Opening “The Factory” against the Pacers

 

Well, here we go at last! The regular season begins for the Atlanta Hawks in two days, and it starts with two games at home against Eastern Conference opponents, followed by a 4 game swing out west. Hawks fans couldn’t ask for a much better way to begin the season than to have the first two games at home. Well, a victory would sure be nice. Two victories would be even better. In fact, that should be the expectation, particularly because the Hawks played pretty well at home last season, and certainly finished the season better than the two teams they’ll face first this season.

Up first is the Indiana Pacers, a team that is most likely doomed to struggle this season, particularly without forward Mike Dunleavy. Danny Granger will get his points and Troy Murphy will get his rebounds. Jeff Foster will be tough and solid. Roy Hibbert showed himself to be serviceable in somewhat limited minutes last season. TJ Ford is quick and can score a little on his own. Beyond that, the Pacers are not a major threat, though taking any NBA team lightly can prove to be a mistake. Anyway, here’s a breakdown of what the Pacers bring, versus what the Hawks bring.

DEFENDING THE FACTORY

The Hawks will make more headway this season in much the same fashion as they did last season: by defending well in games. More to the point, defending home base. Defending homecourt isn’t just about winning games. It’s also about winning the fans over. Nothing makes homecourt the bane of visiting teams more than a fan base that is fully, enthusiastically, and maniacally behind their team. And to get your fans fully behind you…well, winning at home always helps. Especially on opening night!

Having said that, let’s review what the Pacers have to offer on offense, and what the Hawks should be concentrating on:

For Indiana, it’s the Danny Granger show. He gets the most shots, as most of the plays run around him. Granger is going to get his points most nights, but he isn’t the difference between winning and losing unless it’s a close score at the end of a game. The guys who can make the biggest difference are Ford, Murphy, and possibly Luther Head.

Troy Murphy doesn’t do much damage on the block, but he can and will stretch the defense with his outside shooting touch. TJ Ford’s greatest threat is penetration. Never known for his outside shooting, Ford has gotten better in recent years, and is one of the game’s fastest players. He can get less creative teammates involved with dump-off passes once he gets into the lane, and is just as adept at faking the pass and getting the layup, as 15 points per game on 45% shooting showed last season. Make him beat you from the outside, and he’s not nearly as effective.

Roy Hibbert can’t be ignored, as he’s shown himself to be better than many thought he would be. But he still plays limited minutes, producing numbers that are decent, but not overwhelming. As long as he’s not given free rein in the post, he won’t hurt you too much. On the other hand, if he has improved this facet of his game…look out. Speaking of free rein, Luther Head is not somebody you leave open. Head doesn’t shoot a high percentage from the field overall, but he the fact that he’s sitting on 39% career shooting from 3-point range would suggest that you don’t want to let him get too many good looks at the basket.

To be successful on defense, the Hawks need to improve on what plagued them last year: hound the ball and prevent easy penetration. Close out on shooters and bottle up the passing lanes.

BATTLE OF THE BOARDS

This is actually a problem that the Hawks have been having, and it needs to stop. Winning the contest on the boards helps you win the game, pure and simple. Troy Murphy is a near-prolific rebounder, but he’s not alone. Hibbert can grab a few, and if he has worked on his game at all, this is probably one area that will show. Of course, being 7′2″ and 280 lbs never hurts. Jeff Foster is as solid as they come off the bench, and between ex-Hawk Solomon Jones and Josh McRoberts, I expect there to be some hustle from these guys. The Hawks have to counter that by out-hustling. Horford established himself as a solid rebounder when he came into the league, but he’ll need help from his cohorts. Josh Smith is capable of getting 11 or 12 rebounds in any given game, but the effort and committment isn’t always there. It’ll have to be, particularly against the Pacers, who won’t have a whole lot else going for them. But it’s not just Josh. Marvin Williams has to get in on the act as well. Joe Johnson just about always helps out in this category, but if you’re depending on your star shooting guard for a meaningful rebound contribution, then you’re in trouble.

The big difference may come down to the bench. Zaza, Joe Smith, and whomever else Woodson decides to give playing time to in the frontcourt will have to man up to the task. If nothing else, bench players need to be able to rebound well. A rebound is either gaining possession of the ball, or keeping it.

OFFENSIVELY THINKING

Where the Hawks’ offense is concerned, it should be “pick your poison” for the Pacers, if all is going according to plan (uh, assuming the plan calls for something more productive and efficient than…well, you know, that same old play…). Despite “that play” being what it is, nobody on this Pacers team can stop Joe, who is of course option numero uno. Bibby is usually good for double figure points if you get him a few good looks at the basket. Foster and Hibbert can make things difficult for Horford, but that can be counteracted with Horford’s superior quickness and his ability to step out and hit the 15-17 foot jumper. In the meantime, playing a little high-low (with a lob or two passed back and forth) with Josh Smith should draw the attention away from the backcourt, and anything  that involves a fast break will be more than Indiana can handle. Marvin will respond according to the number of touches he gets. If he gets 7-9 shot attempts, one of them will be a three, and he may even go to the line once or twice, netting 13 or 14 points. If he gets more, look for something closer to 2o, or above it. Let’s see what the game plan calls for.

BENCH MOB

If I’m the Pacers, I’m hating the idea of facing the Hawks bench as much as I am the starters. Maybe even more. Why? Well, who do they have that’s going to want to, much less be able to, keep up with Teague and Crawford? Teague will go to the rim every single chance he gets, and will get to the line in the process. Oh, I almost forgot….he can pass a little bit too. Speaking of which, most teams will be keying on Jamal Crawford and expecting him to shoot, but he will probably do more damage by passing to Mo Evans, Zaza Pachulia, and Joe Smith. Gone are the days of sending out a lone hitman from the bench, accompanied by either tired starters or reserves without real assignments. This means more focus, hustle, defense, and rebounding from the reserve unit. Good for Hawks. Bad for Pacers. Look for the bench to absolutely hammer the Pacer reserves and starters alike.

