’t receive as much criticism as Marvin is because he doesn’t make nearly as many outright bad plays either. When Bibby isn’t contributing positively, he’s mostly invisible. When Marvin isn’t contributing positively, he’s fumbling the ball away and falling on his azz. Not saying Bibby is a better player necessarily, but Marvin’s failures are more obvious.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 1st, 2011
4:53 am

Also…

“Based on what I’ve read about the gm, it seems JJ wore down trying to defend both Westbrook and Durant.”

This may be true (I didn’t see most of the 2nd half) but Joe was shooting poorly to start the game too, well before he would have worn down trying to guard those two. I’m pretty convinced that his injury is nowhere close to being healed, and I’d much rather see him take as much time as possible to ensure that he can play at full capacity.

In any case, not using Damien Wilkins more as a defensive stopper to take pressure off Joe is on LD.

vava74

January 1st, 2011
5:57 am

We have a decent record with a significant number of injuries, including JJ’s current status: many of his shots were SHORT, which is consistent with the fact that his elbow is not yet extending to the max.

A clear indication of that was when JJ shot a ball after a whistle with the play stopped and he did not even reached the rim.

Decent record with a lot of injuries. Not to be worried.

LD is also still groing as an head coach so lets give him some slack.

tony

January 1st, 2011
7:38 am

Why would anyone in there right mind think that Rick Sund can make the hawks a championship team? For crying out loud……the man has been a gm 31 yrs without a single championship? He doesn’t even know the difference between a pg and a sg. You people should be lobbying for ASG to sell the team to someone who will use common sense.

It was not a bad pick

January 1st, 2011
8:21 am

Josh Smith poor shot selection is the reason why I wouldnt start him over Marvin at sf…..He simply has bad basketball IQ

NCBravesFan

January 1st, 2011
8:39 am

vava: One issue with your 5:57am … the Hawks are making the same mistakes they’ve always made. It’s probably the combination of an imbalanced roster and a lack of discipline – especially when it matters most.

Both are correctable of course, but I for one have pretty much given up on things changing a whole lot.

slimjr

January 1st, 2011
8:41 am

“Why would anyone in there right mind think that Rick Sund can make the hawks a championship team? For crying out loud……the man has been a gm 31 yrs without a single championship? He doesn’t even know the difference between a pg and a sg. You people should be lobbying for ASG to sell the team to someone who will use common sense.”
Sund=Billy Knight(worst GM in Hawks history), enough said…

slimjr

January 1st, 2011
8:45 am

@it was not a bad pick

“Josh Smith poor shot selection is the reason why I wouldnt start him over Marvin at sf…..He simply has bad basketball IQ”

I agree, Josh lack of basketball IQ/fundamentals is extremely vexing…Jettison the core Scottie!Make it so….

Jamillion

January 1st, 2011
9:08 am

I wonder do you guys watch the game, and can you comprehend what is going on? Because like i’ve always said jj is not a star should not get the max and should not be the first option.

Ken Strickland

January 1st, 2011
9:16 am

NEJAH-Marvin receives so much criticizism because of where he was drafted and who he was drafted ahead of. All of the focus on how he walks, talks, drives to the bucket etc, is a result of that. When your PG, who’s responsibility is to:
1-control the ball,
2-call the plays,
3-set everything and everyone up,
4-get the ball accross half court and initiate the OFF, routinely
disappears and is the teams biggest DEF liability, making an issue of how the teams 5th scoring option disappears, and/or drives to the basket, is trivialization at its best.

How Marvin drives to the basket doesn’t explain why teams always direct their OFF focus towards attacking Bibby, above everyone else, and not Marvin. And regardless of how Marvin might look driving to the basket, AT LEAST HE’S WILLING TO TAKE THE CHANCE AND PUT FORTH THE EFFORT TO GET TO THE BASKET, WHICH IS A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN WE CAN EXPECT FROM OUR STARTING PG.

However, he certainly makes it easy as hell for every PG, or whoever he’s assigned to defend, to go unchallenged to the basket. How many times do we have to see one player after another blow by Bibby’s matador DEF, with so much ease, before we stop remaining silent, or making excuses, before realizing it’s his inconsistency, his OFF/DEF limitations, and his inability/unwillingness to:
1-take the ball below the 3pt line,
2-penetrate,
3-consistently push the ball,
4-take risks with the ball in his hands,
5-provide a sufficient OFF treat to limit double teams on JJ,
6-attack, and/or put pressure on the DEF,
7-make certain the OFF is run consistently, everyone is included in the OFF, and not allowed to DISAPPEAR due to a lack of opportunities, and limit ISO’s.

