The win you were waiting for

They did it.

The Hawks finally beat the Orlando Magic.

Even better, there is no caveat to reach for. No lame excuse. All of Orlando’s starters (and I assume their bench) were healthy and played (though Pietrus was injured during the game). The Hawks simply beat them. Have we waited a long time for this, or what? It’s easy to look at this game now, and think about games we could have won previously, but why do that? Wins and losses are both earned, after a fashion. Rather than reflect on what could have been, the Hawks should reflect on what could be. Leave the hindsight to us, the fans.

How big was this win, exactly? Do we give it too much weight? Not enough? Is it just another game? Atlanta avoided a season sweep by Orlando, gained a measure of confidence, and pulled within one win of last season’s total. How many more games will the Hawks win?

The Lesson

So what did the Hawks learn in this game? Have they truly figured out the Orlando Magic? A few thoughts for your afternoon pleasure:

_ First and foremost, the Hawks learned something they’ve known all along, but did not seem to understand. I think Josh Smith said it best- “We can play with anybody as long as we give a full 48 minutes.” The Hawks have won many a game without giving the full effort all game long, and it has been questioned in the past, whether or not they could sustain such intensity throughout the season. It’s been said that the Hawks must sustain all out efforts for the entirety of the season in order to compete anywhere near a high level. Well, we have seen from teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and Cavaliers, that sustaining this level of intensity is not only rare, but exceedingly difficult. When was the last time a team played that intensely all season long? Probably not since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won 72 regular season games in ‘95-’96. Teams just don’t stay focused that long, and many suffer injuries to key players. The Hawks haven’t quite yet got the hang of giving that full effort in every game, but they’ve come a long way in that category, and it’s showing. With 11 games of the regular season remaining, Atlanta is still maintaining a winning trend going 6 and 4 in the last 10 games. To broaden that perspective, Atlanta is 9 and 4 in the month of March, with a 2-game losing streak the only black mark on their record. This is what winning teams do – keep on winning down the stretch.

_ Our bigs can help carry us. No, they should not be left alone to bear the burden of scoring late in games, or when the team can’t seem to buy a shot. But it is an option that the Hawks need to remember, even in the tightest of games. It is an option that shouldn’t be a last resort. If it’s a last resort, chances are that it is already too late. More and more, we are seeing games in which our veteran guards are struggling from the field, as defenses key on them. If you were given part of a boxscore to look at (without the team totals) and saw that Joe Johnson shot 5 for 17 and Jamal Crawford went 4 for 14, would you assume a win or a loss? How about in a game against one of the league’s top teams? There was a time when a loss was guaranteed, if Joe shot like that, even if he went 7 of 7 from the charity stripe. That time is past. The Hawks can win without excellent performances by their top two scorers, and the bigs are one of the main reasons why.

_ This team is more cohesive than we give them credit for on most days. The bench is better than we have believed. Lately, they have been the shot in the arm (or should I say “wing”) that the Hawks have needed. The reserves have come with energy, scoring, defense, you name it. They’ve even given the starters the lead or at least some momentum to work off of. Can you ask for more? What’s important is that both the bench and the starting unit have played off of each other. Things haven’t looked as disjointed as they have in the past. Guys seem to mesh better. All of this has contributed to the Hawks staying close in games where they’ve struggled to score. As one unit ratchets things up, so does the other, and everybody is playing at a high intensity level. When an entire team plays tough, they are very hard to beat.

_ Where does Mike Woodson come into play in all of this? We’ve gushed and glowed over one player after the other, but there is just no way the team is playing like this despite Woodson…is there? Much is made of the switch defense, but here’s a stat for you: in the 13 games the Hawks have played this month, opponents have reached the century mark in scoring just 4 times. Sorry, but 99 points (happened 3 times) just doesn’t count. Is this an accident? Something must be working, even if we don’t understand it. By the way, if anybody here understands just how the switch defense is supposed to work, please explain it to everybody else. We’re confused (or at least I am). On the one hand, I don’t want to see a center matched up on a guard. On the other hand, if that center is Al Horford, and my other option is Mike Bibby, and the player to be guarded is Vince Carter….well….what can I say? Also, there is something to be said for us going in to Al Horford and Josh Smith, late in games. This would not happen without Woodson giving it his blessing. That is not to say that every play call is what he is calling from the bench. I now believe that a lot of what happens on offense is what Woody allows to happen, rather than what he is orchestrating. Then, of course, are the issues of the timeouts, particularly in tight games. Look, unless you are in the huddle, or are able to hear what is going on in the huddle, you don’t know what the play call is, period. We scream about ISO plays, but a team can only take what the defense gives it. Does anybody think that Josh Smith was what Woodson had in mind for the last shot (a jumper) against San Antonio? I doubt it. Do we know for certain why Mike Woodson calls a timeout late in a game for? Could it maybe have to do with the lack of focus the Hawks still show at times? Whatever it is that Woodson has going on, it is working. This team is going to win 50+ games, and you do not do that with a bad coach. If anything, Mike Woodson rises above the “is he a good or bad coach” ranks, and lands in the “is he good enough to go all the way” coaching ranks.

