LIVE BLOG: Collins starts, but will Hawks show up?

If Hawks lose tonight, it could be the last time you see this sign.

If the Hawks lose tonight, it could be the last time you see this sign in Philips Arena.

First, a little perspective. Most folks didn’t believe the Hawks would defeat Orlando in the first round of the playoffs, but they took out the Magic in six games. Most certainly believed they had no chance in this series against Chicago, especially without point guard Kirk Hinrich.

But maybe the Hawks can start tonight with this: effort and intelligence. If they show those two things in Game 4 against the Bulls, they’ll be way ahead of what we saw in Game 3.

This team’s multiple personalities have been well-chronicled this season. Coach Larry Drew referred to it in an amusing way: “I will admit — I do have an interesting group.”

Joe Johnson needs to find a way to get open. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Joe Johnson needs to find ways to get open, coach Larry Drew said. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This interesting group stunned Chicago in the series opener, tailed off in Game 2 and never really competed in Friday’s 99-82 loss at home. Derrick Rose scored 44 points. But the bigger reason for the Hawks’ loss was their collective team defense, lack of physical play and poor rebounding (the Bulls had a 47-34 advantage, including 18 offensive boards).

Drew will make one significant change, going with the “big” lineup: That means center Jason Collins comes in to guard Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Josh Smith each slide down a spot and Marvin Williams goes to the bench.

Collins, who was a key in the Orlando series against Dwight Howard, said: “I’ll just try to be physical and use my fouls. I won’t be so much in the low post – I’ll be more in pick-and-roll coverage.”

Drew said he just felt, “It’s time for a change. … Jason plays a physical game. He’s not looked at as a finesse player.”

Joe Johnson (34,16, 10) and Jamal Crawford (22, 11, 7) both have seen their point totals shrink in three games. That’s partly because of double teams. But Drew also referenced Johnson in particular, saying he needs to do more to get open. He told our hoops guy Michael Cunningham, “He is just going to have to combat that. There are a lot of key players on teams that other players play physical against and they just combat it. There are a lot of key players that get double teamed and they play out of double teams.”

Not sure, but I think Drew just said Johnson isn’t trying hard enough.

I also have to credit M.C. for handing me a few great stats on Smith: He is 0-for-17 from beyond 15 feet in this series, and 5-for-33 in the playoffs. Conversely, he is 38-of-63 (60 percent) from nine feet and in, where his strength is.

Win tonight and it’s an even series, 2-2. Lose and the Hawks may have played their final home game, with Game 5 in Chicago Tuesday.

And no, I’m not guessing. But you’re welcome to. I’ll be here blogging live at tip-off.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

359 comments Add your comment

J.J.M.

May 8th, 2011
7:37 pm

good move to start collins because we are not losing any offense by benching marvin

Derrick

May 8th, 2011
7:37 pm

We will win tonight. I’m certain.

honest_abe

May 8th, 2011
7:42 pm

the only thing i find odd is how critical ld has been during the playoffs. the hawks have been inconsistent all year and their weaknesses have been known from the start. but he waits until the playoffs to point them out? strange indeed.

tremaine

May 8th, 2011
7:42 pm

About time they go with the big lineup. Should have stayed with it.

Weaseal

May 8th, 2011
7:43 pm

Let’s go Hawks & Braves -Just like last Sunday night lets kick start this week off right!!!

Who Cares

May 8th, 2011
7:46 pm

Johnson can’t create his own shot, and he is too slow to beat someone off the dribble. Add that to the fact he acts like a 10 yr.old and cries if his jump shot isn’t falling. He and Josh the brick layer Smith are 2 of the worst players in the NBA when it comes to creating shots, and making passes out of double teams. Plus they both will give up and quit if the other team double teams them the whole game. Bulls win in another route, and take series 4 -1

drmondo

May 8th, 2011
7:47 pm

Do you think Josh Smith has gotten the message…go to the damned basket!!

jt

May 8th, 2011
7:52 pm

Jeff. What does it mean that Bradley gets a business trip to the Windy City and all you get is Phillips Arena? I’m trying to figure out who has seniority here

Uncork Atlanta

May 8th, 2011
7:54 pm

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
7:57 pm

JT — I’m going to Chicago for Game 5. In the Orlando series, I did first two on road and he did next two at home. We just flopped.

bjrufino

May 8th, 2011
8:00 pm

Joey

May 8th, 2011
8:00 pm

Come on boys, show some heart,

jt

May 8th, 2011
8:02 pm

Well, Bradley got us a split in Chicago- the pressure is on you to get us a split tonight. Otherwise, I fear game 5 in chicago will be ugly

Mtn Hawk

May 8th, 2011
8:03 pm

Good sports night for Atlanta fans. Grab some beer and popcorn, lets go Hawks, and Braves!

jlewis

May 8th, 2011
8:06 pm

Jeff:

Its easy for LD to say, but someone tell me, to whom does Joe pass to? LD is not going to go against his bosses and say this roster is terrible and there are no shooters other than Jamal. Other teams have shooters to pass to, LD should double off bogans or noah to double team Rose.

