Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 97, Bucks 92

Milwaukee–The Hawks really didn’t solve their issues with holding second-half leads. They still had too many bad possessions, still gave up too many rebounds, and still had too many turnovers at key times.

  • But they also had Joe Johnson, who took over after a rough opening half. In this league, sometimes when a lot of things aren’t going right a team just needs its best player to make plays. Joe did it tonight in spite of Stephen Jackson and Co.’s best efforts to slow him.
  • “I just tried to alter my focus a little bit coming into tonight,” Joe said, “understanding that these five road games are very important and without Al [Horford] we all have to step up and do just a little more.”
  • Joe said he got it going on a play call in the third quarter that got him into the lane. From there, he showed off his ball-handling skills and all-court game. “That’s why I gave him the ball every time down,” Jeff Teague said. “He was just making plays like an All-Star should. He’s almost unguardable. He can dribble, he can shoot midrange, he can get to the cup. Just get the ball in his hands and he goes.”
  • “You’ve got to milk the cow until there is no milk left,” Josh Smith said. “They was beating on him all night and he showed so much resilience. He didn’t stop playing, played hard and kept adding physicality on his end. It’s just good to see when your leader is able to lead like that.”
  • Joe (and Teague and Josh) played all 24 minutes after halftime. “The one thing I wanted to do in the second half was get him into a rhythm,” Larry Drew said. “I had my mind made up I was going to ride him in the second half.”
  • Josh had another All-Star line: 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots, no turnovers. And, of course, that dagger 3 from the corner with four seconds on the shot clock.
  • Josh said he didn’t know it was going to swing around to him: “I was ready for it, though. I just cherish moments when guys give me the opportunity and put the trust in me. I feel obligated not to let them down. ”
  • Teague probably could have shot or made a play off the dribble but instead passed to Josh when Ersan Ilyasova came off of him. “I’ve got confidence in Smoove,” Teague said.
  • That sequence was set up when Johnson drew a double team and passed to Teague on the weak side. “We broke down a little but but Joe puts pressure on you,” Scott Skiles said. “He’s a legitimate 6-8, he collapses the defense and he can see people. He made a nice pass out, Teague made a nice play and Josh knocked it down.”
  • That play, Joe’s six free throws in the final 16.7 seconds and Marvin Williams’ deflection of Mike Dunleavy’s pass) salvaged what had been another lackluster offensive fourth quarter for the Hawks. “We had some bad stretches in the fourth quarter, but we kept fighting,” Drew said. “When they took the lead in the fourth quarter, it was a chance for us to see what we are made of. Our guys persevered and Josh came up with the three and Joe was absolutely phenomenal.”
  • Atlanta defended Milwaukee well in the fourth quarter but gave up five offensive rebounds.
  • The Hawks got a nice road W in a rough-and-tumble game. The Bucks tried to muck it up and Josh and Zaza Pachulia (14 rebounds, five personal fouls) were up to the task. It was pretty physical around the basket, similar to the game at Indy, and the Hawks responded better this time.
  • Teague was excellent in the first half (11 points on five shots, four rebounds). He struggled after halftime: Brandon Jennings rubbed him off screens too easily and kept picking his pocket.
  • Marvin never really got into the flow offensively, so he played 22 minutes to Tracy McGrady’s 26.
  • T-Mac missed some clean looks but it’s kind of fun to watch him when he’s in playmaker mode (five assists, no turnovers). Sometimes it looks like he’s dribbling aimlessly into trouble but then suddenly he’s passing to a teammate for a good look. His athleticism has declined but he has plus court vision and instincts and also always seems to come up with a couple key rebounds.
  • Vladimir Radmanovic reversed recent trends by making shots (2 of 3 3-pointers) and not adding much else in the box score in his eight minutes. Give Jannero Pargo credit for his ability to get his shot off when the offense is bogged down.
  • Ivan Johnson got second-half burn but was quickly pulled when he took a quick J in the fourth quarter.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

279 comments Add your comment

Grandmaster JeJe

January 23rd, 2012
11:45 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

January 23rd, 2012
11:47 pm

Good points on TMac. probably the smartest player on the team.