So what do you think the Hawks need to do to win this game? Will we see a different offense than in years past? Who is going to be at the game on opening night?!

113 comments Add your comment

Mychelfromatl

October 26th, 2009
12:53 pm

First????

I’ll read when I get back from lunch.

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
12:54 pm

I will be at the game opening night! But, not for all 41 games, sigh.
Simple as it sounds the Hawks have to play with injury and intensity. The Pacers will fold if we smack ‘em early and often, but if we let that team hang around…. then their confidence will grow. The injuries to Horford and Bibby could be trouble, it will be very interesting to see the line-up if those two can’t go.
I agree our bench should hammer the Pacers.
I hope we get Marvin to the line closer to 5 times.
Oh, do I get to say…first?

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
12:55 pm

Dang, just missed again!!!!

Mychelfromatl

October 26th, 2009
12:55 pm

Now I have to admit that claiming “first” is pretty lame, but when I saw that I was actually first I couldn’t resist smh.

Kellie

October 26th, 2009
1:49 pm

Lets Go Hawks!! I can’t wait for our season to start!! My son and I will be in the arena to cheer you on!! We look forward to an exciting season and lots of fun in the highlight factory!! :)

Mychelfromatl

October 26th, 2009
2:12 pm

Okay now that I’m back from lunch I will proceed with my first ever “First!!” acceptance speech.

**I’ll like to thank my God first and foremost, my parents, and my job for providing me with this lovely Dell computer.**

Okay lol, all I know is the Hawks better not come with that same s*** they came with in Orlando or Mike Woodson will be gone by next week.

Daniel,
I agree also that it would be very intesting to see Crawford start at the point against the Pacers on Wednesday, matter-of-fact I’m hoping that Woodson gives Bibby an extra game’s rest so we can see this happen.

Mychelfromatl

October 26th, 2009
2:15 pm

*Interesting*
fourth-graph, 2nd-line, 9th-word.

niremetal

October 26th, 2009
2:59 pm

Daniel,

Only got a minute, but sorry you lost the tix bro – you’ll get em next time :)

niremetal

October 26th, 2009
3:00 pm

Mychel,

Uh…”have?”

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
3:10 pm

thanks Nire!

Mychelfromatl

October 26th, 2009
3:19 pm

niremetal,
Good catch(guess I’m typing too fast), Also I need to point out another one of my mistakes. Scratch “my” out of the sentence in my third-post, second-graph, first-sentence, fifth-word.

KevinA

October 26th, 2009
4:27 pm

If it happens I will be looking for the Solo-Joe Smith matchup. I hope JJ is ok, the last thing we need is early season problems with our best player.

Sautee

October 26th, 2009
4:44 pm

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
6:24 pm

BOMBARDMENT!!!!!! 8-O

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
6:31 pm

Blowout Not Blown Off: Micah Heart W/Player quotes (Teague…hint, hint)

http://www.hawksbasketblog.com/2009/10/26/blowout-not-blown-off/

niremetal

October 26th, 2009
7:04 pm

Ray,

Any addenda after Sekou’s posts re: our injury status? As always, I think it’s usually good for Woody to have to be FORCED to make adjustments. I just wish it didn’t take injuries to force Woody to make those adjustments…

Big Ray

October 26th, 2009
7:51 pm

Nire ,

Sick wife, two sick kids. The only thing I’ve been hearing of late is *sniff*, *hack*, *cough*, *wheeze*…..oh, and *moan/whine*….

I’ll let ya know if I hear anything else though. ;)

niremetal

October 26th, 2009
10:02 pm

I think I’ve found a GM who would make Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale look like Donnie Walsh:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AjTVKcnpmJ5Q_zRYtKDXxyy8vLYF?slug=ap-barkley-gm&prov=ap&type=lgns

NUNNA YO BIZNEZZ

October 26th, 2009
10:41 pm

we will see the same hawks after a 1-1 homestand..and a 1- or 0-4 west coast swing..

this team needs a center,and horford to play the pf..josh to leave the outside shots alone,and johnson to play above his all star role title..if we want to reach 40 games this year..

i hope this team,well,we make it this year,and our guys play like they’re drawn on paper..on paper,we should be a 50+win team..

but,its gonna be tuff..

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
7:11 am

I don’t see how Barkley could be any worse than McHale or Thomas. At least Barkley was the one who has consistently said that Horford is a natural PF and would blossom at that position. In my mind, that alone puts him a step ahead….

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
7:17 am

I’m actually not as sure about that anymore. In the modern NBA, his combination of strength and athleticism might make him as natural at C as at PF. Bear in mind that there are fewer than ten 7-foot starters at C in the NBA now, and half a dozen starters who are 6′10 or shorter. I agree Al could do very well at PF, but I’m not sure he’d be that much better off there than at C anymore…

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
8:28 am

He’s no smaller than Alanzo Mourning……still aa PF though….But there arent than many “centers” who are better than him. But there are tons of PF’s better than him. Another guy on our squad may fit that bill.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
8:37 am

Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) out up to 6 weeks with stress fracture: InsideHoops.com http://bit.ly/1ggVPK

Guess who won’t be watching the clippers game tonight ha!

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
9:25 am

Glenn “Big Baby” Davis Out indefently with thumb injury….

vava74

October 27th, 2009
9:46 am

Ariose,

Al is extremely balanced. People continuously rate players on account of their offensive prowess instead on account of their ability to contribute in ways that are not visible on a boxscore (they even disregard some contributions in which do show up on the boxscore like his BLKs).

