Hawks eye the last nine

Indefensible!

I’m glad the Hawks aren’t playing any games on April 1st. We’ve been fooled enough, as it is. Beat the Orlando Magic, lose to the Philadelphia 76ers. A few years later, have things really changed? Have we gotten to where we know what to expect out of this team? How about the team itself- do they know what to expect out of themselves?

Probably the most disturbing thing about an Atlanta squad that is clearly better than ever, is the defense. Or should I say, lack thereof. We probably shouldn’t really be very surprised. After all, the group of guys we have now is very close to the same group that was here last year. Add in Jamal Crawford, who has never been much of a defender in this league, and you’ve possibly compounded a problem. Is it ability? How about effort? How about defensive design and concept implementation? Woodson has implemented the switching defense some time ago. So it’s not like it’s a new concept. You would think that the players have gotten better at it by now, right? Then again, this is a defensive concept that is used, as Woodson described it, to sometimes hide defensively deficient players like Mike Bibby. Again…add in Jamal Crawford, a player who gets heavy rotational minutes at 30+ per game, and you’re now trying to hide TWO defensively deficient players. Sounds like things got worse, right? If that sounds familiar, it should. Our very own Astro Joe suggested that this might be the case, before the season began. He got laughed at. I don’t think we’re laughing too hard right now.

Yet, perhaps it is fair to say that no single thing is going to explain what has happened to this team on the defensive end, especially since Crawford and Bibby aren’t the only ones not getting the job done. We can’t seem to figure out why the Hawks are able to lock a team down for a stretch of several minutes at a time, but cannot seem to do it for even half a game. Is it this insidious “lack of focus” that keeps rearing its head? Whatever it is, this will not cut it for the playoffs. The Hawks have shown that they can do better, and in the playoffs, they will surely have to. One thing they’ll have to do is figure out how to go from playing switch defense, to something that works better, because some teams will figure out how to exploit it. Can they make this transition?

The Last Nine

Lakers, Cavs, Pistons, Bobcats, Pistons, Raptors, Wiz, Bucks, Cavs. That would be the opponents in Atlanta’s final nine games of the season. Standing at 47 wins (last year’s total), how will the Hawks do in their last nine? Anybody care to make a prediction? Five of these games are on the road, four are at home. The trick is, however, that two of those home games are against the Lakers, and the Cavaliers. The road games include one game each in Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Washington. Here is another twist- With the exception of Washington, the Hawks have lost to each of those teams this season when playing them on the road. There can be no tie (9 games) in the final stretch. Either the Hawks have a winning final stretch, or a losing one. I predict the Hawks will go 6 and 3 for the final stretch. Sound too optimistic? Maybe. The scenario goes that they’ll beat the Lakers in Phillips Arena (Lakers lose focus at times, and the Hawks are very good at home, especially against top competition), but lose to the Cavs in Cleveland. They will come back home and take revenge against Detroit. Following that, Atlanta will travel to Charlotte, where they will win a close one, then travel further north, where they will steam right past Detroit. Toronto will beat Atlanta at home because the Hawks won’t want the win as badly as the Raptors, who will still be fighing off the Bulls for the 8th seed.  Finally, the Hawks come out of Washington with an easy win, escape Milwaukee with a close win, and then beat Cleveland at home, as Cavs’ reserves are outrun by the Atlanta reserves. Highlights will include leading performances by Mo Evans and Jeff Teague, and some Mario West highlight reel material.

Or….

The Hawks will slip up in Washington and get thoroughly outplayed in Milwaukee, and ending the last 9 games with 4 wins and 5 losses. Why? Because when they lose their heads, they really lose their heads. Either way, it ought to be interesting? Ok, not it’s your turn. Tell me how wrong I am and why, then tell me how it’s really going to happen. Come on, I dare you. I don’t think you can do any worse!

 

HAWKS VS LAKERS

What can really be said? These are the defending champs and owners of the second best record in the league. They have Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol. Really, you could stop right there. But rather than compare the two teams, let’s talk about interesting matchups.

