Tag Archives: Joe Johnson

dirty bullets


The Bulls forgot about Joe Johnson and he made them pay.  (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

The Bulls forgot about Joe Johnson and he made them pay. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

CHI 117 ATL 129: Here are some game notes from the first half of Saturday night’s game.  (I missed the second half due to a previously scheduled engagement.)  

  • Joe Johnson got a lot of open looks, including a couple of wide open threes which he buried.  This was as “in rhythm” as I have seen Joe in a while.  It was a little surprising to see some of the Bulls’ defenders forget about him on defense.  If I were the opposing coach, my game plan would be to double team Joe and let everyone else beat me.  The Bulls apparently did not go with that strategy. 
  • Josh Smith played one of his best games of the season.  I was hard on him in my previous post, but against the Bulls he really attacked the rim.  Smith constantly drove the basketball and was able to draw a number of fouls from Nocioni (who in my opinion is a slow but underrated defender).  You could see “Noc” get under Smith’s skin at times, but Josh held his on and kept battling.  On one play in particular, Josh had the ball about 15 feet out, thought about the long jumper, pump faked and drew the foul on the way to the rim.  A perfect play on that possession. 
  • Pachulia came off the bench and provided some key minutes.  He especially looked comfortable on offense and has started to use his left hand more to finish at the rim.  Assuming the Hawks don’t trade for another big, he’s going to play a huge role down the stretch for this team. 
  • The Bulls set the tempo and Hawks matched it with no problem.  I think its a mistake to tempt these Hawks to run (as the Bulls found out).  There aren’t many teams as athletic as the Hawks who can match their game speed.  
  • Derrick Rose is the next superstar.  No doubt about it.  The dude attacks the rim better than anyone not named Kobe, Lebron and D-Wade.  I saw Marvin at times try to guard him, but Rose was simply to quick to the hoop.  It’s almost as though he’s capable of getting to the rim whenever he sets his mind to it.  If he had a supporting cast – he doesn’t – the Bulls would be legitimate contenders for the 8 seed in the East.  
  • Marvin Williams is quietly improving his game.  While I think his “aggressiveness” meter is turned up to about a 7 (out of 10), he’s playing with increased enthusiasm.  Moreover, he’s distinguished himself as the third scorer on this team.  I think there’s plenty of room for improvement in his game, which is scary given that he’s a pretty good player as is.  

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Filed under December (Atlanta Hawks)

a man’s night

Marvin Williams hits a huge three pointer down the stretch. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Marvin Williams hits a huge three pointer down the stretch. (AP Photo/John Amis)

WIZARDS 87 HAWKS 91 Woody called Marvin’s performance Wednesday a “man’s night.” Indeed it was. Williams did it from all angles, driving to the bucket, shooting it from the perimeter and owning the glass. So much of that talent that made scouts drool when Williams entered the NBA draft resurfaced in a game the Hawks had to have. Williams (along with unexpected battery mate Zaza Pachulia) provided the much needed energy the entire team was lacking in its four straight losses. In the end he was rewarded, draining a corner three that put the Hawks up for good.

Simply put, the former North Carolina product stepped up and played like a #2 pick in the draft. Being surrounded by talented players can at times have a negative impact on a young player. With Williams, it could be argued that a sense of complacency set in. He was never asked to take over games. Instead he was an above average “complementary” player who would chip in 15-16 points, grab 5 or 6 rebounds and call it a night.

For all the love I have for Joe Johnson, his competitiveness can at times drive him to do too much, causing him to forget about his more than capable role players (more on this below). With Johnson’s shooting struggles, however, and the injuries to Smith and Horford, complacency no longer was an option for Williams against the Wizards. It will take more nights like Wednesday for the Hawks to weather the current storm. And at some point, the fatigue of guarding bigger, tougher interior post players will set in (Williams guarded Rasho in Indiana and Jamison against the Wizards). By the looks of Wednesday night though, Williams appears up for the challenge.

GOOD JOE, BAD JOE: I’m going to preface everything I’m about to write with the following – Joe Johnson is the undisputed leader of the Hawks and he is by far the team’s most talented player. He is a top 5 shooting guard in the league, and if it weren’t for his quiet persona, perhaps the national audience would take notice. With that said, every player has a weakness, and Joe’s might be his overriding competitiveness. It’s hard to categorize a player’s competitiveness as a weakness, but for Johnson, his fierce drive to win has the ability to control his demeanor and disrupt his on-court rapport with his teammates.

With the Hawks losing streak picking up steam, it was clear Johnson was pressing against the Wizards (he hoisted 22 shots) and was growing increasingly frustrated with his teammates. On occasion he would try to get his shot off on isolation with over fifteen second left on the shot clock. Sometimes he would force passes after dribbling into trouble. Most notably, however, was his failure to make the extra pass. Joe has yet to fully trust his teammates (although he’s getting there – who made that pass to Marvin in the corner vs. the Celtics with 10.5 remaining?). For these Hawks to flourish, Joe will need to accept the double teams and believe that his open teammates – namely Bibby and Williams – can hit the open jumpers.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Eddie is as mad as a bee buzzing in a hive.” – Washington Wizards broadcaster Steve Buckhantz, after Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan was incensed by a non-call under the basket.

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Filed under November (Atlanta Hawks)

a trip down memory line

I was on YouTube the other night and I saw this compilation that was put together of the Hawks-Celtics Game 4 of last year’s playoffs. Any scout who wishes to challenge the value of Joe Johnson (I’m talking to the scout who remained nameless yet criticized Johnson’s game on cnnsi) need only watch this clip. Johnson single handedly abused Ray Allen in the 4th quarter. Allen carried a scowl on his face the rest of the series. But really it was just a front because he knew his place on the hierarchy of shooting guards just dropped. Go ahead Ray, hide behind KG and Paul. Because we all know you would never have won a championship without them.

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Filed under Joe Johnson