C-Viv back in the house

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena prior to Hawks practice.

So, before I leave for a week off the Hawks are 3-4 and have lost two straight on an unhealthy West coast trip. I come back to a team that is 8-4 and are winners of five straight. Coincidence? (Just a joke). A special thanks to MC, Doug Roberson and Carroll Rogers for filling in for me.

The plan today is to catch up with LD and the team and write something about what has gone right during the five-game win streak.

Before practice and then interviews get underway, let me know what you think. What has been the difference the past week? Defense? Jeff Teague? Al Horford?

I will update the blog later this afternoon with what coach and players are saying.

- Chris Vivlamore

32 comments Add your comment

soullrenaissance

November 26th, 2012
11:26 am

soullrenaissance

November 26th, 2012
11:30 am

Very impressive to be the hottest team in the league when this was supposed to be a down year. I see nothing but improvement from here on out.

kwooden1

November 26th, 2012
11:52 am

I’m glad to see the HAWKS getting wins and hanging tough at the end of games. Teague is really looking like a top flight PG, with the assists and constant attacking. We’re still a team that can get destroyed on the boards, especially without Zaza and also our perimeter defensive is very weak at times. We could use a good rebounding and defensive minded SF, I definitely agreed with all the talk about keeping James and cutting Anthony. I also go back to the draft where Ferry took Jenkins over a few SFs that were available. Jeff Taylor was my pick and he’s playing pretty well for Charlotte as a starter. Hopefully Ferry has a few more tricks near the trade deadline, to continue to improve this team.

GO HAWKS!!

Anthony

November 26th, 2012
11:57 am

I believe Jeff Teague’s point guard play has improved since the start of the season. Additionally, if Josh Smith can stay away from long jumpers that will dramatically help the Hawks win ball games

The Truth

November 26th, 2012
12:00 pm

“Before practice and then interviews get underway, let me know what you think. What has been the difference the past week? Defense? Jeff Teague? Al Horford?”

1. No Anthony Tolliver in the lineup

2. More Anthony Morrow

3. More Ivan Johnson

4. More Big Lineup

5. More FT practice (AL Horford & Josh Smith)

6. Less TOs (Josh Smith)

Jody

November 26th, 2012
12:02 pm

I don’t think bringing in ANOTHER small forward is the answer to the rebounding woes. I think they should start ZaZa and play with a bigger lineup.

Sherewshevsky

November 26th, 2012
12:15 pm

As a team, doing these 3 most fundamental thing will always keep you in the game. These 3 things require focus, which any player ought to have. It’s all in the mind, you know?

1) Few turnovers.
2) Making foul shots.
3) Playing hard defense.

vava74

November 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

I think it is safe to say that the absence of Tolliver has been an immediate PLUS…

Slimjr

November 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

10-1

8-4

27-9

9-3

Slimjr

November 26th, 2012
12:24 pm

His floater is unstoppable at any level..

Ty it sometime..

Slimjr

November 26th, 2012
12:24 pm

Slimjr

November 26th, 2012
12:32 pm

ZaZa by a long shot = most improved Hawks player..

Teague just needs major minutes[42-45] to make this club a 2 or 3 seed…And to think we thought ESPN was blowing smoke?

There’s plenty of gas left in his tank for years to come….

Runner-

November 26th, 2012
12:36 pm

Zaza’s momentum has definitely helped us during close games this year, but Jeff Teague is easily the best key to our success so far. We have a team filled with shooters, and Jeff’s penetration and now ball movement have helped take this offense to a whole new level. Add that with Al’s more agressive play and hopefully soon-to-be smarter shot selection of Smoove, this Hawks team can easily finish in the top half of the East

Runner-

November 26th, 2012
12:38 pm

By the way, I still don’t believe Zaza is a starter, regardless of how well he’s played thus far. I think he is most effective coming off the bench and giing us that added momentum he is known for.

Jason S

November 26th, 2012
12:56 pm

Kyle Korver — hustling on both ends of the floor, making his 3s, and does not seem to be the defensive liability that many of us thought he would be.

Teague — without a doubt is coming into his own this year and has played very well over the last 5.

Tolliver — no Tolliver in the rotation … addition by subtraction.

