Atlanta Hawks at Magic Game 1: Offensive Talk

Hawks gotta score, too. (Curtis Compton/ccomptoon@ajc.com)

Hawks gotta score, too. (Curtis Compton/ccomptoon@ajc.com)

ORLANDO–Quoth super commenter northcyde: “Everyone is talking about doubling Howard and their shotmaking, but no one is talking about our horrendous offensive deficiencies against Orlando.”

Agreed there hasn’t been much talk about the Hawks’ offensive struggles, but Brett LaGree is on it at Hoopinion:

“[T]he dominance of Orlando’s defense against Atlanta’s offense appears not to be an issue of interest on the eve of the series. Seriously, Orlando scored 113.3 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. The Hawks allowed 108.3 points per 100 possessions in the regular season. Orlando scored 111.9 points per 100 possessions in the four games against the Hawks. There’s certainly no reason for the Hawks not to try and do better but they didn’t defend Orlando badly (by their standards) while losing three of four games.

Conversely, the Hawks scored 113.5 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. The Magic allowed 105.1 points per 100 possessions in the regular season. The Hawks scored 93.5 points per 100 possessions in the four games against Orlando. There’s massive room (and need) for improvement when the Hawks have the ball.

Granted, the Hawks held Orlando below 1 point per possession in their March 24th victory and that’s the only recent example the Hawks have of beating Orlando. However, Orlando held the Hawks below 1 point per possession each time they played this season. I don’t think it’s realistic for the Hawks, against whom, it must be remembered, Milwaukee surpassed their season offensive efficiency average in 3 of 7 playoff games, to hold Orlando to 88% of their season offensive efficiency average often enough to win a seven-game playoff series.

The Hawks are going to have to find easier ways to score against the Magic to compete in this series. If they have any new and different ideas about how to accomplish that, they’re keeping them quiet.

I’ll throw in my two cents on the topic by booting up the Synergy Sports machine, which could possibly be the Best. Thing. Ever. The Hawks’ numbers by play type in the four games against Orlando:

Isolation: 67 plays, .93 points per possession, 27/59 FG (45.7%)

P-and-R ball handler: 52 plays, .66 points per possession, 9/42 FG (21.4%)

Post-up: 50 plays, .66 points per possession, 11/37 FG(29.7%)

P-and-R roll man: 13 plays, .895 points per possession, 3/9 FG (33.3%)

Spot-up: 89 plays, .975 points per possession, 31/70 FG (44.3%)

Off screen: 17 plays, .94 points per possession, 6/15 FG (40%)

Cut: 29 plays, .94 points per possession, 12/24 FG (50%)

Offensive rebounds: 19 plays, 1.45 points per possession, 9/11 FG (82%)

Transition: 36 plays, .94 points per possession, 14/24 FG (58.3%)

All other play types: 23 plays, .23 points per possession, 2/9 FG (22.2%)

Judging by those numbers, the Hawks probably shouldn’t try Dwight Howard and Co. in the paint. No surprise there. Without looking at each play, I’m also guessing their problems with the pick-and-roll dribbler scoring has to do with venturing into Orlando’s trees. The Hawks might try getting more stuff going to the basket off pick-and-rolls and cuts, and also create more spot-up opportunities. But those kind of plays require player and/or ball movement and the Hawks seem to do commit to these concepts only intermittently.

As for the Hawks players in those four games vs. Orlando:

Johnson: 139 min., .92 points per possession
Josh Smith: 120 min., .77 points per possession
Horford: 119 min., 1.07 points per possession
Crawford: 116 min., .927 points per possession
Williams: 112 min., .965 points per possession
Bibby: 101 min., 1.18 points per possession
Evans: 61 min., 1.76 points per possession
Pachulia: 61 min., .975 points per possession
Teague:18 min., .695 points per possession
West: 13 min., 2.0 points per possession
Joe Smith: 5 min., 2 points per possession

Clearly, this means Mario should play major minutes in this series.

–I picked the Magic in 5 for the paper but now don’t feel good about it. I think it’s an overreaction after I got suckered into thinking the Hawks would have no clunkers against the Bucks and win in 5. I read too much into that last regular-season road game at Milwaukee. Now I think maybe I’m reading too much into the Game 3 surrender and Game 5 meltdown against Milwaukee. Or maybe it’s because the AJC’s Mark Bradley, 0-3 in the first round, is here for Games 1 and 2. He’s picking the Hawks in 7, so I assume he’s counting on Jeff Schultz to make the trip for the series-clincher.

