Atlanta Hawks at Magic Game 1: Why will it be any different this time?

Orlando–That’s the question, isn’t it?

Unless you believe lots of Twin vs. Dwight is going to make up for 101 points of beat down. . . or Orlando vs. Atlanta without VC, Rashard and Gortat is that much worse than Orlando vs. Atlanta with J-Rich and Arenas . . . or L.D. is going to get something out of these players that Woody couldn’t . . . then there has to be something else to explain how the Hawks can win this series.

I’ve said I think the problem with the Hawks isn’t that they are good enough but just aren’t utilized properly or give in too easily, but rather they give in because they realize they are just not good enough. But I could be wrong about that. Maybe “something else” for the Hawks has nothing to do with match ups or lineups or shot selection or L.D.

Perhaps that’s why Hawks coaches included a couple appeals to players’ character among the usual keys on the pregame board:

“Good or bad, go to the next play.”

“Show no weakness or frustration.”

So I asked the Hawks: After what the Magic did to them last spring, why do they believe this series is going to be any different?

  • “The biggest lesson is experience,” J.J. said. “We went through that the previous two years. We definitely know what to expect in this first-round series.”
  • “I’m not really giving excuses, but there were a lot of guys not healthy last year,” Josh said. “There are no excuses this year. Guys have got to go out there and match their physicality. I think for those four games they controlled the whole game. They were may more physical than us, and it showed. We have got to be able to come out in this series and show these guys we are ready to play.”
  • “Our first game down there in the regular season we went there with the mindset, ‘Let’s close the book on last year,’” Twin said.
  • “I think we erased that during the regular season,” L.D. said. “With the playoffs being here now, I think our guys have responded to how they played last year vs. Orlando. I think they feel that they are a very capable ball club. Regardless of what happens tonight I don’t think it is going to shatter or waiver our confidence. I think our guys have gotten over the hump as far as what happened to us last year.”
  • “It’s a different year,” Zaza said. “They have got different players. We made some changes. Last year is history; this year is what we are dealing with. We are controlling ‘right now.’ We can’t do anything about last year.”
  • “It’s completely different,” Al said. “It’s a new year. We are playing a new lineup against them this season and that’s why we feel so confident going into the series.”
  • “I don’t even remember what happened last year,” Jamal said. “It’s a totally different year, a totally different team.”

Notes

  • Pape Sy, Magnum Rolle and Hilton Armstrong are inactive.
  • The word from Orlando media types is Dwight is irritated by the “Twin as Dwight stopper” storyline. “It is what it is,” Dwight said. “None of these people who write these articles are out there playing. They don’t know. We are the ones playing.”
  • Twin, meanwhile, says he’s been kind of amused by the sudden interest in what he has to say: “I haven’t seen this much attention since I was playing in the Finals.”
  • The tenor of the stories about Twin suggest that people are amazed that he can have any success against Dwight but he notes that he does have a track record: “I’ve had a lot of experience guarding Shaq, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, going up against great post players in the playoffs. This is just another name on the list.”
  • L.D. admits that the notion of defending Dwight straight-up probably isn’t sustainable over a seven-game series. “I think it’s important that you do give this team different looks in how you are going to defend Dwight, how you are going to defend any other actions you have to defend. No one can defend Dwight head’s up through a seven-game series. He’s just too big and too strong. I think overall your team concepts, you have to mix them up.”
  • Judging by L.D.’s comments over the last couple days, Jamal, Zaza and Marvin are the only bench guys who definitely are part of the rotation. The other bigs are available for Dwight if necessary. As for Teague, Drew said: “We will see how it goes. I hope I can get him in there because he did a good job in the last few games.”
  • Teague, comparing this year to last year’s playoffs: “There’s a possibility I actually might get in the game this year. Other than that, [I] just prepare for it like any other game.”
  • Joe on if playing less minutes and coasting over the final four games will benefit the Hawks: “That’s the plan. Hopefully it does. Regardless of that, I am ready to play. I just think it’s time that we answer the challenge. We all should be ready.”
  • J.J. Redick is active after missing the final 17 games with an abdominal injury. “We will play him like we normally would off the bench,” Stan Van Gundy said. “When J-Rich goes out, he will go in. How much he plays, he is going to have to figure that out and so am I and figure out where his conditioning is at.”
  • As you might expect, the Magic don’t put much stock in the regular-season series: “It’s all different now,” Van Gundy said. “It doesn’t really matter.” Said Dwight: “The regular season is over with. It’s a new ball game.”
  • Van Gundy does acknowledge that the Twin lineup has altered things: “They have played us bigger. They’ve defended us really well. We’ve got to attack them better and different. “
  • AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz is chatting during the game.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

838 comments Add your comment

bigdave

April 16th, 2011
6:31 pm

LETS GET IT!!!!!

BE SPECIAL..

