Archive for March, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: How much have injuries really hurt them?

Jerry Stackhouse figures he’s probably been on a team that’s had as many injuries, though he can’t recall exactly. “Over 17 years I’m sure it happened somewhere along the line,” he said, chuckling.

But Stackhouse says the bad run of injuries isn’t really a topic of conversation among Hawks players: “We say there’s more room over there on the bench. We aren’t all on top of each other. But other than that, we don’t really talk about it. This is the NBA.”

That’s what you expect players to say, especially with a team that’s as veteran as the Hawks. Injuries are a part of the game, no one feels sorry for a team that’s riddled with them and so the Hawks have to keep on grinding. They are professional athletes, supremely confident, and so they believe they can win anyway.

The circumstances are different for coach Larry Drew and general manager Rick Sund. Ask them to evaluate the team so far and they are sure to talk about the injuries. It makes sense because neither Sund nor Drew …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 139, Jazz 133 (4 OT)

  • Because my blog people (bless your hearts) like to accentuate the negative, and I’m willing to humor you because I’m cranky, I’ll start with what I’m sure are two of your burning questions after this stirring W.
  • Larry Drew on riding his starters in the four overtime periods: “I know they were tired. I know they were out of gas, because I was out of gas. But the guys said they wanted to stay in and stick it out. They wanted to play it out, and I rode them.”
  • For all you persistent and vocal Tracy McGrady fans who want an update on his status every five minutes . . . I’m not holding out on you. Drew on T-Mac’s DNP-CD: “I’m keeping an eye on Tracy, he’s been having some problems with his knee. I hope to spot him some minutes in the next few games.”
  • But Drew added that McGrady not playing tonight was “more of a matchup thing” because of Utah’s speed on the wings. So T-Mac has a knee problem, he may play a few minutes in the upcoming games, but maybe not if the matchup isn’t right. …

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Jazz at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • All Hawks except Jannero Pargo and Al Horford are available. Raja Bell (adductor) is a game-time decision for the Jazz.
  • In case you didn’t notice, Joe Johnson has been good since he sat out those six games with knee tendinitis. He says he first started to think something was wrong at the beginning of February: “Some games it was OK, some games not. I could feel myself laboring.”
  • You can see that this timeline matches up with his production so, generally, he’s been good when he’s been feeling good. “Getting your legs back under you, there is not a better feeling,” Joe said.
  • Joe on lately barking more often at officials: “It’s tough at times. I try to stay away off them because we’ve got so many other guys on the team who are talking to them. But there comes a point in time where I have to say something.”
  • Larry Drew:“That’s not typical Joe. He’s usually quiet, doesn’t say much to officials. He’s getting a little more fire. I love seeing that. If there is one guy you want to …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Wizards 92

Washington–The Wizards may be a good team one day. Right now the Hawks have better, smarter, and more experienced players. In the fourth quarter they maintained their poise, controlled the glass and made key shots while waiting for the Wizards to show their age.

  • I’ll say it again: It was a professional effort by a fatigued team that once again began the game like it was cool trying to trade baskets but ended it like it a veteran, self-assured outfit.
  • “I know some guys were tired, some guys were banged up,” Larry Drew said. “We were playing catch up the whole game. We got over the hump in the fourth quarter and that’s a huge, huge win for us. We are quietly starting to turn into one of those teams. We have stretches where we don’t play well, we have stretches that teams have runs on us, but we don’t panic. That’s a sign of a veteran team.”
  • I’m not sure about huge, but the victory does help the Hawks stay on pace for homecourt advantage in the playoffs. They’ll earn it if …

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Atlanta Hawks at Wizards: Game thread

  • Zaza Pachulia (Achilles) is back in the lineup and will start. Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is available to play. Tracy McGrady is not with the team because he’s resting on the back-to-back.
  • Rashard Lewis (knee) and Andray Blatche (conditioning) are out for the Wizards.
  • The Wizards now have Nene after a three-team trade that cost them JaVale MCGee, Ronny Turiaf and Nick Young.
  • Larry Drew on the difference with Nene: “Obviously he’s a guy I’m sure they will be throwing it inside a little bit more with him. We are fully aware of what he’s capable of as a big man in the post. He’s a guy who has strength, he has quickness down there. We are going to have to do a good job defending the low post. Whenever we’ve played this Washington team our primary concern has been the transition game and making sure we don’t give up a lot of easy fast-break points. But with Nene he gives them a solid big man they can post-up. We can’t allow easy catches. It’s important we try to get him off his …

