Archive for March, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Heat 89, Hawks 86

Miami–The Hawks talked pretty big after an L but I’m willing to give them a pass. The Heat sent out at least two and probably three better players than the Hawks, got their fair share of their favored run-outs, saw LeBron James score 31 points on 20 shots and had 25 free-throw attempts to Atlanta’s nine.

  • The Hawks made a game of it with their depth, defense and toughness. “No moral victory,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “But I think that team is aware of us. We came down here early in the season [to win] and now we are competing with some main pieces out. I am pretty sure they are aware if we see them in the playoffs we are a formidable foe.”
  • “I don’t fault our effort, not one bit,” Larry Drew said. “We played last night, we got in at 1:30 this morning and we come in and play against one of the hottest teams in the league. Our effort was there. They did a phenomenal job in fighting every possession. We had an opportunity and we kind of let it get away.”
  • That last part is true, …

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Atlanta Hawks at Heat: Game thread

Miami–Sorry this post is late . . . technical issues.

  • Joe Johnson (knee), Willie Green (back) and Tracy McGrady (back-to-back) are out. Dwyane Wade (ankle) is starting for the Heat.
  • Larry Drew on Joe: “I’m hoping he’s close. He’s been working out every day. He says he’s feeling better but that was the case before the Golden State game. We are just keeping an eye on it.
  • Drew on the pace tonight: “I think the one thing that is important against them is you can’t get into a run-and-shoot contest with them. They will run you right out of the building. You have to be disciplined enough to play at the pace that is comfortable for you and play at a pace that will allow you to dictate the pace of the game.”
  • Drew on Kirk Hinrich’s 35-percent shooting: “I think it is just a matter of him really getting his legs under him with his surgery. When he came back we tried to bring him along slowly and we knew it was probably going to take a while for him to really get his rhythm, his …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 101, Pacers 96

Indianapolis–This was a good W for the Hawks under the circumstances. You might even say it’s a great W if you ignore those shaky offensive possessions late in the game. “I thought, going down the stretch, defensively we did a really good job,” Larry Drew said. “Offensively, the execution wasn’t there.”

  • The scrambled possessions included a shot-clock violation and a couple missed 3s by Josh Smith. The Hawks got it done, tough. They withstood Indiana’s physical battering and answered each big shot with one of their own while holding the lead over the final 15 minutes.
  • “On the road, we have to withstand runs whether we are up or down,” Drew said. “We knew they would make a run. I’m just proud when they did make a run, we weathered the storm. We didn’t panic. We kept our composure. We stayed the course.”
  • That’s four Ws in five games for the Hawks, and three of those were bona fide quality victories. And considering their injuries and the 14-point deficit they faced against the …

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Atlanta Hawks at Pacers: Game thread

IndianapolisLarry Drew ruled out Al Horford returning before the end of the regular season: “What I’ve been told he’s definitely out for the regular season and there is a possibility [of return] for the playoffs.” Al has said he should know more about his timetable when he returns to see his doctor next week.

  • Joe Johnson (knee) and Willie Green (back) are out. Tracy McGrady (knee) and Jerry Stackhouse (ill) are active. Jeff Foster (back) is out for the Pacers.
  • Joe plans to play at some point during the trip. Drew: “Right now we don’t know [when]. We are just going off how he feels. He has his good days, he has some bad days. It was his decision and our decision to allow that thing to heal to at least get to the point where he can play with a little bit more consistency [and] where the knee feels good. Since we shut him down it feels better. Right now the focus is to get him stronger.”
  • McGrady said he has to manage his surgically-repaired left knee: “It doesn’t do very well …

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Atlanta Hawks: They still should shoot more 3s

Three weeks ago I suggested the most realistic way for the Hawks to improve their offense is to shoot more 3s. Blog person Najeh responded in the comments:

“Threes are fine as long as they are a result of good ball movement and taken in rhythm. The problem with relying on them, just like the problem with relying on long 2 point jumpers, is that if you miss, you’re less likely to get the rebound than if you are taking attempts at the rim.”

