Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew says Joe Johnson must ‘combat’ tough D like other stars

After Game 3 J.J., frustrated with the offense grinding to a halt against Chicago’s aggressive D, said he would “force the issue” Sunday. Basically Joe doesn’t think L.D.’s share-the-ball philosophy is the right way to do it even considering all the double teams faced by he and Jamal.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Joe has used 26 isolation possessions against the Bulls out of 59 total isos for the Hawks. He’s scored 22 points on those 26 possessions.

Joe’s efficiency on those plays has declined with each game in the series.

In Game 1, Joe used 12 iso possessions and scored 14 points with 5 of 8 shooting, four free throws and two turnovers. In Game 2, Joe used six iso possessions and scored four points with 2 of 5 shooting and a turnover. In Game 3, Joe used eight iso possessions and scored four points with 2 of 8 shooting.

Joe was already gone when media were allowed access to the locker room today but L.D. addressed Joe’s frustrations:

“They are playing him physical. If he’s not being double teamed, they have climbed up in him. He is just going to have to combat that. There are a lot of key players on teams that other players play physical against and they just combat it. There are a lot of key players that get double teamed and they play out of double teams. A lot of playing out of double teams is not trying to beat double teams but making plays and you have to show a willingness to give the ball up and trust your teammates. If you continue to try to beat the double team by yourself you are playing into the opposition’s hands. We did a good job with that against Orlando. Orlando ran a very similar [scheme], the game plan was to take it out of his hands, double-team him. We made the right plays out of it. When you are playing against a team that is going to roughhouse you and play you physical, you have to combat that. A lot of these great players around the league, they face it every single night. You have got to look at how they play you, watch film, combat it. Don’t put yourself in situations where they can constantly be up on you. Draw fouls. That’s one of the things we need to do more of vs. that type of pressure, when they are playing like that.”

Could J.J. help himself by making quicker decisions against pressure?

“Without a doubt. When you know teams are playing you the way they are playing Joe, you have got to do things faster. That was something we put a lot of emphasis in at the start of the playoffs against Orlando is for him to do things faster. They are not going to let you and just jockey around with it. They are going to be on top of it right away. You have got to do things a lot faster. Your moves have got to be quicker and then just up into your shot. Just jockeying around trying to create space and go one-on-one against a set defense the way that they play him, chances are it is going to be tough for him. But if he does things just a little quicker–coming off screens, looking to shoot the ball right away–those are the kind of things that free you up.”

But is J.J. comfortable playing that way considering his deliberate style?

“Comfortable? I don’t know. Capable? Yes. He has shown the ability to come off screens and shoot the ball. Certainly I have seen him go into moves a lot quicker. I don’t know how comfortable he is doing it but I know he is capable.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

253 comments Add your comment

nola hawk fan

May 7th, 2011
3:04 pm

First?

Forget JJ.. .what happened to AL?

jj is weak

May 7th, 2011
3:10 pm

First if it matters.

Joe is not elite and does not show heart. He is Smoove but can shoot better and does not block shots. The man JJ is not that good. He gets exposed when his guy plays him in his face D. He does not dribble well and makes dumb decisions at critical times.

He cares more about his $ than winning.

I wish the mgmt would not have kept him. The future would be brighter.

fiddle

May 7th, 2011
3:12 pm

Second that is.

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:15 pm

Games 3 and 4, not 2 and 3

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:27 pm

I don’t think I’ve seen the Hawks commit one hard foul in this entire series.

The Pacers played the Bulls much better than we did

FIRE LD

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:30 pm

LD had 2 days between games 2 and 3 to make rebounding adjustments – whether to start a bigger lineup or change matchups.

We went out last night and got outrebounded by 13.

LD’s coaching last night, as well as his inability to have the team ready to play, should remove all reasonable doubt that he is the worst coach in the NBA.

If this guy starts Marvin Williams in game 4, I might be done with this team for good.

