Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 102, Wizards 88

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story from Friday’s victory over the Wizards.

One figure was written clearly on the Hawks’ locker room white board. It read simply 53 percent.

That was the only point coach Larry Drew needed to get across to his team during a halftime speech Friday. The Wizards were shooting such a high field-goal percentage – and the Hawks’ defensive effort was clearly the issue.

The Hawks came out with a much-better effort in the second half, erased a six-point deficit, en route to a 102-88 victory over the Wizards at Philips Arena.

“Defensively, we made a stand,” Drew said. “I came in at halftime and that team was shooting over 50 percent against us in the first half. I just told the guys that was ridiculous. … I knew we could be a better defensive team than what we were showing. We just had to make up our mind to go out and guard people and not rely on help. That third quarter we made a strong stand defensively.”

The Hawks held the Wizards to 43 percent shooting in the second half and had 16 of their season-high tying 30 fast-break points in the final two quarters. The Hawks also forced 22 turnovers, including nine by Wizards point guard John Wall.

“It starts with our defense,” Drew said. “We can’t come out thinking we can outscore people. We have to defend and be solid. The first half I thought we gambled [defensively] entirely too much.”

The Hawks didn’t fall victim of a classic trap game – but they came close for awhile.

Home after a six-game road trip, where they went 2-4 including losses in four of the last five games, the Hawks rallied against the lowly Wizards. The didn’t return from the trip until landing in Atlanta at 5 p.m. on Thursday after a cross-country flight.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks (25-19) with a game-high 34 points, tying his season high set two games ago against the Nuggets. He scored 15 first-quarter points, half the Hawks’ total after the first 12 minutes. He was 6-of-7 from the field, including three 3-pointers. Johnson had 18 first-half points. The Hawks are 14-2 when Johnson scores 20 or more points.

“We had great ball movement and I was in the right place at the right time,” Johnson said. “…You can make the first couple, get a couple easy baskets, and the rim just starts to get a little bigger. Tonight was just one of those nights.”

The Hawks also got 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists from Josh Smith. He tied Dikembe Mutombo for sixth on the Hawks’ all-time offensive rebounds list (1,228). Smith has scored 20 or more points in eight of past nine games.

“We came out a little sluggish,” Smith said. “I don’t know if it’s because we were traveling so much. Normally when you come from the west coast you have a couple of days to recuperate. We had less than 24 hours to recuperate. We came in and probably were a little flat coming in. When we finally found our stride we were able to play some defense in that second half and go away winning.”

Jeff Teague added 14 points and Zaza Pachulia nearly had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists.

The Wizards (10-33) led by at the half 54-50 and by as many as six points early in the third quarter. However, the Hawks closed the third on an 18-6 run. Smith scored the first eight points of the third to close the Hawks within two points, 60-58. The Hawks got 3-pointers from Johnson, Kirk Hinrich and Jannero Pargo on the decisive run. They led 71-64 at the end of the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Smith early in the fourth quarter pushed the Hawks lead to 10 points. With 6:17 remaining in the final period they lead was14 points and the rout was on.

“That’s been happening the last three or four games,” Pargo said of the team’s defensive effort. “We have to realize we are not playing the type of defense we are capable of playing.”

The Hawks, who snapped a two-game losing streak, extended their home win streak to eight games over the Wizards, who last won in Philips Arena on Jan. 11, 2008. The Hawks also kept their position of sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race. A loss to the Wizards, combined with Celtics win over the Kings late Friday, would have dropped the Hawks to seventh, a half-game behind Boston.

The Wizards led at halftime thanks to a 17-4 run midway through the second quarter. The Hawks led by seven points before Shelvin Mack and Roger Mason hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite the run. The Wizards capitalized with 15 points off turnovers in the first half.

The Wizards were led by Trevor Booker with 18 points. The Hawks limited Wall, who was a major concern, to 14 points.

