Around The Rim

Around the rim.

Such a simple, unassuming fragment of a sentence that seems.  Sounds like one of those short answers or descriptions you hear both in rural and urban settings all the time. “Over yonder”, ” ‘Round the corner”, “Up the Street”, “Around the way.” Stuff like that, right?

Yet for Hawks and their fans, there is much meaning in this fragment, this piece of a statement, this seemingly colorless shred of adjective. No, this is no over-used, cliched parcel of catch phrase, of John Madden-like proportions. For the Hawks, this is winning vs. losing. Good vs. Better. Enough vs. Not Quite.

Around the rim is where the Hawks need to make their most concerted effort to score. Lord knows they have enough weapons to do it. But it needs to be a consistent, steady, part of the offensive design. It’s something the Hawks need to start the game with. It’s something they have to be able to flip a switch and go to right away, particularly when their jump shots aren’t going in. All good teams know how to get points in the paint. It’s a way of life for them. All great scorers know how to do it too, as much scoring comes from the free throw line. You can’t always hit those jumpers. And if you don’t go inside, you’re not going to the stripe that often. And if you can’t get to the stripe….well, we know the only free shots come from the stripe. The rest are either the results of very good, solid offensive design and execution…. or inept defense. The Hawks do not possess any consistency in the former, and won’t be seeing much of the latter from their remaining regular season opponents. And things only get tighter in the playoffs. Scoring around and close to the rim will be more important than ever. The Hawks have to get back to making this a focal point of their offense.

Not only that, but points close to the basket is something that engenders confidence in role players and back-ups. Especially the low post guys. Last night’s game against Boston was pure evidence of the kind of impact a backup player can have on a game when he is able to score in the paint. Can the Hawks get that kind of impact from their low post backups on a regular basis?

Around the rim is where a team has to be at its stingiest on defense. No layup drills, no easy dunks. Those are the kinds of things that get opposing teams fired up. Easy points in the paint work both ways. You don’t want the opposing team’s role players rising to the occasion because they got a dunk or layup or two here and there. The only thing worse than battling a starting unit that’s on fire, is having to battle a backup unit that is just as intense. Protect the basket. Guard the rim. Make opponents take their “easy” shots from outside.

Around the rim is also where the Hawks must be the most aware. Rebounding is absolutely pivotal in a tight game. One offensive rebound by the opponent equals one second chance. And that one second chance could lead to the one basket (which is all it takes) that can turn the tide of a game, or win it outright. Being in the right position for the rebound is not all there is to rebounding. Too many times, the Hawks have been in the right position for a defensive rebound, and simply waited for it to fall, instead of going after it. Too many times, opponents have either tipped the ball back into the basket, or tipped it out to teammates for a second shot or reset of the offense. The Hawks have to work as a unit. Guys closer to the basket need to block out, and guys further away need to fly to the ball.

Conversely, the Hawks have to be the team to attack the glass on offense. Again, too many times Hawks players have been in position to attack the basket, but stood around to watch an errant jump shot clang off, and go right into the hands of the opposition. You know, there are times when you really miss Josh Childress. As it is, Al Horford does this on occasion, and Mario West is the only man to do it nearly every chance he gets. Marvin Williams had gotten into the habit before he was injured, and Josh Smith is worse about standing around then almost anybody else. The Hawks are often at some type of size disadvantage or other. But they have the ability to overcome it regularly. Besides, you don’t need size to attack the offensive glass. You only need awareness, some athleticism, and desire. Josh Childress taught us that.

These are the things the Hawks must do if they are to finish out the season well. Clinching a playoff berth was great, but finishing well has much merit. Besides, a good team knows that getting into a good habit….. is keeping a good habit. As you practice, so shall you play. And as you play normally, so shall you play in all situations. All too often, teams realize halfway through a playoff game what they should be doing. Like, when they’re down by 17 points. As recent times would suggest- “too little, too late.”

There’s a saying that bears a lot of weight. It goes, “In tense situations, people do not rise to the occasion. They are reduced to their level of training.” So it can be often times with NBA teams.