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:31 pm

MARVIN: 1 REBOUND IN 24 MINUTES
JOE: 1 REBOUND IN 38 MINUTES

KEITH BOGANS (WHO) HAD AS MANY REBOUNDS AS OUR STARTING SG AND SF
LUOL DENG HAD 6

MARVIN IS 6″9 AND HAD 1 REBOUND

welikebaseball2

May 7th, 2011
3:33 pm

Hmmm…waiting on our million dollar man to learn/decide to “combat” tough defense like other stars? Wow. How could you give a max contract to a guy that hasn’t learned/shown that? The guys that actually deserve max money (you know, the bonafide superstars) do that naturally.

ga peach

May 7th, 2011
3:34 pm

Can people stop giving Al Horford a free pass?? Where the hell has he been?? I don’t care how much of a media darling he is, he has to step up.

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:35 pm

I don’t understand why ZaZa has been so bad in this series. How hard is it to play as physical as possible on Noah and not let him get rebounds?

Everyone one this team has butterfingers

Marvin + Horford = soft

Josh should be in the lane for every play on offense

Joe has an easy advantage over anyone guarding him, but shies away from contact

Those are your problems with this team

btwarren

May 7th, 2011
3:37 pm

Kobe, Dirk, Durant, Wade and Lebron, D Rose, Pierce, These guys can all pretty much score when needed and can be unstoppable at times and can win games for you. The Hawks have no such superstar, only one that gets paid like one. JJ is a very good player, but he is not that guy. As soon as the Hawks realize this and make him play in a system where is not looked at like thae man, they will be better off, but I guess with all that money, he has no choice but to be the guy and from they way he tries to play and his comments about forcing the issue. JJ must believe that he is.

JeJe

May 7th, 2011
3:41 pm

I never see anyone hustling for rebounds. I just see guys standing for there, waiting for the ball to fall into their [butter]fingers

I guess the coaching staff can’t see this

LD seriously is the worst coach in this league

Don’t be fooled by our wins in these playoffs. They are a testament to how talented and athletic this team is – not LD’s BS “planning.” He advocates his “motion offense,” yet we aer unviersally considered a bad offensive team

After game 2 it seems like he told the team not to play defense in game 3 and only focus on offense

tidog

May 7th, 2011
3:43 pm

It’s no mystery Joe has to step up for remainder of the series. Thie ship is sinking after the last few games but everyone in a hawk uniform with the exception of Teague has to step up. I don’t have the stats but I suspect Teague is the Hawks leading scorer for the series. LD has to get the answer for the Bulls soon or this series and season is over too soon. The Bulls are who they are a defensive minded team with one offensive star. Jamal Joe and Al got to come harder.

tidog

May 7th, 2011
3:45 pm

LD Rick Adelman and Eddie Jordan are out of work.

John Wooden

May 7th, 2011
3:49 pm

@JeJe
Smith, Horford and Pachulia let alone collins have yet to see the floor together.
the rebounding and defense falls on one player in this lineup
just as Orlando heaped all of that responsibility on Atlanta native Dwight Howard.
Look how that worked for them.

Josh Smith might as well be Howard and Al Horford Brandon Bass. We will continue to get molested on the boards unless Hawks go back to the lineup that will limit offensive boards.

Rose can get off but Noah and Gibson and Boozer cannot continue to face only 1 of either Smith and Marvin and Horford on the boards. We need a center, a POWER forward, and Smith at the 3 to secure rebounds. When Smith and Collins are tired we bring in Pachulia for size and Williams to bust open shots.

Leffty

May 7th, 2011
4:15 pm

The Hawks need some toughness down low. They let Joakim Noah go off for 15 rebounds, including eight offensive, despite Carloss Boozer essentially napping the whole game. Even Taj Gibson got 11 boards off the bench for the Bulls. Marvin and Al and Joe Smith gotta do a better job boxing out and getting to loose balls if the Hawks want a chance in this series. Check it out:

http://bit.ly/jgjjI4

John Wooden

May 7th, 2011
4:36 pm

Marvin Williams and Josh Smith are redundant in the starting lineup. Add a center and battle for boards on both offense and defense.

Only regular season win was with Collins and Pachulia combining for 38 minutes and Horford playing 44 minutes. Hawks won and only lost the rebounding edge by 6.

