Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Raptors 87

Toronto–The Hawks are in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. If my blog people don’t do anything else, I hope you at least pause for a moment to enjoy this fact and think back to when it was not a given. Also remember how you felt when you heard Al Horford was out and the long series of injuries that followed.

  • The Hawks put away Toronto once their help defense got in sync, they turned turnovers into scores or free throws and attacked the basket when all those Js they made early stopped falling. “I’m glad we were able to turn right back around and play this team where we could go ahead and get that sour taste out of our mouth,” Joe Johnson said. “We understand we are a better team that what we showed last night.”
  • Not to burst that bubble, but add one more ailment to the mix: Zaza Pachulia’s foot injury is worse than initially thought and could keep him out at least for the balance of the regular season. “We will wait and see how it goes,” Zaza wrote in a text message. “I’m still hoping to be back this season.”
  • The Hawks said Zaza had a CT scan to “rule out any fractures that may have been missed by the X-ray in Orlando.” The team said the CT can was also negative for a fracture but that Zaza has a sprained ligament in the foot. Larry Drew: “At the beginning I was under the impression he would be out just the two games but it’s more of a day-to-day thing. We are not going to try to rush him.”
  • Obviously losing Zaza for the any amount of time in the playoffs would be a tough blow for the Hawks, who would be left with Jason Collins, Erick Dampier and (possibly) a gimpy Al Horford at center.
  • It’s also bad news for the Pick-and-Pape Sy’s, who are in the championship game this week. They’ve benefited from Zaza’s strong play since he was picked up on the waiver wire to replace Andrew Bogut, a move that allows a team that drafted Lamar Odom in the fourth round to somehow have a chance to win the title.
  • On the bright side, Ivan Johnson is proving his worth as a legit frontcourt rotation player. He scored and grabbed rebounds over bigger players, played good defense both straight up and in help situations and generally made a case he’s as good as any of Toronto’s big men and certainly no worse than the third-best healthy big on the Hawks.
  • Ivan was, as usual, fantastically succinct in explaining his play: “Same thing every game. Play good defense and bring the energy.” Even better Ivan made what was, to my knowledge, his first joke ever. Asked to explain last nights’ ugly W, Ivan said: “It happens. It’s the NBA, where amazing happens.” And I swear to you, blog people, Ivan Johnson laughed.
  • Joe Johnson on Ivan: “He’s a hard worker. As you can see he’s not scared of anything. He does everything that the coaches ask. That’s all you can ask for. He’s a hard worker and a guy who’s fearless going into the paint.”
  • Drew on Ivan: “The thing with him, he is a guy who comes in every night I know what he’s going to bring from an energy standpoint. He may make some turnovers, he may take some bad shots, he may botch some defensive assignments. But I do know every time I put him in between those lines he’s going to give me 110 percent from an energy standpoint. He did it last night and came back and did it again tonight.”
  • That sounds like a guy who could start instead of Collins unless the opposition has Dwight Howard or (maybe?) Roy Hibbert at center. And that’s true even considering that Collins was actually solid tonight with five rebounds, two blocks and reasonably effective help defense in 11 minutes.
  • Ivan is the kind of guy who naturally plays with an edge. Not so for Jeff Teague who, after two sleepy games, was awakened by a talk from Drew and dominated Ben Uzoh and Co. in the way his talent suggests he should. “Coach got in me a little bit told me to be more aggressive on both defense and offense,” Teague said. “It starts with me on defense and offense. I’m the point guard. I’m always going to be the ball and I’m always going to be the head of the defense.”
  • Josh Smith had what’s become a ho-hum line for him: 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks, two steals, two turnovers. After appearing frustrated that he had to help so much against penetrating guards so much early on, he seemed to relish the task later.
  • It was a bounce-back game for Joe, who demanded the ball often and got it. His defense was problematic early but he seemed to be rejuvenated during that third quarter when the Hawks defended well as a unit.
  • Tracy McGrady got a lot of his production in garbage time but, no matter, he needs those 21 minutes. McGrady is not much for running plays, preferring instead to get the ball in his spots and either getting to the rim to score/draw a foul or delivering the ball to someone else in good position. It’s an approach that works better when he’s actually getting calls.
  • T-Mac certainly seemed to enjoy sticking it to the usual hecklers that greet him in Toronto.
  • Kirk Hinrich had more help this team against DeMar DeRozan, who still got 22 points on 14 shots. Hinrich made 3 of 6 shots and didn’t have a turnover.
  • The Hawks are in a three-way tie with Boston and Orlando. The Celtics own the tiebreaker edge over the Hawks, who have the advantage over the Magic.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

