The Hawks, who were supposed to have an off day Sunday, held a workout (for younger players) and video session following last night’s loss to the Celtics. The Hawks held a 19-point second-quarter lead but it was gone after the Celtics outscored them 33-9 in the third quarter.
Following the video session, players and coaches held a meeting to discuss the loss, which is not the first time this season the Hawks have failed to hold a big lead. I spoke to coach Larry Drew following the meeting. Here are a series of quotes from him. I will just let you read what he said in most of it’s entirety.
* “We just watched film today. As painful as it was to watch, it was very, very productive. After we watched, we had some very good dialog amongst the group. I mean really good. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I wish we could have won the game last night because we played well the first half and then we didn’t play well the second half and came away with a loss. But that brought this meeting today. … The guys had a chance to talk about some things and air some things. It was very productive.”
* “I think we have (an identity). I think what we are struggling with right now are situations that when it gets a little tough mentally we don’t push through it. We don’t push through it. That was a big part of our discussion this morning of dealing with adversity and being able to persevere through adversity. You can’t expect to play well every game. This game is a game of runs. But when you do go through stretches where things aren’t going well you pull together. You don’t fragment. Last night, we fragmented. That was very discouraging. When you fragment, you start looking like a soft team and you start pointing figures and you start making up excuses. We fragmented last night. That is something we talked about today because it’s going to happen again. It’s understanding and it’s learning how to push through it. Those are the situations that make you a better ball club because you know how to handle it. You can deal with it.”
* “Paul Pierce had an interesting quote when asked about the difference between the first half and the second half. They realized that they were fighting each other instead of fighting the opponent. Lo and behold, that’s what we did the second half. We started fighting amongst ourselves instead of the Celtics.”
* “It was everybody, the coaching staff and all the players. We sat and we watched film and we pointed some things out. We pointed individuals out. At the end of the meeting, we had group dialog about certain things: slow starts, slow starts in the third quarter, not coming out with energy at the start of the third quarter. We’ve had issues with those things throughout the season. Last night was really, really glaring. After playing so energized that first half and then coming out in the second half and the energy was sapped from our bodies, particularly when they climbed up in us a little bit. We discussed all of those things. The players had some very interesting things to say and they talked amongst themselves, which is very healthy for a team. They did it in such a way where nobody was degraded. … It was just ‘Let’s talk about this first guys because it’s about the team. It’s team first. This is what we need to do moving from this point forward.’”
* “In the past this type meeting would have resulted in some tempers flaring in there. It was very professional. I’ve got a very mature group. Guys said what they felt. There was no bickering. There were no hard feelings. Everybody was shaking their head in agreement. It was very, very professional. … Sometimes it takes a game like that to humble you a little bit. They voiced their opinions about different things. I was very professional. It was unfortunate that we had take an L to bring us together like that. But like I said, things happen for a reason and maybe that was the reason.”
- Chris Vivlamore
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