Atlanta Hawks: Notes, quotes and links
Some tidbits before I hop a flight to the Chi, where at least it’s warmer now . . .
- Before the Hawks left for Chicago today, L.D. said he’s not sure if he will use the Twin lineup for Game 5. My guess is that he will use it but didn’t want to let the Bulls know that more than 24 hours before game time.
- Drew on Twin not getting a rebound in 12 minutes: “He brings a presence. There are guys in this league that require special attention in keeping off the glass. Noah’s activity, to me he could be considered one of those guys. Sometimes it means Twin boxed him out and he’s not coming up with the ball. His first assignment is to get him boxed off and allow someone else to come up with it.”
- L.D. on another benefit of the Twin lineup: “Asking Josh to defend Noah at times, he’s much taller and much longer. It’s a tough assignment for him. Having him go against guy like Boozer who is real physical is also tough. Another physical body has been good for us. It frees up Al and Josh up to a certain extent.”
- The Hawks have more playoffs experience than the Bulls, both overall and as a group together. Maybe that’s giving them an edge.
- Smoove hears what you are saying when he winds up for Js. More on that from Josh: “I’ve been a pretty good perimeter shooter this whole season. If people have been here all season they know I’ve done it all year. People who are here for the special times don’t understand.”
- Josh also heard you repping at the end of Game 4: “It felt good at the end to hear the ‘A-T-L’ chants instead of ‘M-V-P’ chants. The cheering throughout the game, it felt good. It did a lot for us. It gave us something extra.”
- Josh on his game: “I wanted to be aggressive and play with a ball of energy. I played my game, played with confidence and rode the tidal wave of the crowd.”
- J.J. on teammates talking to Josh about playing that way: “We definitely stayed on him. When he puts his mind to it and is not settling and going to the basket, he’s tough to stop. He did it a few times and saw they were not even contesting it, so he kept doing it.”
- Jamal on Smoove’s eight assists: “To be a good passer you have to be a smart player, and Josh is a smart player. People get on him but we’ve got his back. He believes in himself and we believe in him.”
- Aside from one stretch of the third quarter, the Hawks had crisp ball movement and motion. “We moved the ball really well,” L.D. said. “We made plays out of double teams. We just shared the ball. We ended up with 23 assists. We try to keep harping on it as a staff and showing them video, that when do move the ball we are more effective than playing isolation.”
- At nbaplaybook.com, Sebastian Pruiti breaks down a familiar Hawks play from Game 4.
- L.D. on the traps against D-Rose: “Chances are you are going to be in some type of rotation. You have got to be on point with it. Last night we did a good job with our rotations, whether with double teams or getting broken down off the dribble [and giving] help. With Rose on the floor, changes are he is going to put you int that situation and we have to make sure we react to it and are in good spots.”
- Teague’s attacking style makes Atlanta’s closing lineup tough to guard. Now there are five scoring threats on the floor and three of them can make plays off the dribble. Add in Al’s shooting ability and Smoove’s slashing and the Bulls will have to be sharp to account for everyone–assuming, of course, the Hawks share the ball and play to their strengths.
- “With Jeff on the floor because he brings the speed and quickness and he has the ability to make a shot, it causes havoc,” L.D. said. “Their game plan is similar to ours as far as making sure they can contain us on the dribble and keep us out of the paint area. With Jeff and his ability to get in there it opens up a whole new dynamic. We certainly want him to stay in attack mode. You’ve got five guys out there that are attackers in their own way.”
- L.D. on Teague pulling the ball out instead of driving into traffic late in Game 4: “Really, really smart move. During the timeout, I told him and acknowledged that was a smart, smart move on his behalf. He made a veteran decision on a couple of those breaks. On the other hand, Jamal throwing that lob. . . .”
- Drew on if Teague is playing more confidently because he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder: “Still have Jamal over there if you want to talk about he has that ‘look over his shoulder’ mentality. There is somebody over there I can replace him with. I think it has been more [Teague thinking], ‘I am going to accept this challenge and this opportunity. I am playing against the MVP of the league and this is my time to shine.’ That’s the impression I get.”
- More Drew on Teague vs. Rose: “Derrick Rose is good, it’s no fluke he’s MVP. But clearly Jeff Teague is not taking a step back as far as the challenge. He’s attacking with just as much aggression. The difference is Rose is going to have the ball in his hands more and put up more shots. Jeff is more of facilitator and attacks at opportune times.”
- Drew on the Bulls matching Korver on Teague late: “I don’t know what their game strategy is as far as throwing Korver in there, whether it’s putting a bigger body on him. With Korver on him I like his chances to get to the basket rather than Rose on him. We just want him to stay in attack mode.”
- Josh on the spirited discussions in huddles: “We are screaming at each other because it’s in the moment. We want each other to do so good and we want everybody to be on the same page. Even thought it may not come out the same way in that particular moment, we understand the message. It’s not how it’s presented. We understand everyone in this locker room loves each other like brothers. Everybody takes up for each other but you have some moments where you have to do some self-checking. No one is sensitive, no one feels like it’s personal, and we just keep trying.”
- Jamal: “As far as the mental toughness, we can take a team’s really good effort and bounce back. We handle adversity better. In the past when adversity came we went our separate ways but now I think it actually pulls us closer together.”
- Hinrich is improving but he hasn’t done any court work. Today he was on one of those balancing things the P.T. had me using when I blew out my frickin Achilles’ three years ago”
- Hinrich says he could return if the Hawks advance but don’t expect him to play against the Bulls. “There’s still no anticipation of expecting him back this series,” L.D. said.
- With all of the upsets in the playoffs, the Hawks are starting to talk about their chances of making a run.
- “Memphis is up 2-1 on Oklahoma City,” Josh said. “Dallas, nobody would have expected it. It’s wide open. Anybody can take it. A new champion is going to be crowned.”
- “These teams that are left, anybody can win it,” Jamal said.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat