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. J.J. and Nelson sat out the Dec. 6 rematch in Orlando won 80-74 by the Hawks (a game in which several Orlando players were getting over a virus). The Magic had just added Turkoglu and J-Rich to the lineup when they lost 91-81 on Dec. 20 at Philips.

As Chicago, Boston, Miami fight it out for the top three spots in the East and Philly and New York meander at six and seven, it looks like the Hawks and Magic will tangle in the first round of the playoffs. John Hollinger’s latest playoff odds projections have it that way.

“It’s highly probable they will be our first-round opponents in the playoffs and I am sure they are looking at it the same way,” L.D. said. “They’ve always been a tough team for us to play, going back to what they did to us last year. So the energy is going to be there, the energy and the intensity. I think there will be a sense of urgency on both team’s parts to establish themselves.”

L.D. said he probably would again use the Twin lineup again Orlando. With Gortat gone the Magic now are forced to play small with Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson at center when Dwight goes to the bench. That lack of front court size, in addition to Hinrich now checking Jameer instead of Bibby, theoretically makes Orlando a more favorable matchup for the Hawks.

Of course the Hawks can’t think about match ups when they have yet to prove their worth against the league’s best. Getting a W tomorrow would be a good start.

“We feel confident going up against any team,” J.J. said. “But I think we understand the significance of this game and the psychology of it, as far as this is more than likely be our first-round opponent. This is definitely a statement game, a game that we really need to come out and take seriously. We can go up 3-1 and have the mental edge on them as well. It’s definitely important.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

175 comments Add your comment

Rufus1

March 29th, 2011
2:47 pm

Mr. Phil

March 29th, 2011
2:58 pm

“mental edge” ? so many jokes so little time.

Mr. Phil

March 29th, 2011
3:01 pm

I hope L.D. means twin lineup in terms of subs. Otherwise, it is another poor decision by an all together useless numb skull.

O'Brien

March 29th, 2011
3:01 pm

LD: “So the energy is going to be there, the energy and the intensity. I think there will be a sense of urgency on both team’s parts to establish themselves”.

Knowing these Hawks, will anyone be surprised if the energy and the intensity is NOT there? I won’t.

With Dwight in the frontcourt, he has the ability to slow down our bigs, and to discourage our guys from driving into the paint (which isnt hard to do). Therefore, for the Hawks to win, we need good game from JJ, and a good game from Jamal.

I just hope LD does not play Jamal at backup PG (although my gut feeling says he will, because if he doesnt play Jamal at backup PG, he will have to play Teague, and Teague is not a part of his playoff rotation).

Mr. Phil

March 29th, 2011
3:03 pm

We have got to go with our real starters…whoever they may be. (I know, I know…L.D. has not chosen them yet…with less than ten games to go).

JohnGTFan

March 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

Well, let’s see…my guess…JJ goes 6 for 20 from the field, scores 15 points (might be too much for him, but we’ll see). Come on LD…show you got some guts….BENCH JJ for the rest of the season. Show you got some guts/heart/something. JJ will never change now…he’s got his 120+million coming in…he doesn’t have to care.

JohnGTFan

March 29th, 2011
3:13 pm

Oh yeah, Atlanta loses by 21

DAChef

March 29th, 2011
3:19 pm

We shall see Mr. Johnson if your heart is where your mouth is…

Grandad

March 29th, 2011
3:20 pm

My apologies if someone has already posted this link.
*[I disagree with writer's assessment of Teague]
** However, very much on point !

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=19269

Hollywould

March 29th, 2011
3:21 pm

“Mental Edge” WTF Do we have new players?

JohnGTFan

March 29th, 2011
3:24 pm

“Hollywould”…unfortunately no, still have the same one’s. I think it was put out there for jokes.

ClassicHawks

March 29th, 2011
3:25 pm

Hawks will lose, because they will only play hard for three quarters and then QUIT! This is the Teams M.O. This Year… Why would it change tomorrow?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 29th, 2011
3:25 pm

From the previous blog…

“I was on board with resigning JJ, mainly because I had no confidence in the ASG and Rick finding a way to rebuild on the fly.”

This is exactly how I felt. As much as I disliked the idea of Joe Johnson getting paid the max for the next six years, the odds of him lifting this team to greater heights seemed (and sadly enough, continues to seem) more likely than the odds of the DASG and Rick Sund replacing him with a better star player and/or better supporting pieces. With the right pieces in return, dealing Joe could have had a very similar effect to what dealing Melo has done for the Nuggets. But does anyone really have the confidence in the Hawks’ brass to have made a move as successful as Masai Ujiri and the Nuggets’ brass made? I certainly didn’t and still don’t.

The “sadly certain” future to which LaGree alludes will continue to be sadly certain irrespective of where Joe is, as long as the eight feces-throwing orangutans own the team and Sund is making personnel decisions.

