Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. top of the East

If the Hawks want to finally make it to the Eastern Conference finals, the current playoffs bracket may not be the one they want. Playing Orlando in the first round looks like it could be a favorable matchup but drawing Miami in the second round is not.

That seems obvious on its face–no team wants to see Miami that early–but a look at how the top six teams have fared in games against each other shows that the Hawks have been much better against the Bulls. It also suggests that the Hawks would be better off staying at No. 6 if it means facing Orlando rather than moving up to No. 5 if the result is a first-round series against the Sixers. Of course the dilemma there is, right now, they need the five seed to avoid Miami in the second round, so the best outcome probably would be for Miami to overtake Chicago for the top spot.

Interestingly, the Magic have given the Heat the most trouble because they’ve scored much more efficiently against them than the rest of the top teams in the East. A look at the advanced box score from Orlando’s 102-89 victory against Miami Feb. 8 shows that the Magic hurt the Heat from the 3-point line and on the offensive boards, and sure enough defensive rebounding and 3-point defense are two relatively weak areas for the Heat.

These numbers don’t take factors like injuries and the schedule into account but they give a rough idea of how the top six teams measure up against one another. In spite of their 2-5 record vs. the Heat and Bulls, the Hawks have held their own statistically against those two opponents with the triple-overtime loss to Miami’s skeleton crew as the outlier.

Here’s the breakdown of the top six East teams vs. one another. All data are from Hoopdata advanced boxscores.

Hawks (6-8 vs. peer group)

Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Bulls 1-2 94.2 93.5 +0.5
Heat 1-3 97.5 102.3 -4
Magic 2-0 91.5 87.8 +3.5
Sixers 0-2 92.1 106.2 -12.5
Pacers 2-1 100.7 99.6 +1



Bulls (5-5 vs. peer group)

Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Heat 0-1 96.9 101.0 -4
Magic 1-1 106.1 101.1 +4
Sixers 1-1 97.3 103.3 -5.5
Pacers 1-1 99.5 91.3 +7.5
Hawks 2-1 93.5 94.2 -0.5



Heat (10-2 vs. peer group)

Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Bulls 1-0 101.0 96.9 +4
Magic 1-1 100.6 101.1 -0.5
Sixers 2-0 119.8 96.6 +20.5
Pacers 3-0 109.7 91.7 +17.3
Hawks 3-1 102.3 97.5 +4



Magic (6-6 vs. peer group)

Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Bulls 1-1 101.1 106.1 -4.5
Heat 1-1 101.1 100.6 +0.5
Sixers 1-1 96.6 90.4 +5.5
Pacers 3-1 100.8 96.8 -3.8
Hawks 0-2 87.8 91.5 -3.5



Sixers (5-4 vs. peer group)



Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Bulls 1-1 103.3 97.3 +5.5
Heat 0-2 96.6 119.8 -20.5
Magic 1-1 90.4 96.6 -5.5
Pacers 1-0 101.1 90.5 +10
Hawks 2-0 106.2 92.1 +12.5


Pacers (3-10 vs. peer group)

Opponent Record vs. Off. Eff. vs. Def. Eff. vs. Avg. Margin
Bulls 1-1 91.3 99.5 -7.5
Heat 0-3 91.7 109.7 -17.3
Magic 1-3 96.8 100.8 +3.8
Sixers 0-1 90.5 101.1 -10
Hawks 1-2 99.6 100.7 -1.0



Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

222 comments Add your comment

Donte

March 13th, 2012
11:57 am

Al Horford has a better jump shot and back to the basket game than J-Smoove. He averages more rebounds per game for his career.
Al actually can be trusted to bring the ball up the court and has better handles than Smoove.
Josh Smith is a better shot blocker and paint defender.

Regardless of who you prefer, one isn’t all that much better overall than the other. People, please slap yourselves for believing these unrealistic fantasies about how Josh Smith is some superstar and Al Horford is slightly above average.

You just like Josh because he’s a hometown product and he makes highlight reel dunks. GTFOH.
Yeah, Al Horford isnt some mega star thats going to “carry the team on his back” to a Championship, Finals or ECF but neither is Josh Smith. Get real.

