Archive for May, 2010

Hawks’ Sund hasn’t deliberated on Woodson’s future yet (updated)

Rick Sund doesn't appear close to making a decision on Mike Woodson. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Rick Sund doesn't appear close to making a decision on Mike Woodson. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Atlanta Hawks general manager Rick Sund said Wednesday he was “disappointed” about the team’s playoff exit and “surprised” by the players’ effort in Game 3 against the Orlando Magic. But he indicated he is not close to making a decision on the status of coach Mike Woodson.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the Hawks were swept by the Magic in four games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Sund said he hasn’t even deliberated on Woodson’s future yet.

“There is no time frame [for a decision],” he said. “It hasn’t even been 48 hours yet. For the last two days, I’ve been having meetings with players and staff.”

He said he has not yet met with Woodson or any of his assistants. Sund said he expected to shift his attention to the coaching situation “relatively soon.”

“I like to take emotion out of these things,” he said. “You can’t do that right after the game.”

Sund would not comment on …

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LeBron James goes cold again, Charles Barkley takes a shot

LeBron James has struggled in the last two games, making only 10 of 32 shots. (AP photo)

Cleveland's LeBron James has struggled in the last two games, making only 10 of 32 shots. (AP photo)

The Cleveland Cavaliers have regressed. Should we think less of LeBron James?

James may have just played his final home game as a member of the Cavaliers. As the prize catch in this summer’s NBA free agency class, we figured this day would come – just not this early. But after being dumped at home by Boston by 32 points, 120-88, Tuesday night, the Cavs are down 3-2 in the second round and one game from playoff elimination.

James? He didn’t hit a basket in the first half. He was 3 for 14 in the game. He finished with 15 points, nine of those coming on free throws.

In the last two games, James is only 10 for 32 from the floor, and his name isn’t even Joe Johnson. He’s missing jump shots and he’s not attacking the basket. We can’t know how much of this is because of the elbow he injured in the Chicago series, but he wasn’t this off   in the first three games of the series.

The …

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Fixing the Hawks: fire Woodson, trade Joe, keep Josh

In my six-point plan for the Hawks, Josh Smith stays but Joe Johnson goes. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

In my six-point plan to fix the Hawks, Josh Smith stays but Joe Johnson goes. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It’s the offseason. I’m cracking open a six-pack for the Hawks – not for celebration but for reconstruction.

The Hawks don’t need to strip everything down after getting swept out of the second round for the second year in a row, but they clearly can’t thrive as currently built.

Here goes:

1.) Make a coaching change. Hawks general manager Rick Sund has doubts about Mike Woodson. Otherwise he would not have given him only a two-year contract two years ago, or he would have extended him before (or during) this season. The Hawks have improved in many areas under Woodson, most notably the win total. But the team’s half-court offense has been an issue throughout Woodson’s tenure. Creativity is not his strong-suit. It also became clear in this postseason that players have stopped listening to him. Being stretched to seven games by Milwaukee (which lost its best player, Andrew Bogut, …

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Hawks make quick exit against Magic, and change is needed

Josh Smith drifted too often and Joe Johnson had a dreadful postseason. It's no wonder the Hawks are out of the playoffs. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Josh Smith drifted too often. Joe Johnson had a dreadful postseason. It's no wonder the Hawks are out of the playoffs after getting swept by Orlando. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

They tried a little harder. Maybe that will count for something when the front office looks at game tape and tries to determine who should stay, who should go, who looked like the only thing that really mattered was direct deposit.

They tried a little harder. A little late, guys.

There has been a sense of inevitability in this series since the Hawks looked comatose in Game 2, getting outscored 28-10 in the second quarter, 32-11 in the third and – well, everybody pretty much stopped paying attention after that.

That’s a problem. Playing in a home arena with empty seats and empty hopes, the Hawks lost to Orlando 98-84 on Monday night.  That’s a wrap.

You were thinking if the Hawks played well, they could win one or two games in this series. If things went really well, maybe they could stretch Orlando to seven …

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We’re LIVE from the Hawks’ . . . final game?

This series has been a laugher for Orlando, while the Hawks ...

This series has been a laugher for Orlando, while the Hawks …

We’ve all witnessed playoff disappointments before. Two weeks ago, I listed what I believed to be the seven greatest postseason flops in Atlanta pro sports history. The Hawks were on the verge of joining the infamous group at the time, only to show some resolve when down 3-2 against Milwaukee and win the next two games to make it to round two.

This second-round series against Orlando isn’t a playoff flop. It’s just an embarrassment. It would leave fans with an ugly hangover, sort of

like when the Falcons made their

... are hiding their heads after losing three games by 87 points.

… are hiding their faces after losing three games by 87 points.

miracle run to the Super Bowl, only to have Eugene Robinson get arrested on the eve of the game.

Nobody — at least no rational thinking person — really believed the Hawks would defeat the Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

But most of us figured they would at least compete against the Magic and had a chance to win one or two …

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John Smoltz attempts to qualify for U.S. Open (FINAL UPDATE: He fails)

John Smoltz, with his friend and caddy, Josh Arieh, warms up on the practice range before his round today.

