Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 107, Clippers 98

Los Angeles–I’ll leave it to L.D. to sum this one up: “Our defense stiffened up the second half, we started making shots, Joe got into a rhythm, Jamal was Jamal and then Josh Smith made a couple 3s down the stretch.”

  • It’s not a winning strategy in the big picture, or even in one-offs against teams better than the Clippers, but it worked today. Perhaps the Hawks can learn a lesson in victory.
  • “It was a 12:30 game,” Josh said. “People still had to wake up. I still was in my bed a little bit until I got it going. Everybody got it going. Jamal was a big lift off the bench. He was able to keep the game close with his scoring.”
  • Jamal was efficient and explosive for the second game in a row. “People don’t understand,” he said. “I saw Melo’s quote, he missed five games and he said his legs felt like bricks. It just takes time to get your timing and stuff back. You are in such a rhythm of what’s going on, if anything breaks that it just takes time to get it back.”
  • J.J. had his highest-scoring game since he had 34 points against the Suns on Nov. 7. He did it mostly by physically abusing the Clippers’ smallish guards and making 14 of 17 free throws. “We wanted to take advantage of the mismatch and either make them double team, score or get fouled,” he said.
  • Joe still managed to get up 20 shots, missing 13. Jamal got 13 attempts, Al eight and Bibby got six. All made at least half their attempts.
  • There was some vintage Iso-Joe in the fourth quarter, when he made 3 of 6 shots. “Just as soon as that elbow heals at 100 percent, he will be back into form,” L.D. said.
  • The Hawks were a mess defensively in the first half. I don’t have to tell you the problem. “In the first half we were hurt by our pick-and-roll coverages,” Drew said. “We made some adjustments with that.”
  • I’m trying to remember a time when the Hawks weren’t hurt by their pick-and-roll coverages and exactly what adjustments can be made given their personnel. It’s not something that figures to get much better, particularly against faster teams like the Clippers.
  • It’s repetitive to watch the Hawks get beat off the dribble, leading to open jumpers, drive-and-dishes for high-percentage shots, or putbacks because Atlanta’s bigs are constantly helping. There’s just no way for the Hawks to consistently stop good teams that way in the kind of possession-by-possession games that come in the playoffs.
  • It’s also tough for the Hawks to beat good teams when they have little post presence offensively. Josh jacking up jumpers doesn’t help with that, but he made two timely 3-pointers in this game. “I was open, my teammates got me the ball,” he said. “I stepped into my shots. In the first half, I was fading away.”
  • Al was limited 17 minutes in the first half because of the two-foul rule. He had a tough time finding space inside against DeAndre Jordan but two shot attempts in 20 second-half minutes isn’t enough.
  • Teague played nine minutes. He put up three shots in four first-half minutes and made them all. Passing didn’t seem to be much of a thought.
  • Baron Davis got past Teague a couple times. Eric Gordon also got around him to feed Blake Griffin for a layup. Teague tends to give too much ground even as he stays in front of his man, but he gives the Hawks a fighting chance since they don’t have to scramble to help him on every possession.
  • Zaza gave the Hawks a lift defensively. They needed that with all of the Clippers’ long bodies and quick guards looking to score at the basket.
  • Damien Wilkins was solid in four minutes. He’s usually a net positive as long as his shot attempts are near the basket.
  • Griffin had a couple big dunks early. His final stat line looked good (31 points, 15 rebounds, 11 of 22 field goals) but he was quiet at winning time. “He probably has to be the most exciting player in the game right now,” Smoove said. “He’s that impressive.”
  • Smoove began the game with an extra headband to hold in place a bandage for the cut he suffered Friday at Oklahoma City. He shed the second headband after halftime because it put too much pressure on his head.
    “I just rolled the first one up and hoped I didn’t get hit in the head,” he said.

Michael Cunningham

258 comments Add your comment

Ryan

January 2nd, 2011
9:12 pm

Ryan

January 2nd, 2011
9:14 pm

Win. Anyway, I cant believe Teague doesnt get more playing time than he does. I just boggles my mind that you would rather go with spot up bibby when Teague gets to the rim, blocks shots, and is pretty good at staying with his guy. Also, I say Trade Josh for a center, move Al to the foward.

drmaryb (*_*)

January 2nd, 2011
9:16 pm

JeJe

January 2nd, 2011
9:18 pm

Nice write-up, MC.

Do you have any thoughts on Smoove’s in-game comments or body language? Seems like a lot of us are picking up on his immaturity – barking at teammates, getting flustered, etc

Do any of the experts here have suggestions on how to stop the P&R?

Boooo!

