Archive for March, 2012

Atlanta Hawks at Clippers: Game thread

Los Angeles–Marvin Williams is out after suffering a hip injury at Denver last night: “My hip flexor was tight in the first half. On the play I went up to dunk and Nene blocked it, it got real tight. It’s just real sore now.”

  • Willie Green (hamstring), who won’t play in a game this trip, said he’s not sure when he will return: “It’s getting better. Slowly.”
  • Jason Collins (elbow) said he was cleared for contact work today.
  • Larry Drew is starting Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard again. Interestingly, it looks like Kirk, not Jeff Teague, gets the defensive assignment on Chris Paul.
  • Drew on coming back after the bad loss last night: “You have to. This is what the NBA is all about. You go through games where you are at the other end of the stick. Through the course of the schedule, you are going to have games like that. The most important thing is you don’t dwell on them. An emotional game like that, the most important thing is to move on.”
  • Drew on earning his first technical …

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Atlanta Hawks: Nuggets 118, Hawks 117 (OT)

Denver–There were series of gaffes, miscalculations and questionable strategy by the Hawks and an incredible 3-pointer from Danilo Gallinari, and yet the Hawks still had a chance to win with a play that was executed perfectly . . . right up until the point where Zaza Pachulia’s layup attempt bounced harmlessly off the rim.

  • “Just missed it,” Zaza said. “It was a great opportunity for me.”
  • He can get in line with Joe Johnson’s turnovers and forced iso Js, Jannero Pargo’s fumble, Kirk Hinrich’s missed free throws and shot-clock violation, Vladimir Radmanovic’s 0-for-4 on 3s. . . . and don’t forget those 11 dunks and layups the Hawks allowed in the first half.
  • Larry Drew said the final play was designed to free Zaza near the basket: “The execution was perfect. We executed. That was probably the best play we executed all night. ‘Z’ just missed a point-blank layup. But I told the guys it didn’t come down to that. That game was lost in the first half when we didn’t make a stand …

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Atlanta Hawks at Nuggets: Game thread and Rick Sund on trades

DENVER–Willie Green (back) and Ivan Johnson (NWT) are out for Hawks. Ivan will re-join the team when it returns to Atlanta. Rudy Fernandez (back) and Ty Lawson (ankle) are in for the Nuggets.

  • Larry Drew is using the same lineup as at Sacto, with Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard, Joe Johnson at small forward and Marvin Williams coming off the bench.
  • Drew: “They are a very uptempo team. We definitely we have to have a lineup that will give us some speed to try to keep up with them in transition. With Kirk as the two it gives us a little bit more flexibility from a quickness standpoint. From a matchup standpoint, I like him against [Arron] Afflalo and Joe against [Danilo] Gallinari. Joe may give up an inch or two but we may be able to take advantage of that matchup.”
  • Rick Sund on Hawks’ needs as trade deadline approaches: “What this team needs is for everybody to be healthy. What we need is no more injuries. That’s what we need.”
  • Sund on the Hawks as currently constructed: …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. top of the East

If the Hawks want to finally make it to the Eastern Conference finals, the current playoffs bracket may not be the one they want. Playing Orlando in the first round looks like it could be a favorable matchup but drawing Miami in the second round is not.

That seems obvious on its face–no team wants to see Miami that early–but a look at how the top six teams have fared in games against each other shows that the Hawks have been much better against the Bulls. It also suggests that the Hawks would be better off staying at No. 6 if it means facing Orlando rather than moving up to No. 5 if the result is a first-round series against the Sixers. Of course the dilemma there is, right now, they need the five seed to avoid Miami in the second round, so the best outcome probably would be for Miami to overtake Chicago for the top spot.

Interestingly, the Magic have given the Heat the most trouble because they’ve scored much more efficiently against them than the rest of the top teams in the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 106, Kings 99

Sacramento–The Hawks engaged the Kings in a smallball, free-wheeling game, kept them off the offensive glass and won. All of that overshadows the lax closeouts and careless turnovers that allowed the Kings to hang around longer than they should have.

