Friday, May 07, 2010

Quotes, Notes, and Links: Orlando Magic 112 Atlanta Hawks 98

Hoopdata Boxscore

Recap

Mike Woodson:
"Almost need the perfect game to beat this team."
Josh Smith, defining success down:
"We have to look at the bright side. We played hard and we didn’t just let them roll over us."
Jamal Crawford lends support:
"We came in their place and were down one entering the fourth quarter. That shows you we are right there."
Al Horford on the first half:
"I think we had more movement going around instead of keeping the ball on one side and playing isolation. We were moving the ball and just sharing it. When we play like that, we are at our best."
The second half was the Hawks if not at, near, their worst: All-NBA Third-Teamer Joe Johnson was 1-7, Jamal Crawford was 4-11 (6-6 FTA), Josh Smith was 4-8 (4-4 FTA) but with 5 turnovers, Horford was 3-5 with 2 assists when not sitting next to his disqualification-phobic head coach.

Michael Cunningham mentions an obvious flaw (and one without a short-term solution) of this Hawk team:
VC, Jameer Nelson, Pietrus, and Rashard Lewis combined to make 27 of 51 shots. I still think the Magic just has too many good perimeter players and the Hawks have too many bad matchups out there. That’s something that needs to be addressed in the offseason.
Kevin Pelton on Atlanta's porous defense:
The problem for the Hawks ultimately came down to their inability to get stops. Aside from a 17-point second quarter, they allowed 95 points in the other three periods in what was a very slow-paced game (featuring eight and a half fewer possessions than Game One). The Magic got anything it wanted on offense, whether from the paint or on the perimeter. Orlando shot an incredible 64.4 percent (29-45) on two-point attempts and turned it over but nine times. The result was a 135.4 Offensive Rating the Phoenix Suns would envy.
HawkStr8Talk on Josh Smith's effort:
Kudos to Hubie Brown for doing what Mike Woodson should have done 2-3 years ago and publicly called out Josh Smith for dogging it during this game. Josh Smith should have been benched for his play in the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter. And by benched, I mean - for the rest of the game. I'm sorry, but I will not lose with players who aren't committed to the team and to the game. And this from someone who has always thought of Josh Smith as my favorite Hawks player.
Peachtree Hoops on Josh Smith's mindset:
Josh is always right, and when he is wrong, it clearly does not matter.
Feel free to nominate your favorite Game 2 Josh Smith memory* in the comments. For me, it's a narrow decision between stepping out of bounds while trying to launch a three-pointer in the fourth quarter and falling to the ground grasping his face (after being touched there several beats and part of a play earlier) rather than getting back on defense.

*You needn't specify which time the ESPN cameras caught him strolling back on defense.

At SI.com, Frank Hughes views bad body language as a team-wide problem:
Even though they were within striking distance for most of the game, the Hawks appeared to be defeated as soon as the Magic made a 9-0 run at the start of the second half.
Ben Q. Rock gives Vince Carter his due:
Though Howard scored more points and drew more attention, Carter is the player who really put Orlando over the top tonight. After a first half in which he deferred, Carter asserted himself in the second, scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and making arguably the game's defining play. Early in the fourth quarter, Williams scooped up his third offensive rebound of the night and went back up to score, but Carter spiked his offering from behind. He made the outlet pass, and just seconds later, stepped into a trailing, delayed transition three-pointer from the right wing that gave the Magic a 6-point lead and knocked the roof off Amway Arena. And he shredded the Hawks in the halfcourt running the high pick-and-roll with Howard: as ESPN analyst Hubie Brown so beatifully illustrated, the Hawks kept sending Carter's defender over the screen in order to take away the three-point shot, so Carter just continued driving to the bucket, which forced Horford to decide whether to step over to cover him or to stick with the rolling Howard. It's how Carter got free for two huge dunks and several more lay-ins. He was squarely in attack mode tonight, or at least for the final 24 minutes.
Eddy Rivera continues this train of thought at Magic Basketball:
[T]he Magic were able to turn a close game into a blowout before cruising to an easy victory by running the 2/5 pick and roll with Carter and Howard on almost every possession. Because Howard was having his way on the low block throughout the evening no matter who was defending him, Atlanta was forced to compensate and keep an extra eye on him as he was rolling to the basket. And because the Hawks almost always fought over the screen since they were concentrating on taking away the three-point shot the entire game, that opened things up for Carter offensively and he was able to make the Hawks pay by being an efficient playmaker.

