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News » HAWKS 88, BOBCATS 83: Woodson scores a win over mentor


HAWKS 88, BOBCATS 83: Woodson scores a win over mentor


HAWKS 88, BOBCATS 83: Woodson scores a win over mentor
They talked Thursday night after the Charlotte Bobcats flew to town. They talked again Friday morning. They continued with various conversations when they arrived at Philips Arena.

Just guessing, but they probably are sharing more than a few words and chuckles right now about how the Hawks needed to scramble down the stretch for an 88-83 victory Friday night against the usually toothless Bobcats.

You get the picture. There rarely is a moment before, during or after an NBA season when Mike Woodson and Larry Brown aren't chatting about this when they aren't chatting about that.

"We talk almost all the time," said Brown, now with the Bobcats on his eternal coaching tour that has included nine NBA teams, two in the ABA and two in the college ranks.

Woodson is in his fifth season as the Hawks' head coach after three years as an assistant for Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons. In many ways, Woodson is a Brown clone, which is a good thing.

That's because the real Brown is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He also has an NBA championship and an NCAA title on his resume. Plus, the real Brown is obsessed with the term, "Playing the right way," which Woodson has adopted and stressed with his Hawks teams dominated by youth and inexperience.

This isn't to say that Woodson's players always heed his words. You can tell as much by the interruption of their renaissance season with uneven play after a 6-0 start. There was Friday night, for instance, when until the end the Hawks looked too much like the bunch that had lost four of their previous five games.

Consider: The Hawks trailed 63-62 entering the fourth quarter, but then they spurted to an eighth victory with a few big things and a couple of little things. Among the big things were five 3-pointers, including three from Mike Bibby.

As for the little things, they began and ended with defense. The Hawks led 85-81 at the 1:05 mark, and when Raymond Felton attempted to bring the Hornets closer with an 18-foot shot, he couldn't escape the massive hand of Al Horford in his face.

Moments later, Joe Johnson deflected a pass for a steal to push the Hawks closer to a second consecutive victory and signs that the renaissance still lives.

No one is more pleased with the Hawks' mostly playing the right way than the author of those words. After all, Brown consulted Woodson often when his pupil was getting blasted during his opening years with the Hawks despite improving the team in victories every year.

There also was that matter of Woodson's Hawks taking the eventual world champion Celtics to seven games in the playoffs' first round.

"Oh, yeah. I was following how Mike was being criticized closely, but I guess it comes with the territory when your team struggles, no matter how patient people are," said Brown, who definitely knows. He spent his only season in New York last season failing to keep a dysfunctional group of Knicks from 59 losses.

Not only that, Brown's Bobcats just suffered their eighth loss in 11 games. But back to Woodson's Hawks, with Brown adding, "I always thought they were going in the right direction. I saw the young kids getting better. You know, last year, the run against Boston was special, and it made everybody realize that things are starting to look up for them."

The mentor forced a laugh, then said of his pupil, "You oughta go to him to talk about us, because they're doing a [heckuva] lot better than we are."

tlmoore@ajc.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 22, 2008

 

 
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