Four Boston Celtics were selected to the NBA All-Star Game, but the Hawks will also be well represented. For the second straight year, Joe Johnson and Al Horford made the Eastern Conference team as reserves. It will be the fifth-straight trip for Johnson, who is averaging 20.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this season. Horford will be making his second consecutive appearance and the second of his career. The fourth-year big man is averaging a career high in scoring (16.1 ppg) and has recorded 24 double-doubles so far this season.
Here are the rest of the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves:
- Ray Allen, G, Boston Celtics
- Chris Bosh, F, Miami Heat
- Kevin Garnett, F, Boston Celtics
- Paul Pierce, F, Boston Celtics
- Rajon Rondo, G, Boston Celtics
- Pau Gasol F/C, Los Angeles Lakers
- Manu Ginobili, G, San Antonio Spurs
- Blake Griffin, F, Los Angeles Clippers
- Tim Duncan, F, San Antonio Spurs
- Dirk Nowitzki, F, Dallas Mavericks
- Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Deron Williams, G, Utah Jazz
The Hawks blew past a depleted Raptors squad thanks in large part to another strong offensive output of Joe Johnson. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
After his 37-point outburst vs. Toronto last night, Joe Johnson has now scored 30+ in five of his last nine games. Since January 1, he’s made 38 % of his 3 pt. attempts and is averaging 26.7/5/4. I think it’s safe to say the elbow surgery was successful.
In handing the Toronto its 13th straight loss, the Hawks combined for 30 assists and 100 points despite only attempting 9 free throws. Al Horford (12 points., 14 boards) was three assists shy of a triple-double while Josh Smith also added a double-double of his own. Smoove kicked in two steals and three blocks in the complete victory. Up next is a weekend back-to-back with the league’s two best rookies. First, a home date with Blake Griffin and the Clippers. Then the team pays a visit to our nation’s capital to face the John Wall-led Wizards.
The Larry Drew era couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start. On the strength of rebounding and ball movement, Atlanta ran over the Grizzlies, 119-104, in the season opener for both teams. Sure, Memphis was without its top two front court options — Center Marc Gasol was a out with an ankle injury and forward Zach Randolph did not return after a hard fall in the first quarter– but all in all, an encouraging start for the 2010 Hawks.
Taking advantage of the depleted frontcourt, Zaza Pachulia was a terror on the glass. Zaza finished with 11 boards after grabbing nine in the first half. Working in a brand new Motion Offense, the Hawks shooters had plenty of room to knock down jumpers, and that they did. Mike Bibby was 4-4 from three-point land, while J-J-Joe Johnson made uncharacteristically high 11 trips to the line (making nine) and finished the night with 22 points and just two turnovers against seven assists.
Not as encouraging: Jeff Teague turning the ball over twice in just 16 minutes of floor-time. It was great to see #0 get some non-garbage time for a change, but we’re still a long way from being able to trust the sophomore guard for extended minutes at the point.
81 more games hand wringing though, for now let’s just enjoy the great start. Next up for Atlanta, a Friday night slate with the Sixers in Philadelphia. Philly is 0-1 after dropping its opener to the Heat on Wednesday.
J-J-J-Joe Johnson will remain a Hawk.
Most people thought Joe Johnson’s time with the Hawks was done. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.”Thursday, Michael Cunningham reported that Joe is expected to take the money from the Hawks off the table, and why wouldn’t he? It’s more than he’s ever made in his life, and the most money he’s ever going to make as a basketball player. With ownership of his Bird rights, the Hawks had the ability to pay more for longer for Joe’s services. It was expected he’d walk away anyway, and the general consensus around the ATL b-ball blogosphere was that he would be doing the team a favor.
I get the criticisms, I do. There are justifications for them. But I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic about the continuation of the Johnson era. Continue reading
Ace in the making Jair Jurrjens is back, while Hawks guard Joe Johnson might be gone.
The NBA free-agency doomsday clock is one day closer to zero. Teams can’t officially announce anything until July 8, but they began to actively pursue players tonight. As you might have heard, this is the greatest free agent class ever. Not just in NBA history, but in all of sports.
Joe Johnson isn’t quite at the top of that list, but he’s somewhere in the top 5-8 range of players on the open market. The consensus for weeks has been that Joe will leave, but the Hawks seem intent on persuading him to stay. As Michael Cunningham reports, the plan for ASG going into today was to offer Joe a max. deal as soon as the clock hit midnight.
