Atlanta Hawks: Better health, easier schedule to finish season

The Hawks’ spirits were noticeably high at practice today, and that was true even before rookie Ivan Johnson (belatedly) sang “Happy Birthday” (badly) to Larry Drew.

Jannero Pargo was back at practice 17 days after his appendectomy. Al Horford participated in non-contact team drills for the first time since his Jan. 17 pectoral surgery. Everyone seemed refreshed and rejuvenated after two days off–even Tracy McGrady was laughing, joking and engaged.

Maybe it was the convergence of rest, better health and the easing of the schedule that had the Hawks (mostly) ditching the “one game at a time” mantra and actually casting an eye on the East standings to contemplate where they might finish.

Everybody is right there,” Drew said. “As I told the coaches, this thing is going to jump around from now until the end the way we are all bunched up. Some schedules are favorable, some guys are out on the road quite a bit. Some are home. Some are half and half. It’s going to be interesting how this thing shakes loose.”

Joe Johnson, normally among his team’s toughest critics, allowed that he “feels pretty good” about their chances.

“We’ve managed to hold our own,” he said.

In fact, Joe went so far as to declare the Hawks have the easiest path to a strong finish among the teams vying for playoff positioning behind the Bulls and Heat.

“I think we are in favor coming down the stretch as far as other teams we are competing with,” he said. “We just have to come out and take care of business.”

He’s probably right about that. A breakdown of the finishing schedules for the top eight in the East:

Team (record) Games left (home) Opponent win %
Bulls (42-13) 11 (6) .516
Heat (37-14) 15 (10) .486
Magic (32-21) 13 (5) .491
Celtics (30-22) 14 (6) .545
Pacers (31-21) 14 (10) .482
Hawks (31-23) 12 (8) .429
Sixers (29-23) 13 (4) .471
Knicks (27-26) 13 (5) .521

The Hawks might finally be in relatively good health the rest of the way.

Pargo said he expects to play against Charlotte tomorrow. Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is doubtful tomorrow after participating in a portion of practice today but Drew reports: “I spoke to him said this is the best back has felt in a while.” Jerry Stackhouse (personal) is expected to be available tomorrow.

Pargo was relentlessly cheery as always even a couple days after his emergency surgery so you can imagine his mood today. He said he’d been working out on his own the last three days.

“I’m trying to get my legs underneath me and get my wind back,” he said. “It will probably take a couple games to get my rhythm back and into the flow of the game. I think the main thing is to get back into playing shape.”

With both Pargo and Willie Green back in the fold, Drew can stabilize the backcourt rotation.

“It gives us a little bit more flexibility,” Drew said. “I don’t have to pile up the minutes on both Kirk [Hinrich] and Jeff [Teague]. We are really happy we get [Pargo] back.”

There’s no change in Horford’s status from what he said a few days ago: He won’t return until the playoffs, if that, and he doubts he would be at full strength if he does play.

Horford was watching practice from the sidelines by the time media types were allowed in and later had ice on the surgically-repaired area. But his presence, along with Pargo’s return and the days off, seemed to contribute to the overall positive vibe.

“It feels great, man,” Joe said. “To see Al out here competing and having fun, I think it gives everybody some energy and some hope and hopefully we can get him back.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

118 comments Add your comment


April 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

Awwwwww….. this getting along will last for 2 days…


April 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm


April 3rd, 2012
5:29 pm

Lets go Hawks!


April 3rd, 2012
5:31 pm

I hope Al comes back and contributes to the 2nd string until he is full strenght which will be next year.


April 3rd, 2012
5:32 pm

Imagine if we lose to Charlotte.


April 3rd, 2012
5:34 pm

From last blog – Gotta try to re-sign Josh. If he refuses to re-sign, I guess gotta try to unload him. Derrick Favors and a draft pick, or Derrick Williams and a draft pick, but I doubt those teams do that. Maybe though, since Utah has a couple of lottery picks, and Josh is only 26.

But I say try really hard to re-sign him, and have he, Al, and JJ as your somewhat big 3, and keep Teague and ZaZa as your “little” two. Filler and 1st picks for the rest of the roster.

