Atlanta Hawks at Magic: Game thread

Vivlamore reporting from Orlando.

ORLANDO – The Hawks are preparing for a less predictable Magic team tonight as Orlando will be playing without All-Star center Dwight Howard.

That could be an issue considering past games when the Hawks have, admittedly, relaxed with the opposition was without its star player.

“It’s really a fool’s gold type of game,” Willie Green said. “When a team doesn’t have their best player, the opposing team, which is us, seems to take them lightly. That is something we are careful about not doing. We want to come out and play a good all-around game and execute. They are still a good team without Dwight. Obviously they are a better team with him. We are looking to come in and be the best Atlanta Hawks team we can be.”

Remember the Hawks lost, at home, to the Dwyane Wade- and LeBron James-less Heat earlier this season.

“I think our mental approach has to be the same,” Marvin Williams said. “We have to be even more focused. In the past, when other team’s stars have gone down, we have a tendency to relax a little. That is something that just can’t happen right now.”

Howard missed four of the past six games with back spasms. He went to Los Angeles to see a specialist. Tonight will be the third straight game out of the lineup.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said the absence of Howard will present his defense with a different challenge.

“Anytime you play Orlando your focus is how do you stop or slow down Dwight,” Drew said. “It will be different tonight with no Dwight certainly you have to look at how will does it change them and what will they do. I think they become more dangerous club because they become less predictable with what they are going to be doing, what they are going to be running. More guys will be involved and get touches, more guys will look to score. They do have guys who are capable of scoring. It will be a little different for us because we’ve always faced Dwight. We are going to have to lock in to some of the other key matchups.”

Drew mentioned Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson, Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick by name as matchups that will be keys from a defensive standpoint.

Not to be lost in all the Howard-less Magic hype is the importance of this game in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Hawks, Magic and Celtics all have the same record at 34-24 and are two games behind the Pacers for the third seed.

Williams didn’t mince words about the game.

“It’s almost a must-win for us,” Williams said. “We are still pushing to get that third spot. It’s still possible. Indiana has been playing extremely well, but with us and Boston and Orlando having the same record, this game will be very big for us, for sure.”

As I reported earlier, the Hawks will be without Ivan Johnson for the game.

- Chris Vivlamore

293 comments Add your comment

Kay

April 13th, 2012
3:56 pm

STRETCH

April 13th, 2012
3:59 pm

Admiral Snackbar

April 13th, 2012
4:00 pm

free Ivan!!!

rugdav

April 13th, 2012
4:02 pm

predict T-mac 16 points

pointguardslim

April 13th, 2012
4:06 pm

“It’s almost a must-win for us,”

almost? Oh SNAPS! After how many years with no ECF appearances. Its ALMOST a must win game.

High-sider

April 13th, 2012
4:07 pm

early thread again?

High-sider

April 13th, 2012
4:08 pm

early thread, huh?

pointguardslim

April 13th, 2012
4:09 pm

LD’s Hawks should matchup well. The Magic are soft and undersized with jumpshooting “big men”. Like us.

Unlike those guys in Boston.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 13th, 2012
4:18 pm

Home Alone!

Looks like Ivan wasn’t the only one sent home – MC, must have cabin fever by now.

Kobie

April 13th, 2012
4:23 pm

I picked up on that one to. What does Marvin mean by, “It’s almost a must-win for us,” WTH, every game now is a must win game. This type of attitude is my problem with the Hawks. If this is not a must win then I would love to see what a must win game would be.

O'brien

April 13th, 2012
4:25 pm

northcyde,

My issue with Marvin is not about his stats as much as it is about his disappearing act when the going gets tough (which is usually what JJ does too).

Marvin will get his 10-12 pts, 5-7 rebs, but he cannot be counted on at critical junctions in the game like in the Boston game when he was wide open for a 3 late in the game and almost shot an airball.

There are numerous times when the other team is making a run, or the Hawks have gone cold on offense, and Marvin gets a wide open shot. And he bricks it. Or he’ll try and drive, and get blocked or fumble the ball away. He needs to do better when those opportunities present themselves.

slimjr

April 13th, 2012
4:26 pm

Almost= Marvin Williams jumper

slimjr

April 13th, 2012
4:30 pm

9-20= right on the cusp? Spin that one Marvin…

Or better yet Sund, Mr Gearon’s parrot….