He is already an extremely solid frontcourt player, regardless of the category (PF/C) you try to fit him in.

If Al was playing for a bottom dweller, regardless of his raw offensive tools, he would easily average 18/19ppg as second offensive option because he hustles like hell and has extended his range (this will allow him to keep his defenders in doubt if he will shoot or drive for his hook-shot, using his mobility).

As for players rated ahead of him: for instance Amar’e is a player I would not even touch with a 15 feet pole if I were a GM and the list goes on and on.

As for our match up with the Pacers, people talk and talk that JJ is not this and that, but he is one of the most complete players in the league.

For instance, I acknowledge that Danny Granger is developing into an offensive force, however, his overall contribution to the team is much less significant and positive than JJ’s.

In spite of this, it is likely that Granger will gain more and more appreciation than JJ during the next 2 or 3 seasons, even if his game continues to be one dimensional as it currently is.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
10:01 am

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
10:03 am

Vava, I agree.

vava74

October 27th, 2009
10:38 am

Dang Ariose,

Don’t agree that plainly :-)

Introduce some element of controversy so I can completely foil my afternoon’s work by countering you!

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
11:24 am

Ha!

I’m with you Vava, I’ve talked plenty of times about Amare’s two microfracture knees and his bad eye. Especially when he was first on the trading block and some people around here wanted to trade Smoove in order to get him…..we’d be the worst defensive team in the league if we did that.

I was thinking about JJ last night and about what it would take for him to reach an eletie level. In my thought process eve Danny Granger came to my mind. He is just as athletic (or less) than JJ, but he does something that JJ refuses to do. HE ATTACKS FAST. What JJ doesn’t realize (or chooses to ignore) is that as soon as he catches the rock out on the peremeter; for that split second, HE IS OPEN! Granger realizes this and it’s the very reason why indiana gives us all kinds of trouble. Granger doesn’t TRY to draw the doubleteams to him (neither do most elite players) he is the agressor he gets his shot off AS SOON AS HE RECIVES THE PASS so there is nothing you can do about it. Why doesn’t JJ do this. The guy doesn’t need a whole bunch of time to get his shot off. He’s one of the best shooters in the league. He could literally make jumpshots with his eyes closed. So why does he take so darn long to attack? He waits entirely too long and let’s the defense suffocate him before he even thinks about making his move. Elite players make the defense adjust to them, not the other way around…

Which brings me to my second point. Elite players get to the Free Throw line. This one little fact is why some Hawks fans beleive that Josh Smith will eventually pass him as the superstar for our team. Because players like Kobe and Carmelo attack early and often, they catch the defens off guard and on their heels to the point where thay are so out of position that all they can do is foul.

Heres a perfect Example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKx__9FdxOg

When Josh is confident in his Freethrow ability and is attacking like he shouls, he is a nightmare for opposing defenses. All they can do is foul. This is why he ALWAYS comes up big in big bames. His whole gmae is predicated arouund beating his opposing PF off the dribble with his SPEED and finishing at the rim. In the second round of the playoffs last season in game 4, Smoove had 26pts. They couldn’t stop him from getting to the rim so they had to foul. San antonio did this to us late last season, but Smoove was in his FT slump and only had 19pts or so…

If JJ does not make these changes, he will never be elite and he will never be able to take us to the promise land. If you think back to game 7 against the Heat last season, JJ let it fly as soon as he received the pass. HE has to play like that ALL THE TIME. It’s not woody, because Teague and Smoove have not problems with atttacking and getting to the FT line. It’s on him to recognize this and change his ways….Marvin has the same deficancies, he has a gift (drawing fouls by driving to the basket) but he’s not agressive and rarely uses it.

As far as Horford is concerned, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the guy. He works hard, knows what needs to change about his game and he adapts to whatever situation you put him in. I agree, on a bottom feeder, or even with more touches, he can get you 20/10. Josh on the other hand could get us 20/8 right now if he steps up.

JJ and Mike Woodson are minimizing the amount of touches and potential points that the Hawks can get wtih their Old man style of offense (slow halfcourt grinder). You know we probably didn’t get ONE fastbreak point against Orlando the other night (the Magic may heve tried to do that on pourpose though) and JJ/Marvin didn’t help the situation with their poor decision making (takinf too long to initate th offense/attack and being agressive).

Woodson is not off the hook in all of this. I’m tired of everything being run through the backcourt, especially at the beginning of games (Bad decision making by Mike Bibby….our POINT GUARD) which usually always results in us falling behined by a ton of points early. All of that jumpshooting when the oppositions is fresh and not tired? Of course they are going to capitalize of all of the brick laying we do! The first quater should be frontcourt EXCLUSIVE. Pick N’ Roll basketabll and just attacking the rim in general.

Sorry for the rant lol.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

Blast

October 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

Preach it, Ariose!

October 27th. Here we go!!!!!!!!!!

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
3:31 pm

Ariose,

Sorry, but I don’t know what games you’re watching if you think JJ generally – or even often – holds onto the ball on the RARE occasions where he is open the moment he catches it. Sorry to go after you, but your statement is wrong in two ways: First in the idea that JJ usually is open when he catches the ball, and second in the idea that he usually doesn’t take the shot when he is open when he catches the ball.

JJ generally is covered like a glove the moment he catches the ball, if not trapped and double-teamed the moment he catches the ball. In fact, opposing defenders usually fight like hell to keep him from getting the ball in the first place. The whole “you’re open when you catch the ball” thing is true for 99.9% of the NBA. But it’s not true for a select handful, including JJ, Kobe, and really that’s about it. The game in Orlando last week is a perfect illustration of how closely teams guard JJ. This is all exacerbated by the fact that in our offense, he usually receives the ball 30+ feet from the basket. Sorry, but he rarely has an open look at the basket when he catches the ball. He just doesn’t.

And when JJ does get the ball without a defender right on him, he nearly always takes the shot – and I really can’t see how you missed that. He was a catch-and-shoot player a lot of the time in Phoenix, and that mentality has continued here even as he’s gotten more touches.

I honestly don’t know what you’re looking at if you think JJ is getting those open looks when he catches the ball. Because unless he’s receiving the ball 35 feet from the basket, he’s rarely open when he receives it.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
3:38 pm

As for that video you posted of Kobe…come on, dude. We’ve seen JJ make those kinds of moves a gazillion times. He’s the master of cutting past a defender and hitting a floater or getting a basket off the glass a la Tony Parker. The difference is that unlike Kobe, he doesn’t “sell” the foul and the refs (as a result of that and as a result of whatever else goes into reffing) don’t call it. But that video is actually a terrible example because it’s the type of thing that JJ does do frequently – he just doesn’t get the call when he does.

The only “getting to the line” thing that JJ needs to work on is drawing contact when a defender leaves his feet. Kobe and Pierce like to lean into defenders and draw contact after they throw a pump fake. JJ follows the Ray Allen/Reggie Miller school of using that as an opportunity to create separation instead of drawing contact. One isn’t better or worse than the other, particularly since the ref often won’t give you the call and you’ll end up effectively creating turnovers by taking shots that look silly in an effort to create a shooting foul (a fact that Celtics fans b*tch at Pierce about incessantly).

Marcus

October 27th, 2009
4:05 pm

I expect arse whoopings every nite from the Hawks. See you in June!!!!

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
4:36 pm

PS – It’s worth noting that JJ does get to the line at about the same rate as Tony Parker, the stereotypical slashing scoring guard.

None of this is to say that we have an easy route to the title with JJ as our lead man. I agree with everyone who says that he’s better as a Pippen to someone’s Jordan (or a Parker/Manu next to a Duncan) or at least as a Pierce alongside a KG. But I don’t see how anyone can say with a straight face that our offense even remotely comes close to 1) maximizing the number of open looks he gets, 2) taking pressure off him, or 3) putting him in 1-on-1 situations. He usually gets the ball 35′ from the basket. When he gets it closer, he’s covered like Waffle House hashbrowns. No one moves off the ball. I have no doubt that he doesn’t always make the best of the situations in which he is handed the ball, but it’s amazing to me that people still continue to blame him for things that it’s the COACH’S job to fix.

I’ve said it a billion times – Kobe, MJ, Pierce, TParker, and all the other top-level scoring guards in recent history never had to worry about the crap that we are asking JJ to do. Well, I take that back – MJ DID have to worry about it early in his career, and the Pistons destroyed the Bulls every time until Phil came in and introduced the triangle. But unless you’re gonna blame MJ for the inevitable failures of Doug Collins’s easy-to-counter offensive scheme, you can’t blame JJ for the inevitable failure of Woody’s.

Sautee

October 27th, 2009
5:55 pm

Nire,

Which teams did you go with for your package? Just wondering.

Also, you said this:

“PS – It’s worth noting that JJ does get to the line at about the same rate as Tony Parker, the stereotypical slashing scoring guard.”

It’s ALSO worth noting that Joe took 157 more shots than TP while playing 8 more games. He SHOULD go to the line more. Period.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
7:09 pm

Sautee,

True, JJ takes more shots – but that doesn’t undercut my general point is that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between being “aggressive” on offense and getting to the line.

Hawks, Blazers, Spurs, Jazz, Bulls are the first 5. I haven’t decided on the last 2 slots – I think I’ll keep them open for at least the first month of the year before deciding who’s worth them. The Suns and Nuggets are the early frontrunners, though. It would make no sense to do the Sixers, Nets, Knicks, or Wiz since those are all “in my market” as far as the NBA is concerned and thus nearly all their games will be blacked out. For similar reasons, picking any of the Big Three in the East or the Lakers in the West would make little sense because so many of their games will be nationally televised (which blacks them out on League Pass). Ah well.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
7:23 pm

Thank You sautee, that’s my point exactly.

Nire, I tried finding a better video, but that was the best that I could dig up. But you know what i’m getting at. I’m not dogging the guy but you know what I mean.

I’ll be able to furter expand on my paint after the Indiana game.

Also nire, watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD24ehcaqJQ

NO WAY does JJ take these 3pt attemps granger is taking….NO WAY. The guy will just stand there and find another option. Granger is locked and loaded. Look at his spot ups. As soon as he catches it is out of his hands.

If you don’t beleive me now, you will after Wednedays game (thats IF Granger plays…)

OCCASIONALY JJ will let it FLY like this, but Grager aLWAYS plays like this….thats why he averages 25ppg…..that and he gets to the line. JJ han’d played like that since he first got here. Yes I agree, it’s coaching……As evediced by almost everyone at one point calling for Woodsons head.

Sautee

October 27th, 2009
8:07 pm

Nire,

As far as your League Pass package….. does your work schedule affect how much you’d be able to stay up for West Coast games? If so, maybe the Grizz and the Twolves would suit better. Yeah, they’ll both lose a lot but their talent could be worth the time. Might even remind you of the good old days here in 05-07. ;-)

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
8:30 pm

Ariose,

JJ is almost never that open that close when he receives the ball. THAT was my point. Remember that JJ DID get those looks and thus DID play like that back in 06-07. Now teams swarm him even before he gets the ball if he’s remotely in scoring range. Also, in O’Brien’s uptempo offense, teams can’t afford to swarm Granger like they do JJ because there is such continuous off-ball motion.

