Hawks-Heat

What’s up, folks?

Another big one coming this evening with the two teams with the best record in the East taking the floor. Some gleanings to share

Worth noting:

1. This is just Miami’s third road game of the season, having played nine of their first 11 in Miami. The Heat has won both games on the road, at Indiana and Washington.

2. I’m always leery of “Player X does Y when Team Z wins” and not just because I don’t like algebra. It stands to reason when the team wins, a player’s numbers will be better. I guess causation is the issue. At any rate, one player to watch is Heat forward Michael Beasley. He’s actually scored more when they’ve lost, but been otherwise more productive when they’ve won.

In seven Heat wins: 6.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.3 assists 1.0 blocks.

In three Heat losses: 3.3 rebounds, 0 steals, 0.7 assists, .7 blocks.

3. Joe Johnson has had a nice two-game run distributing. It looked to me like he was trying to get other guys going early against Portland. He had seven assists against the Hornets and nine against Portland.

Said Johnson, “I’m just trying to make plays. Whenever I’m drawing two, three guys, I’m just making the easy pass, whether it’s a dunk or somebody shooting a wide-open jump shot. That’s just easy basketball.”

He sounded eager to face up against Dwyane Wade two days after getting the better of Brandon Roy. Johnson’s strategy for defending him – “Just try and make his catches tough and any shot he takes, make sure you have a hand in his face.”

4. Zaza Pachulia has had a pretty good run, and should see considerable time with 6-foot-8 Udonis Haslem and 6-foot-9 Joel Anthony getting significant minutes off the bench for Miami.

5. On being ranked No. 1 in the nba.com and espn.com power polls, Mike Woodson said what you might expect him to say.

“I don’t even know anything about those polls. The only thing I look at is our division. I look at the divisions around us. I could care less about who’s ranking what. It doesn’t mean a [darn] thing to me, it really doesn’t. What’s important to me is where we stand in our division and how we’re playing as a basketball team.”

This may be old hat to you, but he said something this morning that I found interesting about how he views offensive production.

“I don’t get on a lot of guys about offense that much, unless they’re being selfish. My job is to make sure that they defend and rebound.”

5. How Jamal Crawford does after his first single-digit scoring game (2-10, six points) bears watching. I suspect he’ll be fine, but will he be more eager to assert himself?

6. A couple links. Shaun Powell’s nba.com column on Crawford.

espn.com story on Al Horford.

7. Woodson would like to see you. Monday, Philips was pretty sparse for the Blazers game. Attendance was around 12,000, I think, but looked far smaller.

“All I can say to our fans is we need the support. These guys are playing for something this year. It’s fun watching us play and I know the fans are out there and we just ask you to come out and support us. They need it. I think amazing things can happen when the house is filled.”

What do ya think about tonight?

190 comments Add your comment

richbrave

November 18th, 2009
11:16 pm

10-2. This team sucks. Just wait ’till they play WASHINGTON.

All kidding aside, the WIZ waxed the CAVS and LeBRON tonight. Double thump. Most significant aspect IMO was the total absence of ARENAS end-of-game. EARL BOYKINS carried the mail. BUTLER played great without him in the line-up the last few minutes.

RLP

November 18th, 2009
11:17 pm

Some observations on tonight’s game:

The second quarter showed the Hawks at their finest. That kind of play cannot be sustained throughout a game but is beautiful to watch when it is happening.

The third quarter was rough. After having a 17 point lead going into the quarter the Heat reduced the lead to 7. But the beauty of the night and something no one has commented on so far is that the second team expanded the lead. At one point the Hawks were playing Zaza, JC, Mo and Joe Smith with Marvin as the only starter on the floor and the lead expanded.

Of all of the Hawks the one I am most worried about after tonight’s game is not Marvin but Josh. I thought he played out of control at times. He is at his best when he does not try to force things against three defenders in the paint. If I were the coaches I would really praise him for the fact that he was fourth in the league in shooting percentage before tonight’s 6 for 16 shooting performance. Yet at the same time most of his misses were in the paint so it is hard to complain too much.

