Atlanta Hawks: About last night

  • A look at the plus-minus shows the Hawks dominated even more than the score suggested. Only a couple turnover-plagued, scoring-challenged stints by Atlanta’s subs prevented this from being a total beat down instead of a blowout (understandable since Chicago’s second unit is better defensively than the starters).
  • The Hawks showed they meant business on the very first play of the game. Joakim Noah won the tip, but Al Horford stepped in front of a sleepy Derrick Rose to corral the ball. Horford powered over Rose before help could arrive to start Atlanta’s 12-1 run.
  • “It seemed like that was a momentum booster,” Joe Johnson said. “I thought that was a game-changing moment in itself.”
  • Chicago really only had one competitive stretch after that. Atlanta’s subs tried to pressure the Bulls early in the second quarter and it backfired. The Bulls scored six points off three turnovers as Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and Kyle Korver got them back in the game.
  • The Hawks buried the Bulls in the last four minutes of the first half with an electric display of defensive energy and shot-making. Vladimir Radmanovic, playing in place of injured Marvin Williams, made two of his five 3-pointers (on five attempts) during that 18-2 burst.
  • Atlanta didn’t let up after halftime. Joe scored on Js and drives, Jeff Teague set up Horford for an open jumper, Josh Smith scored at the rim on a sharp pass from Joe, Vlad Rad made another 3 and Smith scored on an oop from Teague. The Bulls, meanwhile, couldn’t score at the rim (Al had key blocks against Noah and Luol Deng) and couldn’t hold onto the ball against Atlanta’s swarming D.
  • Zaza Pachulia finally got an extended stint and delivered with five rebounds, 3 for 5 shooting (including a couple nice finishes at the rim!) and a steal. Zaza works well together with Tracy McGrady, who is always calling for Zaza for pick-and-rolls. You can see that McGrady has learned that he can’t put as much mustard on his passes to Zaza.
  • The Hawks never let Rose (3 for 10 shooting, five turnovers) find his rhythm. Teague rediscovered his defensive mojo. Atlanta blitzed Rose to make him give up the ball and surrounded him with their long bodies to cut off his space.
  • “Get up on the pick and roll,” Teague said of the plan vs. Rose. “We sat back the first game and he picked us apart and made threes. So we brung it up and tried to get up on him more and let him see bodies.”
  • “It’s not an individual effort with that guy,” Smith said. “You have to build walls in transition. We did a good team job on him defensively: crowding him, trapping him and giving him different looks.”
  • When the Hawks move the ball like they did in this game, even an elite defensive team like Chicago looks a step slow. Those 32 assists on 47 field goals don’t even fully capture how crisp the Hawks looked.
  • Once the Hawks started making shots, they started hawking the ball, getting steals, running the floor and everything came together.
  • “That’s what it’s all about, playing together as a team,” Josh said. “Whenever we are that unselfish on the offensive end, guys are more willing to make that extra push on the defensive end.”
  • “We were on a string,” Teague said. “We really got out in transition. That’s something we haven’t been doing lately. We’ve been halfcourt team the last couple games.”
  • “On defense, we were right there,” Al said. “I think that’s what triggers our team, when we help each other.”
  • Vlad Rad is officially out of his slump and eventually should approach his career norms. “Guys like him that get on a roll, they can just make shots in bunches,” Larry Drew said. “Every shot he takes, it looks like it was going in. He hit a couple early and you could see he was kind of feeling it.”
  • Zaza took the credit: “He had Georgian food for first time today.” Vlad Rad: “Now I will eat at Zaza’s place for every pregame meal.”
  • Even with the hot shooting night, Vlad passed up a couple open 3s. He’s such a clever player that sometimes it looks as if he over-thinks things instead of just letting it fly. And there are times when that cleverness leads to his teammates not being ready for his passes.
  • This was the first game in which both Joe and Vlad Rad were making shots. It made a big difference.
  • A night after attacking the rim with abandon, Josh was back to taking (and making) jump shots. But I’m wondering if fatigue didn’t play a factor in that. He used plenty of his juice for defense and finished with six blocked shots and four steals.
  • In addition to his good work on D, Teague (6 of 8 shooting, 8 assists, no turnovers) finished strong at the basket while finding the perfect balance between attacking to score and looking to set guys up. “When Teague is aggressive like that, we are a different club,” Drew said. “When he is in attack mode, he gives us another weapon. He can turn the corner and finish on big guys. More importantly, it breaks their defense down.”
  • About the only negatives for the Hawks were the six free-throw attempts (which hardly mattered with the way they were shooting 3s) and the 43-31 rebounding deficit (which mostly was due to their troubles dealing with Asik’s size ).
  • By the way, the Hawks made all six of those free-throw attempts. Go figure.
  • Marvin suffered that the team said is a Grade 1 ankle sprain in the first half and didn’t return. “It will probably be a situation where we are playing Vladi more at the three until we see Marvin’s status,” Drew said.
  • The Hawks had the toughest schedule in the league to start the season. They came out of it with a 6-3 record and splits with Chicago and Miami.
  • “Decent,” Joe said. “It wasn’t what we wanted it to be. Realistically we could have been 8-1. We let a couple get away. We have just got to try to validate this by stringing some more wins together.”
  • “I think we did good,” Josh said. “It was still a little disappointing because we let a couple games get away from us. All in all I think we did a good job. We showed resilience and we played together.”
  • “I think we did pretty good,” Al said. “There’s definitely a ceiling to do better. But 6-3, I will take it. It’s nine games in a short stretch of time, I will definitely take that.”
  • “I think we did pretty good,” Teague said. “We let two slide. We wish we could get back. But it’s a long season. That many games in that short span, your body gets tired. I think we did a great job playing three in a row.”
  • Atlanta’s schedule eases over the next week in terms of quality of opponent but the Hawks have to avoid slip-ups. “It’s not over with,” Josh said. “We have got to keep playing together. We’ve got to keep doing whatever it takes to win. We’ve got to stay focused and stay together.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

