Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hawks 84, Cavs 95 or Where when the jump shots don't fall, the Hawks have no Plan B.

The Hawks lost real, real ugly to the Cavs. I mean, they only lost by 11, but they literally did not score one point in the 4th quarter until there were under four minutes left. Not one damn point. I'm not going to do a Good Bad and Ugly. I'm not even all that upset about this game, but for my article in Score this week I made the case (as much of a case as you can make in 350 words) that the offense should run through Al. I'm going to post it below and everything you see in bold is directly related to what happened in the 4th quarter tonight. Oh yeah, Marvin defended LeBron better than any of us could have reasonably expected. Kudos to him.

Al Horford is being horribly underused in the Hawks offense. Is he “undersized”? Sure, but whatever he lacks in size he more than makes up for with athleticism, quickness and determination. He is not a perfect post player, but he is the Hawks most efficient post player. He’s shooting almost 60% from the field and that’s mostly due to his hard work on the offensive glass. In other words, a lot of his points come from rebounding his teammate’s misses. One can’t help but wonder what might happen if the Hawks consistently ran plays for him. Horford is being treated like a dirty work player and he deserves better than that. Quite frankly, the offense should run through him. Jump shots will not always fall, however they will always be available. The one thing the Hawks have is a group of guards who know how to get their shots off whether they’re being defended by one player or three players. They could get easier shots if they establish a consistent post game. Horford works extremely hard in the post and there are many nights when the guys who are guarding him have no chance of stopping him. The only people who stop Horford from being dominant are his teammates. Having a legitimate post threat would make the game so much easier for the shooters. Imagine Horford being double teamed and passing the ball to a wide open Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford or Mike Bibby or Marvin Williams or Mo Evans. If the Hawks want to be a serious contender they’ve got to figure out a way to score points when the jump shots aren’t falling. It’s early in the season, but we’ve seen this team go through some awful shooting slumps. The second half of the Orlando game and the second quarter of the Dallas game were the worst. Their only defense against that is to throw the ball down low and get high percentage shots. Make things a little easier on yourselves in the New Year, and let the “Boss” lead the team.

Al had a rough night tonight, but my feelings are the same. He is their best shot at getting an easy bucket and they consistently fail to use him. If the guards are going to dribble until they're open or semi open, then at least dribble towards the damn basket. You cannot dribble for 18 seconds and still be 27 feet away from the goal when you decide to shoot. You just can't.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hawks 104, Nuggets 124 or Where JR Smith was insanely hot and the Hawks didn't bother to try to cool him off.

Over the course of an 82 game season, your favorite team is going to lose some games. We all acknowledge and accept that, however some losses are just worse than others. The loss to the Nuggets tonight was a bad loss. I know the Hawks were playing a back to back and I know they were still without Joe Smith and I know the air is thin or nonexistent in Denver and I know they probably wanted a little payback for that ass whippin they took in Atlanta, but this was still a bad loss and here's why......

The Good: JR Smith He was insane tonight. Were he not playing against the Hawks I most certainly would have marveled at the wide open threes he drained one after the other. I also would have marveled at the slightly contested threes he drained one after the other, but since he was doing it to the Hawks the only thing I could focus on was their attempts at defending him. (I'll get to that later) JR was 15-25 from the floor including 10 made 3 pointers. He ended the night with 41 points. Honorable Mention: Al Horford. He finished with 18 points on 7-9 shots and he had 11 rebounds.

The Bad:
The Hawks continued insistence on ignoring Al Horford on offense. Look, Al is not perfect in the post, but he is the best post option the Hawks have, yet they're reluctant if not down right unwilling to use him. Yes, he's undersized, but he makes up for it with quickness and determination. I can't think of too many games where Al just got used and abused without trying as hard as he could to defend whomever he was defending. The boy works hard, yet they treat him like he's a dirty work player. They act like he's there to do nothing more than rebound their misses and the misses of the opposition. Al is better than that and someone on the team is going to have to eventually figure that out. In the last two losses Al established himself in the 3rd quarter only to have the 4th qtr come along and then his guards revert back to ignoring him. Something's got to change. Jump-shots will always be there, especially when you've got guards who dribble for 17 seconds to create jump-shots for themselves.

The Ugly:
The lack of defensive adjustments on JR Smith. JR is streaky and when he's hot he's hot, but that does not excuse our coach's unwillingness to do something to make it hard on him. They didn't do anything to take the ball out of his hands. NOTHING. It was obvious very early on that one person was not going to be able to stop JR, so one would reasonably assume the coach and or one of his minions might suggest getting the ball out of his hands. One would be wrong. Just look at what the Nuggets did to Joe. They smothered him to a point that he couldn't dribble his way out of it to get off a jump shot. He had 9 assists for no other reason than the Nuggets gave him no choice but to pass the ball. We all know Joe usually has no problem shooting over 1-4 people, but the Nuggets took that option away tonight. They had a game plan and they executed it. The Hawks had a game plan too I assume, but JR screwed it up and they didn't do anything to adjust. Over the past few weeks I've read a handful of articles from people wondering why Coach Woodson hasn't been extended. As a Hawks fan who watches pretty much all of the games (most of the home games in person) I know why he hasn't been extended. Unfortunately most of the people writing the columns questioning his lack of a contract don't really watch Hawks games so they don't know why. Well in a nutshell, he still needs to prove he can coach em up in close games and he hasn't done that consistently. The blowout wins are great, but they don't tell you shit about a coach. You need to see what he does when the pressure is on. Coach Woodson continues to fail in some areas that quite frankly he shouldn't be failing in at this point in his life. Chances are if you read this blog you already know what those areas are. If this is your first time reading it, you'll have to come back for a post dedicated exclusively to the shortcomings of our great coach. This post isn't about that, and it's gotten way too long as it is.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Quick Conversation with Jamal Crawford (as seen in Score)

Since coming to the Hawks this summer Jamal Crawford has wasted no time ingratiating himself to the city of Atlanta. His bags are barely unpacked yet he's already had two charity events. Tis the season for giving and he is giving a lot to this city on and off the court. I caught up with him for a few minutes at his annual Giving Tree event. You can check out the interview HERE

To find out how you can help via Jamal Crawford, check out jamalcrawford.org

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Coming to you from my mobile phone! Great win for the Hawks. Joe The Basketball Player showed up tonight. Thanks. Also, I'm glad the NBA has old ass refs. They clearly missed the whole Al Horford back court thing. Whatever, we'll take it. This win doesn't excuse the loss to the Knicks. I'm still pissed about that. Go Hawks!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Might as well try this mobile blogging thing. Just wanted say that I don't know who this Hawks team is. Are they the team who went to the Garden and beat Boston or are they the team who lost to the Knicks at Philips Arena. Its not fair for them to try to be both. Pick one! Either suck badly all the time, or play like contenders all the time!