Drew wants better start to second half of games

C-Viv filling in for Michael Cunningham as he makes his way to Philadelphia for Friday night’s battle of division leaders – the Hawks (11-4) vs. the 76ers (10-4).

I will have a preview of the matchup later. I wanted to share one of the interesting things coach Larry Drew said after Thursday’s practice. Asked about areas the Hawks need to improve upon, even during this stretch of four straight wins and seven of eight games, Drew pointed to the start of the second half in games. He said it has been an issue this season, as it was last season.

Here is what he said:

“The one thing I really want to improve on is how we start the third quarter. We’ve had a problem with that, this goes back to last year, coming out and not starting the third quarter with a lot of energy. One of the last things I say to the players after they come back on the floor after halftime is we want to force our opponent to call the first time out. If we come out with energy and we are doing the things we are supposed to do, we get on a little bit of a run. They are going to have to call a timeout. If there is an area where we really need to improve on, it is that. We’ve done a good job of rebounding. We’ve done a good job of moving the basketball. Defensively we’ve done a good job of executing our coverages. It’s just those spots where we have a little bit of a let down, we just have to get better at.”

Also, I asked Drew and Joe Johnson about the notion that the team has been able to ease into life without Al Horford considering their schedule – with four home wins against Charlotte (two wins), Minnesota (four), Toronto (four) and Portland (eight).

“Minnesota came into this building and everybody looks at the name on the front and the first thing they are not a very good ball club,” Drew said. “And yet, they had us down by 18 with three and half minutes left in the third quarter. We respect all opponents. Yeah, if you look at the win-loss record of some of the teams that have come in here some people might say the games have been easy for us. But by no stretch of the imagination have the games been easy.”

“The fact that we played those teams doesn’t matter,” Johnson said. “We all still have a job to do. It’s been tough without him even though we’ve won a few games convincingly. We’ve all managed to step up in a different way than normal.”

Here is an All-Star voting update:  Joe Johnson is 10th among Eastern Conference guards with 40,718 votes. Horford, despite the injury, is sixth among Eastern Conference centers with 35,860 votes.

I hope this gives you something to talk about while I set to work on the preview story.

146 comments Add your comment

Joe Piskepo

January 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

Rev in Tampa

January 19th, 2012
2:24 pm

The Hawks are only a 2-point loss the Bulls in Chicago away from being FIRST in the Eastern Conference.

truth

January 19th, 2012
2:32 pm

as much as i like this start.. Regular season means nothing.. I want to see how they do in the playoffs

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
2:32 pm

“The one thing I really want to improve on is how we start the third quarter. We’ve had a problem with that, this goes back to last year, coming out and not starting the third quarter with a lot of energy. One of the last things I say to the players after they come back on the floor after halftime is we want to force our opponent to call the first time out. If we come out with energy and we are doing the things we are supposed to do, we get on a little bit of a run. They are going to have to call a timeout. If there is an area where we really need to improve on, it is that”

HEY COACH, What Slim? Ever heard of a product called 5-Hour Energy?

Try some…

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
2:35 pm

If we had this configuration at the start of the season who knows, the Hawks maybe 13-2 right about now? Hmmmmmm.

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
2:35 pm

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
2:36 pm

Collins= Lane Enforcer.. Good pt. @truth from previous blog..

Flappin' Hawk

January 19th, 2012
2:43 pm

Our bench is really kickin’ butt. Pargo & Green after a slow start in the first few games have really shined knockin’ down J’s and playing solid D. T-Mac is rounding into form and shows great creativity. Ivan Johnson…nuff said, hits free throws, makes 10 footers, rebound and hustles his rear off. Rad nailing 3s. The bench and Josh’s more accurate outsides shots are the biggest difference in this team from last year. And a perfect test is on the horizon…we’re on the road.

Joe Piskepo

January 19th, 2012
2:45 pm

the blazers looked like the hawks last season everybody stand around and watch jamal cross-over and shoot ugly jumpers all night. Yuk good riddance jamal.

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
2:47 pm

LD needs to look at the personel that begins the 2nd half.
He especially needs to do the same for the 4th Qtr.
Last eve should have closed the door to begin the 4th.
LD still learning on the job;
He will figure out some of these nuances if coaching.

