Atlanta Hawks: Team holds meeting to air issues after loss to Celtics

Vivlamore reporting.

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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187 comments Add your comment

Buddy Grizzard

January 6th, 2013
3:46 pm

O’Brien, how many picks from the bottom half of last year’s draft, a deep draft, are performing better than Williams this year? And you don’t want to give up a pick from this year’s shallow draft?

Najeh Davenpoop

January 6th, 2013
3:55 pm

We’ll find out if this meeting meant anything on January 25 when the Celtics come back here. If the Hawks p-ss their pants in terror again, we’ll know they are full of sh-t.

Points

January 6th, 2013
3:56 pm

CV- Thoughts on this?

http://goo.gl/Wu27R

Details of Joe Johnson trade emerge: Nets agreed to swap 2014-15 first-round picks with Atlanta

Buddy Grizzard

January 6th, 2013
3:57 pm

Najeh do you think Korver was afraid of Pierce or just overmatched trying to defend an All-Star small forward?

keith

January 6th, 2013
4:01 pm

BOLD MOVES NEED TO BE MADE……

Might require that you change your starting line-up coach?

Why not bring Josh Smith or Al Horford off the Bench going forward?

Slimjr

January 6th, 2013
4:02 pm

Korver was overmatched..

Al was on lock down and Josh was shooting blanks..

Looney Larry on que throwing his team under the bus…

kuhndog

January 6th, 2013
4:02 pm

Talk is cheap actions speak louder than words. That said it is important for the team to move on. We will see Boston again and can not forget this feeling. LD is as much to blame as every one else. Josh has to get in the paint and do work, Al needs to quit messing around with the ball and make quick moves to the basket. Jeff needs to stay energized and in attack mode, please give Ivan more minutes.

Slimjr

January 6th, 2013
4:04 pm

He has got to give Ivan the great a boat load more minutes..We need a banger in there not Alena..

keith

January 6th, 2013
4:05 pm

SEE PETE CARROLL(SEATTLE SEAHAWKS) & JIM HARBAUGH(49ERS)

Have the Guts to make Bold Moves….

Salaries aside….Zaza Pachulia has earned the right to start…PERIOD.
Ivan Johnson deserves to be the 1st guy off the Bench right now…25-30 minutes…

Points

January 6th, 2013
4:08 pm

Zaza fights for boards. Seems like some of the other guys sometimes pass on basic boxing out.

Slimjr

January 6th, 2013
4:14 pm

Big Ray,

I believe your right. The Hawks will have to make a move on the front line before the trade deadline..

Doc and the rest of the NBA has caught them..

Andrew Higgins should be NBA ready in a couple of years as far drafting goes..

keith

January 6th, 2013
4:14 pm

Amar’e Stoudemire

Head Coach Mike Woodson decided NOT to give Stoudemire his startting position back…Amar’e has adapted, accepted, and adjusted to his “new role.”

You have to do what’s BEST for your Basketball team LARRY DREW and stop coaching Scared!!!

Slimjr

January 6th, 2013
4:17 pm

AL, Josh, Zaza, and Ivan do not make a team ECF ready…

Without exceptional guard play to carry them, its one and done…

jlewis

January 6th, 2013
4:18 pm

JJ is gone and the same problems persist, like i’ve said all along, he was not the problem. The coach is still bad, there is still no bench, Josh is still Josh and Al has no post up game. There is a saving grace, the NBA is full of bad, undisciplined players and teams. Additionally, by the time there is a draft pick that can help the team, Josh and Al will be to old. There is no free agent big man or small forward that can come in here and turn it around, they cost A LOT of money, based on attendance, the team can’t afford it. Just enjoy the league, this team will not compete for a championship any time soon.

prison mike

January 6th, 2013
4:19 pm

A 24 year old point guard is too young to lead this team into the playoffs. The teams needs a vet and leader controlling the offense until Teague can stop playing inconsistent if he ever does.

Denver is the perfect trading partner for us. They need shooters and have young bigs and swingmen that fit the criteria to get a deal done.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 6th, 2013
4:19 pm

“Najeh do you think Korver was afraid of Pierce or just overmatched trying to defend an All-Star small forward?”

