Atlanta Hawks: Cheating nature

Before Game 1 a hack asked Stan Van Gundy if he were concerned that, other than Dwight, the Magic don’t have anyone who gets to free-throw line very much.

First Van Gundy pointed out that the Hawks “don’t really have anybody that gets to the line a lot.” Then he said the “bottom line is we get to the line a lot as a team” because of Dwight. (Notice how pretty much every single thing the Magic do well is either directly or indirectly related to Dwight?)

As for the other Magic players, Van Gundy said they’ve never gotten to the line throughout their careers so why expect them to do it now? “If you want to do that then I guess you get different guys,” he said.

That brings us to what they Hawks say is their checklist for Game 3:

1. Attack the basket.

2. Run often and efficiently to get the crowd into it and tire our Dwight.

3. Keep the Magic off the glass.

4. Move the ball to keep the offense flowing and the defense shifting.

Looking at that list, No. 4 is the only thing the Hawks have been consistently good at for long stretches of the season. They haven’t done any of the other three well because they don’t have many players who are good at those things.

As Van Gundy says: If you want that, then get different guys. The Hawks are who they are.

Not that they don’t have their moments.

In Game 1 the Hawks got to the line, scored in the mid range if not at the basket and were pretty good on the boards considering Orlando ranks fourth in rebounding margin (mostly because of . . . well, you know). The Hawks also ran the break OK in Game 1–11 points on 11 plays, according to Synergy Sports Technology. That’s just about at their season averages of 11.6 plays per game and 1.16 points per possession.

Then the Magic adjusted their tactics, turned up their tenacity and the Hawks’ offense reverted back to the Hawks Offense: jump shots without much of a Plan B. The Hawks didn’t get to the line and were pummeled on the boards. They also ran less and were worse when they did (four points on six chances).

Can the Hawks overcome their nature and check off more than one or two items on their list for Game 3? L.D. thinks they are better running at home, and I can buy that. If Al plays more than 27 minutes that should help with the rebounding (and their jump-shot efficiency if he gets his touches).

Marking off the rest of that list will mean the Hawks have to be good at some things they usually aren’t.

The Hawks, for instance, favor jump shots even when the three-time DPOY isn’t waiting in the paint.

“We have just got to get back to attacking the basket and not just settling for jump shots,” Drew said, hopeful that the Game 1 tactic can become a habit and not stand as an aberration.

L.D.’s message to players after practice was “swing and attack” when the Magic send double teams. That’s mostly on J.J., who by now recognizes when and where the pressure will come from. He either needs to make a quick move before the doubles arrive or, as he says, “accept the double teams” and quickly reverse the ball.

“We have got a lot of misdirection stuff,” J.J. said. “At the same time [Dwight] is so athletic and big he is able to guard a lot of ground. We understand that and we have just got to try to make it difficult for him.”

The Hawks have the athletes to run. They have to rebound to do it. It’s one thing for Dwight or even Ryan Anderson to get boards, another for the Hawks to let Jameer and J-Rich overcome their nature and combine for 14 in Game 2. Maybe the Hawks are right when they say they didn’t block out at all and can rebound better by simply doing so.

“It’s got to be a team effort because it isn’t just Dwight,” Twin said. “They are sending everybody. Sometimes it is even Jameer getting offensive rebounds. They are sending everybody to the glass. That is great for us because as soon as we get that ball their transition defense won’t be set. We will have more opportunities to get out on the break but starts with securing the rebound.”

And doing that means the Hawks have to find a way to overcome their nature.

Fans and Philips

More from the Hawks on this topic . . .

“There are times when fans cheer for the other team and it feels more like a road game,” L.D. said. “Maybe that has something to do with [the home struggles], I don’t know. Maybe our guys don’t respond to those things very well. I am hoping that is not the case. I am hoping we are farther along in our maturity.”

“I think, in all honesty, some of the guys feel like we have reached that point where we are a good team but we are still not getting that support that we need,” Al said. “And I can understand that can be frustrating but I know there are some loyal Hawks fans who come out and support us. Now we have an opportunity to make something special happen here and we need them to come out Friday night.”

“It’s kind of hard to get ourselves revved up [for small crowds],” Smoove said. “But we are all professional athletes. We know what we need to do to win games. We understand this is a popular city and very alive. It’s kind of like Hollywood in a sense because people like to get to the games a little late. But that’s OK; as long as they come. Nothing we’ve faced this year is any different than in the past.”

