Atlanta Hawks: Season’s over

Boston–The Hawks’ streak of second-round playoff appearances ended at three. After a 40-26 regular season, the Hawks lost in six games to the Celtics in the first round. There will be time to dissect things later but, for now, here’s what the participants had to say. . . .

  • Larry Drew on the season: “Given everything that we went through in the season with all the injuries and not having Al and so many guys missing games, I am very proud of our guys. We could have folded the tent. We responded very well, very professionally. Given 40 wins I’m very happy about that, given all we’ve been through. Tonight was disappointing [because] we didn’t advance. I thought we played a very gutsy series other than the one game. Overall I’m very proud of this bunch for what they accomplished.”
  • Al Horford on if there are any ‘what-ifs’ for the season: “There is. I’m proud of the guys the way they reacted and came out every night and competed. That’s tough having so many injuries and different guys having to fill in. I feel like each guy has had their moment this year. I just kind of came in at the end trying to help us out. Unfortunately for us the run ended.”
  • Josh Smith: “We overcame adversity throughout the season. Obviously it’s disappointing that we couldn’t do something special this season. The road was paved as good as it’s ever going to get for us but we didn’t take advantage of it. That’s the frustrating part. But we can’t hang our heads. We have to look at all the positives this team did this season. Losing Al pretty much the whole season and people counting us out, and for us to be able to do what we did, it’s something special. It’s not all negative. We have got to look at the positives and take this into the offseason and work more harder to be able to better ourselves as a unit.”
  • Joe Johnson: “I thought we did what we could with what we had. It was tough. We are just now getting our full squad back together, what is it here, Game 4 of the playoffs? We still had a chance to win and advance. All we wanted to do was give ourselves a chance to win in Boston and we did that. Unfortunately, we came up short.”
  • Doc Rivers: “You’ve got to give Atlanta a lot of credit. You really do. Especially tonight. I mean, Atlanta is criticized so much about who they are and all that stuff. And they had 10 times tonight where they could’ve went away and said, ‘You know what? We gave it great effort.’ And they just kept putting the pressure on us. And I though that was what this series was more about: I thought they kept putting the pressure on us and we had to answer. Game 2 still was the biggest game. Not having [Rajon] Rondo and winning that game was huge for us. And then down the stretch we won games with execution at times.”
  • Drew on Atlanta’s penultimate possession that ended with Josh’s missed jumper: That wasn’t [the play]. We were in our wrong spots. We did not execute what we had drawn up in the huddle. We can’t have that type of mental breakdown at the end of a game. You just can’t have it. That play is not designed to be at the elbow shooting a jump shot. We did not execute it.”
  • Josh on the fourth-quarter offense: “We were getting the shots we wanted. We got some looks. A couple of in-and-out. We tried to drive the paint and get to the free-throw line but we wasn’t getting the calls. If I had to do it all over again, I’d do the same thing in the fourth quarter. We was getting the shots. This team helps so much on the strong side, they kind of make you live with the weak-side perimeter jump shots. Especially when they know what satisfies them the most is it’s not the star players doing it.”
  • Horford on the foul by Marquis Daniels as Atlanta was attempting to inbound the ball: “I know that I was trying to get through and he was grabbing me and I couldn’t really move. I don’t know if the ball was inbounded or not. I was just trying to cut through. Obviously the ref saw [the play] and didn’t call it.”
  • Horford on not intentionally missing the second free-throw attempt down a point and no timeouts: “I didn’t really think about it. That’s something I probably should have given some thought. The first one felt good. I was surprised I missed it. Looking back I should have missed the second one, not realizing we didn’t have any timeouts. I did [realize it] before but there was a lot of stuff going on through the game.”
  • Josh on what “one or two” things could have made a difference for the Hawks: “Maybe we could have shot a little bit more free throws. It was 24-10. We was being aggressive; we just wasn’t getting the calls. I don’t know what we had to do. We played our hearts out tonight. We fell short. A couple controversial calls. Things like that happen when you are on the road. You have to try your hardest to try not to make it a close game. When you play in an environment like the Garden in Boston, they have some of the best fans in the whole entire league. Like I said before, I was a little jealous because the fans here are so supportive of their team. You go out, look in the stands there is nothing but Celtics jerseys. I don’t see a trace of red in there. Understanding that the fans are that passionate, it adds an extra advantage for them. A bad shot can be as good a turnover when you are playing against a team like Boston, especially with the fanbase they have.”
