– Hawks show they can win in different ways (from Ray Glier, USAToday):
‘” When Golden State tried to fit a lineup on the floor to solve the Hawks offense of threes, Atlanta set screens, rolled to the basket, popped out, and greeted all the switches the Warriors made on defense with a big smile. Because suddenly there was Paul Millsap, 6-foot-8 and a bulky 246 pounds, looking down on a guard and barreling to the basket. There was 6-10 Al Horford running at the rim with a slower big man trying to keep up.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr had to go to a smaller lineup when his 7-footer Andrew Bogut came face-to-face with 6-foot-1 guard Dennis Schroder late in the third quarter. Instinctively, the Hawks shifted the floor away from Schroder to give him room to bamboozle Bogut and the little guy faked a drive, stopped, and popped in a floating 11-footer. When Bogut left the game and the lane was free, the path was made easier for Millsap to abuse and Horford to rim run.
It is a basketball savvy and maturity to behold, and a pretty good reason why coach Mike Budenholzer should be, so far, the NBA Coach of the Year. When the Hawks get a mismatch, they recognize it instantly, and lock in on it. They do not take panicked looks at the shot clock and they sure don’t pass up the chance to exploit the mismatch. The Hawks’ egos, never, ever, get in the way (‘hey, it’s my turn to shoot’).”
Read it here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/02/07/warriors-hawks-jeff-teague-paul-millsap-al-horford-stephen-curry-klay-thompson/23034633/
– Hawks, Warriors Stage Classic In New Age of NBA (from KL Chounard, Hawks.com):
” The emergence of the three-point shot helped reshape NBA offenses to the style now played by Golden State and Atlanta, but Kyle Korver noted that the biggest incentive for fixing ball-stopping offenses may have actually involved fixing the defenses.
“The trend a couple of years ago was Coach Thibs’ defense: loading up the one side of the floor, stopping the iso,” Korver said, referring to Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau and his tendency to put extra defenders on the same side of the court as the ball.
“A lot of teams have caught onto that. A lot of teams do that now.”
As a result, teams have figured out that the proper counterattack, the best means for getting high-percentage shots, is through ball movement.
This contest had ball movement in spades. After the two teams scored a combined 240 points on each other’s top-5 ranked defenses, Korver compared the Hawks and Warriors.
“We’re different teams, and we have different personnel but I think a lot of the philosophy is probably similar. Both teams play with the pass, both teams play with space, both teams have a lot of shooting, both teams play great defense. I think that gets lost.”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/hawks/hawks-warriors-stage-classic-new-age-nba
– Hawks vs. Warriors (from Mike Prada, SBNation):
” Switching doesn’t work against the Hawks either.
As the Hawks kept racking up victories, a school of thought developed on how to stop them. Rather then try to fight through every screen in a fruitless attempt to keep up with Korver off the ball or contain Teague in the pick and roll, some argued it made more sense to switch assignments and bait the Hawks into going at mismatches. At least this strategy prevents the Hawks from kicking their legendary flow into high gear.
With their surplus of 6’7 wings, the Warriors seemed to offer the best test case for this theory. And as usual, the Warriors constantly took advantage of their interchangeability, trading assignments on the weakside and even letting Curry guard Paul Millsap in the post at times.
It … didn’t work.”
Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/2/6/7994531/hawks-vs-warriors-score-final-recap-nba
– Hawks’ depth and former AAU teammates prove to be deciding factors vs. Warriors (from Jacob Eisenberg, sheridanhoops.com):
Read it here: http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/02/07/eisenberg-hawks-depth-deciding-factor-vs-warriors/
(BI Note: Game One of the Best-of-Nine NBA Finals series was outstanding. Next up: Game Two in Oakland on March 18. We will be there.)
– An NBA Friday night to remember (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):
” The last Friday before the NBA all-star break gave us a few things to consider for the remainder of the season: Time is running out before the rest of the league has to start being very afraid of Anthony Davis. The Russell Westbrook Appreciation Society should have a slew of new members after this week. Continue dismissing the passing-every-test Atlanta Hawks at your own peril. Cleveland has figured out a lot in recent weeks but winning in Indiana and getting that Kevin Love to work all the time aren’t among them. And finally, Minnesota isn’t finishing with the league’s worst record if Ricky Rubio’s around.”
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/02/07/an-nba-friday-night-to-remember/
– For Patrick Ewing, deep-rooted dedication drives him towards head coaching goal (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):
” Thirty years after graduating from Georgetown and going first overall to the New York Knicks with aspirations of winning titles at the rate of Bill Russell, Ewing is associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets and harbors grander aspirations. Ewing is still hoping some owner or general manager will finally decide to take a chance on an all-time great who has been paying his dues on the sideline with a sharp suit and a clipboard for more than a decade.
Ewing’s pursuit of an NBA head coaching job has yielded only two interviews in 13 years, but he remains committed to chasing it — just like his long and ultimately fruitless quest for a championship ring. “I’d like the opportunity to succeed or fail like everybody else. I can’t sit around and boo-hoo, ‘They won’t give me an opportunity,’ ” Ewing said. “I just keep working and keep grinding, and whenever my name is called or somebody decides to give me that call, I just want to make sure I’m ready.””