Undersized Again

Al Horford gets to face another talented 7-footer , and it will be intersting to see how he has grown into playing these kinds of guys. Horford’s 15 to 18 foot jumper is good enough for him to start giving Josh Smith lessons. Will he take Andrew Bynum outside to help unclog the middle, or will he attempt to out-quick and outwork him in the paint? Wait a minute. Bynum is out with injury, probably until April. Hah! Thought you had me again, didn’t you? Well, I remembered to read up on player status this time.  Okay, so Horford may actually be facing a greater challenge: Pau Gasol. Called a softie by many, Gasol is one of the most accomplished post players in the game right now, though he still resides in Kobe’s shadow (every Laker in the last 7 or 8 years but Shaq knows what that is like). He’s no joke on defense either, averaging 1.7 blocks per game with only about 2.3 fouls per game. Horford will be tested. Will Gasol?

The Bet

Josh Smith vs Lamar Odom. Who gets 20 rebounds this time?

The Sideshow

Two forwards. Both considered underachievers in the eyes of their fans. Both averaging middling points and rebounds. Both likely giving more to their team in ways that aren’t immediately seen, and sacrificed for the betterment thereof. Or so we like to think. Who gets the better of this matchup, Marvin Williams or Ron Artest?

The Main Attraction

The matchup you both love and hate to see. Why do you love it? Because it’s Joe vs Kobe. Why do you hate it? Because you hate comparisons between Joe and Kobe. But as Agent Smith says in all three “Matrix” movies….”It is inevitable….”

Best of the Rest

Will Jamal shoot 50% or better this time? If he does, the Hawks will have a good chance at winning.

Will Mike Bibby revisit some of his past Laker-killer days and shoot the lights out? If so, that’s another good chance at a win.

Will Jeff Teague dunk on Lamar Odom again? If he does, I hope he screams “Kardashian!” when he throws it down.

57 comments Add your comment

vava74

March 30th, 2010
2:52 am

Hi Ray,

My guess is that we will go 4-5 in the stretch.

On the switching defense, I have three main issues:

1. You cannot rely on just one defensive system, regardless of whichever you thing of, no system can be implemented for the full extension of a match (or close) and against all and any opponents.

2. It’s too demanding, since the crucial point is the re-switching and the rotation to the weak side when there is help defense to overcome a bad match up, the players have to be ultra fresh and sharp to keep up the right defensive rhythm (almost impossible).

3. The permanent switching would work also better if we played with Billy Knight’s dream concept: 5 guys between 6′7” and 6′10” and able to match up reasonably well when any switch occurred.

vava74

March 30th, 2010
2:55 am

Astro (from previous blog):

“Vava, if we were to group coaches in thirds, I’d put Woody in the middle third, probably somewhere in the 11-16 range. There are FAR more examples of coaches being hired who become 21-30 than coaches who become 5-10. Woody is an easy target much like BK was an easy target. Unless I know for sure that I can upgrade my wife, I don’t plan on doing too much complaining.

Lastly, I can assure you, that my support for Woody is entirely based on what I actually believe and not some kid-like desire to antagonize. When I became a man, I put away childish things…”

Astro,

it’s the first time you admit that Woody is just an average coach. this means that you see deficiencies in his coaching.

consequently, you are – finally – acknowledging that with a better coach we could be significantly more competitive.

the point is that you have not been stating this and that your view on Woody does not differ from mine dramatically.

the main difference is that when I say that I would prefer to replace Woody, I have done it whilst acknowledging that he has contributed to our current record.

And you, when you defend him, do not acknowledge – at least not until now – that he is just average and that your unwillingness to change is solely based in you fearing that his replacement will be worse.

since day 1 in this season I gave Woody a B- grade and say that I hoped that he followed the team’s growth by evolving as a coach.

the hard facts is that he hasn’t and his control/ability to motivate and keep the team focused is diminished and he is stuck at the B- level: a nice coach for pre/low playoff teams.

vava74

March 30th, 2010
2:57 am

Another point:

We currently have the 8th best record in the league and earlier in the season we were hovering around the 3rd to 5th best record (for quite a long period, I must say).

Yet, you acknowledge that Woody is a coach ranging between 11th and 16th spots of your mental ranking.

I rest my case.

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TheAntiMe

March 30th, 2010
7:51 am

I have heard a few times over the course of the season different Hawks players say something to the effect of, “This is only the regular season. It’s not important until the playoffs.”

Although they weren’t necessarily speaking about their defensive play at the time, it still seems to indicate that the players may feel that any problem we may now see with their play, in general, is no big deal because they can turn it off and on when they need to depending on the situation at the time.