  • Drew on what went wrong when Hawks blew eight-point lead in second quarter: “Bad shots. We had some bad shots. We had some turnovers and those made it into transition baskets. I told the guys at halftime, looking back at how we defended their sets we did a good job but turned it over and took some bad shots. In this building a bad shot is just as good as a turnover and if you don’t have proper floor balance, they can run you right out the gym. That’s what led to that spurt. We didn’t get into our offense very crisp. They pressured us, they took us out of our sweet spots and it just kind of made it tough for us and we didn’t respond to that.”
  • Joe: “We just got a little stagnant. We turned the ball over a few times, they scored. That’s not where we lost the game. In the fourth quarter, we had a three-point lead with a minute and something on the clock. That’s what hurts the most.”
  • Drew on Kevin Garnett: “‘KG,’ he was an All-Star tonight. He made some big shots tonight. He put them into a great position early. He was really fighting for the low block. We were trying to disrupt his rhythm as much as we could. We tried to double team him at times we didn’t get down there fast enough. He made some big shots for them.”
  • Josh on Garnett: “He asserted himself early in the game. We were supposed to trap him a little bit but the traps were a little passive, not aggressive. He took advantage of it. He got himself started early and made some shots down the stretch for them. He’s definitely their emotional leader. He still has a lot in the tank.”
  • Garnett on Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr.’s comments: “First off, I want to say ‘Thank you’ to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight. My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he’s talking about, Xs and Os versus checkbooks and bottom lines. . . . We’re not dirty. We’re firm, we’re aggressive. We’re not dirty. You have to understand the word ‘dirty’ in this game is very defined. Going under guys, trying to hurt guys, ill intent–is not they way we play basketball. . . . We play with a lot of passion, play with force. It’s the playoffs but I’m not trying to hurt anybody, nor has my teammates. I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand and I wanted to address it. Just because you got a bunch of money don’t mean you can open your mouth.”
  • Josh on feeling like the Hawks didn’t get to show what they could do with a full squad: “Al came back. I got injured in Game 2. I think that was a winnable game. Things happen, man. The margin there is so small in the playoffs. Anything can beat you at any given moment. We had opportunities where we could have won games and we couldn’t get it done. We can definitely learn from that basketball team in that other locker room. The way they play collectively on the defensive end together, they really make you think, really make you work for every point. I think we definitely can take their philosophies and apply it to this basketball team because we are long and athletic. Their philosophies can help us be one of the top defensive teams in the entire league next year.”
  • Horford on returning for the playoffs: “I don’t regret any of that. I feel like I went out and played and gave everything I had.”
  • Horford on playing 46 minutes: “I was dragging, to be honest, most of the game. Then in the fourth [quarter] I had to dig down deep and I was like, ‘Let’s make one more big run at this. Let’s try to win this game.’ That’s kind of what fueled me throughout that fourth quarter. I was fatigued but I knew my team needed me.”
  • Joe on “what-ifs”: “Yeah, it hurts. The last three years we advanced and made it to the second round. After last year, we looked at if like we was ready to make that jump. Give them credit. They are a great veteran team that has been around the block, knows what it takes. They came into our house and stole one. That’s all they needed.”
  • Drew on “what-ifs”: “Man, I’ve been saying that from Day One. If we would have had a full squad, if we would have had Zaza [Pachulia], all the games that Kirk [Hinrich] missed, all the games [Jason Collins] missed, the games Marvin [Williams] missed. I’m proud of these guys for responding the way they did given all the injuries. Everyone counted us out. The other day I saw when we lost Al, they projected us to win 25 games. I think that says a lot about [the players] and about my coaching staff with all the adversity we faced this season and yet we were able to overcome.”
  • Josh on moving forward: “Go into the offseason and try to get better every season. Working out, keep having the same work ethic I’ve been having my whole career. Use this as fuel. That’s a great basketball team over there. They’ve done some special things. When they acquired the Big Three, since then they’ve been doing some special things in the postseason. We can definitely learn a lot from that ballclub. It definitely hurts not being able to get out of the first round. . . . I felt like we had the best opportunity to be able make it to the Eastern Conference final, this year more so than other years. That’s always disappointing but we’ve got to take this into the offseason, be able to work hard and try to get better next season.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

