Hawks 83, Bulls 80

Greetings, all-

Hope you enjoyed the game. Abysmal first half followed by an inspired second half, led by Al Horford.

- Hawks gave up 30 points in the second half. That’s their best in a half this season by five points. Chicago shot 30.6 percent and had nine turnovers in the half after 51.4 percent and seven in the first half. The Hawks would have done even better if they’d done a little better rebounding. Chicago had 10 offensive rebounds in the second half alone, leading to eight second-chance points.

- Horford had it in another gear – 31 points, 16 rebounds, including 9 of 12 in the second half. Larry Drew: “He was an absolute beast tonight. … He was our anchor tonight. During the timeouts, he was in the huddles cheering the guys, and just telling the guys to keep plugging.”

I thought it was an interesting observation on Drew’s part. I didn’t get to ask Horford this, but I would imagine that with Josh Smith not in the game and not even on the bench, he felt more comfortable being a vocal leader like that.

- On the game-winning pick and roll: Drew: “We knew that with Jamal, they would be concerned with him coming off of a screen. He came off of a screen earlier and they semi-trapped it and then they broke out of it and then Jamal just broke the guy down and got the ball to Marvin in the corner. I knew that they would be concerned and really focused on Jamal coming off the pick and roll, so we designed a play that brought him off and he made a great pass to Al and Al just had a forceful roll and a strong finish.”

It reminds me a little of his thought process in the play against the Clippers that resulted in Horford hammered by Blake Griffin. The Hawks had run a play just seconds before in which Joe Johnson inbounded to Horford, who handed off back to Johnson. Drew saw how the Clippers jumped on Johnson, so he called for a fake handoff to take advantage of the overpursuit.

- Hawks were awful in the first half – the Bulls were winning loose balls and getting to offensive rebounds (which continued in the second half) while the Hawks offense looked stiff. It wasn’t producing open shots and when Johnson and Crawford had to go one-on-one they weren’t converting at the rim.

- The very crucial play at the end where Johnson defended Derrick Rose with the tenacity of a college walk-on, leading to the bad pass to Rose from Carlos Boozer that led to Johnson’s dunk at the other end can be credited, in a way, to Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague.

In the past, as you well know, Johnson has logged plenty of minutes chasing point guards from the first quarter on. Hinrich had Rose most of the night, and Teague had him for a spell, allowing Johnson to go against Keith Bogans.

“That’s what I was telling Kirk and Jeff before the game,” Johnson said. “I was like, Y’all chase D-Rose around early and, come late, I’ll get him in the fourth and give it everything I’ve got. They did a great job. When I got my chance to guard him, I just wanted to make it tough on him.”

I think MC has addressed this, but one huge benefit of the Hinrich trade is that Johnson won’t have those minutes on point guards like he did in the past. I don’t think Johnson’s complaining.

- More on Hinrich – not a great offensive game (1 for 5, three points, two assists) but his value is in Rose’s numbers. Rose was 5 for 21, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range, with 12 assists against six turnovers. I’d say it was an off night for Rose, but Hinrich definitely helped.

- Horford had his first 3-pointer of the season, a corner ball that came out of the offense. Horford shoots them in practice and isn’t bad, particularly from the corners, but said that he hasn’t taken them because the team has other 3-point shooters. He felt free to take it Wednesday because he said Drew has never told him not to take one.

“My heels were at the 3 (line) so I said, ‘I might as well take a step back and I was in a rhythm and I feel confident taking that shot,” he said.

- Smith definitely was missed. Chicago had a bunch of dunks, particularly early, that you’d think Smith would have challenged.

Drew: “Josh, he’s kind of a kamikaze. You know in transition with him bringing the ball on the break that there’s a chance the ball could end up in the stands somewhere but you also know he’s capable of making plays. I’ve come to the point to live with that. When he gets the ball off the glass and brings it down on the break, we are in an attack mode. … His energy when he’s flying all over the court just makes us a much more effective ballclub.”

- Thanks to Najeh for pointing out at the end of the game thread that Kevin Durant turned his ankle Wednesday night. Durant said he’s hopeful he can go Friday against the Hawks.

118 comments Add your comment

lewis

March 3rd, 2011
12:50 am

Best win all year

lewis

March 3rd, 2011
12:50 am

and wtf is up wit josh’s knee

K.W.

March 3rd, 2011
12:55 am

I really liked how the Hawks fought back in the second. Al Horford putting the Hawks on his back was just amazing. Very good win for the Hawks.