Marvin Williams cannot help Josh and Horford on the boards. He had 1 rebound yesterday and that was offensive. He absolutely, cannot outmuscle or outrebound Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
It is laughable and unquantifiable for people to say they need “energy” when Josh and Al combined for 21 boards. Marvin Williams had 1 rebound in 23 minutes.
Marvin Williams is not a center and cannot help the rebound disparity against Noah.
Go Big or Go Home, no rebounds no rings, etc

Ray

May 7th, 2011
4:39 pm

MC,

Could you try and get some info on what is going on with Horford? No offense, but I think most of us are a little bit tired of hearing about these same problems with Joe. It’s like a broken record. Joe’s been having these same issues for years now, and everyone who follows the Hawks closely can identify that he needs to make quicker decisions and not try to “force the issue” through isolation plays against a set defense. As far as I’m concerned, this is just the way Joe is, and he’s been playing this way for so long that I’m not even sure if he has any desire at all to change his ways.

As far as Horford is concerned, his recent struggles are much more interesting and worrisome; mainly because they are new issues. Horford just doesn’t look right out there. This is the most passive I’ve ever seen him play, and I’d like to know how he feels about his poor play and if he has ideas of what he is going to do to improve. Does he even acknowledge or feel ashamed at his lack of aggressiveness? Does Drew see a problem with Al just settling for jumpers and having a tiny role in the offense? I know Joe is the focal point of our offense, but I feel like Al is just as important in this series as anyone. If he can’t get it going, I feel like his passive play is hurting us just as much as Joe hogging the ball and making slow decisions.

Can you look into that and see if you can find us some info on what is up with Al?

Rico Niles

May 7th, 2011
4:44 pm

RELAX!!!! The Hawks will Rebound… Literally on the court and in the series.

mountain_jim

May 7th, 2011
5:00 pm

Another vote for where the hell has Al gone? His shot, his effort, his rebounding, all gone. He had his best game of the regular season against Chicago and Noah. Where is that Al?

John Wooden

May 7th, 2011
5:10 pm

@ mountain_jim

Pachulia and Collins combined for nearly 40 minutes and Horford played big forward. With Smith at small forward we should kill the bulls.

Smith has seen literally 0 minutes at small forward and Horford and him have no chemistry if they don’t have the size advantage on the boards.
Horford shot 40% last series as well but at least Hawks with Collins and Pachulia helped shift to small forward and we had Horford help on the boards.
Hawks can go small selectively to insert scoring but the Hawks must go big and pack the paint with Josh not guarding pick and rolls. It pulls him away from the basket and with too many shooters on the floor they are cannibalizing each others shots and no double teams form from Josh or Al posting up.

Basically Bulls are treating Josh like Dwight and Al like Ryan Anderson. Hawks lack the size to compete on the boards and Drew must have some incentive to play without Josh at the 3.

Michael Cunningham

May 7th, 2011
5:16 pm

@Ray “MC, Could you try and get some info on what is going on with Horford?”

imo, the J.J. stuff is newsworthy not because his problems are not well-known but because he said after Game 3 he’s ditching the offense and “forcing the issue.” Drew’s response to that–basically, that the Bulls are roughing up J.J. and he needs to play like a star–is also newsworthy.

as for Al, i asked him why he’s having trouble scoring after the game. his answer is in the post-game blog. Al, like Joe, wasn’t in the locker room today when they let us in. i wanted to ask Drew about it but there were 50 other media types also asking questions and the session was cut off before i could get in a question about Al. i will catch up with Al at shootaround tomorrow.

to me it looks like Al just hasn’t responded well to Noah’s physical D. i mentioned a few times during the season how it was strange that opponents would sometimes give Al his pick-and-pop even though he was shooting at a high percentage. now the Bulls are not giving Al that shot, which was a large part of his arsenal. Al says he thinks he should get the ball more often in the post but, as you’ve seen, that’s not going well, either.

also, as i mentioned in the post-game blog, i think it has”t helped that Al has gone iso. there were a few possessions last night where he took to make his move, by the time he got to the basket the help D was waiting for him.

