Bulls at Atlanta Hawks Game 4: Larry Drew: ‘No time to experiment with limitations’

This is what it’s like to coach the Hawks sometimes. . .

L.D. looks at his computer screen, where Smoove’s shooting percentages by distance are displayed. He holds up a shooting chart of Josh’s misses and makes.

These are the tools L.D. uses to try to convince Josh to stop taking Js.

“I’ve had talks with him: ‘You can’t take those shots. You are not making them,’” he said. “When I talk to my players and I am making a point, I back it up with numbers and facts and video.”

It’s not just Josh.

Following Game 3, the theory among Atlanta’s bigs was that their help against D-Rose’s penetration contributed to Chicago’s 18 offensive rebounds. So L.D. showed his players video cut-ups of each of those rebounds and put them into categories.

“Whether it’s Rose involved, or whether a poor block out or bad rotation, or whether they just man-for-man went after that ball more than we did,” he said.

Drew said “not blocking out” won in a landslide.

“At the end of the game, we look at the stat sheet and say, ‘Eighteen offensive rebounds, we have got to do something differently if our coverages are putting us at a disadvantage.’” Drew said. “That was not the case. This is just about man-on-man. It’s my will against his will.”

And so it goes down the list, L.D. showing the Hawks how they can be better and the players seeming to get the message only sometimes.

“You hope as a coach [you have] a team that knows their strengths and knows their limitations,” Drew said. “A player that knows strengths tries to put himself in a position where he can be successful nine times out of 10. A player who has limitations, he is going to try to stay away from it as much as he can because he knows that is going to hurt himself and hurt the team. Here we are in playoff basketball; it is no time to experiment with your limitations now.”

The Hawks shared the ball in Game 1, their best offensive game of the series. But by Game 3 it was lots of dribbling by J.J., no ball movement, no player movement, poor shot selection.

“That’s the story of the whole year,” L.D. said. “We play together and play out of double teams one game, then we come back and try to beat the double teams ourselves the next game. That’s just inconsistency. We watch film and we show where we do move the ball out of a double team. And then we have games where we try to beat the double teams ourselves. We show that day, after day, after day, after day. It’s got to click in and they’ve got to see when we move the ball, it works. And when we move the ball, we become more effective. And when we move the ball, it puts the defense in a bind.”

I told L.D. his players sometimes seem more focused on the result than the process. In other words, if they share the ball and the shots go in then they have no problem keeping it up. If they share the ball and they don’t make shots–even if they creates some good ones–then it doesn’t take long before they abandon that approach and start going one-on-one.

“It’s not going to work all the time,” Drew said. “In sharing the basketball, success should not be predicated on our makes. It should be predicated on are we getting good shots or the shot that we want or if it’s a high percentage shots. As long as we get good looks, and it’s the right person shooting it, that’s successful offense.”

What about Al?

Al’s offensive struggles have caused great anxiety among my blog people. Some of you have implored me to “find out what’s going on with Al,” as if you don’t believe what you see so there must be some hidden reason to explain his ineffectiveness.

Seriously, though, I understand the angst. You may not like it when J.J. dribbles out possessions or Josh jacks up momentum-sapping Js but at least those are expected developments. But if the most reliable scorer on the team for most of the season can’t get it done, then all hope is lost.

In the comments yesterday I said that my view was a) the pick-and-pop hasn’t been there for Al b) he’s been stymied by Chicago’s physical D, led by Noah, when he tries to go inside and c) he’s been taking too long to make decisions with the ball (it got him, too).

Today L.D. gave his view on Al’s issues:

“I don’t think it’s as much they have taken [the jump shot] away as he is rushing his shot when he gets it. Down in the low post he has got to be more of a workhorse. They are matching Noah on him and Noah is a good defender and I think that is bothering him a little bit. They are playing him more physical where he is not getting to his spots. Even Gibson is matched up against him and we are not gaining an advantage. He has got to be more of a workhorse down low, he has got to look for his shot. He’s had some good looks, particularly the last game, last game he was really just rushing his shot. There were a couple he took it looked like they didn’t have a chance. He has got to be more in-tune, more in-focus, and work into getting into his shooting spot and shooting form faster. They are a good defensive team and they get to people quicker.”

