Time For Plan B Hawks

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

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is not going to get the job done.

12 Comments

  1. t-bone says:

    If you think having 8 DAYS off is an advantage, than you don’t know the NBA. Unless your recovering from an injury a pro does’t want more than 2 days off. The game was close in the first quarter because it took 12 min to shake off the rust of a long layoff. Don’t get me wrong Orlando is not going to win every game by 40 but they are a more talented team than the hawks, even without Dwight because off thier depth and balence. They have 5 or 6 players than can score 30 plus points on any gives night, but because they are so deep they don’t need to. Backup center Gortot would be a starter on most teams and thats the case with the whole second and 3rd stringers. The might not be a all around powerhose individually but there is no sigh of relief when the 2nd or 3rd stringer comes in, they all have to be garded and respected, there is just no letup. Then you add Dwight to the mix and that leavs only one question, “Will the Magic maintain focus on both ends of the floor and win, or will they lose focus and give you a chance to win” I think top to bottum and left to right the Magic are the best team in the NBA, but tallent and potential don’t win it all. At that level you have to have the focus, disciplin, and desire as well. Untill provin otherwise its the Magic in the East but the LAKERS overall!

    By the way I dont like the Lakers but they are the deservid defending champs.

  2. MAGIC21 says:

    THE SAD THING ABOUT GAME 1 IS THAT THE MAGIC STARTERS ONLY PLAYED TILL THE HALF(SCARY HUH)WHO KNOWS WHAT THE SCORE WOULD OF BEEN AT THE END IF THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED THE WHOLE GAME ……PEOPLE SAY THEY HAD 8 DAYS TO REST AND PREPARE….YEA MAYBE SO BUT IF THE HAWKS R A GOOD TEAM THEY SHOULD HAVE NOT TAKEN SO LONG TO KNOCK THE BUCKS OUT LOL…..CANT BLAME THE MAGIC FOR THAT…….ITS JUST AN EXCUSE OF WHY THE MAGIC BEAT THEM SO BAD…..THE BEST THING FOR THE HAWKS TO DO IS MOVE THE BALL AROUND MORE AND FIND THE OPEN SHOT ALSO DONT LET HOWARD GET POSITION IN THE LANE…..WAIT A MINUTE WHO AM I KIDDIN THE HAWKS DONT STAND A CHANCE ITS GOING TO BE A SWEEP…..UNLESS AND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY FOR THE HAWKS TO WIN A GAME IS JOE JOHNSON TAKE OVER A GAME LIKE D WADE DID IN GAME 4 AGAINST BOSTON……..(WONT HAPPEN LOL)…..MAGIC WIN CHAMPIONSHIP……D HOWARD MVP OF FINALS THE (MVP)THAT REALLY MATTERS…..

  3. tony says:

    the Hawks need to get their track shoes out and run the ball vs the Magic to counter the big man’s half court success…the Hawks are younger and more athletic so if they turn this into a track meet, they can win.

  4. Razy-o says:

    I Like the Raptors

  5. niremetal says:

    Contain Howard’s teammates and make Howard score 40 to beat you. Seriously. It’s not like dude’s Tim Duncan on the low block.

  6. stephen says:

    I Think the magic have a very good chance at winning this series but dont take what happen from game one and make the prediction that orlando will win this series hands down. If you look at the roster and teams orlando and the hawks are neck and neck as far as talent goes and if you take a second look you will find that atlanta has a better overall roaster. The only problem is that no matter how well of a team you have you wont become champs without great coaching. I this matchup van gundy is winning just as he did in the regular season. But bewar. In those games atlanta has always been blown out even though they have a better overall roster. That means that they are better coached in those games. But if woodson figures out how to crack what it is that van gundy is doing to beat his team its going to be a long series for orlando and they infact will be the team that falls in this series.

    Also orlando had 8 days of rest and atlanta was probably still effected by the 7 game buck series.
    orlando had way more time to prepare for them also and atlanta really had none.

    make sure you add in all the factors before you hop on a teams band wagon. 1 cardnal rule

    ps go lakers

    • Eric Frazier says:

      I’m sorry Stephen, but I don’t think the Hawks could beat the Magic WITHOUT Dwight Howard. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to be boisterous at all. Whether Dwight is in the game or not, the game plan is still the same. In no way, shape, or form am I saying that Orlando is better without Dwight Howard….that’s bs.

      First, your best player can’t get off. The Magic have Peitris and Barnes to neutralize him. Did you notice how tight the Magic were in the Hawks shorts. Did Jamal Crawford get any open shots? Isolation plays don’t work when you have a good defense and individual defensive players. What team has been the most dominant in the playoffs? That would be the team is blue and white with the 6′ 11 walking bicep.

      Second, I don’t believe that you double-team Dwight Howard. Unless he scores 50 or better, live with it…..but you can’t let EVERYONE GET INVOLVED!!! That’s when the Magic are THE BEST TEAM in the NBA. The ONLY team that I can think of being a worse matchup for the Hawks are the Lakers. Unless Dwight AND Jameer go down with series ending injuries, the Hawks don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell against the Magic. Atlanta can’t score or defend against the Magic…and that’s a recipe for a sweep. My heart says sweep, but I’ll give the Hawks a game at home…..but my heart still says sweep.

  7. Stephen says:

    The Hawks have only one hope and that is to double Dwight every time he gets the ball down low, then they need to figure out how to rotate defensively. On the offense they need to beat the Magic defenders off the dribble and either drive to the paint or take closer jump shots; most likely Crawford or Johnson doing the shot pullup jumpers. The Magic have one good defender in Howard so the Hawks might consider drawing up some plays that involve having two men go to the basket and sharing the ball. I love the Magic, but I want to see the Hawks work harder then in game 1. Josh Smith really needs to do better defensively.

  8. john cruz says:

    They can’t stop Superman,But they can (little chance) stop the Magic,They should not blitz on Howard,he’s gonna find those 3-pointers open.That is Orlando basketball.That kind of game they would be at their best.Game1 looks like Woodson and Hawks don’t know which team they’re playin with.Where are the Hawks’ scouts?

  9. wawwwwwwww! a plan to counter Howard, I’d like to see how they will do it, I know it will not be easy at all, with his enthusiasm … ha ha hahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    • Eric Frazier says:

      Didn’t you get my email, Sekou???!!! Of all the eight teams still in the playoffs, the Hawks are the easiest to prepare for. The Hawks are the most height-deficient team, turnover-prone, one-dimensional, emotionally disturbed team still playing playoff basketball. I’d rather see the Bulls or the Bucks play the Magic because THE HAWKS ARE NOT WORTHY of being on the samecourt as Orlando. Has a team ever forfeited a series because they lack heart???!!! The Hawks may want to reconsider this. Sure they would be ridiculed for their entire existence, but at least they would put their fans and NBA enthusiasts out of their misery. I REALLY hope that one of the Hawks players read this because it’s one thing to lose going down fighting, but they didn’t compete. You get paid millions and millions of dollars to do this on THE BIG STAGE. Maybe the Hawks can be one of the WNBA’s expansion team??? Then again, they really compete in the WNBA.

      • Big Sam says:

        Last I checked, Atlanta committed the least amount of turnovers in the NBA per game during the regular season. Sure last year Atlanta could only score effectively only if they were running, but this year they have shown otherwise. Johnson and Crawford are isolating more, Bibby is shooting better behind the arc and Horford and Josh Smith are posting up effectively. Hieght deficient? Howard, Lewis, Barnes… 6′ 11, 6′ 10, 6’7. Horford, Josh Smith, Williams… 6’10, 6’9, 6’9. I don’t see the big deficiency. It is true though that the Hawks are not properly motivated and I think thats where the problem lies. If Woodson finds out how to properly motivate the team then maybe the Hawks can beat Orlando. Nothing against Woodson, but he dosen’t seem to have the players’ full attention, thats why I think he probably is not going to be in Atlanta next year partly cause Atlanta will not pay him what he feels he deserves.

        Orlando is very beatable. Their main weakness is that they refuse to make Howard the center of the offense. Sure they bring the ball down the court and their first pass is to Howard but Howard’s first priority is not to go the basket. If the Hawks want to win they need to not double Howard but let him roam somewhat free. They should focus more on Orlando’s perimeter players. This way Howard might get a couple more points but the rest of the offense will be less effective. On offense Atlanta needs to drive the ball and get Howard into foul trouble and off the court. Also they can take the ball at Lewis who has not proven to be a sturdy defender.

        So hieght deficient? maybe… Unworthy? Certianly not. Scratch that they definately are not height deficient. Atlanta will hopefully wake up and give Orlando a run for their money.