The Hawks are back in action tonight, facing the Charlotte Bobcats. On Wednesday they’ll head to Detroit to take on the Pistons. They will be without Joe Johnson, who will not be joining the team for the 2 game road trip due to an injured thumb, as Michael Cunningham reports.
Mo Evans will start in place of Johnson, who first injured his thumb last week against the Lakers and aggravated it in the Cleveland game.
Josh Smith! Josh Smith! Josh Smith!
Just when I was beginning to think that the Hawks just couldn’t beat Orlando this season, we found out they could. It took until the last tenth-of-a-second to find out, due to a 4th quarter marked by porous shooting and even worse defense, but none of that matters. Thanks to Josh Smith’s heroics, we now know the Hawks can beat the Magic. Josh Smith’s heroics. In the process, they clinched a playoff spot, but that takes a back seat to beating those f’ing Magic for the first time in 4 tries.
Another overtime game, this time against a veteran playoff team from the Western Conference. And this time, the team wouldn’t need any last-second heroics from Joe Johnson.
Johnson (20 points, 13 assists) and Al Horford (22 pts.,18 rebounds) came up huge tonight, but it was the play of Marvin Williams that stole the show. Marvin shot 10-14 from the field and 5-5 from the FT line to notch 26 points, 18 in the first half, and also added 9 rebounds. His buzzer-beater before halftime was a thing of beauty, and capped off a 23-9 run to close out the 2nd quarter.
Al Horford grabbed a career-high 9 offensive rebounds, including two huge ones in overtime. Not only did this win mark the first victory over the Spurs in 5 years, it also clinched a playoff berth, meaning Jamal Crawford, who had 19 points, will make the first playoff appearance of his 9-year career.
But there is little time to cherish the win for Crawford and the Hawks, as another game vs. playoff team beckons. Tonight in Milwaukee, the Hawks will try to cool down the Bucks, who have won 14 of their last 16 (one of those defeats was to the Hawks) and are currently locked in as the East’s 5th seed. If the standings hold, this will be be a preview of the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Hawks needed overtime, but got the win tonight, 93-92 over the Bobcats. Some questionable things jump out when looking at the box score and play by play: Josh Smith coming off the bench, Josh Smith committing 6 turnovers, and Josh Smith taking the final shot in regulation. Some positives, balance from the offense-five Hawks scored in double figures-and great play from the front court. It was a trio of double-doubles tonight for Al Horford (13 and 13), Josh Smith (18,11) and Marvin Williams (12, 14). Nice to see Mavin respond with a 5-10 shooting night after the disappointing 1-10 against Toronto.
The biggest story of the night was the triumphant return of Joe Johnson. After starting the game 0-9, Joe dropped 16 in the 2nd half+OT and, oh yeah, hit the game winning shot with .01 left on the clock. Amid all the talk that the Hawks may be fine without Joe, having their best player on the floor tonight proved to be the difference maker. Joe’s overtime winner was the perfect remedy for a team which saw Chris Bosh break its heart a game before; most importantly, it got the Hawks win #44. They’re in perfect position to win 50 games for the first time since 1997. Up next in the Highlight Factory, where the Hawks are 27-7, the aging San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. The Spurs are 8-2 in their last 10, with the losses coming to Orlando and Cleveland, the only teams the Hawks look up to in the East. This is a great opportunity to prove we’re capable of challenging the elite teams this spring.
- Here’s a great recap from someone who actually saw the game: PeachtreeHoops
Getting to know: Zaza Pcaluhia
Not to be confused with Zaza Pachulia.
Image from larrybrownsports.
Sans JJ (sore Achilles’), the Hawks were fine. Sans Devin Harris, and everything else, the Nets were not.
It was a great opportunity for Mike Woodson to challenge his bench, and tonight they responded. With 16 games remaining, time is running out for Woody to stretch his rotation into a legitamate playoff unit. Through 66 games, the “rotation” has been Jamal Crawford with a garnishing of Pachulia. Tonight Woodson threw a change up at his club, as he opted to bring Crawford off the bench and start Jeff Teague alongside Mike Bibby in a backcourt that could only work against the Nets. Joe Smith (17 minutes, 8 points) and Mo Evans (27, 12) also got some quality burn, and the Hawks cakewalked in New Jersey like they were trying to make Diddy’s band.