That was an unfair defensive assignment for Korver, but the team as a whole was scared and lost their composure and I didn’t get the impression Korver was an exception in that regard.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 6th, 2013
4:21 pm

“JJ is gone and the same problems persist, like i’ve said all along, he was not the problem. ”

Like you’ve said all along?

jlewis
September 6th, 2012
11:30 pm

Its going to take 5-10 years to get back to where we were last year…lets get real.

Try again homie.

Points

January 6th, 2013
4:26 pm

jlewis

January 6th, 2013
4:26 pm

Yes, I still stand by what I said, and i’m not your homie.

O'Brien

January 6th, 2013
4:26 pm

Buddy,

My issue with D-Will2 is not that he isnt worth a first round pick (maybe he is, maybe he isn’t). My reason for saying no is we need a legit SF, not a tweener, which is what I think D-Will2 is.

jlewis

January 6th, 2013
4:27 pm

That team last year would have contended, injuries killed us more than the Celtics. Al was hurt, Josh missed a game, ZaZa missed the series, we had no bigs and lost 4-2. The break up was premature and done for financial reasons. I stand by what I said.

O'Brien

January 6th, 2013
4:29 pm

C-Viv,

Good writeup as always.

However, 1) LD said “I think we have (an identity).. Could you ask him what is our identity?

And 2) Could you ask him what is the main issues we have with rebounding? Is it technique? Is it not boxing out? Is it guards not helping on the glass?

Najeh Davenpoop

January 6th, 2013
4:31 pm

If the Hawks go .500 the rest of the year they will lose in the first round just as effectively as they did with Joe and Marvin, who are now supporting players on worse teams than the Hawks. That’s a lot less than 5-10 years to get back to the same place.

The Joe trade was one of the top 5 trades in ATL sports history, up there with Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz and the Fred McGriff trade.

prison mike

January 6th, 2013
4:34 pm

A Toronto fan proposed this trade to me:

Calderon and a high 2nd rounder for
Devin Harris and future 2014 or 2015 first round pick.

We could add Calderon to Jeff and Lou, that would be a killer combo.

W.R. Terrell

January 6th, 2013
4:36 pm

The same prob will exist before the 3rd game coming up. The “Smoove”, will continue to launch like a nutcase, he will continue to think he’s a point guard, he will continue to live at the 3 point line, he will continue to have at least 3 TO’s a game. LD should bring him off the bench and he won’t. ZaZa needs to start along with Ivan and Al. JT needs to stop yielding to the “Smoove” at the 3 point line, he also needs to play with aggression and know where his team mates need to get the ball to be productive. LD will start the “Smoove”, but he is the cancer that continues to grow, the “Smoove” has no B Ball IQ. I’m kind of tired of LD and his talks and nothing changes. The HAWKS function better as a unit with cohesion and focus when the “Smoove”, is not in the lineup it is noted, seen and understood. Whatver reason the guards appear to freeze JJ from stroking his jumper needs to stop, JJ should be looked for at every opportunity when he is on the floor. The “Smoove will not change he is as much rhetoric as LD and twice as disruptive. DF is giving HAWK fans a mouthful of Josh Smith, it will be acceptable when he is no longer a HAWK. Folks say Al has no post game and he is a defensive liability but I can deal with his shortcomings moreso then the “Smooves” BS.

MattP

January 6th, 2013
4:36 pm

Instead of coming out of the half with ISO Joe, now Drew pretty much goes with ISO Josh. This is the reason some people look at this team being better without Josh. Drew is play Josh as the #1 option and he doesn’t even use him correctly on offense.

keith

January 6th, 2013
4:37 pm

O’Brien
January 6th, 2013
4:26 pm

Ditto!!!

Derrick Williams is an “Average” to “Below average” Basketball talent… He played out west in a “WEAK” College Basketball Conference…Like many west coast Ballers, he looked more talented playing game after game against SCRUBS…

jlewis

January 6th, 2013
4:38 pm

The season is not over yet. The Hawks have played one of, if not the softest schedules in the league. Brooklyn has played the Knicks 3 times, Celtics 3 times, Heat twice, OKC twice, Lakers 1 time, it can be argued they have played the toughest part of their schedule already. JJ is not a supporting player, you can not like the guy, but at the end of games he’s getting that rock. My question to you is, we needed shooters and a big man when Marvin and Joe was here, where was the front office to provide this? ATL is a horrible sports town, my question to you Najeh, do you have season tickets and support the team?