Injury report

Al was able to run at practice Thursday. He will wear kneepads in Game 3: “I’ve going to have to bring out the Pat Ewings. I don’t want to. That’s not my look but I’ve got to do it.” Al also took a look at the Game 2 tape and decided that maybe L.D. should let him play with two fouls in the second quarter after all.

Smoove said the shoulder is still sore. His sleeping habits aren’t helping: “I’m a wild sleeper and I might wake up on my left side. I have got to not put a lot of pressure on it.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

106 comments Add your comment

doc

April 22nd, 2011
8:10 am

here it is, will it be uno?

TC

April 22nd, 2011
8:12 am

Michael,

Here is my checklist, a little similar to yours:

1. ATTACK THE FREAKIN RIM!!!!!!

Thats all I have….. :)

hawks_4_life

April 22nd, 2011
8:19 am

Just win baby!!

doc

April 22nd, 2011
8:20 am

yes, as a studied blogger i saw the opportunity fate had given me and gave it everything i had; skip the read and go for it.

fans pay their money to see effort as well as wins. this year the hawks delivered less of it and the fans went the other way, the fans will be there especially if the effort is there. al gets it some dont including their head coach. all he has to say is if we give effort they will be there and that is problem number five on your list mc which should be number one, bring intensity. do that and the other four will fall into place including fan frenzy.

i am looking forward to being there tonight.

LETS GO HAWKS

April 22nd, 2011
8:23 am

LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!!!!

True Hawks Fan

April 22nd, 2011
8:25 am

Thats right Al, we only want REAL Hawks fans there tonight. We’ll be there EARLY, and we will be LOUD!!! We are better than this Magic team. WE ARE BETTER!

JoJo the Godfather

April 22nd, 2011
8:31 am

After last year’s playoffs and all the beatdowns at home this year, these players, coaches & ownership expect the fans to just forget, pay $$$, show up, and cheer like it never happened. I hope it happens. We’ll see.

AtWork

April 22nd, 2011
8:35 am

I hope when whoevers shot goes cold that LD will throw in JT. Let him go hard to the rim and maybe get a foul on Dwight. I like the idea of attacking the rim and dwight because twin has been getting one fould atleast on him and if we add a fast pg slahing in the paint…who knows. Then it starts to sound like basketball to me.

I’ll be there tonight only cheering for the HOME TEAM…GO HAWKS!

aytunstopable

April 22nd, 2011
9:06 am

I really wish i lived in atlanta and had the income to be able to go hawks games. ahhh. anyway its playoff time in atl haha.

aytunstopable

April 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

JoJo do i need to point out how many team markets that are smaller than Atlanta actually have better home attendance and their team isn’t even half as good as atlanta. What we ranked 22nd or lower in attendance so that means there was atleast six, by my estimate, other teams with worse records than atlanta but their people show up.

Geemack

April 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

MC

You said something that was key in this article….”the Hawks, favor jump shots”.

I don’t think shooting jump shots are part of the Hawks nature, but it something they settle for.

The 4 items on your list are the things they should be able to do consistently with their talent and athletic ability, but the problem is they haven’t had a staff that’s demanded it. Therefore they take the easy way out…settling for jump shots.

Great article.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

You can’t expect consistent fan support throughout the season when you get embarrassed at home on a regular basis like what happened this year. It’s a chicken and egg thing — maybe lack of support or large cheering sections for the away team causes them to play poorly, but poor play causes people to abandon hope in this team.

Anyway, it’s the playoffs and the regular season is a thing of the past. This game is sold out. I’ll be there. Looks like we have done our part. Time for you to do yours, Hawks.

Sherman to the Sea

April 22nd, 2011
9:13 am

Joe has to recognize the double team early before they box him in and get the ball to the open man. It seems he repeatedly makes the same slow move to allow the double team to take place. PASS the ball quickly please.

Hawks Fan

April 22nd, 2011
9:19 am

I WILL BE THERE!!! LOUD AND READY!! I’M A SEASON TICKET HOLDER WHO HAS DRIVEN 2 HOURS TO GET THERE ALMOST EVERY GAME THIS SEASON!!! WIN OR LOSE! MAYBE THE PEEPS WHO ACTUALLY LIVE IN ATLANTA SHOULD TRY DOING THE SAME THING…HOW DO U EXPECT THEM TO PLAY WITH ANY REAL ENTHUSIASM WHEN OVER HALF OF THE ARENA IS ALWAYS CHEERING FOR THE OTHER TEAM!
IT’S NOT THE PLAYERS THAT PISS ME OFF AT THE GAMES….ITS THE D%$! FANS!