Maybe Next Year

March 13th, 2012
12:08 pm

Mark

March 13th, 2012
12:08 pm

Tell the truth Donte.

hot.trod.87

March 13th, 2012
12:12 pm

Donte,

Josh smtih has wins under his belt w/o Al OR Joe. So he is more than what’s expected. If he wasn’t so good, why would Dwight request to play with him? Or the Bulls and Knicks want a shot at him. Get real

Buddy Grizzard

March 13th, 2012
12:16 pm

We all know if it wasn’t for LD and the refs the Hawks would be 3-1 against the Heat. How good would we look right now?

doc

March 13th, 2012
12:21 pm

ra’mon from past blog on ford:

doc
March 13th, 2012
11:37 am

ra’mon i hope al doesnt carry that one in his mind. right from the get go it was over reaction on the part of the league. that play wasnt dirty anymore than the one blake laid him out on which i think turned boss more to moss on. fird had spinal stenosis and it was the factor not al that faused the prob.

i did not realize at the time it was the second time he had been paralyzed and already been operated on. he has known about this injury from high school. tell boss to come back if that is why he is charmin soft al now.

here is an article that lays it out for us and gives us the “rest of the story”

http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/spurs/article/Backup-guard-Ford-decides-to-end-career-3401266.php

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PhilC

March 13th, 2012
12:24 pm

Josh is like a Dennis Rodman in his prime: super defender, rebounder, shot blocker and able to score around the rim. Put him on a team with some outside shooting and the ability to run fast breaks and he will go from a very good player to a superstar in no time.

Mark

March 13th, 2012
12:26 pm

Good article Michael. The Hawks have TALENT and maybe if they had a LITTLE HEART and SOME BRAINS they could advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Oh yeah and Michael maybe those statistics should take into account CLUELESS and PATHETIC COACHING ( that starts players like Marvin and Kurt Hinrich) and BAD FREE THROW SHOOTING and ILL ADVISED SHOTS by SELF PROCLAIMED ALLSTARS that feel “they should have been marketed better” so they could make the allstar game. The stats should also take into account 120 million dollar SO CALLED SUPERSTARS that hold the ball too long and can’t make BIG SHOTS when you need them. Lastly it should take into account LOUSY OWNERS that feel SUCCESS is being one of three teams to ADVANCE TO THE SECOND ROUND, right Gearon or SPINELESS General Managers that offers BAD CONTRACTS and gives away draft picks all in order to keep the team COMPETITIVE and loves the word UPSIDE. The Hawks are a JOKE.

Jody

March 13th, 2012
12:27 pm

@MC,

Nice write-up. But, if the Hawks can’t beat Miami or Chicago in a 7 game series (they can’t), are they going to continue to spin the”core” as being successful? Also, will we finally see some substantial moves made in the offseason after this team is eliminated in the first or second round or will we just get more excuses?

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 13th, 2012
12:29 pm

Hey Sautee, have you spoken to my friend, Mr. Ken Strickland? If so, can you please send him my warmest and kindest regards. I hope and pray his health is good.

I just miss his commentaries and positive points of view.
____________

Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!!!

Best wishes to Ivan and his family. We miss you Ivan!

Mark

March 13th, 2012
12:29 pm

Good article Michael. The Hawks have TALENT and maybe if they had a LITTLE HEART and SOME BRAINS they could advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Oh yeah and Michael maybe those statistics should take into account CLUELESS and PATHETIC COACHING ( that starts players like Marvin and Kurt Hinrich) and BAD FREE THROW SHOOTING and ILL ADVISED SHOTS by SELF PROCLAIMED ALLSTARS that feel “they should have been marketed better” so they could make the allstar game. The stats should also take into account 120 million dollar SO CALLED SUPERSTARS that hold the ball too long and can’t make BIG SHOTS when you need them. Perhaps it should take into account LOUSY OWNERS that feel SUCCESS is being one of three teams to ADVANCE TO THE SECOND ROUND over the past three years and SPINELESS General Managers that offers BAD CONTRACTS and gives away draft picks all in order to keep the team COMPETITIVE and loves the word UPSIDE. But hey at least they will MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!

