Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 95, Hawks 90

Vivlamore reporting from Philadelphia. Here is my updated game story with quotes.

PHILADELPHIA — If the Hawks meet the 76ers in the playoffs they will have a body of work to study — and it’s not good.

Despite a game- and season-high 34-point effort from Josh Smith, the Hawks lost all three regular-season games to the Sixers. The latest was a 95-90 Sixers victory Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Hawks (31-23) lost for the third time in four games as they concluded a stretch of seven games in nine days. They have three days without a game before hosting the Bobcats at Philips Arena Wednesday.

Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala made back-to-back 3-pointers as the Sixers built six-point lead, at 83-77, with 5:05 remaining. Led by Elton Brand’s season-high 25 points, the Sixers (29-23) won an important game in the Eastern Conference playoff race a night after losing to the lowly Wizards.

“Coming down the stretch we didn’t make the plays,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We missed a couple of defensive assignments and left 3-point shooters open. [Also, there were] the two and-ones by Brand where we gambled in the post and he got the angle on us and got to the basket. It comes down to making plays when you are playing that hard and are right there at the end. You have to make the plays.”

Brand’s basket with 1:30 remaining gave the Sixers a 90-86 lead that all but iced the game. Iguodala added 18 points.

Smith added nine rebounds for the Hawks. Joe Johnson finished with 15 points.

“They beat us to a couple loose balls in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “It seemed like every time we were a step slow, they capitalized on all of our mistakes.”

The Sixers won the previous two meetings against the Hawks by 11 and 14 points.

Philadelphia is the top defensive team in the NBA, entering the game as the league leader in scoring defense (87.7 points per game) and field-goal defense (42 percent). It was a concern for Drew and the main lesson for the Hawks going forward.

“Right now, they seem to have our number,” Drew said. “We played well in stretches but we haven’t been able to put together consistency in any one game. … We seem to implode against this team. When a team is a good defensive team you have to be prepared to grind it out. All three ball games we were in similar situations where we self destructed at the wrong time.”

Smith scored 13 of the Hawks’ 25 third-quarter points as they erased a narrow halftime deficit and went into the final quarter leading 66-62. Smith picked up four personal fouls during the quarter and spent the final two minutes of the third and start of the fourth on the bench. He returned with 7:30 remaining. Smith fouled out with five seconds remaining after making a 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within 94-90.

“I sat and I think they took advantage of it early in the fourth quarter,” Smith said.

The Sixers tied the score at 70-70 with 8:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, setting up the decisive final minutes.

The Sixers took a two-point lead, 43-41, at halftime after erasing a nine-point Hawks lead in the second quarter. Iguodala scored nine points in the second quarter to spark the comeback. Brand and Iguodala each scored 12 points in the first half.

The Sixers were 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) in the second quarter, after being held to 8-of-20 (40 percent) in the first.

Smith led the Hawks with 13 first-half points, nine in the first quarter. The Hawks ended the opening period on a 10-0 run to turn a four-point deficit into a 23-17 lead. Seven of Smith’s nine points came with Sixers center Spencer Hawes trying to guard the forward.

“I didn’t want to settle,” Smith said. “I knew he had me length-wise so I wanted to be quick on it. I was able to make some quick moves to the basket and get my rhythm going. But it would have been great if we could have gotten this win.”

The Hawks are sixth in the Eastern Conference and trailed the Pacers, who played at the Spurs Saturday, by a half-game entering the day. The Sixers are battling the Celtics for first place in the Atlantic Division and the fourth seed in the conference. A No. 4 vs. No. 5 playoff matchup between the Sixers and Hawks is a possibility with a month remaining in the season. If it gets to that, the Hawks have a lesson plan to study.

“It could be,” guard Willie Green said of the potential matchup. “They’ve got our number right now. This team, I’m sure, believes they can beat us and they’ve shown it but we’ve got to learn that it’s going to be a physical game. … We lost focus for a little bit down the stretch and they took advantage of it.”

218 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2012
6:12 pm

Question for the blog: would you trade Al Horford for Danny Granger straight up?

DawgNole

April 1st, 2012
6:24 pm

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)
April 1st, 2012
6:00 pm

I think we can beat Philly in a series if we actually run plays. Joe would definitely get shut down, as we all know, so someone else would have to really play out of his mind (25 ppg from Smoove)
_____________________

Smoove played out of his mind (34 pts) against Philly last night. How’d we do?

Sautee

April 1st, 2012
6:31 pm

Najeh,

While it would be a good trade, I’d hate to trade a decent big man and not get another big. Maybe as a package? Horford and Marvin for Granger and West?

