When the Hawks played at New York on Nov. 27, the Knicks had 88 offensive possessions. According to L.D., New York ran 60 pick-and-rolls.
I don’t have to tell my blog people the Hawks, among the worst teams in the league at defending the play, can expect more of the same tonight from New York’s Raymond Felton-Amar’e two-man game.
“When we stick with our principles and our proper techniques in defending it and we are all on the same page, we seem to do a pretty good job,” Drew said. “But the minute there is a breakdown with just one guy it is like a chain reaction.”
As you might expect for one of the league’s best offensive teams, the Knicks rate highly on the metrics you expect to be associated with pick-and-rolls.
“The key with defending their pick-and-roll is going to be our ability to get up on the ball,” L.D. said. “In all of our coverages involving the pick-and-roll, the guard has to be able to get up on the ball knowing that he’s going to get hit, he’s going to be late getting to Felton coming off [screen]. It is kind of a double-edged sword. We have got to be able to do a good job containing Felton after the screen but at the same time we have to do not a good job, but a great job, affecting Amare’s roll to the basket.
“The last time we played them I thought we did an above-average job in defending them. They surround them with shooters; if we are tardy getting back to Felton, if we are tardy getting back to Amar’e on the roll, it forces the other guys on the perimeter to collapse and have to help. That’s what gets you because they’ve got Galinari spotting up, Chandler [Note: He's out tonight with a calf injury] spotting up. Fields can make a three, Douglas can come in and make a three.”
Marvin is in the starting lineup. L.D. said he wants to quickly get him back up to speed.
“I am pretty much going to let him loose,” Drew said. “He is going to have to give me the fist when he gets winded. I know his wind is not where it was before he got hurt but he is going to have to get back in a rhythm. With his size and his ability to make shots, I just thought it would be more of a benefit for us.
The more he plays, the more he will get back into a rhythm. Hopefully like tonight with his matchup he can kind of get into a rhythm. As we move closer to the All-Star break, I am going to need him.”
Bibby is in the lineup after getting banged on his left hand by Keyon Dooling Wednesday at Milwaukee.
“I’ve always had strong bones since I was a kid, so that’s a good thing,” he said.
“He will probably get it whacked again,” L.D. said. “That is always the case when you have those kind of injuries.”
Damien Wilkins is obviously pleased to stick with the Hawks. He got the call late last night and said he was nervous to answer the phone when his agent’s name popped up on his caller I.D.
“It takes a lot of pressure off of me,” he said. “I can sleep better now.”
He had an interesting answer when I asked him if he was happy to stick around not just because of his his affection for the Hawks, but also because he thinks this team can make a serious run:
It’s up to us how well we focus and how consistent and focused we can be. Even from watching from afar and paying attention to this team since it was in my backyard, you always felt like this team could do some things if they really just locked in and focused on the task at hand. When we do those things and we go out and we play hard and play with a focused mentality and we play confident and believe in each other and execute on both ends of the floor, then we are a tough team to beat. But when we come in and play like we think we are better than we are, that’s when complacency seeps in. And then we lose like we did ti New Orleans, a game that humbles you and a game like Milwaukee that humbles you. That shows you are not as good as you think you are and there’s a lot of work ahead. You can’t take any teams lightly or for granted.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat