Spurs at Atlanta Hawks: Rest vs. momentum

Josh (knee) is out. The starters are Hinrich, J.J., Marvin, Al and Twin.

Josh said he’s not sure how long he will sit but I’m thinking it could be more than one game if the Hawks clinch the five seed.

“We are just trying to get as much of the swelling out of it as we can and get it as strong as I can before the playoffs,” Josh said.

Keeping him out tonight appears to be the first lineup decision L.D. made with the long view in mind.

“With five games to go we want to try to get guys as healthy as we can going into the playoffs,” L.D. said. “I don’t think it’s a situation of if he really needed to play tonight, if this were the playoffs, he would probably play. But we have got to let the knee settle down and get him as healthy as we can going into the playoffs.”

The Hawks haven’t been nearly good or consistent enough to simply wind it down once they lock up the fifth seed. L.D. is playing the same health/rest/momentum balancing act as the Spurs and Magic, who also have had hiccups down the stretch.

In Orlando, Dwight keeps saying players need for rest while Stan Van Gundy keeps saying the Magic cant’ think they can flip the switch. His point is that the Celtics, Lakers or Spurs can credibly take that approach because they have the credentials the Magic lack.

But the Spurs aren’t talking about winding it down despite owning the league’s best record–and not only because the Lakers are creeping up from behind in the standings. It’s a message L.D. wanted Hawks players to see so at shootaround today there was a printed copy of this blog post on their chairs with these passages highlighted:

More than simply holding onto the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Spurs hope to use their final five games, beginning tonight in Atlanta, to establish momentum heading into the playoffs.

“We’re just going to play out the season, and whatever happens happens,” Duncan said. “We want to start playing like we want to play. That’s what matters.” . . .

Though home-court advantage seems like an attractive carrot, winning for winning’s sake should be enough to drive the Spurs. They are 9-9 since the start of March, with six losses coming during the historic skid that began after Duncan went down with a sprained left ankle March 21.

“You don’t want to go into the playoffs losing,” guard George Hill said. “You want to go in with a happy mind.”

L.D. said losing leaves a “bad taste” under any circumstance and, in any event, he admits he’s still not sure what he will get from the Hawks each night.

“I’m not,” he said. “It’s not about making shots. It’s that consistent what I call a ‘blue-collar effort’ every night because that’s the kind of team we have to be. We can’t win pretty. We have to win ugly. We have to win grind-em-out games. We have to learn to win games where we may not have it offensively. We have to win games where sometimes our defense won’t be up to par.

“I wish I could say at this stage of the season I could say I knew what I was going to get night in and night out but at this stage we have been too inconsistent. What I am hoping for these last two five basketball games we can gain some momentum going down the stretch.”

It might be tough to do that with the regulars sitting out or making cameo appearances. Then again, that may not matter much if the Hawks have tired or sore bodies for the playoffs.

No question which way Smoove is leaning: “When we find out our destiny, I think a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of minutes will get some rest.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

390 comments Add your comment

ag

April 5th, 2011
6:43 pm

vava74

April 5th, 2011
6:48 pm

So we have to win grinding out and that is why LD plays Jamal 30+ minutes…

Umm… What else will LD think off? The square wheel?

O'Brien

April 5th, 2011
6:55 pm

Speaking of the Spurs, JJ said “those guys know their roles, and they play their roles well”. Why can’t the Hawks players do that?

Jamal had a good game against Houston. Will he carry it over to tonight?

Booo!

April 5th, 2011
6:57 pm

Smh @ LD -_-

tremaine

April 5th, 2011
6:57 pm

“GIVE TEAGUE A CHANCE!”

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:00 pm

lets just hope horford attempts to block shots tonight

Blast

April 5th, 2011
7:01 pm

No happy thoughts about this one. Spurs have Hawks number.

