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. curled off a screen and shot an in-rhythm jump shot (ditto). . . .
  • Josh scored on a drive (again, you know) . . .
  • Marvin put back his own miss (the Hawks are not a good offensive rebounding team). . . .
  • And, finally Smoove dunked on a transition pass from Al after Atlanta easily broke New Jersey’s pressure (the Hawks usually play at a plodding pace).
  • That made it 19-2. When the Nets got it back to 19-7 Hinrich caught New Jersey flat-footed in transition and pushedfor a layup, Smoove got a steal and dunk and Hinrich scored on a nice crossover move to make it 25-7.
  • The Hawks made all these plays at the same time they harassed New Jersey’s anemic offense with good ball pressure, sharp rotations, aggressive play in the passing lanes and solid defensive rebounding from all positions.
  • “We really played our game that first half,” L.D. said. “We were pushing the ball, we were moving the ball. Guys were making plays, Joe was making plays out of the post. We were swigning the ball well. It just seemed like everything was going right. I thought we played as well of a first half as we could offensively and defensively we did a really good job.”
  • And now–say it with me, blog people–the Hawks have to prove they can do all of that against better competition than the Nets. Not to mention the lapses by the bench guys that prompted L.D. to send the starters back in with the lead down to 16.
  • “I think our mindset was great for three quarters or so,” Hinrich said. “We just have to feel when we are starting to go the other way and get a little bit of slippage and come together and not allow that to happen.”
  • Perhaps L.D. was too cautious in bringing back the starters but he wasn’t taking anything for granted. “I only wanted to play Al two more minutes and let the reserves play the rest of the game,” L.D. said. “When it got to 16 I thought I had to get our guys back in there and try to regroup a little bit and get the game back under control. I certainly didn’t want to play the starters in the fourth quarter.”
  • None of this is meant to downgrade a desperately needed W for the Hawks. This is especially true since they started off playing so well. They hadn’t looked that good lately no matter the opponent.
  • “I don’t care how you get it as long as you get it,” Drew said. “We made it a little interesting down the stretch there but that New Jersey team has no quit in them. They are still playing hard.”
  • Smoove vowed to focus on playing closer to the basket and mostly kept his word early. Four of his 12 shot attempts from beyond 11 feet came in the second half, including a meaningless 3-point attempt in the final minute. His aggressiveness led to eight free-throw attempts.
  • For the second consecutive game Hinrich looked relaxed and confident with the ball. Lost in all the talk about Atlanta’s slumping offense is that Hinrich is capable of creating shots and making them, too. “I have a better feel for how I have to play to help us,” he said.
  • Hinrich was aggressive defensively, too. He had Farmar so unsettled early that Avery Johnson quickly went to Uzoh.
  • Joe got his right thumb bent back during a scramble for a loose ball: “I didn’t know if it was still attached when it happened. It hurt that much.”
  • He said the pain subsided for a bit and he returned to the bench with ice on the thumb. But then the pain returned and he was done for the night. L.D. initially said Joe would make the trip to Cleveland but he ended up staying behind.
  • Joe will get at least three days off to rest the thumb: “Maybe if it was my left hand it would be a lot different. But we have got to look at the bigger picture. We have got to be healthy as possible going into the playoffs.”
  • Jamal was an efficient scorer and playmaker early with five assists, zero turnovers, 10 points and 5 of 9 shooting in the first half. His 3-pointer made it 85-66. Then he was 0 for 3 with a turnover as the Nets trimmed that lead to 88-78.
  • “He came off the bench very aggressive and that’s how I want to see him play,” Drew said. “He was in the attack mode, he was making really good plays getting the ball to his teammates. He lost that aggression particularly when he show the airball. I told him I don’t care if he shoots five airballs I want him being in that attack mode the whole time he’s on the floor.”
  • The Hawks needed everyone to pitch in rebounding against New Jersey’s rugged front line. They collected 31 of New Jersey’s 41 misses (not included team rebounds). Zaza (seven rebounds in 18 minutes) and Hinrich (seven rebounds) were pluses.
  • The Nets hung in despite missing Deron Williams (wrist) and subpar production from Brook Lopez (six points, zero rebounds in 31 minutes while playing with a sore arm).
  • “You knew they would come out and try to knock us out early but if you watch how we play we come back and battle,” Avery said. “To get this game as close again after the way the first half went shows the heart of this team. There are no moral victories but we played well after the weak start.”
  • As bad as things have been for the Hawks lately at least they aren’t like the Nets anymore. “It makes it that much sweeter when you have experienced being on a losing team and not having a shot to make [the playoffs],” Josh said.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

