Atlanta Hawks at Rockets: Clinching seed is the carrot

There’s a juicy carrot out there for the Hawks tonight.

Beat the Rockets and they clinch the No. 5 seed in the East. Clinch the No. 5 seed and then all of their tired bodies and minds might get a break over the final five games.

“I want to clinch before I even think about doing that,” L.D. said.

That’s some pretty good incentive.

“It should be for the guys,” Drew said. “A couple of weeks ago we were talking about it but kind of looking at how we were playing, looking at the schedule, it wasn’t a sure lock. Here we are with an opportunity to clinch it.”

No one can be blamed for not trusting the Hawks. A season’s worth of questions were not suddenly answered by two good efforts that included likely outliers like J.J. getting to the line, Josh draining tough jump shots and Zaza wrecking the team he likes to wreck most.

What L.D. thinks can most be duplicated is the focus and determination that allowed the Hawks to win ugly against good opponents.

“Probably the grind-em-out presence that we played with in both games,” Drew said. “Against Orlando, I thought we did a really good job in matching their physicality. I thought we did a good job in playing physical. Those type opponents, that’s the type of effort you have to have against them. I thought it was the same thing against Boston. Both games turned into half court games, we turned them into grind-em-out games and we played with a physical toughness.”

Game notes

  • “Regular” lineup for the Hawks: Hinrich, J.J., Marvin, Smoove, Al.
  • The Rockets seemingly were done after they traded away Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier at the deadline. Instead they’ve surged and are desperately trying to make the playoffs. Henry Abbott at TrueHoop reported that the Rockets are motivated to stick it to fans, media, and the team’s front office, and I’m wondering if that might work for the Hawks, too.
  • The Rockets are a better offensive rebounding team than the Magic and Celtics. Impressive work considering they aren’t a big team.
  • Scola bangs inside, Hayes bangs inside, Hill comes in and bangs inside, Patterson comes in and bangs inside,” Drew said. “They play extremely fast, they get up and down the floor, but yet they play with a physicality. I am hoping that the way we played the last couple games will carry over into tonight’s game.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

418 comments Add your comment

tremaine

April 3rd, 2011
7:06 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:06 pm

Al better not let 6′6″ Houston center Chuck Hayes punk him in this one. Houston is one of the rare teams that has a size disadvantage against the Hawks’ regular lineup. I want to see the Hawks take advantage.

tremaine

April 3rd, 2011
7:06 pm

“GIVE TEAGUE A CHANCE!”

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:08 pm

“The Rockets seemingly were done after they traded away Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier at the deadline. Instead they’ve surged and are desperately trying to make the playoffs. Henry Abbott at TrueHoop reported that the Rockets are motivated to stick it to fans, media, and the team’s front office, and I’m wondering if that might work for the Hawks, too.”

If anything that should work even better for the Hawks, seeing as how we Hawks fans don’t show them any love either. Maybe they should try to stick it to us.

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:08 pm

Lowry has been hooping lately.. interested in seeing if the Hawks defense can continue to look strong.

O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
7:09 pm

Najeh,

I dont think the Hawks know how to stick it to anybody except to each other…

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:11 pm

Nice post up by Al to start things off.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:13 pm

Joe so far: backs out of the post and passes it up on one possession, travels on another possession, fumbles a give and go in the paint on the 3rd possession.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:14 pm

Chase Budinger could be a really effective weapon against global warming. I think I would need shades if I had to guard him.

drmaryb (*_-)

April 3rd, 2011
7:15 pm

The ANIHALATION of an Idiot!
(Quelled by his own Idiocy)

4:16 pm

Here’s an interesting quote, para-phrased from Doc Rivers in regards to Al Horford:

“He was hands down my favorite All Star player this year. He came to me and said, you really only have to play me just one stint. This is all about the stars.”. I told him, “You are one of those guys.”

He is the most unassuming All-Stars in this league and is genuine.”
________________

That was the gist of what Doc was saying. I read a blogger’s post from last night’s game, intimating that Al Horford has always been one of his favorite players, since his days at Florida. This blogger continued to say, “Al would look really good in Celtic green uniform.”

********************
Here is what a Self – Proclaimed Idiot would say:_

Idiot watch

April 3rd, 2011
10:19 am
Only an idiot would quote a blogger who is quoting a blogger who is quoting another blogger who says he has translated this paraphrase from coach rivers and then say it is evidence…

Where do they get these people from?
_________________________________
The Boston Herald

Back-to-back flack

Another poor showing on 2nd night

By Mark Murphy / Celtics Notebook
Saturday, April 2, 2011 – Updated 2 days ago
    
Horford has Green fans

Hawks center Al Horford hasn’t needed much time to become one of Rivers’ favorite players — anywhere.

“Of all the guys on the All-Star team it wasn’t even close, he was my favorite guy,” said Rivers. “He made a comment to me, ‘Coach, don’t worry about playing me, I just want to play one stint because this is about the stars,’ and I said, ‘You know, you’re one of those guys.’

“Man, he’s so unassuming, I was like, wow, but you know he’s for real.”

- An Excerpt taken from the Boston Herald Article / Beat Writer –
________________________

I would say my paraphrase is pretty accurate for someone who was commenting from pure memory.

The best way to quell and destroy an idiot, is to use his very on words, give him extra rope and typically he will hang himself. They are known to be suicidal by nature. And where do they come from?
IDIOT parents. They should all be neutered, make the world a better place. Stick a knife in this one, he’s done!

O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
7:16 pm

‘Nique with the compicated explanation.