I know Josh lacks a little lateral quickness at the 3, but I would like to see us run ZaZa, Al, Josh, JJ, and Teague next season, with Marvin as the 6th man.

I think both ZaZa and Teague have earned their stripes this season.

Teague 5th in Steals among PG’s
15th in Scoring
26th in Assists
Low turnover rate.

ZaZa 19th in scoring among C’s, and 14th in rebounding – And those stats are much higher as a starter.


April 3rd, 2012
5:36 pm

If the Hawks win the next 3,which they should (which means they probably won’t), they’re going to gain ground on somebody, because several of the teams ahead of us are playing each other during that stretch.


April 3rd, 2012
5:38 pm

If Hawks manage to win with Horford off the bench he could be our Ginobili. Its using All Star material to bolster your bench.

Oh and LD has to decide Hinrich vs Teague to play with the starters.

Teague- Hinrich
Joe – Green
Smith – Marvin/Radmanovic
Ivan – Horford
Pachulia- Dampier/Collins

With Horford off the bench and mixing in some big lineups we could demolish teams. Philly has no chance. NY no chance with their injuries.
Boston is bushleague and we’re a bunch of nice guys. Idk but thats why Josh, Ivan, Zaza starts. To knock some heads in.

Tired of being treated like some undersized sissies.


April 3rd, 2012
5:50 pm

it may be a cruel joke but just heard marcus will prob be available and will go to the hawks.


April 3rd, 2012
5:54 pm

Tonite: The Knicks play the Pacers and the 76′ers play the Heat.

Tomorrow: The Spurs play the Celts and the Thunder play the Heat – Those games could help us as well.

Thursday: The Knicks play the Magic and the Celts play the Bulls

Friday: The Thunder play the Pacers, the Griz play the Heat,

Saturday: The Pacers play the Celts and the Magic play the 76′ers

Sunday: The Bulls play the Knicks and the Sixers play the Celtics

Tuesday: The Celtics play the Heat and the Knicks play the Bulls

Wednesday: Then we play the Celts at the Garden, after another 3 day’s off.

Friday at the Magic

The Hawks, if they take care of business, are going to be gaining ground, because the teams around us are playing each other, or some other tough teams during this stretch.

If the Hawks could go 5-0 during this stretch, with back to back against the Raptors coming up, they would almost assuredly be at the 3 seed. All it would take is for Orlando to lose 1 time between now and next Friday. And they play the Knicks and Philly among other teams during that stretch, so they could feasibly lose at least 1 of those games. Chandler plays Howard as good as anyone.

But the Hawks gotta take care of business and just win ball games. I don’t care who there against, just win the games.


April 3rd, 2012
5:58 pm

They said on Hoopinion that when Ivan was in the game against Philly in the 1st half, we outscored them 16-8 and Brand had no pts. I could see Ivan being a tough matchup for Brand.

Only bummer about being the #3 seed if that happens – we drop in draft order, probably down to 23 or 24 or something.


April 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

I’d still rather be the #3 seed however.


April 3rd, 2012
6:11 pm

Did ASG hire Billy Knight? If so, that was a really bad move. He had robbed Gasol away from us, so I thought it may be a good hire, but he couldn’t draft well in most cases.

That being said, this 0-45 stuff, the ASG has only owned the team since ‘03 or ‘04. So we can’t fault them for the 0-45, just the last 8 years or so. And they have built the team up to a top 8 team the last 3 seasons. Looking like 5 straight playoff appearances.

This is our best run in more than a decade, of course I would like a Championship – but at least were comptetive right now, and giving ourselves a chance.

If Al comes back healthy next season, and we re-sign Josh, and Teague keeps developing, we ought to be about as competive as anyone next season. 31-23 w/o Al is pretty good.

A deep playoff run would be better.

Rich owner solves the problem? Look at the Nets. No Dwight. Losing DeRon more than likely. Filthy rich owner.

Blazers have megabucks Paul Allen – and they are a cursed team somehow.

Didn’t Ted used to own us? Didn’t help get a Championship.