Buddy Grizzard

March 3rd, 2011
1:10 am

Did I really see what I think I just saw? Did they pass to Al Horford in crunch time?

northcyde

March 3rd, 2011
1:12 am

Ken S . . I’m glad you broke down the pick and roll play with Jamal and Horford, because Jamal made two GREAT PG type plays down the stretch of that game.

Instead of penetrating and shooting, he passed it to a wide open Marvin in the corner for a 3. Jamal could’ve easily forced up that shot, but he made the correct decision by getting the ball to the open man.

Without Marvin’s 3, we’re not in position in the end to take that game. Then Jamal follows it up with the perfectly executed pick and roll play. Just great PG type plays from him in the closing minutes.

The Truth

March 3rd, 2011
1:13 am

I see the Bulls didn’t just bring their fans to the highlight factory, but they also brought their own referees as well. The fouls they overlooked committed by the bulls were beyond human errors, they were a blatant conspiracy.

1) Boozer put a choke hold on Al around the neck but yet no call.
2) Boozer put a take down on Al but yet no call
3) Al also made numerous drives to the basket and got hacked but yet no call.
4) Marvin got mugged in the paint but yet no call

These were just examples of many others. These overlooks by these officials were more than a coincidence especially on your own home court. Despite the win, these “no-calls” were outrageous.

Freshfromatl

March 3rd, 2011
1:13 am

LOL…

ESPN is showing Marvin A LOT of love tonight. AL is getting a lot of props also. Good job guys! Also, major props to Captain Kirk on the defensive end!

northcyde

March 3rd, 2011
1:14 am

Much love to Horford. He did exactly what he had to do. Somebody on this team had to have a monster game in order for us to win. Tonight, it was Horford’s turn. His offensive rebounding was key, because he converted most of those offensive rebounds into 2 points.

The team could’ve easily given up, but they decided to hunker down on defense and grind it out. And those first 6 minutes in the 3rd, in which the defense was lights out, got us back into the game.

Good team win tonight. Even Marvin came up big on offense and defense.

northcyde

March 3rd, 2011
1:16 am

Oh . . by the way . . that makes us 24 – 5 at home in the month of March the past 3+ years. This team turns it on in March and find ways to win. Hopefully this will be the first of many exciting wins @ Philips in the coming days and weeks.

The Truth

March 3rd, 2011
1:16 am

Correction: 1) Boozer put a choke hold on Al around the neck but yet no technical.

ATLfan

March 3rd, 2011
1:21 am

Anybody feel that this was because of the lack of Josh Smith’s negativity and mistakes?

Rufus1

March 3rd, 2011
1:23 am

Drinking their on Koolaide….

The Bulls and the Bulls fans believe they are ab elite team, but they haven’t won a playoff series in like 8 years….

The National media will continue to dismiss the Hawks….But if the Hawks are not elite, then the Heat, Magic and Bulls aren’t either.

6 and 5 against Knicks, Bulls, Magic, Heat and Celtics….I think only Boston has a better record.

The Hawks now have an elite defense, so now all we need is Joe to find his shot and we will be fine.

Buddy Grizzard

March 3rd, 2011
1:30 am

ATLfan I love Josh Smith, but there’s no question he’s been feuding all year with LD about shot selection. After the trade for KH, Marvin Williams, one of the two Hawks regulars with college championship pedigree, immediately embraced the move. I knew that KH would be vocal on defense and demand effort from his teammates.

So I think Al, the other former college champ, will really embrace Kirk’s arrival as well because of what it does to the culture of the team. Effort on defense starts up front and when the rest of the team sees that effort from the point guards, effort will pick up at all positions. Hopefully a new attitude will rub off on Josh.

MJC

March 3rd, 2011
1:30 am

ATLfan

March 3rd, 2011
1:21 am

Anybody feel that this was because of the lack of Josh Smith’s negativity and mistakes?
————————————

Your statement is the equivalent to “I didn’t watch the game.” We were outrebounded and missed Josh’s offense a lot in this one. The fact that we won this is thanks to DEFENSE. The Hawks are giving up an average of 82 pts with Hinrich in the lineup.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
1:37 am

Say what you want about LD’s substitutions and usage of Teague, but Woody would have never thought through all of that to design a high percentage play to win the game.

ATLfan

March 3rd, 2011
1:39 am

I too am a fan of Josh but man he is the first to “quit” during a tough game, IMO. I hope these last trades and this important month bring out the best in Josh. I also hope his knee thing is just minor.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
1:40 am

“Anybody feel that this was because of the lack of Josh Smith’s negativity and mistakes?”