Al said after Game 3 that the Bulls have taken away the pick-and-pops and he’d like to get more post-ups. So today I asked him if he still thinks that’s the answer.

“At this point I am really going to focus more on my defense and rebounding,” he said. “If I get the post-ups that’s great but I think I have to keep impacting the team on the defense end and rebounding in order to make a difference.”

Al has had some success by quickly driving the ball when Noah runs hard at him to deny the pick-and-pop. Al said that’s one option to counter it.

“I just have to make adjustments as a player,” he said. “Whether it is giving an extra pass to my teammates or rolling instead of popping—just something different.”

‘Trust each other’

L.D. also had more to say about what Joe needs to do to get on track:

“First of all, you have got to really study film. Look and see what they are trying to take away from you. Look and see from a team defensive standpoint what they are trying to do to you. Obviously with him on the side they are crowding him and bringing an extra guy over–what we saw against Orlando, basically. They are playing him a little bit more aggressive on the ball, but as far as bringing another guy over it’s the same thing [the Magic] did with Dwight and we combated that by not just pounding the ball but swinging it quick and getting it to the other side and attack it. A lot of his attacks have to be from the middle of the floor, we will put more focus on that moving forward. But the one thing you can’t do is pound, and pound, and pound the ball and try to shoot it over double teams because you are playing into their hands. We have got to have the same trust in this series as we had in the Orlando series. We played out of double teams, we got the ball moved, we went into the second phase of our offense. We’ve got to trust in one another. We have definitely got to get the ball moved. Especially in this series because Chicago, on paper, is a better defensive team. Against a team that loads up on the first side, they are rangy, athletic, strong, you can’t hold the ball on one side and try to pound it.”

Notes

  • L.D. said he’s considering going with a “big” lineup that includes Twin or Zaza.
  • UPDATE: It’s the Twin lineup. Drew’s reasoning: “It gives us a different look. It also helps us on the glass. They had 18 offensive rebounds the last game and the fact we did have some success with that lineup vs. Orlando, our guys are familiar with it. I think it’s time for change. We’ve made the decision to go with a bigger lineup and defensively we will tweak some things.”
  • Twin will have to check Noah, who presents a different dilemma than Dwight. “It will be a challenge for him,” L.D. said. “Noah is an energy guy that moves around a lot in the paint area. But I have all the confidence in the world that Jason has the ability to keep him off the glass. Jason certainly took the challenge against Dwight, understanding that Dwight is a little more sataionary than Noah, but I’m confident Jason can get the job done.”
  • The Bulls beat writers told me Thibodeau likely will crossmatch Noah against Al and give Twin to Boozer. Maybe Twin can post him up.
  • The Hawks have changed up their coverages for D-Rose. “We made some adjustments,” Jamal said. “I am sure you guys will be able to see tonight.”
  • Jamal on Atlanta’s plan to be more physical with Rose: “That’s for everybody. It’s the playoffs. We are not getting easy baskets so they shouldn’t, either.”
  • Boozer has torn ligaments in his big toe.
  • L.D. on the delicate nature of being critical of star players during meetings: “Real pros look it in the eye and say, ‘Coach, you know what, you are right.’ They will say, ‘I have got to do this better, I have go to do that better.’ I am always open to suggestions from any of my players if there is something they would rather do. Sometimes as coaches we can make suggestions and a player says. ‘Let’s come back and try this way.’ I am good with that.”
  • Thibodeau on Teague successfully stepping in for Hinrich: “He’s a good player. He can score the ball and he’s done a good job defensively. It says a lot about him. It shows he’s stayed ready. He’s gotten his opportunity and he’s playing well.”
  • Thibodeau on the Hawks: “They are a tough team. They are hard to guard. They have a lot of weapons. We understand we have to play well but we are not changing what we do.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

917 comments Add your comment

Worldwide Clyde

May 8th, 2011
4:23 pm

JeJe

May 8th, 2011
4:29 pm

terrell

May 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

lol @ LD and Josh. Whatever. Want to know how to stop him from taking jumpers. TAKE HIS AZZ OUT OF THE GAME. That’s how!

JeJe

May 8th, 2011
4:30 pm

The Mavs are playing against the Lakers now like most road teams play at Philips

lea

May 8th, 2011
4:31 pm

Michael I hope he took the time out to show AL his shooting chart, at least when Smoove isn’t shooting well he does other things on the court. AL is NOT playing well in ANY areas, but of course Larry Drew is afraid to call him out on it..

