Archive for March, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Practice report

Pausing during a ‘Nique-heavy day for some late afternoon notes . . .

  • The Hawks had a light practice session today.
  • J.J. on the thumb: “A little sore but for the most part it feels OK. I shot well [today], actually. It’s going to be one of those things that pretty much lingers. I am never going to have enough time to rest it for it to heal up.”
  • Smoove on the knee: “It feels good. I just need to rest it whenever I can and try to keep taking care of it.”
  • Al says the hamstring isn’t an issue. He said he gets “maintenance” treatment for the ankle: “The ankle is the one that is still real sore, especially last night [after] I played a lot of minutes. Besides the ankle, I feel fine.”
  • L.D. said Twin got treatment for some swelling in his knee.
  • After three consecutive solid outings, do the Hawks think they’ve turned the corner and can keep this roll going?
  • Drew: “I still want some more. I’m not ready to say that yet. I see signs but I am waiting on us to put together a series of wins …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 85, Magic 82

  • During the game I kept telling Hawks PR man Arthur Triche that strange stuff was happening like Twin holding down Dwight and Josh draining fade away jumpers.
  • And then the most bizarre thing of all happened after: An Ex-NBA ref allegedly attacked ‘Nique soon after he finished his TV duties. Atlanta Police arrested the man. ‘Nique was said to be uninjured and returned home.
  • As for the game, it’s uncertain what these three straight Ws against the Magic will mean come the playoffs, especially since this was the first meeting in which Orlando was (relatively) healthy and cohesive.
  • But, as Jamal put it: “It definitely doesn’t hurt.”
  • I used to think the Heat would provide the best potential playoffs match up for the Hawks because of their shaky point guard play and lack of a real scoring threat on the front line. Now it might be the Magic, though their lack of depth while missing Redick was a mitigating factor tonight.
  • And the reason for that shift in view, so help me gosh, is …

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Magic at Atlanta Hawks: Meaning and matchups

The Hawks sure do sound confident about playing the Magic. Not that I thought they’d say they are worried or anything but a more measured tone might be expected after last spring’s beat down, the extenuating circumstances surrounding the three previous meetings this season and Atlanta’s issues since the All-Star break.

It’s that last part that had Smoove playing down what tonight’s game might mean for the likely rematch in the playoffs.

“The playoffs and regular season are completely different,” he said. “We just want to play consistently right now.”

L.D. and J.J., meanwhile, obliged media types looking for that playoffs angle.

Joe: “We’ve played them pretty well during the regular season. Obviously the playoffs are a lot different but
we know we can play this team.”

Drew: “I think it’s definitely a carryover. We want to approach this game like it has true meaning, which it does. Win, lose or draw we have to come out and establish ourselves and compete and play hard. The last …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson to return to lineup as Hawks look for ‘mental edge’ over Magic

J.J. practiced today and said he “definitely” will play against the Magic after missing a game with a sprained right thumb.

“A little sore but it will be all right,” he said. “I have had a couple days to rest so I am sure it will be ready to go.”

Joe said he would probably wear some kind of protective device on the thumb. He said he was able to shoot the ball without problems while participating in the full session.

“He was actually pretty good,” L.D. said. “I asked him how the thumb was and he said it was much better than a couple days ago. That’s good to hear. I thought he shot the ball pretty good today.”

Smoove missed the final portion of practice to get treatment on his sore right knee. He’s not listed on the injury report.

If Joe returns to the lineup and if Jameer Nelson (knee) is able to play, it would be the first Hawks-Magic this season in which both teams had all their regular starters available.

Nelson sat out the Magic’s 93-89 victory on Nov. 8 at Amway Center. …

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Atlanta Hawks: ‘Alternative present’ appealing?

At Hoopinion, Bret LaGree uses his Cavs game recap to imagine how Hawks fans might have accepted a team without Joe Johnson:

Last night might have been a glimpse of an alternative present, one where the Hawks, at 12:01am on July 1, 2010, did not immediately offer Joe Johnson every cent they possibly could. A present where the Hawks, following a sober assessment of their current state and future options, chose to take a chance on their young frontcourt, trusted their fan base to accept short-term mediocrity as part of a bid for long-term relevance, and let someone else be the highest bidder for Joe Johnson’s thirties.