January 2nd, 2011
9:18 pm

Good game from Smoove. The strove looked confident in the second half. Boss on the other hand, got his lunch money stolen away from him this game. But he’s a beast so I know he will bounce back. Bibby shouldn’t have even played in this game smh. Teague should’ve taken all of his minutes. I live Twin in the starting lineup. Now if only LD will start Teague as well, this roster will balance out nicely.

Boooo!

January 2nd, 2011
9:20 pm

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

January 2nd, 2011
9:22 pm

“It’s not a winning strategy in the big picture, or even in one-offs against teams better than the Clippers, but it worked today. Perhaps the Hawks can learn a lesson in victory.”

-The End

I know one thing….we better pile up some victiories while we can (6 out of the next 7 Vs. very beatable teams) because there is a stretch from Feb 14th – March 11th where we play teams that are either +.500 or teams below avg teams that happen to have some talent and give us trouble.

Pistons, Knicks, Suns, Warriors, Trailblazers, Nuggets, Bulls, Thunder, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, Trailblazers, Nuggets, Heat, Piston, and Bulls.
First 7 on the road.

All these stretches we’ve had playing crap teams consecutively is about to end.

i_am_soulstar

January 2nd, 2011
9:22 pm

An 8 game win streak would be nice now.

Ryan

January 2nd, 2011
9:23 pm

Just imagine if we had 2 real post players in a center and Al. Teague, JJ, Marvin, Al, A real center.

O'Brien

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

I’m glad we won, but I cant say it was a good win.

Teague gave them a much needed lift in the second quarter, because the deficit could have been a lot bigger at halftime. he needs to make shots more consistently for LD to give him PT.

Hawks give up 31 points in the first quarter. Where’s the defense?

And although Josh made 2 big 3’s, the issues with his shot selection still remain. On those 3’s, the ball was passed to him, and it was almost catch and shoot.

On some of his other shots though, his selection was bad. On his first shot, Bibby passed it to him, and Josh took the shot, without even looking to pass, probably 5 or 6 seconds into the shot clock.

On some of his other shots, he pump fakes (once or twice), and then decides to take the shot. That is not his game.

7 years into the league, and we are still talking about Josh and his shot selection.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

I wonder if Smoove knows that the time zone excuse only works the other way around. It’s not a 12:30 game for East Coast teams traveling to the West Coast. That problem only affects West Coast teams traveling east and playing early games.

westurd

January 2nd, 2011
9:29 pm

Why is there no talk about Josh’s lack of explosiveness that we have come to expect out of him?

I hate how we settles for the jump shot instead of playing above the rim. Josh has great numbers, but as a Hawks fan I am beginning to think Josh will become a “what could’ve been if he only applied himself” type player.

drmaryb (*_*)

January 2nd, 2011
9:31 pm

Najeh!

Co-Sign That!

Sautee

January 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

Road wins, even against poor teams, are like GOLD.

doc

January 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

yeah najeh, my reaction to josh’s comment as well. the guy forgets to think before he speaks, kind of like his shot selection.

interesting take on teague’s day. hmmmm

maybe they need to start telling al h it is the second half at the start of games as he rarely picks up fouls in the second half only the first quarter. ;-)

Rev in Tampa

January 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

Dang, Sautee. I was just about to point out that nobody had mentioned that this was a ROAD WIN.

Melvin

January 2nd, 2011
10:07 pm

Sautee,

Amen on your 9:35 post

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
10:07 pm

Westurd – It is mentioned that Smoove has lost a little explosiveness, but his blind fans say: That it is just an illusion; that it is because he is playing more 3 etc.

And Josh taking 3’s at crunch time is a slap in the face to LD, after costing us a chance with the Thunder by bricking 2 jumpers late. LD mentioned, so what’s he do? He shoots 2 more and happens to make them. What a disrespect to the Coach!

jlewis

January 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

I am curious to a couple of things, what is winning basketball? Also, I saw the ISO Joe line, when Jamal was going off in the third quarter, isn’t that ISO Jamal?

jlewis

January 2nd, 2011
10:10 pm

Forgot one thing, this is an ISO roster, until you get Utah Jazz type players in here, we can run that pretty Jazz offense that gets them eliminated in the first round also. MC, you do report the games as you see them, then interject your personal opinion, with that said, give us some solutions, as you see it.

Jamillion

January 2nd, 2011
10:35 pm

It marvels me how we critique a guy making two clutch shots to help who the game. Would u rather jj or jamal took those shots and missed?

Carlos

January 2nd, 2011
10:42 pm

Some of you guys are funny. Does a road win versus the Clippers display anything that shows that the Hawks are on their way to competing with the Elite in the East and get beyond the second round in playoffs?? If not it’s irrelevant. Let’s see some real progress that shows that this team can play with the big boys when it matters. This win doesnt mean squat.

