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Tag:Atlanta Hawks
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:44 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 4:26 pm
 

McGrady on playing time: 'I'm tired of this s--'

T-Mac is pretty upset about his playing time in Atlanta. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

When Tracy McGrady signed with the Hawks before the season, he knew he wasn't going to be playing a prominant role. He knew that, much like in Detroit last season, he'd likely be coming off the bench and would likely be playing less minutes than he did earlier in his career.

Last season with the Pistons, he did a great job with it. He played his role, did his job and didn't say anything about it. But that was with him still actually having a real role with the team. With the Hawks, he's seen his time on the floor cut game after game, with him not playing at all after halftime against the Hawks Saturday.

And McGrady's had enough. So he let it all out, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“I’m tired of this [bleep],” McGrady said. “You can put that in the paper, I don’t give a [bleep].”

McGrady has played in 26 of 32 games for Atlanta this season for an average of 18 minutes before Saturday’s game. Last season with Detroit McGrady averaged 23 minutes in 72 games.

As for the why, McGrady says coach Larry Drew hasn't given him a reason.

“If you don’t feel I can help, come tell me that,” McGrady said. “He ain’t told me nothing. I just want to help these guys win, man, which I know I can. But, damn, four minutes?”

Drew has previously used the excuse of wear and tear for limiting minutes, but McGrady says he's feels terrific and if he didn't, he'd say so and not play. If he's in uniform, he expects to play.

Does he want out? Under league rules, he's eligible to be traded on March 1. But he's not ready to go there yet.

“Hopefully, I’m here,” he said. “I like it here. I like the guys. That’s what I love most about it. I like the guys in this locker room. But at the same time, I still can play. No doubt in my mind.”

McGrady signed with the Hawks to help a playoff team hopefully contend. He expected to play a big role and get his time. He's frustrated and if Drew is saving him, that's got to be communicated. Otherwise, you're going to have a disgruntled veteran and that's not a good thing for a locker room to have to deal with.

The Hawks need McGrady because their depth has been challenged. The team isn't going anywhere, but if they're to stay in the Eastern playoff picture, they're going to rely on players like McGrady giving them good minutes. He's not psyched right now, and wasn't afraid to say so. You know Larry Drew has heard it, so we'll have to see if anything changes. If not, something might be happening March 1.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:23 pm
 

LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle sprain) set to return

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is set to return on Saturday night after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.

Aldridge suffered the sprain during the first quarter of a Tuesday night loss to the Washington Wizards at the Rose Garden. He missed a Wednesday night win over the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena and a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden. The Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Aldridge, 26, was named to his first All-Star game last week and is in the midst of a career year. He is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. Prior to spraining his ankle, Aldridge had missed just six games due to injury since the beginning of the 2008-2009 season.

Portland enters Saturday night with a record of 16-15.
Posted on: February 11, 2012 2:51 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 2:17 pm
 

Hawks F Josh Smith miffed by All-Star snub

Josh Smith is upset by his All-Star snubbing. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

No matter how many times NBA players, coaches and analysts remind the world that the All-Star voting process is "all politics," snubbed players with legit candidacies still get bent out of shape over not being selected.

This year's prime example: Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, who is averaging 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals while shooting 46.7 percent from the field in 34.4 minutes a night. The Hawks are currently 18-9, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. That's a strong, strong resume, but Smith was left off the final Eastern Conference All-Star team in favor of guys like teammate Joe Johnson, Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala and Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce.  

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution captured Smith's predictable explosion here and here.
"I guess I don't know the right people or kiss enough [butt]."

“You’ve got to factor in there is a lot of politics involved in the All-Star selection,” Smith said Friday. “Once you get that it’s really about politics, then nothing really surprises you. I call it ‘Nothing But Associates,’ NBA. It’s all who you know.”