Astro Joe

April 22nd, 2011
9:20 am

So if the Hawks run more in the next 2 games, who is more likely to get tired, Dwight or Jason/Zaza/Etan? I get the part about engaging the fans but when I think about Bass, Dwight and J-Rich, I don’t conclude that those guys will lose a lot of track meets.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 22nd, 2011
9:22 am

As far as Joe is concerned, the main tactical difference I noticed in Game 2 was that they used more Turkoglu on him and his length threw Joe off his rhythm. It’s not like they were exclusively single-covering him in Game 1 either — Joe just chose to play faster and beat the double teams in Game 1. Ultimately the Magic can do whatever they want, but it still comes down to how Joe chooses to play. If Aggressive Joe shows up, the Hawks’ offense will flow one way or another — either Joe gets his looks within 15 feet or ball movement allows someone else to get an open look in rhythm. If Passive Joe shows up, the ball movement stagnates and the Hawks offense grinds to a halt. There is no perimeter defender or combination thereof on the Magic who can force Joe to be ineffective even when he is being double teamed. Only Joe can force himself to be ineffective in this series.

doc

April 22nd, 2011
9:25 am

every away team knows that their success is to take the fans out of it. how do they do it? they jump on the home team from the beginning and take the game early and the fans are left with their hands in their lap. every away coach says it to his team and the press that that is part of the formula. if that is the formula then it would behoove the hawks to come out focused and ready to play on their own to keep the fans in it if it means that much to them. of course ad capt jj says ……

they cant have it both ways. sorry they cant. there will be a pro hawk crowd there tonight so it would do them well to keep the fans in it from the start rather than wait to play until the third or fourth quarter which they are prone to do.

Rev in Tampa

April 22nd, 2011
9:26 am

If the hawks step it up at home this might be the best of all possible outcomes. Drew coached so badly in game 2 that he still might be fired if the hawks make it past the magic.

Marcus

April 22nd, 2011
9:41 am

‘poop,

One other thing I seem to recall is that Jameer Nelson picked up J. Crawford after he started off in the 2nd quarter. I don’t remember if Jameer was getting a short rest when JC1 got hot or if he was checking somebody else and then switched assignments. I did notice that JC1s “heat check” (kudos to ‘nique) started to fizzle a tad when Jameer got on ‘em. The free pass to the lane wasn’t as evident, then they started their run on our early 10 pt. bulge.

Marcus

April 22nd, 2011
9:48 am

Agree with you on JJ: Game 1 he was lookin’ like ‘the One’ in Matrix when the double-team came.. shaking off defenders, quick and crisp prescient passes to open teammates. Game 2 double-teams: Deer in headlights, looking more like just plain ol’ Neo.

Astro Joe

April 22nd, 2011
9:50 am

Pay attention to the player who comes to double Joe. If, as an example, Jameer is doubling Joe, then we should see the PG move into position to receive a pass. All too often, the Hawk who is open to receive a pass doesn’t move and simply expects Joe to find him through the double team. Considering all of the lessons about moving without the ball, many of the players still seem to believe that simply standing in an open spot is sufficient. You’ll be hard pressed to see the league’s better offenses respond to double teams by staying glued tot he floor. You have to create the angles to receive a pass and not assume that a teammate can deliver the ball through 4 waving arms. Joe sometimes seems to invite a double team in hopes of “freeing a teammate” only yot see that possession result in a turnover. Joe needs to recognize that as logical as it is that a double team could potentially result in an easier shot attempt for his teammate, if his teammates aren’t executing (and hasn’t that been a theme throughout the past few years) then he need not make that invitation and needs to move the ball earlier. Ultimately, it is a team-wide problem and not one that rests solely with the guy being doubled. If a QB can’t find an open receiver during an all-out blitz, it is likely both the QB AND the receivers fault (receivers can’t run 40 yards down field during an all-out blitz).

I thought I saw Dwight come over a double in Game 2, which really presents a problem because Collins simply can’t move fast enough to help Joe. As far as I’m concerned, if Dwight is going to avergae around 38 points in this series, then exactly what value is Collins bringing to the table… stopping him from averaging 50?