You’re really gonna tell me JJ gets looks like the ones in that mix more than occasionally? And that he usually passes those shots up when he does get them? Sorry, dude. I’ve watched more than enough Hawks and Pacers games to tell you that teams don’t cover Granger like they do JJ. Not even close.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
8:34 pm

And even then – come on. How many times have we seen JJ let loose from 30 feet when he’s feeling it? He does it all the time. The difference is that Granger gets looks from 24 feet that JJ can only get from 30. You can’t tell me that’s not true with a straight face. No one who watches the Hawks during Woody’s ISO Joe era can.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
8:37 pm

“…OCCASIONALY JJ will let it FLY like this, but Grager aLWAYS plays like this….thats why he averages 25ppg…..that and he gets to the line. JJ han’d played like that since he first got here.”

Cue obscure stat that nobody will be able to prove with due to a lack of proof on the DVR, in response… :twisted:

“I’ve said it a billion times – Kobe, MJ, Pierce, TParker, and all the other top-level scoring guards in recent history never had to worry about the crap that we are asking JJ to do. Well, I take that back – MJ DID have to worry about it early in his career, and the Pistons destroyed the Bulls every time until Phil came in and introduced the triangle. But unless you’re gonna blame MJ for the inevitable failures of Doug Collins’s easy-to-counter offensive scheme, you can’t blame JJ for the inevitable failure of Woody’s.”

Ask Paul Pierce about life before Kevin and Ray….

P.S.

It’s worth noting that Paul Pierce ALSO gave up the mantle of “true leader”, and got to focus on scoring, something he’s better at. Hmmmmm…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
8:38 pm

P.S.S.

I DID blame MJ….. :twisted:

Rod from College Park

October 27th, 2009
8:41 pm

That is because Grainger is two steps quicker than Joe is, college boy.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
8:42 pm

Sautee,

Yeah, having to get up for the morning commute puts a damper on selecting West coast teams. At most, I’ll pick one besides Portland. Utah, Phoenix, and Denver are all on mountain time, but I still am wary of going with more than 3 teams whose games start later than 8:30…but then again, 1/4 of the Eastern Conference teams are blacked out where I live. C’est la vie.

Memphis and Minny are not on my list. Both teams would reeeeaaalllly have to show me something to make it on, because I’m not so big on loaded young teams playing for coaches who run a slow-paced offense. As you’ve said, I’ve seen that movie before ;)

Garnett just got his first T. The NBA season is officially on :D

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
8:45 pm

Big Ray,

You’ll get no argument from me that we should trade for a KG and Shuttlesworth to go along with JJ :) . I’ve always said that we need to get another scorer of equal or greater caliber than JJ to win it all. You generally need two guys like that for a title-winning team. My issue is with the people who think we can win it by trading away JJ to get said scorer…

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
8:50 pm

Again, Rod, JJ was getting and taking those shots all the time back in 06-07. Then teams figured out that Woody didn’t have a plan B to ISO JJ, so they started swarming him. Since then, he hasn’t gotten those looks.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
8:52 pm

Ah, hell.

Y’all stop messin’ with Nire and his boy!

Oh look, a Rod sighting…and no mention of Marvin. How’s that possible? ;) Somebody tell Satan to check his thermostat….

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
8:56 pm

“Then teams figured out that Woody didn’t have a plan B to ISO JJ”

Yep, yep, and double yep…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
8:59 pm

Close game between Cleveland, Boston.

Waiting to see how Washington does against Dallas. We have them after Indiana, and this is the team so many pundits say will be fighting us for the 4th seed.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:00 pm

Also…when are we going to start running JJ off the ball more (as is done with Granger, Kobe, Pierce, etc)?? I’m still trying to figure out why we’re having our best scorer being tasked with initiating the offense every other possession, which both makes our offense predictable and makes it a hell of a lot tougher for said scorer to get open looks.

If having Crawford around doesn’t help that, hopefully Woody’s apologists will come to. Something tells me not to hold my breath…

Rod from College Park

October 27th, 2009
9:01 pm

I didn’t mention him because he isn’t worth mentioning. But yall can keep on talking about him all you want. Nothing about his game is changing, no matter how much you talk your noise with me.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:03 pm

Man…it’s almost painful to see how much Shaq has slowed down on D. Kendrick freaking Perkins just did an up and under move on him…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
9:11 pm

You know, the Mavs are one dysfunctional bunch. Between that and Gilbert Arenas acutally playing point guard, the Wiz may win this game.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
9:13 pm

Nire ,

Yep. Woody needs to be taking notes during this game. The Celtics are in control, there’s little doubt. And that’s even with ‘Sheed resorting to old habits (chucking it from the arc…but hitting..).

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
9:19 pm

Nire, Jim O’Brien runs a fast paced offense??? LMBO!!!

I’m telling ya, Grager attacks MUCH quicker than JJ……oh and we can’t just shut him down with a double team…..he’s just a beast..

CLE is getting Crushed Shelden Williams and the Celtics lol……wastch Doc put Woody to shame and make Williams look like an All-NBA benc candidate hehehe!

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:31 pm

Ariose,

Uh…yes. Jim O’Brien does run a fast-paced offense. I don’t know how you’re even disputing that. Their “pace factor” was 3rd in the league, and the trade for Ford made that even moreso. You can check out their SI preview from last year:
With Ford pushing the ball and another talented wing in rookie Brandon Rush from Kansas, the Pacers will play a fast-paced style that will win back fans..

USA Today mentioned it last week:
Rush, who is entering his second season, is a better all-around player, which works well in O’Brien’s up-tempo offensive system.

And if all else fails, their pace factor (possessions per 48 minutes) was behind only Golden State’s (Nellie’s) and New York’s (D’Antoni) last season (look under “Miscellaneous Statistics”).

