Archive for May, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: The Horford effect

Boston–I mentioned in the Game 5 postgame blog that it had been so long since Al Horford played center for the Hawks it was kind of astonishing to see the difference. I’m sure the Celtics must feel the same.

Fired up the Synergy Sports Technology machine to look at Atlanta’s offensive possessions in Game 5. There was, as expected, lots of visual evidence that the threat of Horford (and Horford himself) helped lead to some good scoring opportunities for the Hawks:

  • There were four possessions used in which Horford was the roll man. He missed two open pick-and-pop Js in the second quarter and later twice scored rolling to the basket.
  • There was one screen-roll in which Horford’s presence led to two free-throw attempts for Marvin Williams. Marvin turned the corner off Horford’s pick and Greg Stiemsma was late coming over to challenge Marvin because he couldn’t leave Horford.
  • There were 11 good spot-up attempts in which the defense was influenced by Horford’s presence. Five were …

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Atlanta Hawks: Gearon: Garnett ‘dirtiest guy in the league,’ Hawks ‘don’t get any calls’

Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. was the featured speaker today at the Third Annual Art of It Luncheon at the Piedmont Park Conservancy. The event is sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Society, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that is “focused on bridging the academic gap that exists between African-American students and their white and Asian peers.”

The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter was at the event and reported the following Hawks-related highlights from Gearon’s speech.

On media coverage of Hawks’ playoff series against the Celtics

“Did you see what Al Horford did last night? The timeline for recovery for his injury is another three months. He’s not even supposed to be playing and Josh [Smith] should not be playing. Zaza [Pachulia] can’t stand up, but if we can get past this round there is a chance that we can get him back. So this is a team that is overcoming adversity. I wish . . . some of the national media or even some of the local media, more the paper than the TV guys, …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks stay alive, head back to Boston

I joined Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe to review the Hawks’ 87-86 Game 5 victory over the Celtics.

Michael Cunningham
, Hawks beat

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Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Game 5: Hawks 87, Celtics 86

  • So Al Horford sits out four months because of the first major injury of his career and then comes back and has what is, under the circumstances, probably his best postseason game. But the Hawks didn’t win until Horford prevented Rajon Rondo from driving to score after they nearly gave the game away with a terrible turnover.
  • Yeah, that sounds about right for the Hawks.
  • Larry Drew: “Al Horford was absolutely huge tonight. His ability to move around at times when we were forced to make switches on defense, and his foot speed enabled him to sta with the ball. Offensively, his gives us a presdence down there, and he made some big shots for us tonight.”
  • After sending out Jason Collins, Erick Dampier, Ivan Johnson and Rusty Al Horford for four games, the Hawks suddenly now another bona fide big man to play alongside Josh Smith. The difference was somewhat noticeable
  • Watching Horford run the floor for dunks in Game 4, I realized it had been so long since I’d seen him out there I …

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Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Game 5: Game thread

  • Hawks starters: Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Zaza Pachulia (foot) is out. All Celtics players are available.
  • Larry Drew on why he’s using this lineup: “One, just to give it a different look and see if it will kind of jump start us a little bit. It gives us an opportunity to move Joe back to some two. It makes us bigger so we can do a few more things defensively in making some adjustments in Game 5. And I just think its’ time. After you play four games in the playoffs, obviously it’s a game of adjustment, and you try to do things to benefit your team. It’s time to give us a different look and see if it will jump start us with Al back in the starting lineup, Marvin in the staring lineup, bringing Kirk [Hinrich] off the bench.”
  • Drew on Horford’s condition: “Physically he feels fine. I wouldn’t say he’s in tip-top shape but he’s in playing shape. He didn’t experience any discomfort with the pec the other day [Game 4]. There was a play …

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Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson: A quote timeline

JUNE 11, 2010

MC

The Hawks also want to move away from an isolation-heavy offensive approach that was influenced by guard Joe Johnson’s playing style. Johnson is eligible to become a free agent next month, and the Hawks still want to re-sign him.

A person with knowledge of Johnson’s plans said he’s still open to returning. But the person said the new coach would have to sell Johnson on relying more on his teammates in the offense and ensure him that locker-room chemistry would improve.

JUNE 16, 2010

Larry Drew

Q. Have you talked to Joe about your philosophy on getting the ball out of his hands and moving it around and, if so, what was his reaction?

A. I did not. It was too early in the process. I was mainly just trying to get my foot in the door, to be a candidate. I expressed to him I was going to push forward and try to get this position, which he said: ‘You should. You are ready for it.’

Q. Do you think he will OK with the idea of not having the ball as much?

A. I …

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Johnson unhappy with limited number of shots

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena, the day after the Hawks’ Game 4 loss to the Celtics.

A day later, Joe Johnson was at loss for words about the Hawks’ embarrassing Game 4 loss to the Celtics that has the team on the brink of playoff elimination.

His one-word answer to a question on his number of shot attempts spoke volumes.

Johnson took just eight shots in Sunday’s 101-79 loss to the Celtics, who are up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 5 Tuesday at Philips Arena.

“I don’t think they are doing anything different defensively on me,” Johnson said. “I think it’s just, basically, getting an opportunity to touch the ball. That’s it.”

When asked if he was not happy with his touches, Johnson answered with a simple, but emphatic, “No.”

Here is what some others had to say about Johnson’s lack of shots in Sunday’s game:

Larry Drew: “We run a lot of things through him. He’s got to be more aggressive in working to get his shots and we have …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks collapse at Boston

I joined The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan to review the Hawks’ 101-79 defeat to the Celtics in Game 4.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks at Celtics Game 4: Celtics 101, Hawks 79

Boston–I could sense the anguish among tweeps over this one. Just when they thought they could at least expect the Hawks to compete, they do this. So much for management’s boasts about being in the same league as the Celtics and the Lakers.

  • Now comes the mockery from Charles Barkley and every other critic who said the Hawks would eventually go belly up. The Hawks never really surrendered like this all season. So why did it happen now, when they were healthier and the stakes were so high?
  • “I really can’t [explain it],” Al Horford said. “I’m trying to sit there and look at it but the only thing that I can tell is that from the beginning of the game, from the jump ball, they established themselves and were way more aggressive. I think we were on our heels from that point on. You can’t do that in the playoffs.”
  • “It felt like we was going to do something good, what, the first five or six minutes of the first quarter,” Josh Smith said. “They just went on a run and scored, what, …

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Atlanta Hawks at Celtics Game 4: Game thread

BostonJosh Smith is testing his left knee pregame but said he will play tonight after no setbacks during this morning’s shootaround. He plans to wear a brace during the game. “When the adrenalin kicks in I probably won’t feel it,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and not even think about it. Play hard, play the way I’m capable of playing and not worry about re-injuring it.”

  • Josh said if the Hawks were up 2-1 instead of down “I would probably be more cautious with the decision. But this is a must-win game for us tonight.”
  • Larry Drew on Smith’s movement at shootaround: “Once he loosened up he looked pretty good.”
  • Tracy McGrady (ankle) said he’s fine: “I feel great. I’m not worried about it.”
  • Al Horford (pectoral) warmed up before the game and decided he feels good enough to be put on the active list. The Hawks say he’s a game-time decision.
  • Drew said he would monitor Josh and T-Mac’s minutes: “I will certainly try to keep an eye on their minutes and we will use them …

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