Archive for March, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: What happened to Joe Johnson’s 3-point shot?

Speaking of jump shots . . .

J.J. is having his least efficient season scoring since he came to Atlanta (while still leading the team in usage percentage). A big part of the reason for that is his 3-point shooting, which is at a career-low 28.9 percent for the season.

If the elbow injury explained the poor shooting before, it doesn’t seem to be a factor now.

Since January, a month when Joe was on a tear, he’s 38 of 122 (31 percent) on 3-pointers. The more time that passes since the surgery, the worst J.J.s 3-point shooting gets: 23 of 65 in January, 13 of 39 in February and 2 of 18 to start this month. He’s 2 for 23 on 3s in his last five games. With his free-throw rate still so low, all of those missed 3-pointers are dragging down J.J.’s efficiency (not to mention his production).

Joe said weeks ago that the elbow feels better. He also says he feels fresher this season because of the games he’s missed–he’s on pace to play 2,642 minutes, his fewest for a full season since he …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Lakers jerseys and judging the Hawks

I talked Hawks this morning with CineSport’s Noah Coslov (and I assure my blog people I did not buy a Kobe jersey.)

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: J.J.: ‘We all are jump shooters. That’s pretty much what it is.’

J.J. may have gotten to the crux of the matter when asked today if the way for the Hawks to get their offense back on track is to attack the basket.

“Maybe,” he said. “But you look at a jump-shooting team–we are a jump-shooting team. If shots are falling then, great, we are rolling. But one through five, we all are jump shooters. That’s pretty much what it is. Like I said, if we are making shots then we are probably unstoppable. But when we are not making shots those are the games we have to grind out.”

With the notable exceptions of the recent games against Portland and Chicago, the Hawks haven’t been able to “grind out” against better opponents. They remain, essentially, a group that wins by outscoring opponents, and one that generally must do so by making a high percentage of their long jump shots.

They still do so at an above-average rate for the season but not well enough to counteract their lack of scoring on free throws, their below-average 3-point shooting and their …

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Lakers 101, Hawks 87

Greetings, all-

I think this is a good time for me to hand the reins back to MC, because I think I felt better about the Hawks’ play than the Hawks did. I thought the Hawks did about as well as they could do, save a handful of bad possessions and getting mauled on the boards. The Lakers are just better and hot and there was no way around either.

“I can’t fault my team’s effort tonight,” Larry Drew said. “We ran against a really good team. We ran against a hot team.”

- I don’t know what the numbers are, but I’d be interested to know how many shots Al Horford and Josh Smith took in the paint. It’s funny – they actually outscored Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum 33-30 and won the assist category 9-8 – but to me, Gasol and Bynum won the game for the Lakers. They out-rebounded Smith and Horford 27-15 and I think Bynum set a tone in the first quarter when Bynum blocked Horford’s shot for the second time in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Phil Jackson: We didn’t want to give up as …

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Hawks-Lakers

Greetings, all

Just a couple notes and I’ll direct you over to Jeff Schultz’s live blog. He’s here to take in the game and will be blogging during the game, so I’ll be quiet on this end, though I’ll try to chime in on Jeff’s blog.

1) Larry Drew’s going with the “regular” lineup, meaning Al Horford (6-10, 246) is going to have to tangle with Andrew Bynum (7-0, 285).

2) Drew emphasized again the need to run, both against the Lakers and in general. Phil Jackson was asked about this, and said he wants the Lakers, naturally, to control tempo. How much the Hawks run/don’t run could tell the story.

3) Drew said he wants to get Damien Wilkins more minutes. “I definitely want to try to find more minutes for him, because he has that ability to give you that intensity,” he said. “Jeff (Teague) is the same way with with his speed and his quickness.”

4) Drew said, to aid the running game, he may call fewer sets, just to let the team play and let “their natural basketball instincts to take …

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Atlanta Hawks: Is running the right recipe?

L.D., coach of Team Disarray, thinks one way for the Hawks to tighten up offensively is to let them loose. Because, really, if half court execution takes discipline, precision, and patience then doesn’t getting out and running require abandon, aggressiveness and instinct?