But, seriously, I look at the Magic and see a team with few real weaknesses, at least not many the Hawks are capable of exploiting. Their ability to get open 3-pointers and play smothering team defense will have the Hawks on their heels all series. Still, I believe the Hawks will give a good showing and lose in six.

– Both Orlando Sentinel columnists pick the Magic. George Diaz says Magic in five but will give them a “mulligan” if they finish it in six. His colleague Mike Bianchi says the Magic should beware the Hawks, whom he thinks will lose in seven:

The Hawks have had their wake-up call, much like the Magic did last year in the opening round against Philly when the inferior 76ers jumped out to 2-1 series lead and came within a Hedo Turkoglu buzzer-beater of going ahead 3-1.

“It’s a good analogy,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said when I asked if the Hawks of this year remind him of the Magic of last year. “They’re coming off a first-round series in which people weren’t inspired by — same as our first-round series last year. I think there are some definite similarities between how people were talking about a year ago and how people are talking about them now.
“That doesn’t translate into this gym. We all know how good they are. We have tremendous respect for them.”

–Super commenter O’Brien says: “It will be very important for Hawks to crash the boards too. In all 4 games this season, we lost the rebounding battle (-12,-10, -9, and -10).”

Smoove hears you: “We’ve got to box people out. They shoot a lot of threes and there are going to be a lot of long rebounds, so even the guards have to come in and help out. If we gang rebound, we will be cool.”

– Apparently Pietrus is fine after turning his ankle the other day.

– I’m out, Hawks fans.

MC

580 comments Add your comment

jayson

May 4th, 2010
5:33 pm

first first !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Westurd

May 4th, 2010
5:35 pm

nerd call first!

Westurd

May 4th, 2010
5:35 pm

Westurd

May 4th, 2010
5:35 pm

Second through Fourth!

terrell

May 4th, 2010
5:36 pm

Gotta work tonight. If I stay up, and the Hawks lay an egg, I’m going to be pissed! The Magic is clearly the better team, but they better at least show some effort. We have to play a damn near perfect game to beat Orlando. Even on our home court. I say Magic in 5. Prove me wrong Hawks. And btw, I think we should let Smoove come off the bench with Jamal in this series. Need to go BIG and start Horford at PF, and Zaza at center. Gotta try something different againsty these guys.

Clyde

May 4th, 2010
5:37 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

I think the reason people are not talking about the Hawks’ offensive deficiencies against Orlando is because those deficiencies have the same underlying reason as their offensive struggles against any other team — lack of ball movement and too much one-on-one on the perimeter. Orlando poses specific challenges to the Hawks’ defense that most other teams don’t, whereas the Hawks’ offensive issues against them are the same self-inflicted ones that crop up against everyone. The only difference is that against Orlando these effects are magnified because their perimeter defenders can play aggressively knowing that Dwight has their back. But ultimately the way the Hawks can remedy their offensive issues against Orlando is the same way they do it against anyone else — share the ball, get the ball into Josh’s hands in the post, and take rhythm jumpers instead of running isolations. In this particular series, I would also suggest taking the ball right at Howard no matter how many blocks he gets, until he inevitably gets into foul trouble.

SWAT Native

May 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

Great post, MB. I’m not sure if you will take this as a compliment, but your blogs are actually even better than your articles many times.

Westurd

May 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

Jamlando def exposes all the weakness on this team. Offensive and Defensive! I am on the side of the fence that is more fearful of the three point bombs then the ugly giant in the middle.

Tip off can’t come soon enough. I think our best bet to steal one would be tonight!! Lets go Hawks……remember Boston? No one gave us a chance and we took em to the edge…………Tip off can’t come soon enough.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

I refuse to make a prediction for this series, but I will say this — as disappointing as the Hawks, and Woody in particular, were in the first round, they can redeem themselves big time if they can stretch this series to 7 games.

SWAT Native

May 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

Sorry, I meant MC.

Westurd

May 4th, 2010
5:48 pm

Hey MC,
Has anyone ever told you your picture looks just like Donnell Rawlings? Funniest Dude ever!

