Archives For Josh Smith

Josh Smith was an Atlanta guy.

Smith was born and raised in Atlanta. He played nine seasons within the city limits and was very active within the community during that time. On Smith’s arms, he possesses two very visible tattoos: one of the state of Georgia and another of the Hawks’ Pac-man logo.

However, on Tuesday night, Smith finally turned on the city he loved for so long.

The night started rather uneventfully for Smith. He entered the game in the first quarter to a smattering of boos mixed with some light cheers, but the reception was hardly made an impact on the decibel meter. The Atlanta faithful — who had already seen Smith in an opponent’s uniform before — seemed apathetic to Smith… for a while.

With James Harden and Dwight Howard sitting out for the Rockets, there were plenty of shots to go around for Houston’s role players. As a man used to running an offense and being a volume shooter, Smith felt perfectly in place, taking control of the ball often in his time on the court. The more Smith shot, the more involved became the crowd, as the Atlanta fans had seen Smith hijack an offense before and were hopeful that Smith could wreck the lead the Rockets possessed.

In Smith’s final years with the Hawks, the crowd had grown restless waiting for his development. As a result, Hawks’ fans often started crying out when Smith took jumpers that he continually missed on, either by loudly groaning or even by shouting “nooooo!” While it was clear Smith’s emotions were being toyed with, he often remained calm and showed little expression about the outbursts in his time with the Hawks.

But that did not happen on Tuesday night, as finally Smith took physical exception to the crowd mocking his play on the court. After sinking a 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Smith raised one finger to his mouth and sent his other hand in the air, intimating his wish for the crowd to finally hush. Continue Reading…

The Rockets were without James Harden and Dwight Howard, but were still deadly enough to nearly take out the Hawks with a barrage of shots in the first three quarters. However, the Hawks rallied behind a hot crowd in the fourth quarter and completed a 18-point comeback to win 104-96.

“Seems like we were constantly trying to dig ourselves out of a hole,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his players. “The last one I think we went down 15 with nine or ten minutes left in the quarter and they found a way to make one more run to get over the hump.”

The Hawks came out of the gates extremely sluggish, as Jeff Teague’s lack of attention on the opening tip led to an easy layup for the Rockets instead of the Hawks taking possession. This sloppy play persisted throughout the first quarter, punctuated by nine Atlanta turnovers, which resulted in a 31-22 Rockets lead after 12 minutes of play.

“I didn’t like our focus coming out,” said Budenholzer, who was assessed a technical foul in the first quarter.

The Rockets continued to pile on in the second quarter, with Jason Terry and Terrence Jones combining for 21 points in the period. The Hawks interior defense on Jones was non-existent and Terry kept punishing the out-of-position Hawks by nailing open 3-pointers.

“They were doing a lot of great things offensively,” said Al Horford, who scored 18 points in the game. “It kept us guessing a lot of the time. We prepared for playing against, you know, like James Harden and everything and it kind of changes how you’re going to approach the game.” Continue Reading…

The Hawks took their talents to Detroit on Friday night to face the red-hot Pistons, who had won seven straight since releasing the enigmatic Josh Smith. Despite a late rally from Detroit, the Hawks were able to withstand by a score of 106-103, ending the Pistons’ win streak and pushing the Hawks’ win streak to seven.

Atlanta was firing on all cylinders in the first half, leading by as many as 23, shooting 56%, and hitting eight 3-pointers. Paul Millsap led the way with 12 points in the half, but the scoring was done by one of the most balanced ATL efforts that we have seen all season; of the 10 Hawks that played in the first half, eight of them scored at least five points.

Former Hawk Anthony Tolliver is what really kept Detroit alive in the first half. Tolliver scored 10 points in the half, all of which came in the latter portion of the second quarter. Without Tolliver, it is likely that the Pistons could have been down by a lot more, as Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined to shoot 3-for-18 in the first half.

The Pistons started to claw their way back in the third quarter, scoring 30 points in the quarter. Kyle Singler and Brandon Jennings started to get hot from the field and the two combined to score 19 of Detroit’s 30 in the third. While the Hawks still managed to scored 26 points in the period, you could see Detroit’s defense start to clamp down and slow down the Hawks’ ball movement. Al Horford scored 11 in the quarter, but it came on 10 shot attempts. Continue Reading…

After taking crippling losses to the Cavaliers and Lakers in the past week, the Hawks finally got back on the right track with a 99-89 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Jeff Teague was magnificent, particularly in the second half. Teague scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and absolutely dominated Brandon Jennings and DJ Augustin on both ends of the floor. “His defense on the other end of the court [was good],” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his starting point guard. “A lot of people talk about his points and his offense, but I thought his defense was very good on the ball. They run a ton of pick-and-rolls. I’m really please with Jeff’s effort, particularly on the defensive end of the court.”

