Archive for April, 2011

Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 4: Jamal Crawford, by the way, is balling

We interrupt the talk about fights and flops with the news that Jamal is having a good series.

Jamal was known as a good scorer/volume shooter on bad teams when he came to Atlanta. He shed that image with the most efficient season of his career while playing on a good team. Jamal also was the only guy to show up in the playoffs against Orlando last season but hardly anyone noticed because the Hawks were taking beatdowns (good scorer, bad team again).

After Jamal’s production and efficiency fell off this season in L.D.’s egalitarian offense, hardly anyone was expecting what we’ve seen so far in this series. According to ESPN Stats, Jamal is just the seventh guy in league history to score 20 points or more as a reserve in three consecutive postseason games.

“It’s different because in the playoffs, everybody knows every play you are calling,” Jamal said. “They went over it. They have had three days to prepare. At times it comes down to making plays and creating stuff. I love the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Zaza Pachulia and Jason Richardson suspended for Game 4

The NBA suspended Hawks center Zaza Pachulia and Magic guard Jason Richardson for Game 4 of the first-round Eastern Conference playoffs series Sunday at Philips Arena.

Pachulia and Richardson were ejected in the fourth quarter of Atlanta’s 88-84 Game 3 victory at Philips Arena.

The incident started after Pachulia fouled Magic center Dwight Howard and Howard followed through with an elbow to Pachulia’s head. Pachulia screamed in anger as Richardson came over to confront him.

Pachulia headbutted Richardson twice as they stood face-to-face; Richardson retaliated by smacking Pachulia in the face. The league said the players were suspended for those actions.

“I got elbowed after the foul,” Pachulia said today before the suspensions were announced. “I was just trying to show [officials] that I got elbowed. That wasn’t right. Suddenly Jason Richardson came behind me. I don’t know what he thought. He came behind me and started talking and that’s when everything …

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Atlanta Hawks: Videos: Wild finish, fight fallout and press conference

Sorry for the lack of the usual post-game writeup last night, blog people. Technical issues threw a wrench in those plans.

Here is my post-game report with CineSport’s Noah Coslov and Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Game highlights and press conference also are posted below.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 3: Magic’s 3-point threats thwarted

Ryan Anderson had some telling comments the other day regarding Orlando’s shooting struggles in Games 1 and 2. As reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel Anderson said:

“They know how to guard us,” Anderson said. “They have a great game plan coming into these games. They’re trying to eliminate aspects of our offense that we’re really used to going through. We’re not getting as many open shots. We’re not getting as many 3s. So we just need to continue to work on the glass.”

It sounds like the Magic has made a focused effort to get offensive rebounds because they realize they need all of of the possessions they can get. Atlanta, using the Dwight Defense, has managed to eliminate what’s normally the second-most efficient part of Orlando’s offense.

The Magic have launched 45 3-point attempts in the two games and made just 11. For the season they averaged 25.6 attempts and 9.4 makes overall and 21 attempts and 4.8 makes against the Hawks, both lows vs. any opponent.

I …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew still says sitting Horford was right move

L.D. slept on it and came to the same conclusion as he did after he game: Sitting his best all-around best player for the final 21:50 of the first half in an attempt to avoid foul trouble was the right move.

Asked today after practice if he had any second thoughts on the decision, Drew provided a similar explanation as last night:

“When he picked up the early two fouls it put it us in a bit of a bind. You don’t anticipate your starters picking up two early fouls like that. When he went to the bench, had we hit a bad stretch at the start of the second quarter to the middle of the second quarter, I would have put him back in. We actually had a really good stretch in the middle of second quarter. With three minutes left we hit a bump in the road and I didn’t want to jeopardize him picking up his third when we were going good.”

By the middle of the second quarter, Atlanta’s 32-22 lead was down to 34-33 because Marvin, Jamal, Hinrich and Joe all missed jumpers; Hinrich lost the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Magic 88, Hawks 82

Orlando–The Magic pounded the Hawks on the boards and outscored them 29-11 from the free-throw line. That’s how they won while shooting 34 percent from the field and committing 16 turnovers.

  • The deficit on the boards is can be chalked up to Dwight beasting and Al playing only 26 minutes because of L.D.’s two-foul rule. The disparity in free throws is a Dwight production, too, because it’s become clear that Twin (and to a lesser extent, Zaza) is the only Hawks big with any hope of preventing him from shooting 100 percent in the post.
  • Despite all of that, the Hawks had a chance to win after I thought they looked beat down and done. They suddenly came alive for a 10-0 run: Smoove’s running hook shot, Al’s baseline drive, a J and floater by Joe floater and Al’s block leading to his dunk.
  • But then Turkoglu scored on a tough driving basket over Al and Al missed a challenged iso jumper. J-Rich shook free for a 3 and Al missed a 3-point try. “I think that towards the end we …

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Atlanta Hawks at Magic Game 2: Dwight Defense and jump shots Part II?

Orlando–Some stats types are dismissive of the Hawks’ Game 1 victory because of the way Hurricane Dwight scattered them and also because of all of those long jump shots they made.

Example: Mike Prada of SBNation.

Apparently, it is possible for an NBA team to allow a player to score 46 points and be universally praised for it. Dwight Howard ran all over the Atlanta Hawks’ single-coverage, but because nobody else on his team decided to do much of anything, the Hawks came away with a Game 1 victory on the road. Howard and Jameer Nelson scored 73 points; everyone else on the Magic scored 20. Howard and Nelson shot 26-41; everyone else shot 8-34. It was a brilliant strategy by the Hawks to make sure that their horrible teammates had horrible games. Let’s praise them for it!

Snark aside, the bottom line is this. Playing Howard straight-up and taking away the three-point shooters is a strategy. Allowing Howard to score 46 points and hope his teammates shoot 8-34 is not. Luckily, the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Sticking to the plan

Orlando–I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Dwight Howard not feeling his hometown Hawks (and more notes)

Orlando–Well, so much for my theory that the Hawks could have let J.J. walk, pared down the rest of their payroll and then made a run at Dwight in 2012.

It sounds as if the Hometown Hawks aren’t good enough for Dwight. This is where I imagine my blog people, normally inclined to agree with Dwight on this matter, find your inner Hawk fandom and tell Dwight to STHU. Unless he really wants to come home and play for the Hawks, in which case, never mind.

Anyway, here are some next-day notes that didn’t make the cut for print . . .

  • Stan Van Gundy said the Hawks have identified Redick and Ryan Anderson as mismatches: “Clearly they are going to go at Ryan every time and go at J.J. virtually every time. We have got to be prepared to deal with those kind of things because those two guys help our offense and help give us a lot more space on the floor. So we need to play those guys at the offensive end and we need to find some ways to help them at the defensive end.”
  • Van Gundy and Magic …

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