“I can’t really point a finger and blame anybody because, at the end of the day, when you leave it up to certain people that still have ties to their agents, [and] players in this game today probably [are] just putting in a bid over the phone, or however they do it,” he said. “You have to factor that in.”
Smith finds himself at a familiar crossroads, one that faced Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge when he got snubbed last season. Both players stand no chance of being selected as starters by the fans, and are thus at the mercy of the league's coaches to select them. Players in that situation can continue to rage against the system and hope that at some point their play is so sensational that the coaches will be forced to vote them in on merit, or they can increase their odds by making small concessions to the system, getting their hands a little bit dirty in the political game.

For the private Aldridge, that meant opening a Twitter account, doing far more interviews -- national and local -- than he had done before, opening up about his mother's battle with cancer, and being supported by his coach (who lobbied for him) and organization (who produced Beats By Dre Headphones and sent them out to the other coaches and national media members). A little bribery goes a long way in political situations, obviously. 

Smith is entering his prime after getting slapped with the "immature" tag early in his career. He's absolutely right: On talent, he is an All-Star. But he plays on a balanced, good-but-not-great, off-the-radar team and that makes it difficult for him to be selected because he's battling his own fan-friendlier teammates, like Johnson and center Al Horford, for selection year after year. He's also constantly going to be in a dogfight with the second best player on the East's elite teams for one of those finals spots. 

Put it together, and Smith is facing a stacked deck. But a political consultant would look at this situation and see nothing but opportunity, given the high level and consistency of Smith's play over the last five years. Smith's story starts with winning, as he is one of the league's top 2-way players and the Hawks are headed for their fifth straight playoff appearance. It continues with his evolution and maturity as a player, a story he could tell -- through gritted teeth, surely -- in a few well-placed media interviews, where Smith could give the credit to his coach(es) and offer a candid personal vignette about the turning point when life in the NBA world "clicked" for him. That stuff sounds corny, and it is, but it also works, and it would be more than enough to build some buzz these days.

The question facing Smith is whether going down that road is an acceptable compromise or whether he would prefer to be totally annexed from the "Nothing But Associates" culture. All-Star Weekend is a giant circus seeking performers to help sell the story. Note the words "circus," "performers" and "sell," none of which jives particularly well with Smith's brash, take-me-as-I-am style. Again, this is up to Smith. The snubbing can be avoided in the future, but it will take some higher-level campaigning.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:12 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 12:27 pm
 

Hawks sign Erick Dampier to 10-day contract

The Hawks have signed veteran big man Erick Dampier to a 10-day contract. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The Atlanta Hawks, who lost All-Star center Al Horford to injury in January, have made a move to shore up their interior depth. It's not exactly a blockbuster.

The Hawks announced on Thursday that the team has inked veteran center Erick Dampier to a 10-day contract. The 36-year-old Dampier spent the 2010-2011 season with the Miami Heat and was unsigned during the December free agency period.
Selected 10th overall by Indiana in the 1996 NBA Draft, Dampier has played in 972 regular season games and 57 playoff contests with Indiana, Golden State, Dallas and Miami. He appeared in 51 games last season for the Heat, averaging 2.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 0.9 bpg (.584 FG%, .545 FT%).

He’s averaged 7.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 1.4 bpg over his career (.498 FG%, .626 FT%). With 6,980 career rebounds and 1,394 blocks, Dampier ranks 14th and 7th respectively on the NBA active career lists. His 2,713 offensive boards ranks 5th among active players.

Dampier will wear uniform no. 25.

Dampier joins Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins in the middle for Atlanta and his signing brings Atlanta to a full-15 man roster.

His 10-day stretch is well-timed, as the Hawks will face the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers over the next week and a half, a tough stretch. The Hawks will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day contract after the first term expires.

Atlanta is currently 17-9 on the season, good for second place in the Southeast Division and No. 5 overall in the Eastern Conference.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:53 am
 

Report Card: Derrick Rose rolls over Knicks

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Derrick Rose carved up the Knicks on Thursday. (Getty Images)

Here's a quick rundown of Thursday night's NBA action. it was a light schedule, with just six games on the docket.