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
4:40 pm

The details of the Joe trade are mildly interesting. I wouldn;t bet a mortgage that the Hawks finish ahead of the Nets in ‘14 or ‘15. The optimist in me says that Ty Lawson was selected 1 pick ahead of Teague… so if the Hawks are able to gain even a single spot, we could end up with a better player. But when thinking about the way the Nets’ owner is financially supporting the team, it is hard to see them not making the moves needed to be a top 2-3 team in the conference.

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
4:46 pm

With Love’s injury, Williams will have a few weeks to prove his value or he will be dumped before the trade deadline. I would make the gamble but by NO means do I believe he is some type of franchise savior. I think it is quite possible that he becomes Hakim Warrick and not some phenom. After the other night, I’m wondering if the Hawks shouldn’t target Austin Daye as a cheap SF with upside.

Phil Lunney

January 6th, 2013
4:48 pm

I am glad that the Hawks had this bad week, now. First there were the Pistons, nice come back but too little too late. And the Pistons seem to have the Hawks number.
Then come the Celtics. Hawks have a great first half, then fall asleep and stop attacking in the 3rd quarter. Then the old Celtics played Al and Josh like a fiddle, Paul Pierce gets a few calls and laughs at the Hawks, Al and Josh complain about fouls and lose focus. Game, set, match!
Guess what guys, the Celtics are always going to get the calls, get over it. Get as tough as Zaza and start playing with the intensity you had at the start of the year. This is your year, if you wake up, play hard and forget the refs. Earn your place in the NBA otherwise, it is one playoff series and you’re gone, so is the coach and a different group of players for Danny Ferry next year. It’s now or never for the Al Horford/Josh Smith and friends.
Don’t misunderstand, I love you guys, I want this to work. When you play the motion offense and attack and come back on defense you can play with anybody. But if you let the old guard get under your skin, you are just kids.

keith

January 6th, 2013
5:07 pm

“GET YOUR POPCORN READY BOYS”

RGIII maybe coming to the ATL next week???

Jamaaliver

January 6th, 2013
5:12 pm

I hate to tell you guys this, but Brooklyn isn’t a ‘worse team’ than us.

They have struggled greatly this year adjusting to their new lineup, and they’re still only a whopping one game behind us in the Win Column.

Brooklyn, Indiana nd Chicago are coming hard and fast for our third place spot.

Josh Smith is so frustrating. we’re 2-0 without him. We avg 100+ points without Josh this year against two of the top defensive teams in the league. That’s because we tend to share the ball more.

Korver and Lou can not be given the task of guarding the opponents top wing player. That’s is not their strength. Deshawn needs to regain his starting spot.

We have a veteran, experienced, sure-handed PG on our roster: Devin Harris.

AL has to be more aggressive.

Disgusted

January 6th, 2013
5:17 pm

The 20-10 start was fools gold — this is still a playoff team in the weak East but this team should be a low 40’s win team at best.

I give em credit for the good start but they are not that good.

northcyde

January 6th, 2013
5:18 pm

I just posted this on hawksquawk, even before I saw this write up by C-Viv. But for those of you who aren’t a part of that site, here is what I posted:

***************

I know the focus is on Josh Smith for what went on last night. And it’s easy to focus on him for some of the plays he made. The fact is though that at least Josh TRIED to make something happen, whether it be positive or negative.

Early on in that 3rd quarter, he did go to the hole hard on two occasions to get to the FT line. The problem with Josh is that he’s just not a reliable FT shooter ( which also makes him an unreliable scoring option ). Josh misses 3 out of 4 FTs in that stretch, while the Celtics just continued to methodically chip away at the lead.

My thing is this though . . . where was AL HORFORD? What did he do to even try to stop or slow down what happened last night? Answer = NOTHING.

He passed up shots. He was late on a few defensive rotations. He didn’t rebound. Basically, he deferred to Josh, Lou, and anybody else. He had absolutely NO IMPACT in that quarter. None. If he is one of the leaders on the Hawks, this cannot happen. Smith tries, but he cannot do it. Horford doesn’t even try ( until Smith is out with an injury ).

Now we get to Larry Drew. So let me get this straight, you basically call out the Hawks for being soft when Boston turned up the pressure. But what did YOU DO to combat what Boston was doing? Yeah, you called a timeout after Boston scored 4 straight points, to so-call get the team back in focus. But you didn’t call another timeout the rest of the quarter, waiting instead for TV timeouts to “talk” to the team.

