Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More Links to Savor

Shoals at freedarko (This excerpt has changed three times in the formation of this post. Go read the whole damn thing.):
The Hawks transcend principle or philosophical systems. They are without precedent and supernatural in their arrival. To try and make sense of them, or to have viewed them as grist for match-up columns, would be to miss the point of this otherworldly occurrence. They have flourished not because basketball needed a savior, or because they were tailor-made for the job, but because sport is not politics, economics, or the academy. Nor should the NBA be a haven for college-style chisel jobs (sorry, Thaddeus). Even I can't convince myself I've known all along, or that this stands for anything other than itself.
TrueHoop's Henry Abbott wrote about the game at some length and said some nice things about Mike Woodson:
Running a franchise that is torn between multiple owners can't be any fun, but credit Mike Woodson with having his players on the same page and playing hard. The offense is kind of ragged at times -- the only time they look really organized to my non-coaching eye is when they watch Joe Johnson in isolation -- but everyone is all over every loose ball, and the spirit is excellent. I have been hearing all season that, despite widespread rumors he was a lame duck, Hawks players have been buying what Mike Woodson has been selling, and that's huge.
Which compelled me to insinuate myself and my long-standing beef with Woodson into Henry's otherwise fine post. I hope my tacked-on contribution (and thanks to Henry for tacking my thoughts on) is worth a laugh to the regulars here, at least.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Game three was an anomaly in a lot of ways. The Hawks ran their offense through the post and created open jumpshots by passing out of double teams. Josh Smith was 3-6 from beyond the arc. Rajon Rondo was somehow mitigated by Mike Bibby on defense. And somehow, the Hawks outrebounded the Celtics.

Game four actually reverted to the norm, somewhat. Joe Johnson dominated the ball, especially in the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo was generally effective, even though he forced too many shots. Josh Smith refused to be intimidated by the entire Celtics team letting him take open jumpers, and continued to fire bricks and airballs. Coach Woodson used a frontcourt of Zaza and Solo for the last 3:31 of the first half. And yet the Hawks still won.

By all rights, we shouldn't have won game 4. Joe Johnson caught fire and the Hawks played ferocious defense in the fourth quarter. And Mike Bibby had a hot hand in the first quarter.

My point is, the vast difference in the play between just the two games the Hawks won makes me wonder which one more reflects what Woodson was trying to do. Game 4 was normal according to what we're used to from Woodson, but Atlanta actually appeared to be a well coached team in Game 3.

Matt said...

Good comment about Woodson to Henry Abbott.

I am concerned that the Hawks playing well will actually help Woodson keep his job, which would be a travesty.

Bret LaGree said...

I'm with you, Bronn. After Game 3 I wondered if that was the absolute best this team could play or something we could have seen occasionally during the season had they played with different priorities.

After the fourth quarter of Game 4 I wondered why what had not worked all season (or even in the third quarter of Game 4) worked against the best team in the league.

I haven't formulated a satisfying answer to either vein of wonderment.

Anonymous said...

The explanation seems really simple to me. The Celtics believed their own (and the NBA's and ESPN's) hype and assumed once they finished the 3rd quarter with a 10 point lead the series was over. And when Joe and Josh proved it wasn't, Boston just couldn't shake off their disbelief in time to save the game.