_ It’s not over. Not by a long shot. The Hawks beat the Celtics every time they played them this season, but could they win a playoff series against them? The Hawks beat the Magic last night and upped their home record to second best in the Eastern Conference. But again, what about a playoff series against the Magic? Could they compete like this in a series? Will they? Good teams make adjustments and maintain their focus while doing so. Focus seems to be the biggest issue for the Hawks this season, and the next step for them to take on their path to title contention. Their focus seems to be sharpening lately, but we still don’t know how long they will maintain it. Stay tuned….

 

HAWKS VS. SIXERS

I’ll never forget Mike Woodson talking before the season began. “You don’t want to go the other way”, he said, in reference to team progress. I think we can safely say that the Hawks didn’t “go the other way” in regard to team growth, at least in the regular season. The Philadelphia 76ers are a different story altogether. I wonder if they regret their fake wooing of Josh Smith now? Whatever you may think of Rick Sund, be thankful you don’t have Ed Stefanski. He fired the coach, hired another, spent $82 million on the part-time (and vastly underachieving) Elton Brand, and another $57 million on Andre Iguodala, in an attempt to leap-frog teams like the Atlanta Hawks. Instead, the Sixers regressed to 25 wins (so far) this season and have been soundly spanked by the Hawks by an average of about 14 ppg. No one can blame Iguodala, a jack of all trades who fills the stat sheet nicely. But something tells me Stefanski could be looking for a job this summer. If nothing else, perhaps the Sixers give him another year, as they can at least hope for a nice placement in the NBA draft lottery in June.

Key Matchups

We’ll make this a quick one. Andre Iguodala. Louis Williams. Samuel Dalembert. Those three names, and hardly any others, are the source of headaches for the Hawks. Iguodala does it all – rebounds, dishes out assists, gets steals, and scores. However, he, like most of his teammates, is more scorer than he is shooter. Let him loose in the open court or slash through the lane, and he’ll eat you up. Force him to shoot jumpers, and his 42% on field goals gets him into trouble. Louis Williams is another matter. While not a great shooter, Williams has developed into a better one (46.6%), and is quite speedy. As the Sixers need him to score more than they need him to pass, the point guard element gets taken out of the equation for the most part, and effective ball movement suffers. As a result, the Sixers have a hard time playing as a team. Samuel Dalembert is the last of the triumverate. His length will bother anybody going near the basket, and he gobbles up rebounds at a pretty good rate. However, he can be prone to foul trouble, and gets frustrated easily.

Promising youngsters Thaddeus Young and Mareese Speights have seen their roles fluctuate, stunting their growth. Jason Kapono probably wonders what he did wrong to get sent to basketball hell, and Jrue Holiday looks like anything but a lottery pick with huge upside.

On the Hawks side of the ball, look for Mike Bibby to be solid (if not great), as he continues to hit big shots for Atlanta. Jamal Crawford has had nothing but fun against the Sixers, averaging over 20 points against them. Al Horford will once again be bothered by the long arms of Dalembert, but still be solid (he’s been putting up about 12 and 8 against Philly). Then again, Horford may draw Dalembert away from the basket with that midrange jumper, and if he does, look for him to have a big game. At the same time, if Horford draws Dalembert, look for Josh Smith to get to the rim unimpeded. If both Horford and Smith are on, the Sixers are a cooked goose.

Another chance for the Hawks to jump ahead of the Celtics, if only for a moment. Another chance to maintain that sharpened focus.

