Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Atlanta 94 Orlando 93


Couldn't see it, couldn't listen to it, so here's Sekou Smith from Orlando:

On the Hawks offense and pace:
In the brief moments that the Hawks did get up and down the floor Monday night, they showed that they can thrive with an up-tempo style.

They didn't run nearly as much as they wanted to, though. And they certainly didn't run as much as they needed to against a team like Orlando, with All-Star center Dwight Howard controlling the paint on both ends of the floor.

...the Hawks weren't as effective in the half court as they were when running, employing their new run-whenever-you-can approach for the first time in a game situation.

They ran their way to brief leads in the first quarter (19-13) and third quarter (62-58), but played catch up for most of the night because they couldn't maintain a frantic enough pace.

Woodson was still barking at his team to "keep running" in the fourth quarter, to no avail at those times when the Hawks' bodies didn't agree with the orders.
Both teams had over 102 possessions, so the game was played about 5% faster than the average Golden State Warriors (97.6 poss/48, #1 in the NBA) game last year. I'm sure that at pre-season intensity it didn't seem that fast but there were a lot of possessions for a game between teams that averaged fewer than 89 possessions per game last season.

On pulling out the win:
Rookie point guard Acie Law's driving layup with 25.1 seconds to play proved to be the difference. That play came after Law threw a pass away on the baseline but got back on defense, stole the ball and drove the length of the floor.

"I just messed up and that's no time to hang your head," Law said. "You just have to go back on the other end and make up for it. And that's what we did and we were able to get the win, too."
On Dwight Howard:
Their victory was aided greatly when Howard sat on the bench resting for the final six minutes of the game.

Making matters worse for the rest of the league is that Howard has evolved from the dunk-happy monster he's been the past three seasons. Now he's added a face-up jump shot and some up and under post moves to a physical repertoire matched by barely a handful of players in the NBA.

Howard finished the night with 30 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and also cleaned up whatever messes he could for a Magic team adjusting to playing without veteran leader Grant Hill, who left in the offseason for Phoenix.

Up next, the Hawks travel to Miami to play the Heat (103-86 losers to the Pistons last night) on Wednesday night.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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