Orlando–Twin is starting at center.
Say what you want about his effectiveness but L.D. has stuck to his pledge of using Collins so Al can play more at power forward. Assuming he doesn’t hack Dwight every other play and foul out in five minutes, after this game Twin probably will have played more minutes this season than he did all of last year.
Basically Collins gets the call tonight so Al doesn’t have to tangle with Dwight.
“What has been good to us thus far when we play the Magic is using him at the four,” L.D. said. “That frees him up to not have to wrestle with a center that is bigger than him and much stronger than him.”
Al will get to work against Rashard Lewis. Advantage: Al. Of course, Stan Van Gundy won’t let Rashard get abused for too long before he loads up against Al.
Atlanta’s offense stagnated when the Heat did that after Al took it to Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony in the fourth quarter the other night.
“We have to be mentally strong so if that first option is not there, explore the second,” Drew said. “If the second is not there, explore the third. You have to do it at a pace just as hard as you seek the first option.
“I thought we wore down. Once the ball swung to the other side there was no real pace or rhythm. It turned into more one-on-one than anything. Which that has always kind of been one thing that has gotten us in trouble because now people stand around and watch the guy try to get his own shot.”
No Joe, still good
Van Gundy on the Joe-less Hawks winning twice and competing against the Heat:
“They’ve got good players. Al Horford is an All-Star. Josh Smith is either an All-Star or very, very close. Crawford is probably the probably best offensive sixth man. They play a little different without Joe Johnson. They miss his scoring but the ball moves a little more. They are not as much an isolation team without him. They are still very formidable. We have been able to play pretty well with people down. I think a lot of the better teams have been able to play well with people down.”