CGThree

May 7th, 2011
5:18 pm

I dont think the problem is that Al Horford isnt giving effort. He gives effort the problem is that he’s 6′8 maybe 6′9 and he’s going against Noah who is longer and taller. The Bulls frontline make him alter his shot. He cant post up against Noah. All he can do is shoot jumpers. When that jumper isnt falling he cant score. He should try to make Noah move his feet take him off the dribble. Thats his only hope against longer frontlines.

John Wooden

May 7th, 2011
5:43 pm

@MC

I know Marvin and Josh don’t want to give up the starting spot but does it matter what’s best for the team?
We need 2 bigs in the paint at all time. Josh for all intents in purposes is our center. He blocks shots he plays close to the basket etc.
With Collins putting a body on Noah, Horford and Smith are allowed to pursue offensive rebounds and secure the defensive ones.

We need 3 bigs instead of 2.
This is exactly like Orlando. That lineup might be slow but as long as Teague funnels Rose to our bigs
We play big, Horford and Smith can run and create switches and mismatches by rim running and pushing the tempo. We play big and Rose will be in a lot of tough situations with Smith and Horford driving the lane in transition.

Horford has never been an elite shotblocker but at least he can hold position at power forward until Josh can come weakside at SF and swat the shot.

Please Hawks I’m begging you. This lineup lost in Orlando, they lost in Cleveland, they lost in Boston, Milwaukee took them to 7 games.
If you want to be the Phoenix Suns or Golden State with no defense than fine. But if you want to rebound and WIN then there is no reason Josh Smith should play the power forward before Horford and NO reason that Wilkins gets to play the small forward before Josh Smith.

@CGThree via draftexpress measurements

Carlos Boozer is 6′9.5″. Al Horford is 6′9.75″ and plays center next to Josh Smith who is 6′8.25″
Marvin Williams is 6′7.75″ and Joe Johnson is 6′8.25″.

So yeah, we have a guy who is the same size as Carlos Boozer but lighter and our shooting guard and Josh are the same size.
That should explain our rebounding disparity right there.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 7th, 2011
5:46 pm

Al is listed at 6′10″ 245 pounds. Noah is listed at 6′11″ 232 pounds. I don’t think the difference between them is that Noah is bigger. I think the difference is that Noah — like Bass and Gibson — is a physical player while Al is a finesse player.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 7th, 2011
5:48 pm

I am normally against the idea of Smoove at SF because playing perimeter defense is not his strength and it would entice him to jack up more jumpers. But Marvin is doing jack sh-t on either end of the floor and Smoove is jacking up jumpers from the PF position anyway, so I don’t mind. Put Collins in at center and give Smoove and Al a mandate to get double digit rebounds in every game for the rest of the series.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 7th, 2011
5:50 pm

As far as the topic of this blog is concerned, asking Joe to be anything other than the solid but often passive non-superstar that he is is an exercise in futility. Just because he’s paid like a superstar doesn’t mean he will ever be one. Whether or not he’s putting up a ton of shots isn’t as relevant as whether or not he’s playing aggressively. Regardless of the number of attempts, if Aggressive Joe shows up the Hawks are in good shape, but if Passive Joe shows up the Hawks are screwed.

South ga boy in the atl

May 7th, 2011
6:11 pm

Michael, could someone please ask Josh this: you are 0-17 from 17 ft and out and yet you are shooting 60% from 10 ft and in. Are you braindead and if not why do you continue to jack up long jumpers ? Why Michael ? How can someone be so stubborn and vet away with it ? If Matt Ryan was doing this type of stubborn foolish play in his 7th yr, Falcon fans would put a sniper in the upper deck. How can he get away with it, time after time

Buddy Grizzard

May 7th, 2011
6:15 pm

Seriously why is nobody talking about the fact that all star al has attempted two free throws in this SERIES? By the way, mystery solved with regard to Teague. Joe preferred Bibby to bring the ball up and go stand in the corner for bailout threes. He seems frustrated with a scoring point who looks for his own shot.

