The Hawks remember the sting from getting demolished by the Magic last may. Did they learn anything about how to play the Magic, though?
“Last year is over with,” L.D. said before the game. “This is a new year. We have to bring a new attitude and the way we approach the game. We will do some things a little differently than we did last year playing against Orlando. Will they work? I don’t know. But I do know we are going to try to take out some of the predictability of the things we have done in the past.”
L.D. mentioned the “pick your poison” aspect of playing the Magic. Dwight is the “1″ and the shooters the “4″ in their famed 4-out, 1-in offense. It sounds like L.D. picks playing Dwight more straight up rather than leaving those shooters.
But like with L.D.’s desire to make the Hawks an overall gritty defensive team, it’s not clear he has the personnel to match his desires. Hawks brass seemed to know it, too, thus the summer pursuit of Shaq and Brad Miller instead of plugging other glaring holes on the roster.
If the goal was to match up with the Magic, the Hawks don’t t appear much better suited to do that then they did in May.
Al is a smart, quick, defender in the post but he’s giving up significant size to Dwight. Zaza, Twin and Etan will give it a try. And of course even if those four can control Dwight the Hawks still have to guard the perimeter, where they have more personnel issues.
But that’s the group L.D. has to work with so he will try some new tricks to avoid having to pick a poison.
“The head of the snake is that 3-point line,” he said. “What we want to do is try to avoid as many open looks for them. Dwight is still a priority, but going into a game playing Orlando you have to be concerned about the 3-point line because they led the league in 3-point shooting. We know what the priorities are. It really comes down to us.”
Stretching the four
One of the “4″ in Orlando’s 4-out is Rashard Lewis, one of those stretch fours all teams with good centers covet. The Magic also have Ryan Anderson in reserve.
L.D. on the challenge Josh faces defending stretch fours Lewis:
“Some fours that are going to be primarily around the basket, some will be midrange, but this guy is out to three. In transiton, it is instinctive for fours to run out to the paint and then fan out and get their guys. But when you play a guy like Rashard that can stretch a defense in transition you have to find him immediately.
“That is a big test for Smoove because he is just not used to it. He has to be focused on every trip down the floor and where to find him if he doesn’t he is going to be lacing it up.”
L.D. said the Hawks can post up Josh against Rashard but . . .
“When we have done that in the past, Dwight is always lurking somewhere around so we have to be good with our decision-making,” he said. “Just because we post you, which we think is an advantage, you still have to make the smart play. It’s not forcing the shot, it is not doing anything out of your character. If the double team does come you accept the double team and you pass out.”
Teague is out. He is aiming to return Thursday vs. the Heat.
Pape Sy (back) said he still doesn’t know when he will be able to practice for the first time.
“It’s sore,” he said. “It’s getting better.”
L.D. said he’s not sure how many minutes Josh Powell (groin) can go.