Atlanta Hawks – The team you thought you knew

These can’t be the same guys that got swept in the most embarrassing fashion in the 2009-2010 playoffs, can they?

The Atlanta Hawks made dubious history in last season’s playoffs, losing to the Orlando Magic by a record number of averaged points. The only way they could do worse is to make history again, by giving up a 3 games-t0-1 lead to the Magic in this year’s first round series. NBA history is on the Hawks’ side, and unless Dwight Howard’s supporting cast decides to don a collective set of capes, the Hawks will drive on to round 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

Half Empty, Half Full

Most folks didn’t give the Hawks much of a chance against the Magic in this series, but now some quickly changed their tune, even before last night’s win. But what do the fans think of all of this? Did the Hawks fool us all season long into believing that they are less than they truly are? Have they reached their potential? Or is Orlando truly that bad, despite the dominating performance of Dwight Howard? Just how accurate our incredulity is, is a testament to how confusing this team can be. After losing the final six games of the season, there was little hope that the Hawks would come into this series with their heads held high, and a major chip on their shoulders. The Hawks haven’t just gotten the matchup with Orlando down pat, they’ve even figured out how to press the advantages they have.

On the other hand, this past season (and offseason) saw Orlando make some big roster moves to try and get over the hump and back into the Eastern Conference Finals. Perhaps it’s unseemly to give the opponent more discredit than to give the home team credit, but rest assured of one thing – if the Hawks cruise into the second round of the playoffs and suffer a beating, every headline about THIS series will read about the fall of the Magic and NOT the rise of the Hawks.

Glass half empty…or half full?

Difference Makers

On the defensive side, the differences between this year’s team and last year’s is at the center and point guard positions. With Jason Collins spending 6 fouls and roughly 18 minutes getting under Howard’s skin, the Hawks finally put themselves in position to defend the monstrous center one-on-one, and no longer subjecting them to futile run-outs at wide open shooters. At the top of the key, guard Kirk Hinrich holds his own, successful or not (Jameer Nelson has been scoring pretty well of late), once again, eliminating the frantic and ineffective help defense of the past.

But for my money, the biggest difference makers in this series are Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Both guys stunk up the joint last postseason, scoring below their season averages and not shooting well enough to be a threat to anybody serious. This year has been a different situation altogether. Not only is the high scoring backcourt duo playing well, they’ve both stepped up their games in regard to field goal percentage and attack effectiveness. Facts are facts, and the team’s two best scorers allow the Hawks to have a balanced attack, which has been just enough to beat the Magic’s two man game.

One more win, and the Hawks prove that they’ve passed the Orlando Magic litmus test. But is it enough? Are the Hawks truly better than we thought they were, or are they just better than the Magic now?

 

Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog

239 comments Add your comment

doc

April 25th, 2011
1:02 am

well br didnt think they were up for the challenge and they are proving me wrong. it is also the magic are a much worse team than they were last year as much as we are better. like the effort. if that continues them we may be golden. just the same they have to respect their own possessions better if they go to the next series, then they have to prove they wont be blown out in that round as much as by the magic. that is the true monkey on their back not the magic who are a shadow of what they were.

doc

April 25th, 2011
1:04 am

interesting comment on tnt that kobe is more a three for defense than a two.

[...] Orlando Magic | NBA playoffs [3] Atlanta Hawks (44-35) at Washington Wizards (21-58), 7 p.m. [4] Atlanta Hawks ‘ The team you thought you knew [5] Atlanta Hawks Lack the Heart to Win a Championship [6] Hawks’ Crawford in rental dispute [...]

[...] Series LeadCBSSports.comOrlando Magic season is now on life supportOrlando SentinelHawks.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -OrlandoMagic.comall 1,148 news articles » Posts Related to Hawks make plays at [...]

bjrufino

April 25th, 2011
1:50 am

hawks is better in every way

Harry Hawk

April 25th, 2011
1:55 am

The embarrassments have come in the second round, not the first. That’s the real test of this club.

[...] Magic season is now on life supportOrlando SentinelHawks.com -USA Today -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 1,148 news [...]