Your 2nd half starting line-up does not have to match the original
game line-up.
Sometimes a little pressure defense or a hot shooter / whatever.
-example- In years past Jamal would light it up in 2nd Qtr;
yet would not play again until late 3rd or 4th Qtr.
My point – Shake ‘em up Coach – Innovate, innervate, & instigate !

G-dad’s Coaching Tip O’ the Day

The Truth

January 19th, 2012
2:49 pm

truth does not = The Truth

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
2:53 pm

* He will figure out some of these nuances *[if] coaching
* of – not – if
* He will figure out some of these nuances `’`of ‘`’ coaching

Joe Piskepo

January 19th, 2012
2:53 pm

t-mac will implode pretty soon….just watch and see you fanatics..cut your ties as fast as you can sund and drew..remember the ides of march.

STRETCH

January 19th, 2012
2:57 pm

Some of my thoughts from watching last nights game:

If this team continues to pass the ball they are a hard team to guard.
JJ – Seems like he’s getting tired of people blasting him about that contract. He looked the role once again. He doesnt need to be a 25/10/4 guy everynight but most nights. Thats what the bench is for.

Josh – For every good play he makes, he make a bad one. (This dude scares me!)

LD – Stood there on the sidelines and watched a 13-0 run by the Blazers before calling a timeout. This dude scares me too!

Zaza has heart but NO hands!

The Bench came through again last night. Gotta give a shout out to those guys!!!

But im really worried about free throws when it gets to crunch time.

Also, Marc Stein dropped them like 5 or 6 spots just because Al got hurt, and they just won 4 straight.

They are just going to have to go out there and earn the respect. LD playing Sir Charles’ comments might have something to do with it as well. Sund, go get a BIG!!!!

CrαZy

January 19th, 2012
3:04 pm

Is it just me or does J Smooth finally look like a leader for a change??

Geemack

January 19th, 2012
3:07 pm

It’s Eastern Conference Finals or Bust.

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
3:08 pm

CrαZy

It’s just you.

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
3:12 pm

Zaza gets hammered by the officials.

Most probably due to his rep.

The poor fella’ gets it inside and gets beat to death w/o a call.

Imagine if LeWhine got hammered that much w/o getting calls;
or Wade amongst other Sterners.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 19th, 2012
3:13 pm

The only relevant power rankings in my opinion are the Hollinger power rankings, because they are fully computer automated and incorporate no human input (bias) whatsoever. They are decided entirely based on point differentials and strength of schedule. Not saying they are 100% accurate, but they only reflect what has happened so far in the season, not the writer’s biases or possibly inaccurate predictions about how things may play out in the future.

The Hawks maintained their #4 spot in those rankings, while the Blazers dropped one spot to #7. The Sixers are currently #1.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

Josh Smith is not in the top 10 among forwards in the East for All Star voting. That is inexcusable, especially when bums like Bargnani and Boozer are on the list.

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
3:21 pm

Zaza has limited athletic ability;
but he has some skill around the basket.
Yes, he has `’`Roberto Duran’`’ hands;
still he is a warrior ! [Spartan >not< GS]

steve brown

January 19th, 2012
3:28 pm

Where have you gone Jamal Crawford. Just can’t get past how much better we might be if our big spending owners and crack GM had signed our playoff MVP. Next time the owners tell you how much money they spend tell them to put it where the sun don’t shine!

The Truth

January 19th, 2012
3:32 pm

“I hope this gives you something to talk about while I set to work on the preview story”

What about closing the previous blog and giving notice to this one as MC does.

SteveW

January 19th, 2012
3:37 pm

I think if Smoove gets in, he’ll get how JJ and Al get into the All Star Game – by the Coaches. You put his last 9 games down, and the guys is one of the 5 best Forwards in the Eastern Conference. I know, you have Stoudamire and Bosh at PF – But Josh can be a combo Forward. Assuming the East carries 5 F’s, and Josh keeps going the way he is, I say he’s in the All Star game.

And the All Star game will be the better for it.

And JJ is almost a shoo-in at SG to be an All Star for the 6th time, unless the East goes with 4 PG’s and only DWade at SG. Wade will be voted in no doubt, even if injured.