Derrick Rose

32 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 turnovers. It was an interesting situation on Thursday night where the power of one scorer/distributor was greater than the power of two scorers. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 60 points but took 53 shots to get it done,  and while Rose didn't shoot out of this world himself -- 12-for-26 -- his ball distribution made sure Chicago was above 50 percent as a team. He found Joakim Noah for a number of easy dunks with well-timed passes. Here's Ken Berger of CBSSports.com from Madison Square Garden on Rose's huge night. 

Denver Nuggets

A 21-point road win over L.A., even if the Clippers were on the back-to-back, is worth writing home about. Sometimes everything goes right. When Danilo Gallinari doesn't miss any of his five 3-point atempts and Timofey Mozgov doesn't miss a shot -- 5-for-5 -- while holding his own against L.A.'s frontline, Denver won't lose many games. For a team that shoots roughly league average from deep, they sure make 12-21 from outside look easy. Their reward is sole possession of the West's No. 2 seed.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings snapped a 5-game losing streak so it probably feels like an A+. This wasn't a perfect effort thanks to some porous first half defense, but Sacramento made a strong fourth quarter push, a run that proved there's enough room, in the right situation, for Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons. Evans, who has struggled against Portland this season, compensated for a slow start with some physical drives late, and Thornton made up for an off shooting night by getting to the free throw line 12 times. Portland folded hard down the stretch but that doesn't much matter to Sacramento, who is happy to get February off to a winning start. Don't overlook the 13 points and 12 rebounds from Jason Thompson, who struggled to defend LaMarcus Aldridge but made sure to get some back on the other end.

Amar'e Stoudemire

When Amar'e Stoudemire flipped in a running left-handed scoop after drawing contact, it seemed like Thursday night just might be his night. He finished with 34 points and shot 16-for-27 from the field. New York's supporting cast is such that you don't raise your eyes too much at the shot attempt number these days, especially against an elite defense like Chicago's. Live and die by your best offensive weapons. What dragged Stoudemire down was his ill-advised late 3-pointer off of an inbounds play. A career 25.9 percent shooter, that was an inexcusable decision. Then again, maybe Thursday wasn't the night to nitpick his game, seeing as how it was the first time all season he scored more than 25 points.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks got hit with your typical "lockout" game, which is strange because they had a day off to prepare. Regardless all the signs were there: poor shooting, getting killed on the glass, lots of turnovers and an inability to get to the free throw line. Who played well in this one for Atlanta? Not Joe Johnson (-27 and 4-for-10 shooting). Not Jeff Teague (-20 on 2-for-7 shooting). Not anyone, really. Memphis crushed Atlanta, 58-38, in the paint and Marc Gasol finished with a whopping +40 on the night and Tony Allen wasn't far behind, with a +36. That's a steamroll right there.

Portland Trail Blazers

You might think that Portland's 3-9 road record speaks for itself but the nature of the losses is as damning as the final number. Fully in control of Thursday's game against Sacramento at the half, the Blazers fed LaMarcus Aldridge, who pounded the Kings' bigs mercilessly. Once Sacramento started doubling Aldridge, though, Portland's shooters couldn't hit a fish in a barrel. Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton combined to shoot 3-16 from deep. Blazers coach Nate McMillan seems unable to generate any other offense late in games. If this team plans to live or die by the three, it will be dying quite a bit.
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:42 am
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Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:54 pm
 

K-Mart gets FIBA clearance to return to NBA?

Posted by Royce Young

Kenyon Martin has received a surprising early clearance from FIBA that will allow him to return to an NBA team, according to multiple reports. Martin signed with a Chinese team during the lockout and because of Chinese Basketball Association rules would not be allowed to return to the NBA until his team's season ended.

Martin, however, reached a buyout agreement with his team in December and basically has just been sitting and waiting for their season to finish, which should happen in about two weeks.