Ed

April 25th, 2011
6:53 am

Good stuff Ray. Without a doubt the Magic are nowhere close to the Magic of last year. It’s far more that aspect as opposed to the Hawks being better. TNT consistently pointed out bad plays by the Hawks, immediately following a poor play by the Magic, thereby not taking advantage of a chance to stretch an 8 point lead to a 16 point lead. Sure enough the Magic were right there in the end. Playing that way we will be forunate to win one game against the Bulls.

Willie Coyote

April 25th, 2011
7:02 am

The Magic are as much of a mess as we thought our Hawks were. However, the Hawks have actually manned up and should be celebrating a sweep if not for that dude on the sideline.

The one thing that scares me though; the better these guys perform in the post season, the less likely needed changes are coming. I’m not rooting for the Hawks to lose but we all know how comfortable our ownership and GM seem to get at the least sign of success.

Let’s finish these guys out in 5 and then we can see what these guys are really made of next round.

Hawks on deck

April 25th, 2011
7:33 am

If the hawks are going to make some noise in the second round, Joe got to step up and give me a superstar stat line for a change. Jamal Crawford seems to be the go to guy.

Joe…. I want my Kobe night. 120 million means putting the team on your back. I want my money. But in reality, I ain’t hating on you. Let’s blame management for the lack of sound judgemental decisions in negoitiating that overpaid contract.

Good luck in the playoffs. It’s time to step up.

Don!

April 25th, 2011
7:35 am

I think it’s more an issue of continuity than talent. Especially in the playoffs, where the game is much more focused on team defense and execution.

Look at the teams that made the playoffs after a significant mid-season trade, specifically Orlando, New York and Denver. None of these teams are doing well right now, and that’s as much a function of team chemistry than anything else. I honestly expected Denver to be much better than they’ve shown so far, but Oklahoma City has just found the little chinks in their armor to take control of their series.

Much the same is true in the Atlanta/Orlando series. It’s not that the Hawks are playing their best basketball of the season — it’s more like the Hawks are playing the same game in the playoffs that they’ve played all season. Not to mention, that the core of this team is pretty stable as far as franchises go in the NBA. Come playoff time, that helps more than you know.

Anyway, a number of analysts thought that the Hawks would have a good chance to win this series before it started. It’s not like we were playing from a talent deficit, but folks wondered if this team would ever stop shooting itself in the foot and aim it’s weapons at the other team instead. So far in this series, it’s been more of a case of us not hurting ourselves — and Orlando being the team that’s struggling to not shoot itself in the foot.

Later,

Don!

Nick

April 25th, 2011
9:25 am

The second round is going to show us really who we are. We know how to beat the Magic and have a set philosophy and plan against them. I’m worried that once we play a team (Bulls) that we do not know as well, they will revert back to their old sporadic ways.

Gwalk

April 25th, 2011
9:25 am

TRADE JOSH SMITH! He will never play to his full potential as a Hawk! He has the talent to be a superman in the NBA but his half a$$ play is part of the reason teams are allowed to get themselves back into these games. Trade him now while he’s still worth something!

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
9:46 am

Sorry, I don’t know how to react to the Hawks being up 3-1 in a playoff series… this is uncharted territory for me.

No doubt that Jamal and Joe are glad that Petrius & Vince are no longer in a Magic uniform. I know there’s been plenty of talk about Gortat’s absence, but I recall those wing players giving our SG-tandem fits. Joe has gotten off early in the last few games and Jamal has been a terrific finisher. Orlando doesn’t seem capable of guarding both of them so they have to “pick their poison”.

LD has to take a fair amount of credit as well. The players are focused now that they are in the playoffs so a lot of LD’s weaknesses (getting players to execute the game plan) are hidden. Likewise, his game plan has been very solid (other than the 2-foul debacle in Game 2). Te new wrinkle of the JOe/Jamal pick and roll was a very nice set, even if the execution wasn’t always perfect. He trusted Hilton last night when I was screaming for Etan and Hilton played about as well as anyone could ever ask. His continued fascination with watching Powell get abused by Dwight is annoying, but I guess we can’t ask for perfection from our first-year head coach.

On a completely different note, it was good to see Arenas have a flashback to his old days. He must look at what Jamal is doing in this series and think “that used to be me”.

kwooden

April 25th, 2011
10:00 am

First and foremost, GREAT WIN!!!