108 comments Add your comment

Adam

April 16th, 2012
11:14 pm

Joe Johnson’s MVP run continued tonight.

He continues to own each and every one of you.

High-sider

April 16th, 2012
11:16 pm

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:16 pm

Drew issued a pregame challenge to Teague to step up his aggressiveness and the third-year guard followed through by leading the Hawks to 28 fast-break points, the most by a Raptors opponent this season.

“I thought he was a difference maker tonight with his speed,” Drew said. “He got in the lane quite a few times tonight. When he’s playing with that type of aggression, we’re just a different ball club.”

High-sider

April 16th, 2012
11:17 pm

Way to bounce back, Hawks. Strong game by Ivan Johnson.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:17 pm

But I do know every time I put him in between those lines he’s going to give me 110 percent from an energy standpoint. He did it last night and came back and did it again tonight
****

and that’s why u suspended him for calling his teammates out

Smh

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:19 pm

Big Lou
April 16th, 2012
11:10 pm

I didn’t see the game, but I bet LD started Collins; which he produced with probably zero points and two rebounds.

LinkReport this comment
***

5 boards somehow

Rusty

April 16th, 2012
11:20 pm

As most of the time JT ’s TO ‘ was very low. I think that JT would be a lot better if LD would give him a vote of confidence. I know TMac still had game but LD had problems with him & went out of his way to screw with him not giving him playing time.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:20 pm

JeJe – quit livin’ in the past – you need to move on from Ivan’s suspension – looks like Ivan and LD did.

Dave

April 16th, 2012
11:20 pm

“Joe Johnson’s MVP run continued tonight.”

wut…

High-sider

April 16th, 2012
11:21 pm

Jamal [Crawford] missed a freakin’ free throw. [smh]

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:21 pm

Collins had 5 rbs, he only grabbed about 2. What if Al hung around the basket like Ivan? I think if Al does, he will be a much better player with Teague at the point.

Running the pick and roll with Collins and Teague was worthless. Teague could easily had 15 assists.

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
11:22 pm

Grandmaster JeJe

Wow. 5 boards? I bet he didn’t jump for them. Lol

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:23 pm

What happened to WIllie Green? Did the baby keep him up all night?

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:25 pm

He jumped for about 2 and ran one down…. but basically the Hawks slow start can be attributed to starting Collins…maybe Ivan can get the start against Boston… KG can’t wait!

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
11:26 pm

“That sounds like a guy who could start instead of Collins unless the opposition has Dwight Howard or (maybe?) Roy Hibbert at center. And that’s true even considering that Collins was actually solid tonight with five rebounds, two blocks and reasonably effective help defense in 11 minutes.”

Did you even ask him if he’s going to do that? Only way I see LD starting Ivan is if Collins, Dampier, and Kirk get injured.

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
11:28 pm

Also, good for Teague. I’m glad he bounced back from last night–good stat line with the dimes, too.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:29 pm

Sushi
April 16th, 2012
11:20 pm

JeJe – quit livin’ in the past – you need to move on from Ivan’s suspension – looks like Ivan and LD did.

LinkReport this comment

Give me a break dude. It is a joke if u get suspended for that. KG or Kobe get lauded for ripping teammates..

LD is a severely mediocre coach who should not be a HC in this league.

Ivan should be team captain.