I’m not saying they are wrong because they have shown that they are one of the top teams in the conference but they will need to turn it on for 4 quarters at a time during the playoffs if they hope to get to the conference finals, and much more so to get to the NBA Championship Series.

It would be in their best interest if they realized that now is the time to turn it on and keep it turned on so that they can have some momentum going in to the playoffs.

Marcus

March 30th, 2010
7:53 am

LOL @ Kardashian …. Hibachi, part 2.
Yeah, Ray, I am feeling this blog … felt similar the past week since I peeped the last 12 (now 9) games on the schedule. BOS has it relatively easy to end the season, and I don’t feel especially good about the potential teams for the 5,6,7 spots..

O'Brien

March 30th, 2010
8:04 am

Ray,

I think we go 6-3. But I am having a hard time predicting which games we might lose, because these Hawks are so unpredictable.

However, I would not be surprised if we lose to the Lakers Wednesday (they are coming off a loss to Hornets), lose in Cleveland, and then lose to either Charlotte or Milwaukee.

I’m surprised you did not mention the first Laker game where JJ had like 15 pts in the first quarter, but yet Woody took him out before the quarter was over. I dont remember if he had 2 fouls, or if Woody was trying to save his energy, but I was mad at Woody for taking JJ out when he was on fire like that.

Sure enough, JJ never got it going after he came back in the game, and we were blown out (although our reserves led by Teague made a big run in the 4th).

I think Artest will play D on JJ, so Kobe can relax (they can put him on Marvin). And Artest-like is what we need Marvin to become defensively. An elite defender who can help make JJ’s game easier.

vava,

“You cannot rely on just one defensive system, regardless of whichever you thing of, no system can be implemented for the full extension of a match (or close) and against all and any opponents.”

Agreed. And thats one reason why Syracuse loses. Because they play a zone (which can be stifling most nights), but if the opposing team is making shots, Syracuse does not do a good job of playing another type of defense.

I think Woody is a good coach, but I am not confident in his ability to make adjustments in the playoffs. However, I dont know if the grass is really greener on the other side.

After winning in Boston the night before, the Spurs lost at NJ last night. I’m sure their fans are going crazy. We would be too.

Marcus

March 30th, 2010
8:07 am

For those who see the team day-after-day ………..why haven’t we taken the next step to being consistent AND, more importantly, the close out mentality/maturity expected of a team who has grown from NBA fodder to Eastern conf. contender?

vava74

March 30th, 2010
8:17 am

OB,

On SA’s loss: Ginobili did not play. That’s two thirds of their big three out.

i_am_soulstar

March 30th, 2010
8:43 am

Ray,

Bynum’s out, and Gasol’s moving to center, so Horford will be matched up with him if I’m not mistaken. Gasol burned us a year ago in February 2009 for a triple-double, so it’ll be interesting to see if we can handle that guy this time. I believe he could hurt us a lot less playing center, as Al can defend him better than Josh, and Josh is better served as a help defender against guys like Gasol.

As good as Artest and Kobe are on D, if the Lakers don’t double JJ, he’s gonna have his way with either of them one-on-one, the same way he torched Kobe in the 1st quarter in the beginning of the season. JJ seems to play with a chip on his shoulder when other star 2-guards come to town. I just hope Woody leaves him out there this time if he’s on fire.

I think Odom in the starting line-up is gonna be a match-up problem for Atlanta, but I also know the Lakers don’t have an answer for Jamal Crawford. One or both of these guys may be the X-factor in this game.

Daniel

March 30th, 2010
9:27 am

Hey Ray and the gang…
I remain firmly in the camp of lack of focus, energy camp for our defensive woes. Yes, Bibby is a liability and Crawford is not Artest (but he has been better than I thought defensively).
I wonder does this team believe in itself? It is hard to answer that question from the way they play. They are very talented, a better team than most, but do they believe? that is the question.

MannyT

March 30th, 2010
10:24 am

I’ll go with 6-3 to close the season.

Might some of the defensive lapse be related to concerns about covering for others? You know Josh often provides off the ball help to get his blocks. If the better defensive players are keeping an eye on the guys that struggle, it is easier for them to slip up on their own assignments.

