Archive for January, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Quietly making their case for respect

Miami–Both before and immediately after the Hawks beat the Heat, L.D. and his players claimed to reporters not to care that they don’t get more buzz.

Don’t believe them.

Long after inquiring reporters left, and with most of the team already on the bus, a couple Hawks players and a staffer talked about the W. They speculated that stories about the game would focus more on the Heat losing than the Hawks winning. They joked that ESPN’s ticker would probably show the score, some stats for LeBron and Wade, note Miami’s losing streak and then flash the next score.

“And now on to Memphis!” one of them joked.

The truth is the Hawks, like all competitive alpha males, do want accolades and respect. To their credit, they’ve never complained that they deserve more of either. They understand they have more to prove. They beat the Heat with a tough effort but they are still just 5-9 against opponents with winning records (though they notably beat the last two on the road while Miami is now …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 93, Heat 89

Hawks put up a fight against Wade's Heat. (Hector Gabino / el Nuevo Herald)

Hawks put up a fight against Wade's Heat. (Hector Gabino / el Nuevo Herald)

  • Miami–This wasn’t the soft team L.D. described after the Hawks barely bothered to play defense against the Rockets and Kings.
  • “We showed up tonight,” Drew said.
  • The Hawks won at Miami for the first time since Dec. 12, 2008. It was their fifth straight road W and they know have 14 on the season, second only to the Heat’s 15.
  • The Hawks improved to 4-6 in road games against teams with winning records.
  • “Guys knew that this was going to be one of those games that sometimes you get measured on,” Jamal said. “It’s a good barometer. They are not fully healthy, but we aren’t either. We just had to kind of go with it.”
  • The Hawks went into the Heat’s building and beat them at their rugged style. They won despite losing Al in the third quarter, facing a 29-14 deficit in free throws, Le Bron’s 34 points and 27 from D-Wade.
  • They did it by continuing to grind when the Heat made one final push to force overtime.
  • “You …

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Atlanta Hawks at Heat: Begging for bench boost

Miami–The Hawks survived to beat the hapless Kings but to do it needed big minutes from Al, Bibby, J.J and Smoove.

Now they face the Heat, who are without Bosh tonight but get back LeBron. The Hawks have been suspect defending in transition lately anyway and now I’m imagining D-Wade and LeBron galloping in the open court against their tired legs.

About 90 minutes before tip, L.D. said he wasn’t sure which starting lineup he would use. He was waiting on Erik Spoelstra to reveal his starters.

“There’s going to be a wait-out,” Drew joked.

Atlanta’s pregame board had Bibby matched on Arroyo, J.J. on Wade, Smoove on LeBron, Al on Juwan Howard and Twin on Ilgauskas.

Whichever way he goes, the Hawks will be looking for a bench boost. Jamal is a pretty good bet to give them something but the other guys are a mystery.

“I wasn’t anticipating playing my starters the amount of minutes I played [them] last night,” L.D. said. “I’m going to need production from my bench tonight. Coming in …

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Hawks 100, Kings 98

Greetings, all-

Hope you enjoyed the game. Sorry this is a bit late. I felt bad for Moses, the poor soul has to wait for me to leave the media work room before he can go home, and went home to write the blog.

An impressive comeback for the home team, though one necessitated by the Hawks’ lack of interest in playing defense in the first half and to some extent in the third quarter I asked Larry Drew if he was more encouraged by the way the team played in the fourth or discouraged in the first three quarters, particularly given that they fell into the same trip against Houston on Saturday and, not surprisingly, he said the former.

“This could have been a really bad loss going into Miami,” he said. “That’s just not a good feeling.”

More from Drew: “After the way we played against Houston, I really expected us to come out and play with more of a sense of urgency, especially having lost a game, having had a bad performance against Houston. … I told our guys at halftime we came …

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Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 112, Hawks 106

Scola and Rockets pushed Hawks around. (AP Photo)

Scola and Rockets pushed Hawks around. (AP Photo)

  • A tough matchup and a tougher team undid the Hawks. The former wasn’t a surprise unless you thought Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry would have trouble getting past Atlanta’s guards. But it was a bit jarring to see a lack of support on Atlanta’s backline.
  • “We thought we could outscore this team,” L.D. said. “Defensively, I thought we were soft.”
  • Luis Scola, Jordan Hill and Chuck Hayes combined to make 24 of 37 shots.
  • “We just didn’t play with any kind of physicality and we didn’t take anything away,” Drew said. “We allowed them to back us into the paint and score easily. We forgot kind of who we are. We have not been a team starting games thinking we can outscore people. Our mindset has always been that it starts with our defense.”
  • Not sure about that, but the Hawks couldn’t even manage to put together their usual stretch of energetic defense to build a cushion and pull away. They led by nine points early because the Rockets were …

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Rockets at Atlanta Hawks: Few fans focused on Falcons?

