Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 100, Heat 92

Miami–After a bad start, the Hawks settled down behind a zone defense and better shot selection. Tracy McGrady delivered the finishing blows.

  • “It feels good,” McGrady said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had that feeling. My legs feel fresh. Everything just feels good. It feels right. That’s a good sign. I haven’t felt this good in a long time, probably since the beginning of my knee injury.”
  • We’ll see how McGrady holds up physically but so far he’s looking like the kind of low-cost value the the Hawks needed if they were going to improve the team without paying the tax. He scores, rebounds, passes and defends. And he still loves the big moments. “I’m a competitor, especially competing against the best, LeBron and D-Wade,” he said. “I’m always up for the challenge. Those guys, it brings the best out of you. It felt pretty good.”
  • Not sure if the Hawks were lethargic early or if they just couldn’t handle the Heat’s speed and ball movement. “Early in the game we were too soft,” Larry Drew said. “We just allowed them to drive the ball to thee basket [and] not contesting shots. You give credit where credit is due, and certainly Miami is a heck of a ballclub. But you can’t come into this building and just allow them to drive it down your throat every possession and not put up any resistance.”
  • The bench guys got the Hawks back in it. “We got off to a slow start but our bench really lifted us up,” Joe Johnson said. “That’s how it’s going to have to be sometimes.”
  • Atlanta’s zone defense changed the pace of the game. By playing zone, the Hawks took a page from the books of Boston and Dallas in last season’s playoffs and also their W here last January. The Heat looked befuddled by the alignment. Suddenly they were stagnant instead of dynamic, settling for contested jumpers instead of attacking the basket at will.
  • “They went to the zone and we got out of our rhythm and what was disappointing was it affected our concentration from then on,” Erik Spoelstra said.
  • “I didn’t know how good the zone would be,” Drew said. “I just wanted to try to keep the game at a pace that would allow us to play at a speed that would slow them down. They missed some shots so it worked to our advantage tonight. Some nights it doesn’t work to your advantage.”
  • “The Celtics had success [with the zone],” McGrady said. “Dallas had the most success. Teams are just taking a little bit of what they did to them. You can’t play them one-on-one, I’m sorry. LeBron and D-Wade, I don’t give a damn how good your defense is, you can’t play them one-on-one so you have got to come up with something different.”
  • At the same time the zone slowed down the Heat, the Hawks stopped settling for Js.
  • Josh Smith mostly stayed away from them after jacking a few early. Marvin Williams was effective cutting off the ball. Al Horford scored through high activity around the basket and also had some nice cuts. And Johnson got his in spite of Miami’s swarming defense.
  • Johnson also helped harass Wade into an off night. He used his length to keep Wade off balance, scraping at the ball and forcing him into help. “You have to be ready to play him,” Drew said of Wade. “He is so good and so elusive off the dribble. I thought Joe Johnson did a phenomenal job against him. Joe to me is one of the better defensive players at that spot. He does not get enough credit for it.”
  • Johnson played with a brace on his right thumb. It’s the same injury that bothered him at times last season. “As you can see it’s always swollen,” he said. “When I get hit on it it is sore for a few possessions and then it kind of goes out. For the most part I will be all right. It will linger around for the whole season but there is nothing I can do about it.”
  • Atlanta hawked the ball and turned 16 Miami turnovers into 19 points. It could have been a lot more if not for Atlanta’s turnovers on the break (a big problem last season) and a few blown layups. “We did get in the open court but I don’t think we finished very well,” Drew said. “A few times it looked like we had clear paths to basket but just didn’t finish. But we did a good job in recognizing when to run and when not to.”
  • Jeff Teague got to the basket and didn’t finish a few times, but he kept attacking. He lost the ball a couple times on the break but set up key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter from McGrady and Johnson. Tonight he found the right balance of attacking to score and attacking to make plays for others.
  • Jannero Pargo also made a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Willie Green (0 for 5) was quick on the trigger again and didn’t make many other positive contributions. Vladimir Radmanovic is now 0 for 10 in his last two games but he grabbed four rebounds and had three assists. Zaza Pachulia fouled a lot and tangled with Udonis Haslem.
  • It’s early in the season but this was a strong, spirited effort by the Hawks against the best team in the East.
  • “We came down in a hostile environment and we came to play,” Josh said. “Even though we started off struggling, we just kept fighting and playing hard.”
  • “I think everybody in this locker room is confident,” Teague said. “I think we know we are a good team that can play with anybody . But I don’t think it proved anything. It’s still early in the season. It’s another game but it’s a good stepping team for us as a team.”
  • “If you look at this game and the game at Houston, you see two different ballclubs,” Drew said. “We have to become a more consistent ballclub. When we reach that stage, yeah, we can start talking about statements. Right now we are just trying to find ourselves as a club and get better.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