And here were your lineups to combat what Boston did: ( subs are in CAPS )

3rd quarter starters: Teague – Williams – Korver – Smith – Horford . . ( – 12 for the quarter )
4:49 mark lineup: Teague – Williams – STEVENSON – Smith – Horford . . ( -4 )
3:18 mark lineup: Teague – Williams – Stevenson – Smith – ZAZA ( -2 )
1:54 mark lineup: Williams – Stevenson – Smith – TOLLIVER – Zaza ( -4 )
1:02 mark lineup: Williams – Stevenson – Tolliver – HORFORD – Zaza ( -2 )

So you didn’t want the team to play SOFT, but you didn’t even try to go to a semi-big lineup until the 1:54 mark? And when you DID do it, you bring in Anthony Tolliver? Not even going to ask why the team’s toughest and scariest player was just chewing gum on the bench and not even getting a chance to impact the game at this time. And when you DID decide to put him in the game, he starts to make things happen, but the Hawks were in too much of a hole.

Yeah Drew, the Hawks are SOFT. And they already have that label. Your starting center DEFINITELY played soft last night. But you expect SOFT players to play with toughness? It doesn’t work that way man. Tough guys are tough guys for a reason. And they only know how to play one way.

Stat of the night for you Larry.

Out of 95 offensive play types charted by Synergy, do you know how many official post up plays the Hawks had?

THREE

3 out of 95 Larry. And two of those didn’t come until midway through the 4th quarter.

Meanwhile we had 29 out of 95 plays that were spot up jumpers ( 30.5% of the plays ). Our shooting % on those jumpers?

20.8% . . ( 5 – 24 FG ) . . . with 20 of those shots being 3 pointers ( made 5 of them )

We missed 7 of these types of shots in the 3rd quarter alone, and made just 1 – 11 in the 2nd half. Josh Smith had 5 of the misses via spot ups ( 4 actual jumpers and 1 driving layup . . 2 turnovers also ), and had the only make ( the 3 pointer that brought the Hawks within 6 in the 4th quarter )

That is on YOU Larry.

The Hawks are 28th in the league in FT attempts and 29th in FT makes.
We are 26th in offensive rebounding and 27th in total rebounding.

That is on YOU Larry.

Why? Because you continue to keep the two guys on the bench who could help you in both areas.

Zaza Pachulia and Ivan Johnson.

They’re easily the toughest guys on the team, and the best rebounding big men you have ( from a Rebound % standpoint ). You call your team SOFT, but leave the TOUGH GUYS on the bench? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Bottom line is this. If you’re not going to reign in Josh Smith from taking a ton of outside shots and acting like he’s an elite scorer, you may as well play him at SF for significant stretches, let him fire away, and play guys at PF who will REBOUND THE DANG BASKETBALL when he misses shots.

Stop calling the team SOFT, if you put the softest lineups possible out on the floor. And tell your All-Star center to start to be a LEADER on this team, and take matters into his own hands.

Chris Vivlamore

January 6th, 2013
5:19 pm

Points: My understanding is the Hawks have the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in either 2014 OR 2015. Not this year. Should the Hawks choose to swap, they would have to let the Nets know by a date several weeks before the draft.

Disgusted

January 6th, 2013
5:20 pm

The Nets ownership will get it done in time — but not this yr.

Unfortunately we are stuck with the Levinson/Gearon group for a little while longer. No one knows how much longer — I still cannot get over the way they ran down the Thrashers out of town.

That was not the fault of the fans — I know I am not paying one dime for anything at the Phillips till these clowns are gone.

Don’t hate the players or coaches but really don’t love em either.

Disgusted

January 6th, 2013
5:22 pm

Ivan deserves some more minutes — he is a pain in the tail to play aganst.

Kind of guy you want on your team. He is going to be round the league for a while.

Chris Vivlamore

January 6th, 2013
5:23 pm

O’Brien: Drew has often said the identity of the team is to be uptempo, a team that uses speed and quickness to break down defenses. I was asking if the Hawks need an identity of a team that can keep a lead or not fall behind big.

On the rebound issue, he will almost always say it’s energy and effort. There are times they are smaller but that’s when they must get help from the perimeter.