Oh well, just venting, wanting a Championship – but instead of harping on 0-45 or whatever, lets roll with what we have and see what happens.

We currently have the same number of rings as the best player on the planet, and the best C on the planet, and the best PG on the planet.

Just saying.


April 3rd, 2012
6:15 pm

Falcons have a rich owner – 0-4 in the last 4 years of playoffs. Did the Clampetts/Rankin Smiths still own the team under Dan Reeves 2 SuperBowl runs? I think they did, can’t remember for sure.


April 3rd, 2012
6:19 pm


Horford is a middling player, in particular if he sticks with his intention to play PF.

He will NEVER be a 20-10 guy on a playoff team. NEVER.

Josh has proven – to satisfaction – that he can be a 24-10-4-1.5-1.5 player.

He only needs a decent coach to iron out a few deficiencies and place him (and JJ) in better positions to succeed.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Josh is a clear 8.5 with potential to be a 9 and Horford is a clear 7.5 with potential to be an 8 IF he sticks with playing as an undersized, mobile and extra hustling C.

If Horford insists on playing PF, he is strictly a 7.

JJ was a borderline 9 (based on effort and professionalism) and now is an 8.5.

Teague is a 7 with potential to be a solid 8, maybe even reach 8.5 level
Hinrich is a 7 with decaying condition (he used to be an 8 IMO during his CHI days)
Pargo is a 6 with flashes of 7.5
Green is a 7 with flashes of 9
Marvin is a 5 with flashes of 7
Ivan is a 6.5 with potential to be a 7.5
Zaza is a 7.5 simply because he brings so much aggression and hustle now that he gets more minutes that he frequently sets the tone (first play of the NYK game is a good example – immediately after the tip off he dove for a loose ball, a moment when most players are still yawning)
V-Rad is a 5 with flashes of 7
McGrady is rapidly decaying 6.5 with flashes of 8.5

For these guys to fulfill their potential or exhibit their flashes more often/more consistently, they need a quality coach to place them on the right match ups, the right moments of the game and executing the right plays.

LD is a 5.5 with flashes of 1


April 3rd, 2012
6:22 pm

I know I have committed Hawks blogosphere heresy by suggesting that ASG is anything other than the blame for:

Global Warming
Mass Starvation
Mercury in Vaccines
Predator Capitalism
The Bubonic Plague
The Great Recession

And walk around all day with drool coming down their lips due to their incompetence and imbecility.

In reality, the lot of them are playing golf with other multimillionaires, yachting wherever they like, living like kings on European vacations, and eating the finest food, living in the nicest houses, surrounded by opulence and the finest women.

While we blog about Kirk Hinrich or something.

Facts are facts.



April 3rd, 2012
6:25 pm

Josh is about to pass JJ as the leading scorer on the team. JJ at 19.1 and Josh at 18.8, and closing rapidly.

That hasn’t happened since JJ has been here.


April 3rd, 2012
6:27 pm

Word on the blogosphere is if LD Coaches us to a 3rd seed w/o Al, he probably finishes 2nd in Coach of the Year to TT from Chicago.


April 3rd, 2012
6:29 pm


Rather than droop down in the draft, I’d rather:

Suck for Luck!


April 3rd, 2012
6:37 pm

thats what im talkin bout Joe, yall take care of business and stay healthy weve got as good a shot as anybody. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING the broncos made the freakin playoffs.GO HAWKS!


April 3rd, 2012
6:37 pm


LOL! You must be butter, ’cause you’re on a roll! LOL my man. I’m lovin’ you today.


April 3rd, 2012
6:39 pm

Looks good for us. My thought is that we go 6-6 to end the season just by looking at remaining schedule. W’s , but not gimmes, vs. sub 0.500 teams but 2 games vs BOS, DAL, and a couple of other playoff contenders look daunting.


April 3rd, 2012
6:42 pm

Next 5 games we will go 3-2 and we will start tomorrow with the let down loss.

These guys always lose when they get loose. ALWAYS.


April 3rd, 2012
6:43 pm

If Gearon Jr. started spending $1,000.00 per day, everyday, 365 days a year, and stopped earning interest on his cash, he and his progenity could spend at that pace for the next 1,000 years or so and never run out of money.