111 comments Add your comment

Marcus

March 25th, 2010
2:45 pm

somewhere in the top 5 (call me Mo Evans, JJ, or Josh Smith).
Good win, only worry: remaining schedule. Ours looks much harder than BOS.

Marcus

March 25th, 2010
3:06 pm

he-he .. rockin’ Mo Evans jersey number …. !!! :)
In addition to a slightly harder remaining schedule than BOS, the C’s have 7 HOME games in the final 11 games, .we have 6 games AWAY in the last 11 (uh-oh).

niremetal

March 25th, 2010
3:43 pm

wxwax

March 25th, 2010
3:45 pm

It’s great to finally beat Orlando. But the Hawks were lucky. Things had to break their way. I can’t see them having the same success throughout a playoff series.

Astro Joe

March 25th, 2010
4:44 pm

It’ll be interesting to see how the Hawks finish the next 10 days with Cavs and Lakers coming up.

OB, from previous blog, is any SF grabbing 8 boards? 6 seems like a more realistic goal, especially given his playing time and the board work of Al and Josh.

Did y’all know that Vince Carter is playing on his first 50-win team? Fascinating.

O'Brien

March 25th, 2010
5:41 pm

Ray,

The Hawks have the potential to struggle mightily against Cleveland and Orlando in the playoffs, but I am excited about the win last night.

I think Woody out-coached SVG, and I dont know when was the last time Woody outcoached anybody.

As for the switching defense, I think you have to look deeper than just at the numbers. Felton made what would have been a game winner over Josh. The Spurs abused the defense with Manu and RJ driving by Josh.

We saw the Bucks abuse the switching defense in the fourth (even Ridnour was making shots over Horford).

So while the switching does work, I would like to see more adjustments, because I feel like we switch every game every time. In your example, why would Bibby be on Vince Carter anyway? Shouldn’t he be on Jameer or J. Will?

Despite my complaints though, I am soooo relieved that we finally beat Orlando. We showed the mental toughness necessary, and we made the plays necessary to win.

AJ,

I know that you dont usually get that many rebounds from your SF. But Josh and Al combined only average 18.4 rebounds, so there are lots of rebounds to go around. And since his offense is so inconsistent, rebounding is one way for him to increase his contributions.

Marcus

March 25th, 2010
6:31 pm

@nire, I tend to agree. Now we have tripled and have a chance to quadruple our W total from ‘04-05, we are fortunate to have things to nitpick this year…but to go further we have to become more sophisticated at both ends of the floor. Not that I am anywhere near a b-ball afficionado, but if a non-descript fan like me can see some bad tendencies developing as it happens ….. I would think highly paid coaches and players do…have figured it out. Either late in the season or in the playoffs, we need to spring a surprise much like teams are dropping the zone on us in the tight stages of a game to even things out.

Big Ray

March 25th, 2010
7:36 pm

in other news….

Mr. Horford speaks out, and I like it. This young man is a leader developing in front of our eyes.

Ooooooh. Horford speaks out:

Center Al Horford said the problem often has been ball movement.

“That really falls on the guys that are running our team,” he said. “The guards have the ball in their hands. They control the game, and that’s something they have to kind of realize.”

Big Ray

March 25th, 2010
8:35 pm

Charlie Rosen’s article hits all of the Hawks’ weak points. It also is a great fire-starter if your intention is to:

A) Take pot shots at Mike Woodson’s coaching.

B) Take pot shots at Al Horford playing center.

C) Take pot shots at Joe Johnson’s ball domination.

D) Belittle what was otherwise a big win.

….which is exactly what some people have, and will continue to do.

I’m on record for not being a fan of the switching defense. I’m also on record for not liking how the offense is often run. I’m also shutting up about it until the playoffs, and while this team keeps winning.

I know the difference between regular season wins and progress, and what happens in the postseason. We have but to look at teams like the Cavaliers, who thought that having an NBA MVP, COY, and 66 wins all in the same regular season were all signs pointing toward the inevitability of the hoisting of the Larry O’Brien trophy. Instead, it all ended in a trip home from the Eastern Conference Finals.

Like I said at the beginning of the season, Woody’s body of work cannot be truly judged until the postseason has concluded for the Hawks. So it is with the team as well.

Astro Joe

March 25th, 2010
9:06 pm

So let me cut to the chase, Rosen is suggesting that we may not beat the Cavs or Magic to make a deep playoff run in the upcoming post-season? Wow!