High-sider

April 1st, 2012
6:38 pm

I believe Marvin Williams and Jason Collins will be [the] Hawks’ co-MVP’s for the remainder of the [regular] season and the playoffs – April Fool!

doc

April 1st, 2012
7:24 pm

h-s been wondering how long he will last. seems there is a significant amount of underacheievement. so sad for them …. not!

also too bad that the magic are having to do without a center. let howard sit.

doc

April 1st, 2012
7:28 pm

najeh, i think the question could be would you trade granger for josh? the problem with this team has always been imbalance, how the devil could granger help our balance? how about al and marvin for hibbert and granger? yeah right, let us make a deal right? fantasy land.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
7:28 pm

“_____________________

Smoove played out of his mind (34 pts) against Philly last night. How’d we do?”

I guess we’d need a Pargo or Willie to step up, because Marvin sure as hell ain’t.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
7:29 pm

“Question for the blog: would you trade Al Horford for Danny Granger straight up?”

I think I’ve overrated Granger quite a bit over the years. Probably not. It’d be dumb to trade Horford for anything besides a big IMHO unless Deron WIlliams was available like last year (smh)

prison mike

April 1st, 2012
7:32 pm

I’ll say no to Granger. I wouldn’t mind Al for Cousins tho.

James

April 1st, 2012
7:38 pm

“Question for the blog: would you trade Al Horford for Danny Granger straight up?”

Definitely not. Maybe if Granger was more consistent and ways playing at the all-star level that was playing at the time when he made his lone all-star appearance, but definitely not now. We have enough scoring wing players. Another one is not a necessity, unless we were to unload Marvin or Joe somehow. Horford is much more valuable. He does the dirty work, and can have a positive impact on the game without even taking a shot. Also, Horford still has upside and has shown improvement in every season of his career thus far (I’m excluding this season since he only really played 10 games and didn’t appear to be in shape at the start of the season). Granger has been up and down ever since that all-star year, so I’m not sure what to expect with him.

I like Granger, but as is, I don’t think he’s that great of a fit for our team, and I think Horford is a better player, even if we don’t know exactly what we’ll get from him after the injury.

Grandad

April 1st, 2012
7:41 pm

Najeh

No … need more Bigs, not less.

drmaryb.[*_*].

April 1st, 2012
8:06 pm

No Can Do!

Najeh baby, like the duo “Hall & Oats” said in their hit song from the late ’70’s:

“I can’t go for that … No Oo O … No can do.”
_______

At first, I though you were talking about the big man, recent AS out in Portland … (his name escapes) but, he was diagnosed with: White Parkinson’s, I think.

Lamarcus Aldrige? I might do a Horford for him, illness and all.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2012
8:14 pm

“the problem with this team has always been imbalance, how the devil could granger help our balance?”

Well, he would help the Hawks’ balance because they would have five starters who are each playing their best position (unless you think Joe’s best position is SF, which may or may not be true).

Teague-Joe-Granger-Josh-Zaza
Bench Marvin, Ivan, whoever the Hawks pick in the first round, a couple of other role players (at least one of whom can score off the bench)

3 huge advantages to adding Granger to this lineup: he stretches the floor, he gets to the free throw line, and he would make opponents have to pick their poison as to who to guard with their best wing defender. Deng and Iguodala would no longer be able to lock on to Joe like they do now.

I think it’s a fair question to ask whether or not Granger is a better player than Al, but this seems like the kind of trade that might benefit both teams. That lineup would give the Hawks three players at their optimal positions who are good enough scorers to command double teams. I seriously doubt that the Hawks would be putting up point totals in the 70s against Chicago, Boston, and Philly with three offensive go-to guys like that in the lineup.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2012
8:16 pm

But I hear y’all on the downside of trading a big man for a non-big man. Hard to replace big man depth, as we see every time Collins enters a game.

drmaryb.[*_*].

April 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

Kidney Punch!

Looks like the Mavs ain’t soft no moe! Allegedly, and per SVG, Brendan Haywood went to the Sean Payton School of Hard Knocks!

doc

April 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

ryan anderson rolls ankle. hmmm

drmaryb.[*_*].

April 1st, 2012
8:27 pm

Najeh, but I wouldn’t be mad if we had Granger though, for the obvious reasons you just gave. Put zaza at the 5 full time and maybe add someone like Kaman to come off the bench. I might have to say, yeah to Granger for Horford.