Not the money swindler Choke Johnson, Immature Josh, or Cotton Candy Horford

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:30 pm

Why mess up a good thing? Ivan looks very comfortable coming off the bench – he ended playing more than twice as many minutes as Collins anyway.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:33 pm

Ivan Johnson: Ivan Johnson suspended for one game by team
Ivan Johnson – C – ATL – Apr. 13 – 9:51 am et
Ivan Johnson has been suspended for one game by the Hawks for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
He’ll miss Friday’s game against the Magic, but Johnson should be back on Sunday against the Raptors. Johnson was sent back to Atlanta and will re-join the team on Saturday for a scheduled practice. Johnson’s absence on Friday should result in more minutes for Zaza Pachulia, as well as possibly seeing brief sightings of veterans Jason Collins and Erick Dampier.

JeJe – I don’t think you know the entrie story, my friend.

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
11:35 pm

“Why mess up a good thing? Ivan looks very comfortable coming off the bench.”

One, the dude might be even better if he started.

Two, the Hawks will start stronger on defense with better rebounding. The best defense makes a better offense.

Three, starting Collins is like putting nobody out there.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:38 pm

Big Lou – it’s not who starts, it;s who finishes.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:39 pm

The Atlanta Hawks fined and suspended Johnson one game after a dust-up with head coach Larry Drew.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:40 pm

One, the dude might be even better if he started.

Big Lou – the key word is “might” – he might also gey into early foul trouble – who knows?

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
11:43 pm

You never know until you try it out. Just ask Teague. I’m not going to go back and forth with you. I just know Ivan deserves a chance. Now is the time to test things out.

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:45 pm

It is 4 on 5 with Collins starting. No way can he start against Boston. What if Ivan played 35 minutes? They did say he led the D. League in scoring last season. I would rather start Marvin. At least that is 4.5 vs. 5.

Although I have been a harsh LD critic, he has done a good job this season. NOBODY expected this once Al went down.

doc

April 16th, 2012
11:46 pm

twin had a career night tonight with 5 boards.

retire now please

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:46 pm

Last year the Hawks did consistently lose against sub .500 teams. They know issue beat downs.

Sushi

April 16th, 2012
11:47 pm

Lou,

Whatever – don’t go back and forth then. All I know is Ivan played 27 minutes – Collins played 11.

Bonifide Big Man

April 16th, 2012
11:51 pm

Ivan Johnson played like a bona fide big man tonight!

High-sider

April 16th, 2012
11:53 pm

Jamal Crawford missed his second freakin’ free throw tonight, dadgummit.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:54 pm

Although I have been a harsh LD critic, he has done a good job this season. NOBODY expected this once Al went down.
***

i did. It’s not like we are elite. We are a good team. That’s it.

Horford shouldn’t return this season. He will play even softer than before

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:56 pm

Marvin has one 20 point game this year.
So does Ivan.

Look at their contracts

AG

April 16th, 2012
11:56 pm

This season we have won 10 games by 20+ – and 3 of those wins by 30+. We have lost 4 games by 20+

Last season we won ONE game by 20+. We lost six games by 20+, half of those were 30+ including the embarrassing loss 100-59 at home to the Saints…uh the Hornets.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 16th, 2012
11:58 pm

BL,

I just hope Ivan wouldn’t disappear vs starting units. Don’t want him to get discouraged if it is rough initially

Again, a lineup of TMac Joe Josh Ivan and Z down stretch in Playoffs would be damn intriguing IMHO

AG

April 17th, 2012
12:02 am

KH only has one also. Both contracts $15.5 million. A lot of existing Hawks will get a raise. Hopefully Josh, JT Willie Green and Pargo will get new deals.

Hawk Flappin

April 17th, 2012
12:03 am

Congrats Hawks! Ivan the Terrific, 9 to 5, as Dominique puts it is a ball player. The Hawks need to pick up a veteran point if they plan on getting to the Finals. They might get by with a little luck, but Teague, as well as he is playing needs to take control of the O as a point (He is one year away). You know, some back door alley-oops, etc. And Hinrich, if he is not going to provide an ample amount of 3’s, might as well start Green. I’m just sayin…

Slimjr

April 17th, 2012
12:05 am

14-26= 35% against the winners.. Bites…..