As much as people knock the switching defense, it does force the offense to find the weak link and then exploit it. Without switching, it is easier to find the guy you want to attack.

A moving target is harder to attack than an stationary one.

BWAF

Melvin

March 30th, 2010
11:00 am

I want to go with 6-3 but OB and Manny T beat me to it. So I’m going out on a limb and say 7-2. The way this team is playing, we will probably lose to the Wiz and Pistons…

O'Brien

March 30th, 2010
11:43 am

It would be nice to see the Hawks go 4-1 on the road to finish at 21-20 on the road. But I think the players are more concerned about defending Home Court, and not very concerned about winning on the road (although Woody is).

Melvin,

Since 6-3 was taken, you could have gone with 5-4.

Manny T,

In the playoffs, I think teams will do just that. Find the weak link and exploit it. So Hawks must be willing and able to adjust.

We saw a minor adjustment against the Magic the last time we played them, so maybe we will improve on that.

MannyT

March 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

O’Brien

You can always run a double team at the bad matchup. You just have to be selective when you decide who you use to double and who gets left open (or in partial zone coverage.)

Melvin, predictions are not an exclusive club. Feel free to hop on the 6-3 bandwagon. I expect at least one of those wins to come against the Lakers or Cleveland, maybe 2 of 3. That also leaves room for a wtf game against a lesser opponent. That’s all a part of the Hawks roller coaster.

Big Ray

March 30th, 2010
1:21 pm

soul star ,

Will he take Andrew Bynum outside to help unclog the middle, or will he attempt to out-quick and outwork him in the paint? Wait a minute. Bynum is out with injury, probably until April. Hah! Thought you had me again, didn’t you? Well, I remembered to read up on player status this time.

I had ya covered, bruh. :)

Marcus ,

I’m glad somebody appreciated the “Kardashian” comment/joke…. ;)

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2010
1:47 pm

Gezz, Vava, when did I ever call Woody a top 10 coach? Some of y’all act like he’s a bottom 10 coach. I think he’s closer to top 10 than bottom 10. .

I’ll vote for 6-3 for the next 9. I was thinking around 51-52 wins prior to the season’s start so maybe we’ll finish a hair better.

dstdeelite

March 30th, 2010
1:55 pm

Write this down: Kobe will NOT be checking JJ. They’ll leave the honors to Artest. It worked in LA. Why would Phil change now? Phil doesn’t want his best guy chasing JJ around all night long. What would be interesting is if Woody let Marvin check Kobe. That would free up JJ on the offensive end. Probably won’t happen, but it’s just a thought. That being said, I’m really not optimistic about a win here. The Lakers have now lost 2 in a row, I think. I don’t think they plan on making it 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stopped our home win streak with a buzzer beater by Kobe. Go Hawks!!!

Melvin

March 30th, 2010
2:14 pm

dstdeelite,
Well it time to make it 3 in a row. Not in our house Kobe….

OB,
I was going to say 8-1….

Manny T,
I’m expecting another let down lost as well…

Astro,
I predicted between 50-55 wins during preseason. Heck, we could have easily exceeded those win totals had we minimize our let down games to 2-3… Dang it…

Time for me too cut my eyebrows for the playoffs…. MWOH (Mad WithOut Hair)..

doc

March 30th, 2010
6:23 pm

ill stick to the 52 wins prediction at the start of the season and reiterated a few blogs ago. i am not comfortable with it unless the cavs dont show up that is a gimme and why i predict a 5-4 run to finish instead of 4 and 5. if the cavs come to play and need a win to set up who they want in the second series if a team can try to think that far in advance then we end up shy of the 52 i thought they would have before the season started. in a way, it is sad; to date there have been no injuries to compensate for so the record should be better. this team may have underachieved thus far.

O'Brien

March 30th, 2010
8:11 pm

doc,

“to date there have been no injuries to compensate for so the record should be better. this team may have underachieved thus far.”

You make a good argument. We won 47 games last year (with Flip Murray as our sixth man, Acie Law, and with injuries to Al and Josh).

We added Joe Smith, Jamal Crawford, and Jeff Teague, returned the same starting 5, while being the healthies team in the NBA all year. And we will win 5-9 games more than last year.

Some may say that rather than thinking that we underachieved, we should be happy with where we are. A 50+ win team.