Around the rim. If you’re the Hawks, it’s like VISA….everywhere you want to be.

62 comments Add your comment

Sautee

March 28th, 2009
9:41 pm

Excellent post, my friend. I miss Chills too.

peace

Big Ray

March 28th, 2009
9:53 pm

Watch the phone tomorrow, ol’ buddy. It might ring.

doc

March 28th, 2009
10:01 pm

i guess right now i just want to know these guys still have it i them to take care of business with the also rans. we have to wait a while for that and witness another slaughter unless the lakers lay an egg like they did here last year. i can hope a one day virus hit kobe and his boys as our best chance tomorrow.

ditto ray.

jj

March 28th, 2009
10:31 pm

I miss Chills also and Marvin.People don’t understand how much better our defense was with those guys.The switching that teams are doing was not as easy to do with Chills,Marvin,Josh,and Al out there together.We were screwed when management chose Woody over BK.This TEAM can still compete,but it starts on DEFENSE.When JJ and his backcourt mates start playing on both ends of the court,we’ll see positive results.

O'brien

March 28th, 2009
11:18 pm

Ray, I posted this on the other blog (from Sekou’s article). It seems like Al agrees with you.

“The big lineup — Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford and Smith across the frontline — the Hawks used to combat the Celtics strength and size was never a factor. The Hawks never attacked inside.

“That was the plan, but it never panned out,” Horford said. “And I feel like when we attack inside out we have good stuff. But if we’re not established early, it’s kind of hard to get it going in the third and fourth quarter. We had the matchups we wanted and just didn’t take advantage of them.”

The Hawks have to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside, because teams will start doubling JJ early in the game. If they can establish Al and Josh early, that opens things up for JJ later in the game.

KevinA

March 29th, 2009
12:54 am

Ray – once again you have it right.

The 1st quarter usually sets the attitude of the offense, sometimes the first few possessions. How many games that you can think of when we passed low like 12 out of the first 20 or even 7 out of the first ten. This is where Woody and the back court are so disappointing to me. We win some of these games so I’m not saying JJ and Bibby are not good players but it seems to me when we play our best ball is when we play playoff style ball.

Bibby and JJ just can’t help themselves and have to jack up a few to see how their feeling at the beginning of games. If they make a few in a row you can forget it. They will continue to jack-em up till they lose the lead or get rotated out.

How many time has the Hawks got off to a slow start that takes the entire game to recover from.

Only if the back court struggle early will they start passing to the front court and many times Al and Josh play well and we make a come back. Sometimes it’s the bench that plays well and carves into the deficit. Maybe a balanced attack at the beginning of games would prevent the deficit in the first place.

There are other good reasons to pass first and often to Josh and Al at the beginning of games. It makes the opposition defense move their feet and work so much harder. By the way it’s just not passing, when JJ drives and shoots his floaters we have a much better chance of offensive rebounds than when he jacks them up.

Solo will be needed because of the higher amount of fouls committed in the playoffs. He needs more experience fighting for position and mixing it up. Playing against the Lakers would be a good time to start. A Speedy sighting would be great to see if he still has the defense capabilities he once had.

Our identity should be good ball rotation with inside out passing, driving and kicking, not the JJ ISO and Bibby coming off the screens.

niremetal

March 29th, 2009
2:31 am

Good post, Ray. You didn’t mention the one guy we have now who attacks the glass on both ends whenever he’s on the floor – Zaza. But the problem, of course, is that we need more than just our big man off the bench to be attacking the glass.