273 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe

January 8th, 2012
12:37 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

January 8th, 2012
12:42 pm

Our interior defense vs. the Bulls’ bench was bad.

If Vlad plays at the 3, our big depth is razor thin. Ivan will need to play major minutes because Collins is beyond dreadful.

Sautee

January 8th, 2012
12:51 pm

Empty room, eh?

MsDee

January 8th, 2012
12:51 pm

Dang, just when Marvin starts the season’s off great, he seems to ALWAYS get hurt…why oh why, Marvin?? :(

Sautee

January 8th, 2012
12:53 pm

JeJe,

We win by 15 and led by 29, and all you can do is b!tch about what we FAILED to do?

Did you expect that the Hawks would play that well? Did you even think they would win?

What WOULD they have to do for you to not find fault?

Just Joe

January 8th, 2012
12:56 pm

I owe Willie Green an apology. I said he was not capable of contributing. 15 of 23 from the field in his last four games, and as usual, almost never turns the ball over. Keep working Mr. Green.

tckr83

January 8th, 2012
12:57 pm

So frustrating… why can’t this team play like this every night? Chicago never stood a chance.

Blast

January 8th, 2012
12:59 pm

I’m glad they know they let two games slip away, but I like Hawks attitude, and that last comment by Josh.

U cannot let up. Their must be no slip-ups, especially against the bad teams.

Go Hawks, Go! Great win last night!!!!!

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2012
1:00 pm

FTTB, I have no issue with what Charles said and the only thing that can truly refute several of his statements is sustained excellence up to and including the playoffs. I never heard him say that the Hawks would never beat a very good team on a Saturday night. The overall tenor of this blog is mostly “we’re not good enough”. Barkley sounded like a common blogger the other night. Frustrated. Long-suffering. Glass-half-empty. Disappointed. Perplexed. Frustrated (yes, I said that twice for emhasis). I truly believe that most were more embarrassed to have our dirty laundry exposed than we were debating the uncleanliness of the laundry. It is hard to debate that we have some unsightly stains that make this a less than GQ-worthy team.

Just Joe

January 8th, 2012
1:00 pm

Go Falcons!!! 31-21. Falcons finally win a playoff game in what seems like an eternity. Not a Matty Ice win, but a Falcons win. Going to take a total team effort.

Ken Strickland

January 8th, 2012
1:03 pm

SAUTEE-We just have to accept that as Hawk fans, we will always have our share of HATERS and BASHERS who can’t see anything beyond their own NEGATIVE MINDED personal issues.

NCBravesFan

January 8th, 2012
1:08 pm

Awesome post, MC! Lots of good info. Hope you are feeling better today.

Let’s go Hawks!

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2012
1:09 pm

Strickland, kind of like you during the Woody days, huh?

real talk

January 8th, 2012
1:24 pm

Who will start for Marvin if he’s out? Have anybody heard anything?

Grandmaster JeJe

January 8th, 2012
1:55 pm

Sautee

JeJe,

We win by 15 and led by 29, and all you can do is b!tch about what we FAILED to do?

Did you expect that the Hawks would play that well? Did you even think they would win?

What WOULD they have to do for you to not find fault?
********************************

I see what you’re saying. Let’s play the same way from now on, with no interior defense from our bench and count on Vladimir to go 5-5 from 3 pt range.

Grandmaster JeJe

January 8th, 2012
1:58 pm

Ken S,

Give me a break. This is the same mentally fragile team as the last 3 years’ teams.