Bloggers were complaining during the game about Marvin being 2 for 9 but he finished with 3 straight buckets to finish 2 of 12. I think his improvement would really put the team into the elite in the East. At the moment they are THE elite of the East but it is a long season and momentum is a fragile thing. If they sustain their play throughout the year then they will deserve any success they may earn. But I think we as fans still have some reservations. But it certainly looks promising at the moment.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 18th, 2009
11:29 pm

Dude, that wasn’t me, it was niremetal…

Grandad

November 18th, 2009
11:33 pm

K.S. – 1st of all, Ill-Logical made some of the same points I was about to make. I’ll not repeat. 2nd Rodman wasn’ quite 6-8(closer to 6-6) but thats picking a nit. I emphatically endorse Big Al and Josh who, much like Rodman and Barkley, play bigger than their actual size. I’m fine with those two starting. Would we be better with Josh @ the 3 & Al @ the 4 and a 7 footer who is athletic (Camby in his prime) @ the 5 ?
We don’t know the answer. Myself, I like to imagine the posibilities
for the sole purpose of Josh and Al not always being overmatced
[size only], most games. When I talk about the need for a big athletic 5 to roam the middle it is only to enhance what we already have. Much like Jamal enhanced our perimeter play. When I say Al could be an all-star 4, I’m certainly noy advocating the removal of Josh. But more and more it looks like this team can make a playoff run, so I truly believe we need that one additional weapon. Defense more so than offense. Not
arguing, just trying to answer your plea.

Grandad

November 18th, 2009
11:41 pm

Ken Sugiura: I would be very interested in an article about the relationship between Joe [Johnson] and Jamal. Things like their
chemistry on the court, have they hit it off, are they clicking,
that sort of thing. Jamal seems like he is busting his hump to be a good teammate, while Joe is so subdued, they are kind of hard to
read right now. Just curious, thanks.

Grandad

November 18th, 2009
11:48 pm

K.S.: They were switching tonight…I did not watch closely enough
to see if all were switching such as Bibs. What I did notice was
adding the trap out front. That seemed to be a new wrinkle. There are so many ways to be creative with matchups and I’m delighted to see
Woody be a little bit innovative.

i_joejohnson

November 18th, 2009
11:59 pm

hey Ken… have you forgotten the season opener in which JC only took 3 shots and gain 3pts~~~ so last game vs POR not his season-low!!

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
12:31 am

ILL LOGICAL-are you saying the taller and heftier players Horford and Josh have successfully out rebounded and generally out played during the regular season will suddenly get taller and heftier when the playoffs start? When the Pistons Ben Wallace went up against the Lakers and Shaq, I’m certain Shaq and the Lakers tried to emphasize their height and heft, but to no avail. In fact, the whipping they put on the Lakers that yr cause them to send their tallest and heftiest play, Shaq, packing.

Why would Smoove and Horford stop jumping and using their athleticism just because they’re in the playoffs? Their jumping ability and athleticism was sufficient enough to help the Hawks take the much taller and heftier NBA champion Celtics to a 7gm serious in 07-08. I remember the Warriors literally embarrassing the much, much taller and heftier Mavericks in the playoffs, which it cost their HC AJohnson his job.

There have been 2 teams that shared your thinking, and both teams traded for Shaq. The Suns traded for Shaq because they thought they needed to get taller and heftier to compete in the playoffs. They got taller and heftier and couldn’t even make the playoffs. The Cavaliers were the next team to buy into that old school way of thinking, and traded for Shaq. Do you think they’re anywhere near being the dominant team they were last yr with all that added size?

I remember the Suns playing in the Western conference finals twice, and they went up against teams that were taller and heftier. However, they played their style of ball, and didn’t allow the other teams to dictate how they played. In both seasons they were only an injury away, one to JJ and the other to Staudamire, of competing for, and possibly winning, 2 NBA championships. I’m sorry my friend, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
12:41 am

GRANDAD-the type of switching they’ve been doing defensively the last 4 or 5 gms is different than what they’ve done in the past. Before, they would switch and stay with the man they switched to, which would leave terrible mismatches, which favored the opposition. Now, they doing what I call COVERING. They switch on the pick, but switch back after the player that got picked recovers. That’s why we aren’t seeing Bibby caught in mismatches with centers and PF’s, or our Bigs out on the perimeter trying to cover PG’s and SG’s.

As a result, both Bibby and the team are playing much, much better DEF. Our improved OFF, DEF and rebounding will carry us to a very successful season. It’s not just Horford and Smoove controlling the boards, but Zaza and JJ are also rebounding better.

