Archive for January, 2011

Hawks 108, Pacers 93

Greetings, all-

Pretty solid effort for the Hawks, particularly after the half.

- Hawks had 36 baskets and 27 came on assists. It’s not their highest percent of assisted baskets, but it’s close. I asked Larry Drew Saturday morning what statistics were important to him, and the one thing he mentioned was assists, as it helps him gauge how the ball movement is. He sounds very encouraged by what he’s seeing, not surprisingly.

Drew: “I think in watching Joe and watching Al and Josh and all those guys, it seems like they’re stating to really pick up what were trying to do and they’re having fun with it.”

I thought it was a pretty sharp game for them, passing-wise. Joe Johnson had some good touch passes to set up Mike Bibby, and there were several out of the post to spot-up shooters.

- Drew said he had concerns about the team not having its legs after coming back off the road. I seem to remember hearing the same thing recently, that the first game at home after a road trip is often …

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Hawks-Pacers game thread

Greetings, all-

Some tidbits before you before the tip.

1. Hawks will go with Al Horford, Josh Smith, Mo Evans, Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby. It’s the lineup, essentially, that has gotten the Hawks two wins this year over Indiana. I’m not sure what the Pacers will do, but my guess is Tyler Hansbrough will get his second consecutive start after putting up 23 and 12 against San Antonio Friday night.

2. Hawks signed Damien Wilkins to a 10-day contract. He was at shootaround and I’d expect him to dress tonight. He said the two days following his release were “the longest two days of the year so far. I don’t want to have two days like that anymore.”

This is a man who very much wants to be a Hawk.

I’d think that his second stay with the Hawks may be tied pretty closely to the length of Marvin Williams‘ recovery. Williams is out tonight and is day to day with his back contusion. Drew didn’t have a clear answer about his timetable.

Drew: “We had not completely given up on the idea of …

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Hawks update, heavy on Jason Collins

Greetings, Hawks fans-

Ken Sugiura sitting in again for MC, as he recovers from a lengthy road trip. No charter planes and fancy hotels for MC. (So much as I know, at any rate) He’s a straight road beast.

Anyway, a few tidbits from Hawks practice.

1) Larry Drew said he would probably sit down with Rick Sund Saturday to talk about possible 10-day contract guys. Apparently, El Sund was not feeling well Friday.

2) Marvin Williams came in early for treatment, didn’t practice and was to talk with Drew after practice. I saw Marvin in the locker room after I spoke with Drew but didn’t get to talk with him.

3) Drew positively raved about Jason Collins, which is the focus of the story for Saturday’s paper. I asked Drew if it’s possible the big lineup could become the de facto starting five and he said, “I can certainly see it.” Basically, the pros and cons with the big lineup are better than pros and cons with the heretofore regular lineup. Change may be a-comin’.

4) Drew acknowledged …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 110, Jazz 87

Smoove and the Hawks eventually forced Jazz fans to throw in the towel. (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)

Smoove and the Hawks eventually forced Jazz fans to throw in the towel. (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)

Salt Lake City–Wow.

  • The Hawks finished their West trip in style by waylaying the Jazz. It was surreal to see the fans in one of the league’s toughest building start leaving midway through the fourth quarter.
  • “As I told the guys before the game started, ‘Let’s turn a good road trip into a great road trip,’” L.D. said. “That was kind of our theme going into this game, and they did it. Just a great, great win.”
  • The Hawks have won five of six games. Joe and Jamal are getting healthier. Their defense looks better. They play four of their next five at home. They’ve survived a grueling schedule despite injuries to sit a half game behind Orlando for fourth fifth place in the East.
  • Could the Hawks finally be ready to get on an extended roll? “Why not?” Jamal said. “Other teams have had their chances to get on a run. I think it’s our time now. It’s a game tonight that a lot …

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Atlanta Hawks at Jazz: Wilkins stays, hopes to stick around

Salt Lake CityDamien Wilkins fulfilled a dream when he got to wear a Hawks uniform like his Uncle ‘Nique. He didn’t have one in his locker tonight after being the team waived him.

The fact that he’s still here with the Hawks indicates how much he wants to wear it again.

“They gave me the option [to stay],” Wilkins said. “I wanted to be around the guys and show them how much I wanted to be here and how much I’m committed to the team. We’ll see what happens.”

