Atlanta Hawks vs. Pistons: Game thread

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena before Hawks-Pistons game.

Five games to go in the regular season and Hawks fans still aren’t sure which team they will see on a given night. There is the Hawks team that got drubbed by the last-place Raptors on Sunday – at home – by 16 points on Sunday. There is the Hawks team that defeated the18-games-under-.500 Raptors the following night – on the road – by 22 points.

Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde.

With such dramatic differences in effort and result from one night to the next, it’s worth asking if these Hawks are ready for the playoffs.

“For us, we have to approach each game in a smart fashion,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said Wednesday morning before his team hosted the Pistons. “We have not shown the consistency throughout the board across the season. … For that [home Toronto] game to happen at this time of the season was a little surprising.”

Unlike last season, when the Hawks had the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference wrapped up down the stretch, there is still much to play for. The Hawks have an outside shot at catching the Pacers for the third seed and are in neck-to-neck race with the Celtics and Magic for the right to host a first-round series. Coming up is Friday’s huge game against the Celtics and contests with three other teams fighting for playoff position in the Knicks, Clippers and Mavericks.

“I think it’s more important to carry momentum into the playoffs and carry a good taste in your mouth going into the playoffs, regardless of what the games mean,” Drew said.

Even Hawks players recognize the inconsistent play this season and the need to straighten out any issues in the final games.

“I think we are one of those teams who can be scary in the playoffs because you don’t know what kind of team we can really be,” guard Willie Green said. “I think that’s scary for opponents. It is also a little scary for us. We want to make sure over the last five games we try to be consistent with our play, and a high level of play on both ends of the floor, because when we get into the playoffs we can be a very dangerous team.”

Joe Johnson noted that the Hawks did indeed turn around and “redeem” themselves against the Raptors. Most important, with the games remaining, the Hawks can control their playoff fate and seeding if they finish strong.

“We have to take care of home,” said Johnson of all five remaining games at Philips Arena. “We’ve shown we can be a great team. These last five games we have to come out and show that we can be one of the best teams in this league, try to get some momentum going into the playoffs.”

So Hawks fans, are you comfortable where this team is? Are you willing to chalk up Sunday’s loss to the Raptors as a bump in the road? Can this team turn up the energy level come playoff time, much like in last week’s overtime loss at Boston?

UPDATE: Hawks will also be without backup center Erick Dampier, who is out with a calf injury.

218 comments Add your comment

Runner-

April 18th, 2012
5:08 pm

Get well soon Zaza, or this will be a short end of the season for us…

Big Lou

April 18th, 2012
5:14 pm

“Can this team turn up the energy level come playoff time, much like in last week’s overtime loss at Boston?”

History says no.

Homers pray yes.

me

April 18th, 2012
6:08 pm

how many hawk funs like to see T-mac play more today and rest of the season???

Chris Vivlamore

April 18th, 2012
6:09 pm

Update: Hawks will also be without backup center Erick Dampier, who is day-to-day with a calf injury.

tony

April 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

How did Damp hurt himself? Cramping up whi.e sitting on the bench for 2 months?

AvidFan

April 18th, 2012
6:18 pm

I will be down there tonight showing support. I hope it is a good turnout, and a loud crowd to keep the team’s energy level up.

Smoove4MVP

April 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

Oh NO! we don’t have the walking double cheeseburger tonight. But we still have the cheeseburger in Collins available right?

Big Lou

April 18th, 2012
6:42 pm

“Update: Hawks will also be without backup center Erick Dampier, who is day-to-day with a calf injury.”

This confirms my conspiracy feelings. It’s all a freaking show. None of these dudes are really injured.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
6:43 pm

SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 18th, 2012
6:44 pm

Damp is out? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
6:44 pm

Damp is hurt? Really? LOL, what he do, injure it at the dining table?

Big Lou

April 18th, 2012
6:45 pm

“Damp is out? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

It’s not like LD was going to play him. Now this ‘injury’ will give him the excuse needed.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
6:45 pm

@Big Lou,

I’ve been saying that since the 80’s, its a C-O-N-spiracy!!

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
6:47 pm

Who do want to win in the Celts/Tragic game tonight???

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
6:47 pm

Big Lou

April 18th, 2012
6:50 pm

Tragic needs to pull this one out of their @ss. I have a feeling Boston will sweep the Hawks this season, especially with Zaza out of the lineup.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 18th, 2012
6:55 pm

Who said that?

““I think it’s more important to carry momentum into the playoffs and carry a good taste in your mouth going into the playoffs, regardless of what the games mean,” Drew said.” -drew-
__________

Chris, are you sure coach drew didn’t say: irregardless?

Uggh … did you bail him out of english class?

Walt Frazier

April 18th, 2012
6:59 pm

Eric Dampier? Pleeze. That dude is a walking Teletubby. Why even mention that he won’t be playing. When did he ever play? Does anyone know the progress of Al Horford? Are the Hawks keeping that a secret?