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
12:48 am

GRANDAD-you are correct, Woodson is starting to become more innovative. The traps on DWade were very effective. In last yrs playoff series against both DWade and LJames, Woodson didn’t try to trap either one until the last gm of the Cleveland series. Yet, both teams double teamed JJ the entire series. Now that was poor coaching indeed. But this yr, the man is getting his act together, and so are the Hawks.

cp

November 19th, 2009
1:06 am

Melvin I would love to get McGee and let him grow with some of our younger players but I don’t think we have anything that would make sense trade wise. I wouldn’t be shocked if he continued to get very few minutes and a bunch of dnp-cd this year. Guy has talent but it might take him a while to put it all together but still a nice problem to have in my opinion. I just don’t see them trading away a young cheap big but its always nice to dream.

showboat

November 19th, 2009
1:46 am

JJ should be a lock for the all-star team. Josh should make it also. Horford may have a better chance than Josh because after Dwight Howard, he’s the next best center in the east. Josh, James, Garnett, Peirce, Granger, and Bosh will all command heavy consideration. If the Hawks were to stay in first place till the break, wouldn’t Woodson coach the all-star game? I’d like to see four Hawks representing that weekend.

showboat

November 19th, 2009
1:48 am

consideration for the foward positions.

vava74

November 19th, 2009
6:10 am

vava74

November 19th, 2009
6:15 am

Ken,

The re-switching we are witnessing is what JJ was saying when he criticized the team for not communicating.

I think the re-switching was “there” already as an instruction (at least since game 1), but it wasn’t being executed.

Samuel

November 19th, 2009
6:28 am

Extend Woody

Crashing the Glass

November 19th, 2009
8:56 am

The best Hawks blog you’ve never heard of-

http://crashingtheglass.com/

Daniel

November 19th, 2009
9:03 am

vava- great point on the defensive communication. You are really seeing it payoff. Even more so in the Portland game, when we couldn’t shoot a lick, the defense gave us a chance.

Ok, I think we all agree that the Hawks are off to a wonderful, exciting start. Josh and Al (yes, I said Al) are playing at an All Star level. Everyone cast your votes.

On a different subject, much like IMUS previously commented can we get a new color commentator? Love ‘Nique, love him, but he is lousy color commentator. He either states the obvious, gets the situation wrong, or says “heat check”

So my question for the group, do you want ‘Nique to go? Who would you like? Who is the best NBA color analyst?

My answers are yes, bring back Steve Smith, and Hubie Brown.

Mike is back

November 19th, 2009
9:07 am

KenS, great links…good to see the HAWKS get some pub…they deserve it. I stayed up to watch ESPN just to hear all the BIG BOYS finally pay homage the HAWKS. It was GREAT!!!

CONGRATULATION TO WOODY AND THE TEAM…Another tremendous effort by the HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KenStrick, just to think…people scuff at you…when you said in the off season…the organic growth of the team could allow the HAWKS to compensate for the aggressive moves made by the big THREE IN EAST. Throw in a mix of Vets…doesn’t sound so for fetch now…hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Lately, all I HAVE been doing is reading the blog…hadn’t had to say much…THE HAWKS ARE DOING ALL MY TALKING FOR ME. LOL

Keep working Marvin…your on the right track.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LEEDSATLANTA

November 19th, 2009
9:21 am

LEEDSATLANTA

November 19th, 2009
9:26 am

DHunt

November 19th, 2009
9:30 am

O'Brien

November 19th, 2009
9:38 am

Grandad

November 19th, 2009
9:45 am

Melvin and cp: I’ve been calling for McGee since I came on this board.
Granted that’s only been a month or so but I have been enamored with him since his draft class came out. He’s an athletic big with a tremendous wingspan. Coch ‘K’ loved him this past summer. It would take a package ivolving Marv most likely to get him. That would delight many on this board. I’m not crazy about breaking up chemistry to add a
piece. However, if Mr. Sund could steal him, he could be what puts us over the top. It’s fun to think about.

JM

November 19th, 2009
9:51 am

Like Mike, I haven’t posted much either ’cause you guys have already said what I wanted to say. One thing to add though, I think some of the trapping is player driven. Joe Smith is a smart vet and he trapped the guard near mid court a few times last night and I don’t think it was by design. The Hawks are looking really good and when/if Marvin gets out of his slump, we great.

Go Hawks!

And if we could still McGee from DC, man I’d make that move.

vava74

November 19th, 2009
10:27 am

Crashing the Glass,

I know that blogging is an ego thing and that it is difficult to cope with the fact that regardless of well someone sets up a blog, the ability to crack out of anonymity and get some followers is very elusive.

A quick read through your posts indicates that you could be a contributor here and at hawks’ nest… so why continue to write to no one?

Come on over, build you name around here and maybe then you could attract people to your joint!

Decatur Native

November 19th, 2009
10:34 am

I love this new sports phrase”every facet of the Game” , sounds zen like.