I’ll now return to the bright sun that I was basking in prior to reading that redundant article that stated absolutely nothing new.

Let me know when Rosen writes an article that says the Nets suck, or some other “never before discussed NBA subject”.

Big Ray

March 25th, 2010
9:45 pm

LOL @ Astro Joe…

Melvin

March 25th, 2010
10:31 pm

Astro,

You are a funny dude….lol

MannyT

March 25th, 2010
11:02 pm

Not that this is the final answer on switching defense, but keep in mind that the Hawks were built for this sort of thing. They are very athletic. The perimeter players are above average height and the post players are below average height. People used to bash BK about constantly looking for the long lean player. Seems that Woody’s defense is predicated on that type of player.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FIH/is_2_73/ai_n18616315/

I wonder if they will be MORE aggressive with the switching D at certain times. It would be nice to sometimes see a hard double team off the pick and roll to force the offense to make some quick decisions instead of leaving Josh or Al against a guard at the 3 pt line…even though it works better for us than it would for most NBA teams.

BWAF

Melvin

March 25th, 2010
11:13 pm

Marcus

March 26th, 2010
6:39 am

Ken S. article today is not only appropo (sp?) for March but all season. Teams ALWAYS make a run in the 3Q or 4Q (guaranteed in NBA), but like so many others have said, we have missed probably 4-7 Ws this season to due to our 4Q lost focus …. Ws that would have made the diff. between our current position in the standings vs. the Celtics/Magic and being tied/ahead of them. …
That said, and cleaning up the spilled milk and wiping my tears ……. I can’t WAIT for the playoffs. Little nervous … but any team outside of Miami that we may face in round 1 would be newbies to the playoff intensity.

Marcus

March 26th, 2010
6:45 am

May I drop this inquiry re: upcoming NBA draft?
Based on this seasons body of work, what draft-eligible player would best fit our style of play as a potential 1st round choice?
Should we go G (combo, pure PG or SG), athletic SF, PF or C?
3 guys I like, for no other reason than liking their games (not sure if they fit, thats why I am asking the expert forum):

G Scotty Reynolds – Villanova – like his handle, not sure if we would have too many Gs
F/C Jarvis Varnado – Mississippi State – like his D, fits long; lean BK profile
C Omar Samhan – St. Marys College – like his offensive game, not sure about D

O'Brien

March 26th, 2010
8:06 am

Ray,

I like the comments by Horford, and I was actually impressed that he spoke up about it the way he did. I hope the guards will be able to make the shots that are there, and to make better decisions when the shots are not there. However, as Marvin said, the rest of the team (and Woody) needs to do their part.

As for the Ken S. article, the Hawks have had fourth quarter collapses all season. Up 13 entering the 4th against the Knicks, up 17 entering the 4th against GS, up 11 entering the 4th against Dallas are games that come to mind. We lost all those games. If we won those 3 games, we might actually win the division.

I’m sure Orlando had winnable games that they lost too, but I am only concerned about the winnable games that we lost. And although there were losable games that we did win, we should have won more games.

But, before the season, I thought the Hawks would win 50-55 games, and thats where they are. So although its been a rough and bumpy ride at certain spots along the way, I am glad to be where we are, and the kind of season that we’re having. Big ups to the coaching staff and the players.

Marcus,

I like Varnado. His offense is questionable, and he might need to add some weight. But for the last 3 years, playing in the SEC, he has probably averaged 4 blocks and 11 or 12 rebounds per game. I think he could give the Hawks second unit 8-12 minutes of solid production (mostly on the defensive end).

And we dont need much scoring from him, because we have the SMOY in Crawford, and Mo Evans. It would be nice to see us add Chills to our second unit too.

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
9:49 am

OB,

That’s basically the same thing I said on the previous blog. Had we won those games, we would at least be no worst than a game behind the Magic and few games ahead of the Celtics (who has a more favorable remaining schedule). But I was told not to look back at the games we let slip away b/c every team could say the same but I’m not sure how many games Orlando/Cleveland had double digit 4th qtr leads and lost. Which is distrubing to me…

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
9:58 am

I’m willing to bet that none of the superstars (Lebron, Wade, Bosh) or borderline elite players (Joe, Amare) will sign with the Bulls, Nets, Clippers or Knicks. Why would any of those players leave their current team for those rebuild jobs. Those GMs are simply cutting salary…

G-Money

March 26th, 2010
10:01 am

The purpose of the switch defense is to hide defensive liabilities. Mike Bibby matched one on one is a glaring weakness in an isolated extended possession. With the switch defense you maintain man to man principals with covert zone tendencies. Woody would never call Bibby out as a defensive liability, because of his importance on the offensive end. Inevitably Teague will have to be brought into the rotation because of his superior foot speed.