Astro Joe

January 23rd, 2012
11:48 pm

Hawks will need the bench to produce in at least 2 of these next 4 road games if they are to come out of this stretch with a 3-2 record. Simply can’t have starters play an entire half under these grueling circumstances for too many games.

jdewayneatl

January 23rd, 2012
11:51 pm

Great win to start the road trip. Can’t wait to see what Kirk looks like and how he plays off of TMac.

Adam

January 23rd, 2012
11:51 pm

Joe Johnson’s MVP run continued tonight.

He also continues to own each and every one of you.

That is all.

SoullRenaissance

January 24th, 2012
12:14 am

LOL at Rusty.

SoullRenaissance

January 24th, 2012
12:17 am

AJC is losing money in this economic down turn. Why else a beat writer not be in San Antonio for Hinrich’s potential return to the lineup??? Would they miss a Matty Ice/Falcons’ game????

Great 4th quarter performance by JJ – we will need more of those.

Dukester

January 24th, 2012
12:28 am

Good game hawks!! Very good start. I agree Astro Joe somebody other than Teague Joe and Josh has to step up. My choice is Marvin. If Marvin would go get 10 boards everything else would fall inline for him. He is the key to the Hawks success everyone else will do their job.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 24th, 2012
12:34 am

The last three teams they play on this trip are bad. If they can manage a win in San Antonio on Wednesday, they give themselves a pretty decent chance of going 5-0 on this trip and being 17-5 a third of the way through the season.

They need better offensive execution than they had today in order to do that, though. Joe can’t be expected to play like he did in the second half today, and you know Popovich (the best coach in the league) is going to find a way to scheme the Hawks out of what they prefer to do.

The last time the Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio, Gregg Popovich was the interim head coach, Dominique Wilkins and Avery Johnson started for the Spurs, and Steve Smith led the Hawks with 25 points. It would be nice for this streak to come to an end.

Hawks Fan Down Under

January 24th, 2012
12:51 am

Glad we won but it wasnt very convincing. Josh has got to stop taking so many jumpers. He aint stupid…just selfish. He barely worked inside. At times our offense looks horrible. When that happens they should be posting (Al) Josh up….but wait he’s camped at the 3 point line. Against a good team in a close game I can’t see us having the steel to win. But happy to be proved wrong…..

Hawks Fan Down Under

January 24th, 2012
12:55 am

Oh yeah we still need a big who can rebound. Zaza rebounded well tonight but he’s a good back up, not starter. Allowing them 13 offensive boards is not good enough.

Big Daddy

January 24th, 2012
1:10 am

Great win. They had the opportunity to fold but didn’t. I still don’t like all of the jump shots. No team in recent years has gotten very far being a jumpshoting perimeter team. They have to have an interior presence. We need a big who is comfortable down low and we can at least get the ball inside with some expectation of a score.

Grandad

January 24th, 2012
1:15 am

I for one will admit;
Joe is playing the best basketball of his career right now.

I hope he continues to stay within the offense.

LD continues to grow as a Head Coach.

let’s see how far we can ride this ” Defense and Team Play ” concept !

GaSouthernSmooth

January 24th, 2012
1:21 am

Ugly win in an fugly city, HA! but ill take it. i too cant wait to see captain kirk do work with the second unit. Question bloggers… between Pargo and Green who do yall want to see loose minutes? Id tell Pargo to make sure he brings a cushion to the arena and sits himself next to Stacks. thanks for the past 18 games but id rather see willie green shoot shoot and shoot some more coming off the bench.

GaSouthernSmooth

January 24th, 2012
1:23 am

safe bet though is that LD will find some way to mess up the minutes distribution

Scrooge McDuck

January 24th, 2012
1:39 am

“The Hawks really didn’t solve their issues with holding second-half leads. They still had too many bad possessions, still gave up too many rebounds, and still had too many turnovers at key times.”

Yet some of these people are acting like everything’s great. The rebounding issues WILL come back to haunt you. They took care of business against a bad team, that’s all.

Big Lou

January 24th, 2012
2:03 am

I agree with Najeh. If we beat the Spurs, the rest of the teams are scrubs. 5-0 is a great possibility.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 24th, 2012
2:17 am

Right now, if this was an 82 game season, the Hawks would be on pace for 59 wins, which would be the most in franchise history. In this shortened season they are on pace for 47 wins, still the best winning percentage in franchise history.