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:32 pm

like i posted, Al used to be on a glass mission…now he wants to be an offensive weapon. i HOPE he does get back to doin’ what he used to do. he should NOT want more post-ups!! he is NOT good at it!!!

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:34 pm

@terrell…ain’t it brah!!! simple!!! rocket science for these dim-whits!!!

Section 303

May 8th, 2011
4:34 pm

Heading down to Philips in about 30-mins. I have no idea what to expect tonight. Could be the last Hawks game in Philips for a long time. I am expecting to lose the entire season next year to the lockout.

Here’s to Joe, Al, and Josh getting their collective heads out of their a$$es and actually performing tonight.

Hope a lot of you are coming out tonight.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s on this blog (are there any?).

It was not a bad pick

May 8th, 2011
4:35 pm

Najeh Davenpoop said this stupid comment “Al is listed at 6′10″ 245 pounds. Noah is listed at 6′11″ 232 pounds. I don’t think the difference between them is that Noah is bigger. I think the difference is that Noah — like Bass and Gibson — is a physical player while Al is a finesse player.”

AL IS NOT 6FT10..DO YOU GUYS EVEN WATCH THE GAME?..NOAH IS AT LEAST 3 INCHES TALLER THAN AL..SH*T!

It was not a bad pick

May 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

@MC
Why do the regular posters on here continue to think that AL is 6ft10?..

Worldwide Clyde

May 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

Billy Knight traded Jason Terry and Alan Henderson for Antione Walker and Tony Delk.

SMGDH

Crazy Fan sec 118

May 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

would really like to see a win on the home court tonight just to shut the chi-town fans up around here…lets go hawks.

It was not a bad pick

May 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

@Worldwide Clyde
Terry requested a trade…Are there any true Hawks fans on here?..smdh!

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

on their bad day i can think of no better team to look like the Hawks than LAL!!! i hope they get embarrassed right outta the gym in the 2nd half!!! maybe Kobe will even start doin’ the Joe!!! LUV IT!!!

Michael Cunningham

May 8th, 2011
4:41 pm

@ Not a bad pick: “@MC Why do the regular posters on here continue to think that AL is 6ft10?..”

because that’s their opinion. didn’t he measure at like 6-9 3/4 at the draft combine?

Michael Cunningham

May 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

@ lea: “Michael I hope he took the time out to show AL his shooting chart, at least when Smoove isn’t shooting well he does other things on the court. AL is NOT playing well in ANY areas, but of course Larry Drew is afraid to call him out on it.”

sounds to me like L.D. did call him out. he said Bulls are being physical and Al needs to be “more of a workhorse.” what does that mean to you?

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:43 pm

JT knew to get away from this franchise!!! SMART!!!

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:45 pm

@MC…yep…on AL’s draft height measurement…

doc

May 8th, 2011
4:46 pm

just posted before i saw the new blog:

you are getting your wish there myk. i just posted it on big ray’s blog it would be interesting to know if anyone thought at he beginning of the season that marc would be closer to the wcf than pau at this time of the year.

yup wou;d lie to see stern’s fake smile if he has to give the trophy to cuban. i have always liked the bravado of cuban. sad we dont have an owner like him. if only cuban would take the braves over and spend a few bucks to get some bats in the line-up.

MC playoffs are all about exerting your will on the other guy. we dont get it do we?

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:51 pm

yo doc…i luv’n DAL and MEM efforts!!! luv’n it!!! and you are right about Marc…who woulda thunk it?

Jason Terry

May 8th, 2011
4:52 pm

@mykhalc

Everyone leaves this fanchise, how would you feel if all the transplants fill up the gym more than the locals. That’s why i don’t see a superstar wanting to come play here unless they give him a uber deal. Philips arena is the only gym during the playoffs were you see and hear the opp. fans just as loud as the home team. That’s gotta suck. Home court advantage is a joke here.

Worldwide Clyde

May 8th, 2011
4:52 pm

It was not a bad pick Jamal Crawford requested one too.

terrell

May 8th, 2011
4:53 pm

Teague/JJ/Josh/Al/Collins.
Do it LD before it’s too late.
Marvin plays better off the bench. Why can everybody see that except Larry?
And Collins is smart. Most of our players play dumb. Jason sorta even things out a little bit.