That would be:

$365,000.00 per year

$3.65 million in 10 years

$36.5 million in 100 years

$365 million in 1,000 years – And he’s worth somewhere close to this amount, unless he’s lost an awful lot of money recently.


April 3rd, 2012
6:56 pm

Write it down, Coach Drew will be re-signed. Love it or hate it, it is what it is.


April 3rd, 2012
7:45 pm

I disagree with the assumption that Tracy is rapidly declining. When Drew plays him 20 + minutes and allows him to orchestrate the offense the team clicks on all cylinders and Tracy is effective as a playmaker who is a threat to score If you allow him to get in a flow offensively. When Drew has him playing spot minutes as a bit player…is when we all scratch our heads and wonder WTF is Drew doing. I hope that Larry Drew seriously gives him a bigger role come the post season…Tracy as a “point forward” is a match up problem. Drew has to use him more effectively because I guarantee you guys like Teague, Hinrich , Green & Pargo are not going to do much when the game slows down to a half court game because they cannot create their own shots and they are suspect when it comes to creating shots for others. Teams zero in on your best players and they take away what you like to do best. In the Hawks case..teams will gladly allow Joe Johnson & Josh Smith to go Iso because they will just double team either one and force them to give the ball up or jack up perimeter shots that will only lead to more possessions for the opposing teams. The way Larry Drew has used Tracy everybody thinks that it must be Tracy who is washed up when its far from the truth..dude played very well for Detroit last yr as their best playmaker when Stuckey went down and that was the yr that he finally got over the hurdle with his surgically repaired knee…He has played sparingly for the Hawks the last 20 odd games so I know he is hungry to get it cracking in the post season..Tracy brings it during the post season regardless of his record..stats don’t lie. Again..Drew would be a fool not to at least play Tracy 20 + minutes the rest of the season so that he be on top of his game for the Hawks…

City Of Atlanta Still Recovering From William Tecumseh Sherman

April 3rd, 2012
8:03 pm

yoo MC any rumors on josh winning nba player of the month for march?


April 3rd, 2012
8:04 pm

SteveW on fire!

Love that 5:54 post. Gonna be fun watching these East teams beat up on each other, while Hawks hopefully move up in the standings.

Would love to see Josh surpass Joe as leading Hawks scorer. Adds another dimension to the team.

Great to see Pargo back, and Al practising. I don’t believe the Hawks will
lay an egg tomorrow.


April 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

“Write it down, Coach Drew will be re-signed. Love it or hate it, it is what it is.”

Really isn’t a far-fetched conclusion at all… all this team strives for is mediocrity and that’s what Drew gives them…


April 3rd, 2012
8:24 pm


Yes Sirrr … Affordable coaching with above average results is good enough for these owners. They will never aspire for greatness! Just lining them pockets.


April 3rd, 2012
8:27 pm

Pargo’s return will be huge…

I’ve maintained throughout year, easiest way to improve…
Is at the Point Guard postion…with Pargo, I doubt they….
Lose to the Bucks or Sixers, and play better vs. Bulls…

Not to belabor Teague, but in Pargo’s absence he didnt…
Distinguish himself, he didnt separate, he didnt claim it…
And he caught breaks: No Lin nor Rose, but Holiday and Lucas III???
In fact, instead, he shot an airball that wouldve tied a game…

Nevertheless, Pargo is back to add some shotmaking/ballhandling…
Hinrich has played better, but minutes catch up to old dogs quick…
Pargo and Green help there as well…

Would like to know why Dampier isnt even deserving of token minutes?


April 3rd, 2012
8:33 pm

No Clue Drew!

Leave Tracy Alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Astro Joe

April 3rd, 2012
8:43 pm

vava, so how many games does a player have to maintain a level of performance for you to conclude that he has proven that he can maintain that level of performance? Obviously, it isn’t ~45 games, so I’d be interested in the ruler that you are using.


April 3rd, 2012
9:06 pm


My feeling is;
your player evaluation system is flawed.


post script:

Is your scoring method a system, or,
simply random numbers strewn about ?

