Hey, folks -
Hope you are well.
Had a few things for you. I talked to Zaza Pachulia Thursday about his alley-oop pass to Al Horford in the Memphis game. (If you didn’t see it, he forced a turnover, started going upcourt and then lobbed to Horford on the break.) I’ll have that Q&A – not terribly newsworthy, but kind of fun and interesting, I thought – and then some stuff from Mike Woodson about Utah, my brief take on Friday night and a couple links.
Q&A with Zaza
Q: What happened on the play?
A: I took a couple dribbles and I saw that nobody was guarding me so I took it all the way. I was just trying to read the defense and Al Horford did a great job. He ran on the fast break and he was ahead of everybody. Rudy Gay was kind of in between and I just threw the ball up. Al is very athletic and I knew he was going ot get it. It was a great play. Al made it happen because he ran.
Q: When you let it go, did you think you might have thrown it too high?
A: It felt good. But still every once in awhile, I do those kinds of things. When I let the ball go, it was good. I knew Al was going to get it. Those are two people I’d throw the ball to (on an alley-oop), Al and Josh (Smith). Even if it isn’t (on target), if you throw the ball maybe left or right, they’ll catch it and dunk. … It was right at the rim, so Al just had to catch it and dunk it. It worked out.
Q: I’m guessing you don’t get to practice that much.
A: No, not lobs. I lob passes and I have done it before too, but not from that far away. Normally, I don’t bring the ball up. (I think this is my favorite line in the interview.)
Q: You looked really happy after that play?
A: It’s something that doesn’t happen a lot (note: he meant the play, not him being happy). People got excited. Fans liked it. My teammates liked it. It was an exciting moment.
Q: What’s next, going between the legs?
A: I don’t know. Next is Utah Jazz. (Second favorite line) That’s not a big man’s job. If it happens, it happens. Normally, a big man doesn’t do that.
Woodson on the Jazz
The question, asked by sideline reporter and Bayou legend James Verrett when the two of us met with Woodson Thursday, was if the Hawks already know what’s coming from the Jazz because they’ve done the same things for so long:
Woodson: They have, but they do it fundamentally. They do it better and harder probably than any team in the league. (Coach) Jerry (Sloan) basically coaches how he plays. He played hard and his players, they play hard. They physically get after you. If you don’t meet them head on, they will embarrass you.
James: So it’ll be a test of your toughness?
Woodson: Sure it will. Every time we play them.
My brief take on Jazz-Hawks
The Hawks have done pretty well in the two games they’ve played against pure point guards (Boston with Rajon Rondo and Dallas with Jason Kidd). Rondo had three points and nine assists, Kidd had three points and six assists, and from my vantage point, it looked like the official scorer in Dallas was on a mission to pad Kidd’s stats.
So, while a lot more goes into beating the Jazz (and Boston and Dallas) than defending point guards, that bodes well for the Hawks against Deron Williams.
(This is off topic, but did you realize that LeBron James is averaging 8.0 assists per game? That’s ridiculous. Though, as regards the point about Kidd, he averages 8.8 assists at home and 7.2 on the road. I think that would make for an interesting article. Assists are very subjective in my opinion.)
Anyway, the Hawks’ defensive field goal percentage in the last three games – 48.6, 50.6, 50.0. Part of it is that the games were blowouts – Memphis shot 55.6 percent in the fourth quarter – but they were shooting 48.3 percent through three quarters. Utah is one of the best shooting teams in the league and also does a good job at holding onto the ball, though the Jazz don’t rebound all that well.
Dime magazine thinks that Woodson has been the best coach in the league this year.
“…he has been able to keep everyone on the roster happy by keeping the focused on sharing the ball, defense and winning.”
Jazz notes from the Deseret News.
My story today about how the Hawks look at the multitude of statistical measures that have become increasing popular.
From the last post:
Coleco - I asked Marvin that around the Boston game. He said he didn’t feel pressure because of the contract, that he felt pressure last year playing for this contract. He generally seems to be pretty upbeat whenever I talk to him. For what it’s worth, he does as much extra shooting as anyone on the team, as best I can tell.
Lastly, thanks to those who have offered up your kind words about my efforts. I sincerely appreciate all of them. It’s trite, but it means a lot.