The Wizards played short-handed without Nene and Brian Cook, who have yet to join the team after Thursday’s three-team NBA trade deadline deal.

The Hawks, who also defeated the Wizards by 18 points in December, will play in Washington in eight days to conclude the season series.

173 comments Add your comment

High-sider

March 16th, 2012
11:09 pm

High-sider

March 16th, 2012
11:09 pm

High-sider

March 16th, 2012
11:10 pm

High-sider

March 16th, 2012
11:10 pm

Supaficial

March 16th, 2012
11:10 pm

FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Supaficial

March 16th, 2012
11:11 pm

2nd not so bad

tyger

March 16th, 2012
11:23 pm

Thank You Washington Generals…

every team needs a lackey in their division

Runner-

March 16th, 2012
11:24 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

March 16th, 2012
11:26 pm

“The Hawks didn’t fall victim of a classic trap game – but they came close for awhile.”

Where you at Admiral Ackbar?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 16th, 2012
11:27 pm

The crowd wasn’t nearly as bad as some of you made it out to be on the last blog (before the blog went to sh-t). I got there at halftime (wasn’t originally planning on going) and the lower bowl was mostly full. Wasn’t anywhere near a sellout, but wasn’t nearly as bad as the game against the Raptors for example.

JaeEvolution

March 16th, 2012
11:29 pm

Najeh were you wearing a Pistol Pete jersey by chance?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 16th, 2012
11:45 pm

Nah, wasn’t wearing a jersey.

falCans

March 16th, 2012
11:52 pm

TRADE AL FOR BROOK LOPEZ

AL IS COOL AND ALL BUT HE LIMITS SPACING AND PUSHES SMOOVE TOWARD THE ARC

Big Lou

March 16th, 2012
11:57 pm

Sweet. Glad the Hawks got a victory. Now the next game is Sunday. Zombies and basketball is my kinda night!

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 17th, 2012
12:13 am

Najeh Davenpoop

March 17th, 2012
1:01 am

Damn bigdave, down to 10-1 over northcyde? Quit slacking man, I need that 11-0 to boost my playoff hopes.

BIG DOG

March 17th, 2012
1:14 am

When AL comeback this team will be tough to beat.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

BIG DOG

March 17th, 2012
1:17 am

Big line up for the Hawks will win against any team in the NBA, Hawks are a better team with Josh playing SF and Horford at PF with Zaza now coming into his on at center.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

BIG DOG

March 17th, 2012
1:23 am

Heat, Mario, Wade, Lebron, Bosh, Anthony

VS

Hawks, Teague, Joe, Josh, Horford, Zaza

Heat better watch out when Horford comeback specially the way Josh have finally came into his own.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

vava74

March 17th, 2012
4:19 am

Skee

March 17th, 2012
7:14 am

Good win for the Hawks! Hope they keep the momentum and finish out the seasom on a high note.

Skee

March 17th, 2012
7:15 am

What is the outlook on Horford coming back???

Jcard120

March 17th, 2012
8:22 am

I agree with Bigdog as far as going with the big lineup of Teague, Johnson, Smith, Horford, Zaza. Much like how we got to see Teague mature in the playoffs with Hinrich’s Injury, we have seen Zaza become more and more a legit starting center with Al out. In addition, Pargo has been playing great basketball and Ivan Johnson always provides needed energy and effort for the second unit. Go HAWKS!

Admirable Snackbar

March 17th, 2012
8:28 am

told you so!

Dawg

March 17th, 2012
8:30 am

I hope LD looks and sees what works. Josh needs to be closer to the basket and there should less ISO for the Hawks to improve. There needs to be some tough decisions by the hawks this offseason.

Maybe the AJC can give us a status update on Al. Does Al look doubtful for this year?

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 17th, 2012
8:52 am

Silver Lining!