206 comments Add your comment

Sugar Ray

May 11th, 2012
12:54 am

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 11th, 2012
12:55 am

FIRE GEARON

FOOL

doc

May 11th, 2012
12:56 am

The Hawks are 1-11 in playoff series against Boston. They last beat the Celtics as the St. Louis Hawks to win the 1958 NBA title. …

this is where it started for me in 58

no wonder i hate green

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 11th, 2012
12:59 am

Read Doc’s comments. It’s obvious they didn’t think we had a shot vs them.

Joe said we did all we could with what we had.

Pretty much means we have hit our ceiling…

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:00 am

Joe Johnson: “I thought we did what we could with what we had. It was tough. We are just now getting our full squad back together, what is it here, Game 4 of the playoffs?

oh my

i hope it is a typo otherwise it is a severe wattage issue. maybe this explains the time to i itiatethr offense untilball the space is gone.

High-sider

May 11th, 2012
1:00 am

I told y’all the Hawks would miss Jamal Crawford this year [postseason].

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 11th, 2012
1:00 am

LOL @ LD acting like missing Collins and Kirk was a huge deal

Hawks4Life

May 11th, 2012
1:01 am

Next yr can we please get a beat writer who cares about the team

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 11th, 2012
1:02 am

i hope it is a typo otherwise it is a severe wattage issue. maybe this explains the time to i itiatethr offense untilball the space is gone.
****

wow

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:05 am

denver has taken the refs out of it

that is the only was a small mariet team can win against the big boys

Joe for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:07 am

Jamal Crawford wouldn’t have won this series. No way. You remember he doesn’t play D, right? Or rebound…

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:07 am

Sugar… who do you feasibly, and the key word is feasibly, get that makes you a better team if you just flippantly jettison Josh?

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:09 am

Doc – “maybe this explains the time to i itiatethr offense untilball the space is gone.”

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:09 am

what was that nonsense?

hawksfan2012

May 11th, 2012
1:11 am

thank you josh smith for calling out the refs, but no hawks fan would be caught dead in boston. lay off the hawks fans. maybe make the ecf first and we will come crawling for a ticket to the games. plus, boston is full of bandwagoners. they didnt fill the stadium like that pre-big 3

Najeh Davenpoop

May 11th, 2012
1:14 am

Najeh Davenpoop

May 11th, 2012
1:15 am

Doom and Gloom

May 11th, 2012
1:15 am

I hate to sound like yet another whiny poster, but the we didn’t play the boston celtics tonight, we played the boston referees!!!! This was some bull, shame on you nba!!!! Most rigged sport in the World!!!!!

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:16 am

When does Joe ever get the balls to say what is really the truth? He should be saying,”i’m not living up to my end of the deal and I need to do more if we are going to be more.”

Instead he says bs like “I don’t feel any added pressure” when referring to the money he’s being paid. I will say it now since no one else really wants to man up and say what really needs to be said.

Joe Johnson IS what is wrong with this team. You can’t pay a guy like THAT, that kind of money and not cause serious chemistry issues with the team.

Joe get paid to be the man but he is anything but that in every aspect of what he should be. Jamal Crawford resented it, other players resent it, you can tell Josh resents it, and Al called him on his b.s.

Joe is the sleeping Elephant in the Room…

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:16 am

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:16 am

Like I said before, I was a little jealous because the fans here are so supportive of their team. You go out, look in the stands there is nothing but Celtics jerseys. I don’t see a trace of red in there. Understanding that the fans are that passionate, it adds an extra advantage for them.

dont worry josh i am giving up my seats next year so colored jerseys can sit there. maybe it is fun for them to watch solid mistake free and choke free basketball played by their home team. me i think i will become a nugger fan because they have a smart coach who tyeir owner pays well and they are giving it all. they have had their share of turmoil and survived too

dude you need a sport shrink bad. great body and equally big ego under too small a brain.

we really missed al this year for his heady play in spite of the haters

jjm

May 11th, 2012
1:16 am

Lol josh get the hell out of atlanta

Mark

May 11th, 2012
1:20 am

Well Josh maybe the team would have more support from fans if they didn’t have STUPID PLAYERS LIKE YOU who settle for jumpshots with the season on the line.

Hawks4Life

May 11th, 2012
1:20 am

It aint joe fault that we didnt resign jamal…you gotta blame that on gearon and co. All the elite teams have max players and know that they have to go over the cap to fill the team with quality players. We have to get qualtiy coach and a damn center.

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:21 am

Joe not for 3
May 11th, 2012
1:09 am

Doc – “maybe this explains the time to i itiatethr offense untilball the space is gone.”

try this as response to jj’s fourth game comment:

maybe this explains the time it takes to initiates the offense until the space is gone.

LinkReport this comment

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:21 am

Doom and Gloom – I hate complaining about refs too, but that game was called like a joke. 10 FT attempts for atl, 24 for bos.

It’s not like the hawks weren’t driving and getting inside. They were. They just never got a whistle on the shot. Conversely, every time Boston went up for a shot down low, the whistle would appear.

tjhook

May 11th, 2012
1:21 am

goodbye LD please

Fats

May 11th, 2012
1:21 am

They fought like warriors in Boston. Got called for too many technicals and what is with the 25 foot jumper in the last 30 seconds? Stupid mistakes kill ya,but they went to war and cant complain of the battle they put up.

