Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quotes, Notes, and Links: Orlando Magic 98 Atlanta Hawks 84




I have a short piece (#3) on Mike Woodson in The Daily Dime this morning.

Joe Johnson:
"I told [teammates] to keep their heads up regardless what they say about us. We had a hell of a year. It wasn’t a good series, but the whole season was good."
Josh Smith:
"We are disappointed at the series but we can’t let a bad series overturn all the good we did the whole entire season. Coming into the postseason we thought we could do something special but we couldn’t get it done."
Mike Woodson:
"I’m proud of our basketball team and what we’ve accomplished this season. We did a lot of good things this season. I’m happy in the direction the team is going. Sure we have to get better. But it’s a big jump from the first round to the second, third and Finals. We’re still learning."
I'm empathetic, but I also suspect little of value was learned by those who got swept.

But not nothing...

Al Horford on the Orlando Magic:
"Just watch and see their level of intensity they play with. That defines their team. They’re a championship-caliber team. Just take that in and play like that for next season. It takes a whole lot of effort. It’s almost to the point where you have to make yourself feel uncomfortable out there. We didn’t have that this year. With some of our guys when fatigue set in, everybody kind of shied away from it."
"Whatever happens, whether I am here or somewhere else, this team is in a better place than before I got here. That means a lot to me and my staff.

Sometimes I don’t think we get the credit because the media is so brutal on coaches. It’s awful. But I’m not going to let that send me in a tizzy or send me the other way because I can hold my head high for what I’ve done in six years.

I would love to stay. I started this six years ago and I would like to finish it."
It may be finished. Few teams get a happy ending.

Joe Johnson on the reason(s) for his poor series against Orlando:
"[It's] a number of things I’d rather not talk about. Like I said, no excuses."
It's unclear to me whether Johnson has no excuses or is running the excuses by his agency first so as not to repeat the mistake he made following Game 3.

Stan Van Gundy:
"One thing I’m real confident in with our team is our mental preparation. I know our energy and intensity will be there. When we get beat, it’s not been because we’ve not been ready to play. As a coach, that’s about the best thing you can say."
All together now, Hawks fans, "We just weren't ready to play."

Mark Bradley takes it a level above the Unnamed Scout by talking to Unnamed Former NBA Head Coach:
Even though Joe Johnson pulled another playoff disappearance, he remains one of the toughest players to defend in the league. He’s the focal point of every opposing scouting report.

Assuming it comes open, the Hawks’ coaching job will be seen as a plum. Even if Johnson leaves, this won’t be a team starting over. Horford, Smith and Crawford are major talents, and there’s no telling what Johnson could fetch in a sign-and-trade. The right coaching hire could elevate this team immediately.
I believe Joe Johnson is the focal point of scouting reports. He holds the ball most of the time. As to the former idea, LeBron James is tough to guard. Kevin Durant is tough to guard. Dwyane Wade is tough to guard. Carmelo Anthony is tough to guard. Kobe Bryant (when healthy) is tough to guard. Good teams, if they don't let Joe Johnson get his points*, allow him to get them how he wants to get them because he's not an efficient enough scorer to do any real damage.

*And even then, his scoring rate this season was more similar to Jamal Crawford, Chauncey Billups, Monta Ellis, or Al Harrington than any of the All-NBA no-brainers.

Ben Q Rock will remember Jamal Crawford as a beacon of light from this series:
Say what you will about how Orlando out-everything Atlanta in this series, but there's nothing bad you can say about Crawford after his 1-of-11 debacle in Game 1. A cynic might argue that what Crawford did in this series--score a lot of points for an awful team--is unremarkable because he's done it his whole career. I disagree with that idea, which is unfair to Crawford, one of the few Hawks to give an honest effort in these games. He deserves better.
John Hollinger on Orlando's dominance:
[T]he Magic have beat a lot of good teams. Actually, that's an understatement. They aren't just beating people -- they're killing them. Twenty of the 27 wins have been by double figures, and many were one-sided beatdowns -- such as the wins by 43 and 30 over Atlanta in Games 1 and 3. Monday's win, by a mere 14, barely moved the needle on their average victory margin.

See if you can wrap your heads around this one: Orlando has outscored opponents by a whopping 421 points over its past 30 games. To put this in perspective, the Lakers, Suns and Celtics -- who could be the other three teams left standing when the conference finals start next week -- didn't outscore the opposition by 421 points over the entirety of the 82-game regular season, much less in the final 30 games of it.

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