Of course they still have a ways to go to prove that this hot start is a trend and not a fluke.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 24th, 2012
3:10 am

We are on a roll without Horford

Buddy Grizzard

January 24th, 2012
5:31 am

“Safe bet though is that LD will find some way to mess up the minutes distribution” – GaSouthernSmooth

I was actually impressed that LD saw how horribly the bench was playing and rode the starters to get an impressive win. Marvin was Mr. Invisible again.

“Of course they still have a ways to go to prove that this hot start is a trend and not a fluke.” – Najeh

Keep in mind the Hawks are 19th out of 30 teams in strength of schedule.

PEDRO EL GITANO

January 24th, 2012
5:38 am

Con Joe Johnson y Josh Smith a este nivel somos un equipo muy dificil de vencer.Despues de tanto vilipendiar a Joe Johnson hemos de reconocer que está jugando muy bien.GO HAWKS!!!

Air Zaza

January 24th, 2012
7:29 am

Where’s Bogut-Leuer-Smith at? Explain yourself?

terrell

January 24th, 2012
7:38 am

I wish the players, and mostly the analysts, would stop with all this “doin it without Al” nonsense. Al is a decent player, but they act like he was the best player on the team or something.

terrell

January 24th, 2012
7:39 am

Btw, way to earn your $ in the 4th Joe.

terrell

January 24th, 2012
7:44 am

So when Kirk comes back, who’s minutes get cut? Pargo? Green? TMac? Teague?(better not happen). I think Green or Pargo might turn into bench riders, even tho theyve both played pretty well. Gotta find minutes for Kirk and his 8 mill $ salary(Unless a trade is in the works).

Air Zaza

January 24th, 2012
7:45 am

Al is more than a decent player and he is our best player but we have two other guys who are just as valuable in Joe and Josh. Don’t be the community hater son.

Section 303

January 24th, 2012
7:47 am

I get that the Hawks have had trouble holding leads. But, I think we need to realize this is the NBA. Teams make runs all the time. Just watch other games around the league. It is rare for any team to lead wire-to-wire. Sometimes I think we just look for labels to put on the Hawks. Right now it’s “they can’t hold a lead….”. Well, the same could be said for just about every team in the league.

Joe was incredible. He is having a great season.

Josh Smith is an All Star. If he does not make it this season, stop having the game. Just don’t play it anymore.

I’ve been on the T-Mac bandwagon since the season started. I think you get a better appreciation for him when you see him in person. He is never in a rush and usually makes the right read in any situation. Plus, he and Zaza just vibe together. The two have combined on several hoops this year. It is fun to watch.

Hawks can win on Wednesday. I think they’re better than San Antonio. Winning there is always tough, though.

Dukester

January 24th, 2012
8:12 am

I think the Hawks can win in San Antonio also @section 303 if they play good smart basketball and complete all the fundamentals like low turnover number,rebounding,free throws, shot selection and shot selection. My point is San Antonio will play the game like your suppose too they win when you dont. I think we are more talented than they are even without AL.

Geemack

January 24th, 2012
8:14 am

1 down 4 to to go. 3 and 2 will make this a very good road trip without Al. This team is a legit 10 men deep.

There is no reason for Drew not be playing those bench guys at least 12 minutes per night.

Hinrich is on the way back and even with Al out we still have 10 very productive players. The bench is our strength this year. Make sure we use it.

Mike is Back

January 24th, 2012
8:31 am

MC, nice read…TREMENDOUS EFFORT BY THE HAWKS…WAY TO GO.

LD made an excellent point about the Hawks struggle in the second half…if they can quench their thirst for untimely and unneeded JUMP SHOTS…this could be a very dangerous team.

JJ and Josh are really stepping up HUGE…we gotta get more out of Marvin…it’s time for him to step up…with his size…he don’t have to relying on his scoring to impact the game…rebounding and defense is just as important.

Teague has been solid…it’s no reason he can’t be a double digit assist guy…that has to be his goal…if he wants to develop into a floor general…the potential is definitely there…I have been impressed.