Clearly, Granger is your boy, and you can make a good argument that he’s more aggressive offensively than JJ (although JJ quite clearly has a more complete offensive game due to his passing skills) but you’re swinging and missing more than normal on your comments in support of that argument…

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:41 pm

LeBron is gonna go 45 tonight…

Like I said, the difference between Mike Brown and Mike Woodson is that one has LeBron and the other has JJ. If Woody had LeBron, LeBron probably would pull a Wilt and play every minute for a whole season…

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:43 pm

Haha…Shelden drops a pass. Ah, shades of days past. Although it’s an ominous sign for Woody that Doc sees him fit to be part of the Celtics rotation on opening night…

TrainWreck

October 27th, 2009
9:45 pm

Granger is faster than Joe Johnson, and that has nothing to do with an offensive style. Joe Johnson is a better all around player than Granger is, and that has nothing to do with offensive style.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
9:50 pm

Man, the Celtics’ defensive rotations are just a thing of beauty.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
9:51 pm

Me swinging and missing is debatable. As for Indy’s “pace” i’ll give you that much….but other than granger, they didn’t seem very fast-paced to me (thats just my observation, but we did get into the 100’s when we played them so point to nire).

And just because I am pointing out one of JJ’s flaws certainly doesn’t meant that Danny Granger is my boy.

IDK whats with you defendig JJ on this but i’m sure if you asked sekou to post a poll the majority would indeed say that JJ takes too long to initate the offense (he doesn’t attack fast enough)

I was reffering to MARVIN when I was speaking about agressiveness in general. I think youre being blinded by our obvious JJ love affair lol. I love the guy but he has flaws nire. I never debated that Granger was a more “complete” player, he just attacks faster (it’s an advantage that JJ needs to utilize).

You know, in my original arguement, I also mentiond Carmelo. Instead of picking on granger why don’t you take a shot at that one ;-) Not to mention Kobe…..oh and then theres Dwayne Wade. JJ can be Mr.”complete” all he wants too but Granger has a better scoring strategy than your boy JJ. He attacks quickly…and Often.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
9:52 pm

…unless you’re a Hawks fan…

TrainWreck ,

Yeah, that’s true. A player’s physical ability and habits aren’t created by the coach. The system he plays in however, is a different story…

Sautee

October 27th, 2009
9:53 pm

Nire,

If Big Baby were available I doubt Sheldon gets any minutes.

Also, I must co-sign Rod that Granger is MUCH quicker than JJ. I saw IND twice last year at the Highlight Factory. JJ could NOT stay with Granger AT ALL.

Not even close.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
9:53 pm

Most of this is Woody’s fault though. That won’t change….

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
9:55 pm

Ariose ,

I’ll say this: at least JJ’s talking about becoming an elite player. If nothing else, that should serve as an admission that his game is not as complete as it could be. But I am not in the mood to get too deep into an opinion on that.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
9:59 pm

I tire of the repeated theme of these conversations, myself.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:03 pm

Blazers game is on. Time for Celtics-Cavs to go on mute…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:05 pm

Heh. Lebron is still initiating the offense, the rest of the team is still feeding off of him, and he’s still the best scorer on the team. Sound familiar?

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:06 pm

Forgot to add: it’s not a winning forumla…as is evidenced by the score.

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
10:10 pm

I’m just talking about scoring the basketball though. Granger is a back hole just Like Kevin Martin as fra as assists and steals are concerned. Their FT averges are about even.

Nire, you do know that as a whole, our offense stinks right? It’s just as much to blam for JJ’s scoring woes as anything. Marvin would be a much better player if he were in an offense that utilized his skills more.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:10 pm

Y’all love straw men sometimes. I never said JJ was quicker than Granger. Didn’t even say anything that could be plausibly read as saying that. All I disputed was the idea that JJ was passing up open looks that Granger wasn’t.

As for LeBron…he’s LeBron. He usually can get away with being the end-all and be-all of his team’s offense because he’s the best player in the known universe. But as we’re seeing, even he has trouble doing it all by himself when he plays a good enough team. Mike Brown is a freaking idiot.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:19 pm

McMillan still knows what’s up. Feeding it to Aldridge on every play, which is already opening up the floor for everyone else. *sigh(

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:21 pm

The Rockets are playing traditional Adelman-ball now that Yao is gone for the year. Rockets are REALLY pushing the pace.

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:21 pm

Nire ,

I think it’s fairly clear what you were disputing. But I’m having a bit of difficulty finding the post where somebody accused you of saying that Granger isn’t faster than JJ. So if you’re seeing straw…

As for LeBron…he’s LeBron. He usually can get away with being the end-all and be-all of his team’s offense because he’s the best player in the known universe. But as we’re seeing, even he has trouble doing it all by himself when he plays a good enough team. Mike Brown is a freaking idiot.

My point here being that if this doesn’t work for Lebron, then it’s an even worse idea for JJ and the Hawks. Not sure where the straw in THAT one was, but I know how you can be when you’re in “that MODE”…

Somebody call JJ and tell him he doesn’t need ADT, he’s got NIRE…

Ariose

October 27th, 2009
10:21 pm

Ray, yup! DOesn’t look like LeBrick will get a title lol. Delonte would’ve helped but….If you thought they couldn’t stop Orlando last season…

I’m also ready for the season to start so we can have something else to talk about. Caniblogging is more stale than an old hunk of cheese hehehe! This topic is going to contnue to be relevant until Woody makes a change….or Rick makes one for him.

1) Teague

2) Crawford

3) Johnson

4) Horford

5) Collins

That’s a nasty lineup right there. It will do wonders for us. Collins his finals experience and is a proven starter on a campionchip contending squad. If he can stay healthy and stay in shpe, he will be huge for us….