266 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe

January 2nd, 2012
11:37 pm

ntrigue

January 2nd, 2012
11:37 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

January 2nd, 2012
11:38 pm

How could LD have allowed us to be lethargic early? MIAMI PLAYED LAST NIGHT. Even if Charlotte sucked vs em

Grandmaster JeJe

January 2nd, 2012
11:41 pm

It appears TMac gets most of the quotes these days, which is good. He is the only player on this team with any kind of swagger – the Alpha Male

BEN

January 2nd, 2012
11:41 pm

JSS

January 2nd, 2012
11:42 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

January 2nd, 2012
11:44 pm

Like Teague’s comments. Time to become a GREAT team.

Won’t be posting here much starting tomorrow. So long AJC folk

ak

January 2nd, 2012
11:44 pm

HAHAHA YOU PEOPLE HAD TMAC done after a few meaningless preseason games.

Ryan

January 2nd, 2012
11:47 pm

T-Mac got tired of not getting respect and starting throwing his resume on the table. “Yo….scoring champ, 7 time all-star, give me some respect!”

superiorblogman

January 2nd, 2012
11:47 pm

Good win. MC quit slipping you partying with a Brazilian model or something tonite? Took you long enough.

Leave Teague alone he is what he is, go Hawks!

jlewis

January 2nd, 2012
11:49 pm

JeJe:

Tmac is playing a role, if he was so great with all that swagger, why is he playing for the minimum this year? Hawks just beat the heat and some subtle changes have taken place, JJ doesnt have to guard point guards anymore, the bench has depth with “veterans” not rookies and cast-offs that can’t play. If Josh can be reeled in, we can be really good.

Teedub

January 2nd, 2012
11:49 pm

Awesome win. Boss fought hard beginning to end. Joe was clutch. T-Mac was clutch. Teague was a handful. ZaZa was ZaZa. Even Marvin, though limited in minutes, was impactful. This Hawk fan is giddy!!

Section 303

January 2nd, 2012
11:49 pm

Marvin’s play has been one of the nicest surprises of the season. He has really been good, so far.

Joe does not get enough credit for his D. I think he is one of the better defenders in the entire league. Remember, he was the guy who slowed down Kobe in last year’s All Star game. And, he has shown well against star guards several times in the past.

Love it when the Heat lose. Just love it!

Also, great game today to all you Dawg fans. Was an instant classic. Go Green!

Grandmaster JeJe

January 2nd, 2012
11:54 pm

Tmac is playing a role, if he was so great with all that swagger, why is he playing for the minimum this year?

******
jlewis,

He has a lifetime Adidas contract and has made a bajillion dollars in he NBA. We were the most appealing team to him. He is very intelligent and articulate and I am sure he has 100M+ sitting in his bank accounts.

FreshFromATL

January 2nd, 2012
11:55 pm

T-Mac is easily the leader of this team.

Rod from College Park

January 2nd, 2012
11:56 pm

Astro Joe,

“Rod, so if I quote the entire sentence “He was invisible”, then what am I missing about that entire sentence? LeBron had 12 points in the first half. He was really eating up Marvin with those BIG 12 points, huh?”

