Atlanta Hawks: Timberwolves 108, Hawks 103 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Hawks picked up right where they left off – and that’s not a good thing.

After a dreadful second half of a loss to the Celtics Saturday prompted a team meeting, the Hawks started slow in a 108-103 defeat to the Timberwolves Tuesday at the Target Center. In their first game after the meeting, the Hawks never led.

Hawks coach Larry Drew labeled his team’s start “soft.”

“We waited way too late to start playing,” Drew said. “The first half we were soft. Soft. We did not guard very well. I thought physically they did just about anything that they wanted to. We played with no urgency in that first half. I told the guys at halftime, it’s not a sometimes thing. You can’t come out and play sometimes. You’ve got to come out and start the game highly energized. We can’t play normal. We can’t be a team that just sits back and allows other teams to do what they want to do. We have to be the aggressor.”

Drew added that he would hold his players accountable.

“There are some guys in there that are going to be held accountable,” Drew said. “As we move forward, if this thing doesn’t change there are going to have to be some changes. That’s plain and simple. I’m not going to watch our guys come out and start every game and not be energized to play. That’s totally unacceptable.”

When asked who specifically needs to be held accountable for the poor starts, Drew responded: “Everybody. Everybody. I played quite a few people in that first half. Everybody has to be held accountable.”

The Hawks (20-13) have lost a season-long three straight and four of five. They are losing their grip on third place in the Eastern Conference. They are now tied with the Pacers and just a half-game ahead of the Bulls.

The Hawks nearly erased a 17-point deficit. They pulled within one point in the fourth quarter, 104-103, with 36.6 remaining. However, Dante Cunningham scored with 15.9 seconds left and the Hawks then committed a turnover to halt the comeback.

The Timberwolves (16-5) snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Hawks despite playing without Kevin Love.

“It’s probably fair to say,” Hawks center Al Horford said of Drew’s “soft” comment. “I don’t think that we are a soft team but it’s fair to say. I think we came out uninterested. Us, the guys who are playing, I’ll take blame for that. We have a game tomorrow so we have to show we are better tomorrow.”

“I don’t roll with that,” was Josh Smith’s response.

Smith led the Hawks with 21 points. He also finished with 13 rebounds to move into seventh place on the Hawks’ all-time rebound list with 5,027. He surpassed Cliff Hagan (5,019). Lou Williams added 21 points and Horford had 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks lost for the first time this season with both Smith and Horford had a double-double.

Nikola Pekovic led the Timberwolves with 25 points and 18 rebounds.

The Timberwolves led by as many as 17 points in the first half and took a 58-42 lead into halftime.

The Hawks made only one of their first six shots and never led. They finished with just six first-half assists. Williams paced the Hawks with 12 points in the opening 24 minutes.

“I don’t think we came out with the energy,” Williams said. “We decided to wait until the second half to start playing and it bit us in the butt. I think the first half is when we should have responded when they were playing very well. I thought that would have been a perfect opportunity for us to get ourselves going and get geared up and meet the challenge. We waited too late to do that.”

The Hawks started the third quarter with an 18-8 run to cut their deficit to six points, 66-60. However, the Timberwolves answered with a 13-3 run that was punctuated by Alexey Shved steal and an and-one dunk.

Jeff Teague was called for the foul, one of five on the night to go with just five points.

“They called it,” Teague said of his foul troubles. “That’s the way the whistle blew tonight. It was tough out there tonight.”

The Hawks play again Wednesday at the Cavaliers as the attempt to halt a season-long losing streak.

“(Drew) challenged us at halftime and we responded,” Horford said. “It starts with me. I have to do better, whatever that means, if I have to play harder, whatever it takes. We are going through a little rut right now but we have to stick together.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Pistons 85, Hawks 84

* Hawks wary of Pistons’ bench

* Rematch with Pistons awaits

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* Behind the scenes photo gallery

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* Drew looking for more minutes for Jenkins

* Hawks 95, Hornets 86

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259 comments Add your comment

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:24 pm

Front running days coming to a close

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:25 pm

I swear, CViv knows the final score sometime during the 2nd quarter.

