Hawks 101, Clippers 100

Greetings, all

Pretty crazy game. Well, a pretty crazy second half, at least. The first half was some of the play that you’ve probably come to grow tiresome of – settling for jump shots, allowing the opponent to drive to the rim. I think the count after the first half was six dunks by the Clippers, one by the Hawks.

You guys touched on a number of things I was planning to mention, so I’ll keep it relatively brief.

- Valiant effort by Al Horford, particularly at the end. He hit the court pretty hard after the foul by Griffin. (There was a lot of talk afterwards about “Was it a flagrant or not?” Someone posted something that I agree with; there were .6 seconds left. The game was essentially over whether the Clippers got the ball or not. That said, I don’t think I would have called it flagrant. A hard foul, but not flagrant.)

- Horford had seven offensive rebounds, which are generally about effort. He got the offensive rebound after a miss by Josh Smith that led to Marvin Williams‘ 3-pointer late in the game.

- Smith, I thought, did a solid job defending Blake Griffin, with some help. The Hawks dropped a double team him on him in the post and used Jason Collins and Horford on him at various times. But Smith had him for most of the second half and his work on him in the third helped spur the extended run.

- At the beginning of the game, it seemed like Smith was intent on shooting it, perhaps trying to vent some All-Star snub frustration, but settled down offensively. He said afterward that he realized his shot wasn’t there and tried to do other things to help the team.  He was 2-for-4 in the fourth quarter and had five assists in the game. He had an important tip-in to give the Hawks a brief lead at 99-98 off of Jamal Crawford’s miss.

- Smith has his moments, certainly, when he doesn’t exercise the greatest discretion in taking shots, but he shows often that he knows the game better than some might think. When Horford was lying on the ground, Smith rushed back to the bench to tell teammates and coaches that if Horford couldn’t shoot, the Clippers could choose one player off the bench to take the free throws and that they were going to pick Collins.

Now, rules knowledge isn’t necessarily basketball IQ, but I wonder how many NBA players know that rule, and I also give credit to Smith for alerting the bench, because I don’t think any players on the bench were thinking about this.

I’m also wondering if Smith figured that they’d pick Collins, who is by far the poorest free-throw shooter on the team (60.7 percent), or if he’d overheard it. If it was the former, that’s actually kind of funny, because he sounded certain about it.

- Joe Johnson made a lot of hustle plays to keep possessions alive, was active on defense and did a nice job leading the break. You do wish he could have gotten a better shot at the basket on the possession that led to the jump ball.

He did his best work in the first half, when his teammates were playing rather drowsily. His line at halftime – 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, five assists. After the half, four points, 2-for-10, two rebounds, four assists.

- As was noted in the posts, it’s a memorable, energizing win. Give them credit for rallying late in the fourth, but the Hawks were outscored 33-22 in the fourth quarter. Defensive pressure lessened, careless possessions increased. They’ve been outscored in the fourth six of the last eight games. Three of those were by double digits.

- Crawford may be back. He was ridiculous in the third, making all six of his shots, many with high degree of difficulty and all three of his 3-pointers. He scored 16 points in five minutes. Smith was touting him as the repeat sixth man of the year in the locker room. Prior to Friday, he was 37-for-106 and 12-for-46 from 3-point range in his last nine games.

- The crowd was as loud as I’ve heard in the games I’ve covered this season. Philips is a different place when it’s full, or nearly full.

- On to Washington, which has lost (jinx alert) 11 in a row to the Hawks.

61 comments Add your comment

Jae Evolution

February 5th, 2011
2:11 am

Good write up, any word on how Al is doing and if he will make the trip to Washington?

tjhook

February 5th, 2011
2:13 am

superiorblogman

February 5th, 2011
2:21 am

Hope Al plays 2morrow. It is simple people Hawks need another piece or 2, they are not good enough currently to bury teams. This team is not even as good as last year. 32-18 is not bad though. They are on pace to win 50+again.

tjhook

February 5th, 2011
2:25 am

SECOND!!! Oh well . . . I’m happy for the win but read in HoopsWorld, I think, that Sund won’t make a trade if he believes the move isn’t an obvious upgrade. He also championed the team’s annual victory increase. I think the second fact is overplayed because no gain has occurred since ‘09. I think we need a point or lead guard (mo Williams) to sustain the lapses the team has sustained in the 4th quarter this year. We have players who are entertaining and explosive, but we need an offense that can maintain balance throughout the game and not need an individually explosive effort

Najeh Davenpoop

February 5th, 2011
2:39 am

Hope Al is OK and hope his second half aggressiveness continues.

