Archive for February, 2012

Suns at Atlanta Hawks Game Thread

Vivlamore filling in for Cunningham. Here is your report from this morning’s shootaround in preparation for tonight’s game against the Suns.

The key to snapping a two-game losing streak is the Hawks’ defensive energy, according to coach Larry Drew.

As the Hawks host the Suns tonight, Drew emphasized defense to his team during the morning shootaround and with the media following the session.

“We can’t be a team with low energy,” Drew said. “If you are going to be small [with injuries to centers Al Horford and Jason Collins] you have to be a team that plays with a lot of energy. You have to be quick. Because you are a little smaller you have to do some things differently, particularly with us. Not having Al or Twin it limits us in a certain area as far as what our defensive schemes have been. Offensively nothing much changes there. It’s more on the defensive end. We’ll have to make some adjustments.”

Drew did say the Hawks needed to share the ball offensively, but his efforts …

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Atlanta Hawks: Good fit for Fesenko?

The Hawks plan to sign a center and it almost certainly will be a guy on a 10-day contract rather than a permanent addition. They’ve discussed Kyrylo Fesenko, Erick Dampier and Dan Gadzuric but, as far as I know, they haven’t inquired with those guys yet to gauge their interest in a short-term gig in Atlanta.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

I’ve always thought Fesenko, the massive 7-foot Ukranian, is probably the best item in the Big Man Bargain Bin (excluding Joel Przybilla, who has eyes for the Heat or Bulls). But you figured something was up when the Warriors reportedly had an agreement with Fesenko in December but balked at signing him and then passed on him again after Kwame Brown went down last month. Word is the knee injury Fesenko suffered playing for the Ukraine last summer remains a concern; his conditioning and work ethic were suspect before he got hurt and so you have to wonder how much he can give.

But it might be worth it for the Hawks to find out on a 10-day because …

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Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 98, Hawks 87

  • No doubt the Hawks’ vulnerability in the middle was on display again (especially since the perimeter D was shaky, too). Spencer Hawes found the perfect opponent for his return from an Achilles injury, Nicola Vucevic and Thaddeus Young got theirs and Philly’s guards found lots of space in which to operate once they made it past the first level–all they had to do was account for Josh Smith from there.
  • But if the Hawks had taken care of the ball and taken better shots (or made more open ones) they still would have had a chance to beat a quality opponent in spite of all of that. Instead, they got sloppy with the ball and loose with their shot selection in the second quarter and the Sixers were off and running to 37 points.
  • The Hawks, meanwhile, spent a lot of time in Iso and looking to officials for help. “Against physical teams, we have a tendency to allow that to affect us,” Larry Drew said. “We have to move past that. We are a veteran team now.”
  • Weird, then, that rookie Ivan …

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Sixers at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • The Hawks said Jason Collins will miss at least two weeks with what they said is a sprained left elbow. Elton Brand (thumb) is out for the Sixers. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) will play.
  • Collins is glad his injury wasn’t worse: “I didn’t break it, didn’t dislocate it. We will look at it in two weeks and be re-evaluated.”
  • There are different degrees of sprains, which also can mean torn ligaments, but neither Collins nor Larry Drew would get into the details of Twin’s diagnosis. “They said for me to say a sprain,” Collins said.
  • Drew said the Hawks are looking at candidates to sign to a 10-day contract. “It’s possible,” he said. “We met yesterday and talked about it and tossed some names around. We will keep doing that until we make a decision what we want to do.”
  • Available free-agent centers include Erick Dampier, Kyrylo Fesenko, Dan Gadzuric, DJ Mbenga, and Joel Przybilla (who appears headed to Miami or Chicago). Theo Ratliff says he’s done.
  • For now, the Hawks will use …

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Collins has MRI, won’t play Saturday vs. 76ers

Hawks center Jason Collins had an MRI on his sprained left elbow Friday. While the team waits for the results, coach Larry Drew ruled Collins out for Saturday’s home game against the 76ers.

It also appears that one possibility for big man help – free agent Kenyon Martin – won’t be joining the Hawks.

