Atlanta Hawks at Bulls Game 5: On energy and effort

Chicago–If you are skeptical about how much those favored NBA cliches of “energy and effort” factor into winning then perhaps this series has changed your mind a bit. There have been scrums and scraps around the basket on what seems like every loose ball in this series, and I think there’s something to be said for energy and effort in these circumstances.

Defense and rebounding are undervalued as talents, and certainly it’s true that some players can try hard but just don’t have what it takes to be good in those areas. But maybe physically gifted guys can be better at defending and rebounding if they have the zest for it, especially within the team concept.

The Bulls are a good defensive team because they have good defensive players and a sound scheme but what good would any of that be without their single-minded devotion to getting stops and then securing the ball at all costs? Isn’t that energy?

Or is it like Doc Rivers likes to say, that energy is a talent, and so it’s really not helpful to think of it as something separate from “tangible” talent?

It’s pretty obvious the Hawks’ energy level has increased during the playoffs. That has correlated with the Hawks allowing just 101.9 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, 2.7 points better than during the season, and that’s including the outliers of Game 5 vs. Orlando and Game 3 vs. Chicago.

“I’ve been pleased because I feel like the guys have really bought in to what we are trying to do,” Al said. “It’s never going to be perfect but you can make up for certain mistakes and certain things [with energy] and I feel like we’ve been doing that.”

Certainly sound game plans against Dwight and D-Rose have been major factors in Atlanta’s success. Some favorable matchups have helped, too.

But I’m thinking Atlanta’s energy also has been important–and that’s coming from someone who rolls his eyes when players and coaches (and media types) use that word to explain unexpected performances when there are more obvious reasons.

“We are an energy team,” L.D. said today. “There are times we just come out and we just don’t play that way for some reason. We have the athletes. It’s just a matter of coming out with energy, and I am totally expecting that tonight.”

That’s always the question with the Hawks. Can you expect that tonight? Any night? Jamal summed it up yesterday:

“We’ve shown we can play with anybody, and some nights we can play with nobody. That’s the most frustrating part for us.”

Which version of the Hawks shows up depends on more than just how hard they play. But in the end, when the Hawks and Bulls are fighting for every possession to gain control of this grinding series, maybe that’s will matter the most.

“I expect us to come out and the effort will be there,” Al said. “I feel like we have been played well in this building two games. One night we had a great shooting night; the other night we struggled. But I think our effort was good. That’s my biggest thing. We need to come out and just play hard.”

Notes, quotes and links

  • L.D. said he’s likely to stick with the Twin lineup.
  • Bogans (ankle) will play.
  • Joe on the big moment: “It’s right there. It’s in our hands. We just have to focus in on winning another game in Chicago. It’s definitely possible. I am sure we can get it done.”
  • L.D. on if he’s happy about shot selection: “That varies game to game.”
  • L.D. on pressure: “They are one of the teams that was picked to come out of the East. A win here puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them to go back to Atlanta with us having a chance to close it out. I feel like the pressure is on them.”
  • L.D. on Bynum’s BS takedown of Barea: “We don’t condone those type fouls where you are taking people out of the air and really trying to hurt somebody. That’s not the way the game should be played. The game should be played with hard fouls, though. You are talking about fouls that are not going to injure people or hurt people or put in jeopardy of their careers being on the line.”
  • L.D. on matching up with Chicago: “Obviously Rose is the MVP of the league. What he accomplished this year is absolutely remarkable. Hats off to him. But looking at the rest of the roster–they have good players, solid players, good role players, guys that play really hard–and we like to feel we match up well against them. . . . Throughout this league there are certain teams you match up well with and some teams that give you problems, and we look at this as a team that we do match up well with, irregardless of what happened in the regular season. Looking at it man-for-man, we feel like we match up really well.”
  • Damien on Smoove: “We go as No. 5 goes. Joe is our go-to guy, but we go as No. 5 goes. The better he plays, the better we play. He can do so many different things. I wish he would do it all the time. That wasn’t even a great game for him [in Game 4].”
  • Jamal did a radio interview.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

945 comments Add your comment

Nate ArchiBALL

May 10th, 2011
4:29 pm

Nate ArchiBALL

May 10th, 2011
4:37 pm

Let’s Go Hawks!!!

dan the nerd

May 10th, 2011
4:44 pm

Hmmm…. Damien sounds like he might be a good interview. I would like to hear more of what he has to say.