By waiving Wilkins today the Hawks assure he won’t be on the roster on Jan. 10, when his contract would become guaranteed for the rest of the season. The Hawks could sign him (or any other free agent) to a 10-day contract once he clears waivers in a couple days.

L.D. said the Hawks “certainly could use another wing” especially with Marvin still on the injured list. He said re-signing Wilkins is a possibility.

“I thought he did a really good job for us,” L.D. said. “You always leave your options open to bring him back. …

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Hawks waive Wilkins

After bringing him in after Joe Johnson’s elbow surgery, the Hawks waived forward Damien Wilkins Wednesday. The move came five days before the date in which the team would have had to guarantee his salary for the remainder of the season if he were on the roster.

Wilkins, a Georgia product and veteran of seven NBA seasons, played his final game for the team in its Tuesday win over Sacramento.

In 13 games, Wilkins averaged 13.1 minutes, scoring 2.5 points per game and giving the Hawks an energy boost off the bench. He helped fill a void opened after Johnson underwent elbow surgery, an absence that lasted two weeks. Signed Dec. 3, Wilkins impressed teammates with his defensive efforts against the likes of Miami’s LeBron James.

“I love his toughness on defense,” center Al Horford said shortly after Wilkins’ signing. “It’s something we need. I’m saying it now: I hope we keep him and he’s with us for the long run.”

Johnson also spoke in favor of keeping Wilkins, the nephew of Hawks …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 108, Kings 102

Sacramento–The Hawks were having a great time. They were defending, rebounding, and running while overwhelming an inferior opponent. All the starters except Josh were chilling on the bench as the Hawks took a leisurely 22-point lead.

  • The Hawks were up 92-72 after Jamal’s jumper. Josh went to the bench with the Hawks ahead 94-74. Then things got chaotic and Josh, Bibby, Joe, and Al were back off the bench.
  • “I thought we would do a better job finishing up,” L.D. said. “I wanted to give the starters some rest but we just let our guard down. We stopped defending. We stopped executing. We stopped running. They made some shots.”
  • Damien Wilkins traveled and DeMarcus Cousins scored. Carl Landry stole it from Zaza and Tyreke got an and-1. Cousins got an and-1 against Zaza. And then Cousins took it from Jamal, who seemed to be simply inattentive, and Tyreke scored again.
  • Suddenly the Kings were down 94-82 less than two minutes after being down by 20. The Hawks had to make 10 of 10 …

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Atlanta Hawks at Kings: Good team, bad team

SacramentoLester Conner’s pregame board has a different look tonight. The offensive and defensive keys are each labeled with “good teams.” As in . . .

Defensively, good teams: box out, defend one-on-one, defend in transition and play hard. Offensively, good teams: take good shots, make the extra pass, execute the offense, put away bad teams.

At the bottom of the keys: “REALIZE We are a good team.”

The Kings, who own the worst record in the league, qualify as a bad team. Sacto has won two of its last three, though, and the Hawks haven’t truly crushed a “bad” team on the road since Nov. 28 at Toronto.

“We don’t even look at the record,” L.D. said. “You have got to respect all opponents. Anybody can be beaten on any given night. They are a team that’s capable. I watched their game against Phoenix, and if you would have stopped the tape at the five-minute mark you would have thought that Phoenix was going to come away easily with a win. Sac kept playing, they made some shots …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘Big’ lineup could end up as the regular lineup

Twin towers over certain opponents but could big lineup work all the time? (AP Photo)

Twin towers over certain opponents but could the big lineup work all the time? (AP Photo)

Sacramento–Probably a major reason the Twin lineup has been Atlanta’s most efficient defensive alignment is because L.D. has focused it so narrowly.

When the Hawks need a big body to contend with an opponent’s inside power (or at least what L.D. perceives to be an inside threat), Twin goes in. Now the Hawks don’t have to double in the post and scramble. As a bonus, Al is freed from having to tangle with a bigger, stronger opponent at both ends, allowing him up to face the basket and score and theoretically decreasing his chances of falling victim to the two-foul rule.

So Twin’s starts and most of his minutes have mostly come against teams with physical big men: Phoenix, Orlando, Milwaukee, New Jersey, San Antonio, Boston, Oklahoma City and the Clippers. With the exception of Phoenix (when Twin lasted just four minutes) and Boston (which was missing all of its regular big men but L.D. for …

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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 …

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