Saturday, April 26, 2008

David Thorpe Breaks Down Game 3

Scouts, Inc. and's David Thorpe previews Game 3 of the Hawks-Celtics series, providing a succinct and professional description of this awful halfcourt offense we've watched all season long:
Johnson faces the entire Celtics defense when he has the ball. Atlanta is not spreading the floor enough for him, allowing help defenders to move off their man and toward JJ without being spread too thin. Marvin Williams hurts the Hawks with his inability to make 3s (1-for-10 on the year), especially when he's stationed on the wing opposite Johnson when JJ has the ball. It's often his man that provides the most help.
Thorpe goes on to outline how the Hawks could adjust:
With Bibby struggling from 3 (18-for-58 in April), it may call for more playing time for Josh Childress, who can stretch the defense opposite Johnson and then push Williams down to the baseline with Al Horford and Josh Smith. This would open up the middle for Johnson and Childress to use their size on drives if the Celtics close them out on the perimeter too hot.

Both guys can make plays inside as long as they have space to operate. Post-entry passes and side pick-and-rolls are being clogged up by Celts defenders because the men they are guarding are crashing toward the basket instead of maintaining their spacing integrity by staying behind the 3-point line.
To his credit and/or in deference to reality, Thorpe does not predict that the Hawks will make this or any other adjustment. The whole piece is excellent and worthy of your time.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

End of the 3rd quarter and the Hawks are up by ten, 84-74. I don't know where they went, but THIS is the Hawks team we saw in December, when they went 9-4 and provided us (maybe just me?) with unrealistic expectations.

Een if they suffer a rather typical fourth quarter collapse, it needs to mentioned that they turned in a respectable performance to make this a good game. The funny thing about this game is that no one is playing over their head. JJ is having a good game, but it's nothing we haven't seen him do before, albeit not very often this season. Josh Smith is just playing within himself without pushing things too much. And Al Horford is having one of his best games ever, but we've always known he was capable of playing this well.

The Celtics are more talented than Atlanta, yes, but the margin isn't THAT great. They have a lot more depth and are more persistent defensively, but when the Hawks play up to their potential, they can compete with any team in the Association. Which is why it is so disappointing that they can only win 37 games in the regular season.

Anonymous said...

Okay, an addendum to my last comment-Josh Smith IS playing over his head, now. He's hit his last two three point attempts. Which means in Game Four he's either still this hot, or we put our heads in our hands as he throws up a brick house and we lose by 20, yet again.