Archive for May, 2011

Atlanta Hawks at Bulls Game 5: On energy and effort

Chicago–If you are skeptical about how much those favored NBA cliches of “energy and effort” factor into winning then perhaps this series has changed your mind a bit. There have been scrums and scraps around the basket on what seems like every loose ball in this series, and I think there’s something to be said for energy and effort in these circumstances.

Defense and rebounding are undervalued as talents, and certainly it’s true that some players can try hard but just don’t have what it takes to be good in those areas. But maybe physically gifted guys can be better at defending and rebounding if they have the zest for it, especially within the team concept.

The Bulls are a good defensive team because they have good defensive players and a sound scheme but what good would any of that be without their single-minded devotion to getting stops and then securing the ball at all costs? Isn’t that energy?

Or is it like Doc Rivers likes to say, that energy is a talent, and so it’s …

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Atlanta Hawks: Notes, quotes and links

Some tidbits before I hop a flight to the Chi, where at least it’s warmer now . . .

  • Before the Hawks left for Chicago today, L.D. said he’s not sure if he will use the Twin lineup for Game 5. My guess is that he will use it but didn’t want to let the Bulls know that more than 24 hours before game time.
  • Drew on Twin not getting a rebound in 12 minutes: “He brings a presence. There are guys in this league that require special attention in keeping off the glass. Noah’s activity, to me he could be considered one of those guys. Sometimes it means Twin boxed him out and he’s not coming up with the ball. His first assignment is to get him boxed off and allow someone else to come up with it.”
  • L.D. on another benefit of the Twin lineup: “Asking Josh to defend Noah at times, he’s much taller and much longer. It’s a tough assignment for him. Having him go against guy like Boozer who is real physical is also tough. Another physical body has been good for us. It frees up Al and Josh up …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Hawks-Bulls Game 4 recap

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 100, Bulls 88

Save for the nitpicks of a few blown transition chances, a handful of fumble-fingered turnovers and some missed Js from Smoove (before he started beasting) and some shots Al passed up (before he started dunking), what was there not to like about the Hawks tonight?

  • They shared the ball. They defended. They rebounded. They competed. They didn’t allow D-Rose easy passage to the basket. They finished furiously as their fans roared and the Bulls faltered.
  • “I think we played like a desperate team,” L.D. said.
  • It was a fine team effort with lots of standout individual performances.
  • J.J. decisively danced through Chicago’s defense and may not have made a bad decision all night. Al finally got physical with Noah. Teague looked like a seasoned pro. Jamal didn’t force it against double teams and made just enough key baskets to keep the Bulls honest.
  • And in the second half Smoove showed how he can control a game by defending, rebounding, running and attacking the basket.
  • Josh had …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew says Joe Johnson must ‘combat’ tough D like other stars

After Game 3 J.J., frustrated with the offense grinding to a halt against Chicago’s aggressive D, said he would “force the issue” Sunday. Basically Joe doesn’t think L.D.’s share-the-ball philosophy is the right way to do it even considering all the double teams faced by he and Jamal.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Joe has used 26 isolation possessions against the Bulls out of 59 total isos for the Hawks. He’s scored 22 points on those 26 possessions.

Joe’s efficiency on those plays has declined with each game in the series.

In Game 1, Joe used 12 iso possessions and scored 14 points with 5 of 8 shooting, four free throws and two turnovers. In Game 2, Joe used six iso possessions and scored four points with 2 of 5 shooting and a turnover. In Game 3, Joe used eight iso possessions and scored four points with 2 of 8 shooting.

Joe was already gone when media were allowed access to the locker room today but L.D. addressed Joe’s frustrations:

“They are playing him …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: Recapping Hawks-Bulls Game 3

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Bulls 99, Hawks 82

When D-Rose is going like this–making 3-pointers, baking in scores form impossible angles, etc.–not sure what else you can do to him except maybe put him on his butt a few times. “He hit one floater when I thought I got a piece of it,” Teague said. “I knew tonight was his night.”

  • But you don’t even have to look at Rose’s amazing performance to find fault with the Hawks.
  • Rose didn’t have anything to do with Noah and Taj Gibson pushing around Atlanta’s bigs. He wasn’t even on the court for the bulk of Chicago’s decisive run in the second quarter (and neither were the other starters). Rose did not limit Marvin to one rebound in 23 minutes, induce Smoove into jacking up Js as the Hawks tried to mount a comeback or make Al passive with the ball.
  • There were a few signs of fissures among the Hawks afterwards. Everyone seemed to have a different idea of what they need to do for Game 4.
  • J.J. didn’t like the offensive approach: “It just seemed as if a lot of times we just ran a …

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Bulls at Atlanta Hawks Game 3: Real home advantage again?

The postseason Hawks have defied a lot of the expectations created by the regular-season Hawks.

The thought was they can’t win if they don’t make their favored long 2s but after making 43.3 percent during the regular season, they are at just 36.1 percent in the playoffs. You figured defense would be a problem but postseason opponents are shooting just 41.2 percent, second to the Celtics. They didn’t get to the free-throw line much during the season but. . . . well, OK, that one still kind of holds true: .26 free-throw rate during the regular season, .29 during the postseason.

Another big difference: The Hawks have been good at home. Surely part of the reason for that is the atmosphere. Large crowds cheering enthusiastically for the Hawks were a rarity during the season. They were the rule against Orlando.

“I know they’ve been criticized in the past,” Jamal said of fans, “but in the playoffs they’ve been great.”

Smoove said he expects the same tonight.

“The environment is …

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Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew to Josh Smith: About those jump shots . . .

Ken S. reports that L.D. isn’t happy about Josh’s shot selection in Game 2. More from Drew on his meeting with Josh:

“I thought he was trying to do too much. He admitted it, that that was the case. He didn’t feel good about how he was playing. I was going to take him out early in the third quarter. Something told me to leave him in there, kind of let him see if he could play through it, and he did exactly that. I thought for about a five-minute stretch, he got us back in the ballgame on his energy and his effort and just hustling. I think he came up with four blocked shots in that stretch, got out on a break and got a dunk, got a three-point play in that stretch. . . . He is a very unique player. He can impact the game on both ends of the floor. I know since I’ve been here, we haven’t had a player like him that can do that. He has to be flying around and blocking shots and running the floor and making passes. That’s when he’s at his best for us. We can’t have him just sitting …

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