He was invisible was not the entire sentence. The other part of the sentence was “in the first half”. You seem to have left that part out. Please inform me who’s post I am supposed to be reading on the regular. Help me please. LOL

Spud Webb

January 2nd, 2012
11:57 pm

Not signing Jamal is looking pretty good. He was a huge defensive liability. Overall the Hawks as a team looked better than the heat.

Spud Webb

January 3rd, 2012
12:00 am

Joe Johnson is playing better so far as well. Of course he will never be La bron, but at the moment we can’t worry about that. He is a very good player that does not get the credit he deserves on defense.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 3rd, 2012
12:03 am

Gotta give credit where credit is due. The Hawks are shutting me up. T-mac is looking like a better than Jamal

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:03 am

There were a lot of Pargo haters on the blog the last couple of days. I personally think that he has been pretty solid, and has run the team effectively when Jeff is out. I don’t remember the bench losing a big lead, or getting that far behind this year. I think as the season goes on, he will get much better, and he can knock down open jumpers. He has surprised me defensively. I think he has done a good job. Not so sure about Willie Green. I like his energy, but that is about it. The bench has done a great job, so far.

Dont Brick It

January 3rd, 2012
12:06 am

ATL practice your FTs!

It’s nice that they won today but those FTs are still crucial specially on close games.

keepinitreal

January 3rd, 2012
12:07 am

I really like the look of this Hawks team. It’s a pretty complete squad now that we have a legit PG and have beefed up the bench with vets like T-Mac and VladRad. Even though we’re only five games in, I sense a maturity from this team. I don’t see many teams blowing us out this year.

Astro Joe

January 3rd, 2012
12:07 am

Again, I think there is a good chance that TMac will really relish the chance to play for a winning team that expects to make a 2nd round playoff appearance. Hopefully, he will feel more responsible for helping deliver a victory against quality teams than he has felt since his Houston days. The Knicks or Pistons weren’t competing for anything but these Hawks will be competing for a top 4 playoff spot throughout the season.

I’m glad TMac is here but let’s also understand that he is getting a lot from the Hawks as well. A quality team with players who have achieved national accolades and are expected to compete for homecourt advantage in the first round. He’s playing for a winner and that has not been true for more than a minute. My guess is that the good feeling he has is not just about individual accomplishment, but being a member of a team capable of beating a previously undefeated Heat squad in their own building.

SteveW

January 3rd, 2012
12:08 am

AJ – Wasn’t insinuating any one called Marvin a leader – just stating a fact about him and the entire team.

And AJ, just make sure you don’t become the one trick pony taking little pot shots at Teague regardless of how well he does. I just try to be objective, and I knew Teague had the Chicago series, last year when he started for Hinrich, and this season so far in him. He’s a good player.

And even TMac’s statements above show me he’s a leader. Not trying to hang his jersey in the rafters by any stretch – I mean, he could come out and blow a knee (I hope not!!!) tomorrow nite, and that would be that.

But if he’s healthy, he’s a Big Dawg!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

January 3rd, 2012
12:11 am

Good to see the Hawks keep the win in perspective. If they are as active on D every game as they were this game, and they can compete on the boards in every game, they are going to go far. Like LD said, it is a question of consistency.

SteveW

January 3rd, 2012
12:11 am

Last year at this time I had a nervous feeling, like something wasn’t quite right even though we were winning. Different feeling this year, and I think only LD or injuries could blow it.

LD needs to talk to Josh if he’s not already. Bring Stack and TMac in there if you need to. The dude has stud written all over him, it’s all up to him. God gave him the talent, he’s just got to use it.

Astro Joe

January 3rd, 2012
12:12 am

Rod, when I went to school, a sentence ended after a period I admit, I am old so maybe grammar has changed in the past few years and sentences no longer end with periods in a wrold of texting, twittering and such maybe periods no longer have meaning maybe spaces are the new way to end a sentance I don’t know anymore I am very confused how do I end this post without a period how will anyone know that I am done with my thoughts oh can I try a question mark? Whew!