Marcus

March 13th, 2012
12:30 pm

Good data, MC ….. L’s are L’s but as you were witness, the Hawks were couple of plays and/or four *made* FTs away from being 3-1 vs. MIA and 2-1 vs. CHI. Not that those facts has LeBron or D-Rose quaking in their Air Jordans …. just sayin’ we ain’t gettin whooped like in years past.

The key is what ORL does by Thurs. afternoon. D-12 gets traded, ORL’s grip on the 3-seed gets as shaky as Erkel trying to holla at Laura Winslow. No way they get back equal talent.

BIG DOG

March 13th, 2012
12:31 pm

The only way the Hawks have a chance if Horford comeback healthy in the playoffs.

And Marvin must not starte.

Big line up is a must for the Hawks, no way you sit Zaza down when Horford return.
LD have made bad decision using Marvin, he is a much better player coming of the bench, Marvin is not and NBA starter.
BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Mark

March 13th, 2012
12:33 pm

Good article Michael. The Hawks have TALENT and maybe if they had a LITTLE HEART and SOME BRAINS they could advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Oh yeah and Michael maybe those statistics should take into account CLUELESS and PATHETIC COACHING ( that starts players like Marvin and Kurt Hinrich) and BAD FREE THROW SHOOTING and ILL ADVISED SHOTS by SELF PROCLAIMED ALLSTARS that feel “they should have been marketed better” so they could make the allstar game. The stats should also take into account 120 million dollar SO CALLED SUPERSTARS that hold the ball too long and can’t make BIG SHOTS when you need them. Perhaps it should take into account LOUSY OWNERS that feel SUCCESS is being one of three teams to ADVANCE TO THE SECOND ROUND over the past three years and SPINELESS General Managers that offers BAD CONTRACTS and gives away draft picks all in order to keep the team COMPETITIVE and loves the word UPSIDE. But hey at least they will MAKE THE PLAYOFFS! Go Hawks

Dawg

March 13th, 2012
12:37 pm

The NBA refs are jokes. The Miami game was stolen from us. larry needs a technical or two to stand up for the team.

O'Brien

March 13th, 2012
12:38 pm

MC,

You are needed for a blog cleanup.

Michael Cunningham

March 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

@Jody: in his interview before the season, Gearon called this a “make or break” season. but i’m not sure how the injury to Al might alter their assessment of the team.

Donte

March 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

hot.trod.87, yeah. Let’s see how far that deadly sniper like jump shots and killer post game from Josh Smith “carries” us in the playoffs, especially when defenses key in on him more. When the airballs, hard bricks, and wild flings at the hoop in the post add up…then reality will sink back in for you bro.

hawkville

March 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

Can u delete a post. If so, delete the posts from such and such. Easier to read without them.

doc

March 13th, 2012
12:46 pm

hawkville do it yourslff on report this comment if you wish or scroll which s simple enough

children will be children you know

Mr. Phil

March 13th, 2012
12:49 pm

These numbers don’t bode well for the Pacers. Are they not as good as advertised?

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
12:52 pm

somebody’s bored today?^^^^^^^^^^ (SBL)?

northcyde

March 13th, 2012
12:52 pm

LOL @ Derrick Rose complaining about his lack of calls. Talking about he’s the only superstar in the league that goes through that. Complaining about “only” about having 9 FTs last night, despite taking 29 shots.

Awwwww . . so poor Derrick wants some superstar calls now. GTFOH dude.

They may not be superstars, but Josh Smith and Joe Johnson can’t even buy a call on most nights, even when they get killed in the paint. And poor Jeff Teague can’t get ANY calls. But Rose wants more than the 6 FTs a night that he’s already getting?

As for the Hawks . . . when was the last playoff series this franchise has won when we DIDN’T have home court advantage? This current group has never done it. You have to go back to the 1995 – 96 Hawks that won vs the Pacers in Indy. They lost in the 2nd round to Orlando ( the Shaq – Penny Hardaway version ).