Grandad

March 29th, 2011
3:29 pm

How does Twin stay in competitive shape and maintain his skills
if he only plays once in a blue moon ?

honest_abe

March 29th, 2011
3:34 pm

grandad: those kinds of skills need little maintaining.

ICECOLD

March 29th, 2011
3:37 pm

as long as Teague gets at least ten minutes… this game is going to tell me if the hawks actually have a chance this first round.. if they lose by less then 5.. they have a chance.. if they win at all.. i feel pretty good about this first round playoff matchup.. if they get blown out.. LD is going to look stupid …

Najeh Davenpoop

March 29th, 2011
3:38 pm

Also, a big motivation behind the timing of LaGree’s post seems to be the explosion Marvin had against the Cavs and the possibility that it was more than just an isolated good game against an awful opponent. I’ve seen the same sentiment expressed by several posters on the previous blog. Let’s not get carried away here. The Cavs are not only one of the league’s worst defensive teams, but also, Marvin has had games like this before only to shrink back into his shell the next game. Let’s see him string together 5 games like this before we start getting our hopes up about him.

jgsbirds

March 29th, 2011
3:38 pm

maybe an injured shooting hand (thumb) will bring joe’s shot back! we sure need it!

magic 91
hawks 94

i hope any way!

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
3:44 pm

up next magic by 15!

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
3:45 pm

Al and his side kick Marvin become the invisible men!! Then Josh will start jacking up brick 3’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sautee

March 29th, 2011
3:46 pm

Rod from College Park

March 29th, 2011
3:47 pm

One thing we can’t accuse these guys of being is slow healers. Joe, Josh, and Al all come back a little fast from their injuries, which sometimes is actually detrimental to the team. Only guy who stays out for extended periods when injured is Marvin, and that’s probably becuase of his back problems from falling all the time.

I really don’t see the need in rushing Joe back. We need to make sure he is 100% healed for the playoffs, so there will be no excuses when he comes out and lays an egg, as usual. Use this time to let Marvin and Jamal try to get their confidence back, and let Teague play against some of these playoff teams to get his confidence up as well. If Joe can’t hit a shot with nothing wrong with him, what makes you think that he will make shots with a sprained thumb?

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
3:49 pm

Maybe Marvin can step up so his trade value will skyrocket!!!!!!!!!!!

We can dream, cant we? LOL

Rod from College Park

March 29th, 2011
3:53 pm

“Also, a big motivation behind the timing of LaGree’s post seems to be the explosion Marvin had against the Cavs and the possibility that it was more than just an isolated good game against an awful opponent. I’ve seen the same sentiment expressed by several posters on the previous blog. Let’s not get carried away here. The Cavs are not only one of the league’s worst defensive teams, but also, Marvin has had games like this before only to shrink back into his shell the next game. Let’s see him string together 5 games like this before we start getting our hopes up about him.”

CHURCH!!!!! TABERNACLE!!!!! Marvin is the only guy in the league, who gets his fan base excited by having 3 outstanding games per year. Let’s not even mention the fact that he was drafted and resigned with the expectation that games like that would be the norm not anomolies.

drmaryb (*_-)

March 29th, 2011
3:53 pm

ÃWord on The Street!

Just out of curiosity … I googled a question and here are the answers:

My question was worded: What NBA players are rumored to be gay?
(my question was changed to the one below:)
___________________

Who are the gay nba basketball players?

In: Football – American, NBA Playoffs, NBA Finals [Edit categories]

A:

Chris Bosh
Marquis Daniels
Aaron Brooks
Baron Davis

_______________________

Allegedly these brothers are “in the life” and were seen drinking the Brown Kool-Aid!
(that’s what color kool-aid turns when you mix orange with grape.)

Somebody put their business out there!
A jilted lover? An unpaid trick?

_______________________

-drmaryb-
The Entertainment Reporter

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
3:54 pm

Yea but AL aint NENE
Arron Afflalo G 6-5 215 10/15/1985 UCLA 3
11 Chris Andersen F-C 6-10 228 07/07/1978 Blinn Junior College (TX) 8
21 Wilson Chandler F 6-8 225 05/10/1987 DePaul 3
34 Melvin Ely C-F 6-10 261 05/02/1978 Fresno State 7
20 Raymond Felton G 6-1 205 06/26/1984 North Carolina 5
0 Gary Forbes F 6-7 220 02/25/1985 Massachusetts R
8 Danilo Gallinari F 6-10 225 08/08/1988 Milan, Italy 2
7 Al Harrington F 6-9 250 02/17/1980 St. Patrick’s HS (Elizabeth, NJ) 12
41 Kosta Koufos C 7-0 265 02/24/1989 Ohio State 2
3 Ty Lawson G 5-11 195 11/03/1987 North Carolina 1
4 Kenyon Martin – C F 6-9 240 12/30/1977 Cincinnati 10
25 Timofey Mozgov C 7-1 250 07/16/1986 St. Petersburg, Russia R
31 Nenê C 6-11 250 09/13/1982 Sao Carlos, Brazil 8
5 J.R. Smith F-G 6-6 220 09/09/1985 St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, NJ) 6
Hawks aint Denver by any Stretch!!!!!
Al for NENE yesterday…………
Marvin for Al H.
etc…………………………We’ll take the whole roster of Nuggets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOL

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
3:58 pm

Cavs= Pickup game!! Right up Marvins alley………….LOL

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
4:00 pm

drmaryb-
The Entertainment Reporter

Hey drmaryb, I thought that was El Duncans job?????????? HAHA..

Who Cares

March 29th, 2011
4:11 pm

Marvin Williams is a “MENTAL” giant. This guy plays as dumb as he looks, and that is sad. The Hawks and this pathetic owner group=Dumb&Dumber. Wish someone would buy this team and move them out of atlanta. The team and the ownership is a disgrace to the city. The head coach is a direct reflection of the ownership. Best coach you can get with no money, and no quality owner, and no qualtiy general manager`

Double Zero Eight

March 29th, 2011
4:14 pm

We will see the real Marvin tonight!!!!!!
Will the real Joe Johnson please stand up???
What we see tonight is a precursor of what
to expect in the playoffs

drmaryb (*_-)

March 29th, 2011
4:25 pm

SlimJr

Naw man .. She quit her job. She in the NFL now, doing The Falcons
Pre and Post Game radio gig with Chris Damino.

That’s my gig now. LOL!

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
4:28 pm

I hear you drm. Yea she hangs out on the Frank Ski &Wanda show too..That 27 year old comin up!10pm nightly on the CW….

slimjr

March 29th, 2011
4:32 pm

drmaryb, 91.9 “soul of the city” playing Donnie Hathaway….What a talent he was?

W.R.Terrell

March 29th, 2011
4:37 pm

Well we all got a look at Marvin and what he could possibly be for the “SOFT’S” as a go to kinda guy. That is all but over now. ISO Joe is ready to go POUND…POUND…POUND. So between ISO Joe and the Launching pad (smoove) 0 for 9 means he’s just getting warmed up, or he’s fantasying about making the great point guard play, the ball will not move as it should to the person with the best look at the basket. Marvin’s timing will be off and so will everyone else (Al, and Heinrich). Can we beat Orlando? Yes we can, will we beat Orlando? Have you ever shot craps before, then you know it’s a crapshoot. Cleveland was not a grand win, so don’t fool yourselves and if you get that urge for a fantasy, go see a shrink.

W.R.Terrell

March 29th, 2011
4:52 pm

I jusr remembered reading that the “SOFT’S” are looking for a “mental edge”, now if that’s not “SICK”, I don’t know what is. You have to play basketball first. Now they are into “EDGE” play. Why they are looking is news to me. They do everything except balling. Maybe THAT’S WHY THEY ARE ALWAYS LOOKING. No matter what kinda edge they look for, have, own it’s a DULL EDGE!!!!!!!

O'Brien

March 29th, 2011
4:58 pm

Rod,

If Joe can’t hit a shot with nothing wrong with him, what makes you think that he will make shots with a sprained thumb?.

Good point. Also, I think a big part of his problem is mental. He takes too long to pass when the double team is coming (mental), maybe he is letting Josh and Jamal get to him (also mental), and sometimes he hesitates with his shot (also mental).

I’m not sure about a “mental edge”, but I know this team has “mental issues”.

As for Marvin, the funny thing too is you never hear one of the players say “We can’t wait for Marvin to get back” or “we need marvin out there”. Those comments are only reserved for Joe, Josh, Al and Jamal I guess.

prison mike

March 29th, 2011
5:07 pm

If Al would have demonstrated his ability to hit that deadly mid range jumper and Josh’s overall improvement, everyone would have felt better letting johnson go. Howard and paul have gone on record saying they wanted to play for the hawks.

Without that sea monster contract, the teams payroll heading into july 2012 would have been 38.7 million. 18 million under the current salary cap.

Mr. Phil

March 29th, 2011
5:08 pm

Ok after seeing what JC@ is doing in D.C. and seeing what L.D. has done to and for Teague, who here thinks the coach has a clue. I keep reading that Jeff has not progressed as he should or that he hasn’t shown whatever it is Drew needs to see. Maybe the coach just needs glasses.