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Hawks 93, Nets 84

  • The Hawks have to take this W, a professional effort against a scrappy opponent, and move on to Washington. They have a small margin for error that was razor thin without Zaza Pachulia, a reliable rebounder and source of easy points (from free throws if not always layups) on a team short of both and needing both tonight.
  • The Hawks never could quite shake the Nets because of Deron Williams, New Jersey’s offensive rebounds and their own bad possessions. Finally, Josh Smith went to work in the post and got to the line, the Hawks outscored New Jersey 31-15 in the period and they secured their fourth W in five.
  • “Sometimes you have a game like this where teams trade baskets and [it's] team makes a stand defensively and creates some separation,” Larry Drew said.
  • The Hawks did it in the fourth quarter, when they played solid team defense and really made the Nets work for their shots. New Jersey is not a good offensive team but it’s not like that always matters with the Hawks. That …

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Nets at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • Zaza Pachulia (Achilles) and Vladimir Radmanovic (back) are out. Marvin Williams and Ivan Johnson return.
  • Larry Drew is starting Jason Collins in place of Zaza. The Nets have Shelden Williams starting at center with Brook Lopez (ankle) out.
  • Drew on starting Twin: “He’s been a starter before and he gives us a defensive presence. I like getting him back into the starting lineup. I hate doing it under these conditions but at least he gets back into a rhythm against the starters. Since he’s just getting back I think it will be getting him back with that starting group. I’m excited to see how he responds to it.”
  • Zaza says he was worried about his Achilles because it was hurting yesterday but it felt better when he woke up today. He said he plans to make the trip for tomorrow’s game at the Wizards.
  • Drew said Vlad Rad shot around at yesterday’s light practice: “He still won’t be available to play. It sounds like the back is getting better. He still will be day-to-day.”
  • Ivan’s …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 103, Cavs 102

  • The Hawks played hard after a lackluster start (especially Josh Smith) and Joe Johnson made some big shots. Jerry Stackhouse (!) balled like it’s 2001. The Hawks won, which can never be taken for granted in this league.
  • But, honestly, that’s about all the praise I can muster for them after this one.
  • The Hawks just made fewer blunders than the Cavs at winning time and escaped with a hard-fought-but-fortunate W. “I thought we were dead in the water down six with two minutes to go,” Larry Drew said. “I guess the basketball gods were with us. We made plays to finish.”
  • I guess that’s one way to think about it, but one of the basketball gods had a strong resemblance to Byron Scott. He decided not to foul before Joe tied it with a clean look from 25 feet in regulation. “We figured we would just play solid defense instead of taking the foul,” Scott said.
  • Neither did the Cavs pressure, blitz, deny, trap or do anything to disrupt Joe on that shot, the 3 he made just before that or …

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Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

  • UPDATE: Larry Drew says Al Horford, out since Jan. 17 surgery to repair a torn left pectoral, got some shots up yesterday. “That’s very encouraging to hear,” Drew said. “I don’t know how far he was able to raise his arm.”
  • But Drew said he’s still assuming Horford won’t return this season: “From Day 1 when he had the surgery I was told he would be out for the regular season and there’s a remote possibility we can get him back for the playoffs. My mindset has been to count him out for the year. I don’t want to get my hopes up and the team’s hopes up that he can come back and then he doesn’t and then a mentally there’s a letdown.”
  • Vladimir Radmanoivic (back) is out.
  • Marvin Williams (hip) said he would test his injury before the game but Larry Drew ruled him out and said he’s not sure when Williams will return.
  • Ivan Johnson returned to San Antonio to deal with his girlfriend’s pregnancy. He’s not expected to return by game time.
  • Willie Green (hamstring) is expected to play …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks fall to Celtics

I discussed the Hawks’ 79-76 loss to the Celtics with The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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