108 comments Add your comment

JeJe

March 26th, 2011
11:43 pm

Rick Sund

March 26th, 2011
11:44 pm

First, hopefully you all saw the UPSIDE tonight.

JeJe

March 26th, 2011
11:44 pm

Everyone hates seeing Josh take jumpshots, but at least he makes them.

Jamal is the one pissing me off now. He only tries to draw contact and misses so many layups

Rick Sund

March 26th, 2011
11:46 pm

LD is really bringing out the POTENTIAL of this team. Yes sir, I think every season has its PEAKS and VALLEYS. We are now about to PEAK. This win tonight shows that we are a team with UPSIDE and a team that will be TOUGH TO BEAT in the playoffs.

Buddy Grizzard

March 26th, 2011
11:51 pm

Trade Joe to NJ for a first rounder

lewis

March 26th, 2011
11:59 pm

think about how much better we’d be with asik instead of haha

Booo!

March 27th, 2011
12:34 am

Damien From port Arthur Texas

March 27th, 2011
1:38 am

The Hawks needed a point gaurd but not more than they needed a center who can at least act like he’s not scared of howard and that will put labron ect on there ass for coming in that paint straight up. Who the hawks need and everybody gonna think im nuts but we need to do what we can to get dirty Kirk thomas nowww. We dont have heart. we take it up the rear everytime. Only Marvin has showwed me he aint talking no sh*t. Or shots in the paint fior that matter. We need Maurice Lucus to run a big man camp. The front office shoulds hire a sniper to sit in the crowd and point the dot on Josh if he even leaves the paint. And Joe should not be allowed more than 1 dribble. Damn Hawks grow some.

Worldwide Clyde

March 27th, 2011
2:46 am

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

March 27th, 2011
3:15 am

Katie

March 27th, 2011
4:10 am

Al Horford donated $1000 for every point he made tonight to the Japan Relief Fund. Way to be our leading scorer with 23 !

Katie

March 27th, 2011
4:17 am

And I can’t decide which rendition of “Georgia on my Mind” I liked the least.

calihawks

March 27th, 2011
4:29 am

Better game guys ty for that …now if we can play like that all the time…..

CobbHawk

March 27th, 2011
4:44 am

We will be a first round exit in the playoffs. The core of this team needs to be blown up and restructured. We can’t win big games.

First on the chopping block: Josh Smith. UNLESS he stops taking long range jump shots. He should be driving the basket every time he touches the ball, but NEVER does. It is frustrating. Seriously, I would fine him $1000 every time he takes a shot outside the paint. Sure, sometimes he makes them, but FFS, if he’s wide open enough to take a jumper, he’s open enough to at least take a step or two forward to make it a shorter shot, OR drive the basket. But he’ll be alone outside the arc, and still won’t move when he gets the ball. If he’s so hardheaded (this is TWO coaches now who have not been able to break through to him and get him to move his offense closer to the basket) then we need to ship him for other talent.

Big Daddy

March 27th, 2011
6:56 am

The Hawks played a good game with good defensive rotation and aggressive rebounding. They took their opportunities for steals and open lanes to the basket and either scored or got free throws. They should take pride that they executed their plays well and demonstrated a lot of team work.

That said, they did this in competition against a lower tier team whose coach could mutter “playoffs?” in a Bud Light commerical. While every team has to play through injuries whenever a game is scheduled, New Jersey was without Deron Williams and with Devin Harris gone, they seemed rudderless. Brook Lopez was playing hurt and the others could not muster much offense.

