Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 6: Larry Drew’s move in ‘chess match’

Hawks players have said more than once that a playoff series is like a “chess match.”

Your move, L.D.

The Hawks have had success defending Orlando’s pick-and-rolls by frequently using a funky scheme, as detailed by Brett Koremenos at hoopspeak.com. (H/T Hoopinion) The alignment didn’t work so well in Game 5, though.

It’s a strategy that has been effective in large part because Hinrich, J.J., Smoove and (sometimes) Jamal all can cover enough ground to make the switch and run out to corner shooters. Those guys also are tall enough that they can bother the shooter even if they don’t make it all the way out. It also helps that the corner defenders who pinch in to help against the ball handler are big guys.

Watching the Magic’s Game 5 pick-and-rolls on Synergy Sports Technology, I noticed that Redick and Jameer changed up. Instead of going all the way to the rim and either looking for the corner 3 (which the Hawks have covered well) or try to get to the basket (where help awaits), Redick and Jameer put on the brakes and shot step-back Js.

Twin and Zaza weren’t mobile enough to challenge those shots while also protecting against Dwight’s roll to the basket. The corner help man couldn’t get over to contest. And the ball handler’s man was trailing the play (and also had to be in position to switch and run to the corner on a kick-out).

It was a subtle change. The Magic got their offense rolling because their guards made better decisions.

“That was clear,” Stan Van Gundy said. “I did not think we forced plays and I didn’t think we got going too fast. We had very few turnovers and, for the most part, we were making simple, solid basketball plays.

“When you get into this mentality with your back to the wall, we didn’t want ‘hero plays’ where a guy is like, ‘I will just take on two guys and score over them.’ That doesn’t end up working. You want to play your game, make simple plays, take open shots and live with the result.”

So how do the Hawks counter that chess move from the Magic?

“You adjust,” L.D. said today, smiling.

Van Gundy noted there are a finite number of (realistic) ways to defend the most common play in basketball.

“There is only so many ways you can guard a pick-and-roll,” Van Gundy said. “We all will make adjustments and try to do what’s best. But it’s not like I have a way to play the pick-and-roll that Larry and his players have never seen and we are going to shock them with it tonight. And it’s not like Larry has got a way to play the pick-and-roll that is going to shock our guys, where Jameer is going to say, ‘Oh, my God I’ve never seen this before.’

“You have got to make plays.”

Notes

  • Smoove wasn’t happy about Mike Bianchi’s “Atlanta Birdbrains” column in the Orlando Sentinel. Bianchi was in the locker room today and Josh gave him some typically-candid and colorful feedback.
  • “I’m not sure how you’ve got reporters calling people idiots and dummies,” Josh said in an interview. “I don’t understand how people can challenge somebody’s intelligence when you are talking about a basketball game. Some people take it too far.”
  • L.D. on his team’s focus: “I think everybody is ready. I’ve seen this group in this situation before. In the playoffs this is the type of position you want to be in. We have an opportunity to close on our home floor. It’s not easy to close out anybody but I’d rather do it in these circumstances.”
  • Jamal: “It’s us against the world. It’s funny how before the series everybody was all about Orlando. Then we went up 3-1 and it went back to us, and now it’s back the other way. They are fighting a hungry team.”
  • The Magic sent more doubles at Jamal in Game 5. “I watched a lot of tape and I will adjust,” he said. “I’m excited. I see how I can take advantage of different things and get myself going and get my teammates involved and come out with a victory.”
  • L.D. though the Hawks played too fast in Game 5. He’s OK with them pushing the pace at home: “We definitely want to get the crowd involved with the pace. We want to get up-and-down and use our athleticism. But we’ve got to be smart about it and not get caught up in a jump-shooting fest with that team.”
  • Al on his sagging shooting (19 of 49) since Game 1: “They’ve done a great job defending. This is a game that I’m coming in with the same approach. I’m just going to make sure I get myself going.”
  • J-Rich is expected to play after cutting his foot in some glass on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s OK,” Van Gundy said. “We didn’t have him go through the walk-through [today] because we didn’t want to risk him opening up the stitches.”
  • Van Gundy on the Magic’s shooting in Game 5: “I was only half-joking when I said a lot of this game comes down to making shots or missing shots.”
  • Magic CEO Bob Vander Weider told the Orlando Sentinel that he and team owner Rich DeVos are happy with Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith.
  • “I can laughingly say that votes of confidence are the kiss of death,” Van Gundy said today. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But knowing Bob and taking him at face value after working in the organization, you are always happy when your bosses are happy with you. But that’s not where my head is at. I just want to win the series.”
  • The Magic won’t necessarily go back to a Dwight-centric offense after they had success scoring other ways. “We found an offensive attack that was working,” Van Gundy said. “It’s not about who scores. We had our best offensive game of the year.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

793 comments Add your comment

tremaine

April 28th, 2011
9:31 pm

Thank you Mike Bianchi!