JM

November 19th, 2009
10:38 am

My bad: “we will be great” and “if we could steal McGee”

Traceman

November 19th, 2009
10:57 am

Vava/Grandad,

You guys are 100% right on about the switching D. We were switching last night and we were communicating those switches very well. The lack of communication in earlier games is EXACTLY what JJ was complaining about.

The “re-switching” as Ken called it has ALWAYS been a part of Woody’s defensive system, it is up to the players to know the proper time to reswitch and they HAVE to VERBALLY communicate the re-switch (as well as the initial switch) rahter than ASSUMING that know what their teammate is going to do.

ILL-logical

November 19th, 2009
11:04 am

Ken: you asked for clarification not justification. I merely stated a point of view; agreement will follow only after enlightment.

Back to our regularly scheduled program. A noted but recently absent participent on this board who has been a regular at the home games shared their observations on the Hawks to date. The strengths are the ability of the front court to run the floor and the shot blocking. The weakness is the middle in their words. They believe that the season is still young but the current trends bode well for the immediate future.

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
11:23 am

MIKE IS BACK-thanks a lot. That organic growth seems to have extended to the bench as well. Without Woodson’s decisions, changes and adjustments, most of what we’ve accomplished so far wouldn’t likely have been possible.

I also remember saying that if we played an uptempo style, it would allow Horford to become a much better center. I don’t know of another center that can match his combination of speed, quickness, size, strength and athleticism. DHoward comes as close as anyone. To be honest, my thinking was, running would allow him to become more of a neutralizer to the bigger, taller centers. But so far its allowed him to actually outplay them.

I knew there weren’t any prominant players on either the Celtics, Cavaliers or Magic that could match the growth potential, or have as much growth potential as Marvin, Smoove or Horford. The confidence factor, as well as chemistry, were also elements I felt strongly about as far as giving us an advantage over the other teams and their acquisitions.

I expected what we’re doing now to take place after the Allstar break, if it was going to happen at all. But Woodson coming out of the gate with his changes and adjustments made it all possible early. It would be foolish to think we’ll continue winning at this pace, but we will continue winning. We’ll definitely be a much better road team than in the past, while we were good at home last yr.

We should be able to win at least 4-5 addition road gms and 2-3 additional home gms, which would be quite an accomplishment in an improved Eastern conference. Last yr, we got swept by Boston, even without KG for part of the season, and we managed to split a home and home against Portland. This yr, we swept a stronger Portland team, with the addition of PG AMiller and the improvement of C GOden, and creamed Boston in Boston, with KG.

Once the legal situation is resolved with the ASG, the money they’ve been wasting/spending on attorney’s fees can be used on the team. Of course, I know they’re not paying all of their fees on they go, but they are playing some as they go. More importantly, it will allow them to make team decisions without needing to get approval from the court and Belkin.

Usually, it’s ownership that contributes to bringing a winning team together, but in this case, it might be a winning team that contributes to bringing ownership together. GO, YOU HIGH FLYING HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!

Traceman

November 19th, 2009
11:38 am

For those of you making a big deal out of Woody’s comments about not getting on guys much about offense unless they are being selfish because he is focusing on defense and rebounding, he is not the first coach to say that and he won’t be the last. For a team that is 3rd in the league in scoring and near the top of the league in virtually every offensive category, why WOULD he focus on offense?

Woody knows that defense wins championships and he doesn’t want the guys to all of a sudden think their are the Phoenix Suns or Golden State Warriors just because they are scoring a lot of points. Those teams can’t win in the playoffs when the game slows down due to the intensity of the environment and the fact that the refs let them play more physically. Those teams can’t all of a sudden adapt to a defensive mentality. Woody is just trying to make sure that this team takes on a DEFENSIVE identity.

On the post game show last night, Coach Drew said they always tell the players that offense will come and go because you can get good shots every night but sometimes they just won’t fall. You can’t control that. However, you CAN control your defensive EFFORT and rebounding EFFORT every night and THAT is what they want the players to focus on. I agree with that philosophy and I think we have the players to implement it.

Looking at our play as of late, it looks like the team is buying into Woody’s philosophy as well. The players are always talking about D during their interviews and it is clear they have adapted Woody’s “defense first” mindset. We are giving up fewer PPG and we are outrebounding teams on a nightly basis.

First 6 games – 103.8 PPG scored / 102.5 PPG allowed

Last 6 games – 110.1 PPG scored / 95.0 PPG allowed

Looks like Woody knows his team and he knows what he is doing.