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:18 pm

VALET PARKING AL “HE WILL ESCORT YOU RIGHT TO THE RIM”

HAS GLARING WEAKNESSES, HE HAS WEAK HANDLES NEVER USES HIS LEFT HAND TO CROSS OVER PEOPLE AND HIS FIRST STEP IS A SLOW STEP..! NOT A QUICK STEP..
HE HESITATES TO MAKE HIS MOVE AND ALLOWS THE TRAPS TO CATCH HIM OFF GUARD!I HE’S NEVER NEVER IS GOING TO BE GARNET, DUNCAN,ALDRIDGE OR EVEN BOOZER…PLAIN AND SIMPLE OVERRATED BIG TIME…

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:22 pm

2-5 against the competition(Chicago) with 5 blowouts means the Hawks are not as talented…

37 wins next season with the same ole ish………….Marvin just quit man……….”.the shortest big man” I have ever seen..
Wheres Dwill when you need him?

Time

May 7th, 2011
6:28 pm

Good to see people finally coming around on Al. He’s just as much a part of the problem as Josh or Joe are. In fact, he’s the worst, he’s the center. He’s supposed to be the tough guy in the middle, but he’s not. He just wants to take jumpers and go iso. Like everyone else on the team outside of Teague. And I’m tired of the undersized excuse for Horford. He’s not that undersized. Maybe to Shaq he is, but to most centers, Howard included, he’s not giving up much if anything.

Lp

May 7th, 2011
6:32 pm

It’s the wack offense it doesn’t play towards anyones strengths. The story about the hawks have been the same, double Joe and let the other guys beat you. That’s how Cleveland beat us, that’s how Orlando beat us, and if another “core” does not step up it will be how Chicago will beat us. I don’t think I have seen another player get doubled more than Joe has. He is doubled just about every play. He usually passes but we don’t make them pay. Everyone knows double Joe and someone is going to take ankle percentage shot. We have 0 shooters. The bulls run 2 plays pick and roll and off screen for Kyle korver that’s it. Also why haven’t we tried doubling rose or making someone other than him beat us? Game 1 they played Joe straight up and he put up 34 game 2 and 3 they made someones else beat them

Lp

May 7th, 2011
6:35 pm

Low percentage shot, iPhone spell check

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

If I were 6″10 245,I’d put on some Goggles and posterize everybody in the paint…

Al is afraid of the BIG BAD PAINT???? Meow Meow…..

tony

May 7th, 2011
6:38 pm

If they decide to make a coaching change they need to hire Bill Laimbeer.

Gamer

May 7th, 2011
6:38 pm

FOR ONCE, LD’S GAME PHILOSOPHY MAKE LOGIC….

JOE JOHNSON MUST COMBAT DEFENSIVE SCHEME WITH QUICKER DECISIONS TO ATTACK BASKET, FLOATERS, AND TEAR-DROP, MID-RANGE JUMPERS OR PASS TO OPEN TEAM-MATES….

ACTUALLY, J.J. WAS DOING FINE ON FIELD GOALS PERCENTAGE…BUT HE DIDN’T REMAIN AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH….AFTER A FEW MISSES, HE GAVE UP ON TAKEN SHOTS.

CORRECTIONS ON PASSING TO OPEN TEAM-MATES!!! NOT PASSING THE BALL TO JOSH SMITH STANDING AROUND PERIMETER WITH LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS ON SHOT-CLOCK.

NONE OF THE HAWKS PLAYERS SHOULD PASS THE BALL TO JOSH SMITH STANDING AT PERIMETER WITH SHOT-CLOCK WINDING DOWN(LESS THAN 5secs.)

MAN-UP J.J, STEP UP TO YOUR NBA ALL-STAR STATUS!!!!!!!! PLAY LIGHTS OUT BASKETBALL!

ZAZA NEED TO STOP MAKING SENSELESS FOULS….MAKE HIS FOULS COUNT….AND TOO MANY TIMES ZAZA GAZED AT LOOSE BALLS. HE’S NOT HUSTLING TO LOOSE BALLS….

SIDE NOTE: JOSH SMITH PLAY AGGRESSIVE LAST NIGHT…A PRETTY GOOD OUTING…CAN HE REPEAT THOSE EFFORTS CONSISTENTLY???