Terrell

April 22nd, 2011
10:15 am

doc

I don’t think you get it. The thing with Atlanta is that we have had some good seasons but still rank low in home attendance. The Knicks have not been really good for awhile but they still draw crowds bigger than most winning teams. I get what you’re saying about winning and the crowds will come. The problem is there are too many fair weathered fans in Atlanata as opposed to Boston, New York, LA. If your support is soley based on how they play then that’s what we call fair weathered

Crazy Fan

April 22nd, 2011
10:21 am

Oh yea kia section 118 will certainly be there to make some noise for the hawks. We def have to drown out the magic fans and their MVP chants. Smh

doc

April 22nd, 2011
10:33 am

no terrell i get itgrew up in atlanta and have watched the displaced people take over. i have also watched in person the last three years as a ticket season holder and regular goer before that that even the lesser crowds have disappeared into the minimal crowd. if it isnt any more fair weather than it is now then when will it come? the craowds are as bad as they were winning 26 and they were on the rise for a while.

the last three years have been good but apathy picks up in this team because of their uneven play, lack of concern for fans and very foolish ownership that thinks the same way as the players do and call it entertainment rather than competition we are seeing and we ought to come and buy. i heard it said so on the radio by gearon,jr. that is what they are selling and folks arent buying into it. even then if it is entertainment then i want the cast of characters to bring their best every night and not drop any lines or sing off tune. do you get it?

tjhook

April 22nd, 2011
10:41 am

Atlanta was a team that went to the hoop under Mike Woodson. Bibby and Crawford made the offense more comfortable with the perimeter. That is why I wanted Childress to come back and not Marvin Williams; we needed more balance on offense. So the team HAS NOT always been this shot-happy team.

drmaryb (*_-)

April 22nd, 2011
10:45 am

Avoidance!

When the Hawks do decide to go hard to the basket, it always seem to me as if they come from the wings and never in the middle.
Are they trying to avoid contact, because they’re inherently soft?
All this does is give the defender a favorable angle to block their shot.
Are they tyring to bank the shot or lay it up?

Notice how LeBron always come down the MIDDLE and attack the teeth of the defense, that also gives the referees a clear view of the contact foul.
There is an art to drawing fouls and the Hawks have no artist.

Conversely, Jamal compromises his 3pers from going in by trying to make an off balanced 3, rather than getting a good balanced shot.
Fortunately, he has a knack (ala Reggie Miller) for drawing perimeter fouls. But like SVG said, “maybe we need different players.”

There has to be some key roster changes to get the right type of players in here. The Pistons castaways should have been Sund’s target for getting those gritty, dirty, bulldogs in here:

Ben Wallace
Rip Hamilton
Tayshaun Prince

Najeh already said that, and I concur wholeheartedly.
Joe needs to impose his will onto the Magic defense, be stubborn when it matters.

drmaryb (*_-)

April 22nd, 2011
10:58 am

Too Bad – So Sad!

Too Bad – So Sad we don’t have Carl Landry or Kendrick Perkins on our team. No one wants to play in the middle and harass anyone that’s bigger than them.

Both these players were apparently had-able in recent past.
Win or lose, far or short in these play offs? I am ready for some better players. These guys on our team play soft and dumb.

Slimjr

April 22nd, 2011
10:59 am

Real simple if iso and JC1 shots dont fall, game set and match…………

The bigs aren’t the one Neo…………..

Grandad

April 22nd, 2011
11:22 am

Mike is back – *[from the last blog]*

Thanks for the response.
I’ll see if I can do better.

” It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
- John Wooden -

Geemack

April 22nd, 2011
11:27 am

Terrell

Boston, New York & LA have all won championship in their current cities.

The fan in Atlanta are tired of seeing a team rebuild after they can’t get passed the 2nd round.

They are tired of horrible draft choices depriving the town of a superstar (CP3).

LA understands they need superstar to draw they crowds in LA. Atlanta has shown when there is a superstar they will come out and support the team.

Buddy Grizzard

April 22nd, 2011
11:34 am

Let’s go Las Vegas Larry Lame Duck… Big minutes for Powell and Armstrong… Don’t play an actual legitimate NBA player like Teague! wouldn’t what to win you reelection!