Also, I would prefer to see Damien come off the bench before zaza. za looks slow in this series.


May 10th, 2011
4:47 pm

“We go as #5 goes”. Exactly. Come on Josh, we need the good Josh Smith tonight.


May 10th, 2011
4:49 pm

sup blog people,
havn’t been around because of finals and whatnot
graduated college and have moved back to Atlanta in the past few days,




See yall at the game Thursday.


May 10th, 2011
4:52 pm

“Or is it like Doc Rivers likes to say, that energy is a talent, and so it’s really not helpful to think of it as something separate from “tangible” talent?”

Wow Mc,

Although it may seem miniscule…you just dropped some sports knowledge with that quote from Doc Rivers. I never really thought of energy as a “talent”…but when I think about it, this could be a great recruiting rubric for scouts (in all professional sports) to use during draft time, and also when looking to sign free agents…especially seeing how cats like Joakim Noah and Josh Smith can effect a ballgame. Thanks for kick’n that piece of knowledge sir!

*saves in memory bank*


May 10th, 2011
4:59 pm

Let’s Go Hawks!!!


May 10th, 2011
5:01 pm


Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
5:07 pm


“The biggest problem is not one person on here can definitely say how we will play tomorrow

3 choices:

1) We play huge and win by 8 (VERY unlikely)
2) We show some tenacity but their shooters are on and we lose by 12 (likely)
3) We lay an egg in the 2nd quarter and lose 99-76

What do you all think?

1, 2, or 3?.”

How many people who actually play for or coach the Hawks would even be able to answer this question accurately? Damien Wilkins thought the Hawks would lose Game 4.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
5:08 pm

I just saw the ad for tonight’s game on TNT and even they said the Hawks came in Game 4 with “energy and effort”.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
5:11 pm

“But I’m thinking Atlanta’s energy also has been important–and that’s coming from someone who rolls his eyes when players and coaches (and media types) use that word to explain unexpected performances when there are more obvious reasons.”

It’s important in this series in particular because the Bulls are an energy team. Yeah, they play good defense because of their scheme, but a big reason they win is also because of the deflections, offensive boards, charges taken, etc. which are primarily a function of energy level, not talent or scheme. In order to beat the Bulls the Hawks have to neutralize the contributions the Bulls get from those factors, which requires playing with energy. They played the Bulls even on the boards (and by my observation played them even on the hustle plays) in their two wins, whereas the Bulls dominated the boards (and to my eyes the hustle plays as well) in the two losses.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
5:17 pm

“Bogans (ankle) will play.”

Haha. Should have said Bogans (ankle, pride).

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
5:18 pm

“L.D. on pressure: “They are one of the teams that was picked to come out of the East. A win here puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them to go back to Atlanta with us having a chance to close it out. I feel like the pressure is on them.””

Yeah, but if the Bulls win tonight, for obvious reasons the pressure shifts to the Hawks. For that reason alone, tonight should be viewed as a must-win.


May 10th, 2011
5:25 pm

One word REBOUND!!!! If we do this we will blow chicago out. Look at the stats when we win the rebound battle. Here are my challenges to the players:
Josh- 12 rebounds 4 blocks and 2 steals. Your points will come if you achieve these stats. (17pts)

Joe- 10+ free throws, 5 rebounds. Means you are driving to the basket like other stars you would average 28 pts easy.

Al- 14 rebounds 3 blocks. If you do this and run with Josh on the fast breaks you will get 14 pts.

Jamal- 2 steals, shoot 7-12 from the field. This means you are playing tough defense and either you are hot from the perimeter or your driving to the basket.

Teague- 2 steals and 8 free throws this means you are driving to the basket.