They consistantly made plays to help Orlando, but consistantly came back and made plays to help themselves. Orlando definitely got tight and started missing open shots, but they were tight because they knew the HAWKS could score on any possession.

Ray, clearly Orlando isn’t the same team without Lewis, especially against us. I think we’re better, but we haven’t come close to our potential. We’re still a team that goes 2 good possessions and then 4 bad possessions. We’re learning though and I like the fact that we’re learning at the end of games when it matters. Joe hitting 4 in a row from the line, was hugh for the team because it let Orlando know they we’re going to have to make a tough deep 3 just to TIE the game! The biggest play of the game to me was the late layup by Horford to put us up by 5. Jamal had just hit a 3, we got a stop, and instead of taking a contested 3 Jamal ran the screen and roll and hit Horford going to the basket. Dwight had to over play Jamal which left Horford with only small players to shoot over. I think we’ve found at least to different good alternatives to ISO Jamal or JJ at the end of games. JJ, Jamal screen and roll or Jamal, Horford screen and roll. I think the guys have a good feel for those plays and naturally can execute them effectively. Joe got stripped by Jameer on one screen and roll but I’m sure next time he will do a better job of get his shot off. (besides Jameer fouled him on that play)

I don’t know if we will win this series, Orlando clearly can win 3 in a row against us. But I’m encouraged because we haven’t played great for longer than 8 min stretches and given up first half leads the last two games, but still have found a way to win.

GO HAWKS!!!

Rufus1

April 25th, 2011
10:15 am

The regular season matters…Hawks

Talent matters….Hawks

Focus matters….Hawks

Discipline matters…..Maybe

The Hawks did not take off one minute all season against the Magic and this is just a continuation of those games. I knew they would win this series and make it to the 2nd round.

Rufus1

April 25th, 2011
10:21 am

Stop the fastbreak, it is killing us.

The Hawks are too undisciplined to be an uptempo team. If you watch the game last night the Hawks gave up the lead trying to run. They have been executing their offense very well, so they should stay in the half court and beat-up the Magic.

No Crying

April 25th, 2011
10:52 am

After the season we just suffered through we are now being teased with this playoff run. I am enjoying the ride while it lasts. The difference between last year’s playoff debacle and this years performance is when the magic make a run we are not quitting. But it feels like we have yet to play a complete focused game, and we are always on the verge of the familiar collapse. We only need 2 more wins to exceed expectations, which proves how our expectations have fallen. Have we given up on this team? Have we given up hope of winning and will now accept losing with pride? I am so tired of hearing about last years 101 point combined loss total. This team has the talent to become a powerhouse in this league, we just need to learn how to play up to that potential. But winning teams don’t talk about potential they talk about winning. “Potential” is just another way of saying loser.

steve brown

April 25th, 2011
10:59 am

You watch Josh Smith play basketball because I can’t stand to watch. I find his wasted athleticism so disappointing and his game appalling. I think, given the choice, he would rather fill his own stats than have his team win.

Fireld!

April 25th, 2011
11:16 am

The reason we are not getting whooped right know has nothing to do with ld or the Hawks improvement. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that the Magic are missing v.carter, r.lewis, m. pietrus, m.barnes. and m. gortat(all of whom are over 6′6 and m. barnes and pietrus would have shut that j. crawford and j. johnson iso BS down!) I know because you see crawford and joe in that order domimate jj. redick 6′4 and jameer nelson 5′10 you get excited, don’t fall for it. The only reason we won last night was because that idiot on the other bench took Gilbert out after he made the Hawks d look like crap, and tied the game up, only to put him back in after the magic go dwn by 6 with like 3 min left. Don’t fall for it. And for all yall Teague haters, yall really must not understand B-ball.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
11:48 am

I forgot about Matt Barnes. I wonder if SVG and Otis Smith survive.

Ray

April 25th, 2011
12:25 pm

You know at this point even if the hawks advance to ECF to face Boston(which would be cool). I don’t think I’m ready to praise them again like before. It might be me being a hater as most would say, but I say no it’s me just tired of the way the hawks are run.