It will be interesting to see how the Hawks come out for this one . They are facing a sub-.500 opponent but one that can score and has penetrating guards. The sparse crowd figures to be distracted by the happenings across the street. And it’s the end of a weird, weather-afflicted week for the Hawks.

This probably wouldn’t be a good time for the Hawks to fall back on their make-some-shots, play-a-little-D and pull-out-a-W approach.

“It may be a case tonight where especially at the start that we are going to have to generate our own energy,” L.D. said. “That’s just the way it is. We can hope that we get a crowd out there at the start of every game that will get our players pumped up and jacked up and motivated to play but the [reality] is that’s not always going to be the case. So we have to learn our own energy, particularly at the start of the game.

“We can’t wait for crowds to try to do it for us. I want our guys to eventually be self-driven, and driven to point they can …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 104, Raptors 101

Raps couldn't stop Jamal. (AP Photo)

Raps couldn't stop Jamal. (AP Photo)

  • If you are going to play no defense and get into an freewheeling shootout like the Hawks did in the first half, it’s good to have Jamal on your side. I thought he was going to provide the answer to Jason Walker’s poll at Peachtree Hoops after just one day.
  • “I was a little concerned going into this game after what we’ve gone through in the last couple days in Atlanta with the snow and the ice of not being able to get the players on the floor and get some time in and get some shots up,” L.D. told reporters. “I was a little concerned that we would be a little rusty. Jamal, he came in that first half and really did a great job of getting us going and keeping us in it. Our defense I thought was really as low-energy as it’s been all year. But we were able to stay in it offensively because he made some shots.”
  • If you need a big shot, Jamal and Bibby are good choices. If you need to get stops in a possession-by-possession game like this one …

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Atlanta Hawks at Raptors: No Canada

Long and boring story short: I didn’t make it to Toronto. Neither did Etan, who apparently couldn’t get out of his ‘hood. Marvin’s sore back didn’t allow didn’t make the trip, either.

I plan to watch the game on TV and then post some analysis here. Until then, here is some Hawks-related linkage:

  • (Via TrueHoop.com): Hoopism put together a cool graphical representation of the NBA teams by average age. Rick Sund always says the Hawks are still a young team in relation to the other top teams in the East, and this chart backs him up on that: The Hawks are the fourth-oldest team among the East’s top five, slightly older than the Bulls. Hoopism also weighted age by minutes played and the Hawks rank fourth among the East’s top five by that measure as well.
  • You might recall ESPN’s John Hollinger was among the chief critics of the Hawks(Insider) following their surrender against Boston at Philips. Two months later, he’s got the Hawks No. 6 in his power rankings and includes the Hawks …
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    Atlanta Hawks: NBA decides Hawks and Bucks will play tonight (Update: Game postponed)

    2 p.m. Update: The league announced the Hawks’ scheduled game tonight against Milwaukee at Philips Arena has been postponed because of the severe weather conditions in Atlanta.

    The game was rescheduled for March 15 at 7 p.m., which means the Hawks are set to play rare back-to-back home games.

    The Hawks plan to attempt to leave tonight for their game at Toronto tomorrow. Their next home game is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. vs. Houston.

    Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said the team is still deciding if fans with tickets to tonights’ game still will be able to redeem them for Saturday’s game or Monday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday game vs. Sacramento (4 p.m).

    The Hawks had a shootaround today but there was no media availability.

    MC

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    Atlanta Hawks: Snow day (Update: Game On)

    L.D. canceled Hawks practice today because of the inclement weather. So far tomorrow’s game vs. Milwaukee at Philips Arena is to be played as scheduled at 7 p.m. The Bucks are scheduled to leave Milwaukee at noon today for Hartsfield, where only one or two flights managed to land this morning.

    UPDATE: The Bucks made it to Atlanta this afternoon. The Hawks released a statement late tonight updating the status of the game:

    “As of late tonight, Tuesday’s Atlanta-Milwaukee game is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. We will continue to have dialogue with the NBA and closely monitor the overnight weather conditions and city of Atlanta’s recommendations on the status of the roads and interstate systems before making a final decision.

    If fans are unable to attend Tuesday’s contest, they will be able to redeem their game tickets over the course of the week at the Philips Arena Box Office for either Saturday’s game vs. Houston (7 p.m., January 15th), or Monday’s annual Martin …

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