Love watching TMACK in a Hawks uni…I remember when TMack was in Orlando…he use to crush us…this was when TMack use to put his hold hip in a joker face…when he dunked on them…all you would see was TMACK jersey when the Orlando came to Phillips…my own son worn a TMack to the Hawks game…I said man you too…dam.heh heh

This has to be the best group of reserves the Hawks has had during JJ tenure…when they are playing that aggressive defense…they are a hard team to beat.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tyger

January 24th, 2012
8:33 am

Marvin the Enigma…

At a glance, it appears that Marvin is regressing…
But, Hawks are progressing…how does that work?…
Marvin has a good individual skill set, but where’s the stats?…

Similiar to, but not like, TMac, Marvin impacts the game other ways…
Marvin, TMac, ZaZa, Collins, Vlad, Green, Pargo are role players…
Won’t score alot of points, but will rebound, defend, assist…play smart.

This allows JJ, Smoove, Teague to dictate offensively for now…
We know it wont last, but that’s when they turn it on…
Shooting comes and goes, rebounding, defense is a constant…

Marvin’s scoring will return, his champion’s pedigree benefits in long run…

Sideline Dude

January 24th, 2012
8:39 am

I thought the NBA had ceen called off this year? Hopefully next year.

Ken Strickland

January 24th, 2012
8:40 am

Last yr at this time we were 11-7, and that was after starting the season with a 6gm win streak. We now lead our division, with the Eastern Conference’s 2nd best record, and have the NBAs 3rd best record overall(13-5). Even though our frontline is very shorthanded, we haven’t had a problem with them getting into foul trouble. That’s because our perimeter DEF has done a very good job of keep guards from consistently attacking the lane and challenging our perimeter DEF.

Teague’s overall play, especially on DEF, has allowed us to get far more easy baskets than we got last yr, and prevented teams from getting as many easy baskets against us. I kept saying our interior DEF would improve with the improvement of our perimeter DEF, and I used Denver getting rid of DEF liability Iverson and premier shotblocker Camby, and acquiring PG CBillups, as an example.

Not having Horford and Josh switching off and ending up on the perimeter has allowed them to increase their shotblocking and overall interior DEF. Zaza’s rebounding has increased as well, and for the same reason. I think WGreen will be the player affected most by Hinrich’s return. Pargo will likely continue as Teague’s replacement at PG, while Hinrich will backup JJ, at least until he’s fully recovered and in gm shape. We all know Sloan with be the odd man out when Hinrich returns.

Pargo is a vet that plays solid DEF and has been really playing well offensively of late. Stackhouse will remain on the team for the same reason he made the team in the 1st place, and that’s his veteran leadership and experience. Ivan Johnson is now solidified himself as an NBA fixture for the next several yrs, and hopefully they will all be as a Hawk.

Last yr our DEF, or lack thereof, hurt us a lot, and a lot of the blame for that is because of HC LDrew. He was the one who over utilized Bibby as a starter, while under utilizing Teague, and misusing Jamal as a backup PG. Those moves forced him to continue the SWITCHING DEF philosophy that Woodson utilized to try and minimize the damage Bibby and Jamal’s DEF liabilities were causing.

While I’ve never been a big Kenyon Martin fan, I’d take him in a second over what we’ve settled for in the past, like HArmstrong, MRolle, EThomas, JPowell etc. I don’t believe any of them are even in the NBA now. If we entered the playoffs with a healthy KHinrich and AHorford, along with KMart, we could really make some serious noise and have a very good chance of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

Big Crimson 75

January 24th, 2012
9:05 am

Big crowd in Green Bay —- i mean Milwaukee last night!!
Makes me sick, where are all these big northern sports writers calling out their own???
That arena had maybe 10k tops!!, but we are the BAD sports town.
I dont understand

KCG

January 24th, 2012
9:09 am

I’m going to hold off my praise of this team until after February. We’ve been fortunate to face mostly sub .500 teams since Al has went out. I must say that I am still impressed though especailly with Josh, Joe, JT, and the bench. This may turn out to be the most complete team the Hawks have ever had. Also, what’s up with this idiot on the blog wanting to trade our All Star center for a guy that got out played by Za Za and another guy that got a DNP coaches decision for a team that is below .500.

returnof4eva

January 24th, 2012
9:20 am

Still no inside presence. How about we make a push for Bendon Heywood?

Astro Joe

January 24th, 2012
9:26 am

Just pay attention to the minutes played when reviewing Marvin’s stats. Hard to grab 10 boards when you play around 24-28 minutes/game. Regardless of what he is doing on the floor, LD subs him with around 4:00 left in the first and third quarters. I’m not complaining as the team iswinning, just making the statement more in terms of Marvin’s individual stats. If the teams wins, then the minute distribution is unimportant.

