Thursday, May 01, 2008

Day After Links

It's difficult to reconcile to the guy who frustratingly played to his weaknesses last night with the perceptive young man who said the following after the game:
"The bottom line is we're not going to beat the Boston Celtics playing half-court basketball. We're young and we're athletic and we have to use that to our advantage. Their advantage on the defensive end is for us to walk the ball across the half-court line and run half-court sets. And we're just not going to beat this team doing that. We have to push the ball and exploit transition points and then pull the ball back out if there's nothing there and run offense.

"We never did that and we got out-toughed on the offensive boards early on, by guys like Leon Powe and [Glen] Big Baby [Davis] early on, and those were key rebounds we needed when we got stops."
but that's Josh Smith for you.

And this is Mike Woodson in a nutshell:
"We play so well at home and on the road it's like two totally different teams. I don't know what it is. It might be the focus or the crowd might be getting to us."
Unfair of me? Perhaps. But I'd hate to miss out on one of the (god willing) few remaining opportunities to point out the various ways the man demonstrates himself unfit for the job he holds. Which simply makes me an unappealing and petty character.

Once again Al Horford played pretty damn well on night when the rest of team (Joe Johnson excepted) was flailing about aimlessly. It's nice to see that Al's getting good press in Boston.

After Henry Abbott put a scare into me on Tuesday, it's comforting to read someone at criticizing Mike Woodson's tactics. John Hollinger writes first of Leon Powe's importance to the result:
The Celtics led by 15 at the half thanks largely to the inspired play of reserve Leon Powe, who scored seven points, was responsible for six offensive boards (one officially went down as a team rebound) and took two charges in a 14-minute stint. Boston was a +10 with Powe on the floor in the half.

"I thought offensively and his rebounding was great," said Doc Rivers. "Individually he was great on defense. Team defense he still has a way to go but he's getting it and he's getting better."

I'll say. Powe's positive plays included the game's most crucial one. At 4:26 of the first quarter, he stepped in front of a driving Joe Johnson to draw his second foul, sending Johnson to the bench.
Hollinger goes on to analyze the impact of that foul:
That foul became huge because of an unnecessarily conservative reaction by Hawks' coach Mike Woodson. Johnson only played 13:16 in the first half even though he has one of the lowest foul rates in basketball -- he averaged only 2.01 fouls per 40 minutes in the regular season. Johnson didn't pick up another foul the rest of the night and finished with two.

After the charge, Johnson sat out for a stretch of 9:25, during which the Celtics extended a three-point lead to 13 points...This is straight out of the Larry Brown school of foul-trouble conservatism -- not surprising since Woodson was Brown's assistant in Detroit and has been proudly wearing his championship ring all series. Indeed, Al Horford and Josh Smith also sat out the final minute of the first half with two fouls, just as they had done for the final three and a half minutes of the first half in Game 4.
John Hollinger, Hoopinion reader?

Drew at Hawks, Dawgs, and Jesus summed things up succinctly:
This game was lost because of Boston's first half defense and offensive rebounds. I am no basketball expert but if one team has better players, plays a game at home, brings the hammer on defense, and gets an offensive rebound two out of every three possessions is tough to beat. That is the facts. That is not just me saying that. Look it up.
That's all for now. There's a lot less of interest written when the expected, rather than amazing, happens.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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