Native Son

March 29th, 2009
10:01 am

MARVINNNNN! ! ! ! Never miss the water till the well runs dry. Also J-J-J-JOHH Johnson has a girlfriend. Her name is floater. I wish he’d shoot the ball in rythm and not give the Dub-Team a chance. Seems he tries to get the Dub-Team to commit all the way, and when they do they take the ball.( Sheesh!)And when he pounds the ball he’s wasting way too many precious seconds down the stretch. There, I said it. The way Parker left Bibby flat-footed the other day was just sick. Think “YOUNG PG” in the upcoming draft. PLEASE. Put a fork in Speedy Law, I meam Acie Claxton, damn; you know who I mean.
Okay, I was just venting, needed to get the frustration out, and I tried to keep the venom in check. I ride and die with this team, but you get the Spurs, the C’s, and the Lakers at home, and this is your statement. What in the heck motivates you?
Peace,from the Most Indigenous One

Melvin

March 29th, 2009
12:05 pm

MannyT, I won’t be at the game today. I had to leave town Family Emergency. See you at the Magic game next week…..

Big Ray

March 29th, 2009
3:47 pm

I sure hope Kobe didn’t make that bet with Lamar Odom again. Better yet, I hope JJ made a side bet with Josh.

Good points, KevinA.

Niremetal,

You’re right. And the problem is exactly that. He’s the ONE guy consistently doing his job in that area, and he comes off the bench at Woody’s discretion.

I have a very bad feeling about this game. The Hawks are already jacking shots from the perimeter, including an early long bomb attempt by Josh.

Based on that sight alone, we’re going to lose. Playing like that against THE best team in the NBA? Yeah, that’s a loss. I sure hope we cut this foolishnes out…

Big Ray

March 29th, 2009
4:08 pm

Heck yeah, this is more like it!

Now extend the lead!

Sautee

March 29th, 2009
4:45 pm

What phone call?

Big Ray

March 29th, 2009
6:49 pm

Man, I was completely glued to the tube by the second half. Heh…with the way both offenses were playing, it was like watching a train wreck.

Fortunately, the Lakers disrespected us just long enough for our defense to get going, Bibby to hit some shots, and our bench players to give us a lift.

I don’t think I can imagine a prettier ugly win than this one.

Big Ray

March 29th, 2009
6:50 pm

Sautee,

My apologies. One phone needs to be replaced, and the other wasn’t getting charged like I thought it was. I don’t even want to know what kind of messages we have waiting for us on voicemails…

niremetal

March 29th, 2009
7:47 pm

I can’t say enough about the Hawks defensive effort today. It seemed like the Lakers only got an open look at the basket on 1 out of every 3-4 possessions. Can you imagine if we brought that defensive intensity against Philly or Miami in the first round? We seriously could win 4-0 or 4-1.

That being said, the Hawks clearly don’t bring that effort every time they hit the floor – which is why they are merely a “very good” team rather than an elite team.

Sam from da Swats

March 29th, 2009
8:17 pm

Great defensive effort, we just need to make better offensive decisions down the stretch. Three coaching lapses…first half Zaza has 2 fouls, Woody refuses to put Solo in and what happens? Zaza picks up his third foul. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The other lapse, Mario West can’t play any in the second half? Also Mo Evans was 3 for 5 from 3 point land and 5 for 9 overall. He can’t get no burn in the 4th quarter? Woody has to work on getting guys in the mix more. Other than that, good win for the Hawks.

Sam from da Swats

March 29th, 2009
8:19 pm

Oh yeah, the fair weather fan stuff is so lame. Most of the people rooting for the Lakers have never been to L.A. A bunch of idiots!!

John Lennon

March 29th, 2009
8:54 pm

Sam is Rod and Rod is Sam and Sam is Rod and they are all together.

Goo goo ga joob

Paul McCartney

March 29th, 2009
9:37 pm

Koo koo kachoo.

Sam from da Swats

March 29th, 2009
10:18 pm

Actually, I was at the game with Rod. Where were you?

Rod from da Swats

March 30th, 2009
3:13 am

You paid for the tickets Sam, so technically I was at the game with YOU.

Sam in College Park

March 30th, 2009
3:14 am

Where did the Beatles come in with all of this?

Rod from da Swats

March 30th, 2009
3:16 am

I think my two personas are suffering an identity crisis.

Sam in College Park

March 30th, 2009
3:17 am

No, not really. Its all about where you is from. Everything in life is location, location, location. Rep yo hood, playa.

SamRod

March 30th, 2009
3:18 am

I’m confused. Are the Swats in College Park, or is College Park in the Swats?