Really a question;
for once I`m not *trying to be a smart ass.
*[not that I ever put effort into it]


April 3rd, 2012
9:07 pm

“Josh is about to pass JJ as the leading scorer on the team. JJ at 19.1 and Josh at 18.8, and closing rapidly.

That hasn’t happened since JJ has been here.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh passed JJ in scoring soon this season. Josh is taking a high volume of shots lately, far more than JJ, so unless JJ scores with very high efficiency, Josh will likely pass him. You are not going to outscore someone who shoots 25+ times a game while you shoot around 16+ times a game, unless your efficiency is off the charts or theirs is terrible. Josh may very well lead the team in scoring for the first time in the JJ era this year.


April 3rd, 2012
9:08 pm

*scoring method = evaluation method = same


April 3rd, 2012
9:10 pm

steveW: “. . . instead of harping on 0-45 or whatever, lets roll with what we have and see what happens.”

That’s exactly what we have been doing–for the past 45 years.

Just Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:26 pm

Indiana is out scoring Woody’s Knicks 29 to 12… lead by 2 with 2 to go.

Astro Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:26 pm

Josh averaged a shade under 21 FGAs in March. That month, he averaged around 24 PPG. I looked to see if the “middling” player ever approached anything close to 20 FGAs in a month. The closest I could find was December, 2010. He averaged around 13.5 FGAs that month. And the middling player went for 17 points, 10 boards and 3.5 assists. Pretty mediocre, huh?

There is little doubt that Josh is the more explosive player and is able to score in more ways than Horford. But we’ve never watched Horford even get the chance to be the #2 dog, more or less the top dog. Josh has been incredibly durable and Al hasn’t had to pick up his slack in the past 2.5 seasons.

Sell high, is my belief. I don’t believe that Josh should be a 20 FGAs type player. (Since the ‘09-10 season, Joe has averaged 20 FGAs in a month once, and averaged 26 PPG in that month). This team, IMO, isn’t built for that type of primary scorer and it shows with their middling record (ooh, there’s that “m” word again).

Sell high. He wants out and maybe someone will believe that he can take them to the postseason if he gets 20+ FGAs each game.

Just Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:27 pm

That’s the 4th quarter scoring.


April 3rd, 2012
9:28 pm

knicks down 2 to indiana, pistons beating the magic, and heat beating the sixers..this could be a great day in the standings for the hawks

Astro Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:41 pm

Knicks melted in the 4th quarter… we need the Pacers to lose. At least the 76ers and Magic appear to be losing their games tonight.


April 3rd, 2012
9:43 pm

For those of you who don’t know, Josh is a finalist for EC player of the month, along with LeBron, Dwight and DRose. (Rose only played 7 freaking games in the month and shot .415%, how the hell is he on there?!?!?!)

Astro Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:46 pm

Of those mentioned, Josh should win. I don’t think any of those teams had a stellar month (maybe Orlando?) but certainly not the Heat or Hawks. Give it to Josh, it will make him happy and delight his legends of fans who fill the arena 41 times/season.

Buddy Grizzard

April 3rd, 2012
9:46 pm

Michael Cunningham
March 31st, 2012
4:48 pm:

“…a four-sentence blind item in a Mitch Lawrence Daily News NBA column. at least that explains why i never saw it.”

Michael Cunningham
May 20th, 2011
12:06 am:

“diffuse the story? i just tried to put the quotes of an anonymous player in context. i would do the same thing if, for instance, an anonymous player said: “Drew is the best coach in the league.” but you would have less of a problem with my so-called “diffusion” of that quote because it would bolster your opinion.”

So Michael, you forgot we’ve already been over that one. I forget stuff all the time… no worries… I have short term memory loss.

What’s odd about those two threads is that in both instances I went out of my way to speak highly of your work covering the Hawks:

Buddy Grizzard
May 19th, 2011
8:08 pm:

“PS great work covering the Hawks all year.. I can’t always catch the games so I rely on your great coverage.”