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/for-patrick-ewing-deep-rooted-dedication-drives-him-towards-head-coaching-goal/2015/02/05/95cb2e9a-acac-11e4-9c91-e9d2f9fde644_story.html
– Jared Sullinger’s safe playmaking (from Jay King, Masslive.com):
” Sullinger’s safe playmaking has become a precious pillar for the Boston Celtics offense. His low turnover totals are even more impressive because the Celtics use him so often to handle the ball. He initiates dribble hand-offs, finds backdoor cutters and executes an occasional spin move to the hoop. He cuts to the middle, stops to receive a pass and whips the ball to the opposite corner. He works in the post, draws double-teams, and finds open teammates.
Sullinger has found open teammates a lot lately. Over the last three games, he has established a career high in assists twice, racking up 17 assists compared to just two turnovers. His inside-outside game has helped small lineups prosper. The brilliant playmaking stretch has only highlighted what might currently count as Sullinger’s greatest offensive strength: the ability to facilitate offense while keeping possession for his team.
Before we continue, know these assists are not all simple. Sullinger’s creativity, vision and feel allow him to try passes a lot of big men wouldn’t consider.”
Read and view it here: http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/02/jared_sullinger_play-making_bo.html
– All-Star starting nod just the beginning for Raptors’ Lowry (from Ian Thomsen, NBA.com):
” Guard took path he wanted to become both All-Star, team leader”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/ian_thomsen/02/07/all-star-2015-kyle-lowry-toronto-raptors-forges-own-path-to-all-star-starting-nod/
– A VISUAL GUIDE TO JIMMY BUTLER’S ASCENT (from Martin Kessler, triangleoffense.com):
Read and view it here: http://triangleoffense.com/features/the-gifted-a-visual-guide-to-jimmy-butlers-ascent/
– Zach Randolph Is Having Himself a Season (from Mike Honkasalo, Vantage Sports):
Read and view it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VM_ZnSUAACHVp_fK/zach-randolph-is-having-himself-a-season
– James Harden’s clutch defense seals win for the Rockets (from Matt Moore CBS Sports):
” Giannis Antetokounmpo had a huge night Friday. Twenty-seven points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and a block in a loss to the Rockets. But with a chance off a long rebound to make a big play in transition, a Houston Rocket stepped up and made a defensive play to essentially seal the game for the Rockets.
Yes, it was James Harden.”
Read and view it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25061669/video-james-hardens-clutch-defense-seals-win-for-the-rockets
– Five NBA D-League Assistants Who Could Find Success As Head Coaches (from Keith Schlosser, ridiculousupside.com):
Read it here: http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/2/3/7972687/five-nba-d-league-assistants-who-could-find-success-as-head-coaches
– D-League: Can Jack Cooley Or Jerrelle Benimon Contribute I n the NBA? (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):
Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/02/06/d-league-can-jack-cooley-or-jerrelle-benimon-contribute-in-the-nba/
Stat of the Night: Last night’s game was the second of a back-to back for the Cavs . Prior to last night, Kevin Love was shooting 37.3% in 2nd game of back-to-backs (12 games), 41.7% on one day of rest (27 games), and 55.6% on two days of rest (7 games). Last night’s Love went 2-for-8.
– QOTN (from Coach Satch Sullinger, responding to son Jared’s rationalizations regarding showing up late for two games in a row):
“In his mind, he’s going, ‘Other people might have done this. Other people might have done that.’ And he tried that with me. My point was, ‘I don’t have a nickel or a dime with anyone else. You’re a Sullinger and you’re my son. I want to talk about you. I want to talk about your growth and your development and that maturity doesn’t take place until you start dealing in reality.’
“My message to him was you can come up with all the rationale and all the reasons you want, but the bottom line and reality is you were late. Once you start dealing with that reality, then maturity can start taking its place. But until you accept it, then you’re just fighting the process of manhood.
“I said to him, ‘Fight the process if you want to. You can rationalize it any way you want in your head. But this is your final process of manhood when you start accepting responsibility of doing things the way a man’s supposed to do things.’ I told him I’m not mad at him; I’m not disappointed in him. This is just the last process of him consummating this thing called manhood. And as his father, I’m supposed to help him do it.”
Additional Player Updates:
– Eric Gordon: http://theadvocate.com/sports/pelicans/11536289-148/now-healthy-pelicans-eric-gordon
– Marcus Morris: http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/02/07/marcus-morris-career-night-important/
– Jared Sullinger: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/02/jared_sullingers_father_offers_tough_love
– Tim Frazier: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/02/07/point-guard-tim-frazier-has-come-long-way/hbSY7HOHRJxIu7SbHsWLKO/story.html and http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/sixers-tim-frazier-goes-td-garden-stands-nba-debut-boston-celtics
– J.R. Smith: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/02/terrys_talkin_about_how_jr_smi.html
– Patrick Patterson: http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2015/02/06/raptors-patrick-patterson-plays-role-to-max-griffin.
– Wayne Ellington: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150208_Basketball_helps_Ellington_deal_with_killing_of_father.html
– Khris Middleton: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VNGFPSUAAO3zq08G/khris-middleton-just-pulled-off-a-month-long-kyle-korver-impersonation
– Ricky Rubio: http://www.canishoopus.com/2015/2/6/7994889/rubio-rallies-wolves-very-late-to-down-grizzlies-90-89