This was because Al Horford took care of his own usual production and Smoove’s production, and because Kirk Hinrich stepped up and provided the defensive impact that Smoove usually provides, with his fantastic man to man defense on Rose. I figured people would show up and try to spin this win as some sort of anti-Smoove nonsense, but unless you think Al will put up 31 and 16 every game, you can forget about it.

Grandad

March 3rd, 2011
1:41 am

Let’s bring back Mario West and really get defensive !

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
1:45 am

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
1:47 am

“that makes us 24 – 5 at home in the month of March the past 3+ years. This team turns it on in March and find ways to win. Hopefully this will be the first of many exciting wins @ Philips in the coming days and weeks.”

Hopefully they will be equally good in the months of April and May (and maybe June?) this time around.

kaminari

March 3rd, 2011
1:50 am

Having the Captain & the Kid in there are much better than Bibby, but that’s no disrespect to him and what he brought to our club. I’ve heard it said somewhere that defense wins Championships. Let’s thank the Bulls for bringing the defense tonight to Phillips and showing us how it’s done. Thankfully we bettered them in the second half, and if we can do that then we are elite.

I noticed the turning point when Boozer took down Al. The replays showed the disrespectful look on Boozer’s face during the take down. I’m glad Al nearly kicked him in the jaw cause we need more of that. Marvin can be such a weak, finesse guy but when he gets some confidence look out. Where have these guys been all year? At least they finally made it to the dance and I’m pretty sure that regardless of whether we get to 50 wins or not, I’m satisfied that a healthy Hawks team, as is, can put a run against any of teams in the playoffs. The one sour point is big men, and it was nice to see Armstrong in action, even though he did look a little lost, but he was hustling, too.

The Truth

March 3rd, 2011
1:52 am

JJ struggles gave me a horrible 2010 Hawks-Orlando playoff series flashback. I think he approached this game with low expectation of a win since Josh was out and played accordingly. It’s clear:

Teammates followed AL Horford and got inspired. If teammates had followed JJ they would have been disappointed.

So who’s the real leader of the team? Like The Quickening; “There can be only one”

niremetal

March 3rd, 2011
1:58 am

Of course, JJ had 9 assists, 7 rebounds, and played outstanding defense. But hey, that doesn’t matter, because he didn’t shoot well. Right? :roll:

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
2:00 am

It’s about time Joe started being a complementary player in the offense, instead of the focal point. The offense plainly and simply does not function as well when Joe has to create offense for himself, let alone for others. Good defensive teams like Chicago — and Orlando last year — snuff out Joe’s over-dribbling and slow reactions and force him into contested jumpers. Let the Hawks’ new competent point guards set up Smoove in the low post and/or Al in the mid range/high post area, let Smoove and/or Al create, and let Joe get his shots off the resulting defensive attention and via off-the-ball movement.

The Truth

March 3rd, 2011
2:02 am

Nire
I can think of 125M reasons why JJ should have brought more (relatively speaking of course) :)

mykhalc

March 3rd, 2011
2:30 am

Joe’s line-score and defense were good, no doubt. but Joe is Robin and the sooner the team (and Joe) comes to that realization the better!!! i really do hope Al and Kirk claim ‘vocal’ leadership roles with this team. who in the real world is inspired by silence??? ok…yogis!!! but on the court, silence is not what one wants from its’ leaders…PERIOD!!!! glad to see some heart from this team!!!

south Ga boy in the ATL

March 3rd, 2011
3:11 am

Najeh, I love Smoove too, but facts are stubborn things. When (emphasis on when) Smoove wants to play defense there is nobody any better. His athleticism and tenacity cannot be matched. But any regular watching Hawks fan knows that if you watch him throughout the game, he takes plays off time and time again. He can be lackadasical and sag in toward the paint leaving his man wide open for any easy three. He can be seen regularly complaining to a ref about a call while his man is streaking down the court for any easy jam. He can be late with help defense and he takes unnecessary chances to get a steal while leaving his man untethered to drive the lane for an easy score. He avg.’s about 2 steals a game but will usually give up 3 or 4 uncontested 5 footers when he missed the steal. I love Smoove, but if he gave 3/4 the effort on defense that Al or Kirk gave tonight, then we would have a real shot at a championship. Smoove is the key to this team. If he gives max effort down the stretch and in the playoffs, and stops throwing the ball into the 10th row like some peanut vendor then we can go far, but until then don’t rebuke legitimate criticism of one “J Smoooooveeee”

Mac-Town, Georgia (urban-macon.blogspot.com)

March 3rd, 2011
4:20 am

With the exception of the Pacers and Wizards (2 of our final 4 games) and the Cavs on March 27th, all of our other remaining games are either against plus .500 good teams, or sub .500 teams that have previously beaten us and/or caused us problems already this year.