In addition to the 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting, Teague also recorded four rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. It seems that Teague always gives extra effort against Brandon Jennings and the result was one of the best games of Teague’s career.

Although the Hawks had control for most of the game, they did run into some trouble at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth. The Piston completely wiped out a 19-point Atlanta lead to tie the game at 74 with eight minutes left. The Hawks then used a group effort to drive back into the lead, as each starter scored in the final eight minutes to get the lead back into double digits. Continue Reading…

Another Chance for Al Horford

Cole Patty —  October 31, 2014 — 3 Comments

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law or at least the current version of “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” Commonly said in situations by the Average Joe on one of the days where the bad luck comes in bunches; it’s almost as if the forces of the universe just won’t let something nice happen to them, no matter how much good karma they may have built up.

Al Horford may be a two-time All-Star, but his career also feels like the embodiment of this law. Every time Horford gets a bit of momentum going towards finally becoming the superstar he plays like, something bad seems to happen. On top of that, he is mostly overlooked in the “best center in the East” discussions, he wasn’t named an All-Star during a great 2012-13 campaign, and was constantly overshadowed during his career by the more bombastic Josh Smith. In fact, most of the mainstream media coverage on Horford is about why he should be playing power forward instead of mentioning that he is a matchup nightmare for his larger stone footed counterparts.

As for Murphy’s Law, Horford’s injuries have stifled his growth towards becoming a superstar. When Atlanta powered on to the 5-seed in the strike shortened 2011-12 seasons, Continue Reading…

By now you’ve probably read Lakers coach Byron Scott’s comments about 3-pointers. Scott told that 3-pointers help teams make the playoffs but don’t win championships. The numbers show that the opposite is true. The majority of recent NBA champions had the most made 3-pointers in the playoffs, often after posting middle-of-the-pack numbers during the regular season.

The Hawks’ loss to the Pistons was a textbook example of the importance of the 3-pointer. Late in the fourth quarter the Hawks held a 10-point lead while shooting 44% from 3-point range. The Pistons, meanwhile, were shooting only 27% from distance. Brandon Jennings, one of the most infamous streak shooters in the NBA, got hot and hit three in a row. Suddenly the Pistons were shooting 38% from 3-point range and the Hawks’ lead was a distant memory.

The real story of this game, however, is that Andre Drummond is an absolute monster and force to be reckoned with. One coach who is well-acquainted with the importance of the 3-pointer is Stan Van Gundy, who brought in former Hawk Cartier Martin as part of an offseason scour for anyone who could hit a long ball. Van Gundy will shortly be in the unique position of coaching the best center of three successive generations after previously coaching Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Continue Reading…

As Kenyon Martin sat just behind the free-throw line, the world had no idea what Josh Smith would do next. Smith darts down from center court, leaps in the air, catches the toss from a seated Martin, and swung the ball back around windmill style. Boom. The Pepsi Center exploded, along with the TNT crew calling the All-Star festivities. Kenny Smith immediately proclaimed, “The dunk contest is where you make your name… His name is gonna be starting to become famous around here if he keeps doing dunks like that.”

In the next round, the 19-year old from College Park put on a vintage Dominique Wilkins jersey and dazzled the crowd – again – with a windmill tribute to the Hawks legend.

As he took home the title of 2005 Slam Dunk Champion, Josh Smith also took home another title: fan favorite. While the origin of the nickname “J-Smoove” is less than concrete, the high-flying young forward would soon earn the moniker.

At the time, it’s likely that he had little effect on me, a clueless 8 year-old who had little interest in professional basketball. Now, coming up on 18, I feel I can finally grasp just how big of an impact that one player had on some of the young stages of my life. Continue Reading…


DET(23-32) 115 – 107 (25-29)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Monroe (DET): 22 pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast

Both the Hawks and Pistons came into Friday night struggling to find themselves. Atlanta, battling through a myriad of injuries, had lost seven straight games heading into the Palace of Auburn Hills. While Detroit, under interim head coach John Loyer, had a three game losing streak of their own after winning their first game without summer hire Maurice Cheeks.