Nice work since taking over. My only request would be to hear a little more of the players insight and behind the scenes info that you have access too. Keep up the good work.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
5:52 pm

LMAO… Damn man, MC puts in all this work, and his reward is you calling him Ashy Larry. That’s cold…

Hawk n the Ham

May 4th, 2010
5:52 pm

Hey MC,
If you see Pietrus, tell him I think he looks like NIPSEY RUSSELL.

Thanks,
Hawk n the Ham

bigdave

May 4th, 2010
5:53 pm

basically.. seriously, when has the offense not struggled..

i think the comments where more defensive based because the 3 point barrage due to poor defensive principles/practices separates us from competing vs being embarrassed…

Mystikal

May 4th, 2010
6:02 pm

As said numerous times the past few days, the magic is clearly the better team. That does not mean the hawks can’t compete though, that is why we play the game. It will take a true team effort from the hawks. It can’t all be on Joe Johnson, Crawford, or even Woody’s shoulders, al though they do need to have good games. We need Marvin to show up on offense and defense. Bibby needs to hit some big shots, cause Jameer Nelson will surely be lighting it up. When big Zaza and Collins are in battling Dwight they need to make him work on offense too. As a team, we have to play smart, with good energy, but not turn the ball over. The magic is stronger than we are in their bench, so we need some guys to have the game of their lives. Even if magic ultimately win, do we play spirited and make them work for it or lay down and look like we don’t belong?

Mystikal

May 4th, 2010
6:15 pm

I like Mike Bibby, but for what he does we are really over paying him. His game is on the decline and the few bright spots he gives us is not worth the lashing we take on defense. But it’s not like we are goind to get much for him in a trade, so… If Woody is resigned he should be forced to give Teague more time. Rondo started as a rookie for Boston and look at him now? George Hill is doing big things for the spurs. Many from last years “point guard draft” made a smooth transition this years so let us get with the program!

sam'l

May 4th, 2010
6:19 pm

The Magic are a very very good team and depending on Kobe’s finger and Lebron’s elbow, we may be facing the eventual champs tonight.

The Hawks are every bit as good as the Magic.

We hope of course that the team is 1. Prepared with viable plan……I would have been working Collins and every big available out against a Howard surrogate for months….but I’m also a dreamer. 2. Awake and alert. 3. In the same never say die mode as our last opponent The Deer. 4. Composure under duress facing a very good team.

Atlanta can win this series. Two advantages….the aforementioned wakeup call against Milwaukee which gave the Hawks practice in desperation and effort under stress resulting in great defensive effort. and sometimes when you have a layoff, it takes a while to get back in the groove.

Stay out of the paint? MC…you be doing well, and I need to look at the stats your present, but I would study tape of how teams get Howard in foul trouble and practice those moves. Then go to the paint and get 3 fouls on this dude in the first 15 minutes.

Yeah, Atlanta has to want this more……I think the Hawks do, judging by the exit interview with Woody and Horford….no smiles…focused…and slightly pissed at us, the fans…..which means they were already thinking about Orlando.

Pinch me if I’m wrong (don’t hit me) but didn’t a recent Boston Globe article (shared by an elderly blogger) imply the Hawks had the best personnel in the league? This is heavy stuff in a town where the second or first basketball dynasty is taking on the champions anointed.

All of us contentious bloggers want the Hawks to win……and if they must lose go down like the intelligent, scrappy, dedicated players they are.

Go Hawks!

Willy

May 4th, 2010
6:28 pm

Consumers in this country eat over a BILLION snacky cakes each year, it’ll take that kind of sugar high to believe the Hawks will win more than 1 game in this series.