Fundamentals

January 2nd, 2011
10:42 pm

Great job down low Joe. Good effort in the 2nd half. Excellent win.

Sleepy

January 2nd, 2011
10:46 pm

The way jamal was shooting Im not sure he wouldve missed .

I think peoples problem is that stuff like that will work against the bad teams but against the good teams thats what they want Josh to do and he falls right into the trap .

Jamillion

January 2nd, 2011
10:50 pm

It seems josh is just making his naysayers eat crow.The guy is making clutch shots and you still mad.

Jamillion

January 2nd, 2011
10:54 pm

It’s like dwight howard finally getting some good post moves and people wanting him to dunk more.Growth never hurts in life but being stagnant does,cause you are not evolving

Jamillion

January 2nd, 2011
10:56 pm

Lets get a real point and see where we can go. And throw away bibby mo and a pick

Carlos

January 2nd, 2011
10:59 pm

Hawks’ Fans claim to glory is applauding players for having good performances against shiddy teams, even if they choke most of the time against the elite teams. If you’re going to be a good team, you’re supposed to play good in games like this. You dont get back rubs, head pats and ice cream parties for beating the Clippers, unless you’re a lousy team just happy with any win. I guess that’s who the Hawks are now, or atleast the mentality of too many fans.

Jamillion

January 2nd, 2011
11:07 pm

Yes i am a hawks falcon braves fan. And i love my city and anything from atlanta from hip hop to the actors to the nightlife any problems?

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
11:11 pm

Jamillion – You are maybe one of the blind Smoove supporters I spoke of?

And since Josh was 5-21 before today on 3’s in the last few games, and Jamal was 6 for 16 on 3’sin the last few, I would have preferred Jamal. but definitely not JJ!

And it goes back to shot selection. Smoove till the last 3weeks or so had been doing very well on 3’s, then Pow! Back to his old self. His highest 3 pt shooting percentage for a season in his career is 30.9%. He’s a career 28% 3 point shooter. We really need Josh in the low post. We now have ZaZa as our best low post scorer, with Josh and Al shooting the J’s, and having ZaZa as your best low post scorer is a scary thought, especially come playoff time.

Let’s see, an aging PG, no low post defender (except a big body in Collins, but no shot blocking) or scorer, hmmm, how will we do in the playoffs?

L-QUE

January 2nd, 2011
11:12 pm

Najeh it dont matter if you come or go the time is different ,it was a great come back win ,we need all we can get now and later, teams in the NBA are better than last year ,is it so bad to beat a team that beats what we precieve as a good team LAC have beaten the Lakers and others, to me no wins means no playoff regardless of what seeds, we have to play the hand we are dealt,give’em nell when they lose a game they should win, praise when they win regardless of who it is a W is a W. I say man dont take that shot but i feel better when it go in.It takes time for a high school player to mature to the NBA unless you are a shooter , but other parts of their game has to mature , see KD

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
11:15 pm

Jamillion – And I’m an ATL fan of all sports, born and raised here, now mid 40’s. And I like Smoove, and want him to be a super star. But I still groan every time he get’s the ball with 16 seconds on the shot clock from 20 feet and hoists up a J!

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
11:19 pm

And we do know we may be abused by the Kings with Evans and Udrih at the PG position? Then comes DeRon. And Bibby is tired now, wait until back to backs with 6-6 220lb Tyreke and 6-3 205 Udrih, then DeRon the next night in Utah. Can you say uh-oh?

Play Teague.

And some say JJ will play Tyreke. Well then who does Bibby defend, the air? 6-7 SG Garcia?

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
11:24 pm

It’s beginning to look like a 4 or 5 seed for the Hawks. The Knicks are fading like I thought they would. I keep thinking the Bulls may fade, but no signs yet. And maybe the Magic don’t jell, or they make a stupid move with somebody. We’ll see. That’s why they play the games.

SteveW

January 2nd, 2011
11:33 pm

Wow! The Griz are crushing the Lakers by 17 going into the 4th quarter. Didn’t they beat the Lakers at Staples a few weeks ago also?

Clyde

January 2nd, 2011
11:42 pm

keno

January 2nd, 2011
11:45 pm

Joe Johnson with 17 free throw attempts? And still got off 20 shots? What kind of motion offense was that?

Melvin

January 2nd, 2011
11:50 pm

Some are complaining about about a come from behind win on the road against a bottom feeder team but the Lakers are down by 20pts (and about to lose) at home to Memphis a team that the Hawks beat fairly easy… You take a win anyway you can in this league especially on the road….

JeJe

January 3rd, 2011
12:19 am

I get this feeling that Smoove and Horford have a workplace relationship, but that Horford cannot stand Smoove at all. There’s been way too many occasions where Horford has just looked amazed at how immature Smoove is.