Zaza — really solid play over the last 5.

Josh — still needs to be a bit more consistent but he definitely played a bit more “within himself” over the last couple games

Al — very solid, other than the 1 for 10 FTs against the Wizards.

L.D. — better rotations. no Tolliver. more Ivan. sticking with Teague a bit more. only going with Lou for extended minutes when he is hot. in general, improved distribution of PT for our guards and “SFs”

ag

November 26th, 2012
1:02 pm

Since you were gone….

!. LESS TOLLIVER
2. LESS TOLLIVER
3. LESS TOLLIVER
4. MORE IVAN
5. LESS JOSH (OT against Bobcats/ 1st half Clippers)

I think when the Hawks play with the shorter rotations make us better. Sitting Stevenson and Harris gave players more time on the court and we got better production. That is the only question I have.

Astro Joe

November 26th, 2012
1:07 pm

The ongoing focus on Tolliver is incredible.

Teague is the biggest reason for early season success. And LD. If the sum is greater than the parts (which is my belief), then you have to acknowledge the influence of management.

ECF or Bust

November 26th, 2012
1:09 pm

hawks will have more time for practice and learning Coach Drew newest wrinkles coming up in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to see what Coaches come up with. also 3 straight games with no tv.
Go Hawks.

Mark

November 26th, 2012
1:11 pm

Have not been able to see any games from start to finish this year but love the fact that we unloaded a good but not great player in Joe Johnson and freed up so much cap space. Danny Ferry has to be executive of the year if this team ends up with 45 plus wins and in the playoffs. Even though ownership is still in place at least they have finally decided to step back and let a real pro who understands the game run the organization. Not sold on LD but maybe he can prove me wrong this year with his team running his offense not ISO JOE! Love the heart of Smith & Horford, true competitors who play their a** off when in it matters, maybe with the new cap room can add a piece at trade dead line.

newkid

November 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

Looks like someone (could it be Drew?) has started to convince Al Horford that he could perhaps have a James Worthy type career if he’d consistently defer to his point guard (especially on the break) and make himself available at the front of the rim as often as possible. Over the past several games Al seems to have gotten far more baskets by running to the front of the bucket on breaks, and moving in the half-court offense so that he can receive the ball and attack the rim with one or fewer dribbles. He’s faster than almost all 4s and 5s in the league, and would see at least a 5-point per game increase in his scoring average if he did this consistently, along with hitting 75% of his free throws. To his and the team’s detriment, Woody and Drew (who I think played briefly with Worthy) have allowed or encouraged him to try and dribble the ball over half court after getting defensive rebounds. Couldn’t imagine Worthy even thinking about such non-sense in the Laker offense.

While Al may still be pliable, there is apparently no hope for Smith in this regard (at least while he’s with the Hawks). But, to his credit, Smith does have a degree of play-making ability when he chooses to bring the ball up on the break (Al has none whatsoever). As has been said here 1000s of times, he too would be a far more effective offensive player if he would consistently give the ball to the point guard and sprint the floor. If he is traded to the Lakers, Nash and D’Antoni will likely insist upon this, and it’ll speed up the Lakers’ offense tremendously.

@KJbeatz

November 26th, 2012
1:25 pm

Jeff Teague is actually playing the point and not worried about devin Harris. Or his minutes. He can average 10 assist a game with the shooters ( mainly Kyle and Lou ) we got on this team. Teague can average 16 and 10. Then he can be a all star this year. No Derrick rose. And I think he better then Rando

cpsman_atlanta

November 26th, 2012
1:33 pm

Chris V. – Only AJC writer on Atlanta $pirit Group’s payroll.

