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esimonds03

Hollinger on Hawks

9 posts in this topic

Per ESPN Insider:

Atlanta

The Hawks could not be further off the radar right now, but it might be time for that perception to change. For instance, Orlando is a big story after having won nine straight games. But did you know that Orlando has gained only two games on the Hawks during its current streak?

Although I harp on new coach Larry Drew's insistence on "fouling out" his players in the second quarter and his inexplicable zest for all things Josh Powell (on Saturday against Indiana, he called three straight post-ups for the guy), one must concede that Drew has improved the Hawks greatly in two other respects.

Especially noticeable is that there's far better ball movement than in the "iso-Joe" offense under Mike Woodson. But perhaps more important is that the Hawks' formerly shambolic transition D has significantly improved now that they're not sending the entire team to the offensive glass. Atlanta has dropped to 24th in offensive rebound rate, from fifth a season go, which is the main reason the offense hasn't been as efficient … but by the same token, the Hawks are also a very solid 11th in defensive efficiency.

This team remains flawed -- it's basically four good players and a whole lot of filler -- but has coped with injuries surprisingly well. Atlanta held down the fort without Joe Johnson, going 5-4 while he missed nine games with an elbow problem; when he returned, the Hawks won three of four even with Jamal Crawford out.

As a result, the Hawks are on the upswing -- winners of eight of 10, including a 23-point beatdown of the Jazz in Utah last week -- and up to fifth in the Power Rankings. No, not fifth in the East -- fifth in the entire league. Atlanta projects to win 52 games according to today's Playoff Odds and is a serious threat to grab a top-four seed in the East.

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But perhaps more important is that the Hawks' formerly shambolic transition D has significantly improved now that they're not sending the entire team to the offensive glass.

Funny that we were just talking about this today.

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Funny that we were just talking about this today.

Transition Defense is probably the main reason we have beat Orlando this year instead of losing by 40 points. I know the whole "Jason Collins on Howard" is getting the hype but where Orlando really killed us last year was in transition. We were unable to offensive rebound against Dwight and since our strategy all season was to ISO Joe and hope for rebounds off of his misses it led to wide open looks all game for Howard and the Magic. This year, we are actually playing sound defense and Orlando has to beat us in the half-court game where we have also improved pretty dramatically.

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Absolutely amazing that Hollinger had anything nice to say about the Hawks.

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Transition Defense is probably the main reason we have beat Orlando this year instead of losing by 40 points. I know the whole "Jason Collins on Howard" is getting the hype but where Orlando really killed us last year was in transition. We were unable to offensive rebound against Dwight and since our strategy all season was to ISO Joe and hope for rebounds off of his misses it led to wide open looks all game for Howard and the Magic. This year, we are actually playing sound defense and Orlando has to beat us in the half-court game where we have also improved pretty dramatically.

I think it's really that we have gotten rid of the switching defense. That's not to say that we can beat them in a set. However, now since we're not always in a mismatch and we don't switch to cover Bibby we can play better man defense and stay on guys who normally kill us like Reddick. Collins on Howard does have it's place. It's not that Collins is some master defensive player or that he's that good. However, he stands in the way really well. Howard just has to work harder to score on Collins. Then we build a league and just like they always do, Orlando goes away from Howard...

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Some of his comments are puzzling or just plain wrong. The 'fouling-out' guys in the second quarter is overblown by both him and MC. If you really believe as he states that the Hawks have 4 good players and a lot of filler then sitting guys with fouls in the secondn quarter makes a whole lot of sense.

The comment about Josh Powell smacks of a guy who just watched his first Hawks game since thanksgiving. Josh has been DNP and 2 minute stretches for about 4 weeks now.

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He's at most of the games, but it seems he's more intent on paying attention to, and writing about the empty seats than writing actual credible Hawks material.

Maybe ESPN has made Philips his beat, and the poor writing quality is a cry for re-assignment?

:help wanted3:

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I think it's really that we have gotten rid of the switching defense. That's not to say that we can beat them in a set. However, now since we're not always in a mismatch and we don't switch to cover Bibby we can play better man defense and stay on guys who normally kill us like Reddick. Collins on Howard does have it's place. It's not that Collins is some master defensive player or that he's that good. However, he stands in the way really well. Howard just has to work harder to score on Collins. Then we build a league and just like they always do, Orlando goes away from Howard...

Not anymore. Turkish Jordan is back and is passing to Dwight like he's Kareem.

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