O'Brien

March 26th, 2010
10:44 am

Melvin,

It would be interesting to see how many double digit fourth quarter leads those teams have lost. I’m guessing not as many as the Hawks have.

The Hawks have had about 14 games in which they score 19 points or less in the fourth. You can’t win many games that way. If I’m not mistaken, in those games, our record is 3-11.

If we’re playing good defense, that will help us out though, so hopefully we’ll continue to work on our defense and rebounding.

And I think the 2 desirable destinations are Bulls and Knicks. Who would not want to play in Chicago, the home of MJ? They have a good young nucleus (Rose, Deng, Noah, Hinrich), and the fans are passionate. If you add JJ to that team, they would be almost equal to the Hawks without JJ.

And who would not want to play in Madison Sqaure Gardens, especially if the Knicks can get 2 stars to sign together (like Amare and JJ reunited)?

G-Money,

From reading one of the posted articles, the switch also eliminates indecision. They are not telling the players to switch on certain screens and not on others. And thats part of the reason why the Hawks switch everything all the time.

I would prefer if the players only switch on some screens though. They just need to communicate more out there.

lou hudson

March 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

The issue is not that Woodson is a good coach, but rather, he may not a great coach! His coaching choices/decisions are what drives everyone to subject he may not be suited to take the Hawks to the championship. First, over playing his starters, underdeveloping young players, poor player rotations, and finally, his lack of understanding of his players’ strenghts as well as misusing their talents.
His choice to start Marvin over ZaZa hurts both the team as well as misuses both players’ talents. ZaZa is more affective starting because it moves Al to natural position (PF) and allows the Hawks to have two strong offense rebounders. ZaZa once averaged 12 pts/9 rebs a game. Woodson choices have hurt ZaZa’s game as well as the team tremendously.Josh very rarely plays with back to basket which makes him more suited for the small forward. Moreover, Marvin would be much more productive being allowed to be a scorer off the bench. Marvin and Jamal would be the main offense options on the second unit. Marvin does not get enough shots in the starting rotation which has severly retarded his game/production. In addition, this rotation change would reduce JJ minutes and keep his legs/body fresher for the 4th qaurter ;and more importantly, the playoffs.
Next, this change would improve the team by allowing Joe Smith/J Collins playing minutes in the roles which they were signed. Currently, their talent is wasted and their contributions are nonexistent. Moreover, the Hawks get pounded in the lane because of lack of size. The difficult thing to watch is to know the size is available.
Next, Teague should be allowed to play 10-12 minutes a game to push the ball and to develop.
With 12 games remaining these adjustments can be made to strengthen the team for the playoff run. In their current structure, the Hawks will not get out of the second round.
Coach Woodson must make adjustments and stop coaching scare!!! He will not receive a new contract if the Hawks don’t go deeper in the playoff
Good Luck!

vava74

March 26th, 2010
12:39 pm

Astro,

Stop being a dumb-ass-all-is-ok-kind-of-guy-since-we-should-not-hope-for-anything-better-because-we-are-not-in-the-luxury-tax-zone.

Last year ORL was not “supposed” to reach the finals but they did.

We should be in their place and HOPE to pass the second round.

We have the personnel to beat ORL in a series and compete with CLE.

However, we don’t have THE GAME.

The ONLY THING redundant about Rosen’s article IS THAT ITS STATES WHAT MANY ALREADY STATED HERE IN THE BLOG and that happens to be the truth:

Our offense is limited to street ball clear out plays.

O'Brien

March 26th, 2010
12:54 pm

In reference to the Bulls discussion we had recently based on their trading of John Salmons. From espn.com daily dime (after Bulls got blown out by the Heat at home).

“Getting obliterated so thoroughly in such an important game couldn’t have impressed Dwyane Wade or any of the other free-agents-to-be who might have been watching (assuming they had the stomach to sit through the horror show).