“The reason why Scola gets the foul on Al is because he got Al up in the air”. Thanks Nique…

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:16 pm

And sure enough, Al is getting punked by Chuck Hayes early.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:17 pm

3 good passes by Smoove to Joe inside so far. Joe has finished one of them.

drmaryb (*_-)

April 3rd, 2011
7:18 pm

MVF!

The three biggest Floppers in the NBA were named:

Varejeo #1
_______ #2 (I forget)
Scola #3

Hawks need to watch out for Luis Scola antics.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:19 pm

Now it’s Smoove’s turn to get punked by 6′6″ Chuck Hayes.

Jae Evolution

April 3rd, 2011
7:20 pm

Lol forget Al, how are you going to get torched by someone 3 inches shorter in the post?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:20 pm

Now other Rockets are getting open looks because the Hawks are doubling down on 6′6″ Chuck Hayes in the post.

Rev in Tampa

April 3rd, 2011
7:21 pm

The Rockets commentators are giving Smoove props for being a good-jump shooter. I think they are trying to encourage him to take more.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:23 pm

First iso-Joe of the game. Predictably, a brick results.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:24 pm

Kevin Martin drives it hard to the hole and gets layups or trips to the line. Joe sizes his man up and jacks up jumpers.

Sautee

April 3rd, 2011
7:25 pm

“Kevin Martin drives it hard to the hole and gets layups or trips to the line. Joe sizes his man up and jacks up jumpers.”

And for this we pay $199,000.00 per game?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:25 pm

Teague Party!

Melvin

April 3rd, 2011
7:26 pm

A early Teague sighting…. Lets see how much playing time he gets

O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
7:26 pm

Good decision by Josh to drive and not take the jumper. Resulted in 2 FT.

Oh Oh. Is that Jeff teague, or do my eyes decieve me?

cp

April 3rd, 2011
7:27 pm

great pass Teague

Melvin

April 3rd, 2011
7:27 pm

ZaZa took another one out….

O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
7:27 pm

ZaZa with the elbow. He must have learned from Dikembe Mutombo :smile:

tremaine

April 3rd, 2011
7:27 pm

TEAGUE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:27 pm

Good look by Teague to Zaza on the break. Zaza makes the defensive play on one and and goes up strong to draw the foul on the other end. Dude keeps making an impact. He’s done a total 180 from what he was before the All Star break.

And an elbow to Kyle Lowry’s grill on top of that.

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:28 pm

some of these guys wouldnt have made it in the 90’s.

and i though Lowry was tough.

Rev in Tampa

April 3rd, 2011
7:28 pm

Gerald

April 3rd, 2011
7:29 pm

Josh has had a world of trouble stopping the rockets’ players in the post so far this season. In an earlier game, he got torched by Scola for 20 in the first half before L.D. put Horford on Scola. Now, he’s getting torched by Chuck Hayes. Josh is a great help defender and weak-side shot blocker, but his post defense is a bit iffy.

Aside from that, we have tons of problems on the offensive end, as usual. It looks like L.D. is hell-bent on force-feeding Joe the ball. Apparently, Drew still does not realize that you’re not going to get much out of a dead horse, no matter how much you beat the dead horse. Unfortunately, L.D. is not knowledgeable or experienced enough to realize that, so we will likely see more and more poor offense run through our “shotmakers”, or “bricklayers”, whatever you propose to call them.

Unless we start utilizing our big men more on the offensive end, I don’t expect us to have much success in this game, unless of course, we start hitting jump shots at an unbelievably high rate, and Houston can’t buy a basket, but that’s highly unlikely.

doc

April 3rd, 2011
7:29 pm

ouch with the “tap” elbow lowry is leaving the court pointing his finger. duck because we always get the late flagrant.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:30 pm

Smoove draws the offensive foul from Scola that time. I don’t think Scola is a great matchup for Smoove though. Scola has the strength advantage over Smoove, and if he gets low post position like that going forward he’s going to convert more often than not.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:32 pm

“Josh has had a world of trouble stopping the rockets’ players in the post so far this season. In an earlier game, he got torched by Scola for 20 in the first half before L.D. put Horford on Scola. Now, he’s getting torched by Chuck Hayes. Josh is a great help defender and weak-side shot blocker, but his post defense is a bit iffy.”

Depends on who he’s guarding. He seems to do better against players who can’t just use brute force to back him down and create space. Scola and Hayes are both capable of doing that to him.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:33 pm

There you go Joe. Be decisive, get to your spot, and shoot the uncontested shot in rhythm.

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:34 pm

what kind of shot was that from Jamal?

cp

April 3rd, 2011
7:34 pm

there u go Josh

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:34 pm

Smoove is getting anything he wants inside. Hopefully he continues to want to go inside.

Rev in Tampa

April 3rd, 2011
7:34 pm

where was the interior defense by the hawks. Nobody in the paint defensively when chuck smith scored.

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:34 pm

Josh better PF

O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
7:35 pm

I think good things will happen when JJ makes his move early…

Melvin

April 3rd, 2011
7:35 pm

Josh, you are a much better player when you play in the paint….

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:35 pm

making others better..

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:35 pm

Joe starting to read the double team and get the ball out of his hands quickly. That’s twice in the last three possessions he’s done that with good results.

cp

April 3rd, 2011
7:36 pm

Teague causing the turnover

Melvin

April 3rd, 2011
7:39 pm

Why not play Damien? Give Joe a rest…

cp

April 3rd, 2011
7:39 pm

jamal looks cold early. he’s taking some tough shots

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
7:39 pm

it was interesting hearing coach Hubie Brown talk about the Hawks and turnovers.. it seems like when Teague plays the come w/ regularity..

Najeh Davenpoop

April 3rd, 2011
7:39 pm

Kevin Martin is skinny as hell and still manages to go inside and finish strong on a regular basis.