Sleepy

February 5th, 2011
3:13 am

MC – Why arent the Hawks pushing to get JC in the three point shootout ? hes in the top 30 all time in makes and is moving up the list and is one of the only players that high up on the list to never be invited to a three point shootout. Hes on pace for 100+ three pointers made for the 8th straight year .

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 5th, 2011
4:47 am

Horford was a beast for takimg that hard foul then turning aroubd to nail those last free-throws. Hard lesson learned – cut back on the finesse and Smash the Rack

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

February 5th, 2011
4:47 am

MVick23

February 5th, 2011
4:48 am

I like LD over Woody. But either LD is not teaching winning basketball, or the players are hard-headed. As every coach should know, the way u stop a team from coming back on you is to drive the ball to the rim and force them to foul u. That not only slows the other teams momentum, but also allows u to score points from the line. Not only is their a lack of defense from our point guards…which allows teams to break down our defense, but also the jump shots missed. The hawks win with no problem when their jump shots are falling…but they continue to jack them up…poor 4th quarter management.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 5th, 2011
5:18 am

Being in the arena, Al’s spill was really scary. I was sitting in the upper deck and I could hear the impact of him hitting the floor. The way he was holding his arm I thought he might have broken it. Good thing it looks like nothing serious happened. For him to shake that off and nail those two free throws really took some balls.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 5th, 2011
5:55 am

Don’t know if this was already posted, but from Hollinger’s PER Diem yesterday:

3. I’ve questioned some of Hawks coach Larry Drew’s choices this season, but one decision that’s paying off handsomely is his reducing the burden on Joe Johnson. Under Mike Woodson, Johnson would play 40-plus minutes a game the first two months of the season and run “iso-Joe” every play; predictably, he’d hit the wall in January and labor through the rest of the season.

This season, he’s showing a different pattern. Although Johnson got off to a slow start, partly as a result of a bad elbow, he’s gone gangbusters since Jan. 1: 26.8 points per game on 51.9 percent shooting. As a result, Johnson has his best player efficiency rating since 2006-07 and is threatening to set a career high in the category at age 29.

Although the Hawks haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of opposition in the past month, Johnson’s other key stat is that he’s averaging only 36.4 minutes per game, by far his fewest as a Hawk. Additionally, they’re lower-impact minutes because he’s playing off the ball more, even as his scoring totals have gone up.

After the win over Toronto on Thursday, Johnson told me he’s feeling fresher and bouncier than usual at this time of the season — he even had a rare dunk against the Raptors. If he keeps it up, the result could be a career season.

lewis

February 5th, 2011
6:08 am

Ty Najeh, i asked for that yesterday

tony

February 5th, 2011
6:41 am

Trade Solution:

Send Josh Smith, Jeff Teague and our 1st rd pick to Phoenix for Steve Nash and Grant Hill. This trade could put the hawks in the finals for the 1st time in Atlanta.

Steve Nash-pg
J.Johnson-sg
Grant Hill-sf
Al Horford-pf
J,Collins-c
http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

Next Season Projected Lineup:
Steve Nash-pg
J.Johnson-sg
Shame Battier-sf
Al Horford-pf
Kendrick Perkins-c

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Hawks Buzz, Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: Hawks 101, Clippers 100 http://bit.ly/eK4DCY [...]

slimjr

February 5th, 2011
7:07 am

Last night was a brutal win. Atlanta was supposed to blow this team out! As usual the Hawks played like Marvina Williams and got bitch slapped around the Gym in the 4th…Bibby can’t defend his shadow.Stick a fork in him.He has joined the old geezer club! Marvin you are one selfish dude.