HawkEye

April 1st, 2012
8:34 pm

Magic lost to the Nuggets. Hawks remain 1.5 games behind Orlando. Also, Houston is up 8 on the Pacers in the 3rd quarter.

doc

April 1st, 2012
8:46 pm

rondo is a stud

doc

April 1st, 2012
8:50 pm

you get too small najeh, i think jj is and should be gearing to be a three like pp than a dwade at 2.

doc

April 1st, 2012
8:59 pm

mcghee-19 in a win. george got his hands ful.

soullrenaissance

April 1st, 2012
9:04 pm

Ole Hawks Fan

Fire LD, SUND and ASKG. Tyler Perry please buy this team!

I feel or sentiments and passion but Tyler Perry owning The Hawks would be more than awkward – but if Madea could make us a winner…

Najeh _ I would say yes to that trade. Horford may have become expendable with the rise of Zaza and All-star Smith.

doc

April 1st, 2012
9:07 pm

trade al for the wooden award winner.

drmaryb.[*_*].

April 1st, 2012
9:15 pm

If Tony Wroten comes out, I’d trade Al to get that pick. Sounds like this kid might be a mini-CP3 even.

BIG DOG

April 1st, 2012
9:19 pm

Hawks only chance come playoffs if LD make a linup change, but he just like his home boy woody are so stubborn that this will be his last year as a Hawks coach.

Defensive will be the key for Hawks success come playoffs.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Slimjr

April 1st, 2012
9:21 pm

All NBA for Cousins in a “NEW YORK MINUTE”!

Granger, ah not so much…….

BIG DOG

April 1st, 2012
9:22 pm

Teague, Joe, Josh, Ivan, Zaza

Hinrich, Green, Tmac or Vlad, Marvin, Dampier

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Slimjr

April 1st, 2012
9:25 pm

All NBA for LaMarcus Aldridge yesterday..

Aldridge would put up 23 and 12 playing in the EAST for sure….AllStar in the East all day everyday….

BIG DOG

April 1st, 2012
9:26 pm

Hawks are just to small with Teague, Hinrich, Joe, Josh, Zaza.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Slimjr

April 1st, 2012
9:27 pm

9 and 7 from your 5 or 4 in the playoffs= 2 for 12 in the 2nd rd( .143 winning %)…..zzzzzzz

Slimjr

April 1st, 2012
9:31 pm

I like Anthony Davis #23 with Kentucky. Is he the #1 pick coming out this year? Maybe….

doc

April 1st, 2012
9:45 pm

Rev in Tampa

April 1st, 2012
9:52 pm

Ugh! I thought the Rockets were going to pull out the overtime game against the Pacers.

Rev in Tampa

April 1st, 2012
10:05 pm

Hey doc,

A pastor I knew, now retired, told me he fell asleep for a moment while he was preaching. It must have been a snoozer of a sermon.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
10:23 pm

Looks like I’m going to the Fantasy Playoffs!!

Sorry northcyde and Najeh.

You guys should call me by my full username, Grandmaster JeJe (GM), from now on.

Thanks.

doc

April 1st, 2012
10:25 pm

rev as a surgeon in training i fell asleep more than once standing up during surgery as the second assistant. i had no responsibility to speak of and was going on zero sleep for days. there is a reflex that saves you and it is rude awakening.

at this point knight needs to give it up or get himself checked out for fatigue. too funnt how nonchalant the announcer was in tapping him like it wasnt the first time.

very funny story that a rev put himself to sleep during his own sermon.

doc

April 1st, 2012
10:32 pm

gm jeje, dont get too excited because i know you dont think i have any cred. hate to tell you, i am the first winner of the trophy in the league you are now competing in. it irked the devil out of samuel i came back to bite him at the end in a face to face throw down. he won it the next year.

so, may you join the esteemed group of winners as you will enter a hall of honor. i retired to give you other chaps a chance. heh heh, good luck but let me tell you the last few weeks of the playoffs get silly because there are so few regulars playing. look out for the sheldon williams of the nba world that go for 38 or so and make sure they are on your side.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
10:51 pm

Doc
“gm jeje, dont get too excited because i know you dont think i have any cred. hate to tell you, i am the first winner of the trophy in the league you are now competing in. it irked the devil out of samuel i came back to bite him at the end in a face to face throw down. he won it the next year.”

Thank you sir. I drafted Amar’e and Monta in rds 1 and 2 (I was last pick in 1st rd) which was not smart. Monta has not been that great and Amar’e I am never ever taking again (took him last year). I’m so damn tired of picking at the end of the 1st rd. Just let me get Dwight or LBJ and I will have a better chance of winning a league. My roster right now is pretty anemic, but luckily I have a few roster moves left to make. I let my team suffer these last few weeks because I figured I’d hang on and be a top 6, so I have some moves left to make.

