Friday, April 03, 2009

New Blog Roundtable

The question: The playoffs are fast approaching - which team would you rather face in the first round, the Miami Heat or the Philadelphia 76ers?

The answers come from CoCo, Jason, Larry, and myself, quoted below:
Trying not to overreact to Tuesday night's game and no disrespect to Dwyane Wade, I think the Hawks match up better with the Heat than they do with the 76ers. While Wade is certainly capable of winning a game or two largely on his own, the Hawks can generally get away with focusing their defensive attention on Wade and limit his supporting cast to taking jump shots. The Hawks' switching defense works best when it's a switching and sagging defense. In a best-of-seven series, I think playing off Miami's shooters to collapse on Wade (and to a lesser extent Jermaine O'Neal) is a good percentage play.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, will generally have more players on the court capable of creating offense off the dribble than the Hawks will have perimeter defenders capable of preventing dribble penetration which puts a lot of pressure on Atlanta's interior defenders both to deal with quicker players without fouling them and get back into position to box out Philadelphia's bigs (The 76ers are second in the league in OR%.) after a shot goes. Philadelphia's dribble penetration also could create shot opportunities that their bigs (with the exception of Marreese Speights) cannot create for themselves.

Philadelphia's master class in how to defend Joe Johnson (late, hard double-teams) causes further concern though both teams (Philadelphia is 2nd in opponents' TO%, Miami is 4th) have the ability to take away Atlanta's greatest offensive strength: not turning the ball over (5th in the league in TO%).


Unknown said...


I disagree with prefering the Heat over the Sixers as being Atlanta's best bet. Although I thought you laid the argument out well, I am sticking with these two points:

1) You Don't Want to Play Dwayne Wade: As everyone mentions 10,000 times every NBA season, the playoffs are a different creature from the regular season. Wade will play more minutes, and the MVP's usually step up their game come crunch time. If he gets any help at all from Beasley (who looked good against Atlanta last game) or O'Neil, Miami has what it takes to win.

2) No Thaddeus Young: Just announced he's out 2-3 weeks, which makes him doubtful (or at least not effective) in the first round. Without him, the Sixers greatest advantage over Atlanta (rebounding) disappears, or worst case scenario, takes a major hit. Sixers will need tose extra possessions from Offensive Rebounding in order to win.

Atlanta with home advantage should beat either team, but I'd rather see the Sixers...

Bret LaGree said...

Well, I haven't been right about much anything before the fact this season, so you're probably giving the appropriate weight to my argument but I'd be less concerned about the offensive rebounding had Philly not grabbed 34% of possible offensive rebounds in Tuesday's game without Young grabbing a single one.

jrauch said...

My perverse hope is we get Philly in the first round, only to lose and get Woodson fired.

But the bigger worry if he's ousted is what kind of replacement the Hawks would get.

Philly is a less-talented Atlanta with better coaching. Well, they have a deeper bench, so that less-talented thing is debatable.