LD got a good look at what the team would look like if some key players go down with injuries. With a 30 point lead and the victory seemingly secure, LD put in a group of players who don’t play together often and maybe as domonstrated, well together, and watched the score margin dwindle. Too late in the season to expand that rotation and expect it to work, LD. I suspect Jeff will start tonight and Kirk will move to SG. It will be good that he gets some practice with the starters and I think he will respond tonight. The guys should get the road win and it should help build their confidence. Go Hawks!!!

Big Daddy

March 27th, 2011
7:05 am

Kudos to every player who donated $1000 per point to the Japan Relief fund. We all see the commercials where the players go into the community to provide help and bring an uplifting spirit to the less fortunate and disable. It is great to see the NBA players reach out to the International community as well.

tremaine

March 27th, 2011
7:35 am

Jesse

March 27th, 2011
8:14 am

When they want to, they can be a good team…. the problem is they rarely want to.

Trojan

March 27th, 2011
8:31 am

Why does Josh get the ball at the 3 point line? Either he is stubborn and not a team player or he is dumb or LD is afraid to tell him to set up closer or LD don’t really know any better. None of the options are flattering.

ILL-Logical

March 27th, 2011
8:56 am

Was at the game and noticed a few things up close and personally:
1.At least 40 % of the Hawks offnsive sets require at least 3 players to set up on one side of the floor and at least 20 feet from the rim in order to establish lanes for a guard(read Joe) to go one on one. Those three players and 80% of the time Josh is one of the three are therefore out of position to rebound a missed shot. And as often has been the case over the last several years, on those infrequent occasions when the guard cannot get up a shot -after pounding the ball for 15-20 seconds- and passes the ball, the lucky reciepient of the pass has some very limited options.There was much less of that last night.
2.Josh is playing hurt. His explosiveness is extremley limited which means there is no(read zero) defense of the rim. The Nets went strictly jump shot and that is what killed them. As the immortal Charles Wade Barkley said” You don’t live by the jump shot ,you only die by it”
Last. Congratulations to the team for a third consecutive playoff berth. With all of the hoopla surrounding this season, it is sometimes forgotten that not everyone can make the playoffs despite fan/media expectations. See,Knickabockers of New York.

ant banks

March 27th, 2011
9:34 am

MC,

all of the notes that you pointed out, IS GOOD. but what does it really tell us against an inferior opponent? will they do this SAME STUFF against orlando, boston, miami?

Dukester

March 27th, 2011
10:06 am

First off whoever is RICK SUND on this blog. I love it man keep up the good work, You sound much like rick sund im really starting to believe that its him for real.
Josh I saw you pass up at least 5 jumpers last night keep up the good work!
Joe i hope your hand is ok.
New alleged owner please come in and fire rick sund and LD then go undo Ricks madness. Find away to move Zaza, Marvin Pape Sy and the rest of the garbage on the bench.
My free agent wish list
Tyson Chandler
Sam Dalembert
JR Smith

drmaryb (*_-)

March 27th, 2011
10:16 am

There is a reason Tyson Chandler is always available.
Sam Dalembert doesn’t even like Basketball.
JR Smith is the equivalent of Isaiah Rider.
_________________

No Thanks!

lewis

March 27th, 2011
10:17 am

One veteran player called rookie head coach Larry Drew’s preparation and attention to detail “a (bleeping) joke.” Drew also hasn’t been able to rein in Josh Smith and get him to stop jacking up jumpers. New York Daily News
ATLANTA HAWKS, COACHING, LARRY DREW | SHARE

One veteran player called rookie head coach Larry Drew’s preparation and attention to detail “a (bleeping) joke.” Drew also hasn’t been able to rein in Josh Smith and get him to stop jacking up jumpers. New York Daily News
ATLANTA HAWKS, COACHING, LARRY DREW | SHARE

One veteran player called rookie head coach Larry Drew’s preparation and attention to detail “a (bleeping) joke.” Drew also hasn’t been able to rein in Josh Smith and get him to stop jacking up jumpers. New York Daily News
ATLANTA HAWKS, COACHING, LARRY DREW | SHARE

One veteran player called rookie head coach Larry Drew’s preparation and attention to detail “a (bleeping) joke.” Drew also hasn’t been able to rein in Josh Smith and get him to stop jacking up jumpers. New York Daily News
ATLANTA HAWKS, COACHING, LARRY DREW | SHARE

Original article has been removed I think — LARRY DREW IS A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!

lewis

March 27th, 2011
10:18 am

^^ just saw that on hoopshype

lewis

March 27th, 2011
10:24 am

Larry Drew is a joke, hate to say it, but it seems his wife and son are too.