That last part sounded right, and I went looking for the data to answer the question, but I couldn’t find any at the time. Now there are some relevant numbers compliments of a research paper submitted last weekend at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

University of Southern California researchers Rajiv Maheswaran, Yu-Han Chang, Aaron Henehan and Samantha Danesis co-authored “Deconstructing the Rebound with Optical Tracking Data.” They used data from STATS’ SportsVu Optical Tracking system, which uses cameras in arenas to track the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson plans to ‘take my time’ with ailing knee

Joe Johnson plans to ease his way back into the lineup because of his troublesome left knee. Obviously it’s not good for the Hawks to have him out of the lineup (even if you like that ball movement without him) but, in the long term, they have to be happy to see their All-Star guard embracing a cautious approach.

“Right when it’s feeling great, I don’t want to jump straight back out there,” Joe said today. “That’s kind of what I did last time. I thought it was feeling great but then I got to running on it and it was different. I am going to really test it before I get out there.”

If Joe sticks to that plan, he’ll miss both tomorrow’s game at Indiana and Wednesday at Miami. The Hawks aren’t scheduled to practice Thursday after the back-to-back and will have a shootaround before Friday’s game at the Pistons. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe sat that one out, too, and then test ed the knee during Saturday’s practice in Detroit.

This is the first time I can recall Joe taking the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 99, Thunder 90

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story from tonight’s Hawks win over the Thunder.

How did the short-handed Hawks measure up against the NBA’s best?

Just fine, thank you.

The Hawks won 97-90 over the Thunder, who entered the game with the top record in the league, in dramatic fashion Saturday night. Already without two centers, the Hawks played without leading scorer Joe Johnson and reserve guard Willie Green and lost Tracy McGrady to a knee injury in the first quarter.

“We were able to compete at a very high level against probably the best team in the league,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “Win, lose or draw I thought our guys did a phenomenal job and just competing given what the situation was. I take my hat off to every guy in the locker room.”

The Hawks now own wins over the top three teams in the NBA record-wise in the Thunder, Heat and Bulls

It was a win – keyed by the double-double effort of Josh Smith.

After losing a …

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Thunder at Atlanta Hawks: Game thread

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

The Hawks take on the NBA-best Thunder tonight featured the league’s second- and fifth-leading scorers in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, respectively. According to Thunder coach Scott Brooks, Westbrook will start tonight despite nursing a left ankle sprain.

Here is what Hawks coach Larry Drew said about containing the Thunder’s talented duo: “You do what you do against teams with Westbrook’s speed and Durant’s ability to score. You go into the game with a defined game plan but you have to be prepared to make adjustments, which we will be. Both guys are really good and you are not going to stop them with one guy. It’s definitely has to be a team effort. One thing you can’t do against a team like that is you can’t give them just one look. They are just too good for that. They lock in to how you play. You have to be prepared to make adjustments along the way.”

Here is what Drew said on the notion of using the Thunder as a measuring …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 99, Bucks 94

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story on the Hawks’ win over the Bucks Friday.

The Hawks pulled out a victory they had to have Friday.

Vladimir Radmanovic made a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go to lift the Hawks to a 99-94 victory over the Bucks at Philips Arena.

The score was tied at 92-92 with 1:16 left to play before a Josh Smith dunk and the decisive Radmanovic 3-pointer. Smith blocked a Drew Gooden low-post shot with 7.3 seconds left and the Hawks iced the game at the free-throw line. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks outscored the Bucks 34-18.

The Hawks (21-15), playing without leading scorer Joe Johnson and reserve Willie Green, earned their fifth win the past 14 games.

“The bench came in and did a phenomenal job,” coach Larry Drew said, crediting the play of Radmanovic, Tracy McGrady, Jannero Pargo, Jerry Stackhouse and Ivan Johnson. “I thought they gave us a huge, huge lift. … The energy was unbelievable and I was going to ride …

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Horford begins rehabilitation process

Al Horford is sleeping a lot better these days – thanks to the absence of the sling that protected his surgically-repaired left shoulder.

The Hawks All-Star center began rehabilitation on the injury that is projected to keep him out 3-4 months, perhaps allowing him to return for the playoffs. The next step in his recovery began six weeks after the operation.

“The doctor told me you can’t look at the finish line,” Horford said Friday. “You kind of want to look at different hurdles. The first one was the six-week mark. Now I can actually start doing stuff. He said a month from now, he will re-evaluate me and then he will probably clear me to get on the court and start doing some shooting and start getting that upper-body strength back. He said 3-4 months initially and so far I’m right on track.”

Horford said he is doing work with strength bands and light weights but is mostly doing cardio work.

“Just kind of getting [the shoulder area] fired up and a lot of …

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