Last night’s Hawks game doesn’t prove anything about anything and I acknowledge that this alternative present I envisioned assumed some manner of Mike Bibby disposal to remain a pleasant thought. But say the Hawks had sold the 2010-11 season on the basis of the future. Imagine a 2010-11 season wherein the Hawks still extended Al Horford to a reasonable deal, …

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Hawks 99, Cavs 83

Greetings, all-

Hope you all enjoyed the game. Cleveland isn’t the true test we’re waiting for, but the Hawks won, won convincingly, won without Joe Johnson and won with strong individual performances, so that’s about all you can ask for tonight.

- Marvin Williams had one of the best games of his career – 31 points on just 14 shots, 10-for-11 from the free-throw line, seven rebounds. He had 13 in the fourth quarter. Larry Drew got him a lot of touches. He posted up a good bit and got his shots from the corner. Drew said prior to the game that he thought he was responding to coming off the bench because he got more touches that way and wanted to keep the rhythm going.

“I got going early and [Drew] kept coming to me, my teammates kept coming to me,” Williams said. “I had a big night, our team had a big night.”

He had two fairly significant baskets in the fourth – the Cavs were trying to rally and Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers from the corner in about a minute’s span that …

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Hawks-Cavaliers game thread

Greetings, all-

Hope you’re well. About to head to the court. The lineup: Kirk Hinrich, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jason Collins. Interesting collection. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Gotta run. Will chime in.

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 98, Nets 87

  • The Hawks are in the playoffs.
  • “It’s special,” Al said. “It’s something I don’t take or granted. A lot of guys play in this league and don’t get this chance. I’m very excited about it. Now it’s about us building on this and keep getting better.”
  • The Hawks immediately set out to do all the things well offensively that they usually struggle with. “Guys just came out with a different attitude tonight,” Josh said.
  • It was all on display during that 19-0 run that allowed the Hawks to take control until they suddenly weren’t in the fourth.
  • J.J. earned an and-1 by challenging Humphries at the rim (the Hawks aren’t good at drawing fouls). . . .
  • Hinrich bird-dogged the inbound pass, stole it and made a jump shot (the Hawks are nearly last in opponent turnover percentage). . . .
  • Josh passed up a jump shot and scored on a spinning baseline hook from 11 feet (you know). . . .
  • Joe got doubled and immediately dumped it off to Al for a short jump hook (quick decision by J.J.) . . .
  • J.J. …

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Nets at Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith’s knee still ailing

Smoove says he has a new plan for his knee pain and his game.

The right knee is still sore. He sprained it against the Nuggets on Feb. 28 after he’d tweaked it earlier in the season.

“It gets sore as I play on it,” Smith said. “That day off after that back-to-back was big for me. I needed the rest. It’s probably not going to be 100 percent at this point. I will just get it treated as much as I can and rest it when I can.”

Smith said his father, Pete, told him a few games back to try running on his toes. He resisted at first because he’s more comfortable running heel-toe but finally relented at Philly and said it helped alleviate some of the pain.

Even with the bum knee, Smoove said he plans to continue to play closer to the basket like he did at Philly.

“I’m trying to drive the ball a little bit more,” he said. “I think it’s a positive for the team and a positive for my game. I can’t think about [the knee]. It makes me play worse. I’ve got to go out there and try to play the …

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Atlanta Hawks: What happened to Joe’s mojo?

Sorry for the late post, blog people. Don’t ever believe ‘em when they tell you the pupil dilation wears off in an hour . . . .

The Hawks aren’t going anywhere if J.J. doesn’t get in a groove. OK, they may not go anywhere even if he does, but they’ve got no chance if his form doesn’t improve as he finishes up his least productive year since his first one in Atlanta and his least efficient year since his days in Phoenix.

The problem is opponents aren’t making it easy for J.J. to find his form. He still draws swarming double teams most nights and it’s seemed to knock him off kilter. There are times when J.J. looks as if he’s not sure what to do, and I think that’s a big reason why he’s sounded so despondent lately.

Clearly the Hawks need Joe (and Jamal for that matter) to find a way to score. Passing off every time he gets doubled isn’t the answer, since it takes Atlanta’s most talented scorer out of the offense and plays into the strategy of the defense.

What’s J.J.’s thinking …

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