Archive for February, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Back to (serious?) business

Los Angeles–Near the end of the Hawks’ shootaround at Madison Square Garden last week, L.D. watched Bibby, Joe, Al, and Josh playing some kind of game (I haven’t exactly figured out the rules but making shots seems to be a secondary goal to keeping the ball in the air with tip shots).

“You ever see that ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, ‘Kick the Can?’” L.D. asked. “That’s what this is right here.”

That classic episode involves old folks who get to be children again and use the opportunity to play games. L.D. was saying the Hawks are a bunch of big kids, and spend any amount of time around the team and you will discover that’s pretty accurate.

There is a goofy chemistry with these players. Guys like each other and have fun. It’s the serious stuff they aren’t always so good with.

“This is one of the loosest teams you will find,” Al said. “I think sometimes that can be a good thing for us and sometimes that can be a bad thing.”

There’s no better time for fun than the All-Star game but …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson: ‘No excuses’

LOS ANGELES–Wadup, blog people. Busy day finally over so checking in from the Left Coast, where it’s chilly and rainy just like when the Hawks were here in January. What the hell do I have to do to get blue skies and warm sunshine? Yeah, I’m bitter.

Anyway, no real news for your Hawks reps at the All-Star media session today. Well, Al said he and Amar’e are good after all of their back-and-forth, which he thinks really isn’t news.

“We cool, man,” he said, laughing at the question. “I told you he was just trying to make a big deal out of nothing. I didn’t have to say anything [to him]. He knew he was in the wrong, so he was cool.”

Some interesting stuff from Joe, though. When media types asked him about the Hawks, he kept coming back to the same theme: “No excuses.”

“I think all of the excuses are out the door,” he said. “We can’t hang our hat on we are a young team anymore. We can’t still say it’s a new coach. It’s just put up or shut up.”

Which brings me to something I’ve …

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Atlanta Hawks: Knicks 102, Hawks 90

Felton isn't the only one who does this to the Hawks. (Christopher Pasatieri / Newsday)

Felton isn't the only one who does this to the Hawks. (Christopher Pasatieri / Newsday)

New York–After all the hype surrounding this game, it came down to some basic, boring (and familiar) truths about the Hawks.

  • A team like New York, which has penetrating point guards, threats to roll to the rim and 3-point shooters, can slice up the Hawks because the first thing leads to the other two. And the Hawks can easily be induced to take long jump shots, either because opponents force them to do so or, like tonight, the Hawks abandon the game plan after a few misses in close.
  • Both things happened against the Knicks, and so the Hawks were subpar both on offense (aside from making 11 of 22 3-point attempts) and defense (48 percent shooting allowed, 18 fastbreak points).
  • Defense was the real problem for the Hawks, who never could put together any kind of sustained run because New York would easily get an open shot and make it.
  • “Every time we tried to [rally], they made a big three or a …

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Atlanta Hawks at Knicks: Al Horford on Amar’e Stoudemire: ‘He’s a talker. All I do is bring my game to the court.’

New York–Yes, Al Horford said “you take it personally” when someone calls you out in the media the way Amar’e Stoudemire has done twice to Horford this season.

But Horford, not much for hype, says he will make his point tonight at Madison Square Garden against Amar’e’s Knicks.

“He’s a talker. He’s going to talk, you know what I’m saying?” he said at shootaround today. “All I do is bring my game to the court. That’s what I will do tonight.”

Stoudemire has tried to inflame what already promised to be an intense game after Marvin Williams and Shawne Williams scuffled during Atlanta’s 111-102 victory on Jan. 28. Both immediately after that game and again yesterday, Stoudemire seemed to question Horford’s toughness and declared that Horford “doesn’t want to see me.”

Horford seemed more amused than offended by that last part.

“I don’t understand what he means by I don’t want to see him,” Horford said. “Like we are supposed to be scared of him or something. Ain’t nobody scared of …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: The Knicks, the East and the point guard (of course)

I talked Hawks with CineSport’s Noah Coslov. Note that I was operating on four hour’s sleep. Also, my head only looks that big because my NYC hotel room is so small.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Amar’e Stoudemire promises ‘very, very intense’ game for post-fight rematch

New YorkAnd so it begins.