Reid Adair

May 8th, 2011
8:09 pm

Jeff, who would have ever thought the Hawks would last longer in the playoffs than the Lakers? Wow.

Ted Turner

May 8th, 2011
8:10 pm

Let’s start the MVP chant early

Coach D

May 8th, 2011
8:11 pm

Go Hawks! Go Braves! Let’s go 2-0!!!

Ted Turner

May 8th, 2011
8:11 pm

That was luck

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:12 pm

Collins starting out on Boozer, Horford still on Noah.

Coach D

May 8th, 2011
8:12 pm

Oh how I wish Ted Turner was still the owner!!!

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:12 pm

So the answer is no — Josh is not stopping shooting jumpers. But makes his first.

Mtn Hawk

May 8th, 2011
8:13 pm

No Josh. Even though you made it.

Ted Turner

May 8th, 2011
8:13 pm

Coach D

May 8th, 2011
8:15 pm

Gotta play some great d tonight. J. Collins! THE x-factor!

banks

May 8th, 2011
8:16 pm

Hawks finally committed a hard foul hope LD does not go with the two foul rule

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:17 pm

Good news: almost five minutes in and no timeout. behind last game’s pace.

banks

May 8th, 2011
8:18 pm

Need to get Teague involved

G

May 8th, 2011
8:18 pm

Fouling on every possession is not playing better defense.

Ted Turner

May 8th, 2011
8:19 pm

jlewis

May 8th, 2011
8:19 pm

Why dont they just back into the paint and let noah shoot? Josh still shooting, good to see marvin on the bench.

Benny

May 8th, 2011
8:19 pm

LD should pull JS if he shoots 20 feet out, and make him warm the bench next to him. Get his head right. I don’t care how much money he is making. Hurt the team, you sit. JJ, too.

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:20 pm

Hawks definitely come out with more energy. Collins was strong early before Pachulia replaced him.

Coach D

May 8th, 2011
8:21 pm

Gotta try to get Noah in foul trouble. Break that man’s ankles!!! Hawks night tonight-it already seems so to me. Sure hope so anyway!

banks

May 8th, 2011
8:21 pm

The best coaching move LD can do tonight is for Marvin stat line to state DNP Coach’s Decision

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:21 pm

Early shooting: Hawks 8/10. Bulls 4/6.

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:23 pm

Joe has hit his first 3 shots.

Joe Tess Fish House

May 8th, 2011
8:23 pm

Who cares Im waitin on football season

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:24 pm

Bulls already shooting FTs Nos. 7-8. Hawks have yet to go to line.

Coach D

May 8th, 2011
8:26 pm

Lots of love on the blog for “The Duck!” lol

J.J.M.

May 8th, 2011
8:26 pm

over the limit already and in foul trouble

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:26 pm

Noah has been a monster in this series. Great work on off. boards.

G

May 8th, 2011
8:27 pm

Honestly Horford has been horrible this series. Noah is out working him.

KSchmidt

May 8th, 2011
8:27 pm

BOX OUT NOAH. Why is this so hard?

Hummon

May 8th, 2011
8:28 pm

My ESPN gamecast says, “Josh Smith makes driving layup.” That’s a typo, right?

BravesFan1

May 8th, 2011
8:28 pm

Upper deck filled up Jeff?

Jeff Schultz

May 8th, 2011
8:29 pm

Thibodeau screaming for foul. Whatever.

leroy

May 8th, 2011
8:32 pm

All the refs in the nba needs to be fired and replace by refs that don’t show favor to the stars of the game the is crap to watch lebron fouls and no call josh breaths on rose there’s a foul

G

May 8th, 2011
8:33 pm

Thibodeau looks like he would be on a reality show owning a Pawn shop or Repo man.

joshsmithfan

May 8th, 2011
8:34 pm

So u telln me marvin wasn’t hit. Wooooooow!