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:31 pm

Yes! Jamal, I’ll shut the fu*k up as from today if we win this one!

But you better play some D on redick…

(I couldn’t help myself…)

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:32 pm

tremaine,

Hold on… Hold on…

Rev in Tampa

April 28th, 2011
9:32 pm

LOL at Magic commentators. They were saying that the Hawks starters have been on the floor since the second half started and were looking tired. But then the Hawks drained the 3’s.

SteveW

April 28th, 2011
9:33 pm

Hey, we may win this thing!

Rod from College Park

April 28th, 2011
9:33 pm

Jamal is an assassin

GT Alum

April 28th, 2011
9:33 pm

Lions take Fairley. They’re piling up some talent in Motown.

Rev in Tampa

April 28th, 2011
9:33 pm

I loved the Iso-Marvin post.

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

Horrible shot by JJ…

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

omg stop with the iso please

mykhalc

April 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

lemme know when it’s safe…

Rev in Tampa

April 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

THat was a well-defended 3 that turk hit

Luke Cage

April 28th, 2011
9:34 pm

Cmon Hawks, end this

Luke Cage

April 28th, 2011
9:35 pm

LOL, joe said not me lol

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:35 pm

howard gets away with lots of moving screens

Melvin

April 28th, 2011
9:35 pm

This is the Joe I like to see….

tremaine

April 28th, 2011
9:36 pm

Thank you Mike Bianchi!!

Art Vandelay

April 28th, 2011
9:36 pm

I seriously just screamed “DON’T LAUNCH IT” right before Joe did, and then auto got up and fist pumped when it went in lol

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:37 pm

Where’s the D? The minute we got up by more than 10 we relax and start to get beaten on the picks…

F*ck! F*ck! F*ck!

bigdave

April 28th, 2011
9:38 pm

Joe answering the bell.. keep knocking down the big shots Jigga..

tremaine

April 28th, 2011
9:38 pm

Art Vandelay

April 28th, 2011
9:36 pm
I seriously just screamed “DON’T LAUNCH IT” right before Joe did, and then auto got up and fist pumped when it went in lol

Lol he had to shoot that one. It was like 4 secs on the clock.

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:39 pm

lol we will never box out howard

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:39 pm

LD will lose us this game

GT Alum

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

And that’s why you don’t run Iso-Marvin.

Melvin

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

Get a rebound…

steven

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

can i get a rebound please

bigdave

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

fight him Al … get position!

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

marvin stripped again

Art Vandelay

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

@tremaine

I know I know, I just hate him/them for getting themselves in that situation :P

Let’s not blow this. GO HAWKS

Rev in Tampa

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

Not liking that Iso Marvin

Melvin

April 28th, 2011
9:40 pm

Good mins for Marvin tonight…

vava74

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

Get Hinrich on the floor!

Melvin

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

Its time to put Kirk back in the game…

Luke Cage

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

At least put a body on the guy at least, sometimes???

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

magic running the same play over and over

bigdave

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

Al nowhere to be found when Dwight touches the rock..

tremaine

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

Man if Dwight would have dunk that on Za and Josh. Oh my goodness.

Rev in Tampa

April 28th, 2011
9:41 pm

Josh blocked that shot cleanly but zaza with the foul

bigdave

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

Dwight blew a kiss to the crowd

SteveW

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

Please don’t blow this game!

And props to Marvin – way to go!

steven

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

we’ve gone cold

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

bigdave

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

why are we leaving shooters? smh.

tremaine

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

Iso is going to kill us. Joe trying to play hero.

Section 212

April 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

need to come back with Marvin

You Aint Ordinary Bruh

April 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

Sautee

April 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

Joe ignores a wide open Horford to be a hero….fail.

O'Brien

April 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

Hawks picked the wrong game to go on one of their traditional 4th quarter scoring droughts…

We need a bucket right here. Watch the Hawks come out and take a jumper

Melvin

April 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

Not sharing the ball on offense.

steven

April 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

why do we have no killer instinct..