Thursday, January 8, 2009

GameNight: No Signs of Acie’s Pajamas in Woodson’s Doghouse

When we took the assignment of heading to Philips Arena for the game between the Good Guys (that would be the Hawks) and the Pretty Good but not as Good Guys (that would be the Magic), we knew we had to ask Coach Woodson about one player.

Acie Law.

These are the results of our quest.

First of all, Acie was out for family reasons, and Woodson reports that he’s fine and they hope that he is back tomorrow.

So even with knowing that nothing that was said tonight could be quickly addressed after the game since Law would be inactive for the game, we wanted to know why Law hadn’t been playing and if he fit into the long term (and short term for that matter) Hawks plans.

“Right now I’m just looking at what’s happening now,” said Woodson. “He’s a part of the team. He just hasn’t seen a lot of action in our rotation. We’ve elected to go with Flip.”

“It’s no knock against Acie,” Woodson continued. “I still expect him to be ready to play. I thought the other night he stepped right in and did a great job—for a guy who hasn’t played in a while—he did some nice things---and I expect that.”

When asked by the HHB if he would be playing more as the season wore on the Coach replied, “My thing is that I know as the season goes on I’ve got to get back to trying to play 9-10 guys consistently.”

The question has been has Acie done anything wrong to keep him off the floor and if there was anything that Law was doing well. Says Woodson, “His job is to run our basketball team---and that’s what I expect him to do and I expect him to be sharp defensively when guards are bringing the ball up the court. I've got to keep working with him and keep finding minutes for him.”

“(Being a scorer) is what he’s done in college. He was a scorer in college and here he doesn’t have to score a whole lot. If he’s a position to make plays, I do expect him to do that. And he’s doing that---I have no complaints about Acie Law—he’s doing excellent when he gets a chance to play.”

Without Law there, we couldn’t know for sure, because we couldn't ask him as planned, but we asked Woodson if Law understands that the defensive end and running the team effectively are the key notes for him to get on the floor for more time.

“He gets that---he really has no choice (laughter)---and if he’s called upon to play, that’s the way I expect him to play. I’ve just been going with a different rotation and he’ll be back in there ready to play.”

There it is---no bones for Law in the Woodson doghouse---hopefully the only bones thrown will be the minutes for Law on the court.

More Game Notes:

Zaza Pachulia was sick—so sick in fact that he was not even at the arena and is day-to-day.

We can appreciate Zaza not bringing his illness to work and exposing the HHB to even more sicknesses (see our Out Sick post from last month to catch a photo of us incapacitated by the last illness we had), but the Hawks missed his energy and toughness badly in the game.

The Official Spouse of the HHB sent along that we got a Comment from The Vent's CoCo regarding asking about Speedy Claxton, about whom we wrote last season to cancel plans to hold your breath for his return.

As Casey Kasem would say, CoCo---Here is Your Long Distance Dedication:

Claxton’s knee injury recovery timeline is still officially a mystery, but we are known to speculate that it’s awful hard to risk a player playing when insurance money is on the line. We hear that Claxton may want to be out there in heart these days, but his body and circumstances seem to be conspiring to make that a non-reality.

One more quote from Josh Smith tonight and this one goes out to Peachtree Hoops, who has documented that the Hawks are consistently one of the Top 5-10 slowest paced teams in the league, especially when winning.

“We played their style of basketball---half court---we opened up more and started to play our pace and cut the lead down---but you can’t wait to play your basketball what late against a team like Orlando.”

The HHB thanks all the fine people who came around to chat tonight at the arena---and of course the Hawks for having us---Comments and further Salutations are Welcome at the Comments Section.


CoCo said...

Hmmmmmm. Thanks for your work, but I still really want to know what kind of knee injury allows you to play throughout the summer, but makes you unable to play in the fall when a team is paying you millions of dollars.

Unknown said...

First, Coco (in my best Yoda voice) - insightful you are. Now, the only thing I have to say to this fantastic blog post (it should go on True Hoop's Bullets if you ask me) is I'm calling BS on this. Mike is being political about Acie, no ifs, ands, or buts. There's no way on he can say with a straight face that EARLY in the season when we had injuries that Acie was doing so poorly that now with only 3 other guards on the roster - that there are NO minutes for Acie.

He can't tell me that Acie (the scorer from college) is running and taking more shots out of the rhythm of any offense like Flip Murray. Maybe he doesn't think I've watched every game, but he'd be wrong. So, the case isn't closed on this, but I absolutely appreciate your desire to do what I wish the beat writers would have done much sooner and that's find out what the deal is b/c I can't think of ONE good reason.

I've yet to see Acie's involvement on the court get in the way of a win. I've seen our free throw shooting, Flip's quick shots, his lack of motivation for the team, Josh's jump shots, the 4th quarter Joe Johnson figure out how to score a bucket offense, and a host of other things get in the way of victories, but none that you're going to reasonably convince me of that lay at the feet of Acie Law IV that precludes him from being able to get oh...Eddie House minutes (like 10 a game). Not buying it....

Jason Walker said...


My thoughts are that you are right--and if I had more one-on-one time with the coach, I would have been able to ask if he is more comfortable with the veteran than with the child, in this case Acie.

Sometimes you can get so caught up with bringing younger players up that you focus on the gaps in their game, rather than what they are doing right or better than the Proven Veteran.

There really isn't any reason Acie shouldn't be backing up Bibby, but I don't think it's anything negative that coach feels about him, more that Coach sees him as a child who needs to almost be perfect to earn that trust.

It's not fair, but it's more than common, especially in the coaching ranks.

Jason Walker said...


My gut feeling is this:

If the team felt confident that he would be able to survive even a majority of the season without getting seriously injured again, they would give it a roll.

But as soon as he starts to play, bye bye insurance money, at least the way I understand it.

I don't think anyone feels confident enough to make a go of it.