BOYCOTT ATLANTA $PIRIT GROUP!!!! BRING BACK THE THRASHERS!!!!

hot.trod.87

November 26th, 2012
1:33 pm

Hawks ranked number one in steals and blocks… Hawks have the 1st ranked defense right now. All because of Josh, AL, Ivan, & Zaza.. Josh has given so much of himself on the defensive end, it’s lowered his offensive number. Now that Al has stepped up his defense, he’s missing free throws. These things happens as you transition from a team who’s last in the league in free throws to a team that’s shooting free throws. Losing Joe, our main ball handler/ court coach for the last 5 yrs. is like Brees playing w/o Payton but w/ a winning record !!!!!!!! One of the few teams to lose 2 starting players in the lineup and just play their butts off.. Our defensive threats is all because of the front court of Josh, Al, Zaza, & Ivan. With a backcourt of Lou, Teague, & Devin attacking the defense of the opposing team. Leading in defense, blocked shots, & steals is something to entice free agents looking for a new home !!!!!

steve brown

November 26th, 2012
1:37 pm

We will reach a point fairly soon wherein every day Josh is not traded the Hawks begin to lose some trade bargaining leverage. Move him the sooner the better.

hot.trod.87

November 26th, 2012
1:42 pm

People always put the emphasis on Josh, BUT he’s the only bringing change in the organization. He was the reason Hawks fired Mike Woodson for Larry Drew who FINALLY got us out of the 2nd round against Orlando, uprooting Dwight out of Orlando. Josh is the reason why ASG decided to hire Danny Ferry who was able to get us out of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams’ contracts. Josh got his friend Lou with him here now. His free throws are slipping as he’s been asked to defend more. Remember Lou & Josh calling out the players on defense.Look at our team NOW.1st ranked defense… Josh & Lou’s NBA phone book is deepest on our squad so they’re needed to get the players we need to take us to the next level. GM’s need players to recruit for them. Josh is doing that. Horford 5-11 in FGs 0-1 in FGs for 10 points 8 rebounds & 3 assists…..Lou Williams 18 points in 25 minutes going 6-6 at the line…. Teague 5 turnovers Horford and Zaza 3… Josh 1. We’re winning

NCBravesFan

November 26th, 2012
1:45 pm

Personally I think the improvement traces back to more ball movement and an increasing commitment to playing “inside-out”. The Hawks are on a run right now because they’re shooting the ball really well and executing their offense.

It’s been nice to see.

hot.trod.87

November 26th, 2012
1:45 pm

JOSH SMITH IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE… It’s proven that Ferry tried to offer up AL & Teague for Dwight. made it clear, he’s not up for trade. Sorry Steve Brown. Teague is doing better, but he needs to step up his defense. Still gets burned on the screens

doc

November 26th, 2012
1:56 pm

for my friend the fretting faux atl fan really a knick/giant fan:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/sports/basketball/qa-fat-joe-a-rapper-and-a-die-hard-knicks-fan.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121126

they got money and prestigious fans like l a just havent converted in spite of all the funds and attention.

hot.trod.87

November 26th, 2012
2:01 pm

Last game we lost was to the Warriors. Smith and Williams, were clearly frustrated with the issues on defense. “We have to do a better job of playing on the perimeter. When people get into our paint, bigs are forced to help and contest shots. Normally when we take the challenge defensively on the perimeter and play with a chip on our shoulders I think that we are a good basketball team. We have to do that on a consistent basis.”….. This is leadership !!!!!!!!!!! This is why we’re number 1 in defense.

doc

November 26th, 2012
2:09 pm

pretty good start for 15% of season now history. havent been beaten by a dregs team, have gotten three unexpected wins by teams likely to finish higher than them. that all the while converting over 2/3 of the team.

at some point c viv, LD and the coaching staff have to get some credit. that wont settle well with the anti-LD crowd but it is what it is. somebody is coaching these guys up. they are not playing street ball. also team defense has been awesome again in spite those with the refrain our coach doesnt stress it nor teach it and is only offensive minded.

the team hasnt lost anything by not rehiring woody at excessive bucks, nor retaining the contracts of jj and marvin. sure, it is still early but very entertaining team playing with effort.

final thought is by the new year this team could be 19-10, sitting 9 games over 500. not too shabby.

tony

November 26th, 2012
2:20 pm

Without question it has been Zaza. Putting him in the starting line up make us a very good defensive/rebounding team. Less Smith isolation and no Tolliver.

Astro Joe

November 26th, 2012
2:31 pm

doc, I’m not sure Woody was making ‘excessive” money. I think he would have still been in the bottom half of NBA head coaches. But you’re right, they were able to trade a bottom half head coach for a bottom 20% salaried head coach without missing a beat.