  • Larry Drew went with Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard, Joe Johnson at small forward and Marvin Williams on the bench. I’ve long favored that alignment and Drew has said he’s considered using it regularly but never has committed to it and still isn’t.
  • “Possibly,” Drew said. “I’m big on matchups. Coming into this game, one of my fears was they started three guards. I didn’t want to put our club at a disadvantage having Marvin chasing guards. It has some value for us in playing Kirk in that starting spot. We bring in a guy who gives us a toughness. We are a little bit more defensive-minded with him in there. When Marvin comes off the bench, he comes in more as being a first, second or third option.”
  • Marvin was in attack mode while …

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Atlanta Hawks at Kings: Game thread

SacramentoIvan Johnson is still back in Texas, where he’s expecting his first child to be born soon. Larry Drew said he’s not sure if Johnson will rejoin the team before Tuesday’s game at Denver.

  • Willie Green is out. His back issues have migrated. “It’s like a combination of ligaments that attach are inflamed and sore,” he said, pointing to his hamstring. “It’s like a hamstring, groin and something else. It all stems from my back. It’s a matter of it calming down and the soreness getting out. Once that happens, I’m good to go. I’m just trying to wait patiently and not cause any more damage.”
  • Wheeler High’s J.J. Hickson is out for the Kings.
  • Kirk Hinrich knows his name is being floated in trade rumors. He wants to stay: “I like our team. I feel like we can be a dangerous team come playoff time. I want to be a part of that.”
  • Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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    Atlanta Hawks: Pistons 86, Hawks 85

    Auburn Hills–So Joe Johnson has an efficient scoring night in his return, driving for scores and earning free throws, but at winning time the Hawks lose the game when Iso-Joe goes awry with a fadeaway 20-footer over Rodney Stuckey.

    • I can’t imagine my blog people will have anything to say about that development.
    • “We wanted to create the switch, and we did that,” Larry Drew said. “We wanted Joe to take it to the hole and try to force a foul. He made the pass back out to [Jeff] Teague. But what we wanted, we got. We got the switch, we just didn’t complete the play.”
    • “We didn’t know how they were going to play it,” Joe said. “We wanted to run a high pick-and-roll and just see what we got out of it. Obviously it didn’t go as we thought. [The shot] looked good. I had to shoot it a little higher than normal. I didn’t think I really had enough time to put it on the deck and try to get a little closer.”
    • Truth be told, the Hawks were fortunate to even be in position to win. You …

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    Atlanta Hawks at Pistons: Game thread

    Auburn Hills, Mich.Joe Johnson returns to the starting lineup after missing six of the last seven games with left knee tendinitis. Joe had been working out daily. He got the go-ahead to play after a workout during today’s shootaround. “It feels great,” he said. “I don’t have any pain it so that’s the main thing. As the game goes on, that’s the only concern. We’ve got to test it.”

    • As for the strength in the knee, Joe said: “Not to where I want it to be but from the last time I tried to play, 10 times better than that.”
    • Willie Green will miss his fifth consecutive game. In addition to a sore back, Green said he tweaked a hamstring while working out today.
    • Ivan Johnson is to leave the team after the game because of a death in the family. He’s expected to return for the game at Sacramento Sunday.
    • After an intense game against the Heat, the Hawks face a Pistons team that’s still last in the Central Division behind Cleveland in spite of showing signs of life since the start …

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    Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith still wants to be traded

    Miami–Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.

    And the reasons for Smith’s dissatisfaction with the team now have to make the Hawks wonder if they will be able to sign him to a contract extension next season.

    By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court, according to one of the people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.

    The person said one of Smith’s complaints is that he believes the Hawks didn’t do enough to promote him for selection to the All-Star team, which he thinks contributed to lesser players being voted to the team by Eastern Conference …

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    Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hobbled Hawks come up short at Heat

    I talked Hawks with CineSport’s Brian Clark after their 89-86 defeat at Miami Wednesday night.

    Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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