Archive for January, 2012

Atlanta Hawks at Bucks: Game thread

MilwaukeeZaza Pachulia is the starter at center. “He’s been playing well lately,” Larry Drew said. “He has played well against the Bucks. So we elected to go with him.”

  • Zaza has been as productive and efficient as usual but his minutes have fluctuated. “It’s hard, but you have to be a pro,” he said. “I’ve been in a situation where I was getting mad previous years. But you learn one thing, you can’t control it or make it better. All you can do is be professional. I am not worried about that. I’ve been in the league long enough to realize my role and what I can do, where my strength is, what I can do for a team.”
  • Included among the keys on Milwaukee’s pregame board: “Match Pachulia’s energy.”
  • Jeff Teague on Drew keeping him as the starter when Hinrich returns: “That feels real good to hear. But I really can’t control it too much. I’ve just got to go out there and play hard and keep playing my game.”
  • Scott Skiles on how the schedule has affected the Bucks: “We’re trying to …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew says Teague still the starter once Hinrich returns

MilwaukeeKirk Hinrich says he will practice tomorrow in San Antonio. If all goes well, he plans to play Wednesday at the Spurs.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how sore it will be the next day [after practice].”

Once Hinrich is activated, the Hawks will have to make a roster move. The candidates to be released are Ivan Johnson, Donald Sloan, Jannero Pargo and Jerry Stackhouse. Chances are it won’t be Ivan so probably one of the guards will go.

Larry Drew said the plan is to “work [Hinrich] back in slow” as he gets his wind back and becomes accustomed to banging around again. And . . . (drum roll) Hinrich will come off the bench and Jeff Teague will remain the starting point guard.

“At this point, I am going to stay with that I have,” Drew said. “Jeff has shown that he deserves it. He has done a really good job for us. As of right now, I am just going to keep it as is.”

Now I know some of my blog people are going to seize on “as of right now” and cite it as …

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Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

C-Viv reporting from Philips Arena.

Hawks coach Larry Drew did not use the word “quit” again to describe the Hawks’ performance Friday night at the 76ers. However, the coach did not back off his post-game comments.

Drew would not single any particular player out. He also said he has not address the team following his post-game comments.

Here are some quotes from Drew during his pre-game interview:

“I’m not going to call out any names. It got a little tough and we didn’t respond. We did not respond.”

“Yes [he stands by his post-game comments], I went back and watched it. We had a good first half. They made a run in the third quarter and, as stated, we didn’t respond to it, which is very disappointing. I’ve made statements in the past, I really thought we had turned that corner a little bit in that situation. Teams are going to make runs. Good teams are going to make runs.  Philadelphia is a really good team. They played very well. We talked about it at halftime, that that team …

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Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 90, Hawks 76

Philadelphia–Maybe after he watches the video and sleeps on it, Larry Drew will regret the choice of words. But he was unambiguous about his feelings in the immediate aftermath of his team’s second-half collapse.

  • Asked what happened in the third quarter, Drew said: “It got tough for us in the third quarter and we quit. That’s what happened.”
  • Harsh words coming for any NBA coach, especially one with a veteran team. There were more.
  • “I am hoping it’s out of character,” Drew said. “I saw a pattern with it last year and I thought we had turned the corner with it this year. Not the fact that we lost the game, but the fact that it got tough for us and we did not respond. You could see it in our faces and see it in our body language.”
  • “Teams are going to make runs,” Drew said. “It’s how you respond to runs. You either man up or you fold the tent. Tonight we certainly folded the tent in that third quarter. What’s disappointing is we talked about when a team makes a run, you play …

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Atlanta Hawks at Sixers: Game thread

Philadelphia–The Hawks are using the “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center. Larry Drew said that before Spencer Hawes (Achilles) so it could change before tip off.