J.J.M.

May 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

noah has shut horford down point blank and now its a mental thing for horford

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

@Jason Terry…yep…but the Hawks have a LOT to do with what is heard comin’ from the seats!!! A LOT!!!

Slim

May 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

wow so no adjustments? maybe LD doesn’t know his players limitations.
Did David Stern tell him to throw the series? No seriously.

Josh Smith was never considered for the small forward spot. Rose will go off for 40 off of pick and rolls.

Hey Drew maybe Josh posting up Luol Deng would be advantageous. What a hack we are the only team in the playoffs playing small.

I call a conspiracy. lol

terrell

May 8th, 2011
4:54 pm

And perhaps Josh can slow down Deng, Cause huggabutt sure cant.
Teague/Joe/Josh/Al/Collins.
Do it LD before it’s too late.

Slim

May 8th, 2011
4:57 pm

“Teague/JJ/Josh/Al/Collins.
Do it LD before it’s too late.
Marvin plays better off the bench. Why can everybody see that except Larry?
And Collins is smart. Most of our players play dumb. Jason sorta even things out a little bit.”

This never made sense that it was a game time decision. No way they practiced 2 different lineups and defending Rose.

Everytime Rose scores check if Thibodeau called a play to pull Josh out of shotblocking position. Chart that.

northcyde

May 8th, 2011
4:59 pm

Drew seems to think that his scheme will work, if the players will execute it. Sounds a lot like the former coach who didn’t get brought back. It’s his scheme that has the players in bad positions in the first place. And if people aren’t doing what he says, try to put people in the game that will do what he says.

I see now what others have said about LD all season. He places all of the blame on the players, while not placing some of the blame on himself, for the situations we find ourselves in. His offense is the one that encouraged Josh to jack up those jumpers. His offense is the one that turned Horford from a guy trying to develop his post game, to a guy who has been a deadly midrange shooter ( at the expense of continuing to develop that post game ). His offense is the one that let’s Jamal go one on one . . and puts JJ in the position so that he has to pound, pound, pound, since he essentially plays the point for us.

No accountability by LD whatsoever. It’s all on the players to do better.

I mean, if he believes his way will truly work, that’s cool. But if it works, why is he constantly changing this lineup? Why did Teague literally rot on the bench the entire year, if this kid had even half the talent he’s showing in the playoffs? Why did Bibby play no matter what? Why couldn’t Jordan Crawford see the court, at least taking some of Mo Evans’ playing time?

He can place all of the blame on the players if he wants, but he’s the damn coach. He has to take SOME responsibility to what is going on. If he’s going to accept the credit, he must take some of the blame.

Jason Terry

May 8th, 2011
5:00 pm

@mykhalc

Players are only as good as their coach. If you ranked the the final 8 coaches left in the playoff, LD would be ranked last. Add to the fact that there isn’t a true superstar on the team, these are the results. 2nd round separates the men from the boys.

Slim

May 8th, 2011
5:02 pm

Jason Collins enhances our frontcourt, which enhances are fast break which enhances are backcourt.

Marvin and Joe at the three puts limitations on our defense, limitations on our rebounding, limitations on our post up ability….
This is either extreme incompetence or some Donaghy type fixing. NO corrections?

Buddy Grizzard

May 8th, 2011
5:04 pm

terrell

May 8th, 2011
5:05 pm

Over the last couple of years, The Mavs have picked up Haywood and Chandler. We snatched up Etan,Collins, and Hotel. Perhaps thats why the Mavs look like Championship contenders and we’re still the Hawks???

Ryan

May 8th, 2011
5:05 pm

LD seems light-years ahead of Woody even if the players are stubborn. Great reporting MC!

northcyde

May 8th, 2011
5:06 pm

MC . . if JJ gets it done tonight, please devote 1/2 of your blog to him, seeing that you didn’t even give him one paragraph after Game 1. He arguably played the best road playoff game that any Hawk has played, since Nique’s 47 pts up in Boston in Game 7 back in 1988. But he couldn’t get a paragraph, or even much praise, after that performance.

Seeing that the downfall of the Hawks these past 2 games have been partially his fault in your eyes, give that man his due if he gets it done tonight. If he doesn’t, feel free to criticize his game even more.