I am on both sides of the fence…

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2010
9:52 pm

http://espn.go.com/nba/standings/_/type/expanded/sort/gamesBehind/year/2009

Above is a link to Hawks “expanded record” from last year. While we may “only” win a few more games, we are far better against winning teams and we will finish with a better road record as well. Do teams typically improve by 15 games over 2 seasons with the same starters? We’re currently 5-5 against the Eastern Conference’s “Big 3″. If one chooses to (although why would anyone choose to), one could decide the glass is half-full.

Astro Joe

March 30th, 2010
9:55 pm

Melvin

March 30th, 2010
11:09 pm

Astro,

“”We’re currently 5-5 against the Eastern Conference’s “Big 3″.”"

What a nice way to spin it Astro. Too bad 4 of the 5 wins has been against one team out of the Big 3…

Big Ray

March 31st, 2010
2:28 am

Nice to see Daniel and Doc are still kickin’ it with us.

Melvin catching Astro Joe’s comment on the reverse spin was typical of what we do here. :) Good one…

O’brien speaks the truth and occupies the spot on the fence next to me: it’s hard to predict what the Hawks will do. I’ll trade a let down loss in the last 9 games for an extra win in the 2nd round of the playoffs, assuming we get there safe and sound.

vava74

March 31st, 2010
2:32 am

We still have one competitive game against CLE. since theyveillnkot need the win to close the season, they will not play their best line up (we should because a win is a win).

We should try our upmost to beat Boston to the #3 spot since it is pointless to hope that we can beat CLE in a 7 game series: they have too many weapons and Lebron gets a royal treatment from the refs every single game whilst Howard only gets it MOST games.

So, if we play well – and by well I mean a lot better than when we got that win against ORL – we might have a chance.

For that we will need Woody to wake up some day and find that he has a big pair after all and get our guys to play straight up D on Howard, stay on the shooters and limit Bibby and Craw’s minutes defending Jameer.

I think Craw’s defense becomes more of a target when he plays longer shifts, which also end up with him fading on offense late in the games. I would use him fo shorter stretches until deep in the 4th.

vava74

March 31st, 2010
5:09 am

since they will not (iPhone keyboard…)

vava74

March 31st, 2010
5:22 am

Astro,

There you are again…

You constantly say that we cannot hope for the best since we are not into luxury tax territory, which, in your view, means that our roster is not talented enough to aspire to anything more than a 2nd round loss.

However, we have the 8th best record in the NBA and been around the 3rd – 5th best record for a long periods during the season with a coach which YOU consider to be, at best, the 11th best coach.

Well, this can only mean that you cannot deny that with a better coach (let us say the 5th or 6th best coach in the NBA) we could aspire to a better record and to AT LEAST being competitive in the 2nd round of the playoffs (which I don’t think we will be IF we reach there).

You are doing waaaay too much juggling with your arguments, which, in the end, do not add up.

The ONLY VIEW which I consider acceptable from you is this one: we know what we have with Woody and with him we have achieved 3 successive playoff seasons and we have no way to guarantee that a different coach – even if more technically gifted – will not mess up by not managing well personalities.

That argument I would understand and accept since there is no way that we cannot acknowledge that Woody has established an excellent relationship will all players – Josh included – and that he has managed that side of the job really well.

Even when players are not getting minutes, we have not been hearing any complaints. Obviously, the fact that everyone seems to be of good character helps, but nonetheless, it is pretty easy to mess things up on that front.

What I find umbelievable is that you NEVER acknowledge Woody’s incredible technical deficiencies and stubborness.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
9:19 am

Vava, of course we can do better with a better coach, that’s a no brainer. Now who’s that coach, how much does he want and do we know for sure he’s better? When I look at what happens with newly hired coaches around the league, why should I believe that we would be in the shrinking group of teams who actually makes the right hire? Because our track record suggests that luck is on our side? LOL… that’s hilarious.

Melvin, true dat. How much better would you feel if we won that “shot clock” game in Cleveland?

vava74

March 31st, 2010
9:36 am

Astro,

You are now entering into a completely different mode and one that I will respect IF you do not come back again defending Woody when his performance as a coach is defenseless and is obviously the #1 factor in a defeat (which has happened many times).

However, you should note the following: you mentioned that we should be happy that we are now a winning ball club and that if we have a run like the Kings had in the 90’s we should feel that this would be a very satisfactory status.