Reportedly, Martin has drawn interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Spurs, Hawks and Heat. According to Yahoo! Sports, Martin is visiting with the Hawks today in fact.

The Hawks have a major need for a guy like Martin as Al Horford was essentially lost for the rest of the regular season with a shoulder injury recently. Martin wants to join a good team, but he also wants to play and there's a clear hole for him to fill in Atlanta.

Martin, 34, played last season in Denver averaging 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in 48 appearances for the Nuggets. He still has a little left in the tank and obviously is looking to join a contender and contribute to a strong championship, playoff push.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Who's contending and who's pretending?

Posted by Royce Young

Are the Lakers and Celtics challengers for a championship, or for just a postseason appearance? (Getty Images)

Almost every team has played 20 games so far this season, which is a pretty nice sample size to make a semi-educated judgment on just how good some are. We know there are a lot of competitive teams in each conference. Teams that have a quality roster, a decent record and a chance at the postseason.

But what's coming into focus more and more is who is for real and who is for fake. Not in the sense of who is actually good and who is fool's gold, but what teams should we be really watching for to make a push at a championship?

In the same way there's no reason to waste time saying the Wizards and Hornets are not contenders, I don't need to tell you that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are obvious contenders. They aren't just contenders, they're the title favorites as of now. Those three teams have clearly separated themselves a bit from the pack, but that doesn't mean that there isn't another team lingering as a potential title threat. This time last season nobody was really looking at the Mavericks as a team poised to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

So let's break down the current field of playoff contending teams and separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Orlando Magic

After an 11-4 start, a good number of people kind of came around from "They have to trade Dwight Howard right now" to "Maybe they should keep him and make a run at it." Now, after a week of complete stinkage, maybe it's time to take another good look at blowing the hinges off the organization and starting over. If you're consistently having trouble getting out of the 60s, you're not going to win a seven-game series against a good team.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Philadelphia 76ers

A 15-6 record and the best point differential in the league is not something to be ignored. A 4-4 road record indicates that maybe the Sixers aren't quite ready to step into the conversation of competing for the East. I'm going to choose to ignore that. The Bulls and Heat are clearly the class of the East, but it's not hard for me to picture the Sixers taking down one in a seven-game series. Their depth, defense and determination will have them right in any game they play.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Utah Jazz

Rewind to last season. Jerry Sloan had resigned and Deron Williams was traded. It was understandable that the Jazz would finish out the season in the lottery. That was the plan. Get younger, find some cap flexibility and plan for the future. Except that didn't work out. The Jazz aren't a franchise that deal with losing much so this season wasn't just going to be one of tanking. But they're overachieving. They have some nice wins on the resume, but a core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferon and Gordon Hayward aren't making a title push.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Indiana Pacers

I want to believe. I really do. The Pacers are a fun team and their resurgence over the past two seasons has been something else. David West was a nice addition and Roy Hibbert is playing really well. They've built up their resume with some good wins over the past couple weeks, but I don't see how they improved in the area that killed them last postseason -- fourth quarter execution. Danny Granger is a good player but can't shoulder the load of getting tough, key baskets in crunchtime. I can't see them beating the Bulls, Heat or even 76ers.

Verdict: PRETENDER

New York Knicks

I almost didn't even include them in this list. And not for the reason the Bulls, Heat and Thunder aren't in it. Unless Baron Davis has a superpower in that beard, the Knicks aren't getting out of the first round, and that's if they even get there. Serious obstacles are going to have to be overcome before this team actually competes for a championship.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Dallas Mavericks

It appears the championship hangover is finally wearing off. But for a while there, the defending champs had us concerned. They looked flat, uninterested and worst of all, not as good after losing J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson. But the Mavs are finding their form a bit and if Lamar Odom can ever finally wake up, Dallas goes eight deep with a nice rotation. And as long as that tall German guy is on the roster, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

Verdict CONTENDER

Houston Rockets

As I was writing down the teams I needed to mention for this, I didn't have the Rockets. And then I looked at the West standings and their record and said, "Whoa, the Rockets are 12-9? When did that happen?" I think they're going to be players at the trade deadline, but as the team stands now, they're position in the West's top eight will probably be short lived.