  • Then again, maybe it won’t change since the “big” lineup apparently has become the standard lineup. “That’s the regular lineup,” Drew said. “For right now that will be pretty much how we go. That was basically the lineup last year when we went bigger. Right now that will be the starting lineup.”
  • Why does Drew like that lineup? “With Jason, we really are able to play a lot more at home in the post, particularly against big guys who do have a strong low-post presence,” Drew said. “We play them head up. He gives us a little bit more size, a little bit more physicality at that position. Jason, he is a smart pro. He knows how to play his position. He does a good job playing individual and team defense. We all know with him in the lineup it’s defense-first with him. ”
  • Drew on the fluctuating minutes for his …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 92, Trail Blazers 89

  • The Hawks faced their toughest foe since Al Horford went down and won again. After the W they said a lot of things about guys stepping up to do more in his absence. Normally such cliches inspire eye-rolling from a cynical hack like myself but, I’ve got to say, that’s what’s happened so far.
  • How else to explain a W in which the bench kept the Hawks in it until Joe Johnson got hot, and then the starters closed it out after the reserves faded and Jamal Crawford tried to do his thing where he shakes off all of his earlier misses with fourth-quarter shot-making? What else to think about a game in which Jannero Pargo and Tracy McGrady play big roles along with Joe, Jeff Teague and Josh Smith?
  • The pieces seem to be fitting together.
  • “It really feels like these guys are starting to get a feel for one another,” Larry Drew said. “In the first half felt like we had a good flow with the starters and reserves. A few times in the second half we fell out of rhythm but guys are starting …

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Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Larry Drew is using the “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center. Marcus Camby plans to suit up for the Blazers but Nate McMillan said he’s an emergency option. Hawks nemesis Kurt Thomas will start at center. “It’s a good matchup with Kurt Thomas who plays a physical game, Twin who plays a physical game,” Drew said.
  • Tracy McGrady (back) said he’s good to go.
  • Jamal Crawford on how things ended with the Hawks: “I feel like they had over a year to make something happen. I was part of their core and I was the only one that wasn’t under contract past last year. Teammates, coaches, the city, the fans—it’s all good. No hard feelings. But kind of deep down inside last year I knew it was the end of the line for me. I had a feeling.”
  • Crawford on his slow start with the Blazers: “I’m still figuring things out a little bit. It’s similar to when I first came here. Eventually I got it and the same thing will happen here. It’s hard when you go to a different team, a different system,. …

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Atlanta Hawks: In appreciation of Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford is back in town, which got me to thinking about the clip above. That was my very first game covering the Hawks as the AJC beat writer. It turned out it was a proper introduction to Crawford, who loved those big moments and wanted to deliver with crowd-pleasing flair. He always joked he had “street cred” among Hawks fans, and it was true.

In a way, Crawford might have been the best example of that what bugs stats folks about the Hawks: He could do things that confound the formulas. Viewed in the aggregate over the long term, Crawford’s numbers seem pedestrian. But if you spent too much time picking at his weaknesses, you could miss that he often delivered in big games and important moments like the one above.

Think back to Atlanta’s playoffs series victory against Orlando last season. The No. 1 story, as it should have been, was Larry Drew’s successful Twin Defense against Dwight Howard. Crawford’s performance during that series should have been a close …

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Atlanta Hawks: What should they do now (poll)?

Al Horford had surgery today and let’s go ahead and say he’s out for the year, regular season and playoffs.

I don’t know that for sure, of course, but out three to four months on Jan. 17 sure sounds that way. If he comes back at the end of the regular season, how long before he’s in game shape and ready to contribute? Could he really make a difference in the playoffs under those circumstances? Is it even worth it at that point for the Hawks to send out their All-Star center with four years left on his $60 million extension?

What should the Hawks do after Al Horford’s injury?

  • Nothing. Go with this group and if it’s the lottery, so be it.
  • Sign a stopgap free-agent center to help them now, then hope Horford returns for a playoffs run.
  • Make trades for the future now.
  • None of the above. I’ve got a better idea in the comments.

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The Hawks might have been able to make a good run at the East finals with Horford. It would have been …

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