I’ve said since the start of the season that the goal of the Hawks should’ve been to get a top 2 seed. That’s the only way you could have some sort of advantage in the 2nd round. Play 2 great games at home, and you’re now talking about your opponent needing to win the next 4 out of 5 games to beat you.

Asking the Hawks to beat Orlando as the road team is asking too much. We need that #3 or #4 seed to give us the home court in the 1st round. Then you let the chips fall where they may in the 2nd round.

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

Up next? In Denver Tonight? UH OH..NeNe will have his way with ZaZa..

Micheal

March 13th, 2012
12:55 pm

I think that even right now, Hawks need to change the core, how much longer that the Hawks fans is going to be content of second round beatdowns. For real, I believe that we cant not beat the Heat or the Bulls(a better chance) in a 7 game series even if Al was healthy right now. I think something needs to happen, staying stat quo isnt good for this team right now.

O'Brien

March 13th, 2012
12:57 pm

Al has his faults, and I agree that he has gotten soft. But he did average 15 and 10 last year. The way some of you talk about Al, ya’ll make him sound like he is the next coming of Marvin Williams.

And for those questioning Al’s defense, the fact is he received 7 votes for the All NBA defensive team (with 3 first team nominations) after the 2010-2011 seasons. So while Al may not have Josh’s talent and game altering skills on defense, he is not a slouch either.

northcyde

March 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

LOL . . oh my bad. The Hawks were a 5 seed last year. But still . .

O'Brien

March 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

northcyde,

If I’m not mistaken, the Hawks beat Orlando last year, and we were the 5 seed.

rollow lawson

March 13th, 2012
12:59 pm

Josh is a better all-around player than Al. Anybody with eyes and a brain can see that. Joe should play second fiddle to Josh from here on out.

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
12:59 pm

If the Hawks do not secure a 1st round home court advantage, forget about advancing this season to the infamous 2nd round to be obliterated again…

2-12 in the 2nd round in Sund’s era.. Just Brutal folks!

1-2-3, Jettison the Core Scottie….Aye Captain!

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
1:04 pm

Al partook in NBA record blowouts on the losing end with an above .500 team…

I dont put much blame on him cause they are 5 men playing on the court but dont get it twisted his 9 and 7 in 39 playoff games is average at best…AllStar? A f_____king Joke…………..zzzzzzzzzz

jay

March 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

@Donte. I agree with most of what you said, but at the end of the day the game is for entertainment and Horford’s game is boooorrrrriiinnnggg. No explosiveness.

Rufus1

March 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

One DOMINATE TEAM….HEAT

Consistent EFFORT beats BAD-AVERAGE teams(Bulls)…… TALENT and consistent EFFORT wins in the PLAYOFFS…. A healthy Hawks teams is the 2nd most TALENTED team in the EAST and our record and play against the top 6 with some many injuries, VALIDATES our TALENT.

If the Hawks are HEALTHY and JOSH brings consistent EFFORT in the PLAYOFFS, we will make it to the ECF(If we don’t see Miami in the 2nd rd)

Josh…has more talent
Al…is more consistent and plays with more intelligence

If Josh Josh played like Al, he would be a BIGGER STAR….But NO ONE RESPECTS PPL THAT WASTE TALENT.

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
1:08 pm

Al does not play with more intelligence than Josh. All NBA knows his very limited skill set will not allow him to make a play like Josh or Joe can… He knows the deal……

Donte

March 13th, 2012
1:08 pm

jay, yes for some people. I want to win playoff games though.

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
1:11 pm

LaMarcus would eat Al for lunch and spit out the bones…..

A real Allstar who has been snub numerous times by the NBA cause he plays in a far superior conference…

All NBA wouldn’t even get an honorable mention if he played out West at the 5 or the 4..Take your pick…….All Average…That’s it……………

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

March 13th, 2012
1:21 pm

Josh plays defense and Horford doesn’t.

northcyde

March 13th, 2012
1:21 pm

Al Horford last year when he got 16 or more shots per game

10 games

20.2 ppg
10.4 rebs
4.5 asst
1.2 blks
1.0 stls

56.7% FG ( 17.1 shots per game )
75.8% FT ( 3.3 FT attempts per game )

Just Joe

March 13th, 2012
1:22 pm

Only 7 centers in the league avg 12 & 9.

