"I thought our execution of what the gameplan was was right on the money. We wanted to defend the three; I thought we did a good job of that. We wanted to defend Howard one-on-one; I thought we did a good job of that. We just didn’t make timely plays."Stan Van Gundy:
"I thought tonight was a good win for us because we’re shooting the ball so poorly right now. Our perimeter shooting has been abominable and we had to win just by fighting."Though Van Gundy was, understandably, not pleased with the shooting he had to be fairly content with the shot distribution.
"We wanted to be able to show the Orlando Magic we can come in and make a game out of it and not just hand them the game."Mission accomplished. Next step, wanting to win in Orlando.
"Definitely this is something we can build on. We feel like we can honestly play with any team in this league. I think our coaching staff does a great job of preparing us and getting us ready for games."Michael Cunningham points out that the Hawks lost control of the game as soon as Larry Drew went to the bench in the first quarter:
Things went awry when L.D. started sending in the reserves. After Josh Powell scored for a 23-10 lead, Atlanta’s possessions to end the first quarter went like this: Jamal miss, Jamal turnover, Zaza turnover, Jamal miss, Jamal missed free throw on Rashard Lewis tech, Zaza turnover, Teague turnover, Josh miss.Larry Drew on the bench's performance:
"When I went to the bench, the energy level went down. We kind of lost focus. Offensively, we started trying to do it individually and defensively we didn’t play with as much physicality as our first unit. That got Orlando going."Though Drew's offensive system delights the fans, his use of The Horford Treatment and this conflation of energy and talent may be far too reminiscent of Mike Woodson for some.
Speaking of the familiar from seasons past, Al Horford on the fourth quarter offense:
"It was taking us too long to get into our offensive sets. So instead of getting into our plays at 16 or 17 [on the shot clock], we were doing it at 8. That was kind of putting ourselves in a jam."What was unfamiliar was the attention to and success on the defensive glass (Orlando grabbed just 3 of 13 possible offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, just 3 of 25 possible offensive rebounds in the second half.) that preceded the offensive possessions. The fourth quarter was the lowest possession quarter of the night by my count.
I'm adding Jason Williams's vote regarding Al Horford, perimeter defender, to my column:
"I watched him last night and Horford was switching everything. I was kind of surprised they waited that late to do it."Vince Carter deserves special mention for his role in the Orlando victory. I'll hand that task off to Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post:
Vince Carter scored 19 points in 26 foul-plagued minutes to lead the Magic to victory despite their poor stroke from the outside.Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball questions a couple of Stan Van Gundy's decisions:
Carter scored delivered the Magic's biggest buckets, with two layups and a free throw in a 57-second span which helped the Magic bump their lead to four points.
Look, Duhon does his job and manages the game but he’s not a threat on offense. Heading into the contest against Atlanta, Duhon’s usage rate was 11.2 percent. That’s extremely low. As such, the Hawks were able to get away with playing Mike Bibby — a defensive sieve — extended minutes because Duhon posed no threat offensively. On Duhon’s lone made basket of the game, Bibby stood a few feet away from him and dared him to shoot. That’s no good.Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk on the game of the night:
As for Anderson, Horford got the best of him more often than not when matched up against each other. But why? Atlanta chose to start Jason Collins at center against Howard. Maybe there’s something missing in the equation, but Van Gundy could have easily assigned Howard on Horford in a cross matchup. It’s not like these are two players that haven’t been matched up before. The absences of Nelson and Marvin Williams created some quirky starting lineups but when stripping away the layers, Howard should have guarded Horford as he has in the past.
This game had just about everything the Hawks needed to beat the Magic — no Jameer Nelson, the Magic being cold from three, Atlanta off to a fast start, Vince Carter and Dwight Howard in foul trouble — and it was still the Magic.Today's quick hitter on NBA Playbook, a double-screen for Joe Johnson off of a Crawford/Johnson pick-and-roll the Hawks ran coming out of a timeout in the first quarter last night.
The Hawks are still the Hawks — a good team a step or two behind the elite in the East. And pretty much locked in there. And the Magic are still in that elite.