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
6:35 pm

““I’m not really giving excuses, but there were a lot of guys not healthy last year,” ”

Every time someone says they are not making excuses, they follow it up with an excuse.

I hope I’m wrong, but the unbiased part of me says Magic in 6.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
6:38 pm

While we are here, anyone got some playoff predictions for the other series?

Here are mine:
CHI over IND in 5
MIA over PHI in 6
BOS over NYK in 6
ORL over ATL in 6

CHI over ORL in 7
MIA over BOS in 5

MIA over CHI in 7

SAS over MEM in 7
LAL over NOH in 4
POR over DAL in 7
OKC over DEN in 6

OKC over SAS in 6
LAL over POR in 6

OKC over LAL in 7

Finals: OKC over MIA in 7

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
6:42 pm

I hope LD comes to his senses and plays Teague in this series — I hold out hope that he will continue doing the exact opposite of everything he says — but his track record tells me he’s going to foolishly roll with Jamal as the backup PG instead, which will probably lead directly to at least one loss in this series.

MsDee

April 16th, 2011
6:43 pm

Teague should start to throw off Orlando…With Teague & Collins starting, that would really mess up things for Orlando. I’m not asking for Teague to stay in long, esp if he is a TO machine, but create some tough DEFense on Nelson would help!! If LD thinks Kirk is a better starter due to him being a shooter and all shouldn’t matter much since he hasn’t been shooting no better than Teague anyways!!

MsDee

April 16th, 2011
6:48 pm

@Najeh, my predictions are:

CHI over IND in 5
**MIA over PHI in 7
BOS over NYK in 6
**ATL over ORL in 6

**CHI over ATL in 5
MIA over BOS in 5

**CHI over MIA in 7

**SAS over MEM in 5
LAL over NOH in 4
POR over DAL in 7
OKC over DEN in 6

OKC over SAS in 6
LAL over POR in 6

OKC over LAL in 7

Finals: OKC over CHI in 7

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
6:49 pm

Teague, comparing this year to last year’s playoffs: “There’s a possibility I actually might get in the game this year.”

Is that a shot at Woody lol…

2 FOR JOHN DREW

April 16th, 2011
6:50 pm

It will be different this year …. b/c every human being has some sense of pride and unless the Hawks live under rocks or something they’ve heard all the negative comments. Michael Wilborn called the Hawks ” dreadful ” !!!!!!!!! After last years playoff showing and the last 6 games of this season, it simply can’t get any worse. Even crabs find a way UP !! In the wordsof the great song writer, Quincy Jones, “Everything Must Change” !!!!!!!! GO HAWKS

MsDee

April 16th, 2011
6:50 pm

Correction Najeh,

Finals: CHI over OKC in 7 (CHI has home court thru-out playoffs..HUGE advantage)

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
6:52 pm

Najeh,

CHI over IND in 5
MIA over PHI in 6
BOS over NYK in 6
ATL over ORL in 7

CHI over ATL in 5
MIA over BOS in 6

CHI over MIA in 7
_________________

SAS over MEM in 6
LAL over NOH in 5
DAL over POR in 7
OKC over DEN in 6

OKC over SAS in 6
LAL over POR in 6

LAL over OKC in 7

Finals: LAL over CHI in 6

Buddy Grizzard

April 16th, 2011
6:52 pm

Hawks in 7 games… at phillips taco mac but may leave early

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
6:53 pm

* I meant LAL over DAL in 6

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
6:53 pm

And for today’s game, I think Orlando wins 90-83

Buddy Grizzard

April 16th, 2011
6:54 pm

Yeah gortat VC and healthy rashard scares me alot more than jrich and broke ass arenas

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:03 pm

And Najeh . . that’s cool. But you could say the same thing with Powell playing alongside Zaza. Why can’t Damien be the “defensive stopper” of the 2nd unit? Why does he need to be playing with other people, in order to play well?

That was part of my argument with Teague earlier in the year. In my view, if you can ball, you can play with anybody. If you have skills, your skills will shine through, regardless of who you play with. Now of course, other people can make you better, but on an individual basis, a guy like Damien shouldn’t be getting lit up by anybody, even during crunch time . . if he was as a good of a defender that people think he is.

If he was that good defensively, someone would’ve added him to their roster during the summer. Defenders are valued in the NBA.

At the end of the day though, a mediocre defender like Marvin is still one of our best defensive options on the team.

Wow @ that tornado that hit Raleigh, NC. It was a bad past 3 days when it comes to weather.

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:04 pm

That should say . . even during garbage time.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:04 pm

“At the end of the day though, a mediocre defender like Marvin is still one of our best defensive options on the team.”

The point of that post wasn’t to diss Marvin, just to demonstrate why stats don’t always tell the entire story.