If the Bulls are going to target Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire or Joe Johnson, they need to narrow their focus. Making the playoffs would be nice, but being competitive is critical”.

vava,

For what its worth, if we play smart, stay focused, and defend, while Woody coaches a good game like he did the last game against Orlando, I think the Hawks are capable of beating the Magic in a 7 game series.

I’m not so sure about Cleveland though. I just think they are going to be tough to beat. LeBron is on a mission, and he will get every single call…and then some more calls. Plus they are just as athletic as we are. Did I mention LeBron would get all the calls?

vava74

March 26th, 2010
1:05 pm

OB,

You are making WAAAAY too much about the win against ORL.

ORL played a really bad game so it was a matter of us being at a good level: let us say 85% of our potential and ORL being at only 20/30% of their potential.

Astro Joe

March 26th, 2010
1:32 pm

Vava, after going something like 2-6 against the Magic in the past two seasons, why should anyone believe that we have the personnel to beat the Magic in a 7-game series? Last season, only one team had the personnel to actually beat the Magic in a playoff series… the lakers. Last week, you were convinced we’d lose to the Nets, now we’re supposed to defeat the Eastern Conference champs in a 7-game series (on the road).

niremetal

March 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

O’Brien/Vava/AJ,

The Cavs are a frightening team if Jamison stays healthy. Notsomuch if he doesn’t. The Cavs’ best player is way better than our best player, but our front 8 overall is easily equal to their pre-Jamison front 8. Post-Jamison, though, they are much tougher. His stats don’t reflect how much he’s spread the floor, improved their rebounding, and made matching up far more difficult for opponents.

But I don’t buy for a second AJ’s snide disparaging of the talent on this team. The Hawks have 2 bona fide All-Stars, two easily-coulda-been All-Stars, and four solid players filling out the rotation behind them. And a guy (JoeS) who was in the Cavs’ rotation the past two seasons. And a big body to bother Shaq and give Howard a different look. And Teague and West can contribute too.

I frankly haven’t seen anyone besides AJ and his brethren in the Woody Defender Squad question whether the Hawks have the talent to contend for a title – or at the very least for an NBA Finals appearance – this year. We are easily on par with where the Magic were a year ago and the Pistons/Cavs/Heat in the years before that. It certainly would be an upset if we knocked off the Magic or Cavs in the playoffs, but this is no longer a “shock the world” team.

This team’s record reflects that it has the talent to run with the big boys. But during the playoffs, superior coaching can trump superior talent because each playoff series is long enough that coaches can make adjustments and overtake teams whose coaches don’t adjust in response. Strategy and (especially) tactics play a much, much bigger role when you have to beat a team 4 times in order to advance.

In the playoffs, we’ll see what Woody is made of. But if past is prologue, he won’t come prepared to do anything other than what he’s always done, and it’ll show.

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

Vava,

You sure will find a way to lessen a victory for the Hawks against the better teams…

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
1:57 pm

OB,

Ditto your 12:54 post. Why would any of those guys go to the Bulls? All of their current teams are better than the Bulls. As for the Knicks, the NY media likes to overhype playing in MSG. Visiting teams like to play there, just to show the Knicks up. When was the last time they sign a big FA? I dont see any big names going to that struggling team…

AceDawg

March 26th, 2010
3:25 pm

The Hawks should benefit from the win, as it signals to others that no team is their ultimate kryptonite. Still, they’ll have quite an uphill battle against either Orlando or Cleveland in the playoffs. I will be cheering them on though and know the Hawks can put up a fight against anyone when they are playing their best. Let’s just hope they don’t flop against a first round opponent because that could certainly happen too.

niremetal

March 26th, 2010
4:00 pm

At the game live tonight. I haven’t watched the Hawks drop a game in Philly in almost 4 years (I was in DC for the one last year), so hopefully tonight won’t break that trend…

Astro Joe

March 26th, 2010
4:22 pm

If it takes the stars, moon and spaceships to line-up in a perfect formation for this team to win a title this year, then I don’t think that makes the “we can do it” category. Hey, I love what Horford and Smith have done this year. But how many times does a team win a title when two guys emerge as 14-17 ppg scorers? Find me someone who is saying the Hawks are among the top 5 teams to win this year’s title.