Something had to give, and it looked like it would be the Hawks’ streak in the first half. Powered behind an eight minute stretch where they team hit all thirteen shots they attempted, Atlanta pushed to an 11 point lead at halftime. Unfortunately for all the strengths the team showed through two quarters, it all fell apart in the third. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe ate up all the potential rebounds on their offensive glass, and Detroit had a 34 point third quarter. While Atlanta, who went into halftime shooting almost 60 percent, went 11-36 from the field in the second half. By the time Kyle Singler hit his second corner three in the last two minutes, it was over. And the Hawks losing streak was extended to eight.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap had a great game tonight in spite of the team falling short in the end. 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists is nothing to sneeze at, especially when he hit three out of his four shots from deep and found his way to the line enough times to gather 8 free throw attempts. He did what he could to put the team in good position to get the win. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll’s impact on the game was small compared to his fellow starters, and it wasn’t special in anyway either. He was 2-7 from the field, was non-existent on the glass — in a game where he guards Josh Smith, that’s a priority —  and didn’t wreak any havoc defensively. 3/10

Kyle Korver: It wasn’t the best shooting night Korver has had this season, but it was also one of his better nights outside of scoring the basketball. He found a way to get three steals in the first quarter, supplied four assists, and helped clean the glass with 7 rebounds. He wasn’t a protruding positive with his play, but did all the little things to avoid being a minus. 5/10

Elton Brand: Brand did his best against an ultra big Pistons squad. He hustled, grabbed almost half of Atlanta’s offensive rebounds, and tried to defend well. Drummond and Monroe just weren’t having any of it. Despite two blocks from Elton, the Detroit duo went 20-28 from the field. That’s an issue. Brand might not have been the problem, but he didn’t look like the solution either. 4/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack’s statline is a lot prettier than his actual impact on this game. He scored the ball well on Brandon Jennings, which isn’t a surprise. His 21 points were actually a career high. However, as a facilitator, he was bland. Korver and Carroll combined for 5 turnovers, and both players are the kinds of guys you don’t want to see the ball in their hands outside of shooting the basketball. Shelvin scored well, but didn’t command the offense in a confident manner and that held weight in this contest. He also came away with a few turnover though, and had some really nice hustling rebounds in a spot start for Teague. 7/10 Continue Reading…

No Smoove, No Problem?

Brandon Barnes —  December 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

We knew going into this season that one of our franchise players was leaving for the Motor City. We knew that letting him walk was a move that improved our outlook on the future. We knew that we were losing one of the most dynamic forwards in the game.

We knew that bringing in Paul Millsap on a cheap cost-effective STEAL of a contract would help replace him. What we didn’t know, was that some parts of his game would be magically duplicated in different Hawks players this year.

So there’s that. And then there’s the fact that we also miss him deeply in many aspects of the game. It’s tough to replicate Josh Smith’s production, but these Hawks players are doing their best do make us forget about him.

Two is Better Than One

Danny Ferry, in a way, signed two players from Utah who, when combined, show Smoove-like abilities. Millsap has the inside play, DeMarre Carroll has the energy and (sometimes) solid defense (Not at Smoove’s level, but good). Both of them can shoot well from outside, too. Compared to Smoove’s 26% mark from beyond the arc this season, Trillsap and the Junk Yard Dog are shooting 41% and 32%, respectively. Both considerably better than the hometown stud.

Along with this, they both know how to play within their abilities. Sure, DeMarre goes through stretches where he may shoot a little too frequently, but at least they’re relatively open looks and that’s what he was signed in the offseason to do, anyway.

In Paul’s case, he’s a very “smoove” player. Much like Joe Johnson, he seems to be very calm and collected on the court, all while doing what he wishes with the ball in his hands. You don’t see him jawing with refs and getting techs left and right. He plays hard and he plays smart: two things that Danny Ferry wants from every member of the ballclub. Continue Reading…

If you’re a Hawks fan, get ready for a full season’s worth of trade rumors and speculation regarding this team. Bill Simmons declared the Hawks “built to trade” in his video preview of the Hawks’ season with Jalen Rose. And now Zach Lowe continues the theme in a piece for Grantland in which he suggests the Hawks may be in the market for Luol Deng or Omer Asik.

[Paul] Millsap is a valuable piece, and the Millsap/Al Horford pairing gives Atlanta impeccable spacing. But he’s also something of a Horford Lite, and if Danny Ferry can turn him into a game-changing wing or center (Omer Asik?), then they should at least think about it.

I polled the HawksHoop staff and the overwhelming reaction to this proposed trade was negative due to the spacing issues Lowe cited. Bo Churney also questioned whether Atlanta’s frugal ownership will want to pay Asik the $15 million owed in the last year of his poison pill contract (even though the cap hit is only $8 million, slightly less than what Millsap makes). Continue Reading…