Speedy Claxton's accountant

May 4th, 2010
6:29 pm

Joe Johnson needs some concerta. Is Adam Laroche in town?

sam'l

May 4th, 2010
6:35 pm

Sorry Willy, eat your own Snacky Cakes…..

this is from Orlando……

What I do want to address here is the issue of attacking Hawks point guard Mike Bibby, whom coach Mike Woodson hides by having him defend the opposing team’s least threatening offensive player. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy expects the Hawks will cross-match 6′07″ shooting guard Joe Johnson onto 6′00″ point guard Jameer Nelson, and then put the 6′01″ Bibby on the 6′07″ small forward Matt Barnes. In turn, small forward Marvin Williams will check shooting guard Vince Carter. Johnson’s size and strength will bother Nelson, who will struggle to get a shot off over him without the aid of several screens. But there is a way to make this arrangement work. Bibby’s not a terrible off-ball defender, but he does tend to get caught ball-watching on the weak side. This weakness plays into one of Barnes’ strengths: cutting. Barnes will have chances to cut strong to the basket around Bibby’s defense, and it’ll be up to Nelson or Dwight Howard to recognize it and feed him the ball. That’s one way to get points easily.

Another is to find Howard in transition. He’s matched up against Al Horford, a solid defender who nonetheless lacks the physical tools to challenge Howard inside. He has to make a concerted effort to run to the charge semicircle, keep Horford on his back, and make himself available for the pass. And his teammates have to look for him. Transition three-balls are tempting, and Van Gundy encourages his players to take them. But here, they really have to look to Howard first, especially since the Hawks have proven effective when they send double-teams Howard’s

JeJe

May 4th, 2010
6:58 pm

Michael Cunningham

May 4th, 2010
7:09 pm

“Stay out of the paint? MC…you be doing well, and I need to look at the stats your present, but I would study tape of how teams get Howard in foul trouble and practice those moves. Then go to the paint and get 3 fouls on this dude in the first 15 minutes.”

what i meant was stay away from posting him up. but you are correct, the Bobcats had success attacking Dwight but they have two dudes better at that (Jax and Wallace) than the Hawks.

re: Globe article, saw that–said something like “consensus is Hawks have the best depth in the league”–and don’t buy that at all.

Michael Cunningham

May 4th, 2010
7:10 pm

@Swat: “I’m not sure if you will take this as a compliment, but your blogs are actually even better than your articles many times.” One out of two ain’t bad

Hawk n the Ham

May 4th, 2010
7:11 pm

I’m getting pumped as the time gets closer to tip off.

Here we GO ATL!!!!!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ygqj3RbHFU

Michael Cunningham

May 4th, 2010
7:12 pm

@Westurd: “Hey MC, Has anyone ever told you your picture looks just like Donnell Rawlings? Funniest Dude ever!
Nice work since taking over. My only request would be to hear a little more of the players insight and behind the scenes info that you have access too. Keep up the good work.”

no, but he’s another handsome dude. i do keep a bottle of lotion with me, though. re: players’ insight, i hear ya, but you might have noticed they tend to speak in cliches at times. much of what i write is informed by their insight even if they aren’t being quoted.

Michael Cunningham

May 4th, 2010
7:12 pm

@Hawk n the Ham: “If you see Pietrus, tell him I think he looks like NIPSEY RUSSELL.”

actually, he kinda does.

Ree Roe

May 4th, 2010
7:19 pm

Looking forward to the game & the series. Let’s see if the Hawks learned anything from the MIL series.

-REEgurgitated Roe!!!

Hawk n the Ham

May 4th, 2010
7:22 pm

MC, “i do keep a bottle of lotion with me.”

:lol:

“I’m RICH BeeeOTCH!!!!”

drmaryb

May 4th, 2010
7:27 pm

ARMAGEDON!

While we are nervously awaiting the BIG game tonight? Let’s take a moment & PRAY for the
Gulf of Mexico – Coastline. Boycott BP (British Petroleum) – The British Oil Company has found 3 Billion barrels of oil in Louisiana this year & has drilled 35,000 feet below the ocean to go and get it.

The results? The drilling apparatus has toppled over due to GREED & circumventing the rules? Have managed to spill 5 million gallons of oil weekly into OUR oceans. The ocean life is being murdered as we blog about basketball daily. The current is now channeling that RUN-AWAY OIL towards the GULF COAST (that means FLORIDA is next!

The small Fishing / Shrimping / Oyster-ing businesses are already feeling the Ecological & Economical effects of this disaster this week.

People in Florida & surrounding states who trade and commerce from Louisiana & Florida will lose their:

JOBS
MORTGAGES
CARS
LIFE – STYLES

Meanwhile, Great Brittian is doing well & eating well & living well! It’s NOT in their backyards!