Big line up for the Hawks will win against any team in the NBA, Hawks are a better team with Josh playing SF and Horford at PF with Zaza now coming into his on at center.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE
___________

Copyright This. In a way this is probably what Sund was talking about: getting healthy. Now we need a backup center for zaza. Ivan can play behind Horford for rebounds, physicality and scoring inside.

This team might be jelling before our very eyes.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 17th, 2012
9:09 am

Did you guys see Horford clapping when Ivan dunked that ball. Hey, it’s all PT when you’re clapping your hands pain free.

In my first extremity class, doc went around the room and asked about 300 of us: What is the function of the shoulder?

Everyone had all these complex answers and quite simply doc said: The only job the shoulder has, is to put your hand in space, so that you can do stuff.

So, if Horford is clapping for a team mate … That means the shoulder is doing it’s job. Hey guys, its a start. LOL

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 17th, 2012
9:13 am

Love our JT Kirk Joe lineup. So quick, good defensively (Wall was just on fire. Kirk contested him damn well), and good passers. I’d use it until Al returns, whenever that may be

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 17th, 2012
9:16 am

But Woodson insisted before the game that he wasn’t planning to make many changes and that Lin would remain the starter with a big role. And he said the idea that his offense relies mostly on isolation sets is “so untrue,” adding that his team in Atlanta had six double-figure scorers and was second in the league in offensive efficiency.
*******

all that means is he had 6 guys who were good one on one scorers

Najeh Davenpoop

March 17th, 2012
9:24 am

“I don’t give a sh-t about offense.”
–Mike Woodson (actual quote)

Dawg

March 17th, 2012
9:29 am

Can you imagine what the NY press will do to Woody when they lose? Can you imagine the difficult questions that he will get when he has those worn out answers to why the team lost? The reporters in NY will ask much more difficult questions than the ATL press ever did.

Rufus1

March 17th, 2012
9:45 am

JJ is BALLING!!!!!!

If Joe is playing like this when the playoffs come and everyone is healthy…..Even if Al is at 80%….I get excited just thinking about it…… We have two stars balling and now we need the supporting cast to step-up….I still think we can make it to the ECF if we are mostly healthy.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 17th, 2012
10:17 am

I heard that Woody was on the 2 Live Stews the other day and said something to the effect of “and by the way I think I know something about offense too.”

Joe Johnson

March 17th, 2012
10:30 am

Joe’s success seems to be directly related to the fact that the offense is being run equally, if not more, through Jeff & Josh. Both guys are averaging 5 or more assists per game since Joe returned in Detroit. Joe’s getting more catch & shoot opportunities, and he’s converting at a high %. Hopefully, we can keep this up.

Teague needs to find his 3-pt shot again. 18% in March while attempting 2.4 per game…..and Joe needs to help on the boards if he’s going to play more 3. So far, its been Teague who has been helping out on the glass in the small lineup.

I agree though that you stick with this lineup until the playoffs. We need to pizz Marvin off by sitting him on the bench where he belongs.

Rony

March 17th, 2012
10:32 am

Falcants I agree, Al brings not very much to the team. He really doesnt fit. And wed be better off trading him, Big Dog who publishes the same garbage “over and over and over again” is sic and not very bright.

Anybody who wants to destroy the chemistry of this team would move Josh to the 3 and put Al at the 4. That weakens the team not strengthen it. Why would I want to take one of the top 3 power forwards out of his position and in his place put a maybe a 25th defender and a 26 offensive body? The logic is flawed to say the least. There is nothing about Al horford that should say any thing but trade bait.

Finally Zaza is our center now until we (fi) we upgrade the position and if any thing Ivan and Dampier backs up Z. Zaza is about equal to Al but has the edge in that he has heart and will fight.

What does Al bring the team? 12pts 8rbs.

Johnson Joe

March 17th, 2012
10:37 am

Joes success is due to the fact that with Josh playing powerforward it opens up and in and out game which allows the floor to be spread. This offense is run off Josh, and everything works off him. Josh almost nightly is amongst the assists leader as well as scoring and rebounding. Teague gets left overs and JJ is able to step back and range the 3ball. This is all because of the attention Josh commands playing powerforward. JJ is now playing small forward with Hinrich and Teague in the back court.

