Archive for May, 2010

Atlanta Hawks: Do They Still Believe?

ORLANDO–It says something about how badly the Hawks got thrashed in Game 1 that they already are taking questions about their state of mind.

Also telling: The Hawks, emboldened against their critics after rallying to beat Milwaukee, realize these already are relevant questions against Orlando.

It was just one game, but it was an embarrassment.

“Yeah, it is,” J.J. said at practice today. “But it happens. Put it behind us and move on.”

They’ll get that chance tomorrow in Game 2. Until then, there are those questions.

Do they believe they can beat the Magic in a playoff series when they hardly ever beat them anymore? Can they win at Amway Arena when they keep getting blasted there and aren’t a good road playoff team to begin with? Do they really trust that they have the people and the plan to pull this off?

“I think we can beat them,” J.J said. “We just have to be poised and take our time on both ends of the court.”

“You look at it as a fluke,” Jamal said.

But how can that be …

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Atlanta Hawks Squawks Game 1: Magic 114, Hawks 71

This is how it looked from their perspective. (AP)

This is how it looked from their perspective. (AP)

ORLANDO–The Hawks opened the East semis by suffering a historic beat down. it was their largest playoffs defeat since the team moved to Atlanta. The Atlanta Hawks lost 111-76 at Philly in ‘82 and the St. Louis Hawks lost 133-75 at Minneapolis in ‘58.

– The Magic’s 43-point victory margin was their second largest in postseason franchise history. Their largest lead of the game was 46; their largest lead during the regular season was 38 in that Jan. 9 game vs. the Hawks. They’ve won their last four home games against the Hawks by an average margin of nearly 32 points.

– Not surprisingly, the Hawks talked afterward about how this is just one game in the series. Yes, they said they can regroup. Yes, they can come up with a plan to beat Orlando.

– “Honestly, it would be harder if we lost by one point on a buzzer beater,” Jamal said. “A game like this, you shake it off and move on.”

– “It’s one loss,” Al said. “We can’t let it be a …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: On Doubling Dwight

This doesn't do anything about those 3-point shooters.

This doesn’t do anything about those 3-point shooters.

Finally got to unleash the new toy to get a survey of how the Hawks fared this season defending Dwight Howard with Al as the primary defender, with and without help.

It’s a limited analysis because it only includes those times Howard posted against Horford and attempted a shot. That means it’s missing those plays when Howard posted up other Hawks defenders, his shot attempts on other play types, and also how he influenced the offense when he got the ball but didn’t shoot or even when he had an effect without touching the ball. (Hey, the new toy is dope, but I had to cut myself off at some point.)

Well, I decided to look at one element of Howard’s offensive influence when he doesn’t take a shot: the Magic’s 3-point attempts when the Hawks double-teamed him. So I booted up all 103 of the Magic’s 3-point attempts in four games against the Hawks and looked to see how they got them. Again, this is a limited analysis of …

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Atlanta Hawks Squawks Game 7: Hawks 95, Bucks 74

They did it. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

They did it. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

– If you are still mad this series went seven games, can you at least be happy the Hawks closed it out today with no drama?

– Of course about 30 seconds after they clinched everyone wanted to ask them about Orlando. “I am ready to go lay down,” Bibby said. “I don’t even want to think about that. I am not even going to worry about basketball right now.”

– I kinda know how he feels. Looking forward to some Breaking Bad tonight. Get on that show.

– The Magic may have the Hawks’ number. They have Dwight Howard and a bunch of shooters. They have home court advantage. They have a longer history of playing good defense and an even more efficient offense than the Hawks. They were in the Finals last year. They’ve been sitting around waiting for what seems like forever.

– So naturally pretty much everyone will assume all of that means the Hawks won’t have a chance. “That’s how it goes,” Bibby said. “Somebody has to be the underdog. Why …

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Bucks at Atlanta Hawks Game 7: Here They Are Again

Some of my blog people are not in the mood to praise the Hawks even after that Game 6 triumph. I understand.

You think the Hawks shouldn’t have this much trouble with the Bogut-less Bucks. You remember the Game 3 surrender and the Game 5 collapse. You think Woody should have made defensive adjustments earlier in the series. And if the Hawks win today, some of you probably don’t want to hear about their resilience, their character, how they responded with their backs against the wall and all the other things they tend to say in these situations.

Well, like “they” say (and like I vowed I never would), it is what it is. The Hawks can win the series today.

“Every team goes through adversity at times,” Al said. “It’s all about how you handle it. Now we have a chance to make it right and win a series.”

I’ve heard rumblings that the Hawks lose in the long-term by winning today but I’ve got to think your fanhood instincts overwhelm your sourness and you cheer the Hawks on to a W. …

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