Chris Vivlamore

April 18th, 2012
7:04 pm

drmaryb: There may have been some editing.

Chris Vivlamore

April 18th, 2012
7:05 pm

Walt Frazier: Read my previous blog and Michael’s last story for Horford update.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 18th, 2012
7:06 pm

Celtics – Tragic?

I hope they kill each other. LOL

Sautee

April 18th, 2012
7:06 pm

“Chris, are you sure coach drew didn’t say: irregardless?”

He damn sure didn’t say irrespective, which is the word his vocabulary is obviously missing, lol.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 18th, 2012
7:07 pm

I will be happy to not have to see the Pistons again for several months.

Sautee

April 18th, 2012
7:13 pm

“I will be happy to not have to see the Pistons again for several months.”

Co-sign. Though I DO enjoy watching Monroe. Heady player.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 18th, 2012
7:13 pm

Eric slipped on some gravy @ The Golden Corral. Ya heard?

ag

April 18th, 2012
7:15 pm

Why even put Damp on the injury report? How can a man who does not play get hurt?

KevinM

April 18th, 2012
7:17 pm

Now we know that Jason doesn’t have 20 minutes in his body. Erik being out is not news-worthy. T-Mac not getting regular minutes is news-worthy. Time to start working on the 4 seed and leave all the doubt because you know Boston wants to play Orlando. And Philly must be a mess, because they are fading fast.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

FYI!

I’m at The Atlanta Xplosion team practice @ Campbell HS. Did yawl know Nique’s fiance’ is a player on our team? They’re getting married in a few months.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:33 pm

Erick Dampier = H.R. Pufnstuf

terrell

April 18th, 2012
7:36 pm

I hope Nique is there too Mary B. That way he cant call the game. lol

terrell

April 18th, 2012
7:38 pm

Hinrich will play more min than TMac and Pargo combined. Bank on it.

Blast

April 18th, 2012
7:40 pm

Lets get it!!!!

No tanking. Finish the season strong!!!!!

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:40 pm

Cool, no Tayshaun

Melvin

April 18th, 2012
7:42 pm

How in the heck does Diamper have an calf injury. Did he get hurt walking from the parking lot to the locker room

Blast

April 18th, 2012
7:43 pm

Teague gotta keep driving the ball.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:43 pm

Marcus Teague should stay another year in school, we won’t be as good as Jeff.

phamoo8

April 18th, 2012
7:45 pm

For everyone that is wondering @Walt Frazier especially check this article

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2012/4/17/2954880/al-horford-injury-atlanta-hawks-nba-playoffs-2012

basically al has been cleared to practice with CONTACT … Al might be able to play one or two games before the playoffs if practice goes well …. and if it does i have to say that if they hawks stay in the 5th position and don’t fall to 6th or up to 3rd i can easily see them betting both the Celtic and the Bulls … Heat will be tough but with a healthy ZaZa and Al and an Alpha male Josh Smith …. dare I say NBA finals

DawgNole

April 18th, 2012
7:47 pm

Shot of the year by Collins! Well Collins’ shot of the year, anyway.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:47 pm

Collins just scored his last basket in the NBA.

phamoo8

April 18th, 2012
7:49 pm

Luke ur smokin somthin if u dont no how good jeff brother is … might be better right now but im a JT0 fan so …..

Melvin

April 18th, 2012
7:49 pm

My goodness, Twin actually caught a pass and convert the shot all in one motion…. He probably havent done that since high school.

Smh

April 18th, 2012
7:49 pm

JASON COLLINS! Lmao

Astro Joe

April 18th, 2012
7:50 pm

Teague should get player of the week honors just for making Collins look like a mobile center with that last fast break opportunity.

DawgNole

April 18th, 2012
7:50 pm

Big Lou
April 18th, 2012
5:14 pm

“Can this team turn up the energy level come playoff time, much like in last week’s overtime loss at Boston?”

History says no.

Homers pray yes.
____________________

Highly appropriate response.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 18th, 2012
7:52 pm

Funny to see Nique criticize Stuckey a few possessions ago for shooting a 3 with nobody under the basket. Kirk does that about once per half and nobody says anything.

Regardless of what happens the rest of the game, this is easily Twin’s best game of the season. Good activity on D and he actually managed to finish a layup. Maybe, like Zaza, he gets better with more playing time.

Blast

April 18th, 2012
7:52 pm

Josh gotta be smarter than to allow that first foul to happen.

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:53 pm

Luke Cage doesn’t smoke, but Teague’s lil bro will not be as good, he may get more playing time in his 1st 2yrs but thats about it.

Melvin

April 18th, 2012
7:54 pm

I would do a Horford for Monroe&piece trade…

Luke Cage

April 18th, 2012
7:54 pm

Damn, forgot Charlie V. was in the league still lol.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 18th, 2012
7:55 pm

“Though I DO enjoy watching Monroe. Heady player”

That team will be SCARY if they get Anthony Davis. Davis and Monroe would complement each other perfectly.