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
12:14 pm

ILL-LOGICAL-let’s not get hung up on semantics. While it’s always an advantage to have a tall, hefty dominant center, it’s certainly not necessary to be successful in the playoffs or to win a championship. In the last 20yrs, only the Lakers, Spurs, Rockets and Heat have won titles with dominant centers. The Lakers, Spurs, Pistons and Bulls have also won titles without dominant centers.

Let’s face it, if we end up playing the Celtics, Magic or Cavaliers in the playoffs, how much more physical can either team be? Orlando has only 2 players on their roster that can be considered physical, BBass and DHoward. Boston has KPerkins. Neither RWallace or KG are considered physical players. Cleveland has LJames, LPowe and Shaq. I don’t see any of these players becoming more physical during the playoffs than the regular season. Shaq’s skills are so eroded he can’t be anything but physical. How can DHoward become more physical in the playoffs and still play within the rules? There certainly aren’t any championship calibur Western conference teams that can be considered physical, including the Lakers.

What the Hawks frontline lacks in heft and height they make up for with speed, quickness, athleticism and energy. They’ve proven that eary in the season against some of the tallest, heftiest teams in the NBA, like the Lakers, Celtics, Pacers, Trailblazers(twice).

Big Ump

November 19th, 2009
12:33 pm

Traceman very good post at 10:57 am

ILL-logical

November 19th, 2009
12:34 pm

Friday’s game with the Rockets should provide an interesting challenge for the home team because the contest will not involve a divsion rival or a superstar opponent but a team hell bent on proving to the world and themselves that they can win without their superstars.
How will our suddenly famous youngsters react to this challenge? Will they assume that they can coast along for three quarters then turn it on or will they become victims of of believing their individual hypes- I’m looking at you Joe the ball hog- and get their lunch handed to them by a team that they are clearly superior to on paper.

Should make for an interesting evening especially since the Rockets aren’t a marque draw and the crowd may not reach 13,000.

doc

November 19th, 2009
12:59 pm

hey samuel i give woody some love but you cant even mention the job your boy steve nash is doing. give him some cred bud.

STEVE NASH = MVP ;-)

Mac

November 19th, 2009
1:56 pm

The Hawks are an elite team. One of the things that I noticed about this team is that the Hawks are finding ways to beat good teams. The wins against the Blazers, the Celtics, the Nuggets, and the Heat were very impressive to someone as skeptical as me. Atlanta plays with a controlled fearlessness and they approach games knowing that they can and will win games. This leap in improvement by this team amazes me.

Samuel

November 19th, 2009
3:27 pm

Doc,

Nash has rebounded nicely this year. I actually like him but as usual he will get “manhandled” in the playoffs. That’s just the way it is i’m afraid but I really love to watch him play.

Ken Strickland

November 19th, 2009
4:43 pm

DOC-did you notice that backhanded acknowledgement SAMUEL gave Nash? What do the playoffs have to do with what he’s doing now? I remember SAMUEL making a big deal out of Cleveland’s aquisition of Shaq, which, as he put it, placed them even further out of the Hawks league. His explanation for that belief was Shaq being an Allstar and an Allpro last yr. I also remember him making simularly glowing comments about Orlando and their acquisition of VCarter. Has anyone heard a single word from him about the limited impact either player has had on his respective team so far this season? It’s obvious he thinks he’s better at predicting the future than recognizing, acknowledging and/or accepting the present.

The Hawks’ major acquisition, JCrawford, was labeled by so called experts as an erratic, selfish, undeciplined player that played absolutely no DEF. Yet, he’s done more on OFF and DEF to improve the Hawks than any of the Allstars, Allpros and superstars, or any combination of acquisitions, acquired by the top 3 rated Eastern conference teams.

Hell, I even stated how I believed Woodson would do a good job of coaching the team this yr, although I started having my doubts early. I knew he had the ability, because he’s demonstrated it on occasions, but not consistently or often. That’s why I wasn’t advocating he be fired. I just wanted him to do what he’s demonstrated he can do on a consistent basis, and he’s certainly done it so far this season.

ILL-LOGICAL-I totally agree with your sentiments on tomorrows gm against the Rockets. I see this as another Bobcat type of gm and opponent, only the Rockets are better. Personally, I can’t wait to see how we approach and play the Magic, after that preseason ending butt kicking embarrassment they gave us. CONFIDENCE is what fuels us, and will carry us and make us better.

UFCRuleZ

January 26th, 2010
8:26 pm

It was very interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. BTW, try to add some photos :) .