No Woody for Me

March 29th, 2011
5:16 pm

MC – can you give us Marvin’s stats over the past 3 years in games Joe does not play? My anecdotal recollection is that Marvin often has these explosive games when Joe is down. For this reason, I thought LD’s motion offense might lead to a breakout year for Marvin, but that obviously has not happened. Still curious as to what his without-Joe stats are.

prison mike

March 29th, 2011
5:24 pm

This was a realistic “worst case scenario” 2012 roster.

Teague
Marv
Josh
Al
Dwight

Without Joe we finish “around 500″ this year and next. Finally considering our own mid 1st round picks for 2011 and 2012, Phoenix’s 2012 second round pick(mid 30s). Young core with younger, better, and more talented bench compared to now.

Double Zero Eight

March 29th, 2011
5:26 pm

@ Mr Phil

You bring up an excellent point. LD needs more
than glasses. In my opinion, he must be “legally blind”.
Apparently, he does not see what we see on the court
during the games, based on his lineups and playing time.

moha

March 29th, 2011
5:33 pm

can we star talk what next for hawks next year…….this is not going hawks year i am sure

Peter

March 29th, 2011
6:00 pm

Going to the game…..It will be fun to watch the Orlando play “Team Ball “. We shall see how the jump shooting team fairs.

Seems the Crawford we should have kept had 25 points last night for the Wizards….. I wonder how many games it will take JJ to score that many ?

ga peach

March 29th, 2011
6:04 pm

@ Michael Cunningham I understand the the critisizm but are you upset that you are not writing for the Miami Heat or Lakers because everyday you talk about how many WINS the hawks have against over 500 teams. I’m and not blind to the fact that the hawks have not played as well as they have in previous years,but please Real FANS understand that a team will have its growing pains. If the hawks win 2morrow you will have another negative report like its only one win they can’t do it in the playoffs. There are lot of people on here who have lot of courage behind a keyboard. I will support the hawks now and in the playoffs and you Miami, NY, and laker BUTT INHALERS can stay home. LET’S GO HAWKS

Michael Cunningham

March 29th, 2011
6:14 pm

@ ga peach: “@ Michael Cunningham I understand the the critisizm but are you upset that you are not writing for the Miami Heat or Lakers because everyday you talk about how many WINS the hawks have against over 500 teams.”

i wouldn’t want to write for any team. they tend to not like it when their own reporters fairly and truthfully criticize the team, haha . . .

the Hawks’ record against better teams is, i think, a legitimate subject of inquiry and discussion. it was legit before the schedule got tougher and it certainly is legit now that the Hawks have struggled against the tougher schedule. and if the Hawks beat the Magic i can’t see how i would have a “negative report.”

it’s nothing personal. as a fan, you are of course free to maintain your optimism and support the Hawks through their growing pains.

ShtUpHaters

March 29th, 2011
6:18 pm

I agree with ga peach.

Why is everyone in this city (or who lives within 200 miles of Atlanta) so negative? Everyone just whines on every single message board (Hawks, Falcons, Braves, UGA, GT, etc.). All of the bandwagon fans and haters need to stop reading the AJC articles about ATLANTA teams if you hate them so much. Or better yet, move out of Atlanta (or the remote suburbs where you actually live) so you stop showing up to the Lakers and Knicks games acting like you’re from those cities. No, you’re not. I bet all of you became Falcons fans this year because they had a great year and probably will jump on the Braves bandwagon since they are picked to win the division. If you like New York, etc. so much, why do you live in Georgia of all places? That’s what I thought…Shut up.

Michael Cunningham

March 29th, 2011
6:18 pm

@ No Woody: “MC – can you give us Marvin’s stats over the past 3 years in games Joe does not play? My anecdotal recollection is that Marvin often has these explosive games when Joe is down. For this reason, I thought LD’s motion offense might lead to a breakout year for Marvin, but that obviously has not happened. Still curious as to what his without-Joe stats are.”

hmmmm . . . trying to think of a good way to figure this. will see if i can gather it for the blog tomorrow.

terrell

March 29th, 2011
6:34 pm

JJ back = ball stops moving, Al deferring, Marvin disappearing act, and Josh turns into Paul Pierce again. Hope I’m wrong.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 29th, 2011
6:37 pm

“This was a realistic “worst case scenario” 2012 roster.

Teague
Marv
Josh
Al
Dwight”

I don’t think getting Dwight is a “worst case” anything.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 29th, 2011
6:39 pm

“Why is everyone in this city (or who lives within 200 miles of Atlanta) so negative? Everyone just whines on every single message board (Hawks, Falcons, Braves, UGA, GT, etc.). ”

Braves: 1 title in 45 years
Hawks: 0 titles in 43 years
Falcons: 0 titles in 45 years
Thrashers: 0 titles in 12 years

I think Atlanta sports fans have pretty damn good reasons to be negative.