Buddy Grizzard
March 31st, 2012
12:12 am:

“By the way, nice reporting on the Woody/LD relationship, MC.”

And yet, in both cases, after I make one slight criticism of your coverage, you launch into sarcastic diatribes and attack me personally. You don’t seem to react this way to anyone else.

I’m not a threat to you, MC. As you say, I’m “just a fan.” In sports, everybody is allowed to have an opinion.

Astro Joe

April 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

oops, legion of fans…

Rev in Tampa

April 3rd, 2012
10:06 pm

Right on Cue…

This morning I remarked how easy is the Magic’s schedule. But they go and lose to Detroit tonight. Maybe the Hawks will slip into the 3-spot after all. Go Hawks.


April 3rd, 2012
10:10 pm

I know dawgnole: Here is a spoof of an average post by dawgnole and slimjr. Maybe some others thrown in for comic relief. Lighten up and don’t take it too serious.

Dawgnole: I know we just blew out the Heat by 20. But we will still suffer from 0-45 on ECF. No doubt about it.

SlimJr – But at least the Knicks with Woody won. Missing Amare, Lin, and Mike Bibby no less…

SlimJr – LD can just kick rocks buster. Woody is the man…

SlimJr – 0-45, with the Pistons coming up. Oh the humanity.

Dawgnole – But 0-45 is terrible. We have suffered that long. Mediocrity. Nothing but a championship. No excuses

Grandad – Trade of the day – We trade Josh for this kid from St Bonaventure. I’ve seen him play, and he’s a stud I tell you.

BTW, Dawgnole, why do you even post, all you do is complain about 0-45. Nothing the Hawks do outside a Championship will ever satisfy you. Let it rest.

Dawgnole – Now that’s the loser mentality I’m talking about. We haven’t been to a ECF in 45 long years. About to be 46 years. I don’t care if Al, Josh, and JJ went down. No excuses.

SlimJr – But the Knicks, now that’s a team

JeJe – The Heat are the team to beat. The Hawks have less than 0% chance of ever beating them in anything. Even in video games the Heat are better. They even won the ‘08 playoff series, it just isn’t recorded right in the record books.

Northcyde – But on it says that Joe Johnson has the highest total of winshares of people with 3 first names as part of their names. That proves right there that JJ and Marvin are considered to be 2 of the greatest SG/SF combos drafted in ‘01 and ‘06.

Rod – Did you see Jamal beast it with 4 pts on 27 shots today? Man, are the Hawks ever going to miss him in the playoffs. We have no scorers, and all teams including Charlotte would take us in a 7 games series.


April 3rd, 2012
10:15 pm

Rev in Tampa
April 3rd, 2012
10:06 pm

Right on Cue…

This morning I remarked how easy is the Magic’s schedule. But they go and lose to Detroit tonight. Maybe the Hawks will slip into the 3-spot after all. Go Hawks.

That’s why I’d be real careful about disparaging the Hawks’ remaining schedule in any way.


April 3rd, 2012
10:17 pm

Najeh – I know, but that fails to nail the complete picture: Josh+Teague would be even greater if LD wasn’t such an idiot.

Dawgnole – The only idiots are you sick people for sticking with a team that is 0-45. Don’t you realize how terrible that is? Has your minds been perverted, that you think anything less than a championship is acceptable? I don’t care about entertainment, i want championships!

SlimJr – Amen bro

Pointguardslim – But if we could trade all future draft picks for Jon Leuer, we would dominate. I mean, he actually played 6 minutes in scrub time the other nite. Since Sund didn’t have the foresight to obtain Thabeet, it’s the least we could do…I have video to prove that Leuer is the best player to ever play in the NBA. And Bogut is 2nd, with Jordan Hill a close 3rd.

Dawgnole – You could trade the hawks for the ‘59 Celtics and we would still lose.

SlimJr – That’s right. And the Knicks would still win. I mean, there like a game up on the Bucks for the 8th seed. And that’s with Amare and Lin out and all.

Dawgnole – 0-45 is what I’m talkin’ bout – and don’t anybody on here ever forget it.

SlimJr – Pulpit, Church, tabernacle – the man is on fire!!!