Tough, but I think this is exactly what we need. If we expect to make noise in the playoffs, that’s one heck of schedule to prepare ourselves and see where we stand and make the necessary adjustments against quality competition.

Tard Monkey

March 3rd, 2011
5:21 am

I don’t know what’s worse. The nasty minded hater attacks on Josh Smith or the whiny sycophantic defense of Joe Johnson who provided a healthy dose of rebounding and assists with defense, but who shot the ball like a streaky second string shooting guard.

Buddy Grizzard

March 3rd, 2011
6:10 am

“It’s about time Joe started being a complementary player in the offense.” – Najeh

My first comment was a sarcastic reference to this. In case you missed it, read the NY Times blog entry titled “Hawks fail to Embrace Undervalued Horford”:

http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/hawks-fail-to-embrace-undervalued-horford/

Who should the Hawks be going to in close games? In this game, Horford shot 13-20, good for 65%. The rest of the Hawks combined shot 20-62 or 32%. JJ was 5-20 and Jamal was 5-13.

Horford’s 57% field goal shooting for the year ranks 4th in the league. And yet not long ago I remember Horford saying it was his first time ever taking the last shot of a close game as a Hawk. Was it the Clippers game?

Jamal has been coming back around but JJ’s numbers are down this year and he’s less efficient than ever. It’s time for LD to wake up to the fact that everybody else in the league already knows but he pretends not to: Al Horford is the best player on the Hawks roster.

prison mike

March 3rd, 2011
6:18 am

I’ll flat out say it, the bulls are good but extremely over rated. Their backcourt shoot 3pointers worse than marvin and the front court is inferior to atlanta’s.

rk

March 3rd, 2011
7:03 am

I can’t believe people still think JT will be a good NBA point guard. He did not play the point in college and looks lost in the NBA. He was a good college player who will never be a good NBA player. He just does not have the talent.

Section 303

March 3rd, 2011
7:53 am

Great win! I’m still in the mood to celebrate!

NUNNA!!

March 3rd, 2011
8:04 am

rk,
So tell us,what position did he play in college?
I neve followed him at WF i always thought he was the PG who followed Chris Paul and was thinking he was a PG all along.

Skool me

Najeh Davenpoop

March 3rd, 2011
8:05 am

“he takes plays off time and time again. He can be lackadasical and sag in toward the paint leaving his man wide open for any easy three. He can be seen regularly complaining to a ref about a call while his man is streaking down the court for any easy jam. He can be late with help defense and he takes unnecessary chances to get a steal while leaving his man untethered to drive the lane for an easy score. He avg.’s about 2 steals a game but will usually give up 3 or 4 uncontested 5 footers when he missed the steal. ”

Everything you have said here has been true on one occasion or another, but where I disagree is in the implication that any of this happens often enough to define Smoove’s identity.

terrell

March 3rd, 2011
8:20 am

Marvin said “he probably coulda put me in the basket”. Are u kidding me? With that azz? lol!

MJC

March 3rd, 2011
8:28 am

@terrell: Lol

Also, nice to see my comment got removed.

terrell

March 3rd, 2011
8:29 am

Teague played sg as a freshman, and started plaaying pg when Ismael Smith got hurt. Never gave up the starting pg job after that.

terrell

March 3rd, 2011
8:30 am

Would you ever here Al or Josh saying “he coulda put me in the basket”? Marvin needs to grow a pair.

mike

March 3rd, 2011
8:31 am

Nice win. Will an AJC Reporter please write how this game proves the Hawks are better without J-Smoove. Reason being – Horford belongs in the power forward spot. Look what he did! So 2 of the Hawks best players are Power forwards and the better is Horford. Trade Josh and get a REAL Center – Hibbert maybe?

Atlgent

March 3rd, 2011
8:32 am

I was at the game and I am not a JJ supporter as of recently but I noticed how basically even with out the ball, Chicago kept 2 men in the immediate vicinity of JJ. He was hogged all night, forcefully bumped when coming around screens, pushed and tugged on even when the ball was on the opposite side of the court. It was a tough game for him and he did miss a few easy looks and drives to the basket but Chicago brought a TOUGH “D” to the game and a game plan that worked wonders initially but unraveled as the game went on. Also, credit JJ for stifling “D” on Rose at the end of the game. Also, Teague put the lock down on Rose for the 3 or 4 minutes he had to cover him! But I think they underestimated the offensive prowess of Horford.