All I know is that we’re not winning jack without a big game from JJ and Jamal, and at least a competent game from Smith and Horford. And that competent game from Smith and Horford may have to come on the boards and on the defensive end, than on the offensive end.

Do what you have to do tonight JJ. Don’t go down with bullets in your gun.

doc

May 8th, 2011
5:07 pm

geez, jason terry is killing it as he gets so much time to set up. i think he could be sipping on some tea as he sets up the way the lakers are guarding him.

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
5:08 pm

@JT…yep…but a coach REALLY shouldn NOT have to coach effort. and like terrell said, when certain players aren’t listenin’, executin’ the plays, LD needs to sit their azzes down. i’ve said it many times, as well as others, this collection of players and coaches just does NOT WORK!!! it is what it is…

terrell

May 8th, 2011
5:08 pm

If Marvin starts, I’m going to ………….. Yall can fill in the blanks.

dukester

May 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

Havnt been here in awhile. But I just wanted to say. Larry Drew I am proud of you sir great job. You can coach them but it doesnt mean they will listen. And to every that laughed at me when I said we needed Tyson Chandler check out what that guy has done for that Dallas team. he has brought toughness rebounding and block shots something we sorely need. Good luck Hawks

northcyde

May 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

JT is playing elite basketball today. The Mavs won’t be denied.

That Artest blown dunk would’ve cut the lead to 17, with the Lakers gaining momentum. Instead, it leads consecutive 3s by JT, putting them back up 25.

Game over . . or at least it should be over.

northcyde

May 8th, 2011
5:10 pm

And Hubie just pointed that out as I was posting this.

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
5:10 pm

GREAT play design to post JT!!!

mykhalc

May 8th, 2011
5:13 pm

it’s amazin’ how ALL teams wanna get to the rim except the HAWKS…SMDH

Slim

May 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

JJ shoots 20 shots and lots of 3s makes half we win.
JJ jacks up 20 shots and hits 45% we lose.

Is that what it’s all about? putting all your hopes on offense and no balance on defense?

Marvin Williams is to slow and unathletic to help rebound or help Smith on Noah and Boozer and Gibson and Asik.
Its not about “will” or Michael Jordan would still be playing basketball and Yao Ming would never ever get dunked on.
Put our players in position to succeed on the boards like in Orlando, u know the 2nd best rebounding team in the league. And stop acting oblivious with your cliche responses

Paradise Lost

May 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

@Section303-
I, too, am headed to Philips and I’m a mom, so Go Hawks and Happy Mom’s Day to the blogmommas! Sweet article by Al about his mom. (thanks for tweeting link, MC). Hope Al’s Mother’s Day present is some beasting in the post tonight!!

lea

May 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

not really @michael, Al’s shot selection has been just as bad, he continues to shoot jumpers when he’s not making em either…

doc

May 8th, 2011
5:15 pm

jj is soooo articulate, isnt he? stuck with it?

and i just saw it, LOL at northcyde. if we lose can we tear into him on how frail he is on being the guy for the next 5 months or until the cba is done, northcyde? your green lantern went dark the last two games bro. no light there.

we go from being described as so athletic to being a one man gang easily subdued. what is it and how can we be more? jj moved in the first game around picks. he and the rest of them got dead feet and became statues as contested ball after contested ball “fell” into their hands. they had better come out with more effort than the lakers did or we all sit home thursday.

doc

May 8th, 2011
5:17 pm

guys, early start for an 8 o’clock game or did they decide to not show it on the tube?

J.J.M.

May 8th, 2011
5:17 pm

can we get jason terry back in atl

Najeh Davenpoop

May 8th, 2011
5:18 pm

FTPB…

“AL IS NOT 6FT10..DO YOU GUYS EVEN WATCH THE GAME?..NOAH IS AT LEAST 3 INCHES TALLER THAN AL..SH*T!”

Granny, do you not understand the meaning of the word “listed”? I haven’t met any of these players in person. I can only go by their listed measurements, which say there is a negligible difference between Al and Noah in size. I do remember when they were playing at Florida together Al looked to be the same size and a lot stronger in his upper body than Noah, who was often criticized by draft experts for having a narrow frame. They were wrong about Noah, but still, the point that Noah has a negligible size advantage if any advantage at all over Al still stands.