Rusty

January 3rd, 2012
12:13 am

It is so great to finally see jj getting the ball & shooting rather than dribbling all night @& trying to go one on four which was depressing & boring, thanks jt

Section 212

January 3rd, 2012
12:15 am

Just have to keep TMac healthy….If TMac leads, JJ will flourish

real talk

January 3rd, 2012
12:20 am

Where is all the tmac haters? I hear cickets………he’s been solid averaging double figures shootin the ball 50 + percent, not to mention bringing added defense. To all the Mac haters, do y’all still miss Jamal who shot the ball under 40% with no defense. Get th fu** outta here!!!

Dont Brick It

January 3rd, 2012
12:21 am

“it is a question of consistency.” – LD

Same thing can be said to him. He did good today, really bad the previous game.

I’m only puzzled why can’t T-Mac and Marvin play together when those two are easily more consistent than JS.

real talk

January 3rd, 2012
12:22 am

I’m tellin you know…..Marvin is competing for the starting gig after this game lol!

Astro Joe

January 3rd, 2012
12:23 am

Steve, I was on Teague for a very poor effort in the Houston game. Right? Did anyone else complain about his performance in Houston? Was I wrong to suggest that he should have attacked the lane in Houston? Have you seen anything from Teague in any game that he has played that would suggest that his first half against Houston was acceptable? Go back and read my comments and let me know if I said anything off base during that game. If taking 0 FGAs in a half is an acceptable way to help the team win in your opinion, then we will need to agree to disagree. Teague isn’t John Stockton. He isn’t going to produce 20 assists and help this team win with his passing. If he isn’t attacking the lane then he is hurting the team. And I said as much the other day and will say it again if he does something stupid like that again. If he isn’t in attack mode, I think he does himself and his team a great disservice. Now tell me that he was in attack mode in the first 3 quarters in Houston.

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:24 am

SteveW,

“AJ – Wasn’t insinuating any one called Marvin a leader – just stating a fact about him and the entire team. ”

Putting words in your mouth also huh? Must be a habit. LOL

Astro Joe,

My quote,

“I’m considered a Marvin hater, and I won’t say that he played bad. He played like he usually does. He was invisible. Made absolutely no impact in the game in the first half. Lebron scored 8 in the first quarter, before we started playing zone, and Marvin stood in the corner with no one checking him as usual. If McGrady stays healthy, you will continue to see less minutes for Marvin. I’m just glad to know that LD understands that. Marvin was Marvin.”

Again, maybe you can read, and obviously you know sentence structure, but work on your comprehension. If you would stop trying to take shots, and read for understanding, maybe you will see things differently. If you want to talk about sentence structure, spelling, complete sentences or any of those things, take that up with doc. LOL

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:28 am

“I’m only puzzled why can’t T-Mac and Marvin play together when those two are easily more consistent than JS.”

Because Marvin does not rebound as well as Josh, and he provides no resistance at the rim. Remember the Josh block on Lebron at the end of the game? Marvin can’t make that play.

Rev in Tampa

January 3rd, 2012
12:29 am

“If you want to talk about sentence structure, spelling, complete sentences or any of those things, take that up with doc. LOL”

Truth

real talk

January 3rd, 2012
12:30 am

Will the hawks get past the bulls? I’m like the odds getting past the bulls.

Grandmaster JeJe

January 3rd, 2012
12:35 am

Because Marvin does not rebound as well as Josh, and he provides no resistance at the rim. Remember the Josh block on Lebron at the end of the game? Marvin can’t make that play.
****

he made that play at home vs CHI last yr when he blocked Rose but I agree. Marvin still looks and plays a bit frail. We need more from him this week.

doc

January 3rd, 2012
12:37 am

so rev and rod; why and what is your point? may i ask, is there something wrong with my spelling and a few, run on sentences? heh heh

look, i much preferred dictating and having someone else type it up, in my hey day. ;-)

Get Throwed

January 3rd, 2012
12:40 am

Really like that drew uses the bench. and oh yes, M-V-Teague

Teedub

January 3rd, 2012
12:40 am

JBrown

January 3rd, 2012
12:40 am

Our Bench Really Is Starting To Rival The Bulls Minus Willie Green Nd Plus Kirk Later on…Really Like Pargos Play Defensively…Ive Got To Tell You Hawks Fans Tonight Brought Back That Feeling From The ‘08 Boston Series Feels Good

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:40 am

Astro Joe

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 am

Sorry I had to steal your style, doc, to make a point about grammar. Dude made it sound like I didn’t quote his sentence exactly.