O'brien

April 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

FTPB,

AJ,

Despite JJ’s salary, I admit that he is not on the same level with the other players in his pay range (some of who are superstars, and still find a way to score despite the other team’s defenses, especially at crucial moments). But, 15 pts against Indy? 8 pts against Philly, 10 pts against the Spurs, 12 against Chicago, 14 pts in the second Boston game?

Whether or not those teams are good defensive teams, JJ misses a lot of the same shots that he makes against bad teams (even when he is open).

OrsonWellesEgo

April 13th, 2012
4:50 pm

I am looking forward to this game, only in hopes of seeing our horrid Twin Towers in some sense of action tonight with the lack of Bandit Ivan to eat into them. With no Dwight though, they be limited to garbage time rather than a solid preparation for our Anti-Dwight defensive schemata, but Bob knows both need some running time with the Playoffs a few weeks out. Also, Tracy McGrady will oddly be the defensive X-Factor of tonight’s game; laugh it off now, but if he gets one solid play on the defensive end and we win a close one, give him props for whatever he did….

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
4:54 pm

O’Brien . . I don’t disagree that he needs to do better. But he isn’t flat out disappearing like people say either. No more than any other player on this team. Just recently

- He hit a huge shot in the Utah game to send it to a 4th OT.
- He made 5 – 6 FTs in the final 15 seconds of the Detroit game to seal the victory
- He’s played solid defense on his man and forced them into missed shots at the end of games.

Should he be making more “big shots”? Yeah. But you could say that about everybody else on the team. Even our star players, which you cited.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

April 13th, 2012
5:10 pm

FIRE SUND

Dampier and Collins are the worst backup centers in the league. #worthless

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2012
5:27 pm

Vivlamore needs to break his losing streak. Tonight would be as good as night as any.

Good thing this isn’t a home game. With the Braves opening night tonight, there would be about 500 people at Philips.

Rod from College Park

April 13th, 2012
5:34 pm

Marvin Williams Stats vs. Eastern Conference playoff Teams 2012

28%FG, 0%3 point, 4ppg- Boston
50%FG, 33% 3 point, 9ppg- Chicago
33%FG, 33% 3 point, 8.5ppg – Indiana
33%FG, 40% 3 point, 7.0 ppg Miami
30%FG, 0% 3 point, 6.5ppg, New York
36%FG, 42%3 point, 7.5 ppg, Orlando
31%FG, 20%3point, 6.0 ppg, Philly

Regular season Aaverage: 42%FG 39%3pt 9.5ppg

Joe Johnson Stats vs. Eastern Conference playoff Teams 2012

41%FG, 40%3 point, 19.5 ppg- Boston
37%FG, 31% 3 point, 12.8 ppg- Chicago
37%FG, 45% 3 point, 17.5 ppg– Indiana
40%FG, 25% 3 point, 17.7 ppg Miami
50%FG, 40% 3 point, 28 ppg, New York
37%FG, 33% 3 point, 14 ppg, Orlando
45%FG, 42% 3point, 13 ppg, Philly

Regular season Aaverage: 44%FG 37%3pt 18.8 ppg

Both guys play good against bad teams, and usually under their season averages against playoff contenders. Not a good sign.

Chris Vivlamore

April 13th, 2012
5:47 pm

I will update the Ivan Johnson blog because I can report that he was sent home for a verbal altercation on the bench during Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.

Buddy Grizzard

April 13th, 2012
5:59 pm

Just when it looked like Drew had Collins out of his system…

Buddy Grizzard

April 13th, 2012
6:00 pm

Verbal altercation? Wow.

TMACfan

April 13th, 2012
6:05 pm

I hope the Orlando Fans boo TMAC. He always plays well when he’s booed.

Buddy Grizzard

April 13th, 2012
6:11 pm

“6/10 for LD? After he got f-cked in the ass by Doc Rivers for 53 minutes?”

LOL… do you think Drew is getting better as a coach? Is he learning fast enough that it will make a difference in this postseason, possibly the last he will ever coach as an NBA head coach?

Slimjr

April 13th, 2012
6:22 pm

Bench Larry..

doc; 13-4 by 10:00pm.. nice

Slimjr

April 13th, 2012
6:28 pm

Basketball 101,

Ivan, you can’t cuss out the coach even if he’s clueless sometimes..The middle finger wont work either.