And guys perimeter shots are harder to rebound because when you drive to the basket it breaks down the defense. Come on Hawks pull this out man lets get the world off our backs. Good luck.


Mac-Town #maconchevyrider

May 10th, 2011
5:26 pm

We have to avoid letting them come out and jump to a big lead and then try climb our way up a huge hill for the rest of the game.

I think we’ll win if we accomplish this.

Mac-Town #maconchevyrider

May 10th, 2011
5:27 pm

L.D. need to get off that H()e shhh and start Collins here on out.


May 10th, 2011
5:36 pm

Energy. Josh needs to continue to bring it.

So, considering the need for energy, where are all the people saying the Hawks screwed up by not bringing in Shaq. Lot of good he did the Celtics against the Heat. Great guy; great career…but he no longer has any energy. Happens to us all; we can’t ignore Father Time.

Nique's Revenge

May 10th, 2011
5:40 pm

we need paint all over Josh’s shoes

high energy from all our players and smart coaching to let em rest up


May 10th, 2011
5:44 pm

The Hawks need to come out and treat each quarter like a whole game. They need to win every single quarter or atleast 3 out of the 4. If they lose one then they cant lose it by more then 6 points. If they win then they need to win by atleast 4 points on each quarter.

Also I read ana rticle on

Basically which ever team comes out with passion and energy and effort in the first quarter has went on to win that game. We need to come out VERY strong in the first quarter. We need Smith, Horford and Teague to jump start our offense ASAP. I feel if we can win the first quarter by atleast 5 or 6 points, then we can tough it out for 2 more quarters. I’d prefer the 3rd and 4th. Hold them to less then a 6 point 2nd quarter win.


May 10th, 2011
5:45 pm

I’m ready for this game


May 10th, 2011
5:47 pm


Yeah me to!

I can finally watch my first playoff game from start to finish. And not jump in near the end or have to leave early in the game.

Very excited!


May 10th, 2011
5:53 pm

don’t care if we lose as long as we don’t give up


May 10th, 2011
5:56 pm

LD once again uses the word “irregardless”

ENOUGH of this “the pressure is on them BS



May 10th, 2011
5:57 pm

I feel like we stink most of the time in the 2nd quarter. I have no stats to back that up, just observation over most of the regular season and playoffs.

I don’t know why we do. I could speculate. Just seems like we do.


May 10th, 2011
5:59 pm

We must treat tonight like a MUST win. I do believe the “playoff experience” these hawks have had together has helped them over the hump a little


May 10th, 2011
6:00 pm

Gametime!!!!! The Bulls are less talented but go hard for a longer period of time than the Hawks…Thats why they “seem” to be a better team…I see 2 or 3 factors that cause the Hawks to win or lose and pretty much everyone see that too…Rebounding, bad shots, and focus…They take care of those 3 and were are good and on our way to the Conf. Finals….

Section 303

May 10th, 2011
6:01 pm

Can’t wait for this game!

I am especially anxious to see how Josh Smith plays. He’s been talking a lot and getting a lot of pats on the back. Now, it’s time to go out and play again. Not sure how he is going to handle coming off his best game this season.


May 10th, 2011
6:03 pm

Yea SteveW…We do suck in the 2nd qts or most games..You’re not alone in noticing that…


May 10th, 2011
6:03 pm

dukester when is the last time joe has even gone to the line more than 5 times in a game ? . He just doesn’t force the issue the way guys like Smoove and Jamal do..


May 10th, 2011
6:09 pm

@lea thats my point. Joe needs to force it. As a coach thats the gauntlet I would lay down to him.


May 10th, 2011
6:11 pm

D Rose is an amazing player. That said, I think the rest of the Bulls team determines if the Bulls are successful.

Since that game 2, Noah has looked pretty average to me.

And I know he was smaller framed than Al at UF, but it’s obvious the guy has been hitting the weights hard. I would guess he’s 250+ right now, even though he’s listed at 232.

Deng is a good hustle guy, very athletic, but I don’t think he’s some great BB player or anything. He’s really getting by on energy and athleticism. He’s everything Marvin could be and isn’t.

