Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Hawks forward Josh Smith explained it to a crowd minutes after the Bucks were dispatched Sunday in Game 7 of their first round series.
“We’re going to see how [Hawks coach Mike Woodson] wants us to play him in practice and hopefully that works,” Smith said of how the Hawks could deal with Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard. “If not, we’ll have a plan B and a plan C. Dwight’s a beast and a well-rested beast.”
Uh, it’s time for Plan B, C, D, E, F and whatever else the Hawks have hanging on their utility belt!
Because the initial plan resulted in a 43-point beating administered by Howard and his Magic mates, a game that was actually tied at 27-27 before going sideways in a horrible way for the Hawks.
The Hawks spent so much time worrying with Howard that they didn’t account for all the work he did setting up his teammates. His was usually the first pass in a series of several that resulted in quality open shots for the Magic, who shot 52 percent from the floor. Howard was as effective as he’s been in any game during these playoffs, going for 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Howard also stayed out of foul trouble early while also tagging the Hawks with severe foul complications early.
If the Hawks’ master plan was to unleash Jason Collins on Howard, it didn’t work either. That failed attempt at getting physical with Howard backfired in the worst way.
Woodson talked about his team not having any “juice” in Game 1. Well, they better squeeze some out of someone in time for Game 2 Thursday or they could be headed for a four-game conference semifinal exit for the second straight season (last year Cleveland swept a wounded Hawks team out of the playoffs).
And I wouldn’t suggest following the script of the Charlotte Bobcats. They’ve been celebrated for “competing” against the Magic and frustrating Howard. But last time I checked they got swept in that series.
If the Hawks want to avoid the same fate, their chalk talk session today better include some new and unorthodox innovations.Try a zone or a figure-four leg lock or something.
Because this here
is not going to get the job done.