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:23 pm

Ariose ,

Ditch the olive branch and just wait for his flamethrower to run out of fuel. :lol: His other half is a Blazer fan, cut the man some slack, he’s in pain right now. :lol:

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:29 pm

Ray,

Oh, I wasn’t saying you were doing straw with LeBron. I was expanding on your point, not disputing it or viewing it as an attack or even a criticism.

3 people posted on Granger being quicker than JJ after my initial blast of posts. In retrospect, they were responses to me but not necessarily a misread of what I was saying.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:31 pm

Ariza is just playing idiotic defense on Roy tonight – he plays help D when Roy doesn’t have the ball and goes for the steal when he does. Why Adelman isn’t putting Battier on Roy is beyond me…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:31 pm

Nire ,

Gotcha…

Big Ray

October 27th, 2009
10:33 pm

Nire ,

Adelman has to learn Ariza’s limits first, I guess. It’s only game one. He’ll find out soon enough, as Ariza will either get the job done, or expose himself.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:35 pm

And here comes the man I was waiting for – Andersen.

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:40 pm

Andersen commits his first foul 20 seconds after entering the game and misses his first shot 16 seconds later. Welcome to the NBA!

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
10:41 pm

Foul #2 a minute and a half later. Andersen to the bench…

niremetal

October 27th, 2009
11:02 pm

Always amazes me how much Woody needs to take a cue from McMillan. Blake runs a traditional half-court offense, and then Andre Miller comes off the bench to push the pace. But either way, there is TONS of off-ball motion. Off-ball screens, back door cuts, flashes to the high post…the Rockets have to spend so much energy chasing guys away from the ball that they’re straining to create good shots on offense.

Don!

October 28th, 2009
8:16 am

Man, my first post of the new season. And, the tenor of the conversation is much, much different than those of years past.

I’m not enamored of this year’s opening quarter/third of the Hawks’ schedule. There’s too many trap games and odd breaks in the first three months to the new year. As much as anything, this team HAS to get off to a good start. And in past years, we would have been giddy with a .500 record at the Christmas break, this year we all expect more.

Ray is right about the need to defend the home floor. Especially when you have two winnable games to start with. If we can win those two games, and then split the four out west — we’ll be 4-2 when we come home for our next home stand. That will be key.

This team has the potential to win 50-60 games this season, and even take the division crown. Unfortunately, this team also has the potential to crash and burn with a few missteps — especially early in the season. Between the contract issues with Joe and Woody, the addition of some key new players, and the ongoing love/hate relationship between this team and its fans, the opening stretch of this season may well determine the future of the franchise for years to come.

If things go well, Woody and Joe stay, Phillips Arena becomes the Thunderdome II, and the Hawks roll into the post season. However, if things go poorly, everyone will have a chance to pick on the Hawks’ flaws, Phillips becomes a morgue, and we might have to rebuild from scratch after the season.

Personally, I see this team winning 50 games. That might be enough to win the division if Orlando takes a step back. For a finalist last season, that team has as many if not more flaws than our Hawks. The one thing they have is Dwight, and as I’ve always said — Big comes to play every night, Small plays from day to day, especially over an 82-game schedule. Orlando is big, and we tend to be more Small.

Anyway, it’s time to get it on. If this franchise can survive the last three years of the Atlanta Spirit battle, it can survive this season.

Lets go Hawks!

Later,

Don!

vava74

October 28th, 2009
1:45 pm

Charlie Rosen @foxsports.com:

“Shelden Williams was absolutely awful at both ends of the floor.” :-)

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
4:11 pm

Don! ,

Man, it’s been a while. Good to see you’re still with us! Great comments/observations.

Vava74 ,

We aren’t too surprised, are we? ;)

Maxx

October 28th, 2009
4:28 pm

Smoove will have his best year this year. The Magic look downright scary. Lane Kiffin is my 2nd most hated person in sports behind Bobby Petrino. Keith Brooking acted like an A$$HOLE last Sunday. With Mike Bibby out there, it’s like the Hawks are playing 4 against 5 defensively. Now that we have the offensive personell, Woody better draw up some better half-court offense or we’re not going to go much farther this year. Justy had to get all that off my chest! I feel much better now…

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
4:38 pm

Maxx ,

You’re not the only one with that on your chest, trust me. And Keith Brooking? Don’t miss him, and I truly hope that’s the very highlight of his and the Cowboy’s season. So funny to see him woofing on the sideline all game long with his two little tackles.

Melvin

October 28th, 2009
4:52 pm

Nire,

I notice that you didn’t post Andersen stats for the game. Any reason why not?

Melvin

October 28th, 2009
4:58 pm

David Andersen stats from his 1st NBA game. Don’t look bad to me.

Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
19:05 4-8 1-1 2-2 +8 1 5 1 0 0 0 1 4 11

MannyT

October 28th, 2009
5:01 pm

Who will be at the game tonight?

BWAF

Melvin

October 28th, 2009
5:04 pm

Manny T,

Are u going to the CIAA tourney this year?

MannyT

October 28th, 2009
5:10 pm

Melvin,

CIAA unlikely–about a 5% chance. I’ll fill you in the next time I see you.

Line looks good for Andersen’s first NBA game. He tied for most rebounds with 5 even though he played less than 20 minutes. He will have to make more adjustments on defense, but I think he’s a keeper. Good for Houston.

BWAF

niremetal

October 28th, 2009
6:53 pm

Melvin,

Uh…I went to sleep. Sorry about that.

cp

October 28th, 2009
6:57 pm

I want to see some energy tonight. The Hawks are known to sleep on teams that they are better than. I want them to put the Pacers away early and convincingly.

niremetal

October 28th, 2009
7:13 pm

I only watched the first half before I went to sleep, and so I didn’t see Andersen’s second half performance. Looks like he did well in the 4th quarter, but color me underwhelmed. He’s also even skinnier than I thought…Przybilla looked like he could snap him in half.