4 in the West : Gasol, Jefferson, Bynum & Gortat.
3 in the East: Howard, Hibbert & Monroe.

You’ve got another 5 guys that come close: Chandler, Noah, Duncan, Jordan & McGee.

Injured: Bogut, Horford & Lopez.

That’s my top 15 in the league.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

March 13th, 2012
1:22 pm

Josh tries to block the shot when guards drive to the basket and Horford moves out of the way.

ag

March 13th, 2012
1:23 pm

I guess the real question is who is going to start. The team has a lot of success with KH starting. We all believe Marvin comes plays better as a bench player. What if McGrady started? I think KH will bring better defense. Yet if KH starts TMac will continue to pile DNP’s.

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
1:24 pm

We saw how easy it was for LaMarcus to attack and dismantle Josh on the perimeter or in the paint..Imagine what he would do to All NBA?

Josh defense is far superior to All NBA’s…

All NBA would make a great trading chip when he returns to form….

BIG DOG

March 13th, 2012
1:27 pm

JOSH, HORFORD, ZAZA IS GOOD ENOUGH AND WILL BE A BETTER ON DEFENSE.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

KevinM

March 13th, 2012
1:29 pm

Rufus, if we’re the 2nd most talented team in the East, then I’m sure you can outdo the offer CHi presented to ORL…….Deng, Boozer, Asik, and a #1 from CHA for D12 and taking back no bad contract.

We don’t have those assets….our bench has little value, and that includes Kirk, whose game has faded quickly after leaving CHI.

ORL won’t take Joe and Al for D12……if you gave them Teague, maybe.

Sund, just get us another front option on offense while Al is down….how hard can that be?

Astro Joe

March 13th, 2012
1:30 pm

northcyde, surely you aren’t suggesting that when Horford is more of the focal point of the offense that he actually scores efficiently and puts up outstanding all-around numbers? Come on, it should be easy for him to score 20 points on 10 FGAs/game… every decent NBA player is able to do that (he said sarcastically). :twisted:

Slimjr

March 13th, 2012
1:31 pm

O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D

And………………..Crickets….. 44wins and destroyed in the 2nd round again with All NBA 9 and 7 CONTRIBUTIONS……………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

HOW DID his ALLSTAR INTERIOR DEFENSE STANDOUT? chirp, chirp, chirp…the sound of spring…..lol

BIG DOG

March 13th, 2012
1:32 pm

If Im Rick Sund i make this trade Joe for Melo straight up.

I would take Melo before Joe any time.

BIG DOG IN THE HOUSE

Big Lou

March 13th, 2012
1:33 pm

“Hey Sautee, have you spoken to my friend, Mr. Ken Strickland? If so, can you please send him my warmest and kindest regards. I hope and pray his health is good.

I just miss his commentaries and positive points of view.” – drmaryb

Saw that part and had to chime in. He is on the Falcons blog posting all the time. I guess he’s just excited about the FA and Draft coming up.

So, you’re a baller and hustler, Ms. 10$? Makes sense–one usually comes with the other.

Yeah, I don’t understand his function either. I’m starting to think he’s the token black guy in the show. The only real spotlight he got is when he cut himself in the arm like an idiot… that’s messed up. Even the Asian kid is getting some.

Dang. That would be just like us light brights to use him as bait. SMH. Yeah, I saw. You went from getting five on it like Luniz to getting ten on it. You trying to break my pockets, honey?

Nah. I think one of the Hershel’s people is going to die first, so that’s 15 on the table now. Also, did you see how Darrel and Glen are still in the forest? I wonder how they are going to sneak back on the farm without the Walkers tearing them apart.

BIG DOG

March 13th, 2012
1:33 pm

Donte

March 13th, 2012
1:35 pm

Zaza Pachulia only takes that little short to mid range jump shot. He stays around the basket ready to accept the pass, the problem is he mishandles it or cant finish too many of the times. If Josh Smith stops trying to be Kevin Durant and plays his offensive game similar to Zaza, he’d be a beast then.