High-sider

January 8th, 2013
10:25 pm

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

January 8th, 2013
10:25 pm

Lost to this shttyazz team

SMGDMFHFFSROTFLMAOLOL

WE JUST LOST TO THE FREAKING TIMBERWOLVES

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:25 pm

So Danny was this a MORAL VICTORY?

Mookie Blaylock

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

wow! seems like this article was posted 5 secs after the game ended. What the…

#Conspiracy
#Illuminati

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

Hawks actually ended up out-shooting the Wolves from the field and almost equalized them on the boards, but they uncharacteristically forced very few turnovers and sent them to the line over and over again.

Been a while since they put together 4 quarters of good basketball. Can’t show up for 2 quarters and expect to win if you don’t have elite talent, which the Hawks don’t.

The Pacers are now tied for 3rd in the conference with the Hawks. Chicago is a half game back, Brooklyn is one game back, Milwaukee is 3 games back. In other words, the Hawks are closer to 7th place than they are to 1st place right now.

6-7 over their last 13 games, outscored on average during that span.

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

Melvin, you should try what I do. 3 times a day I repeat to myself, “Summer, 2013. Summer, 2013. Summer, 2013″. It helps me stay focused on the long-term plan.

Rod from College Park

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

Anyone want to keep telling Ken Strickland how good he was at forecasting how good the Hawks would be this year. LOL

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

We need:

New coach
New center
New PG
Completely new bench
Leaders
“Nasty”

Good luck Ferry

High-sider

January 8th, 2013
10:26 pm

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:27 pm

C-Viv got a hot date in MIN? Don’t worry we won’t tell your wife *wink*

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:27 pm

Minnesota is 16-15. They are only 3 games worse than the Hawks for the season. They are not a scrub team.

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

Jan 8th through the 27th is going to be rough..

This is only the start of a rough patch..

Where was Ivan???????????????

BIG DOG

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

Chris V

Your the best.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

January 8th, 2013
10:28 pm

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:29 pm

This is the .500 team I forecasted during the summer. I prefer the ~.650 team that had me looking foolish back in December.

BIG DOG

January 8th, 2013
10:29 pm

If Zaza starte Hawks win.

FIRE LD

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:30 pm

doc for you:

“Anthony and Garnett’s battle was quite a show, though. After pushing and shoving on the low blocks for a few possessions, the two exchanged heated words and were both given technical fouls. Anthony continued to pursue Garnett, who initiated all of the confrontation, and could be seen barking at him at almost every possession late in the game.

Garnett has a tendency to get into his opponent’s head, and this isn’t the first time that it has worked. However, this instance was different. As Anthony’s intensity picked up, Garnett seemed to retreat. This is a side of Anthony that has never been shown on the court before, as he seemed more concentrated on going after Garnett than he was with the actual game.

Sources, including several Knicks players, have said that Garnett said some things that were “out of bounds,” and the rumor is that Garnett’s comments had to do with Anthony’s wife, LaLa Vazquez.

That is something that is unacceptable, on or off the basketball court. I have no problem with how Anthony handled himself, either. If someone disrespects your family, especially your wife, you do what you have to do to handle the situation.

Anthony had to be restrained by his teammates from going into the Celtics locker room after the game, and then was seen waiting outside the Celtics bus hours after the game. New York City police, security guards, and even Knicks coach Mike Woodson got involved, and Anthony and Garnett weren’t able to get to each other.

“It’s certain things that you just don’t say to men, another man,” Anthony said. “I felt that he crossed the line. Like I said, we’re both at an understanding right now, we handled it the way we handled it. Nobody needs to know what was said behind closed doors. So that situation is handled.”
Read more at http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2013/01/08/carmelo-anthony-rightfully-goes-after-kevin-garnett/?j3L73dMc6cduf0c8.99

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

January 8th, 2013
10:30 pm

Minnesota was also without an All Star and one of the best coaches in the game.

Pretty sure we were supposed to win this game

Rod from College Park

January 8th, 2013
10:30 pm

“Where was Ivan???????????????”