We have a sub-par coach. The only reason Magic said we are the sleeper team and commended LD is because they are great friends from the Lakers days.

drmaryb.[*_*].

January 8th, 2012
1:59 pm

Get Well Soon!

MC! Sup? Great job and please take care of yourself. We need you to keep giving us rabid dogs the inside meaty bones.

Devil lover

January 8th, 2012
2:04 pm

“Chunky Barkley”…I can’t hear you!!!!

hawks_4_life

January 8th, 2012
2:11 pm

First off glad you are better MC. You can see what happens when you dont put out the regular stellar blog, us bloggers go nuts. Its a tribute to being spoiled. Now that our tough stretch is done, time to do damage Hawks. I guess Chuck’s “nice guys” comment stung a few people the wrong way.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 8th, 2012
2:26 pm

Hawks have to get past the 2nd round of the playoffs for me to start believing in them. Sorry.

Grandmaster JeJe

January 8th, 2012
2:28 pm

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde
January 8th, 2012
2:26 pm

Hawks have to get past the 2nd round of the playoffs for me to start believing in them. Sorry.

********

STOP BASHING THE TEAM! We WON LAST NIGHT!

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
2:28 pm

If you were at the game last night, back me up on this: big obvation last night when Ivan Johnson entered game. F off, Barkley.

Josh did shoot more jumpers last night. Most were not bad shots, though. He shot many from just outside the L. That is not a bad shot for him to take. It’s when he settles for 20 feet or more jumpers that he gets out of his range.

T-Mac and Zaza have played well together all year. I enjoy watching T-Mac play. He is never in a rush and plays unselfishly. He is a much smarter player than I ever realized.

Good win last night. Team is so capable of being good. Still do not understand the pathetic effort shown on Thursday.

BoricuaHawk

January 8th, 2012
2:46 pm

Having been a Hawk fan for a long time, I must say I was floored when I heard we won last night. Hawks fans have come to expect the waves of this team. I think it’s a good sign that after a tough schedule this week, they can still have a game like this vs the Bulls. I am just disappointed that we lost 2 games we should’ve won. Great start Hawks!

Grandad

January 8th, 2012
2:49 pm

Josh said:
“We have got to keep playing together.
We’ve got to keep doing whatever it takes to win.
We’ve got to stay focused and stay together”

Okay – This is not about Josh;
it’s a typical Hawks statement;
therefore I ask; – why – ?

why do they continually make statements concerning;
*playing together / **(trust; a Hawks staple)
*doing what it takes to win
*focus
*staying together

It seems to me that our Hawks worry about this constanly.
More than most teams.

Teamwork, togetherness, trust, focus, selling out to win,
total effort to win, familial loyalty, etc;
these traits should be so natural that a player should never
call into question his teammates.
-especially a team that’s been together so long-

two guesses:
(1) a player making said quote questions his own motives
(2) there have been open lockerroom issues

____________________________________________

Sautee -&- ken S:

I’m neither a hater nor negative minded.
However the hawks schizophrenia has caused me to develop
a severe [but obscure] mental ilness known as:
Delusional Misidentification Syndrome / Fregoli Capgras delusion.
-basically-
I don’t know who’s who [Josh] are which team’s gonna show ?

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
2:50 pm

Brutus, I think I am one of Josh Smith’s biggest critics. I grow very tired of the poor shot selection, spoty effort, and pouting spells. He has all the tools. There is no question about that. And, he has played well these past two games. But, how long will that last? The guy is such a headcase, it is impossible to say.

No way you can annoit him as the team’s best player.

MattP

January 8th, 2012
2:50 pm

Brutus,

I agree, Josh has really improved the last 2 games. I am guessing the vets, Tmac and Stack, are working with him.Like 303 said, he did take jumpers last game but they were not bad. Before he use to just sit at the arc wait for someone to pass to him but now he gets inside more. Ivan is a great 2nd unit backup for Josh. I think we should just trade Al and try to get a Center.

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
2:55 pm

Anyone watching Ricky Rubio today? He is putting on a show against the Wizards. Can’t wait to watch that guy play inperson next Saturday. He is a top 5 PG already. Has a great sense of the game.

mykhalc

January 8th, 2012
3:20 pm

@303…totally agree with ya on the play of TMac and Zaza together. and you’re right…TMac is never in a hurry…best BB IQ on the team, hands down. i bashed his signing and am glad he’s proven me wrong…so far ;-)

SteveW

January 8th, 2012
3:26 pm

I don’t see the bad Big rotation – Even if Marvin and TMac are out – Rotate Al and ZaZa at 5, Josh and Ivan at 4, and Vlad and Stack at 3.