Still their up 3-1 don’t make it a 3-4 in the next few days. I still say Chicago is going to eat our lunch horribly.

sb33

April 25th, 2011
12:52 pm

The Hawks have not played well overall. Orlando can’t buy a shot from outside and other than Jameer and Dwight, the team isn’t doing much on offense. Even Shaq and Kobe needed some support when they won their rings. Dwight and Jameer can not do it alone. Other than that, I am really happy the Hawks are up 3-1. I believe we could and show have swept this series, seeing how bad Orlando has played. I personally don’t want to see a game six because my heart will be pounding and I will be sweating beads. The Hawks need to quit making it difficult on them.

When getting an offensive board, we quickly shoot an outside jumper or take a questionable shot. Use the shot clock. Take time off the clock and make Dwight play defense for a little longer. Every second counts.

Josh Smith has played horribly in this series and I am sick of his sour attitude. He is a fantastic athlete but can anyone else not see how out of shape he looks? It’s apparent to me that he doesn’t spend very much time in the gym. But I could be wrong so I’m sorry if he does spend a lot of time in the gym. He also needs to stop settling and draw the defense in with his inside game and either take it to the rim or dish it out for an open shot for our guards.

Two times in Game 4, the Hawks avoided a possible foul drawing contact with Dwight. Marvin had a lane and dished it in a resulting bad shot when he could have instead gone straight to Dwight’s body and possibly drawn a foul. Dwight had two fouls in the first quarter but he still played almost the entire game. That should say everything about how the Hawks are not doing what they need to do in order to take Dwight out of the game.

I don’t mean to sound like a hater but the Hawks have been extremely fortunate in this series. We’ve witnessed a ton of lucky shots…

But whatever… Go Hawks!!!

http://thesbentourage.wordpress.com/

sb33

April 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

should* not show in the first paragraph

settling for jump shots* in the paragraph about jsmoove. He’s averaging an air ball a game…

Sorry for the confusion…

http://thesbentourage.wordpress.com/

O'Brien

April 25th, 2011
1:01 pm

I think the big difference against Orlando (on the court and off) has been the play of Collins. In the past, the Hawks were mentally weak against Orlando. But with Collins starting and doing a good job on Dwight, the Hawks actually believed they could win (starting in the regular season). And with that belief came confidence. And it has continued to grow.

I still get concerned though. Like in last night’s game, Steve Kerr was getting on the Hawks down the stretch, because after being up 6, we could come down and dribble out the shot clock, and throw up a shot before the buzzer went off. Very little movement (pick and roll, screen, pass etc). Everybody just stands around while the guy with the ball does his thing.

As for Orlando, they are worse than they were last year. No Gortat, No Pietrus, and no Barnes have made a big difference. Unless Otis convinces Dwight to stay, I think he will be on the hot seat.

As doc pointed out on the other blog, SVG deserves some blame too. He has not come up with an effective plan for when the 3’s arent falling. I think he will be on the hot seat too.

Big Ray

April 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

Good points, all.

Good points about the absence of Rashard Lewis (let’s be honest, Josh Smith isn’t really being challenged in this series), Vince Carter, etc.

I tend to agree with those who share concerns about how management/ownership will tend to view this current postseason success, and it would be all too convenient to ignore the roster changes Orlando has undergone in favor of comparing our current success against them to our ineptitude a year ago.

As for the Hawks themselves, once again most are correct. They are still shooting at their feet, but missing more often, thus less injury. The low scoring and the mental errors would prove deadly against any other Eastern Conference playoff team right now. If fact, I’d say things could/would be worse against both Philadelphia and Indiana (though to a lesser extent in the case of Indy).

And I hate to sound so negative, but the Magic have truly been horrible and one-and-a-half dimensional (Dwight + Jameer…who hasn’t been great the whole series).

The big story of this series will be the all-too-expected speculation as to what the Magic will do in the offseason to try and stave off the inevitable – the departure of their second all-NBA franchise center.

In the meantime…I’ll still take a first round win from my team. Always.