Hinrich may return exactly one month after the start of the season. I think that is a good 2-4 weeks earlier than originally forecasted. I hope he isn’t rushing back (like Joe did last year after his elbow issue).

PMC

January 24th, 2012
9:31 am

Hawks are doing well still, one thing that concerns me are how many minutes Teague, Josh and Joe had last night.

I guess there aren’t really a lot of other options, but I think this is a playoff team and a good one so I worry about their long term health.

returnof4eva

January 24th, 2012
9:38 am

I really think this team would be better by trading Marvin, starting Vlad, and using Tmac in a sixth man role

Astro Joe

January 24th, 2012
9:44 am

PMC, same here. Again, I’m trying not to nit pick but if Vlad-Rad was struggling to defend, then how about trying Marvin and TMac in the game together? Ilyasova isn’t so big and physical that Marvin couldn’t match up against him (or at least give it a try to allow Josh a little rest in lieu of Vlad Rad). I don’t think we’ve seen Marvin and TMac on the floor much (if at all) this season. And I’m not talking some extreme measure, just maybe 4 more minutes for Marvin last night and 4 less minutes for Josh. Same for Joe and Willie Green. 10,000 mile road trip. LD needs to try some creative ideas early on the road before he gets mentally fatigued and forgets different combination options on the floor.

Astro Joe

January 24th, 2012
9:50 am

returnof4eva, Brendan has an awful contract that seemingly lasts forever. And TMac is already playing the 6th man role, but he also has already missed some games with back issues. So I think it is risky to count on him playing every game like Jamal did for us the past few years. This team has been winning with Marvin in the starting line-up, no need to change. Plus, I don’t think “starting” is as important as overall playing time and finishing games. Marvin plays as many minutes as a bench player and rarely finishes close games.

returnof4eva

January 24th, 2012
9:57 am

Shut me up with a quickness previously unknown to this board, but I’m honestly willing to trade Marvin for half a pack of stale cigarettes and a dirty sock. His contract is ugly, but he’s a big body that we desperately need.

Still Laughing at Mike Bianchi

January 24th, 2012
10:00 am

every body bashes having Marvin in the starting lineup but he made the defensive play of the game down the stretch

returnof4eva

January 24th, 2012
10:02 am

He did, but plays like that for him are few and far in-between.

KevinM

January 24th, 2012
10:02 am

We are now 25% through the regular season. I remember LD talking about the tough stretch we were dealt the first of the season. I’m not feeling that the Hawks have been at any disadvantage in the schedule.
We have played well for the most part and if I recall, we have laid 3-4 eggs we could have easily won. I couldn’t imagine us being this good this early, but that bench has been very productive and it hasn’t been dependent on any one jersey.
The next 25% will establish whether we are legit or not. I expect no major changes going forward as we try to win the division with an inconsistent Heat team, a Magic team without a true blueprint, and a Chicago team the requires their team to play well each night. We appear to be in the thick of things and its the first time in a while I have felt we have a legit chance to contend.
Saying that, I’m off the Marvin bashing/amnesty wishing wagon. I want whatever contributions he can give us or throw someone as good in there making a fraction of his pay.
I’m buying the entire team concept because all these guys can play and fill important roles. There is room for improvement and when Josh’s jumpers don’t fall, we could fall just as quick.

But I’m backing this team going forward and I’ll take LD’s decisions as the right ones going forward.

dapluva!

January 24th, 2012
10:03 am

Jeff Teague should start Wednesday with hinrich coming off the bench. its only fair because jeff showed up this year dammit!!

Still Laughing at Mike Bianchi

January 24th, 2012
10:04 am

for those who wonder why we pay Joe the money we do

that 4th quarter in Milwaukee is why

he will come alive offensivly when no one else on the team is

returnof4eva

January 24th, 2012
10:04 am

I also think Haywood is better than his numbers show but still not worth that contract

PMC

January 24th, 2012
10:05 am

Agreed, Astro Joe. I hope to see Marvin, TMAC and Ivan pick up some more minutes on this long trip.

PMC

January 24th, 2012
10:07 am

Hopefully Hinrich can get in on this trip and Tmac can stay healthy.