Horford had many open shots and played tremendously! Just from looking at his shooting from the perimeter, I began to think, Is it possible to play Horford on the wing offensively in a “pseudo” small forward position and keep J Smoove near the interior offensively and reverse that on the defensive end?

vava74

March 3rd, 2011
8:39 am

mike,

Horford played the bulk of his minutes at the C spot defensively checking Noah whilst Collins and Zaza checked on Boozer.

On offense, given Horford’s game, its irrelevant if he plays the C or the PF slot and guess what, he was defended by Noah most of the time too, so… he played the C spot in spite of Collins and Zaza being on the floor.

tony

March 3rd, 2011
8:44 am

JS, when you come back PLZ PLZ PLZ play to your strength(rebounding, block shots, and steals) because this team can win many games without you trying to score so many points. Dennis Rodman help the Pistons win 2 championships because of his commitment to rebound and play solid defense. You bring more to the table than Dennis because you are a terrific shot blocker and can steal. Let the scoring come to you. IT WILL COME, TRUST ME.

Now you people see how valuable Mr Kirk can be for a team. Heck, the smartest fanbase(Lakers) in the world wanted him because he is such a tremendous defensive player. He brings more than that to the table. His assists will get better and his decision making will be key if LD let him run the SHOW. Nice win. Even had me jumping through the roof…..LOL

vava74

March 3rd, 2011
8:46 am

Atlgent,

JJ worked his butt off the whole game: very good D (in particular on that last possession), 7 rebounds and 9 assists, 1 steal and JUST 1 TO whilst being double and triple teamed.

He was unlucky in a couple of layups that did not went in and was clearly fouled on another with the refs swallowing their whistles.

With just a little bit of luck and that call he could have posted 18 points and his FG% would have been acceptable.

People fail to realize how small is the difference between a boxscore looking good and not and get too hung up on that.

JJ was fundamental for the win.

Booo!

March 3rd, 2011
8:47 am

“I can’t believe people still think JT will be a good NBA point guard. He did not play the point in college and looks lost in the NBA. He was a good college player who will never be a good NBA player. He just does not have the talent.”

—————————————————–

So it would be better if he was a fat, slow, unathletic, guard who looks to shoot first and cant dribble? Well, we just traded him away (Have fun with that MIA!)

You know, Krik’s numbers havent exactly jumped of the page either. you sir, don’t have a clue of which you speak. Defense wins Titles. Asise from scoring, Teague can fill up a stat sheet….he’s pretty much the PG version of Josh, just with more self control.

Booo!

March 3rd, 2011
8:48 am

MIA fans are delusional. They think Bibby is a huge upgrade over chalmers and Arroyo Ha!

Atlgent

March 3rd, 2011
8:48 am

“Hawks fan knows that if you watch him throughout the game, he takes plays off time and time again. He can be lackadasical and sag in toward the paint leaving his man wide open for any easy three. He can be seen regularly complaining to a ref about a call while his man is streaking down the court for any easy jam. He can be late with help defense and he takes unnecessary chances to get a steal while leaving his man untethered to drive the lane for an easy score. He avg.’s about 2 steals a game but will usually give up 3 or 4 uncontested 5 footers when he missed the steal. I love Smoove, but if he gave 3/4 the effort on defense that Al or Kirk gave tonight, then we would have a real shot at a championship”

@ South Ga boy in the AtL

I will not disagree with what you stated but what you described is minute and scarcely represents the true value and effort of J Smoove. YOU cannot base every game that J Smoove has played this year on 1, I mean 1 game that KIRK and Horford played. Notice your last sentence from above. First off, Kirk has played less than 4 games. And has Horford even played defensively that well at any other game this season. Actually, it was not even a complete game this time because in the 1st half, there was NO defense. So basically, Horford did not even give 3/4 of the defense that you claim he gave! Explanation please..!!!!

Al Horford

March 3rd, 2011
8:48 am

Hey Joe,

I would like to have a percentage of your salary because it is very obvious that the team performs much better when I get multiple touches. Could you please not try and crossover any other defender because it has not effectively worked for you since you arrived in Atlanta.

Booo!

March 3rd, 2011
8:49 am

*”Aside from scoring”

Booo!

March 3rd, 2011
8:54 am

“Also, Teague put the lock down on Rose for the 3 or 4 minutes he had to cover him!”

Yessir!