Big Ray

April 25th, 2011
2:01 pm

O’Brien ,

Have to hand it to you, of all those missing from Orlando’s former supporting cast, Matt Barnes may be the most glaring. He’s a killer for a team like ours on both ends. Harassing Joe on one end, making 3s on the other…

I still say they miss Gortat more than most think. The guy is no superhero, but he’s tall and fairly quick. He ran the floor well and would get key rebounds (particularly on the offensive end), while also changing a shot or two. Basically, he neutralized Zaza in a number of ways.

It’s a sad day for Orlando when they realize that with the NBA’s best center and several moves later, they are no longer elite. It’s a sad day for Atlanta when they finally beat Orlando, only for the fans to realize that this does not make them elite.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

I struggle to give Collins a ton of credit. First, the notion of defending the “role players” is enhanced by the fact that the role players aren’t as good thi season. Secondly, Collins has mostly played less than half of the game. I could see giving the “disposable bigs” credit for at least keeping Dwight occupied (inlcuding Collins, Zaza and Hilton) but I think the hype specifically directed to Collins is unjustified. I’m just not sure that if the Hawks were trying to defend Rashard, Vince and Jameer (like last year), if the defense of Dwight would be sufficient. But I give LD credit for recognizing the weakness in the role players and essentially daring them to score against solid defense.

Melvin

April 25th, 2011
2:32 pm

Forget style points.

Just win Babe, Just win…

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
2:36 pm

It’s a sad day for Orlando when they realize that with the NBA’s best center and several moves later, they are no longer elite. It’s a sad day for Atlanta when they finally beat Orlando, only for the fans to realize that this does not make them elite.

Dang, Big Ray. Allow us to enjoy the fantasy for a minute, why don’t you. Hawks are elite and the Easter Bunny delivered those eggs yesterday. That’s my story and I’m stinking with it, dammit.

doc

April 25th, 2011
2:43 pm

astro, let al or josh try to manage dwight and foul out and not contribute anything more and you might understand what isnt hype but credit where credit is due. i watched that match up in the phillips where i didnt have to depend on the camera both in game three and the last regular season victory and was really impressed with the way twin stayed with dwight and frustrated the dickens out of him. collins has the knack for knowing where dwight wants to go and clearly getting there before dwight does. that takes smarts and both hilton and zaza look to have learned from it as well. no hype just good basketball that should be brought out.focus in on it pretty impressive.

i only wish jj and josh could be as disciplined to stick to the basics. jj needs to have an internal timer go off in his head when he gets to three seconds and counting when he has the ball. his efficiency probably goes down with that as a quarterbacks does by not getting the ball out of his hands early enough in the routes.

niremetal

April 25th, 2011
2:45 pm

I think Collins deserves a good amount of credit. If nothing else, it’s clear that he and Zaza are exhausting Dwight. At the end of the game, Dwight clearly is toiling, which is something you don’t see much from him because he’s one of the fittest guys in the league. But Collins knows how to use his bulk to get in Dwight’s way, which makes Dwight work that much harder in order to get around/through him on offense and on the glass. Zaza is, of course, Zaza. He just harasses annoys the hell out of whoever he’s guarding. Vlade Divac minus the offensive game.

I’ve heard/read many athletes say that the most physically exhausting sports in the world is Olympic (ie Greco-Roman or freestyle, not WWE) wrestling. It requires absolutely incredible amounts of effort to move a 250-lbs man who is using all of his strength to keep you from moving him. The elite-level athletes train hours upon every day, but still are inevitably exhausted at the end of a 6-9 minute match.

I’m definitely not saying that what Dwight/Collins/etc are doing in this series is as physically taxing as Olympic wrestling. But Dwight is having to use far more energy than he’s used to expending against just one guy. He’s strong and fit enough to score a lot of points and get a lot of rebounds early on anyway, but he’s using up so much energy (which makes him less effective late in the game) and so many possessions (which keeps his teammates from getting into a rhythm for late in the game) in the process that it’s a Pyrrhic victory for him.

yodaddy

April 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

The Hawks still have offensive lapses where they get too excited and get out of control….if they can limit the number of possessions that that happens they will finally make the Eastern Conference Finals this year.

I have confidence we will close out Orlando.

The Chicago Bulls are a team that we can beat especially with a gimpy Derrick Rose. In addition we just matchup well against them. The only advantage they have is point guard. With that said….I see the glass half full.