“He won’t be ready tomorrow, that’s for sure,” Drew said of Collins. “Hopefully he won’t be out too long because right now we are looking at Zaza [Pachulia] as our 5 and Ivan Johnson as our backup 5. We are a little depleted in the big man area. Hopefully he won’t be gone too long.”

Collins did not practice Friday. However, it did arrive at the arena as practice was ending. He said he felt “better.”

Collins was injured in the first quarter of Thursday’s blowout loss to the Grizzlies. His left arm was pinned under the Grizzlies’ Dante Cunningham while on the floor after a loose ball.

The injury leaves the Hawks with only one center in Pachulia. Johnson was forced to backup at the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Grizzlies 96, Hawks 77

Here is the new game story on the Hawks’ loss to the Grizzlies Thursday night with post-game quotes:

Larry Drew was afraid it would happen.

The Hawks coach issued a warning to his team. It didn’t help

Drew feared a letdown against the Grizzlies after his team’s recently completed 4-1 road trip had them tied for first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

The letdown came in a big way Thursday night in a 96-77 loss to the Grizzlies at Philips Arena.

“When you come off a road trip like that the tendency is to have a letdown,” Drew said. “I was afraid today would happen. We weren’t sharp tonight. I’m not going to blame it on the road trip. Everybody else has to do it. They go off on long road trips and come back and play. We can’t use that as an excuse. The start of the first quarter that team just manhandled us. They played with physicality and we were a step slow in everything we did.”

The Hawks held a seven-point lead early in the first quarter. It …

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Grizzlies at Atlanta Hawks Game Thread

C-Viv reporting from Philips Arena.

Here is a quick blog from this morning’s shoot-around to keep you busy before game time. In case you missed it, read my earlier posting on the Hawks meeting with representative of Kenyon Martin earlier today.

Coach Larry Drew is very aware of the potential for a letdown against the Grizzlies coming off a 4-1 road trip. He called for the Hawks to play tonight’s game like it was a playoff game.

“You have to guard against mental letdown,” Drew said. “I told the guys, history says this is one of those games where you come out very methodical, very lethargic, given the road trip, given gone 10 days, the travel. That first game back after a road trip like that, we have to defy history tonight. We have to come out and play very inspired basketball right out of the gate. We can’t come out and be satisfied with what we just accomplished on the road.”

Another interesting note, the Hawks have three players in the top-10 in the NBA in 3-point percentage …

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Hawks meet with rep for Kenyon Martin

The Hawks met Thursday with a representative for center Kenyon Martin, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking.

Martin, 34, averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 48 games for the Nuggets last season. The 11-year veteran signed a one-year deal to play in China with Xinjiang during the NBA lockout last summer. He is eligible to return to the NBA following the Chinese season in several weeks.

Martin has reportedly been offered a contract by the Heat. ESPN recently reported that he is also interested in signing with the Clippers,  Spurs and Knicks, along with the Hawks and Heat.

Martin could make a decision by the end of the week. According to reports FIBA has cleared Martin, allowing him to sign with an NBA team.

The Hawks have used a combination of Zaza Pachulia, Jason Collins and Ivan Johnson at center since the loss of Al Horford last month to a torn pectoral muscle. While the Hawks are 9-2 in the 11 games without Horford, teams with dominant big men can …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson’s D has been strong, too

Much of the discussion about Joe Johnson’s season has focused on his offensive surge since Al Horford went down. And rightly so: In 11 games without Horford, Johnson has averaged 21.2 points per 36 minutes with a 55.9 true shooting percentage (by the way, his 54 percent TS mark for the season ranks fifth among shooting guards playing 30-plus minutes).

With Al sidelined, Joe has made 87 percent of his free throws and 40 percent of his 3-pointers and has eight games of 20-plus points and two with 30 or more. Like all things Hawks lately, those numbers come with the caveat of competition: Since Al went down, the Hawks have faced just three opponents ranked in the top half of the league in defensive efficiency: Minnesota, Portland, and Philadelphia. Still, Joe is balling.

But Johnson’s defense has been overlooked even thought the best available objective evidence suggest he’s also having a very good year on that end of the court.

According to Synergy, Johnson has allowed just .71 …

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