Archive for March, 2011

Hawks-Nuggets game thread

Greetings, all-

Ken here. Sorry for the late start. A few notes, nothing earth-shattering.

1) Same lineup.

2) Larry Drew’s keys: Defend the 3, transition defense, defend the pick and roll, make Denver work on defense, move the ball side to side, good shot selection. Something tells me you’ve read that before.

3) An obvious matchup to watch is Jeff Teague-Ty Lawson. You may remember that they were drafted No. 18-19 in the 2009 draft.

4) Joe Johnson is still wearing a headband. Not a superstitious type, apparently, or at least someone with an interest in being sanitary, he broke out a fresh Air Jordan headband for the Nuggets.

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: The new lineup

I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 110, Bucks 85

  • I couldn’t decide on the strangest sight tonight: Joe in a giant headband, Joe playing like an All-Star shotmaker or he and the other Hawks regulars laughing and joking on the bench in the fourth quarter of a blowout W.
  • It had been a while since all of those things happened for the Hawks.
  • “We haven’t had a win like this, I don’t think, all year,” L.D. said. “This was a huge win against a very quality team.”
  • Well the Bucks are a quality defensive team, at least. Not many opponents shoot well against the Bucks, and that could have meant trouble for the Hawks if they came out jump-shot happy, missed, and kept jacking.
  • Instead they came out running and J.J., wearing his magic headband, couldn’t miss.
  • “That was the Joe of Old,” Drew said.
  • Suddenly everything that hadn’t been working for so long was clicking. J.J. made runners, post-ups, pull-ups, baseline turnarounds and 3-pointers. Lots and lots of 3-pointers, including five in a row as the Hawks buried the Bucks in the first …

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Bucks at Atlanta Hawks: Hawks staying ’small’ against ‘big’

L.D. is using the same lineup as Saturday vs. the Blazers except Al (who still says he’s good to go) subs for Zaza. Remember that Drew sent out the Twin lineup against the Bucks in the previous three meetings, so I have to think that going with this new alignment mean he’s considering making it permanent (though you never can tell).

Drew said he could always go big if Bogut gives the Hawks problems. The hope is that the Hawks can give opponents problems by running.

“I like the speed, I like the quickness of it,” Drew said. “We have been struggling scoring points and we have not been a team that has played out in the open court. We have mostly been playing in the half court. By going with this lineup it gives us speed. What I really like is we have two guys who can get the ball off the glass and initiate the break. It puts such pressure on the defense.

“We have both Kirk and Jeff who can handle the ball, and Joe. Having all five guys running and racing the lanes, it makes us …

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Atlanta Hawks: Practice report

Notes from practice today . . .

  • L.D. said he could use the Teague-Hinrich back court more often: “I certainly can see it. I have said it from day one with Jeff’s speed and quickness, we don’t have anybody on this team that comes close. When he’s playing at a high level it makes us better. Kirk has played some two a great majority of his career. When he was in Chicago, he played alongside Rose. He played some up in Washington alongside Wall. He’s used to it. It’s something we are looking at. It moves him to the two, it moves Joe to the three. We will probably look at it even more as we wind down the stretch of the season.”
  • Al practiced today and said he plans to play against the Bucks. L.D. was hopeful but wasn’t ready to declare Al ready: “He gives me the same thing every time I ask him: ‘I’m OK.’ He said that right before the Blazers game. We will just have to wait and see. I know Al if he can play, he will.”
  • Josh Powell declined comment on his arrest in a traffic incident

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Atlanta Hawks: Teague’s time?

There was a time when there was no question mark on that headline.

By December it had a qualifier.

Eventually the question faded away as the DNPs and cameo appearances piled up for Teague. This happened even though Teague had shown enough promise and production to warrant more opportunities, at least in my view.

And now here we are again. Teague was impressive against the Blazers and now he’s the talk of (true) Hawks fandom, which of course includes my blog people.

One great game doesn’t mean Teague is The Man, especially since there will be tougher match ups. But you’d think this at least means no more DNP-CDs or quick hooks from L.D.. If L.D. wants the Hawks to run and play sound defense, which they must to have any kind of a chance to be better, then don’t Hinrich and Teague have to get all of the minutes at point guard?

