Archive for January, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 93, Raptors 84

Here is a link to Chris Vivlamore’s AJC game story, in which Josh Smith explains his “different state of mind” this season and Larry Drew says Tracy McGrady’s back tightened up after he played eight first-half minutes.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Raptors at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Chris Vivlamore is on the scene again. He’s undefeated. I’m told that some technical issues will be resolved soon that will allow C-Viv to post blogs on the days he covers.
  • Larry Drew is using the “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center. Drew told C-Viv he likes Zaza Pachulia and Vladimir Radmanovic playing together off the bench.
  • “It’s matchup,” Drew said. “It’s also a combination of bring Zaza off the bench with Vladimir. I have been playing those guys together more and I just like that combination of both coming off [the bench] together. They play well together and seem to complement each other. I wanted to go back to that. I also wanted to go back to Jason at the starting spot. He’s a little more familiar as a starter and I wanted to start giving him some more minutes.”
  • Tracy McGrady (back) is active.
  • For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani (calf), James Johnson (ankle), Jerryd Bayless (ankle) and Arron Gray (personal) are out.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks …

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Timberwolves at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • I’m not at the game tonight. The AJC’s Chris Viviamore is on the scene.
  • At shootaround today Marvin Williams (ankle) told C-Viv he plans to play tonight. Tracy McGrady (back) is out and is shooting for a Monday return.
  • Larry Drew said the Hawks are in no hurry to make a roster move in the wake of Al Horford’s injury.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 111, Bobcats 81

  • Sorry for no game thread post, blog people. I was a tad busy.
  • The Hawks for the most part didn’t try to play down the significance of losing Al Horford to injury (not that they really could). But they regrouped and went out and beat down the Bobcats, who had shown some pluck against superior opponents this season.
  • “We had a few lapses defensively but our energy level was high,” Larry Drew said. “That’s something we look for every game. When we play with that type of energy and get up the floor and fly around, we are a pretty good club. And tonight we were flying around.”
  • The most encouraging thing for the Hawks was that they dominated the boards against a pretty good rebounding team with size. Josh Smith (13 rebounds), Zaza Pachulia (10) and Ivan Johnson (seven in 21 minutes) did their thing but the Hawks got production from unlikely guys: Vladimir Radmanovic had eight rebounds, Joe Johnson had seven, and Jeff Teague had six.
  • Josh said that’s the kind of effort the Hawks …

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Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford out 3-4 months with injury

The Hawks say Al Horford will miss 3-4 months with a torn pectoral muscle suffered during last night’s 96-84 loss at Indiana.. Horford is to get a second opinion on whether to proceed with the surgery.

Under the most most optimistic time frame, Horford would return in mid-April. Atlanta’s final regular-season game is scheduled for April 26.

“It’s disappointing news,” Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. said. “Al is a big part of our success. Hopefully he will be back by the playoffs. The tough part is we have been playing hard and playing well. We will have to try to get through it. We’re a veteran team and we have to find a way.”

Gearon said he hadn’t yet spoken to GM Rick Sund and wasn’t sure what moves the Hawks might make in the wake of Horford’s injury. In addition to Hoford, Atlanta’s centers include Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins.

Atlanta’s payroll currently is slightly above the luxury-tax threshold of $70 million. The roster players without salary guarantees include …

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Atlanta Hawks: Pacers 96, Hawks 84

Indianapolis–The Hawks were short-handed, they didn’t play well for two of the three competitive quarters, and Indiana was good. It all added up to a beatdown that Atlanta’s third-stringers made look more respectable.

