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

cp

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

Joe is struggling

Rod from College Park

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

Good half. If Joe and Jamal don’t pick it up, we lose.

bo

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

okay I feel better

Wabe

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

don’t know why he rushed it.

we wouldn’t have gotten a 2 for 1 as it is.

Luke Cage

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

We have withstood the early emotional run by the bulls and we are still standing, now the noose will tighten around them as long as we stay close.

mykhalc

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

Melvin

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

Didnt like the rush shot by Joe….

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:22 pm

great d..

ill take 6

Wabe

May 10th, 2011
9:23 pm

they’re playing pretty well.

it’d be nice if Joe and Jamal got rollin’.

The frontcourt guys are playing well though.

Zaza’s been a great surprise off the bench.

6 isn’t too bad at all. Hopefully they come out of halftime and turn it up a notch.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:23 pm

Hate when the Hawks go 2 for 1. I can’t remember the last time it actually paid off. Seems like it always ends up with a rushed shot by Joe or Jamal.

Regardless, though, good closeout to the half by the Hawks. Good sign going forward. Hawks should feel really confident going into the locker room.

honest_abe

May 10th, 2011
9:23 pm

bad decision by joe. oh well.. better than what i expected. hawks have a great shot to win this!

Ole Hawks Fan

May 10th, 2011
9:24 pm

Ive been calling for Marvin to be d-activated for these playoffs. The Hawks get nothing from Marvin

honest_abe

May 10th, 2011
9:24 pm

we could’ve gotten the 2 for 1 if he pulled up for that 3. great first half though. lets turn up the the heat(no pun intended) in the 2nd half!

cp

May 10th, 2011
9:24 pm

lucky to be down only 6. big minutes from Zaza so far

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:24 pm

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:25 pm

we right there..

mykhalc

May 10th, 2011
9:26 pm

i do NOT get why Marvin is in at all…Damien PLEASE!!!

Sautee

May 10th, 2011
9:27 pm

SteveW,

Rope-a-dope worked! (So far, at least)

bo

May 10th, 2011
9:27 pm

LD Has been making good adjustments. Experience will be key

mykhalc

May 10th, 2011
9:27 pm

truthspitter

May 10th, 2011
9:27 pm

What if we make those open shots we are missing this half? The we I am referring to is Joe

Sautee

May 10th, 2011
9:28 pm

Zaza gave us some BIG minutes

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:28 pm

Hawks are winning the rebounding battle. And after the non-Rose Bulls had 23 points in the first quarter, they only had 10 points in the 2nd quarter. That’s much more like it. Keep that up and the Hawks will win.

mykhalc

May 10th, 2011
9:28 pm

Zaza…good play tonite…

tom

May 10th, 2011
9:28 pm

at least the hawks aren’t the only ones guilty of not being able to hold double digit lead. keep it up hawks!

mykhalc

May 10th, 2011
9:29 pm

kept it close…i’ll take that for a half…

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:29 pm

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:32 pm

Joe has had tough luck on his shots.. a couple rim outs..

Brandon

May 10th, 2011
9:32 pm

“i do NOT get why Marvin is in at all…Damien PLEASE!!!”

Larry Drew likes Marvin’s jump shot, and you know how L.D. feels about jump shots.

Ken

May 10th, 2011
9:33 pm

tnt halftime show is hilarious

marvin williams

May 10th, 2011
9:33 pm

Fellas I am going to surprise you with my play in the second half.

Paradise Lost

May 10th, 2011
9:34 pm

Uh-oh, Chuck thinks Hawks are in good shape…not sure if that’s a blessing or curse coming from CB.

FIRE KENNY. I can’t stand that man.

Brandon

May 10th, 2011
9:35 pm

I’m seeing good signs from the Hawks so far in terms of their mentality in this game. They were down by 15 early, but they didn’t fall apart and fold the way they have in the past. That’s a good sign. Now, it’s a 6 point game, and they had the momentum going into the half.

Brad

May 10th, 2011
9:35 pm

Love the TNT crew

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:35 pm

Braves have cut it to 7-6. Dan Uggla finally showing up.

drmaryb (*_-)

May 10th, 2011
9:37 pm

Rudder!

ZaZa was the steady rudder. Teague is trying to get everybody in their sets! But Jamal and Josh not listening very well. Teague need to be more vocal, if they don’t move inside, then Teague needs to penetrate and take over in the paint.

What is Jamal doing? Aye Jamal! This is not your team. Give the ball to Jeff! So far, so good though. We withstood their fast start.

We really need to win this game. Drew is doing a great job in the huddle, being that vocal leader. He is getting in their chest!

Paradise Lost

May 10th, 2011
9:38 pm

We need to go up by a few points by the 4th and take the crowd out of it. Hawks fans were 6th man at Sunday’s game…don’t need that same vibe coming from CHI fans tonight.

Keep moving the ball. Someone get JJ moving please! Hello, Jamal? Did you miss the flight yesterday?

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:42 pm

Joe’s presence alone has opened up the Hawks offense.. he’s making the right play every touch..

Josh playing a great game w/ in himself.. he took a 3 that i didnt mind.. otherwise, he hasnt bailed out the defense..

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:42 pm

build a wall on all penetration..

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:43 pm

If Zaza was having this game in Philips, the crowd would be going berserk.

SteveW

May 10th, 2011
9:43 pm

Chicago will probably come out freaked out with energy, and we’ll have to withstand that run

Then I think we got’um

We got way more playoff experience than these guys.,

If you would have told me JJ and Jamal 3-13, and nobody but ZaZa in double figures, and were down 6 at the half – I’d say I’ll take it

honest_abe

May 10th, 2011
9:44 pm

this is the 2nd round folks. they are playing the team with the best reg season record. let’s have some realistic expectations. the hawks weren’t going to go to chicago and blow them out of the gate. this is exactly where the hawks needed to be in order to have a shot.

i don’t mind mistakes and missed shots as much as lack of effort. the hawks are brining it tonight and that’s all i can really as for as a fan.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:44 pm

Don’t fade away Al

SteveW

May 10th, 2011
9:45 pm

Everybody is playing really poised – no complaints

If JJ and Jamal catch fire, watch out

Najeh Davenpoop

May 10th, 2011
9:45 pm

Gotta get some better shots. Al needs to pull the trigger on that shot.

Rev in Tampa

May 10th, 2011
9:45 pm

Horford has given up 2 possessions and Josh 1 this half

honest_abe

May 10th, 2011
9:45 pm

marvin williams

May 10th, 2011
9:46 pm

Joe is Hesitant

Luke Cage

May 10th, 2011
9:46 pm

bigdave

May 10th, 2011
9:46 pm

why isnt Al taking that shot?