SteveW

January 19th, 2012
3:39 pm

About 3rd quarter starts – I thought last season it was because LD wasn’t making half time adjustments well, while other teams were. I would suspect that may be the case again somewhat this season also.

But LD is a much better Coach than last season. Just keep learning LD, and don’t have vendetta’s against certain players, and you’ll be ok.

Gwinnett Fred

January 19th, 2012
3:41 pm

All Stars are picked as much by perception as talent/stats.

With that being the case, Josh Smith will never be an all star. That is until he quits chunking up brick from 15+ feet, complains every time he is whistled for a foul, lopes back on defense after thinking he got fouled on another miss and last but not least – get his FT% up to at least 70%.

Now as for the team, I’m sure nobody thinks it will last for much longer, but at least for the moment acknowledge that they have the 3rd best winning % in the entire NBA! Attendance needs to go up. I’m not saying every game, but I’ve been to 2 of the 8 and if everybody that gives a damn (and has a job to pay for it) can go to 25% of the home games, this team might just get fired up enough to do something memorable!

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2012
4:04 pm

A team could be undefeated at this point and the head coach would find something to nitpick. Kind of like bloggers. :lol:

All-Star voting is meanigless for the Hawks. We will never have a starter elected to the game by fans. Coaches choose the non-starters, that is the way the Hawks gain entry. When you’re a bottom third team in home attendance, it is hard to have your players voted in (especially when Joe and Josh are competing with guys name Wade, Rose, Melo and Lebron).

The Spook who sat by the door

January 19th, 2012
4:08 pm

Slimjr and Larry Drew,

Sorry Slimjr, I’m gonna have to piggyback off of your post @ 2:32pm. LD, maybe, you and everyone on the team should “take a sheet” before you all start the second half. I hear “taking a sheet” can give you a lot of energy. If you don’t believe me, check out the link below. According to the link, Lebron [James] and Amar’e [Stoudemire] also “take sheets” to boost their energy.

http://www.sheetsbrand.com/?utm_source=pt0411&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_term=Sheets%2BBrand%2BKeywords&utm_content=00001&utm_campaign=Sheets%2BBrand%2B060911

The Spook who sat by the door

January 19th, 2012
4:18 pm

^Sorry about misspelling your name LeBron [James].

HoosierHawk

January 19th, 2012
4:22 pm

I wonder if the lack of team loyalty from Atlanta fans has anything to do with Josh not being on the allstar ballot. I do not care how much the Hawks have disappointed you in the past, they have made the second round in the playoffs 3 years in a row and were 24th in attendance last year- lower attendance than the T’wolves, Bobcats, Raptors, Cavs, Wizards, Nets, and Kings (all bottom dwellers). I agree that the ASG is cheap, but the fans aren’t exactly filling their pockets.

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
4:23 pm

No problem Spook, anyway to get this team energized legally is okay with me! Ha ha…

Grandad

January 19th, 2012
4:24 pm

Astro Joe

Admittedly, I was pickin’ nits;
but in mine & others defense, the blog reference was
“LD wishing for a better start to 2nd half”.

I have re-newed my zeal for LD as I was initially a supporter.
Then I lost faith during last season.
Now he has shown growth with on the job training.

I hope he able to maintain the good work.

Once upon a time:
Norm Sloan had just completed an undefeated season at NC State
by winning the National Championship.
Two fans were walking off the floor immediately after the final game;
one said:
” Wow, what a great season ! ”
the other responded:
“yeah but, imagine what Dean could have done with this team ! “

O'Brien

January 19th, 2012
4:32 pm

Speaking of the Thunder, I dont think they can win a title until Westbrook figures out that KD is the man, and falls in line. Too often Westbrook tries to do too much (imo).

Dude is averaging 5.5 assists to 3.5 turnovers per game, and 3.5 turnovers per game is his career average. I dont think thats going to get it done.

I wont be surprised to see the Thunder move him at some point in the next year or 2.

wordsmithtom

January 19th, 2012
4:41 pm

Drew is spot on about the 3rd quarter blah’s. Especially against good teams….this can get you killed. Putting it “out there” for guys to ruminate is a good thing. Not nitpicking at all.

They can’t afford to let down one whit against Philly….they good.

Micheal C.