  • Larry Drew said Al Horford will be reevaluated when the team returns to Atlanta. The Hawks said the initial diagnosis was a strained left shoulder. Horford wasn’t in the locker room after the game during my time in there.
  • Tracy McGrady said he’s not sure if he will be available vs. Charlotte tomorrow. “This morning, I felt a little tight in my back but I didn’t think it was going to be anything serious to keep me out,” he said.
  • Clearly Atlanta’s offense suffers without Horford, McGrady and Marvin Williams. It suffers even more against a good defensive team like the Pacers.
  • But the Hawks made a run at it in the second quarter, when they scored 14 of their 30 points in the paint, earned 10 free-throw attempts (making seven) and had just one turnover. It came …

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Atlanta Hawks at Pacers: Game thread

Indianapolis–At shootaround Tracy McGrady said he was feeling good. Not so much tonight: He’s a late scratch with back spasms. It wasn’t announced until after the locker room was closed to media types so don’t have details.

  • Danny Granger (ill) and George Hill (back) are active for the Pacers after missing Monday’s 96-86 loss at Philly.
  • Yes, Larry Drew showed the players clips of Charles Barkley’s criticisms of the Hawks during the loss to Miami. I’ve never liked reacting to what Barkley says because smack talking is his schtick and I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Plus, while the loss to the Heat was a bad one it wasn’t enough to draw a conclusion about this team. Don’t get me wrong: I love Barkley. He’s fun and entertaining. His act is good for fans and talk radio (and Web hits, apparently) but has no real bearing on basketball so I tend to just laugh it off.
  • And, sure enough, word is Hawks players aren’t going around talking or thinking about sticking it to …

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Atlanta Hawks: On the offense

Indianapolis–The Hawks rank seventh in the league in offensive efficiency. They have, for the most part, feasted on some below-average-to-bad defensive teams: New Jersey, Charlotte, and Washington. (And they didn’t feast on one bad defensive team, Houston.)

There are two important exceptions: the W at Miami and the W vs. Chicago. In those games, the Hawks feasted on elite defensive units, and a look at the Hoopdata advanced box scores from the Miami and Chicago of those games shows some common offensive threads for the Hawks:

  • Their combined attempts from 9 feet and closer and 3-point range were more than twice their attempts from 16 to 23 feet.
  • They made a high percentage of those 3-point attempts.
  • Their turnover rates were low.

Shooting well is the most important ingredient for good offense (obviously). But a look at the Synergy Sports Technology numbers in the Miami and Chicago victories shows the Hawks were able to play to their strengths while generating good shots …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 106, Nets 101

Newark, N.J.Larry Drew has been pretty conservative with his starters’ minutes this season. Until tonight, when he suddenly decided to ride them and go all out to beat the Nets. The absence of Marvin Williams explains some of that but I thought the bench guys had OK stints in the first half, only to never be seen again (except for Zaza Pachulia).

  • “Going into halftime, I was going to come out and see what happened and go off feel,” Drew said. “Once New Jersey made that run, I made a decision to ride the starters. I didn’t want to lose momentum. I went with feel. I kind of went with my gut.”
  • “I understand in this short season, every game is important for us,” Joe Johnson said. “I’m willing to do whatever L.D. wants. We talked, and he understands my mindset. He knows what I’m willing to do what I have to as a player to help this team get better.”
  • “He took me out in the fourth for about 20 seconds at the start of the fourth quarter and then put me right back in, and I was …

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Atlanta Hawks at Nets: Game thread

Newark, N.J.Marvin Williams (ankle) is not on the trip. Vladimir Radmanovic will replace him at small forward. Brook Lopez (foot), Damion James (foot) and Mehmet Okur (back) are out for the Nets. DeShawn Stevenson (knee) was a late scratch.

  • Drew said he didn’t consider replacing Williams in the lineup with Tracy McGrady. Instead, the choice was between starting Vlad Rad or using the “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center.
  • Drew on how Vlad Rad fits with the starters: “I think he plays really well with them. I’ve been looking to play him more with the starters’ group. It’s certainly a comfortable fit for him. He seems to just play better when he’s in the lineup with the starters because he does what he does. He’s a 3-point shooter, he stretches the defense. They really do a good job getting him the ball. He’s made the adjustment.”
  • According to basketballvalue.com, Vlad Rad has played 14 minutes alongside Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. His offensive …

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