Running with Zaza

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Hawks vs. Nets - Complacency...Already?

Coaching staffs in the NBA watch more film than any other basketball coaches. They are going to find the opponent’s weaknesses and try to exploit them. Last night, New Jersey beat the Hawks and the Nets showed everyone the weaknesses in the Hawks’ roster. The Hawks played hard and shot great from 3 point range to make the game close. However, the Hawks’ defense missed the fire and determination that got them off to a 6-0 start. They are playing short-handed. It was a long week away from home and the Boston game was a heartbreaker, but New Jersey exposed some things that the Hawks and Coach Woodson need to improve.

The Hawks cannot stop an offensive minded point guard. In the 4th quarter, Woodson did not even try to use Bibby on Devin Harris. Flip Murray was put on Harris to try and slow him down. Murray is playing great, but there is a reason he is a career back up. Harris was better down the stretch. He made a couple of huge 3 point shots and he penetrated and dropped a dime to Brook Lopez for a dunk. Bibby has to be on the floor for his shooting and savvy, but Coach Woodson is going to have to figure out what to do against scoring point guards. Hard to play zone in the 4th quarter, but the Hawks might have to mix it in on possessions out of time out or one single possessions.

Al Horford is a power forward. He is not a center. When Horford had to guard Brook Lopez he was over matched. Zaza is a quality bench player, but he did not step up last night. The same was true of Solomon Jones. Lopez looks like a bonafide NBA player. He scored and he actually bothered shots around the rim. The problem for the Hawks is that this weakness does not get solved when Josh Smith returns. Playing Marvin Williams at the power forward spreads the floor on offense, but he cannot guard bigger or smaller players. Zaza and Solomon have to bring their best every night.

Who is Ryan Anderson? I had to go to the Nets web page and look this guy up. As far as an all around floor game, Anderson was second only to Joe Johnson in impacting the game. He was all over the floor. He rebounded, hit 3 point shots, drove and scored. He is a big time energy guy. The Hawks had no one playing like that last night. Hopefully, that is not a sign of a ‘we just have to show up and win’ attitude.

The Flip Murray and Mo Evans dynamic duo already has inspired nicknames in the media. Talk radio, sports writers, and Joe the plumber all have come up with there own take on the immediate impact these guys have made. Check out my posts from this summer and you will see that I was a huge fan of Rick Sund’s moves to sign these guys. But, is it possible the attention has already made the Hawks too overconfident.

Against New Jersey last night, Evans did not even score. He had some open looks, but he looked uncomfortable especially when the Nets played their 2-3 zone. He looked tired at the end of the week long road trip. Evans is noted for his defense, but not sure yet if Coach Woodson trusts him in one on one match ups in crunch time. Against the Celtics and against the Nets, Woodson had Joe Johnson guarding Pierce and Vince Carter in the final minutes. I think Evans can be a defensive stopper.

Listen, I am firmly on the Hawks bandwagon, but the margin of error is slim in the NBA. The Hawks have to play defense every night to have a chance to win. Excuses about travel or whatever will come back to haunt you. Tonight fans should be worried about one thing—Vince Carter. Carter has the kind of talent to show up tonight on a back to back and get 40 points. The Hawks should have beaten New Jersey last night, and I expect them to come out tonight and blow the Nets out of Philips Arena.

 
 
 
 

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tha DJ said...

welcome back to the bandwagon, i thought we lost u there for a minute.. lol

November 16, 2008 at 9:20 AM

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