Well, I agree wholeheartedly.

The problem is that those Kings’ teams were REALLY competitive and it took some significant crooked refereeing to remove them from an appearance in the Finals against a team that fared 2 first ballot all-of-famers and the most successful coach ever.

Why were the Kings’ teams competitive? It’s obvious that they had very good rosters, however, they also had very good coaching.

Although you can argue – and I could accept – that the Kings’ rosters were better than our current roster, the biggest gap between those Kings and our Hawks is the coaching.

Right now, I can’t shake the feeling that IF we get past the first round, we will fall 1-4 in the second against either CLE or ORL.

O'Brien

March 31st, 2010
10:17 am

vava,

The Hawks are so inconsistent, i would not be surprised if we lost 4-1 or 4-3 in the second round.

I do wish we could get a better coach, especially for the playoffs, because I have very little confidence that Woody will make the adjustments needed to give the players that extra push they will need in the playoffs.

However, to AJ’s point, which coach is available that gives us that confidence? Avery Johnson? He has issues of his own. Byron Scott? He has issues too. Other than those guys (established head coaches), I dont know who else is available, unless you go with a young hot shot assistant.

Or maybe Flip Saunders gets fired in DC, but I dont know how good of a coach he is, or Eddie Jordan might get fired in Philly.

To me, if Woody would just hire an offensive coordinator (who has a system that Woody allows him to implement), and a big man coach (I have little confidence in Ty Hill), I would be okay with Woody coming back. Because the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
11:02 am

I heard Phil Jackson mention this morning that this Hawks team is completely different than the one they faced in november. Phil Jackson. 10 titles. The one with the flawless triangle offense that never breaks down into an iso-oriented set. That Phil Jackson.

Why? maybe because in November, Josh and Al were not featured scorers in the offense, maybe because back then, we were still reliant on the 3-ball. Maybe because Josh wasn’t in his “point PF” role or Horford wasn’t knocking down pick-and-pop jumpers. Maybe Bibby was still clsoing games and we didn’t yet know how to use Jamal.

If we DID hire an offensive coordinator, how would you know that he is doing a good job? We would NEVER have 4th quarter woes? Instead of building 10-point 4th quarter leads (which is dismissed around here as some kind of given), we’d build 20 point 4th quarter leads? Marvin and Bibby would increase their scoring while every other player maintains their scoring (resulting in the Hawks averaging 125 per game)?

We’ve gone from a backcourt reliant team to one with balanced scoring WITHIN this season. Late game execution is certainly still an issue but focusing on that ignores the fact that our offense has been exceptional even in 40-44 minutes of those games. Do you change the 40-44 to improve the 4-8?

Vava, if you think that I will acknowledge that Woody has blown x number of games while we sit here 20 games over .500 and NOT give him an ounce of credit for being 20 over .500, you are barking up the wrong tree. In my way of thinking, if I give someone credit for good then I can’t take away blame for bad. If you’re comfortable taking credit for your own success but pointing the finger at someone else when you fail, then have at it. That’s simply not my philosophy for myself nor anyone else (including sports teams I cheer for). So no way will I find fault in Woody for 30 losses without finding credit for 50 wins.

niremetal

March 31st, 2010
1:39 pm

The one with the flawless triangle offense that never breaks down into an iso-oriented set. That Phil Jackson.

Love for you to find me anybody who ever came close to saying that, AJ. I’ll wait.

Strawmen, AJ. It’s all you’ve got most days.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
1:59 pm

nire, a little hyperbole to a previous comment by Vava. As if the triangle was flawless. You know, nire, there are other bloggers here beside you, right?

Check out Phil interview here. I missed the Gearon interview but I know that they were asking the “hard questions”.

http://www.790thezone.com/instantreplay/Episodes.aspx?PID=1345

niremetal

March 31st, 2010
2:21 pm

That’s why I said “anybody,” AJ. And hyperbole wouldn’t be a problem except that for you, most of the time the ONLY forms of other people’s arguments that you address are caricatures of them.

Sautee

March 31st, 2010
2:32 pm

nire,

It’s a style thing, in case you’ve failed to notice. Of COURSE there’s strawmen, and hyperbole. It’s AJ. ;-)

And “most of the time” is probably right, but it seems to happen much more often than that.