Smoove, grow up

JeJe

January 3rd, 2011
12:21 am

Nice write-up, MC.

Do you have any thoughts on Smoove’s in-game comments or body language? Seems like a lot of us are picking up on his immaturity – barking at teammates, getting flustered, etc

Do any of the experts here have suggestions on how to stop the P&R?.

JeJe

January 3rd, 2011
12:22 am

Nice to see Joe get all those FTs but he was iso’ing too much in the 4th. If he is iso’ing, it has to be closer to the post – not 20 feet out. It’s almost like he thought “ok, forget this team !@#$. It’s my time”

slimjr

January 3rd, 2011
12:27 am

Josh hoisting up three’s in crunch time will most certainly contribute in a large way to the Hawks 1st round elimination by Chicago..And it will not take Chicago six games to dispatch the Hawks either.

Sund, start packing now dude. Bet you don’t last 4 years in this Job at the rate your not getting it done..2 have past already…
Sund=Billy Knight, enough said…

Michael Cunningham

January 3rd, 2011
1:05 am

“Do you have any thoughts on Smoove’s in-game comments or body language? Seems like a lot of us are picking up on his immaturity – barking at teammates, getting flustered, etc”

pretty much standard for him, no?

Michael Cunningham

January 3rd, 2011
1:09 am

“Forgot one thing, this is an ISO roster, until you get Utah Jazz type players in here, we can run that pretty Jazz offense that gets them eliminated in the first round also. MC, you do report the games as you see them, then interject your personal opinion, with that said, give us some solutions, as you see it.”

i try to analyze. fine line between that and opinion sometimes.

solutions to the ISOs? it’s good to have players who can do it but not when it’s to the detriment of the offense. Jamal was making his ISOs all game, and he’s quicker with the ball when he does it. J.J.’s style is more deliberate.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 3rd, 2011
2:56 am

“It is mentioned that Smoove has lost a little explosiveness, but his blind fans say: That it is just an illusion; that it is because he is playing more 3 etc.”

Was he lacking explosiveness against the Thunder, when he threw down at least 3 powerful dunks?

It has everything to do with him playing away from the basket more. It also has something to do with him handling the ball too much on the break, since that usually means he’s not going to finish at the rim.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 3rd, 2011
3:00 am

“I think peoples problem is that stuff like that will work against the bad teams but against the good teams thats what they want Josh to do and he falls right into the trap .”

I’d rather not see Smoove taking jumpers, but if the guards are going to pass the ball to him on the perimeter and he’s taking the shot in rhythm, it’s fine with me. You can say what you want, but the bottom line is that he has put in the work and his jump shot has improved, to the point where if he is taking a rhythm jump shot it’s not a bad play for the Hawks’ offense. The problem arises when he takes them out of rhythm, off the dribble, or too early in the shot clock. Of course he still does that too often, but that doesn’t mean he should stop shooting altogether. Give credit where credit is due. Unlike a lot of Hawks, the man has put in the work and improved his game.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 3rd, 2011
3:02 am

“It’s beginning to look like a 4 or 5 seed for the Hawks. ”

4 seed can’t happen unless they finish ahead of Orlando or Miami in the division. I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

drmaryb (*_*)

January 3rd, 2011
3:07 am

Poetry in Motion!

“Joe Johnson with 17 free throw attempts? And still got off 20 shots? What kind of motion offense was that?”

Apparently, with 17 FT’s? That was 8 motions to the basket and subsequent fouls. The odd FT attempt was apparently a made technical foul.
Looks like Joe played effectively inside to me.

rusty

January 3rd, 2011
4:37 am

That was the worst high scoring performance I ever seen from anyone that jj accomplished.he really played a lousy game of holding on to the ball, he was very lucky.I couldn’t believe how he used his hands pushing defenders away & getting away with it.this type of performance from his will not get us many wins.

Ben G.

January 3rd, 2011
4:51 am

“I get this feeling that Smoove and Horford have a workplace relationship, but that Horford cannot stand Smoove at all. There’s been way too many occasions where Horford has just looked amazed at how immature Smoove is.”

That is a great point. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. While watching the games, I’ve noticed so many times Al looking at Smoove like “wtf are you doing?” after a bonehead play. Also, so many times I noticed Al wide open for a shot or deep in the post calling for the ball while Josh has it, and Josh seems to just ignore him, entirely. I can’t imagine Al really likes this guy. I know that if I was in Al’s position, I wouldn’t be very fond of Smoove. But, Al is a professional, so I wouldn’t expect him to say anything to the media about that sort of thing. He’s not the type of person who is going to call someone out like that.