Running with Zaza

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Hawks Have to Stay Grounded for Game 2

Hopefully, Mike Woodson and his coaching staff have been able to bring the soaring Hawks back down to Earth after Sunday’s big win. The city is buzzing about this team and the danger is that the players just show up and expect to beat the Heat again. Some people are even talking about a sweep which is ridiculous. The Hawks need to understand that they are going to face a much different Miami Heat team on Wednesday night in Game 2.

For starters, the Heat’s young players should come out with a better idea of intensity needed to compete in the playoffs and of the noise level in Philips Arena. Last year, a veteran team like the Celtics was rattled in the Hawks home arena, so the Heat’s struggles were not unprecedented. Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, and company should all be better on Wednesday night.

Secondly, Dwayne Wade clearly was rusty from his week long lay off. The Hawks defense has done a solid job on Wade all season, but he did play up to his normal standards. I like the way the Hawks forwards helped Joe and Mo Evans by challenging every one of Wade's attempts. Undoubtedly, Wade is going to be on a mission in Game 2.

The Heat are sure to run more screen and roll on the wing to try and get him into the middle of the floor. I also see Coach Spoelstra running some zipper cut action to get Wade the ball at the top of the floor. I would actually not bring the screener in this case and let Wade work one on one. The Heat could flatten out their offense to a 1-4 low set with 3 point shooters in the corners.

Finally, the best feature of the Hawks' win on Sunday was their unselfish play on the offenive end of the floor. The Hawks were very focused on the offensive end. The ball movement reminded me of that great stretch of home games in December.

Clearly, Coach Woodson had a game plan to attack the Miami Heat inside. Smith, Horford, and Zaza had opportunities in the paint early in the game. Getting alley oop dunks, easy post scores, and offensive put backs opened up the outside shooting for the Hawks perimeter players.

The Hawks have the experience not to look beyone Game 2. Stay focused on the task at hand. Offensively, they have to stick to their game plan. Defensively, they need to be ready for an all out assault from D-Wade. Wade might take over 30 shots in this game. The Hawks defense on Wade is the key. If Wade responds with an all around monster game with a near triple-double, the Hawks are in trouble and the Heat can steal a game at the Highlight Factory.


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