Never thought a 17 year assistant who runs point guard camps would be such a poor coach

lewis

March 27th, 2011
10:34 am

MC,

Please ask LD about his players about anonymously describing his coaching style as “a @#$@)(#*$@#$ joke”

fan

March 27th, 2011
10:58 am

Fire Sund he gave Marvin and Joe those stupid contracts

[...] via Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 98, Nets 87 | Atlanta Hawks. [...]

The Game Has Changed

March 27th, 2011
11:57 am

@Lewis-Keep the family out of it. Take your ignorance back to Mississippi or Alabama. He is a first year coach. Like any other coach its trial and error. You are the joke. Kill yourself

Observer

March 27th, 2011
11:58 am

David Letterman won an award for “comedic excellence” announced elsewhere in this paper.

I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. I’ve always thought that emperor had no clothes. Even when he wasn’t political. Leno, he’s funny.
But David Letterman isn’t. The only thing he can do is throw poison darts at Republican, or perceived conservative, people. He gets cue card prompted laughs from the audience and political hacks think he’s a genius. He isn’t funny.

The Game Has Changed

March 27th, 2011
12:00 pm

If we make it to the second round and are swept, do you still want LD fired? Think about it.

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:00 pm

There is no way Sund legitimately wanted to hire Drew, anyone who follows the team knows this.
From the beginning, Drew told management and fans what they wanted to hear.
The Hawks were going to play an uptempo style of ball that resembled Phoenix/NY, one that seemingly suited the “athletic” nature of our team. Though not expecting the hawks to win a championship, I expected to see a team that could at least go deep into the 2nd round. That simply is not the case, Drew is in way over his head.

Those of us who’ve never experienced a coaching change while keeping the same players were open to the idea. I’d venture to say we’ve learned our lesson. In hindsight, why would we completely revamp what was one of the top offenses in the league last year?

Drew runs a gimmicky no-contact jump shooting offense, i think too much of that cali-medi-green has made him soft and schizo. This is Atlanta, this is the south. We win pounding the ball up the middle and with the blitz, with pitching and fielding, scoring in the paint and playing hard nosed D. Guess he did not get the memo on how not to be a @#$(*)#@$.

Don’t get me wrong, i’m extremely disappointed with the way the team has been constructed following the 08 celtics series, but to blame Sund is to shoot the messenger. This is ownership’s fault, a product of wanting to give Drew the lowest contract of any HC in the NBA to save a mill or two.

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:01 pm

yeah, i lie about posts that are on the front page of hoopshype.com for everyone to see.

Rusty

March 27th, 2011
12:01 pm

JSS sure liked your story on last blog. I remember grant long ,thought he was a great guy & a solid player & teammate. Do you know what happened to him

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:02 pm

and i’m the one who is constantly defending Josh Smith…leave me alone

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:05 pm

and stop posting under that name, don’t worry, i still won’t know or care who you are.

lewis is a liar

March 27th, 2011
12:09 pm

The Hawks, losers of 14 of 21 games entering this weekend and with eight home losses since Feb. 8, are on the fast-track to getting swept out of the playoffs. What’s the problem? One veteran player called rookie head coach Larry Drew’s preparation and attention to detail “a (bleeping) joke.” Drew also hasn’t been able to rein in Josh Smith and get him to stop jacking up jumpers.