Once we win this series I hope Coach Drew still allows Jason Collins to play. He gives us some intangibles that cannot be measured. Things such as taking charges, setting screens, hard playoff fouls, and boxing out.

doc

April 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

yes big ray, i saw that the lakers solely went after barnes to assure he wouldnt be with the magic if they had to face them in the finals. make the other team weaker if nothing else. we see how that did affect the magic going forward.

i am still wondering who made the trade to get arenas and the trade to get rid of perkins. both still leave me clueless as to the benefit to each team that made those trades. if getting arenas was to make up for the phoenix trade then clearly the first one should never had been made.

niremetal

April 25th, 2011
2:49 pm

In case it wasn’t clear, the connection with wrestling was that it takes a lot of energy to move Twin’s bumping/flopping 300-pound frame around the block, and a comparable amount to move Zaza’s Ritalin-OD body too.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
2:53 pm

Hawks won Game 1 with Dwight producing Wilt-type numbers. Collins is averaging 18 minutes in this series, Zaza around 20. And Zaza can actually contribute rebounds and a few points in addition to occupying Dwight. Like I said earlier, I appreciate the effors of ALL of the bigs and can’t single out Collins from the mix as being any more impactful, especially while only playing 18 per game. Ultimately (IMO), this series will be won because the Magic role players were exposed by LD’s defensive strategy of not allowing them open looks.

doc

April 25th, 2011
2:53 pm

nire, amen to the toiling part as dwight is less productive with each game and is wearing down even though it is only game four complete now. he is having to play every possession with no time off. who would have thought hilton could do what he did to dwight in his short stretch? it was probably fatigue playing a factor there, then to have collins come back when josh got his fifth. he wasnt the go to guy down the stretch was he?

doc

April 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

wilt like numbers have wilted astro. he isnt even close to that type of player for long stretches.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
2:55 pm

doc, I wish I knew if the receivers were running the right routes when Joe gets sacked for holding the ball too long. I suspect that both QB and receiver are guilty on this highly undisciplined team.

Big Ray

April 25th, 2011
2:56 pm

LOL@ Astro Joe . What fantasy? Beating the Orlando that seemed unbeatable (except in Boston) or beating this farce of a 50+ win team? Sorry, I’m a cold water kinda guy, LOL.

As for Jason Collins, he does deserve the credit of playing his lone assignment to perfection. He isn’t out there to stop Dwight. He’s not out there to play 30+ minutes. He’s just there to allow Horford and Zaza to actually contribute to the game for 18 minutes or so without having to deal with Dwight on one end of the floor. Collins has no other role, and if there was a way to substitute for him on offensive possessions only, you can bet that LD would do it.

I don’t see a link at all between Dwight and the current supporting cast vs. the former supporting cast. In other words, Dwight’s numbers look good now, and would still look good if Barnes/Vince/ Pietrus were here. The difference is solely with our perimeter guys. Historically, we’ve been unable to contain Vince, and you could bet that if he was here now, he’d be taking many of the Magic’s late game shots, along with perhaps Nelson and Barnes, maybe even Reddick. Fact is that the Magic traded him away, and neither Richardson or Arenas have come close to making up for what he was able to do.

In fact, outside of the unheralded Barnes, Vince may be the biggest loss for this team. Rashard Lewis was good for these guys for a good while, but of late, he also showed that was a weak point. Lewis is past his time and his game, and seems highly unmotivated, leading to his trade. But little sense in arguing all of this. Assuming the 2nd round is all but guaranteed, we face greater challenges for our current heroes.

Joe will get to chase Rose after Hinrich fouls out….that’s one theme…

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
3:03 pm

doc, the only reason why he would even have to be that type of player for 40 minutes a game is because the other players are being shut down. Come on, dude is averaging 28 points, 17 boards on 64% shooting. That is MORE than enough to have your team winning a playoff series if anyone else shows up. Those are utterly ridiculous numbers (in 41 minutes/game). Sorry, I struggle celebrating the defensive effort that allows those kind of numbers without acknowledging the other side of the coin which is likely producing ~55 points and 30% shooting from everyone else on the Magic.

