Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Game Thread #2.1 Atlanta (0-0) @ Cleveland (0-0)

TIP-OFF: 8pm

TELEVISION
: TNT

RADIO: Hawks Radio Network, Audio League Pass

GAME NOTES:
Hawks/Cavaliers

ATLANTA INJURY REPORT: Marvin Williams is expected to play tonight.

CLEVELAND INJURY REPORT
: JJ Hickson and Lorenzen Wright are out.

FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY: Cleveland -11.5, 179 o/u

OTHER PERSPECTIVES: Cavs: The Blog, Fear the Sword

SERIES PREVIEW/PREDICTION CORNER: Hoopinion, Cavs: The Blog/Hoopinion preview chat, David Thorpe, Brian Windhorst, SI.com, Charley Rosen, Ball Don't Lie, John Hollinger

Please use the comments to recognize any previews or predictions I've missed.

Consider this an open thread for all pre-game, in-game, and post-game (but pre-recap) thoughts. For 140 character in-game thoughts, follow @hoopinion.

6 comments:

Bronn said...

It's late for this question, but perhaps you'll address it after the game with a bit more insight. Is Atlanta best served by slowing down the pace?

There's plenty of people saying that Atlanta doesn't want to get into an up/down game against Cleveland. The more I think about it, the more I believe that running a fast paced game is Atlanta's best bet to win, and that's regardless of Horford's health.

1) Atlanta's defensive strategy will be clog the paint, but Cleveland has too many shooters with Mo Williams, Delonte West, Boobie Gibson, Wally Sczerbiak, and Sasha Pavlovic. Not to mention that LeBron can get hot from outside, and that Big Z is deadly in the midrange game-there's no hope that all of those guys go cold on the same night.

2) Atlanta's halfcourt offense is based almost entirely on playing one-on-one...and Cleveland has too many good defenders to allow that. Varejao is a solid post defender, Big Z is too big for anyone to post up, and you can expect the hard double on Joe to come early.

In short, the slower, halfcourt game for Atlanta is probably doomed to fail on both ends. Atlanta does have the athletes to get up and down with LeBron and co., even though it will likely expose Atlanta's injury concerns at the 3 and 5. But I've often seen Bibby make some brilliant passes when he's got the ball in transition.

Bret LaGree said...

Bronn--

I agree in theory for all the reasons you've so eloquently expressed but I don't see it being likely that the Hawks can force a uptempo game for the following reasons...

1) It's against their nature to dictate an uptempo game. One might argue the Hawks tend to play at whatever pace the other team prefers. Cleveland averaged even fewer possessions per game than the Hawks did this season.

2) It's difficult to create transition offense on a consistent basis if you don't control the defensive glass and the Hawks usually don't.

3) Cleveland generally doesn't turn the ball over very often. The Hawks inability to guard Mo Williams doesn't seem to make turnovers more likely to be forced. In fact, when the Hawks played well against the Cavs in Atlanta in had most to do with Delonte West taking and missing a ton of shots.

4) It's harder to play Bibby and Johnson over 40 minutes a game in a faster paced game. The Hawks probably don't (and Woodson most certainly doesn't believe that they) gain much by increasing the use of the bench players.

This is a tough series for the Hawks not so much because of them (though Marvin's health is a major concern) but because the Cavaliers are so good across the board. They were better than average in each of the four factors on both offense and defense. They don't have any out-and-out weaknesses.

Bronn said...

Excellent analysis, as always. You often provide the best commentary because others "in the know" don't always speak candidly (ie, Sekou Smith, possibly Mike Bibby).

In response to #1-it's fairly obvious that, as a team, the Hawks don't always do what's in their best interest.

Bret LaGree said...

I don't think Bibby has as productive an offensive season if the Hawks played 5-8% faster.

On the other hand, an up-tempo attack would probably benefit Smith, definitely benefit Horford, and possibly create more playing time for Acie Law IV.

Still, I have no way of quantifying the relative pros and cons of either scenario.

Bronn said...

I have no idea how your recap will read, but, in brief...

Flip's -22 does not say enough. I was actually screaming at the TV telling Woodson to get him off the floor at the start of the 4th.

Bret LaGree said...

I've got a cost/benefit analysis of Mike Bibby to complete. They ran a post up for Sasha Pavlovic just to take the game to Bibby.