Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Orlando Magic 98 Atlanta Hawks 84


Game 4
Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ORL 84
67.7 15.4
12 19
ATL 82 1.024 42.6

The Atlanta Hawks had no answers for the Orlando Magic. Most of the time, they looked unable to recognize which questions were being asked of them. A successful season bred an unsuccessful post-season, first against a less talented team that could better execute a game plan specific to the occasion then against a more talented team that could simply execute a better game plan.

Perhaps no stretch of the series better exemplifies the hopelessness of the Hawks' attack* than their first five offensive possessions in the second half tonight. Down eight following a perfectly respectable first half performance, the Hawks used four of their first five second half possessions on two-point jump shots from at least 20-feet. One each from Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Marvin Williams, and Mike Bibby. On the other possession, Marvin Williams attacked the basket but Dwight Howard blocked the shot.

Atlanta had chances to make up ground during this stretch. Orlando turned the ball over on two of their first five possessions of the second half. Of course, their other three possessions resulted in a Dwight Howard hook shot in the lane, a Vince Carter three-pointer, and a Rashard Lewis and-one. Two turnovers in less than three minutes but the lead nearly doubled. Better players, better plan, better execution.

*I won't argue if you think the Hawks taking 1 of 17 first quarter field goals from inside the paint is a better example but they did get 6 three-pointers up in the opening 12 minutes.

Atlanta took 24 more long two-point jumpers tonight while watching the Magic attempted 37 three-pointers. This discrepancy more than made up for Atlanta's control of the defensive glass, their ability (for one night) to get to the free throw line, and forcing Orlando into twice as many turnovers as they committed themselves.

Whoever sits in the coach's office next season, whoever wears the Atlanta uniform, they must recognize what is a good, valuable shot and what is not. This Atlanta coach and, by extension, this Atlanta team gave no indication of understanding that Orlando won this series on the shot chart and that the number of respective Xs and Os therein merely determined the margin of victory.


rbubp said...

The irony is that throughout the year we heard how Atlanta was one of the league leaders in points in the paint--even with all the jump shots. They kept saying they were shooting the same shots and they didn't go in (which was absurd, of course); not only did they not get the usual number of fast-break points and points on short shots in the paint, there were few offensive rebounds that led to putbacks.

It's tempting to say that Dwight Howard came so close to one man dominating an entire team...but it isn't likke the Hawks did much better when he was not on the floor.

jrauch said...

The Hawks spent the entire series on the perimeter, wanting nothing to do with actually trying to solve the Magic's defense.
Though in the Hawks' defense, the Magic are playing some of the best basketball I think anybody's seen in quite a while.

Looks like the times they are a'changin' in Hawksville.

M said...

man the magic haven't lost in a month and they STROKE the three.. we would have had a much better chance beating the cavs or lakers in a 7 game series than these guys.. as much as everyone is harping on how bad the hawks, woody, and joe suck, the magic played flawless basketball and shot an alarmingly high field goal percentage from 3 point land

Bret LaGree said...

Orlando made 44-112 3PTA in this series. That's 39.3%. A high 3PTFG%, to be sure but not much higher than their season average: 37.5%. Had they shot their season average against the Hawks, they'd have made 2 fewer three-pointers.

What the Hawks did particularly wrong, in this instance, is let them shoot so many. 38.9% of Orlando's field goal attempts in the series weer three-pointers compared with 35% in the regular season. The Magic shooters got open and stayed open on the perimeter all series long.

Jerry Hinnen said...

rbubp, some of that probably has to do with Gortat, who for my money is the best backup 5 in the league by a mile.

What's particularly depressing is that the Magic aren't going anywhere. Howard, Lewis, Nelson, Carter, even the bench guys ... are any of them free agents? Any of them not likely to stay in Orlando? Those guys are capable of ripping off like four straight Finals berths. Depressing.

rbubp said...

Jerry, I think it had a lot to do with Orlando's depth at every position and a team-wide commitment to team defense.

They are hungry and selling out to get what they want. They have a coach with a brain and the will to get players to follow the concept. It's no surprise that a collection of individuals masquerading as a basketball team were undressed from start to finish. The Larry Brown disciple was out-Larry Browned at every turn by his counterpart.

The idea that the Hawks have any connection to a guru of team basketball like Brown is kind of like playing six degrees of separation with microns.