‘it was a terrible pick” would stand there in the paint in the 4th and not rotate to stop Baron Davis dribble penatration as he time and time again got to the rim…You know full well Bibby could not stay in front of him..I saw all three Stooges were guilty of standing there allowing that ish…LD you know better than that.This is the 4th straight game your squad is getting clobber in the 4th..Its gonna get real ugly if this is not address before the playoffs begin..Rebounding is an issue also…Al almost got killed out there tonight. It should have never come down to desperation attempted dunk against one of the worst NBA teams this season….Just Brutal man…………………….

Paradise Lost

February 5th, 2011
7:29 am

Enough speculation on that last foul: NBA rules state flagrant 1 as “interpreted to be unnecessary contact.” No matter how any of us would’ve called it, that referee watched it happen and interpreted the contact as unnecessary. Way to step up, Al!

devil lover

February 5th, 2011
7:43 am

Blake Griffin’s hit had malicious intent. I hope he gets his soon! That guy ought to be a foot ball player not a bball player.

no justice

February 5th, 2011
8:00 am

How many times are you guys are going to post “Bibby suck on defense”, “Josh shoot too many jump shots”,” Marvin is garbage”,? I think we’ve got that, yeah I think we understand, yeah we are good. Do something esle!

Trojan

February 5th, 2011
8:11 am

Great game by Bibby!

dj

February 5th, 2011
8:17 am

I agree @ no justice

no justice

February 5th, 2011
8:18 am

much better!

JoJo the Godfather

February 5th, 2011
8:31 am

3 Comments:

1) It’s time for Bibby to take a rest. Over his last 5 games, he’s shooting 30% from the field, 20% from 3, has not been to the free throw line at all, and is only averaging 2.8 assists.

2) Sund should be making every effort to unload Marvin Williams’ contract. Golden State for Vladamir Radmanovic would make sense.

3) Two young bigs that the Hawks should keep an eye on (both happen to be French): Alexis Ajinca (not a new name around here) will be a free agent at year’s end. A 2nd round pick probably lands him here now as a tryout for the rest of the season (can’t be any worse than Thomas?); and Kevin Seraphin in Washington (would Washington swap him for Teague as a backup to Wall in an effort to keep the tempo up when Wall is out of the game?). I’d love to see the Hawks invest in these two as a 5 & 4 off the bench.

Trojan

February 5th, 2011
8:40 am

How can a starting PG in the NBA not get to the free throw line in 3 games? It’s called lack of agression or lack of ability to have agression. That is terrible and we all need to YELL until LD and Sund gets the message.

I would rather have Royal Ivey at the point than Bibby!

darrell starks

February 5th, 2011
9:09 am

For any one 2 say collins shouldn’t be in the game late then tell me something, why every time collins is taking out of the game the hawks get killed in the paint, horford is not a center should never play that position agaian in his career unless there is a state of emergency.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

Double Zero Eight

February 5th, 2011
9:12 am

Any win is a good win!

Our weaknesses were apparent again tonight.
Our lack of offense in the fourth quarter, and failure to take
the ball to the rim will come back to haunt us during the
playoffs.

Does anyone know where the Hawks rank in free throw
attempts? Getting to the line will be critical for the
playoffs.

darrell starks

February 5th, 2011
9:15 am

LD continue 2 starte bibby he is avg 9pts a game and 3Ast with no defense dam how crazy is that rank dead last in the nba in starting point guard in Assist.
GO HAWKS1111111111

Walter R. Terrell

February 5th, 2011
9:25 am

We won the game last night. Thanks to clutch free throw shooting by Al Horford. Skill on the Hawks part or just pure luck? There was a point in the game where a 14 point lead almost became relaxing. I am a HAWKS fan and for some reason I just could not relax. I taped that game because seeing where the breakdown occurs is important, at least to me. I already know but there’s a reason Atlanta has only two All Stars and it really should be three. Joe Johnson and Al Horford understand the game, but the other young high flying fella has no clue. It’s not about being the hero but about being a team. Playing within your game to enhance others. I do hope highflying learns that. He has talent that’s off the chart, but, as they say. “You can’t have everything”

darrell starks

February 5th, 2011
9:25 am

The hawks must get a center and a point guard since LD continue not 2 play teague, collins, and why is josh always standing around the 3point line, the guy should be in the box posting up smallforward the hole game LD should tell him get his but low and stop standing around the 3point line.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

Trojan

February 5th, 2011
9:37 am

Hoopshype reports today that the Hawks are one of the teams that has expressed interest in Nash if he should become available.

sam'l

February 5th, 2011
10:02 am

I’ll take the win. the Clippers are no longer one of the worst teams in the NBA.