There’s an obvious leadership void and the Hawks have been getting nothing on that front from Joe Johnson, even after they gave him close to $120 million last summer. The Hawks have prided themselves on being one of the top home teams, losing only seven times last season, after going 31-10 the year before. Already, they’ve lost 15 games in Philips Arena. Since their swoon began last month, the alarming home losses include routs by 34 points against the Sixers; 13 by the Knicks; 14 by the Lakers; 15 by the Nuggets; 21 by the Heat and 33 this past week by the Bulls. Perhaps most ominously for Drew: The Hawks have spent too many games not fighting or playing har

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2011/03/26/2011-03-26_if_donnie_walsh_is_let_go_by_knicks_dont_be_shocked_to_see_him_back_in_indiana_i.html#ixzz1Hohb6cMn

The Game Has Changed

March 27th, 2011
12:09 pm

@Lewis-On what planet do you spend most of your time. How can you defend Josh. He plays irresponsible. @Lewis is a Liar-Why rebuild. Shouldnt we reload. A rebuilding team takes five years to even get to where the Hawks are.

Dukester

March 27th, 2011
12:12 pm

@DrmaryB we have had this conversation before about available centers the hawks can acquire. I respect your opinion about not liking:
Tyson Chandler
Sam Dalembert
Nene
Brandon Haywood (dallas signed him but we should have)

Im just curious who do you suggest we sign at center? Or are you content with Al Horford and Zaza and the backups. Please inform me.

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:15 pm

yeah, well now that we know you can’t read…

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:18 pm

@game has changed — I defend Josh because he’s one of the best defenders, shot blockers and transition players in the league. I defend him because on a super bum knee (which really inhibits a high-flyer like him) he is still by far the team’s best defender. He is passionate and he tries to play the game the right way. Yes, offensively, he will never be a jump shooter and needs to learn this sooner rather than later, but without him, the Hawks go from being one of the softest teams in the league to joke-status. It takes about a week of following the Hawks to know that the rim is wide open when he leaves the game.

Michael Cunningham

March 27th, 2011
12:22 pm

@lewis: “MC, Please ask LD about his players about anonymously describing his coaching style as “a @#$@)(#*$@#$ joke”

3 things on that . . .

1. it’s the daily news so take it with a grain of salt.

2. it’s easy to find a player on any team to take an anonymous shot at the coach. someone is always unhappy about something and willing to blame the coach for their (or the team’s) problems. that doesn’t mean what they say isn’t true but it’s hard to put it into the proper context without knowing who said it. in this case i think game preparation and attention to detail would be the last thing to take a shot at Drew about. it’s actually much improved from last season. so in this instance i don’t put much stock in mr. anonymous player’s quote.

3. what right has any player on this team earned to offer a critique of the coach? what have they done except get Woody fired? who among the main guys have done anything at this level? hell, a big reason Drew is the coach is these players vouched for him. so now because you are unhappy with Drew you want to turn around and give the players’ opinions on the coach credence? so if they don’t like Drew should the Hawks keep bringing in coaches to audition until the players decide they want to play for somebody? these guys just need to stop making excuses and do their jobs.

The Game Has Changed

March 27th, 2011
12:23 pm

The rim is wide open Lewis when he is shooting jumpers. Josh and Horford are suppose to hit the boards. But if Josh is shooting jumpers that leaves Horford by himself. Thats why we are last in the league in second chance points. How can you try to play the game right by launching 3s and arguing with the refs on every possesion. He is a decent player but needs to stop trying to play like his dad. I played with his dad.

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:27 pm

all good MC,

I read during my daily morning hoopshype scan-through and felt the need to share it with the people who tend to read things that I share. Not sure why i’m being attacked.

BC

March 27th, 2011
12:27 pm

Michael Cunningham

March 27th, 2011
12:30 pm

@lewis: not my intention to attack you. i just think these players have gotten too much of a pass the past two seasons. the hawks can’t keep firing coaches and keeping players who haven’t shown they can get it done.

lewis

March 27th, 2011
12:33 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. The Hawks are like spoiled prep school kids, whining about teachers inability to teach the entire time instead of working hard to get their education.

Ryan

March 27th, 2011
12:36 pm

That vet player was probably Josh Powell. But regardless LD is a horrible coach.

smitty derf

March 27th, 2011
12:49 pm

Josh Smith leads the hawks in Turnovers per Game. Is there any way to justify his play and the Hawks coaching given that fact, regardless of his remarkable and sometimes stunning athleticism or a convincing defeat of a 23 win Nets team.