John Smoltz, with his friend and caddy, Josh Arieh, warms up on the practice range before his round today.

(Updated with comments below.)

John Smoltz stood in the Marietta Country Club parking lot, between the trunk of his car and a golf cart.

“The hardest thing is picking 14 clubs,” he said, referencing the club limit. “That’s a dumb rule.”

With the Braves, he had his choice of pitches. Same in golf — there are just a few more restrictions. Smoltz will get used to this. The former Braves’ pitcher and now broadcaster, who has long desired to play to play 0n the PGA Champions (formerly Seniors) Tour one day, is playing in a U.S. Open qualifying tournament this morning at Marietta Country Club.

If Smoltz finishes in the top nine — which he puts “20-1″ odds on — he will advance to the 36-hole, sectional qualifying tournament next month in Roswell. Success there would land him in the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach. It’s a long shot but Smoltz isn’t overly concerned.

“This is just a …

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Johnson, Woodson get hammered by national media

By the end of the game Saturday night, this cheer sign, cheer towel and Hawks players were on the ground. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Some fans had no desire to bring their cheer cards and towels home with them after the game. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Checked StubHub this morning. You can buy playoff tickets for as low as $6 for the Hawks’ likely season exit Monday night against Orlando. Wait a while. They’ll go down.

After all of the progress they’ve made over the past three years, the Hawks woke up as a severely damaged product this morning.

They have lost three games to the Orlando by 87 points. They have suffered the worst home defeat of the season and the worst home playoff loss in franchise history (Saturday’s 105-75 loss). They’re only the fourth team in league history to drop two games in a playoff series by 30 or more points.

Also, Joe Johnson said he doesn’t care if you show up or not.

So what were the national reviews? About what you would expect.

From Chris Sheridan of ESPN:

“Joe, do you think you are costing yourself money?” That was the question posed to Joe Johnson after one of the more …

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Hawks quit on season (and Joe doesn’t care what you think)

If one picture can say it all for the plight of Joe Johnson and the Hawks, this is it. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

If one picture can say it all for the plight of Joe Johnson and the Hawks, this is it. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Let’s start with the obvious: The Orlando Magic are better. They have a center. They have a point guard. They have a roster of players with complete sets of working organs, and isn’t that a novelty?

But sometimes things happen in sports that make you declare, “Push the button and blow the whole damn thing up.” This was one of them.

In a home playoff game, in an obvious desperation game, in a game where the Hawks had an opportunity to show us what substance they were made of, they collectively screamed, “Goo.” They didn’t score. They didn’t defend. They didn’t rebound. They didn’t compete.

We saw better performances when bodies were being jettisoned and the roster was all about 10-day contracts and cap space.

Down 2-0 in their second-round playoff series against Orlando, the Hawks tossed on a little seasoning, propelled themselves onto a rotisserie and told the Magic, …

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We’re LIVE from Hawks-Magic: Can they make it a series?

Hawks coach Mike Woodson has seen his team play inconsistently in the postseason. (AP photo)

Mike Woodson's Hawks have been inconsistent in the playoffs.

There’s a saying in sports that a playoff series doesn’t really begin until a team loses a home game.

It’s understandable if you’re not feeling that way after seeing the Hawks dismembered in Game 1 and fizzle in Game 2 against Orlando, losing two games of this playoff series by a combined 57 points. But back now in Philips Arena, where all is usually well, this is the Hawks’ last chance to show a pulse — and maintain it for 48 minutes.

It has been stated enough times in this corner but here we go again: The Hawks are at the point in their evolution where they shouldn’t be defined by the regular season (53-29) but by the postseason (4-3 over undermanned Milwaukee; 0-2 against Orlando).

Granted, only the most optimistic of folks projected them to beat Orlando in this series. The Magic reached the finals last year. They may win the championship this year. They’re superior at basketball’s two key positions: center and …

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Thumbs up or down: Josh Childress a Hawk again?

Is there any interest in Atlanta if Josh Childress flies back to the NBA this summer?

Josh Childress could fly back to the NBA this summer.

The Hawks still entertain hopes of making it a competitive series against Orlando. A significant percentage of Atlanta — at least according to my unscientific sampling of emails, blogs, comments and sports talk — seems focused on something else: change.

Given that, here’s one name to keep in mind: Josh Childress. He is still playing in Greece and his NBA rights are still owned by the Hawks. Childress wouldn’t solve the team’s deficiencies at point guard or center. But he’s another potential body in the mix as general manager Rick Sund considers trade (or sign-and-trade) possibilities this summer.

The only reason I’m bringing this up now is a Washington Post reporter caught up with Childress in Paris at the EuroLeague Final Four. There wasn’t a lot new in today’s article but Childress reminded us that he has until July 15 to opt out of the final season of his three-year, tax-free, $20 million contract.

A few excerpts:

♦ When …

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