I’m all for Griffiin to play hard……but can’t allow players to get injured. What if Horford missed a month or two? That would certainly suck.

We are lucky to have this win………and smart t somehow pull this out.

Maybe we could have been smarter before we lost our big fourth quarter pad…..because it was obvious things were getting out of control.

NorcalHawk

February 5th, 2011
10:54 am

Horford’s my hero. Couple months back he missed a pair of free throws that would have sent a game into overtime. Al said afterward he wasn’t worried, that he was sure he’d find himself in that position again and would come through. Last night he proved his point.

O'Brien

February 5th, 2011
10:59 am

Good writeup Ken.

Ken or MC,

Two ideas for articles;

1) Bibby’s slump. His average the last 5 games; 4.4 pts, 3 assists and 3 rebounds, while shooting 4-20 from 3 (9-30 from the field, 30%). AND he still averages 28 mpg over that span.

Is he injured? Is it a slump? Should LD be concerned about his minutes?

BTW, the last 5 games, Teague is averaging 3 pts, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 8.6 minutes per game, and went 5-14 (36% from the field).

2) Hawks fourth quarter scoring issues (9 losses in which we scored less than 20 points in the fourth). And not only are we not scoring, but we are being outscored by double digits in the fourth.

fan of the game

February 5th, 2011
11:11 am

How in the world can Coach Drew talk to his team about being a team player when he allows his son to quit and I mean quit the Tar Heels just because he lost his starting job? Seems like he would have told him to stay and win your job back.

JoJo the Godfather

February 5th, 2011
11:15 am

Does anyone here believe that a package of Marvin & ZaZa can bring back Nene, Kaman, Camby, or even Biedrins?

Trojan

February 5th, 2011
11:29 am

Good post O’Brien.

Section 303

February 5th, 2011
11:34 am

I’ve been to every home game this year (and 1 road game), except two. Last night’s was the best game, so far. Great game! Great night, too, with Philips packed. Philips is great when the fans come out.

Ken, I’m not ripping Josh Smith here, but your story above about his b-ball IQ proves nothing. And, I’m betting most players know that rule. I wonder if Collins could have hit the FT’s?

I agree, though…Josh did a nice job on Blake Griffin. Late in the game, the Clippers ran the same play for Griffin on three straight trips off a sideline out-of-bounds play. Griffin goes off a screen and catches the ball on the block. He goes to rim or passes from there. Josh did an excellent job fighting through the screen and being in position when Griffin caught the ball. He gave Griffin trouble.

Guys, you have to start showing up at the arena more often. For all the frustration this year, the Hawks are 14-games over .500.

Sautee

February 5th, 2011
11:42 am

JoJo,

Not unless you’re in a fantasy league.

Ken Sugiura

February 5th, 2011
12:07 pm

O’Brien – good ideas both.

Tremaine

February 5th, 2011
12:36 pm

Got a chance to see the hawks live and in person. What a great game. Al is a true warrior. Joe Johnson looked good and has been playing great lately. Another fourth quarter meltdown, more bad jumpshots by Josh, and no defense from Bibby. This team is a trade or two away from being special. I think it is time to start Teague.

O'Brien

February 5th, 2011
1:05 pm

Section 303,

Josh played really well in the second half (imo). If he can play like that for a full game, this team would be so much better (imo). Josh is the guy with the talent to energize the team on both ends, and fir whatever reason, he doesn’t do it consistently enough.

As for him going over to the bench and alerting the team, it’s not necessarily BB IQ. I think its more him being aware of the situation, and thinking about the possibilities, and knowing what options are available.