But Rod is right (and objective) about one thing, Marvin isn’t even the best rebounder at SF in the league (when normalized for minutes played). Clearly, that is why LD refuses to play him alongside TMac.

http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/rebounds/sort/avg48Rebounds/position/small-forwards

Get Throwed

January 3rd, 2012
12:45 am

Im kinda iffy on pargo on defense, the dude kept getting burned by john wall

Astro Joe

January 3rd, 2012
12:46 am

Night all. I’m gone like the Heat’s winning streak.

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:48 am

Neki

January 3rd, 2012
12:53 am

Here is the bigger question. If we actually beat the Bulls and Heat again this week, would it quell down some of the trade talk that is going on and if T-Mac continues to doing his thing – 2004 style, would that make Mavin the odd “duck” out and gone as well.

Rod from College Park

January 3rd, 2012
12:56 am

Astro Joe,

Again your comprehension is terrible. The point is that he does not rebound nor block shots better than Josh. There is a reason you had to use normalized for minutes played stats. There is a reason no coach he has played for has kept him in the game at the end of the game. I’m beginning to think that you might have been on the bus for special kids. Did they have one of those way back then?

Scoop

January 3rd, 2012
1:00 am

The difference between this game and Houston is LD yanked the regulars for the bench when things started bad. LD did a phenomenal job with the timing of his play calls and substitutions.

Smoove made a few big plays at the end with a block and steal, both on Lebron. But he played so so bad tonight!!!!!!!!

1-5 on jumpers, several errant passes that could easily have been turnovers, and poor rebounding. Smoove doesn’t box out, and with his thin frame now, he’s getting pushed around a little bit. The dude needs to add some muscle mass. He was too flabby last year and too skinny this year. What’s more, teams are forcing him to go right. He only goes left and needs to develop a right hand hook shot.

What’s more his defensive pick and roll AND offensive pick and roll game is AWFUL!!!!!!!
In the first half he set the softest pick i’ve ever seen on the sideline for Joe and the defender just brushed by and trapped joe, leading to a turnover. Defensively, he stays back on the pick and roll instead of hedging, which gives the ball handler an open lane to the basket, or at worst a switch with Smoove forced to defend a guard.

I honestly believe Smoove should be benched. He has no offensive post game and no jump shot. At the very least, Marvin should be getting his touches. It’s a joke that Marvin doesn’t get the ball more and he will average 20 points in this league, whether its with the Hawks or another team.

BTW I take back what i said about Joe not being able to play defense. He and Al and Teague did an amazing job on the perimeter and the pick and roll. I was surprised you didnt comment on the Job Teague did on Lebron in our zone MC…..Teague at Lebron at the top of the key with help from the zone inside. It really bothered Lebron and led to several turnovers. Speaking of Mr. Jeff Teague, give the man some props. If he was on any other team, this dude would be getting some serious love from the media. But the outcasts of Atlanta fly under the radar. And to be honest, i like it that way. It will make it more sweet when we win the championship this year! I’ve been on record since day that it will be the Hawks in 7 over the Thunder.

LD, if your out there plz experiment with some lineup configurations!!!!!!! Tmac Joe and Marvin on the wings, Zaza and Horford down low, and plz get Marvin some more shots. LD subs Marvin out first for Tmac so bring Marvin in and let him play with the bench before the starters come in to get him some more shots.

All in all, great win by the Hawks. I liked the vet leadership from our bench holding everyone accountable and being great teammates the whole game. We may have something here……..