SamRod

March 30th, 2009
3:19 am

My bad, I meant to say DA Swats.

dap01

March 30th, 2009
7:54 am

As for us hitting the glass, it’s almost like we are coached too well.
Notice the ball movement in those college games. Those college teams seem well coached.

What is the status of Marvin? Is he improving? What is the expected return date?

niremetal

March 30th, 2009
9:56 am

MannyT

March 30th, 2009
12:21 pm

Melvin–I hope things go well on the family front.

Ray–while I miss what Chills brought to the team, I doubt he’ll return. I don’t know what the draft holds for us, but I do wonder if someone like Hansbrough could play that role and back up both forward spots. I would not run plays for him and I think he would hustle. Imagine both Mario & Hansbrough on the floor at the same time…hmm

Ray, Sautee, & the rest of your phone gang. It’s obvious that you need those Sprint/Nextel press to talk phones. Once you get them, I’ll direct your If Bloggers Ran the World commercial!

BWAF!

MannyT

March 30th, 2009
12:22 pm

So you have the visual…in case you forgot or haven’t seen it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCJLoie5EGg

doc

March 30th, 2009
5:01 pm

melvin, know you were up for the game, sorry you missed it. i will not be at the game against the magic but for the other two games and did the ante up thing for the playoffs and next season today to beat the deadline. hope things have settled down for you.

looking forward to seeing if the hawks can do some damage and see if the arena rocks again like last year.

Sam from da Swats

March 30th, 2009
8:07 pm

I see some people have no life, up a 3 a.m. posting stupid sh#t….

Melvin

March 30th, 2009
8:53 pm

Doc and MannyT, thanks for your expression of sympathy.
MannyT, I will see you this Saturday. Doc, I will see you during the playoffs. I’m thinking about purchasing season tix and selling off the ones I can’t make…

SamRod

March 30th, 2009
9:11 pm

Not a whole lot different from being up at 8:07, posting stupid sh#t….

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
12:32 am

MannyT,

Okay, okay. I’ll put you in my Fave Five. Promise. :)

Sautee

March 31st, 2009
5:38 pm

Let’s see if we can play like the Big Boys on the road. Good indicator of where we are.

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
8:58 pm

Making a comeback, though a shaky one. What a game by Josh, eh? All the same, I’d rather he not take so many threes again…makes me nervous, but I’m glad he made them.

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
9:01 pm

You know what? Joe sure runs the clock down A LOT. Lucky for him, this does not count on the “turnover” stat ratio. If it did, his turnover-to-assist ratio would be uncomfortably close to 1-to-1.

By the way, does it look to you like Josh is carrying this team…on the road? Haters, try not to grind your teeth so hard…it’s only one game. :)

And yes, I know…it would be better if he could play like this all the time. But then, what would you have to complain about (besides Woody)?

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
9:12 pm

Crap, Josh goes off big time, and we’re going to lose anyway.

No adjustments, as usual. I do not like this matchup for the playoffs. We’re seeing now what we’re going to see in the playoffs, guys.

doc

March 31st, 2009
9:37 pm

JOSH = MVP!

philly has the horses to turn us into pumpkins dont they?

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
10:16 pm

I really do not like this PHilly matchup. We have yet to prove that we can really beat these guys on a consistent basis. The issue I see is two-fold: not enough effort in the right places, at the right times, and NO ADJUSTMENTS. Both of these will get us an early ticket home once the playoffs start…

Big Ray

March 31st, 2009
10:19 pm

LOL@ Doc….you just won’t quit, will you?

Josh had a great game. He had the kind of game we probably won’t see from him again this season, but that’s not the point. Personally, I don’t want to see a trio of 3 attempts from him. Again, not the point. What I liked was the energy, the rhythm, and the fact that he got most of his points in the paint.

Can’t say it enough: we need Marvin.

And do you know why? Because he allows Flip to come in and play opposite JJ when Bibby is clearly not getting it done.