Question of the year.

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:30 pm

Melo was going to give Kevin the business…..

High-sider

January 8th, 2013
10:31 pm

FIRE D’ANTONI!

I’m sorry – wrong blog (again).

kwooden1

January 8th, 2013
10:33 pm

I think Jeff and Lou are starting to tire without Morrow and Harris to sub in for them. They can’t play aggressive defensive for 4 quarters and aren’t getting to the rim. Al attacked the basket more this game, I hope that continues because people are going to try and take a way his shot. Poor defensive cost them this game.

“They are who we thought they were!” 7-8 Seed!

GO HAWKS!

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:34 pm

14-6 after the first 20 games. A game below .500 in the next 13. Should be back at .500 after tomorrow night (Varejao is out).

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:34 pm

The NBA Schedule has finally caught this team..

They had one of the softest schedules in the league for the 1st quarter and I drank the kool-aid..Oh well..

Rod from College Park

January 8th, 2013
10:35 pm

“Sources, including several Knicks players, have said that Garnett said some things that were “out of bounds,” and the rumor is that Garnett’s comments had to do with Anthony’s wife, LaLa Vazquez.”

I figured that is what happened. Word is Melo and his wife are getting divorced.

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:36 pm

“This is the .500 team I forecasted during the summer. I prefer the ~.650 team that had me looking foolish back in December.”

Here’s the thing though, Astro. I also thought the Hawks would be a fringe playoff team. They have proven that they CAN be better than that. The reason for them being 6-7 over their last 13 games, as Najeh points out, is LD’s moronic use of available assets. The Hawks don’t HAVE to make Korver guard 3s. That’s LD’s decision.

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:37 pm

Did LD use the word “accountable”? Now that’s funny. I’m shocked that his mouth knows how to form that word.

W.R.Terrell

January 8th, 2013
10:37 pm

Be prepared for a possible slaughter tomorrow night in Cleveland. The HAWKS will have a good excuse tho, it’s called back to backs. ZaZa and Ivan should start tomorrow along with Lou and JJ and you have Al, the “Smoove”, Mike Scott, Kyle, or Anthony to fill out the starting lineup. LD is talking now but he does not even realize that he cannot get this team to perform. Same time same channel tomorrow for the same ol, same ol. See you then.

Mookie Blaylock

January 8th, 2013
10:38 pm

LD “we cant play soft” but he doesnt play arguably his toughest player Ivan Johnson

ag

January 8th, 2013
10:38 pm

As good as LD does at making good in-game adjustments, he is terrible at end of game adjustments. With 10 secs to go, Hawks down by 3, why is ZaZa on the floor? When we throw the ball away and Minny shoots FT’s, why is Zaza on the floor – why not bring in JJ?

As many people blogged, today’s game was a perfect matchup for ZaZa. He should have started.

I would say I am a very big JT0 fan, I am very disappointed in him. He is showing no ability to lead the team. He should have torched Luke. Even Bibby a couple of years ago made him look bad.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

January 8th, 2013
10:39 pm

Ready for Horford’s obligatory moral victory “tough game. We fought hard” tweet…any minute now

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:40 pm

Regarding this article Buddy Grizzard posted on the previous blog:

Believe it or not, there are stats that are very approving of what Kyle is doing defensively. According to Basketball-Reference, the Hawks’ defensive-rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) improves by eight points when Korver is on the floor. (99.1 when on/106.7 off) That 99.1 when he is on the court is also a nearly four point improvement over Atlanta’s overall D-rating of 102.9.

Out of 786 total minutes, Korver has played only 43 minutes this ENTIRE SEASON without two of the Hawks’ top 3 big men on the floor and has only played 81 minutes without Josh. In that 43 minute sample, the Hawks are -15.

Let’s not go overboard with this Kyle-as-defensive-stopper thing. He hasn’t embarrassed himself on D other than the occasions when opponents have isolated on him, but calling him a “plus defender” is a bit of a stretch when the team’s defense is keyed by the big men and Korver has played 95% of his minutes with two of those big men on the floor.