It’s Round 3 of Hawks vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden tomorrow, and of course the storyline in New York is focused on Atlanta’s 111-102 victory in Round 2 on Jan. 28. An intense game climaxed with Atlanta’s Marvin Williams coming to blows with Shawne Williams. Afterward, Amar’e Stoudemire called out Al Horford for his chest-pounding exhortations to Hawks fans at Philips Arena.

The league suspended Marvin for two games for his role in the fight, which he said happened after series of unspecified actions by the Knicks throughout the game. But Marvin downplayed the rematch.

“I am sure it is going to be intense,” he said. “But it’s in the past for me, and I’m sure it is for Shawne, too. It’s over; it’s done with. I am sure he feels the same way. It’s just another game.”

Shawne Williams, who got suspended for a game because of the altercation, also said he’s not bitter about the incident.

“I feel like we owe them guys from last game,” Williams …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 94, Pistons 79

Bibby had bounce for the Hawks. (AP Photo)

Bibby had bounce for the Hawks. (AP Photo)

Auburn Hills, Mich.–It’s not that the Hawks played particularly well. It’s that they didn’t stay down once they got there and then competently put away the Pistons even though scoring wasn’t easy after halftime (a situation that’s never been their strong suit).

  • It’s not a W that will answer any questions about their status in the East. It is a W that allows them a chance to move forward from the ugly Ls to Philly and Charlotte at Philips.
  • “We play with more of an ‘us against them’ mentality on the road,” L.D. said.
  • Not sure about the mentality, but the Hawks got production from some places they can’t always count on. Bibby, of course, topped the list.
  • He hadn’t scored as many as 17 points since he had 19 against the Nets on Dec. 19. That’s also the last time he had as many combined points and assists (24), and this year he’s never had as many points, assists and rebounds combined (30).
  • “This was probably one of his better games this …

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Atlanta Hawks at Pistons: Getting started (Update: ‘Big’ lineup tonight)

Auburn Hills, Mich.–The cabby showed up this morning and couldn’t start his car because of a battery issue. He didn’t listen when I told him it’s not a good idea to pop-start an automatic transmission. Hated to leave him like that but I had a flight to catch.

So that’s how my 15-night Hawks road trip/All-Star weekend trek started. I will spare you an attempt at some lame metaphor about how the cabby’s car is like the Hawks, who are looking to get out of their “rut” on this trip.

Me? I’m just trying to perfect the art of hitting the 50-pound limit on my luggage.

Anyway, before the Hawks headed up to Michigan, they talked about the collapse against the Bobcats, which followed the beatdown to the Sixers. Mo usually sounds the alarm about those kind of things but he’s taking the long view:

“I don’t think we need to panic. We had a bad game against Philadelphia when Al was out. They had a great night. [NOTE: Sorry, but this is the part where I've got to point this out again.] [The …

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Bobcats 88, Hawks 86

Greetings, all-

A troubling game for the Hawks in that a) it followed the one game in which you’d think they’d do everything in their grasp to make sure they got a win; b) it certainly looked like a lot of other games this season.

Up by 22 in the first half, up by 18 midway through the third quarter and the Hawks give it away.

Said Josh Smith, “Words can’t describe it.”

Larry Drew: “The shot at the end, it should never have come down to that.”

- One of the most glaring numbers was this – 26 points in the paint in the first half, eight in the second. They pretty much abandoned their offense in the second half.

Said Drew, “We settled for a ton of jump shots.”

More Drew: “We start playing fast, we start going for home runs and then we start settling. That’s what happened in the second half.”

- One of the most crucial segments of the game was the end of the first half, after the Hawks got up 22. They were playing tough, tough defense, making the Bobcats take difficult shots and …

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Hawks-Bobcats game thread

Greetings, all

Ken here for the last time in awhile as MC braces for the mother of all road trips.

1) You may find this interesting. On my way in to the arena, I was thinking to myself, If I were ever to feel good about wagering on a game (not that I wager), this would be it. Hawks have spent three days stewing over an embarrassing loss, playing at home where they’ve beaten Charlotte seven in a row, Al Horford back, Charlotte coming off a back to back, etc.

However, I confess I was not aware of what happened in Charlotte last night. The Bobcats lost at home to New Jersey, which had come into the game having lost 12 in a row on the road. Not only that, but Charlotte never led the whole game.

Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace excoriated their teammates for their lack of effort. Read these gems, excerpted from the Charlotte Observer game story (written by the very capable Rick Bonnell, who is sitting behind me in the media room):

“To not even show up at all is embarrassing,” …

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