Buddy Grizzard

April 22nd, 2011
11:36 am

niremetal

April 22nd, 2011
11:36 am

The Hawks finished top 5 in the NBA in fast break points per game the two seasons before this one, so really there is no reason we can’t go back to that from a personnel perspective…

Worldwide Clyde

April 22nd, 2011
11:43 am

Section 303

April 22nd, 2011
11:43 am

I cannot wait for tonight’s game. This is the most excited I’ve been for a game since the Game 6 against Boston, in ‘08. 8:00PM cannot get here fast enough!

I know the guys were asked about the crowd, that’s why they’re talking about it. However, Al was the only one that acknowledged that there are loyal Hawks fans that attend most games (like myself and a few others on here). Just a tip for them…maybe a better answer to the crowd/fan questions at Philips is “The fans we have are great.” Give props to the people who buy the tickets, arrange their schedules to come to games. Don’t focus on people who don’t. Those people will show up for games, if you start winning all the time and playing with effort every night.

That being said…I’m expecting a rockin’ crowd tonight. Can’t wait!

Worldwide Clyde

April 22nd, 2011
11:43 am

If the Hawks don’t win this game they are in trouble.

Section 303

April 22nd, 2011
11:44 am

By the way, Michael, nice write up!

Worldwide Clyde

April 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

Keys to winning the game tonight:

1. Keep Marvin and Powell on the bench
2. Play Teague 10-15 min
3. Don’t let Jamal Crawford play point

Sleepy

April 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

Worldwide Clyde and his keys to tanking the playoffs is what that list should be called .

JeJe

April 22nd, 2011
12:00 pm

WE ARE A JUMPSHOOTING TEAM. WE LIVE AND DIE BY THE JUMPSHOTS

IF JAMAL IS ICE COLD, WE LOSE.

AL IS A SOFT PLAYER WITH NO INSIDE PRESENCE. WE WILL PROBABLY WIN THIS SERIES BECAUSE ORLANDO ISN’T THAT GOOD. WE MAY EVEN CHALLENGE CHICAGO BECAUSE THEY ARE OVERRATED (CAN BARELY BEAT INDIANA)

BUT THIS IS A FLAWED ROSTER WITH NO TRUE POINT GUARD AND NO INSIDE PRESENCE AT ALL. NO ONE HELPS OUT ON THE GLASS

FIRE LD
LOL THE PLAYERS STILL DON’T LISTEN TO THIS GUY

JUMPSHOTS ALL DAY

Worldwide Clyde

April 22nd, 2011
12:14 pm

If we win this series the Hawks are going to the Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago ain’t ready for us.

Worldwide Clyde

April 22nd, 2011
12:16 pm

JeJe the jumpshots will fall tonight. Hawks in 6.

doc

April 22nd, 2011
12:20 pm

maybe i need to write more text to keep the caps and small letters in balance eh, jeje? :-)

what’s new?

mykhalc

April 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

luv the Hawks…hate this version of ‘em!!!

JeJe

April 22nd, 2011
12:31 pm

I am not scared of CHI at all. They barely beat Indy and D.Rose’s numbers are down. Also, they don’t have much offense on their team.

However, all you have to do to beat the Hawks is clog the lane, since this team SCORES NO EASY BASKETS. Every shot we take is a 17 footer or some wild rainbow shot over Dwight that hits the shot clock

SteveW

April 22nd, 2011
12:32 pm

Tire Dwight out? Can you say Jeff Teague?

But of course, that will never happen. And it will be the Jamal show. And at some point, he unfortunately will start missing shots.

And not much good will happen after that.

LD, shock the world and bring in JT in the 1st and 3rd quarters. And Dwight will either be removed from the game, or get tired in all probability.

LD vs. SVG = Frank Bruno vs. Ray Mercer – not a very good matchup on either side.

mykhalc

April 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

INDY and CHI would wipe the Hawks off the floor!!!

Section 303

April 22nd, 2011
12:36 pm

mykhalc, step back from the ledge. Slowly….slowly…..good…..big game tonight. Try to enjoy.

Sherewshevsky

April 22nd, 2011
12:38 pm

Josh, I love knowing your personal habits.

SteveW

April 22nd, 2011
12:38 pm

I do feel bad for Indy. They have played Chicago great really, and are 0-3 to show for it.

I hope they don’t lay down and die. It would be nice if they could steal one at Indy and Chitown.

And the Heat haven’t looked that much better than the Sixers really either. The Heat are one injury away from being a mediocre team.

The Griz on the other hand lose Rudy Gay, and keep on trucking. If they re-sign Marc Gasol, they are going to be a dangerous team for a few years.