Boozer hasn’t looked that good to me either.

Taj Gibson – I’m always glad when they take him off the court. Another great energy guy. He can be a difference maker if you ask me.

Asik is a good ball player also. I’d take him for Marvin straight up. i’d even throw in a couple of 2nd picks. But the guy only makes like 1.5m per year or something, so no trade could happen with Marvin.

Bogans hustles defensively, but he doesn’t scare me on O.

I don’t like when Korver’s in the game. He can kill you at any time, even if he is a def. liability.

Brewer hasn’t shown me much, but he’s solid for what he is I guess.

I don’t like when CJ Watson is in the game either. That guy looks like he could start at Point for alot of teams.

So of course you have DRose.

The other guys that concern me are Noah, Gibson, Watson, and Korver. I don’t think Deng will beat you, but he’s solid.

Boozer, Bogans, Brewer I’m not so worried about.

We can beat this team!

Go Hawks!!!!!!!!1

Buddy Grizzard

May 10th, 2011
6:14 pm

Watch Josh’s and JJ’s body language early in this game. Las Vegas Larry has done a credible job making adjustments in this series but this is the big test. Expect CHI to try to exploit Collins to start the game. Thibs will also adjust to the traps on Rose.

Vegas must get JJ and Jamal open looks. Any time Josh is open on the perimeter, his man will cheat into the lane. No reason to guard him on long jumpers because he’s made like one the entire series. This is a chess match and Las Vegas Larry is going head to head with the coach of the year who is responsible for Boston and Chicago’s defensive systems, statistically 1 and 2 in the NBA. If Vegas is able to counter the different looks he’s going to see tonight, this is his chance to prove that he deserves a job as an NBA head coach.

Rod from College Park

May 10th, 2011
6:14 pm

Paging All Star Al….. Paging All Star Al….. We need you tonight. We need you to play like you played in the second half of the last game. While everyone is focusing on Josh, it would be nice if our two time all star dominated Carlos Boozer (with torn ligaments in his foot). Another 6pt effort won’t get it done. If you want Josh to stop taking long jumpers, you and Marvin can stop passing it to him. Take the shot, when the shot presents itself. If not, we all know what will happen. Josh for 33333333333333333333333333.


May 10th, 2011
6:18 pm

Key stat: in the two wins this series, the hawks are averaging even on rebounds with Bulls. In the two losses, they are averaging -16 on rebounds. We need to play Jason Collins and Zaza alot and Marvin less in order to win the rebounds.


May 10th, 2011
6:19 pm

I agree we need this game tonight. Hope we come out with hustle, energy, hard fouls, and an attitude.

And Teague really knows how to run an offense. He’s not just fast and athletic, he knows what he’s doing out there.

He’s no Rose, Paul, DeRon or even Westbrook, but I’ll take him any day of the week. He takes care of the basketball also.


May 10th, 2011
6:22 pm

Scary thing about OKC:

Durant 22 years old

Westbrook 22

Harden 21

Ibaka 21

These guys are here for a long time to come


May 10th, 2011
6:23 pm

@Rod boy you gonna piss them off saying Josh for 333333333333. LOL Whats been up mane??

But hey check Garnett’s stats last night he was like 1 -10. So I mean Josh takes his bone head shots but I think we make a big deal out of it because they look so darn ugly!!!! Geeshh. But Josh please drive to the basket and dunk man!!
3pt shot from Josh 0-3 pts
A dunk from Josh Smith is Priceless!!


May 10th, 2011
6:25 pm

Jerry McGuire lost his MOJO/QUAN/whatever when he was fired at the beginning of the movie, but finally found it again by the end (with the help of Renee Zellweiger and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) The Hawks remind me of that movie. They lost their mojo after being embarrassed, humiliated and utterly destroyed by Orlando last year. Their pride had to be shot!They have been fighting back and haven’t given up and maybe now they have rediscovered their MOJO. Maybe they could have got their Mojo up earlier, but why waste it. Remember, last year we SWEPT the Celtics and they almost won the Championship. Maybe rather than being worried about these type of big moments, they Feel confident and LOVE this moment.