Those are just how he answers those questions.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

January 6th, 2013
5:24 pm

What good is a team meeting if the coach sticks to his same rotations. A lack of energy is a result of being tired. LD wears his starters out night end and night out and expects them to have enough energy for the whole game.

We have been screaming for more playing time for Ivan since last years and what has happened?

Just Joe

January 6th, 2013
5:27 pm

Memphis is $4M over the luxury tax threshold, and has struggled a bit of late. Hawks should offer:

Harris, Korver, Tolliver, and Houston’s pick for Rudy G and Tony Wroten.

Memphis shaves $3M+ off their salaries ($6M+ in tax savings). Atlanta picks up a little star power.

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
5:30 pm

The single, most often used excuse for Josh Smith throughout his career.

The fact is though that at least Josh TRIED to make something happen…

I have not placed last night’s lost on any one player and I am not hanging it on Josh. But can we please stop excusing “dumb energetic” actions with this crazy logic that essentially says “at times, it is okay to ignore the team concept and make every attempt to become a basketball superhero”?

northcyde, I agree with most of your other points, especially that Horford was MIA and LD could have utilized better rotations. But that doesn’t excuse bringing high effort to dumb decisions.

MattP

January 6th, 2013
5:39 pm

I just can’t wait till the offseason already. Get rid of Drew and get to see exactly was Ferry is planning.

northcyde

January 6th, 2013
5:45 pm

Astro . . . I agree. But somebody on the team has to make things happen.

When I re-watched that 3rd quarter, it was obvious that the Celtics were trying to take the ball out of the guards hands with aggressive double teams. Before all of the turnovers started to happen, the Hawk did do a decent job of moving the ball.

My thing is that Josh was the only one really trying to do something. Horford even got the ball in the post about 3 feet away from the basket one time ( with 2 people around him ). But instead of immediately going up strong to try to score, he passed it out to Josh who was out by the 3 point line.

He did that twice in that quarter. So that pretty much forces Josh to try to make a play, because HE didn’t want to make the play.

Josh is not a good enough offensive player to get a tough basket in the halfcourt offense. And even when he gets fouled, he’ll make 2 FTs maybe only 30% of the time.

All I’m saying is that when the Celtics turned up the heat in that 3rd quarter, Smith was the only one remotely trying to make something happen. And while he wasn’t any good at it, everyone else either sucked worse, or didn’t try at all ( like Horford ).

This is why BOTH of these guys may get left off the All-Star team, when the coaches vote in about 3 weeks.

jlewis

January 6th, 2013
5:46 pm

MattP:

There are always plans, but there arent that many good players. The ones that are any good you have to overpay or slot them in around superstars(or supposed stars). The players out of college come out to young and it’s taking 3-4 years to develop them and most dont have good fundamentals. Building a team is very difficult. Najeh likes to research whats said and I said this which I will also standby, this team will be moved out of ATL or operated on the very cheap because of the collective bargaining agreement to solely make a profit. As they say in politics “we can not stay on the current path, its not sustainable”

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
5:49 pm

northcyde, but don’t you think that if Doc Rivers could have designed a defensive plan that would have resulted in “Josh trying to make something happen”, that he would have been thrilled?

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
5:52 pm

My point being, opposing coaches likely love it when Josh (or any single non-megastar player) decides to take the game into his own hands. It is a BAD move and one that should not be excused. I think you could have made your point without making Josh’s efforts sound almost admirable.

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
5:54 pm

Marc J. Spears ‏@SpearsNBAYahoo

Pacers waived forward Sam Young.

northcyde

January 6th, 2013
5:56 pm

No doubt Astro. Doc definitely wanted the ball in Josh’s hands. The question is . . how does Drew counter that, or better yet, how does he get Josh in a better scoring position, if that was indeed the Celtics game plan?

The Celtics came out and started treating Lou like he was Joe Johnson. And Bradley really turned up the pressure on Teague. And Korver is only a threat if he’s wide open and if people set him up for shots. So that leaves the stars on the team ( Smith and Horford ) to try to do something.

One tried to. The other didn’t. And the coach did little if anything to help them out, until it was too late.

Astro Joe

January 6th, 2013
6:01 pm

northcyde, sounds like employing a different scheme/set to me. Ultimately it comes down to the head coach. And also, the fact that the Celtics are a bad match-up for the Hawks and have been since Tree Rollins bit Danny Ainge.