Just walk away shake your head and say I’ll get them next time..

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2012
6:30 pm

Here is an article suggesting that the Hawks go small more often, pretty much advocating for a Phoenix Suns-like scheme that prioritizes floor spacing and pick and rolls and de-emphasizing defense and rebounding. I’m sure pointguardslim will appreciate this.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2012
6:32 pm

I agree with the idea in that article that the Hawks should be running way more pick and rolls with Teague and Josh, but other than that I’m not too thrilled about the idea of going small. Part of the premise of that article is that a small lineup would put the Hawks’ five best players on the floor at once, which is flawed because Zaza is better than Kirk and Marvin.

Blast

April 13th, 2012
6:34 pm

What happened to Lachina Robinson? I miss that gorgeous woman, probably snatched away by a bigger network. This Stephanie girl is not wowing me at all.

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
6:41 pm

Let me find a tape of this game . . . I want to see this “verbal altercation”.

Chris Vivlamore

April 13th, 2012
6:46 pm

The Hawks will also be without Willie Green tonight. The guard left the team shortly before the game to be with his wife for the birth of a child.

Buddy Grizzard

April 13th, 2012
6:49 pm

I feel a Cheddar Bob game coming on.

phamoo8

April 13th, 2012
6:51 pm

Skip all these states and bull … Josh goes 3 quarter lookin like Melo (looked like a top 10 player in the league) but he forgot that he is a post player and didnt go to the post at all

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
6:51 pm

So when Rod posts negative stats about Marvin and JJ, they are valid. But when people post negative stats about Jamal, they aren’t valid?

OK . . I understand now.

Blast

April 13th, 2012
6:52 pm

Congrats, Papa Willie!

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
6:52 pm

And C-Viv . . you need to do more investigating. Find out EXACTLY what the verbal altercation was about concerning Ivan, and who was Ivan “conversing” with.

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
6:54 pm

Congrats to Willie on the birth of his child.

northcyde

April 13th, 2012
6:55 pm

Bench rotaton

6th – Marvin
7th – Pargo
8th – T-Mac
9th – Vlad
10th – Collins

James

April 13th, 2012
7:01 pm

“6/10 for LD? After he got f-cked in the ass by Doc Rivers for 53 minutes?”

LOL. I’m still laughing at this comment.

Luke Cage

April 13th, 2012
7:02 pm

SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!

Rod from College Park

April 13th, 2012
7:03 pm

Northcyde,

I never said you stats were not valid, I said if you are going to post Jamal stats, post them from when he was with the Hawks. Notice how both your favorite players shoot under 40% against good teams.

Luke Cage

April 13th, 2012
7:04 pm

No DEBO!! Damn.

James

April 13th, 2012
7:04 pm

On another note, I think it actually might be more advantageous for the Hawks to finish 6th as opposed to 5th if Indiana and Boston remain where they are. Indiana seems like a much better matchup for the Hawks than Boston who is full of experience and really starting to roll.

Obviously, it would be best for the Hawks if they could move all the way up to 3rd in the East, but if for some reason, the Hawks are unable to acquire a top 4 seed, I think it would be better for the Hawks to match up with Indy in the first round as opposed to Boston.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2012
7:06 pm

“do you think Drew is getting better as a coach? Is he learning fast enough that it will make a difference in this postseason, possibly the last he will ever coach as an NBA head coach?”

No way to know for sure until the playoffs actually roll around and we get to see how well he makes adjustments in a series.

Luke Cage

April 13th, 2012
7:08 pm

Uh Oh, magic announcers on LS site, gotta find another one, Tragic announcers are way to obnoxious

Najeh Davenpoop

April 13th, 2012
7:11 pm

Hawks clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win and a Bucks loss.

Blast

April 13th, 2012
7:11 pm

Lets get it!

Hawks gotta win this game.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 13th, 2012
7:11 pm

Sorry what does this 6/10 for LD ish mean?

sirluciouscp

April 13th, 2012
7:12 pm

Never understood why seeing your 5th child born is important.

Blast

April 13th, 2012
7:13 pm

Josh need to stay inside. Magic gonna be jackking up jumpers all night long.