That play was the difference in the fourth quarter and that play was the difference in Game 2.
Finding a play that works and running it until the other team stops it? (Or, in this case, until the game ends.) The Atlanta Hawks say, "That's unpossible."

Zach Harper (#2) breaks down Orlando's 21-3 fourth quarter run:
During a seven-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, the Hawks scored just three points while allowing 21 points to Orlando. The reason for this lack of Hawks offense had a lot to do with the types of shots they were settling for. Atlanta took seven jumpers (six off the dribble) during this scoring drought but only managed to make one of them. It also had two forced post moves by Josh Smith that weren't exactly good shots and a layup attempt off an offensive rebound from Marvin Williams that Vince Carter emphatically swatted away.

The Hawks fell right into the trap of the Magic defense and went away from what worked for them during the first three quarters. When Atlanta was scoring well it was because it moved the ball and found the open shooters. The Hawks utilized spot-up shooters who knocked down timely 3-pointers in the first three quarters. When they allowed Orlando to make their big run in the fourth quarter, they had too much one-on-one play that resulted in forced jumpers. And this is what Orlando does so well.
Al Horford:
"I think we realized we had to play harder than we did. I think that we we got away from our game plan in the first game and we learned from that. We tried to put a whole game together tonight and just couldn't do it."

7 comments:

THHB said...

Nice use of Ralph Wiggum.

How nice might it have been to turn to Darren Collison or someone of his ilk to help out in the fourth quarter?

rbubp said...

Magic are so deep they have guys who see no time that would be good players for the Hawks if Woody believed in a bench--Bass, Redick, Anderson.

In a very short span we got the love and hate of Josh Smith: sandwiched between the post-graze flop and the end-line turnover was a truly remarkable save under the Magic's basket and one of his right in your chest half-court passes past two defenders to Jamal Crawford ahead of the pack.

Man. What do you do with a guy like that? (admittedly, his keister should have been on the bench.)

Bronn said...

A favorite Josh Smith memory? How about being the last person up the floor on offense, then receiving the ball in the high post. He attempted to drive without having the ball in his possession, and then seemingly tried to pass back out to Bibby when he completely lost control, and responded by being the last person back on defense, as well. His teammates fought hard and prevented a transition basket, but once Josh finally back across half court (and it's not like he had that far to go) the Magic did score, and he was chewed out by Bibby in the ensuing time-out.

Jerry Hinnen said...

My favorite was his failure to cross halfcourt as the Magic missed a transition basket and had the rebound carom all the way to the three-point line ... where Smith would have been standing if he'd, you know, bothered to run back.The Magic scored on the rebound.

Question for you, Brett: NBA consensus wisdom holds that good offense leads to good defense. Made baskets stop transition, better team spirit leads to greater defensive effort, etc. But the Hawks' best two offensive outings on the road this playoffs--game 4 vs. Milwaukee, last night--have coincided with two terrible defensive outings. Meanwhile, their best road defensive performance--game 6 vs. Bucks--coincided with a terrible offensive performance. Why are the Hawks incapable, it seems, of putting together a good game on both ends of the floor on the road? I look at Smith last night, and I honestly wonder if the Hawks don't get so excited by their brief glimmers of offensive competence on the road that they let down their guard defensively.

Then again, maybe it's just random noise. The Magic have certainly had their way with the Hawks' defense before.

Bret LaGree said...

Jerry --

I'd guess it's just one of those things. The Hawks aren't hard to stretch out and carve up defensively. They really only look good on that end when the other team is missing jump shots. Plus, there's little rhyme or reason to when the Hawks focus and execute offensively. It comes and it goes...there may be a multiple personality disorder joke to be made about it, but I can't piece it together right now.

My guess, if there is a reason, it's that the Hawks lull good defensive teams into a low-possession shootout every now and then by letting them score on the vast majority of their possessions and creating such confidence for their opponents that they take a rare break from locking down defensively. It's sort of the upscale, half-court version of the Warriors or Raptors.

jrauch said...

I knew the Hawks were in for it when ESPN showed Woody giving the pre-4th quarter pep talk.
"Let's show what we can do in the 4th quarter," he said.
I knew then the rout would be on, given Hawks 4th quarter basketball is playing with both hands firmly around our throats.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Thanks, Brett. Sounds as good as any theory I'd come up with.