As I said, he’s perfect for Adelman’s offense with his passing and shooting skills. And considering that he’s the only person 6′10 or taller on the team, he’ll get plenty of minutes. But his defense is abysmal, and at his age I don’t expect he’ll peak at a much higher level than he’s already at. So MannyT – I think he’s “good for Houston.” Just not so sure he’d be more than a bit player anywhere else.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
7:46 pm

Not looking wonderful so far, though all I can see at the moment is the box score. Josh and Al seem to have had good first quarters, at least statistically.

On the flip side, Granger and Murphy are abusing us early, and Hibbert is doing well on the glass.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
7:58 pm

Joe sets up Teague for the three. VERY nice….

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
8:09 pm

Nothing looks better than such an improved contribution from our frontcourt contingent, instead of watching another round of Bibby/Joe shooting 6-21….

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
8:13 pm

Josh racking up points, steals, assists. Nice!

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
8:54 pm

How about Big Al? 20 and 11, folks. Not shabby!

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
8:55 pm

Geez, is anybody else around? Guess not…

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
9:57 pm

Our defense as a whole looked like crap for the better part of three quarters. We did force a lot of turnovers (and nearly as many were unforced), though.

Have to play better defense against better teams, or we’ll be like Golden State: trying to outscore the competition.

Having said that, I’m glad that we won opening night (especially at home), and was ecstatic to see the offense flow through the frontcourt early and often. Al and Josh looked pretty damn good on offense.

Josh had 8 assists, 1 turnover to go with his 18 points and anemic 3 rebounds. Not to mention 5 steals and 2 blocked shots.

Al was an absolute beast with Dwight Howard-like numbers. 24 points, 16 rebounds, 2 blocked shots?

Where are the Al haters at?

The bench was fairly solid, and I was glad to see Woody play those guys. Mo Evans was the highlight of that crew.

But heck yeah, I’ll take that win!

vava74

October 28th, 2009
10:21 pm

Couldn’t catch the game. No available feeds. :-/

I know that nothing replaces actually watching the game, however, looking at the play by play and the boxscore I think we should be worried.

Indiana had 25TO (there is obviously some merit from our side) and are an unbalanced and fairly weak team in my opinion (in particular defensively) and too dependent from Granger on offense (once he got tired and under pressure he was mostly out of the game).

Al had an excellent game, however, he was playing against less than stellar opposition since Hibbert is kind of an evolved Siler.

Most compelling stat? ZERO TOs by our bench!!

vava74

October 28th, 2009
10:30 pm

How bad are the Bobcats?

S Williams min22 fg2-3 ft8-11 3ptd0-0 or3 dr6 treb9 ass3 stl1 blk1 to2 pf5 pts12

KevinA

October 28th, 2009
10:47 pm

A little less ISO JJ and a little more up tempo Hawks pulls off first game of the year. Great balance in scoring is a theme we hope to continue. My only problem with Woody was playing so many minutes for Bibby and JJ. With 5 minutes left why was JJ in the game. Appeasement for an all star?

Perfect game to wash out the bad taste against Orlando. All the players and the team will have to sleep good tonight. 1 win down and 81 to play. 6 players in double figures with much better ball movement. What is not to like?

KevinA

October 28th, 2009
11:01 pm

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
8:09 pm
Nothing looks better than such an improved contribution from our frontcourt contingent, instead of watching another round of Bibby/Joe shooting 6-21….

I am with you brother.

Big Ray

October 28th, 2009
9:57 pm
Our defense as a whole looked like crap for the better part of three quarters. We did force a lot of turnovers (and nearly as many were unforced), though.

We part paths just a bit here. The Pacers just shot unbelieveable. We would habe probably lost this game last year and for sure in years before that. Hmmmmm what is that word I am looking for – reslient? Mental toughness?

I am more confident this year than any other. Does that mean we beat Boston in a series – no. I do think we will play better against weaker teams like the Pacers. Call it 2nd tier mojo.

Thought of the night – 2nd tire mojo.

KevinA

October 28th, 2009
11:04 pm

replace tire with tier – if thats not to much trouble.

Sautee

October 29th, 2009
6:40 pm

I surely hope that we feed Horford and Josh that much all year.

Inside out, baby.

niremetal

October 29th, 2009
7:38 pm

I’m not holding my breath. The Pacers play an uptempo, ball movement-heavy game. We played their style of ball. I’m nervous to see what happens when we play teams that play at a much slower clip…

Don!

October 29th, 2009
8:02 pm

A win’s a win … but we looked more like a Western Conference team than I would have liked. Of course, that might be a good thing. Depth is good. 10 players with 10+ minutes played last night!

Ray, what did you do with Woody, and how much to keep his stunt double coaching the Hawks like he did last night? Because as much as anything, I didn’t think Woody had it in him to actually, dare I say it, play his whole roster the way he did last night.

With that having been said, have you guys seen Cleveland yet? I know they’re trying to assemble a lot of new pieces, but … they’re a talented group right now, not a team. Everything folks said about Shaq clogging up the lane to take away one part of King James’ game look pretty astute to me.

As the biggest Hawks fan in Philly (thank you DoD for the relocation package …), getting the NBA all-access package gives you a chance to see all the teams play, especially the archived games online. I’m thinking that Boston is a beast, but after that, spots 2-6 in the East are anyone’s guess.

Oh, and Agent Zero is back folks. The Chad Ochocinco of the NBA has returned. Last night he looked so good, he could have been checking Twitter on the way to the rim. ;-) That makes the Wizards (I almost typed Bullets … does that date me too much?) a much more dangerous team than the zombie-franchise that showed up for some games last season.

Anyway, the season’s just a couple of days old. I wonder how much the first impressions will mean in a couple of more weeks …

Later,

Don!