We certainly haven’t gotten much of that from Bibby, and most certainly won’t get it either. I’m totally perplexed by people who claim to have doubts about JTeague because of what they feel he MIGHT NOT BE ABLE OR WILLING TO DO. while at the same time trivializing, making excuses for, or downright ignoring the problems caused by Bibby, in support of him, when WE KNOW FOR AN ABSOLUTE FACT, AND HAVE CONSISTENTLY WITNESSED, WHAT HE WON’T AND/OR CAN’T DO.

Samuel

January 1st, 2011
9:30 am

Ken,
Ya Boy LD tried that scrubb, Jeff teague, and he stunk up the joint. How convenient, you didn’t watch. I doubt very seriously, Marvin Williams would have made much difference. Bottom line is this team is about where they should be and you know it. Stop fooling yourself.

Samuel

January 1st, 2011
9:31 am

Send Teague ot the D-League where he belongs.

ltdbrave

January 1st, 2011
9:34 am

This team is worse than last year. Again, why they gave Johnu are running him down.son a max contract and haven’t signed Crawford is beyond me. Crawford carries the team along with Horford and Smith. Johnson doesn’t do crap for the team. When is Sund going to wake too. No center no playoffs. You cannot continually have Horford at center at 6-9, yo

J from the A

January 1st, 2011
9:34 am

Coach Drew gave JT early playing time in this one. The results: turnovers, passing up on good shot opportunities, bad shots when he took them, and poor defense (and that poor defense was against the back up PG).

I’d love the see Teague get more playing time, but there are definite reasons why he is not getting it. Not only is he not as good as Bibby on the offensive end, he is also not yet much (any?) better than Bibby on the defensive end.

[Yes, to all of you that swear up and down that Teague is clearly a better defender just because he is faster/quicker, you are living in a fantasy world. Teague, plain and simply, just does not have it quite yet.]

J from the A

January 1st, 2011
9:39 am

Johnson doesn’t do crap for the team?!

(1) He usually guards the opposing teams toughest assignment at the 1-3 position. That is asking a lot for anyone night in and night out. He is forced to do this because the Hawks perimeter defense otherwise is pretty bad. If it wasn’t for JJ, the Hawks would be much, much worse for it defensively.
(2) He leads the team in assists. Even on bad shooting nights, he draws the double teams. And he often passes out of them to an open man.
(3) He still is a scorer. Yes, his percentage is down, but he is still a scorer. The good news is, is that he not just a scorer (see 1 and 2).

Without JJ, this Hawks team struggles to make the playoffs.

J from the A

January 1st, 2011
9:41 am

Speaking of JJ and playoffs, just imagine how good the Knicks would be if the Hawks let JJ walk and the Knicks would have signed him. Top 3 in the east, maybe?
[This statement is assuming that the Knicks would have still signed Amar'e and Felton.]

Samuel

January 1st, 2011
9:43 am

Yea JA. I’ve been saying that all along. teague is not a good defensive player. Guys blow buy him just as much as Bibby. They just assume he is because he’s quicker. Also, his only shot is a 10foot floater and last night he was “airballing” that. Face it guys, dude is not good.

Fundamentals

January 1st, 2011
9:51 am

Called it before the tip. Lack of D and rebounding did us in combined with our “stars” trying to outshoot their STARS. Sorry Joe, you’re not Kevin Durant. Neither are any of our other shooters. We new that beforehand? Why try to outshoot/outscore them with our “shotmakers”. Teague was definitely outmatched by a guard taken after him in the draft. He’s just too inconsistent to count on.

Joe isn’t healthy.

Horford needs to rest the hand

Josh needs his head in the game

Dissappointing. Hoping for improvement and real adjustments in 2011. Front half has been dissappointing to say the least mainly b/c we hear the same speach Woodson game night in and night out. Nothing has really changed.

Fundamentals

January 1st, 2011
9:56 am

If the Knicks would’ve signed Joe it would’ve put them over the top. There’s a team that’s making real adjustments and progress. Chicago too. We just sit still and even slump backwards. Last year we beat good teams and goofed off against poor teams. We at least made it interesting. This year it’s too predictable when and how we’ll lose.

Amen to the Teague comments J from the A. Dude is not ready. If he can’t put it together by the trade deadline we definitely need a starting PG.

Samuel

January 1st, 2011
10:05 am

As many have said, our offense should start with Al. He’s our most consistent player. We should start Jamal at the point and move Bibby to SG, where he can spot up off Al or Jamal. JJ and Josh are the “hard headed” two guys i’ve seen in a long time. JJ and Josh should never leave the blocks on offense. LD hasn’t impressed me at all in being able to change the players’ bad habits. I don’t know why many of you were so “fooled” into believing a minimum wage coach could but you see he hasn’t. We really need to get rid of the bad apples and we would have a much better team.