The World as we knew it before 911? Is fleeting before our eyes – meanwhile we take a break from our realities & the BLOG becomes our great escape from it all!

I’m just sayin’
I’m just prayin’
I’m just keepin’ it REAL!

I am sure the TEA – PARTY will blame Obama.
I am sure WE will blame Woody. (LOL!)

Blast

May 4th, 2010
7:42 pm

drmaryb,

Great post. Sometime’s life is not all about basketball. Never liked or shopped at BP, anyway.

On Hawks, lot’s of interesting comments by fans. Don’t really expect Hawks to win this series, (Please prove wrong, Hawks!) but I would be happy if they play hard and keep it competitve. Defend home court at all cost, then try to steal one in FL.

While the Bucks series was nerve wracking and so scary after the game five loss at home, I think this second round, with Hawks going in healthy will really determine the futures of Woody, JJ, and Hawks team as a whole. The Defining Series, is what I call it.

Go, Hawks, Go!

drmaryb

May 4th, 2010
7:46 pm

BLAME-GAME!

I just called it – and now its OFFICIAL!

Neil Cavuto & Rush Limbaugh has started SQUAWKING today. THE TEA PARTY is at it again!

OBAMA has purposefully allowed the Oil – Rig to blow up in the Gulf -of- Mexico in order to further his own agenda to thwart the future plans to start off – shore drilling on our coastal lines. They’re saying he wants to bankrupt the Coal & Oil Industries in America so that we can go electric & to solar power?

OMG! Are you kidding me?

The MVP for: HATER of the YEAR goes to THE TEA PARTY!

Our BLOG comes in a distant Nowhere close to Hating! We have our opinions – butt I will personalluy back of that label for our difference of opinions!

Go – Figure!
Let’s Go Hawks!

Hawk n the Ham

May 4th, 2010
7:57 pm

drmaryb

As in the words of Sir Charles, “that’s just turr-able.”

VenomSpitter

May 4th, 2010
7:59 pm

Lets do this people

Good luck Hawks

bigdave

May 4th, 2010
8:00 pm

LETS GET IT…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Taylor

May 4th, 2010
8:00 pm

I wish I had a better feeling about this :(

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:01 pm

Whether we favor big government with their hands in corporate America’s pockets, small government with their hands on corporate America’s shaft, or neither, let’s all come together and hate the Magic for the next couple of weeks.

Go Hawks!

Taylor

May 4th, 2010
8:01 pm

Didn’t know we talked politics on here now…

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:03 pm

I know I’m in the minority here, but I’m a little disappointed that I don’t get to listen to Bob and Nique in this game. As homerific as they may be and as devoid of insightful commentary as Nique usually is, I grew up watching Braves games with Skip Caray, and I prefer a little bit of homerism in my commentators.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:04 pm

Horford bricks the shot we all want him to consistently make in this series to start the game.

VenomSpitter

May 4th, 2010
8:05 pm

No don’t let em hit the 3

Taylor

May 4th, 2010
8:05 pm

Why is Smith shooting that?

VenomSpitter

May 4th, 2010
8:05 pm

OMG Josh u just got a good shot and now a jumper

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

Josh taking it to the hoop with no fear of Howard — good. Josh shooting a jumper with 15 seconds left on the shot clock — bad.

bigdave

May 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

Horford on Nelson, Josh on Vince.. dont wanna see that..

Blast

May 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

Yeah, I would rather have the option of FSS or TNT. TNT and ESPN guys tend to ramble about other things but the ball game.

drmaryb

May 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

Hawk n Ham

You are crazy sick man! That is Turr-able! Like Nique says, “its a NIMBERS game!”. LOL!

NorthCyde

I hope you can watch the game tonight. I just heard on MSNBC that you have no POWER nor FRESH WATER!
I saw the Titans Football Stadium is under water too!

Be safe & God Bless You and Yours!

Let’s Go Hawks!

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:06 pm

A little too much switching for my taste so far. I’d prefer to see Bibby on Barnes the whole time.

bigdave

May 4th, 2010
8:07 pm

omg.. bull..

Vince killed Josh for years with that switch..

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
8:07 pm

First foul on Al Horford… uh oh.

The Magic are not even really running the offense through Howard right now. They are taking more of the Milwaukee approach of setting perimeter screens until they get a favorable matchup.