But thanks for saving me the trouble of calling him out. This time.

vava74

March 31st, 2010
3:32 pm

Astro,

Read again Charley Rosen’s article. Please, do me an yourself a favour and read the darn article.

Yes, the shots are (slightly) better distributed but 95% of the shot come out of ISO or low ball and player movement plays.

Phil Jackson is a master motivator and head-messing guy. By saying what he said he is simultaneously preping up the Lakers to come prepared AND pampering us into thinking that we are better now than we were in November.

Well, look again: during the early season we played our BEST BASKETBALL and now we are a roller coaster of acceptable but never really good games and pretty awful ones.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
3:51 pm

Rosen analyzed A game. A data point is worth exactly how much? Talk about a straw man, try dissecting a top 10 offensive efficiency team down to one game against the conference champion (anchored by likely the 2-time DPOY). And the funny thing is, we won that game… so what does tat say for the defensive innovation of the rest of the league that our one-finger piano player (Woody) is on the verge of winning 50 games?

Of COURSE there’s strawmen, and hyperbole. It’s A BLOG. If y’all are looking for the gospel, you’ve come to the wrong temple.

Where were you when Vava was claiming that a motion offense is the end-all and be-all? How’s Eddie Jordan doing with his brilliant motion offense in Philly? Didn’t Gasol just go off about unbalanced shooting within the fabled triangle scheme… like in the past 4 weeks?

What’s the value of a great strategy with poor execution? Evidently, the value of great execution with poor strategy is worth somewhere between 47-50+ wins. At least that’s what seems to be the opinion of some/many/most (depending on your hyperbole appetite) around here. :evil:

Instead of portioning credit and blame between players and coach, enjoy the experience of a 50+ win team. Instead of the “what ifs” just relax and enjoy. This is to be enjoyed, not begrudged.

Big Ray

March 31st, 2010
4:00 pm

I swear, this is like watching a UFC Match with three combatants in the cage. I thought tag-teaming only happened in wrestling?

:lol:

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
4:20 pm

Ray, it’s an old-fashioned handicapped match. You know, like 2-3 against one. I feel like Andre the Giant. An old dead white guy with a bad accent.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
4:21 pm

My bad, I mean a FAT, old dead white guy with a bad accent. Or would that be considered HYPERBOLE?

Big Ray

March 31st, 2010
4:24 pm

Where were you when Vava was claiming that a motion offense is the end-all and be-all? How’s Eddie Jordan doing with his brilliant motion offense in Philly? Didn’t Gasol just go off about unbalanced shooting within the fabled triangle scheme… like in the past 4 weeks?

Yep…saw all of that, including Gasol’s gingerly asserted comment about there being a need for a better “inside-out” game, and how Kobe needs to get on board with that.

What’s the value of a great strategy with poor execution? Evidently, the value of great execution with poor strategy is worth somewhere between 47-50+ wins. At least that’s what seems to be the opinion of some/many/most (depending on your hyperbole appetite) around here.

Hee hee! I have to say you’ve outdone yourself with this one. I agree and disagree all at the same time. No doubt there is not enough value or credit properly placed with a team that is succeeding the way this one is. And while we’re not year-to-year contenders for even the EC crown just yet, this is not a process that happens overnight, as some seem to want it to be. 47 wins one year, 50+ the next, credit is due to players, coaching staff, and management. No single element can be eliminated from the due credit for this success. Likewise, no single element can be given sole credit. The percentage of credit is where the most common arguments lie, of course.

However, no good deed goes unpunished, quoth the saying. The number of regular season wins are shoved to the back burner come playoff time, and this is where the more successful coaches (guys who get their teams to the playoffs) get judged, I think. If the Hawks do not have a better performance/showing in the playoffs, regular season wins will count for how much? Ask Dallas (more specifically Avery Johnson) what it’s like to get near or right at 60 wins, then get boosted from the first round. Ouch! Avery no longer has a job on the sidelines.

Ask Flip Saunders what it’s like to win 64, 53, and 59 games in three years with an NBA team…then get fired. Ouch again.