High-sider

April 17th, 2012
12:06 am

Wizards beat Bulls, 87-84.

Slimjr

April 17th, 2012
12:07 am

26-14 is a good job….

sam

April 17th, 2012
12:09 am

Earlier in the season, Bob made the comment to Nique that Teague is really a rookie, since he never really got ANY playing time with Woody (no matter how terrific he looked when he got a couple of minutes at a time and Josh was busy guarding for himself and Bibby). Unfortunately, last year, LD continued along the same lines and, had it not been for Kurt’s injury, his terrific talents may have never been shown.
Anyway, he has done a great job for us this season, as well as being an incredibly exciting player to watch. It would be very nice to see LD give him the props and encouragement that is so well deserved. The players do! Thanks Josh and Joe for seating him between you guys when he left the game. Larry, take a cue from your players and help Jeff rise to the heights he’s capable of. We finally have a REAL point guard that can also defend. I know Josh appreciates that!!
Encouragement, Larry!! Had you been doing that all season, we would have won more games.
GO HAWKS!!!

High-sider

April 17th, 2012
12:15 am

Dallas and Utah are playing in a triple overtime game.

Hawk Flappin

April 17th, 2012
12:16 am

Hence the reason to have a veteran to guide him (Teague) through his first couple of years, or at least when he is out of the game. He is decent enough for what the Hawks do with JJ and Josh. But he needs to be a point that draws a double team every now and then. I only hope for his continued success. If he continues to improve, he will be a potential all star next season.

rake

April 17th, 2012
12:17 am

Anyone still think tmac was not getting minutes because of his knee/. no it was because LD is a egomaniacal maniac. He is like a dictator who needs to have it all his way and strong willed people like Tmac will stick it to him by playing and producing when given minutes,. tmac is averaging 10 points 5 boards on 50% in the last two games in 22 minutes. now thats damn good production on only 7 shots .

Buddy Grizzard

April 17th, 2012
12:21 am

“JeJe – I don’t think you know the entrie story, my friend.” – Sushi

Sushi, I’m afraid you’re the one who is not up on current events. Don’t expect to find any real Hawks news in the AJC however.

“Toronto Raptors color analyst Sherman Hamilton said during the broadcast that he had spoken to several people within the Hawks organization to ask why Ivan Johnson was suspended. He was told that Ivan “got into the entire team” about effort during a timeout in the loss at Boston. As you can see, this isn’t a message the Hawks need to hear, thus the suspension. Thank you, Raptors broadcast team. We don’t get that type of coverage here in Atlanta.”

http://www.hoopinionblog.com/2012/04/initial-feedback-joe-are-you-ready.html

rake

April 17th, 2012
12:28 am

Wow so Ivan questions the teams commitment and he is suspended?. My guess is JJ and Smoove orchastrated the suspension because their overrpaid asses were hurt.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 17th, 2012
12:34 am

Great post, BG

Disappointing MC isn’t more interactive on here. He’s reachable on Twitter I guess.

Dedicating this post to Ivan. At least there is one player on this team who will always fight and not quit.

God Bless Ivan Johnson

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 17th, 2012
12:35 am

If pointguardslim or anyone can find definitive video of that timeout, plz post….later ppl

Grandad

April 17th, 2012
12:38 am

LD:

Ivan may make a TO, he may take a bad shot, he may miss a def assn.;
…………………..don`t worry, believe it or not, a compliment is on it`a way.

Dang LD:

IF Joe or Josh have a Big nite; why don`t you start by sayin`;;
well Josh may make dumb plays & he may take even dumber shots,
and he might think he`s Magic Johnson, but…………………………….
-or- Joe;
well Joe may have taken the last three nites off, or
he may not trust his teammates, or he ain`t much of a leader,
bu…………………………………………………………………………t

Grandad

April 17th, 2012
12:39 am

Grandad

April 17th, 2012
12:43 am

I get it rusty – you don`t like LD;
and you don`t think LD likes JT.

That just about wrap up your message.

-rusty on a loop-