Now I know Stack looks dreadful – but I got a feelin’ if you told Stack we need you to play hard, with energy, for 2 6-8 minute stretches per game the next few games, he would rise to the occasion.

If not, slide Josh down to the 3 some. We have more legit options than I can remember for a while – maybe since the 80’s

JeJe – I know what you mean about Collins – unless we’re playing Al Jefferson or D12, maybe Bogut, Bynum,etc. the guy looks pretty atrocious.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 8th, 2012
3:27 pm

Which one is worse?

The Hawks loss to the Heat or the Falcons Blowout to the Giants?

FIRE LD

FIRE MIKE SMITH

FIRE MATT RYAN

drmaryb.[*_*].

January 8th, 2012
3:28 pm

Well …

Looks like if this state, this city and these fans are gonna’ win any title this year? It will have to be up to The ASKG Hawks.

The Falcons SUX!!!

MattP

January 8th, 2012
3:34 pm

Brutus,

He has not been playing this good since High school because of his shot selection. And if Josh is the #1 voted all star for the Hawks why hasn’t he been an all star yet? Yes, he might be more voted in this year because Johnson and Horford have completely sucked.

drmaryb.[*_*].

January 8th, 2012
3:35 pm

Spyro

January 8th, 2012
3:36 pm

Well, it looks like the Hawks are still the city’s most successful playoff team over the past five years…

mykhalc

January 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

yep…turned the Falcons game off in the 3rd…you could see where it was goin’…

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

Sorry, I could give less than a sh#t about All Star votes.

Not saying Josh has only had two good games. My point is bigger than that. I’ve watched almost every game Josh has played with the Hawks. You can name one good play and I could counter with two bad.

Guy has the tools. He can be as good as he wants to be. Should table this talk until the end of the season. I’m not going to give Josh “best player on the team” props until I see it for an entire season.

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
3:43 pm

I’m not even a Falcon fan. But, seems like Coach Smith is trying to be a gambler without taking a gamble. Don’t go for it on 4th and short and buck your QB up the middle. Take a chance! Throw down field or run a real play. The Ryan QB seeks were total copouts.

No different than LD running iso-Joe down the stretch on Thursday night. Totally unimaginative and never works.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 8th, 2012
3:50 pm

Hawks have the worst owners but at least they can win a playoff series.

MattP

January 8th, 2012
3:54 pm

Brutus,

I was never hating on this blog. I said I agree with your comment and Josh has improved over the last 2 games. But for you to come in and talk about how many votes Josh had compared to other Hawks is a joke. Like i said, Johnson and Horford suck this year but how many All Star games has Josh been voted in?

Section 303

January 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

Brutus, I hope you’re right.

Josh should have been an All Star during 2009-2010 season. No coincidence that was the season he virtually banned the 3 point attempts.

Rufus1

January 8th, 2012
4:06 pm

The Bulls would trade our starting front line for their starting front line….

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2012
4:15 pm

Hawks are still the best team in Atlanta. BY FAR.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2012
4:15 pm

Hawks #2 > Falcons #2

cp

January 8th, 2012
4:19 pm

It was a good win last night. It also showed why this team is so frustrating. They can be so good at times and then be so bad. And it looks like Gearon was right. I knew the Falcons game was over as soon as Ryan was stuffed on that 4th and inches

Rufus1

January 8th, 2012
4:21 pm

The only STAR to lead his team to a playoffs win in the past 5 years, is the OVERPAID Joe Johnson.

(I consider and NBA a series = NFL playoff game)

Chipper – 15mil
Matt- 13 to 16mil
Joe- 20mil = Money better spent

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2012
4:38 pm

Grandad, I think both Sekou and MC have reported that there have been lockerroom issues in the past with this core. And I will ALWAYS believe that a meltdown occured between game 3 and 4 of the Milwaukee series that lasted into the Orlando debacle. Given that some of the more prominent characters have since left the team (i.e. Bibby & Jamal) I think it is safe to assume that the issues rest between Josh, Al and Joe.

RA

January 8th, 2012
4:41 pm

I think the city of Atlanta better get behind these Hawks because as far as getting to the postseason and having ANY success there, they’re about the best shot we’ve got.

R.A.H.

January 8th, 2012
4:57 pm

Ok Hawks. Now it’s your turn. You have the talent, (not the coaching) now go out and win over this city. Don’t waste this opportunity. I just want a winner for this city.

Grandad

January 8th, 2012
5:09 pm

Astro Joe

“a meltdown occured between game 3 and 4 of the Milwaukee series”

I had forgotten about that.

It appears that they have PTSD over that incident.

David Stern

January 8th, 2012
5:14 pm

I keep thinking that this team’s fate will be determined by FTs at some point. Someone will be at the line with a chance to put this team into the ECF and the world will see if they can handle that moment.