Archive for February, 2011

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 …

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Hawks-Clips pre-game notes/game thread

Greetings, all-

Ken sitting in for MC, who’s prepping himself for the epic road trip. A couple things from shootaround.

1) Larry Drew will start the “big” lineup, which means to start Al Horford will be matched up with Blake Griffin.

Horford, on how aware he is of the hype surrounding Griffin: “Very aware. We see him on ESPN every day, the highlights and the dunks. He’s a great player.”

2) Horford and Joe Johnson comments on their All-Star selections, second and fifth, respectively.

Horford: “It’s special. I take a lot of pride in working and just getting better as a player. I”m happy to be on a team like this. We’ve been winning, we’ve been having success, so that makes it better.”

Johnson: “I had visions (of achieving this at the start of his career), not knowing if it would happen or not. Now that it’s a reality, every year’s been amazing, and I’m sure this year’s going to be amazing, too. I’m just looking forward to going out there, having fun representing the Atlanta …

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Atlanta Hawks: Johnson and Horford are All-Stars again

Al and Joe are All-Star teammates again. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Al and Joe are All-Star teammates again. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Eastern Conference coaches voted Hawks guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford as reserves for the NBA All-Star game, the league announced tonight.

It’s the fifth straight All-Star selection for Johnson and the second in a row for Horford. Both players represented the Hawks in Dallas last season, when Horford played in reserve and Johnson started after Allen Iverson was unable to play due to injury.

This year’s game is set to be played on Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Johnson, 29, has been named an All-Star in all but one of his six seasons in Atlanta. He signed a six-year, $123.7 million free-agent contract with the Hawks last summer.

“It means a great deal to me to be selected as an All-Star again,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “I can’t thank my coaches and teammates, as well as the organization, enough for helping to put me in this position.”

Horford, 24, is …

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Atlanta Hawks All-Star watch: Al (yes), Joe (probably) and Josh (maybe?) (Update: Al and Joe are in; Josh is out)

The All-Star reserves, voted on by coaches, will be announced tonight (coverage begins at 7 p.m. on TNT). The Hawks will be repped for sure, and the question is how many guys they will place on the team.

(UPDATE: A few minutes before the official announcement, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the East reserves are Al, Joe, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. The league officially announced reserves a few minutes later.)

Unless something crazy happens, Al will make the team. J.J isn’t a certainty but he’s got a good shot. Smoove is the wild card, though Hawks blog legend Sekou gave him the nod over Joe.

Josh, if your remember, downplayed his desire to be an All-Star last season both before and after he was left off the team. Then after going on a tear in the weeks following the announcement of the reserves, he admitted he very much wanted to be an All-Star and motivated by the perceived snub.

This time he’s not pretending he …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 100, Raptors 87

There was no stopping J.J. (AP Photo)

There was no stopping J.J. (AP Photo)

  • Perhaps the Hawks lose tonight to a better opponent than these downtrodden Raptors. Chances are it wouldn’t have been so easy to score against a team that actually can play defense. And Atlanta’s half-quarter of respectable D wouldn’t get it done against most teams since they have better offensive talent than the Barbosa- and Kleiza-less Raps.
  • From an aesthetics standpoint, Atlanta’s offensive performance (especially J.J.) was a pleasure. Needing a big third quarter from Mo and a fantastic final period from J.J. to win a game in which the Hawks couldn’t have been much better on offense doesn’t do much for their credentials in the big picture.
  • “We played very unselfishly,” L.D. said. “The offense was there. The defense was non-existent in the fist half.”
  • J.J. was superb. It’s fascinating to watch him work when he’s going like this. He was in complete control, getting to the places he wanted on the court, passing when he should, making …

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Raptors at Atlanta Hawks: Picking-and-rolling them (again)

The Hawks are facing a team that L.D. expects to run a lot of pick-and-rolls. The Hawks won last time against the Raps but he didn’t think they did a good job defending pick-and-rolls.

This is going to be a continuing theme for the Hawks, who rank 27th in the league against the pick-and-roll ballhandler according to Synergy Sports Technology. That’s obviously troublesome because pick-and-rolls are a league staple, and the Hawks have shown no indication that the guards who are playing the most minutes can contain the ball with any consistency.

“Let’s face it: That’s the NBA,” Drew said of screen-rolls. “Some nights it is going to be good for you; some nights you may not do as good of a job. You are not going to be able to take everything away in defending the pick-and-roll. Hopefully your coverages and your techniques are good enough to where you can at least affect it a little bit. Against New York, I thought we were pretty good.”

According to Synergy, the Hawks were indeed …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘Big’ lineup won’t be the norm after all

There was a time when L.D. was considering making the Twin lineup the regular lineup. He was thinking about using it regardless of the availability of Marvin or the size and/or post-scoring prowess of the opposing center.

If you recall, L.D. likes the lineup because it makes the Hawks sounder on D when they don’t have to double the post.

Now, though, Drew says the “normal” lineup will be Bibby, J.J., Marvin, Smoove and Al. Twin will get in only when the Hawks need to counter beef on the frontline.

“Right now if there are any adjustments with the lineup it will be because who we are playing and we decide to go big or if I have someone who is hurt,” L.D. said.

L.D. added that he considers his rotation to be pretty much set after 48 games. Based on what’s happened lately, that would mean Jamal, Zaza, Damien and Mo will get regular playing time while Teague, Powell and Twin will get in where they fit in.

“I’ve got a good feel for where we are right now,” Drew said.

Looking at the …

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