May 10th, 2011
6:26 pm

I agree, just don’t quit or get beat by double digits and I am okay

Buddy Grizzard

May 10th, 2011
6:27 pm

SteveW Teague is a scoring point, does not average alot of assists and has been turnover prone in the past. For him to pull the assist-to-turnover ratio he’s had in this series going head up with drose has been remarkable. I truly believe it is his lack of natural ability as a passer that has kept him on the bench more than any other factor. Jamal and JJ need the ball, not some second year guy who can’t shoot ball hawking and reducing their shot attempts.


May 10th, 2011
6:28 pm

I hope Al shows up as well. Probably won’t in a significant way – maybe a 16 and 10 kind of night.

I hope the guy that’s making over 2x as much cash than Al shows up tonight also, named Josh Smith. He’s the difference maker.

We sure need more than Josh’s 28% shooting that we had the 1st two games of this series, or the 21% he shot in that last Orlando game.

Or the 6 Boards he had in each of those first two games while not boxing anybody out. Or the 4 boards in that last Orlando game.

Last 3 halves – good Josh – That’s the Josh we need!

The guy can absolutely beast when he’s on! He can be on an elite level on so many things.

Jumpers are not one of them

Buddy Grizzard

May 10th, 2011
6:29 pm

CHI is also going to look to counter Smoove and not let him go off. Expect them to put a body on him any time he goes near the lane. They’ll make it much easier and more attractive for him to float outside.


May 10th, 2011
6:40 pm

Buddy – You know, Jeff only averaged 0.9 turnovers per game in 13.5 mpg.

That’s 2.7 turnovers per 40.5 mpg.

And he averaged 6.0 assist’s per 40.5 mpg.

DRose averaged 3.4 turnovers in 37.4 mpg in the regular season

Teague only had 3 turnovers in a game twice in a reg. season game since 12/16 at Boston where he had 4.

Kirk averaged only 3.3 assists for us in 28.6 mpg, much lower than Teague. And he only had slightly less turnovers than JT.

JT’s turnover proneness has not held water since the first half of this season.

And he missed a ton of Assists playing with ZaZa, Hilton and those guys, who would fumble his passes out of bounds.

Teague is not turnover prone.

LD’s incompetence kept him on the bench. Wish it was different. It’s not.


May 10th, 2011
6:40 pm

“Watch Josh’s and JJ’s body language early in this game. Las Vegas Larry has done a credible job making adjustments in this series but this is the big test. ”

LD has NOT done credible job. his refusal to make adjustments for game 3 might cost us the series


May 10th, 2011
6:42 pm

Kirk’s assist/to ratio – 2.1

Teague’s 2.2 in the regular season.


May 10th, 2011
6:44 pm

Chicago cannot stop Josh unless Josh wants to be stopped. They have no one that can do it. He’s too good if he wants to be. All up to Josh.


May 10th, 2011
6:49 pm

Your star offensive players usually have big games, when a team wins on the road during the playoffs. Rose did it in Game 3. JJ did it in Game 1. Durant and Westbrook did it last night. ZeBo did it in Game 1. Lebron was excellent in Boston the other night.

Stars have to step up on the road.

JJ must look to get going early, so that he can make the game easier for his teammates, just like he did in Game 4.


May 10th, 2011
6:56 pm

I agree northcyde JJ need to take 20 shots tonight. And 10 of those need to be drives to the paint.


May 10th, 2011
6:58 pm

SteveW, dead on! There is a huge difference in talent from our bench players. The only scorer there is Jamal…..Marvin usually gets his points outside of crunch time. He is due as it’s been 10 days or so since his last big game.
Teague has not stepped up his game that much; he just hasn’t been allowed on the playground!

Solid games from Joe, Josh and Al keep you in any game….it’s about the captains tonight!


May 10th, 2011
6:58 pm

I hope the good Hawks show up tonight. Al was good offensively in game 4 but he needs to hit that glass harder. Joe has to continue to make quick decisions. He is so much better when he decides what he wants to do early rather than pounding the ball.