christopher mehegan

May 11th, 2012
1:22 am

HAHAHAHAHAH GUESS WHAT U BUNCH OF CHOKELANTA STEPPINGSTONE PLAYOFF FOOTNOTE CHOKERS EARNED URSELVES WITH THE FIRST ROUND EXIT TONIGHT IS A 1 WAY TICKET BACK HOME TO CHOKELANTA WITH UR GOLF CLUBS IN HAND TO TAKE IN ALL THE GOLFING U GUYS CAN ENJOY YEAR ROUND NO SECOND ROUND PLAYOFFS FOR U CHOKERS JUST A YEARS WORTH OF GOLFING ICE FISHING AND SOME MORE GOLFING U GUYS WILL ALWAYS BE KNOWN AS NOTHING MORE THAN A BUNCH OF CHOKELANTA PLAYOFF STEPPINGSTONE CHOKERS THAT TURTLED OUT OF THE FIRST ROUND INTO THE OFFSEASON OF MEDIOCRITY UNCERTAINESS AND BY THE WAY MORE GOLFING AND ICE FISHING HAHAHAHAHAH GREEN AND WHITE FOREVER GO CELTICS AS THE OLD SPORTS SAYING GOES WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR IF U MAKE IT NEXT YEAR HAHAHAHAHA:)

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:22 am

I’m born and raised in ATL and I feel his pain. Hell, i hate going to the games having to drown out the other teams’ fans.

But it is what it is until.. until gawd knows when.

Mark

May 11th, 2012
1:23 am

I guess this ends Michael Gearon’s theory on us being 1 of three teams to get out of the second round in the entire NBA. What a loser! Please stop calling players like Garnett and maybe start calling out your COACH and 120 Million dollar superdud!

jwmoney12

May 11th, 2012
1:24 am

jj is getting paid to much money

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:25 am

You know Gearon’s battle cry for the off-season. “With a healthy core and more experience, we will really see what this team will do.”

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:26 am

im glad we saved our guys in game two for game seven. right?

Rick Sund

May 11th, 2012
1:27 am

I hope you fans saw plenty of UPSIDE tonight. Joe SUPERSTAR Johnson really showed why I gave him so much money.

christopher mehegan

May 11th, 2012
1:28 am

okelanta is full of chokers tonight hahahahahah enjoy the offseason of ice fishing and golfine oh and by the way guys let me know how ur golfing and ice fishing season is going

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:28 am

george karl is so cool and he has a great smile on his face. cat eating the bird.

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:29 am

Mark, can you believe that in an elimination game that the $120M gave you 0 pts, 0 reb, 1 ast?

If it wasn’t for the fact that tonite Joe’s performance was par for the course I might be shocked.

hawksfan2012

May 11th, 2012
1:29 am

TRADE JOSH SMITH FOR A BIG. HE IS A TEAM KILLER WITH HIS SHOT SELECTION. HE BELONGS IN CHARLOTTE. AL HORFORD MADE THIS A SERIES. AL HORFORD HAS THE HEART OF A LION.

Hawks Fan Down Under

May 11th, 2012
1:29 am

First things first….we need a new coach.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

May 11th, 2012
1:30 am

With one knee, Pierce had just as good a game as Joe

doc

May 11th, 2012
1:32 am

wow terrible call

kobe should have been heading home early

bynum maybe done in this series fareid and mcghee may rule the west

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:32 am

JeJe

CORRECTION: Pierce had a better game with one knee.

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:33 am

Bynum with a serious sour-puss.

CamiloAtlanta

May 11th, 2012
1:33 am

Who cares what they say. They are all losers.

Hawks4Life

May 11th, 2012
1:33 am

Joe was going to get a max deal where ever he went so get over it… If joe didnt come to the hawks we would never even smell the playoffs and we still wouldnt get anybody to come play here with way the owners do bus and the lack of fan support.

High-sider

May 11th, 2012
1:36 am

@Joe for 3

Joe for 3
May 11th, 2012
1:07 am

Jamal Crawford wouldn’t have won this series. No way. You remember he doesn’t play D, right? Or rebound…
———————————————————–

He [Jamal Crawford] may not play D or rebound but he [Crawford] can score and help get you [and the Hawks] out of the first round of the playoffs. See Hawks’ postseason playoff runs of 2010 and 2011.

P.S. Crawford can also make his free throws at a very high rate/percentage [92.7%]. As George “Ice Man” Gervin would say, “Jamal Crawford can finger roll.”

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/ATL/

Joe not for 3

May 11th, 2012
1:37 am

BS – Not this season. This team would have been in the playoffs without JJ. What does he do for this team now. Vanish in crucial situations, avoid any attempt at rebounding, have a contract that renders ATL from making any moves.

hawksfan2012

May 11th, 2012
1:38 am

THOSE REFS COST US THE GAME!!! COME ON HAWKS PLAYERS AND COACHES, CALL THEM OUT ON IT.

Super Randy

May 11th, 2012
1:39 am

Just because Joe may have, key word is “may”, doesn’t mean that it was smart for ATL to give him $120M. There are plenty guys out there that can give you points without meaningful contributions in other areas of the game for a hell of alot less.