Verdict: PRETENDER

San Antonio Spurs

Could the Los Angeles Clippers -- the Clippers -- really be contenders? (Getty Images)
You just wait. Gregg Popovich knows what he's doing. Manu Ginobili will be healthy soon and the Spurs are going to go on a run of games in late February or March where they win like 14 of 16 and rocket up to third in the West. It's coming. I know it is.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Clippers

I picked the Clippers to finish second in the West but also wrote that they weren't a contender. I'm confused about the Clippers. But they definitely showed a little something this past week with a win in Denver and a win against the Thunder. Part of the reason many doubted that the Clips were ready to contend was it looked like they needed another piece for some depth. But they may already have it as Mo Williams is making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Two top 15 players, a monster rim protector inside, a solid identity and veteran leadership -- the Clips kind of have it all. Only two things are holding them back -- Vinny Del Negro and a 35-year history filled with miserable failure.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Atlanta Hawks

I'll put it simply: The Hawks made no dramatic improvements to a team that's basically been the definition of pretender and then their best player was injured for pretty much the rest of the season. Their winning record without Al Horford has been a bit of a mirage as they've fortunately found a soft spot in the schedule at the worst time. Playoff team, yes. Title contender? Nah.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Portland Trail Blazers

For about five minutes, the Blazers had everyone talking about them as the prime contender to challenge Oklahoma City in the West. And then they lost their next five of eight and have slipped out of the top eight in the West. There's really not that much distinguishing this Blazer team from the one the was eliminated in last season's opening round. Is Ray Felton an upgrade over Andre Miller? Jamal Crawford an upgrade over Brandon Roy? LaMarcus Aldridge has become a legit superstar, but I don't see him carrying this roster to the Western Finals.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Memphis Grizzlies

I fear the Grizzlies were that classic chic preseason pick that everyone kind of likes that ends up going down in flames. Some would call that the "Houston Texans Disease." But Memphis didn't stumble into the second round of the postseason by accident. They upended the Spurs and then were a seventh game on the road away from advancing to the Western Finals. They're an enigma right now without Zach Randolph, but if he comes back healthy, the Grizzlies could be a nightmare matchup for teams in the playoffs.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Boston Celtics

After all of that, the Celtics are back to .500. They're 10-10 and have eased some of the fears that they might miss the playoffs. But they haven't been able to restore confidence that they're a team that's dangerous in the postseason. Kevin Garnett can't jump, which is a problem. Their offense completely fizzles for long stretches. They're actually relying on key production from guys like Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox. The Celtics aren't bad, but I think ubuntu is on life support.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Denver Nuggets

Can team ball really win? Well, it's winning now and looking pretty darn good doing it. The Nuggets ran into a bad matchup last postseason and the Thunder took care of them in five games. I wouldn't say they necessarily improved this offseason after losing Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith while adding Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, but Al Harrington is playing wonderful basketball, Ty Lawson is blossoming and Danilo Gallinari shows flashes of being a star. Winning this way isn't easy, but I wouldn't rule the Nuggets out.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road. They've only scored 100 points three times this season. For any other team, we'd say that's a major red flashing sign that they aren't for real. For any other team, we'd look at their offensive struggles, their chemistry issues and the fact they're looking older than ever and easily write them off. But this is the Lakers, the home of Kobe Bryant and you don't do that. But I'm going to. Point guard is a massive issue, they have no depth inside and I still have absolutely no idea why they traded Lamar Odom for nothing. This team subtracted a key piece from a group that got swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks and they expect that adding Josh McRoberts and a new coach is going to push them over the top? Unless the Lakers have a big trade coming down the pipe, the Lakers as currently constructed aren't going anywhere.

Verdict: PRETENDER

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com