MannyT

April 1st, 2009
12:55 am

Ray…are you sure about putting me in your fave five? I can already imagine this situation exists somewhere within the current fave 4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Phg5SZGl8U

I missed the game, but that seems like a good thing. Seems that the better organized athletic team won. We do not want to see Philly in the playoffs. They had fewer 3 ptrs, rebounds, and blocks…yet they won relatively easily.

BWAF

Big Ray

April 1st, 2009
2:55 am

MannyT,

You’re too cool NOT to put in my Fave Five. Besides, that stuff in the commercial only happens with Ando….heh heh heh heh! Anybody know how to make the “devious” smiley face on here? ;)

As for Philly, I agree totally. That’s what I’m sayin’. Keep us away from Philly. New coach or not, we don’t match up well with them, regardless of what it says on paper.

MannyT

April 1st, 2009
12:09 pm

Philly kinda has the Hawks number. Let’s hope last night was the last time we see them until next season. Besides, Sekou deserves time on South Beach more than time on South Street. :-P

Moving back to the future…Friday vs the Celtics. No KG again. Makes me a little nervous. No Timmy D–loss; no KG–loss; ill Kobe plays–win.

Is it possible that the Hawks get overconfident? Or it is that the other team recognizes the extra effort they need to make up for a major player.

MVIP = Most Valuable Inconsistent Player = JOSH
But wasn’t he on the top of his game last night. Imagine how well he would have fit with the Sixers.

We should have known that Woody was staying last year after he shaved his head. You cannot pull it out over frustration if the hair isn’t there.

BWAF

doc

April 1st, 2009
1:43 pm

manny t you still dont get it. it is because josh is our leader, what or who is consistent on this team?

woody = icoy

yeah that is the ticket!

Sautee

April 1st, 2009
7:23 pm

MannyT,

You’re SO right about what if the Sixers had gotten Josh. Totally scary. Though I’d guess that if they HAD, then T. Young’s minutes would have suffered, if they kept him.

Be very glad that you missed that game. UuuGLYyyyyyyyyy!

Big Ray

April 1st, 2009
7:25 pm

Manny,

I want no parts of Philly. As for Boston, would it not be great for us to get a road win against them before the season ends? Hell, just another road win would be nice, but against the Celts would be very sweet, even with KG not there. I don’t care what the deal is, if we win there, it’s a legit win unless the Celts play their worst game ever.

Either way, it still would count as a win. We need another game from Josh like he had against Philly to do it, though. But we also could use Marvin, who we won’t have. So, Big Al will have to step up and our super backcourt will have to as well. Otherwise, don’t look for win #44……

Somewhere Ed Stefanski is sitting with a bottle of Bourbon, thinking about the $82 million he gave Elton Brand. Sure, the story is not over yet. But this team was good LAST year with NO perimeter shooters (Stefanski gave the one he had away, and acquired no others), and Mo Cheeks at the helm. This year, they had Brand. His presence alone seemed to wreck things, as it did not mesh with what the Sixers had. Maybe Cheeks couldn’t adjust, but that makes less sense when seeing how the Sixers resurgence came with Brand’s injury. Stefanski of course was able to scape-goat Cheeks. Funny how basically the same team Cheeks led to 40-something wins last year as is, is now doing the same thing under an interim type coach this year…without Stefanski’s big prize.

Shoulda signed Josh. Didn’t. $82 million. Will Brand ever prove worth it?

Big Ray

April 1st, 2009
7:43 pm

Sautee,

Yeah, they would, but then again, it’s entirely possible Iggy moves to the 2 while Thad plays the 3. Not all the time, but imagine that lineup causing mismatches at certain times. Either that, or the Sixers would have a wonderful 6th man who gets 28-32 mpg (Thad). Or, they could have traded somebody for a perimeter threat or two.

doc

April 1st, 2009
11:38 pm

said a long tie ago that stefanski is an idiot and that we were as lucky last year when brand came along as we were when we got the third ball in the lottery. yes, the sixers would have been huge with josh and in need of only a guy with range if josh didnt fit the bill after trying the mantle on. heh heh