ATLSportsNation

February 5th, 2011
1:09 pm

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http://www.atlsportsnation.com/forum

We have team forums for the Falcons, Bulldogs, Hawks, Braves, Yellow Jackets, Thrashers, etc. Please register and post! Be apart of a huge site in the early days of existence. See ya there!

O'Brien

February 5th, 2011
1:10 pm

Thanks Ken.

We always read about Josh, Al, Jamal, Marvin, Teague, and JJ. But we dont get much about Bibby (good or bad).

And the fourth quarter story is just an add-on to Sautee’s question about why dont we run the motion offense more in crunch time. In crunch time, it appears we go more ISOs and bad jumpers, leadin to low scoring 4th quarters similar to what we had under Woody.

lewis

February 5th, 2011
1:22 pm

What we learned is that Deandre Jordan is a beast in the paint, and the frontline of Griffin/Jordan can most certainly handle.

Ken Sugiura

February 5th, 2011
1:36 pm

O’Brien and 303 – as I said, I don’t think it’s necessarily basketball IQ. perhaps i should have worded it more strongly, because it’s not. i guess to me it was evidence that he’s not the knucklehead that he’s often perceived to be, although as i was thinking about it, it occurred to me that perhaps he was told to relay the message. if memory serves, coaches had gone over to check on horford.

honest_abe

February 5th, 2011
1:52 pm

look. if jsmith brought that type of defensive and overall intensity night in, night out he’d already be an all-star. the reason why most people think josh is knucklehead is he still hasn’t learned to play to his strengths. if he was a high energy defensive stopper that bullied smaller guys on the post or took bigger guys off the dribble he’d be arguably be the best player on the hawks and one of the best in the east.

look alot of guys on this blog me included, used to be josh’s biggest fans. always blaming his stupid, careless play on immaturity and how young he was. but he’s been in the league 6 years now. no more time for excuses people are only interested in results and its unfortunate that he still hasn’t learned.

his ability to know an end of game situation is hardly news for hawks fans to rejoice.

another win that should’ve been a hawks blowout. when the hawks went up 11 @ the start of the 4th it should’ve been lights out for the clips. instead the hawks could’ve easily lost that game.

Grandad

February 5th, 2011
2:15 pm

Mr Sugiura, I really appreciate your work.

From last eve;
[we sometimes (harumph) forget the positive in order to dwell on the negative]
The 3rd qtr was as good as I’ve seen the Hawks look:
*Team Ball
*Josh on Defense
*Jamal on fire
*Feeding Al
*Running
*Rebounding
*Wow
One trade that could/would put us near the top:
**acquire Amir Johnson from Toronto!.
He’s improving by leaps and bounds but is not ”yet” untouchable!…..Better Hurry!
Great sidekick for Josh & Al.

Al is a stud~hoss.

Del Negro would think differently about the flagrant if Griffin got upended
every time he went for a highlight reel dunk.
Think about the NBA – if every time LbJ, Dr J, Mike, Griffin, Josh, et al,
were hit high while extended for a dunk. Careers would end or dunking
would cease. Vinnie D = shoes on the other foot…he would want Al in
front of a firing sqad.

ATL FAN

February 5th, 2011
3:16 pm

Just want to say from the previous blog, spot on points by Najeh

ATL FAN

February 5th, 2011
3:18 pm

Also hopefully Horford will become much more aggressive after tonight.. This video shows his true potential http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rcLdRgp3oc

honest_abe

February 5th, 2011
3:33 pm

oh yes if not to point out the obvious. bibby is utterly useless of late. his shot is broke. which means he brings nothing to the table except lowering the teams fg percetage.

Chris Vea

February 5th, 2011
3:33 pm

The refs decision for the jump ball was a bad call. It was clearly Clipper ball (as Foye did not touch it on the way out of bounds). Then the ref making 6′3 Foye jump was another bad call… I get so disappointed sometimes when I see how the officials control the game. It’s times like that when I really hate the sport. Seriously… do the Hawks really need help to win a game against the Clippers?

It seemed more like it was the Clippers vs. The Officials.