“We’ve got to get back to running,” Drew said today. “We’ve been walking the ball too much. We haven’t been sprinting the lanes. We haven’t been seeking the easy transition points and what that has done is put more pressure on our half court set.”

Said Jamal: “We just have to get back to having fun and being loose. When we do that and can get out and run, we are at our best.”

Added Josh: “We’ve just got to get stops, get deflections, get rebounds and run. And not have to worry about our half court sets.”

In some respects, there is merit to that view.

The Hawks have slipped to 18th in offensive efficiency. All of the teams ranked ahead of them play at a faster pace (and only the Lakers, Blazers, Bulls and …

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Hawks try to get out of rut vs. Lakers

Greetings, all

This is the story that got posted Monday night for Tuesday’s paper. Sorry I don’t have more for you. Kind of a busy day.

Ken

After losing two games in a row, Hawks coach Larry Drew assured the team Monday that it was not time to panic. He did think, though, that the Hawks need to play better in transition and not settle for jump shots.

This might sound familiar.

After narrowly beating Minnesota Nov. 14, center Al Horford noted the team was a little careless with the basketball and “not necessarily running our offense like we should have.” After losing to New Jersey Dec. 19, Drew said shot selection “was a little bit questionable at times.” After losing to Milwaukee Jan. 26, Drew confessed “it was not a good display of shot selection, which we talk about over and over, especially on the road.”

It may not be time to panic, but the clock is ticking. The Hawks have 19 games remaining, starting with Tuesday night’s game against the two-time defending world champion …

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Knicks 92, Hawks 79

Greetings, all-

Pretty lousy game. I feel for you fans who invest so much of yourselves to have to watch your team struggle like this.

- Larry Drew kept the team in the locker room for a lot longer than normal. He came out to talk to reporters about 20 minutes after the game ended, which I’d guess is about seven or eight minutes longer than usual. The only thing Drew said he’d said to players is that every team is physically and mentally tired and that they have to grind it out.

“It’s not a situation of coming out and hoping that the other team is not on,” he said. “You’ve got to come out and you have to establish yourself and we have not done that.”

Other Drew quotes: “Right now, we’re in disarray. We’re not playing with the type of confidence and the type of swagger we should be playing with at home. And that’s a very disturbing thing.”

“The disappointing thing is that we didn’t play with that toughness that needs to be played at this particular time of the season.”

- The …

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Hawks-Knicks game thread

Greetings, all

Ken Sugiura sitting in for MC. A couple notes from the pre-game.

Josh Smith will play on his right knee sprain with a brace. Coach Larry Drew said Smith decided he felt good enough to play at Saturday’s practice and then wanted to see how it would feel this morning. At the shootaround, Smith felt good enough to give it a shot.

Drew said he’d monitor Smith’s minutes and movement. Smith will start and defend Amar’e Stoudemire. Hawks will play the normal lineup.

2. Hawks dodge a bullet as guard Chauncey Billups (thigh), center Ronny Turiaf (knee) and guard Bill Walker (knee) will not play. Billups has missed the past two games with the injury. Jonesboro High grad Toney Douglas will start in Billups’ place.

With such a short bench, how the Knicks maintain their pace and effectiveness over the course of the game bears monitoring.

3. Drew said, not surprisingly, defense and physicality will be two big keys for the Hawks. Knicks are second in the league in scoring at …

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Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith seeks ‘clear mind’ to play with sore knee

The doctors have given Josh Smith clearance to play after he sprained his right knee on Monday. He said he believes the knee is feeling about as good as it’s going to get. He practiced with a knee brace today and said it felt OK.

So it seems the next hurdle for Smith is a mental one.

“It’s cool,” he said. “Obviously I am thinking about it and being more cautious. I’ve got to play with a clear mind. If I think about re-injuring it I probably will.”

The brace has metal frame with hinges and a cloth covering. It isn’t too bulky, though Smith joked: “Looks robotic.”

Smith said he was able to make cuts during today’s light practice session.

“It feels good,” Smith said. “I’ve just got to get [accustomed] to that brace. For the most part it felt all right. I think at this point it is going to be what it is. I’m just going to get treatment as much as possible and try to go tomorrow.”

Smith’s return would help boost Atlanta’s interior defense, which was lacking in their 111-104 loss …

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