Archive for January, 2012

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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Bulls 94

The Hawks had more energy tonight than me.

I’m getting sick, blog people, which was inevitable. So for now I will link to the game story so you can discuss the game. I will have more for you tomorrow.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Tracy McGrady (knee) will play. Rip Hamilton (groin) is doubtful and C.J. Watson (elbow) is out for the Bulls.
  • Larry Drew on Jeff Teague’s lack of defensive energy lately: “Very noticeable. He’s not playing defense with a sense of urgency. He’s playing against guys that, I don’t think he’s taking the defensive challenge the last few games we’ve played. The reason why, I have no idea. I have to bring him in here and talk to him because I know he’s a much better defensive player than that. I don’t see the energy and even when he’s not involved in the play he’s kind of lackadaisical.”
  • Drew on Al Horford shooting less often and less accurately from mid-range: “I don’t think he’s looking for that shot as much as he did last year. I think he’s trying to establish himself more in the low post. He is a really good mid-range shooter and we want to take advantage of that. At the same time, we don’t want to rely on it. We want it to be more of a situation where when he’s open he …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 102, Bobcats 96 (OT)

Charlotte–The Hawks needed this W any way they could get it. Playing overtime after leading by 11 in the fourth and using four starters for 40 minutes in the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back wasn’t ideal. But it’s better than losing.

  • “Going into the game I really didn’t know how much energy we would play with,” Larry Drew said. “I was focused on who would run out of gas and when they would run out of gas. But the one thing I wanted to do tonight was ride the energy of the energy guys, and I thought Josh [Smith] brought that. That’s why I played him a lot tonight.”
  • Smith (23 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, two blocks) backed up his pregame talk about taking out his frustrations on the Bobcats. He scored eight consecutive points to help stake the Hawks to the 72-61 lead, then recorded two key assists to help win it in overtime.
  • The first was a pass to Marvin Williams on a cut that made it 100-96. Smith then had a tap pass to Joe Johnson for a jumper that finally …

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Atlanta Hawks at Bobcats: Game thread

CharlotteTracy McGrady (knee) is out. “He wanted to play [last night] and give it a shot,” Larry Drew said. “We thought it would be best to keep him out tonight.” Donald Sloan is active.

  • Corey Maggette (hamstring) is out for the Bobcats.
  • During pregame there was little sign of the frustration and finger-pointing that followed the poor effort against the Heat last night. Hawks players were in good spirits.
  • Josh Smith: “I think with two previous disappointing losses, we need to have some kind of sense of being mad and wanting to take it out on somebody else. This will be the game to do it. We have to leave it all out on the court. If these two losses don’t piss you off, then I don’t know what’s going to get you mad. I know I am frustrated and angry. So I am just trying to walk around with a smile, but I know when I step in between those lines I’m going to play ba— out.”
  • Drew said he’s not concerned about the locker room coming apart amid the tough losses. The Hawks came …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks-Heat recap

Video recap of Heat 116, Hawks 109 in triple OT.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Heat 116, Hawks 109 (3 OT)

Al Horford summed it up: “This by far has to be my worst defeat here as a Hawk. I didn’t feel like we wanted to win this game.” Possible exceptions include Ivan Johnson, Willie Green and Tracy McGrady.

  • This was the kind of loss that people who can’t embrace the Hawks predict as soon as they hear LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are out. And then it happened. “I wish they would have played, to be perfectly honest,” Larry Drew said. “I think if they would have played we would have taken a whole different approach.”
  • To get a sense of the Hawks’ disarray in this loss, listen to the various explanations for the poor pick-and-roll coverages that plagued them all game.
  • Drew on Chris Bosh’s game-tying 3 at the end of regulation: “Mental, mental breakdown. Just total mental breakdowns from key players. We knew they were going for the quick basket. We were going to switch a lot of the things. When you make a switch, you come together. We didn’t do that. We tried to cheat the play and …

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Heat at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Tracy McGrady (knee) is probable for the Hawks. Dwyane Wade (foot) and LeBron James (ankle) are out for the Heat. James Jones and Shane Battier will replace them in the starting lineup.
  • McGrady after shootaround: “I will push through it, but I don’t want to push it to the point where it becomes a lingering thing. We will see how it goes. I think I will be OK.” Larry Drew pregame: “He’s going to try it. We will see how he is.”
  • Drew said the Hawks are mindful of managing McGrady’s minutes for the long term: “We knew when we got him, with the stretch of games we are about to play, we did not expect him to play three games in a row. That’s why we brought in pieces for certain situations.”
  • Al Horford on the team’s physical and mental state: “We feel good after yesterday. Not playing helped. It’s kind of good to regroup. Tonight is going to be a big game. We are looking forward to it at home.”
  • Marvin Williams: “We have only played six games so it’s not too bad. Talk to me at …

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Atlanta Hawks: About their defense

Bradford Doolittle was at Hawks-Bulls and writes a thoughtful piece at Basketball Prospectus about his observations of the Hawks’ (so far) improved defense (ranked third in efficiency before tonight’s games). It’s worth a read.

In the post, Doolittle says the Hawks made “no major personnel additions to explain the defensive improvement.” But I think they have and it (possibly) does.

(All of the following comes with the necessary Small Sample Size Qualifier.)

The Hawks have more defensive talent and depth than last season (and probably more versatility, too). It’s now more Jeff Teague (not new, but new to getting most of the point guard minutes) and Jannero Pargo, no Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford. It’s more Tracy McGrady (size, rebounds) and Vladimir Radmonovic (steals, blocks), no Mo Evans and Damien Wilkins. It’s (eventually, I’m assuming) more Zaza Pachulia, no Josh Powell.

Look at Atlanta’s on-court, off-court numbers at basketballvalue.com. Notice that all of the bench …

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Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 76, Hawks 74

Chicago–The Hawks so thoroughly dominated the Bulls for 33 minutes the United Center turned on the home team. Then Derrick Rose got off, the fans got live and the Hawks wilted under the pressure. They blew a chance to become the talk of the East for a few days.

  • “The most important thing for us this early in the season is that we learn from it,” Larry Drew said. “We are going to be in these type positions a lot more times and it’s important to learn from it. When you are on the road, 19 points is nothing. It can be chipped away very easily. We made some mistakes with that 19-point lead that gave them hope. You can’t do that with a good team. Chicago is a very explosive team and with Rose on the floor anything can happen.”
  • At the same time Rose got hot, Atlanta’s reserves got stagnant. Jannero Pargo’s 3 was more of an isolation heave than any kind of set play. Vladimir Radmanovic missed a rushed shot and Rose answered with a 3-pointer. Zaza Pachulia got stripped of the ball by …

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