For comparison’s sake Jenkins has played 63 of his 138 minutes — nearly half — with only one of the Hawks’ top 3 big men on the floor. In fact, a significant chunk of his minutes have been played with one of the Hawks’ two worst big men (Scott or Petro) on the floor.

Rod from College Park

January 8th, 2013
10:40 pm

LD said they came out soft. How about naming names? Wonder would the name Al Horford come out of his mouth.

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:41 pm

I’m not a Melo fan, but nothing would please me more than for him to pound KG into a pile of crushed Boston beans.

Buddy, how does one predict a team’s record without factoring the head coach’s competency in the equation?

Teague looks like a hurt little boy in this locker-room interview. Like he wants to curl up in the corner and cry. Dang, get some bass in your voice, bruh!

Mookie Blaylock

January 8th, 2013
10:41 pm

Teague sounds like he wants to cry, get this woman out of here.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:42 pm

All those floor time stats courtesy of 82games.com if you want to go verify.

Slimjr

January 8th, 2013
10:42 pm

SO COACH Larry threw his team under the bus:

HE CALLED THEM SOFT….

“THEY DID NOT GUARD WELL” -LARRY DREW-

HE HAD THE LOOK OF ANGUISH ON HIS FACE..BRUTAL LOOK…

MattP

January 8th, 2013
10:43 pm

Garnett told Anthony that his wife “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.” Not sure if true but I found this link with what was reported KG told Melo.

http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/225490/Anthony_Garnett_Settle_Beef_With_Phone_Call

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:43 pm

“In that 43 minute sample, the Hawks are -15.”

Yes but think how much better that would look if Korver wasn’t guarding Paul Pierce and Andre Kirilenko night in, night out.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:44 pm

The exact comment from KG was that LaLa tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios. Don’t know exactly what that means but that’s what pushed Melo over the edge.

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2013
10:45 pm

Funny, when I read the Hawks’ log of the first 6-8 minutes of the first quarter, it wasn’t Al who appeared to be the captain that wasn’t quite ready for game time.

http://espn.go.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=400278235

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:46 pm

“Buddy, how does one predict a team’s record without factoring the head coach’s competency in the equation?”

I predict that if LD is fired, the Hawks will finish 3rd in the East and win a playoff series. I predict that if LD remains with the team until season’s end, the Hawks will finish 7th in the east and lose in the first round.

Like that. ;)

ag

January 8th, 2013
10:47 pm

I have actually watched every game this year and I agree with KS that we have a good team. We should finish in the top 4. At the start of the season I felt we would be behind Miami, Boston, and Brooklyn. I still have hopes we can climb to 2.

Our biggest issue is defense. It really sickens me by the third quarter we hear “Season-High” for player x or Career high for player x – always on the other team!!! The hole at SF is getting bigger and bigger.

When Korver or Stephenson are not scoring, they both are useless.

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:47 pm

Oh wait… I DID take competency into account with my predictions :P

Najeh Davenpoop

January 8th, 2013
10:47 pm

Another thing about Korver — he has played four minutes with Morrow this year, which tells me that Morrow has subbed in for Korver in several games this year. At least to my eyes, Morrow has been the worst defender on the team this year. So if the overall team defensive rating is worse with Korver off the floor, that is at least one contributing factor.

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:48 pm

“When Korver or Stephenson are not scoring, they both are useless.”

Stevenson is retiring before our very eyes.

Big Daddy

January 8th, 2013
10:49 pm

No real post presence. Beaten in the paint once again. Jump shot happy. Getting killed in the pick and roll. Really lousy free throw shooting. Unless they get a consistent post game from someone, there are going to be games like this. Until someone can give them the direction to defend in the pick and roll, too many players are going to get rubbed off and/or leave someone wide open for a shot or in tonight’s case, a roll to the bucket. Sigh. GO HAWKS!!

Buddy Grizzard

January 8th, 2013
10:49 pm

“At least to my eyes, Morrow has been the worst defender on the team this year.”

Worse thank Jenkins and Scott? Wow. I agree he’s bad, I wouldn’t say THAT bad.