Christian

April 5th, 2011
7:03 pm

Does anyone know how to watch the hawks game on tv because when I turn it to sports south, it just shows a poker game :(

glw

April 5th, 2011
7:03 pm

I say Teague plays over 20 minutes tonight.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:10 pm

The entire month of March was the Hawks’ “rest”.

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:11 pm

smh sund looks like he doesnt want to be there

O'Brien

April 5th, 2011
7:11 pm

I hope Marvin doesnt fumble the trophy on his way off the court

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:12 pm

Damn, Jason Collier’s wifey there has some sizable mammaries…

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:13 pm

“I hope Marvin doesnt fumble the trophy on his way off the court”

As long as he balances it on his ass he should be fine.

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:13 pm

R.I.P. Collier

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:14 pm

lmaooo@najeh and O’Brien

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:14 pm

Well at least no chants of MVP tonight

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:15 pm

lmfao im still over here laughing

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:15 pm

Teague will actually play minutes tonight, WOW!!

yoursporthouse.com

April 5th, 2011
7:16 pm

Marvin finally did something…

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:16 pm

wow how parker score that

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:18 pm

Cmon refs lol

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

You know, Kirk’s shot selection is not that much better than Jamal’s…

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

smh bench kirk hes just horrible

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

Jeff Teague please.

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

Sweet move Joe

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

Nice take Joe.

O'Brien

April 5th, 2011
7:19 pm

Horrible shot by Kirk.

And I know he is trying to fit in, but there is no reason to be missing so many shots, especially if you’re open.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:21 pm

Good to see Aggressive Joe early.

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:21 pm

spurs just wont miss

Art Vandelay

April 5th, 2011
7:21 pm

Who’s ready to see the Hawks methodically broken down by the Spurs? This guy.

Katie

April 5th, 2011
7:23 pm

why does kirk always fall?

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:23 pm

MC..

can you help me out on what Joe has on his feet..

some sort of NBA Earth Week Jordans?

Jermaine

April 5th, 2011
7:23 pm

Kirk Hinrich is really annoying me so far in this game. He made one good pass to Al for that last made jumper by Al, but other than that, his shot selection and his decisions, in general, have been awful. I get the feeling that he is trying to do too much out there.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:24 pm

Al popped instead of rolling on that play, and it ended in a back court violation. If he had rolled to the hoop, it’s likely a dunk.

I’m not sure there’s that much difference between Smoove’s mentality and Al’s mentality other than the fact that Al makes a higher percentage of his jumpers. Both of them would rather stand outside shooting jumpers than go inside and mix it up.

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:25 pm

they need to make some PE 7s for joe

O'Brien

April 5th, 2011
7:25 pm

I am a fan of Kirk, but so far, Parker is killing him on defense (TP is 3-3 with 6 pts), and Kirk is missing on offense (0-3 FG, although he does have 2 assists).

I will be very disappointed if Teague doesnt get any minutes tonight.

glw

April 5th, 2011
7:26 pm

Why whenever its obvious that the Hawks are about to shoot, Horford continues to stand outside? You cant get a rebound if you dont go to the board.

O'Brien

April 5th, 2011
7:26 pm

Bob said “Duncan can’t get it up” lol. Sounds like a personal problem.

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:26 pm

nice looking shot from Joe..

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

thats right Al.. hit that glass!

glw

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

Wow, Al…..see what happens when you go to the front of the rim….you get a layup.

Katie

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

Teague Party!

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

3 min mark.. ill take it..

tremaine

April 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

TEAGUE!!!!!!!!!

J.J.M

April 5th, 2011
7:28 pm

horford cant blow pass duncan?

bigdave

April 5th, 2011
7:28 pm

crowded Al results in an iso Al..

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:28 pm

Agree with Najeh Davenpoop

Would like to see Al play a little more back to the basket game

Luke Cage

April 5th, 2011
7:29 pm

But I still say Al is not even 85% Healthy so maybe thats why he’s been shooting more jumpers lately