If you’re saying that when this team learns how to feed Al, when Al learns how to position himself against multiple defenses, when Josh can eliminate a few more unfortunate decisions, when our guards are more consistent at feeding the post, when Zaza becomes a more consistent force on the glass, when Joe makes better late game decisions, when Jamal becomes the better defender he is determined to become and when Woody makes the next step in his evolution… then yes, I agree. But it ain’t this year.

niremetal

March 26th, 2010
6:31 pm

No one except you is saying it’ll take the sun, moon, and stars to win a title, AJ. Certainly no moreso than the Magic, Cavs, Heat, and Pistons needed a perfect storm in past years. I know how much you love to love setting up strawmen, but that wasn’t even a good one. The Hawks have the talent to match up with any team in the East, and maybe even any team in the league. The Hawks are the type of team that a good coach could take to the Finals.

In the past 26 years, a grand total of 8 head coaches have won NBA titles. 24 of those 26 titles were won by just 6 coaches. By comparison, 14 different players have been the leading scorer for the title-winning teams during that stretch.

In the NBA every year, multiple teams have the talent to win a title. Frankly, I think that if you win 50 games, it’s clear you have the talent. What separates the title-winners from the teams that make it to (and win) the Finals is not talent. If it were, the Pistons would never have won a title (either in the Bad Boys era or in ‘04), the Magic/Cavs/Heat/Mavs wouldn’t have made the Finals at all (and that’s just from the last 5 years). Hell, I would even argue that the Spurs would never had made the Finals (the ‘99/’03 Lakers, ‘05 Suns, and ‘07 Mavs were all “more talented”). But they had enough talent to make it, and enough coaching to get them over the finish line.

niremetal

March 26th, 2010
6:33 pm

I guess I should say “if you win 50 games, it’s clear you have the talent to make the Finals.” Because really, no team in the East during the early post-Jordan era had the talent to actually win the Finals, but plenty of teams won 50 games by beating up on awful competition. But today’s East is no longer like that.

Now, off to the Wachovia Center.

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
7:38 pm

Is Nire the only one at that game? My goodness, you can hear a pin drop in there….

vava74

March 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

Astro,

like you usual you bend things your way.

I did not say that we should be demanding to win the title.

my goal is to be REALLY competitive against ORL and CLE and frankly I don’t see that.

Our problem with the Magic during the past 6/7 games has been lack of talent IT WAS LACK OF COACHING AND POOR REFEREEING.

vava74

March 26th, 2010
7:54 pm

Not been lack of talent

vava74

March 26th, 2010
8:04 pm

We are not taking the sixers seriously.

I hope that we will not end up with another disheartening loss against a sub par opponent.

Big Ray

March 26th, 2010
8:33 pm

Canniblogging, anyone? What, the party got started without me? :lol:

Meanwhile, it seems that Bibby is playing the best basketball of any Hawk on the offensive end. I’ll take it however we can get it….

vava74

March 26th, 2010
8:38 pm

Complacency…

vava74

March 26th, 2010
8:47 pm

What a shameful display of lack of focus

Big Ray

March 26th, 2010
8:49 pm

Andre Iguodala is gonna get a triple double. And we’re gonna gift package it to him.

Big Ray

March 26th, 2010
8:57 pm

Smith beginning to put some real work in, finally. Gonna need some help, though. I hope JJ can come through. He’s been rather quiet.

vava74

March 26th, 2010
9:07 pm

Why Woody keeps Crawford in, on a night like this?

Big Ray

March 26th, 2010
9:10 pm

Absolute, pure stubborness. When Crawford plays like this, he’s not even going to be good in the 4th quarter. I’d play Teague or West. Why? Because scoring isn’t the problem right now. JJ, Josh, or Al can do it.

Defense is the problem. Holiday and Iggy are working us..

vava74

March 26th, 2010
9:11 pm

Switch, switch, pass, pass, swish from 3…

How many times have we seen this sh*t this season?

Melvin

March 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Big Ray,

but the rest of the sixers only combine for 4 assists…

vava74

March 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Poor nire, on a “50 win” season, he goes to see the Hawks against a sub-sub-par team and is biting his nails to the end…

vava74

March 26th, 2010
9:18 pm

And now, we will go to ISO mode. If it works, we may win. If it doesn’t we crash and burn big time.

Instead of going inside…

vava74

March 26th, 2010
9:26 pm

I was sure that we would lose this game well before it started.

Wrong mind set: we beat ORL we are all right combined with yet another ridiculous coaching performance by Woody.

Being torched all game long by a rookie PG he refused to take it seriously and ADJUST.