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:38 pm

Larry is being out coach BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:41 pm

goggles, a very large cup and just dismantle the painted area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

northcyde

May 7th, 2011
6:42 pm

LOL @ how the blog doesn’t even care about this issue. How the issue is really Al Horford in this series. It’s his ineffectiveness that has prompted JJ to feel that he has to “do what he has to do” in Game 4.

As for JJ sticking with the offense . . you mean the same offense that saw our offensive rating plummet this year? The same offense that saw JJ and Jamal take about 6 less shots total this year, despite those two being our primary scorers? The same offense in which we’ve only cracked 100 points in 2 of the 9 playoff games ( games in which both JJ and Jamal went off in, looking for their own shots ).

The fact is that in this offense, the wrong people are taking the shots. That offense is flawed, because we don’t have the personnel to run that offense on a nightly basis. Because to run Drew’s offense, you have to consistently knock down open jumpers. And we don’t have a consistent jumpshooter on the team that can do that. And the one that we THOUGHT we had, is shooting like Shelden Williams.

But I guess if JJ forces the issue, things are going to get worse? What? Instead of losing by 20, we lose by 30, if JJ forces the issue?

LOL

Joe Johnson is right on the money with what he needs to do tomorrow night. It’s funny how MC believes that he’s not going to “run the preciious offense”. JJ NEVER said that he’s not running the offense.

He said that he’s not going to let Chicago dictate to him what they want him to do, which is give the ball up as soon as he’s doubled. If that means attacking the double team by trying to split it, or taking the shot before the double comes, or even holding on to the ball for a little, in order to get a teammate a better shot, that’s what he has to do.

The fact is that when he gave it up last night, he rarely got it back.

And Drew is right as well, in his assessment of what JJ needs to do. Go quicker. Take the shot immediately coming off of a screen. Draw fouls. JJ should try to do all of that.

And like I’ve been saying, even if JJ misses some of those shots, there’s a higher chance that his misses will be offensively rebounded by at least one of the bigs on the inside. Or the rebound may carem(sp) long, and Marvin or Teague may get the long rebound.

At either rate, Drew needs to find a way to get JJ and Crawford their shots, and tell those other guys to hit the boards. The 2nd chance points that Chicago is getting, is basically the difference in all of these games.

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:42 pm

Armare is only 6″10 around 235 and just killin it in the paint….

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:48 pm

Iso be selfish and go for 45! Screw J-smurf,Marvina, and Valet Parking Al, all three better know as the 3 stooges….

Iso has to score over 30 to have a chance…….

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:48 pm

Buddy Grizzard

May 7th, 2011
6:50 pm

“I don’t think I’ve seen the Hawks commit one hard foul in this entire series.” – jeje

Now let’s talk about las Vegas larry’s complete failure to make adjustments. As jeje points out, Indy played chi close by fouling Rose hard when he got in the lane. Look at the hawks foul totals from last night. Every hawks regular finished the game with one foul except al, who showed his toughness with two whole fouls. Where’s the double team on rose?

If Vegas starts marv in game 4, the Godfather has spoken… Bulls in 5.

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
6:55 pm

Larry must of got the call from the godfather, chief gangsta himself to git’er done!! But make it feel “real” so theres no chance of being found out!!!

but Buddy,J from the A, and Slimjr did not let that get past them…

The book is out called. “The fix is in”. Makes you want to say HMMMMMMMm……..

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
7:03 pm

Also Valet Parking Al “he will escort you right to the rim’ cannot dribble drive then pull up for a mid-range jump shot off glass from the right or left elbow. Heck he cant pull up off the dribble period……………………

Slimjr

May 7th, 2011
7:25 pm

OKC/MEM GAME IS TIGHT!! 4:20 LEFT…

Najeh Davenpoop

May 7th, 2011
7:35 pm

Memphis gets down by double digits at home and battles back to tie it. Hawks get down by double digits at home and stay down.

Even with this team’s lack of a superstar or realistic title hopes, they would be so much easier to pull for if they actually tried to win for 48 minutes every game.

Buddy Grizzard

May 7th, 2011
7:53 pm

Najeh memphis lookin good.

mykhalc

May 7th, 2011
8:00 pm

yep…exactly about the difference between MEM and ATL…