The Dreamer 3K

April 25th, 2011
3:06 pm

It’s a great sign that my only complaint with Coach Drew is his frequent use of the non-word “irregardless,” as opposed to the word “regardless.” Somehow he manages to slip it into every press conference. It makes me cringe. But as long as the Hawks win, he can use as many non-words as he wishes.

kwooden

April 25th, 2011
3:10 pm

Big Ray, those are some tough words, but I don’t think anyone thinks this team is elite! Kenny Smith basically took 5 minutes at half time to tell everyone how bad both the HAWKS and MAGIC are and neither are playing winning basketball.

We play well for a few possessions and then play poorly. Part of the reason last nights game wasn’t a blow out was us and part was Gilbert. The Magic aren’t going to lay down, so we can’t expect for the HAWKS to keep a lead just because. They have to consistantly execute their offensive and make jumpshots. (Yes, JumpShots!) They are a jumpshooting team, and they have to do what they do best. At this point I think the only way they learn to play more consistant is adversity. I think they’re learning because they are making plays when they have to. One of the best signs I saw from this team was Josh giving Crawford “five” after the game 2 loss. It showed me that these guys believe they can should win this series.

In my mind there is no reason to look any further than the next game. Anyone they play if they are fortunate enough to win this series, they have played before and beaten at least once this season. They need to learn as much as they can from each game, especially learn what they have to do every possession to be successful.

GO HAWKS!!

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
3:11 pm

http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2384/dwight-howard

Dwight is averaging 10 more points/game vs. the regular season. Sorry, the story of this series (IMO) is ALL about shutting down the non-Dwight players… not allowing Dwight to produce more points than his likely MVP runner-up regular season. I give the bigs credit (all of them, not singling any one player out) for keeping Dwight occupied but my guess is the non-Dwight Magic players are probably averaging around 55 points and shooting around 30% for the series. LD is exploiting that weakness… forcing the supporting players to produce against solid defense and they are stinking up the joint.

And Big Ray, I would also throw Pietrus in the mix as his physical defense always gave us problems. Having the ability to rotate Barnes AND Pietrus against Joe and Jamal was a big factor in their success. And of course, Vince has killed us while wearing several different uniforms during his career.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
3:14 pm

Dreamer 3K, irrespective of LD’s choice of words (and 2-foul debacle), he has mostly been good in his first playoffs in the big chair. :)

O'Brien

April 25th, 2011
3:15 pm

With Gortat, Orlando could even play him and Dwight in the game at the same time just to give the Hawks a different look.

And the presence of Gortat allowed Dwight to take a break. With no Gortat, Dwight is playing major minutes, and taking lumps from ZaZa and Twin which is clearly getting to him.

Otis made a big mistake not getting a backup Center for Dwight.

Astro Joe

April 25th, 2011
3:20 pm

If 10 years ago, Shaq had gone for 32/17 on 65% shooting in a series lost against Utah, my guess is that no one would be all excited about Ostertag’s defense against Shaq. They would more likely be wondering what happened to the other Lakers or giving the Utah wing players some love for holding down Shaq’s supporting cast.

honest_abe

April 25th, 2011
3:21 pm

let’s not leave out the fact that collins has also drawn charges on a number of occasion even from people not named dwight. he’s also the main reason dwight leads the playoffs in turnovers. he’s played real real solid and i can’t say enough about that guy. he’s taken a pounding every single game.

honest_abe

April 25th, 2011
3:26 pm

let’s not forget dwight has gotten a bulk of his points on guys like “6′8 dud” josh powell, and “chopstick” hilton armstrong and “beyond over the hill” etan thomas…. do i need to go on? when collins has gotten the chance to guard him one on one he’s had favorable to decent results.

yodaddy

April 25th, 2011
3:29 pm

I don’t know why everyone is acting like the Bulls are some magical team that can’t be beaten. They’ve been pushed to the limits by the Indiana Pacers of all teams. IN that series the Bulls are FORTUNATE to be up 3-1 and with Derrick Rose “questionable” for game 5 this thing could easily go back to Indianapolis 3-2.

This year…more than ever….the Hawks can get to the ECF. They avoided Carmelo and Amare, The Big 3 and the Big Bad Celtics.