Holla

March 17th, 2012
10:38 am

GREAT Job Woodson, like Josh, let your haters be your motivators….

Rufus1

March 17th, 2012
11:02 am

JJ looks more the player he was with the Suns….Playing off the ball and making plays. I am concerned about the rebounding because JJ doesn’t rebound but Kirk does…..I hope it balances out.

Al Haters..

When Al was on this team this year we beat Miami on the road and the Bulls by 30pts. We also held the Bulls to 76pts on the road and were 10 games over .500. If he was healthy we would have at least 5-7 more wins and be fight for the 3rd seed at least……

You guys need to get a GRIP on your hate and become real fans of this team.

quick note.

March 17th, 2012
11:05 am

When Stackhouse was on the team We beat Miami on the road and the Bulls by 30,

You guys need to get a grip and stop hating Stackhouse.

Slimjr

March 17th, 2012
11:09 am

Hire Woody! Another blowout win! He’ll go 10-0 then get the permanent hire as head coach!

Go Knicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slimjr

March 17th, 2012
11:14 am

LaMarcus Aldridge would take the Hawks to an ECF.. The injured guy( dream on)…zzzzzzzzzzzzz

gvj1

March 17th, 2012
11:30 am

Josh Smith at SF please that is setting you up for total failure..the best SF in this team are Marvin and Tracy..why because they are actual SF…Hinrich is a PG/SG…JJ PG/SG/SF…etc the small lineup works against some teams and is ineffecive @ others…LD has to set up a rotation he is comfortable with and start using McGrady a bit more since he can be a very good contributor. Josh is a great player but he limits you if he plays SF….

Rufus1

March 17th, 2012
11:48 am

You mean the same Aldridge that can’t hold his team together or the one on the team below .500…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

timeout

March 17th, 2012
11:50 am

“If he was healthy we would have at least 5-7 more wins and be fight for the 3rd seed at least……”

If he was healthy wed have less wins because we would have loss more close games because Al wont defend the rim so more of the opposition players would have scored under basket. Wed have less wins because to accommodate Al insistence we would only get 12 pts and 8rbs 1 blk out of the power forward position so the +/- at the 4 would have hurt us badly. This team is at its best with Josh at power forward and Zaza at center.

We havent missed a beat with out Al which should tell you something if you get past your love for Horford and start being a true hawk fan.

Rufus1

March 17th, 2012
12:04 pm

“We havent missed a beat with out Al which should tell you something if you get past your love for Horford and start being a true hawk fan.”

Except we are only 2 games over .500 and when he was starting we were 10 games…. sounds like not missing a beat to me.

How is that leuer fellow doing….I saw he got 3min last night.

Aldridge can’t get his team out of the 1st round….sounds like a winner to me.

Rufus1

March 17th, 2012
12:06 pm

Correction:

2 games over .500 without him and 10 games over with him.

Samuel

March 17th, 2012
12:29 pm

TMACfan

March 17th, 2012
12:37 pm

Good Team effort, I missed the game though :(

Rony

March 17th, 2012
12:46 pm

A lie just dont care how it gets told or miss leads……

“Correction:

2 games over .500 without him and 10 games over with him.”

The NBA season opened on the 25th of December, Al ruptured a Major muscle on the 13th of Jan 2012. That put the magnitude of Al’s impact at less than 3 weeks on the season where hes averaged 12.4 pts and 7blks and more turnovers than blocks.

So lets get real. His production has been minimum and bland. He has had zero effect and was easily replaced and Upped by Zaza and Ivan, Johnson.

Get past your love for Horford and start being a true hawk fan….

Rony

March 17th, 2012
12:49 pm

Al played 11 games this year. NO impact. Period.