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:06 pm

I think to start this game, you’re going to see a lot of aggressive offensive play from Jameer Nelson. I think he’s going to try to get going early. The Magic may even wait until Drew pulls Collins, to really use Howard offensively.

superiorblogman

April 16th, 2011
7:06 pm

Loss number 1 coming up but it will not be that bad. Simple Hawks 80 Magic 90

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:06 pm

So do you think Damien is a better defender than Marvin?

MsDee

April 16th, 2011
7:07 pm

Go Hawks!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yall deserve NO RESPECT..but now is the time to GAIN RESPECT!!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

April 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

@ Najeh
I predict MIA over CHC in ECF
LAL over OKC in WCF
& LAL over MIA in 7 – FINALS …. And David Stern happier than a pig in slop B/C of the highest TV ratings in history.

superiorblogman

April 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

I see one of the wack posters has made his way from the northcyde

Mike W

April 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

Lets Go Hawks!!,I feeling hawks come out fight like all road teams did today,but win

cp

April 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

No Nique so Im just happy I’ll be able to enjoy the game. If Nelson is torching Hinrich like he did in the last game I hope LD realizes he will need defense and go with Teague but you never know with LD

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
7:10 pm

I dont think Marvin is a mediocre defender. i think he is a solid defender for his position. Not elite, but solid (my opinion).

MsDee

April 16th, 2011
7:10 pm

@northcyde “The Magic may even wait until Drew pulls Collins, to really use Howard offensively.”

Well, not b4 Collins put Dwight in foul trouble early. The goal is to get Dwight out so Collins could go out. Not the other way around.

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:10 pm

Oh, and Grandad . . this is for you. These are the Opponent Production numbers that the SGs in the playoffs give up.

I have this sorted by eFG% ( effective FG% . . which counts a made 3 pointer as 1.5 field goals, not just 1 field goal ). When you do that, the average eFG% for most decent guards will be around 50%.

George: .427 – PER: 12.4
Stevenson: .447 – PER: 9.7
Johnson: .458 – PER: 11.6
Brewer: .459 – PER 12.7

Bryant: .464 – PER: 11.7
R. Allen: .466 – PER: 12.2
T. Allen: .471 – PER: 15.5
Richardson: .472 – PER: 13.2

Meeks: .474 – PER: 11.5
Ginobli: .475 – PER: 12.1
Sefolosha: .479 – PER: 13.2
Wade: .485 – PER: 12.8

Fields: .495 – PER: 14.6
Belinelli: .529 – PER: 13.8
Aflfalo: .521 – PER: 16.2
Matthews: .531 – PER: 15.6

J.J.M

April 16th, 2011
7:10 pm

lol horford nervous ass

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:11 pm

MsDee . . but if Orlando instructs Howard not to go all out on Collins, he’s not going to pick up any fouls. Collins can’t go at him on the defensive end, and the Hawks probably won’t drive the basketball.

Rev in Tampa

April 16th, 2011
7:12 pm

If ESPN does not turn off that reverb I am going to turn to Sunsports and listen to the Orlando announcers even though they are the most pompus idiots I’ve ever listened to.

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:12 pm

Howard went quick . . maybe that’s the adjustment.

Great pass and shot on the 1st possession for us.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:12 pm

Pick and pop to Al on the first possession. Good decisive pass by Joe.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

“So do you think Damien is a better defender than Marvin?”

I think Damien’s best defensive stretches have been better than Marvin’s. I don’t know if Damien can sustain that if given Marvin’s playing time.

bigdave

April 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

Hawks giving extra possessions.. Al you @ PF

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

That’s not to say he can’t; just to say he hasn’t had the opportunity to show that he can or can’t.

northcyde

April 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

I’m glad Hubie is doing our game. I like listening to his analysis.

4 created points by JJ already.

cp

April 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

good to see Joe hit his first shot

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

Good defensive play by Collins letting Kirk come in and slap the ball away. Hawks look confident early, at least.

Slimjr

April 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

Team that wins game 1, win 80% of 7 game series…

Orlando by 15 tonight…
Mr. Stern wants D. Howard to win this series..Look for the refs. to be subtlety bias..Orlando will get to the stripes twice as many times as Atlanta….

hawks_4_life

April 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

LETS GO HAWKS!!

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

Good to see JJ make his first shot. And it looks like one adjustment LD made is to have JJ initiate the offense, instead of Kirk.

bigdave

April 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

lol..

“i dont think i can get use to dem shoes..”

-Nique

Slimjr

April 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

Hubie will call out Josh tonight……..

Rev in Tampa

April 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

I thought howard double dribbled

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

Smoove misses his first shot inside and passes it out of the post on his second opportunity. I hope he doesn’t give up on going inside after that.

O'Brien

April 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

Collins did not need to swipe at the ball. All he had to do was stay straight up.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2011
7:16 pm

Didn’t look like much of a foul on Collins there…

2 FOR JOHN DREW

April 16th, 2011
7:16 pm

HUBIE is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

bigdave

April 16th, 2011
7:16 pm

Joe getting rid of it early when the 2nd defender comes..