Woody hasn’t gotten there yet. Maybe he’ll get that third year at this level at least, to show what he can do. Maybe that third year (2010-2011 season) will be the ticket. Don’t know. But as good as he’s been to get this team as far as it’s gotten, there is no time to sit and enjoy it. Not for him. For us? Yeah, sure. But you know us. We’re not 100% happy with anything. Least of all each other…

Instead of portioning credit and blame between players and coach, enjoy the experience of a 50+ win team. Instead of the “what ifs” just relax and enjoy. This is to be enjoyed, not begrudged.

True, but didn’t you just say that hyperbole and straw men are part of the blogging experience (in more or less different words)? I agree that this is to be enjoyed, but anything short of perfection is going to be criticized.

On the other hand, there are some who are clearly enjoying nothing right now, other than a…zest, shall we say…for clubbing each other over the head….metaphorically speaking, of course. And while I realize that this is also part of the blogiverse….uhhhh….Rodney King’s infamous words do come to mind. :lol:

Big Ray

March 31st, 2010
4:26 pm

AJ,

You’re killing me. Now all I can think of is Andre the Giant in that movie called “The Princess Bride.”

Inconceivable!

:lol:

I know you’re having fun with all of this…

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
4:33 pm

Naw Ray, I’m not having fun. You’re not supposed to have fun on a basketball blog dedicated to a 50+ win team after a decade of non-relevance. You’re supposed to write like you’re at the NY F’ing Times. Word-smithing in King James verbiage. Etched in stone. Verified by a half-dozen sources. Based on years of legal precedent. Kissed by the virgin mother of one of Shaun Kemp’s kids. With consensus agreement from the Tea Party and ACLU. Otherwise, it’s a straw wrestler with a hyper accent… or something like that. Dammit, I’m all confused now.

Go Hawks and where’s my popcorn!

vava74

March 31st, 2010
4:36 pm

Astro,

you simply don’t know enough about Rosen. he is a basketball junkie and he may have written his column after one game but his analysis is made by watching many other games.

also, it’s precisely against top opposition that you see the cracks in the system.

yes, we won the game, but Orlando had an atypical bad game from outside and surprisingly Howard was called for a moving screen – something we are bound not to see coming playoff time – which took him out of the game and allowed us to come back from an horrendous deficit (behind excellent play by the same reserves you said Woody could not trust).

Your “laissez faire” attitude is simply not compatible with such am active participation on a fan blog… It sound too “conveniently built”.

Again, I would like to remind you that YOU said that Woody was AT BEST the 11th best coach. So if we finish 7th or 8th we can only conclude that the players have a higher degree of merit in the 50 wins…

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
4:48 pm

Vava, BS. I think there is something to be said for “sum of the whole is better than the parts”. No elite player. No elite coach. No elite payroll. I’ve written this many times before. We won’t have the best player on the floor in any likely 2nd round match-up. We won’t likely have the best big man (there are some who feel a title requires an elite big man). We won’t likely have the best PG (there are some who believe the league has become a PG-oriented one). We won’t likely have the best bench, best coach nor the highest salaried group of players. We may be the only team without a resident statistician to provide quantitative data to help with designing strategy. But we will have a fighter’s chance.

Sorry, I’m not allocating credit (nor blame). Feel free to enjoy yourself in that exercise. I’ll be here to remind you to be more “inclusive” in your praise/criticism.

Astro Joe

March 31st, 2010
4:50 pm

Sum of the whole? That makes as much sense as irregardless. Glad I’m not writing for the Times… I’d be looking for a new job for my poor splielng.

Kitis

March 31st, 2010
5:07 pm

Suggestion for Ryan Cameron at tonight’s game:

That foul is OFFENSIVE, Lamar Kardashian! Hawks ball!

Did anyone notice how at the end of the Pacers game, Ryan kept calling Dahntay Jones “Indiana Jones”? Gotta love it, that man is a lone bright spot in the ASG’s pathetic marketing of their product.

niremetal

March 31st, 2010
8:09 pm

The number of cheers Kobe gets whenever he scores makes me sick. Home court advantage still ain’t so strong when the big stars are in town.

But Zaza…oh man. NAHTHING EASY!!!!!!

vava74

March 31st, 2010
8:45 pm

We are getting some calls going our way which we traditionally do not get (fair calls – since Lamar was pushing and shoving Josh way beyond the limit).

This, after Al being called for a quick and very doubtful second foul – which was a blessing given Zaza’s production.