No doubt some of L.D.’s concerns about Teague are (were?) legit. Teague doesn’t seem to have much “dog” in him. He doesn’t (didn’t?) always pressure …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 91, Blazers 82

Teague took it to the Blazers. (AP Photo)

Teague took it to the Blazers. (AP Photo)

The Hawks were desperate for a W and it showed before the game (L.D. bucked his recent trends and started Teague and Zaza); during it (the Hawks were forced to grind for three quarters and did it); and after (a strong sense of relief in the locker room).

  • “I’m just glad we got the win,” said Teague, whose pep was just what a tired and beat down team (and the stagnating offense) needed.
  • “He was absolutely sensational from start to finish on both ends of the floor,” L.D. said. “Defensively he did a great job of picking the ball up and harassing the ball. His speed and his quickness is just something we don’t have. When we put him in games we rely on him to be a nuisance defensively and offensively just to stay in the attack mode.”
  • Teague did both against the Blazers. With Andre Miller no threat to get around him, Teague cut off his space and made it difficult for Miller to initiate Portland’s offense. And there was no one on the floor …

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Blazers at Atlanta Hawks: Horford out; Zaza and Teague in

Teague and Zaza have been in and out of L.D.’s rotation this season. Now they both will start tonight with Hinrich at shooting guard, J.J. at small forward and Josh at power forward.

Zaza gets the nod because Al, according to a Hawks spokesman, hurt his left ankle (not the one he injured before) when he came down on Deng’s foot at Chicago last night. Teague will start and Marvin goes to the bench because Atlanta’s free fall has prompted the lineup tweak that Drew has hinted at since before the All-Star break.

“We’ve lost four in a row,” Drew said. “I’ve got to shake things up. We’ll see if we start with more energy.”

Teague didn’t play at Chicago until garbage time despite Hinrich’s foul trouble and D-Rose’s easy (for him at least) drives into the lane. Now Teague gets Andre Miller, a matchup that Drew had concerned when Teague started at Portland while Hinrich got up to speed.

Zaza had one of his best games of the season at Portland, a couple days after L.D. indicated he …

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Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 94, Hawks 76

D-Rose did a lot of this to the Hawks. (Chris Sweda, McClatchy-Tribune)

D-Rose did a lot of this to the Hawks. (Chris Sweda, McClatchy-Tribune)

ChicagoKirk Hinrich is new to these Hawks. He sounds like he can’t quite understand why the Hawks recognize what works for them but can’t stick with their plans now that the competition has toughened.

  • “In the second half it was like we forgot everything we did in the first half,” Hinrich said.
  • I doubt this will be the last time he expresses such a sentiment.
  • The Hawks scored 30 points in the second quarter. They made 13 of 21 shots, were 5 of 8 in the paint and had two turnovers. Jamal and Al had the two-man game going and J.J.made a couple jumpers.
  • In the third quarter, the Hawks scored 10 points. They missed 11 of 15 shots, were 1 for 2 in the paint and had five turnovers.
  • “I don’t think we did what we did in the first half to stick around which is move the basketball and get good looks,” J.J. said. “We started playing a lot of one-on-one and our shot selection wasn’t the greatest.”
  • “We definitely …

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Atlanta Hawks at Bulls: Drew says low post is priority

Chicago–Plan A hasn’t been working for the Hawks’ offense.

What does L.D. want to see tonight instead of jumpers?

“First, establish ourselves in the low post,” he said. “If the ball does come on the kick out, everything doesn’t have to be a three. We are sitting outside, sitting at that 3-point line, [and] we can move in closer. Instead of turning it into a 3, turn it into an 18- to 20-footer. Our drive-and-kick game has to be up to par, force them to not just defend a shot on the closeout but teams have to have a fear about closing out and putting the ball on the floor.”

Even considering their poor 3-point shooting as of late, this season the 3-pointer has been (not surprisingly) much better for the Hawks than long 2-pointers. Then again, Bibby is gone and J.J. is in a slide, leaving Smoove as the team’s best 3-point shooter (not counting Al’s 2 for 4 and Twin’s 1 for 1).

L.D. dismissed Al’s back injury as a factor in his game moving outside.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I …

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