January 19th, 2012
4:42 pm

First of all, after all the doom and gloom, the Hawks is atop of the SE division without Al, is a accomplishment but I think down the road, we will need a big for the playoff run. Using Hinrich contract or even trade Horford (it can be done in IR status) I believe that ASG needs to look at this closly.

But I believe the Hawks always had this problem at Halftime, I think they need to come out with the killer instinct and stop slacking off after HT.

cybo

January 19th, 2012
4:49 pm

@ joe piskepo

Jamal Crawford kills team chemistry . That is why he is always traded.

Plays no defense.

Is not a factor unless he has the ball.

Good Riddance.

22 shots to score 22 points.
.
We have Joe Johnson for that

Sol

January 19th, 2012
4:51 pm

Fire the ASG!

Astro Joe

January 19th, 2012
4:54 pm

Grandad, great story from Tobacco Road. Perfectly illustrates my point.

Slimjr

January 19th, 2012
4:59 pm

“I think down the road, we will need a big for the playoff run. Using Hinrich contract or even trade Horford (it can be done in IR status) I believe that ASG needs to look at this closely.”

Agree @ Micheal C.

We don’t know if All NBA will ever come back to play at his level before this devastating freak injury.

Grandmaster JeJe

January 19th, 2012
5:04 pm

Ken Strickland

January 19th, 2012
5:05 pm

TRUTH-How can you say the regular season means nothing when it determines who makes the playoffs, who you play, and who gets homecourt advantage. Would you rather sit at home during the playoffs, play a higher seeded team, and play on the road, or make the playoffs, play a lower seeded team, and have home court advantage? The regular season determines which of these situations take place.

Grandmaster JeJe

January 19th, 2012
5:08 pm

Marvin has not finished a play at the rim in at least 3 seasons.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 19th, 2012
5:29 pm

I hope Ivan Johnson doesn’t go back to the bench with Marvin back. He needs to play 10-15 min a game.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 19th, 2012
5:29 pm

hawks_4_life

January 19th, 2012
5:39 pm

Fire the man who put the team together? All this fire LD/Sund business atleast for now should be at a stand still until the team starts losing. I guess no one really likes a winner.

northcyde

January 19th, 2012
5:42 pm

SteveW . . . it didn’t help Josh that he got clowned by the TNT guys ( mainly Barkley ) again. A lot of casual NBA fans only watch the national TV games ( specifically the TNT games ). The national perception of Josh is still that of an malcontent, undisciplined, but talented player.

It’s going to take the Hawks to really put up a good record, and possibly be the #1 or #2 seed in the East, for Josh to get the props he deserves. Amare and Garnett are definitely not having All-Star caliber years. And it would be a travesty if Bosh didn’t make it. So the coaches are going to have to be impressed with the “new” Josh Smith in the coming weeks.

No more chances on National TV for Josh to showcase his skills either. Maybe ESPN will do some type of feature on him. Heck, he may even have to do some goofy Youtube promotional video, trying to get All-Star votes ( much like how Bosh did a few years ago ).

The Truth

January 19th, 2012
5:44 pm

KS
Agreed with your 5:05 pm post

Additionally, regular season record determines seeding which also determines a team chance of advancements.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 19th, 2012
6:03 pm

Regular season means nothing. You make a name for yourself in the playoffs. The last post season game the Hawks played they got blown out on their own floor.

jlewis

January 19th, 2012
6:06 pm

Someone please help me, how are we going to miss Al Horford, he is a jump shooter, he’s not d’ing anyone up, and him on the perimeter jab stepping all day is what stops ball movement. You listen to MC tell it, Al is the glue that holds the team together, which isnt true, these are grown men, there are really no leaders to call anyone out. Joe makes more money and is a 5 time all star, he cant call him or anyone else out, his game isnt in order. The only way he’s been an All Star is because there is a lack of centers in the Eastern Conference, good riddance.

Like everyone else on this blog says, it wasnt the Hawks players, it was the front office. Joe got slapped down when he said the team needs more veterans, now the team has some veterans on the bench, it’s made a world of difference. Chicago beat us with their second five, not their top five, and not for the back to back when we beat Miami, we would have blown them out twice.

Big Lou

January 19th, 2012
6:17 pm

Better with Jamal Crawford? The guy who went 8-22 last night and has crappy defense. No thanks, I’m glad he’s gone.