Cheers
~GM JeJe (GM)

doc

April 1st, 2012
11:06 pm

again, good luck gm jeje, it is a fun challenge that takes effort and daily preparation. yup, building a roster is quite a challenge and sometimes folks get too caught up in certain names rather than filling out a balanced flexible roster with the emphasis on felixibilty. by now that has been determined but you need to have some room to move as things move swiftly the last few weeks. honestly, i was up at 6 checking it out and getting my roster set for the day. yeah, i am a little tighter than my punctuation would reveal or suggest.

jeppz23

April 1st, 2012
11:08 pm

Big games coming up for the hawks this weekend..should go 3-0, hopefully Orlando loses some games and then we can take over 3rd in the showdown with them a couple weeks from now

SteveW

April 1st, 2012
11:13 pm

Are the Heat already coasting for the playoffs? That’s 3 double digit defeats in the last 5 games or so for them if I’m not mistaken.

Boston destroyed them.

I may be wrong about Boston. I keep waiting for their old age collapse. But it’s not happening.

But are the Heat just going to turn it on for the playoffs? They’ve still got the big 3 playing alot of minutes like they’re trying to win the games.

LeBron was a -30 today btw in the +/-. Are we sure these guys are as invincible as some on this blog make them to be? Are we just 100% sure we couldn’t beat them in a 7 game series?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 1st, 2012
11:18 pm

” I’m so damn tired of picking at the end of the 1st rd.”

If we do an auction draft next year, you can get whoever you want. Your team won’t be decided based on where you are picking. The draft will be about a half hour longer, but it’s worth it.

jeppz23

April 1st, 2012
11:22 pm

SteveW, the hawks can beat anyone as long as they focus on the task at hand

doc

April 1st, 2012
11:26 pm

i thought portland wouldnt win another game this year after the trades since it seemed they gave up a a lot more than they got; they have surprised me.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
11:32 pm

SteveW,

We have a 0.001% chance of beating Miami in a series.

3 years ago we got owned by Cleveland in 4 games (again, people don’t remember that. They only talk about the Orlando series).

2 years ago we got destroyed by 100+ points and DID NOT MAKE ONE ROSTER ADJUSTMENT IN THE ENTIRE SERIES. Last year, we stole a game vs. Chicago then we were severely outplayed for most of the rest of the series.

We have NOT beaten Miami ONCE in our arena the last 2 years. That is pathetic. LBJ will cakewalk through this arena we call home. Plus, we will be playing against the officials. Not one person in the NBA office in NYC wants us to go anywhere in the Playoffs.

Miami has a ton of rugged guys in their frontcourt, a PF no one on our team can guard (Bosh), and LBJ will destroy anybody we put on him. Joe will be fine on D.Wade.

Again, we need Pargo and Willie playing out of their minds for us to make noise in these Playoffs. Those cats are the truth when they are balling.

Don’t forget Chalmers seems to get in Teague’s head (no homo) a bit and Kirk is iffy these days.

Najeh, how again does the auction draft work?

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
11:33 pm

I like our chances vs. Chicago..

IF:

LD WILL FREAKING MAKE SUBSTITUTIONS AND GET BODIES ON TAJ AND ASIK AND NOT DO IDIOTIC ISH LIKE BENCHING THE ONLY GUYS ON OUR TEAM WHO GIVE AN F ABOUT REBOUNDING

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
11:35 pm

The February National TV Sunday night game vs. Miami, we quit halfway through the 2nd quarter. That ish was embarrassing. We were literally stuck on 18 or 19 points for like 5 or 6 game minutes. We have no shot at all vs. Miami in a series.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 1st, 2012
11:37 pm

doc,

Our fantasy playoffs are starting a bit earlier this year (it seems?), so the weird player rotations won’t be in effect probably until the Championship round. Right now, teams are still jockeying (no homo) for position in the playoffs, so I don’t expect much to deviate from the norm re: playing rotations

SteveW

April 2nd, 2012
12:10 am

The Heat have lost 7 of there 10 on the road.

They have lost their last 3 road games by 15+ points.

By Joel Anthony, Ronnie Turiaf, and Dexter Pittman, I don’t see a rugged big among them.

Udonis, yes. Good ball player.

Something is def. going on in Heat land, to get dismantled by Boston like that, with Boston missing Allen, Wilcox, Green, and O’Neal.

Maybe Doc is just a better Coach than LD or Spoelstra – by quite a bit.

SteveW

April 2nd, 2012
12:13 am

We lose the 7th game of a brutal 7 game in 9 nite stretch at Philly to a good team by 5 points.

Miami loses their 3rd straight road game by 15+ points to Boston.

We are terrible and the Heat are nearly unbeatable to some.

I’m not following the logic.