Rosen’s Report: Heat at Hawks

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This most recent edition of the Hawks has been celebrated for its incredible talent and sheer athleticism, while simultaneously being damned for grossly underachieving.  Their inspired victory in Miami on Monday just might be a sign that the Hawks are finally about to realize their potential.  Beating the Heat in Atlanta would go a long way to establishing the Hawks as a bona fide championship-caliber outfit.

Miami, meanwhile, also has a lot at stake.  Their aura of invincibility was slightly dimmed by narrow wins on the road in Charlotte and Minnesota before being virtually extinguished by Atlanta at home on Monday.  The immediate imperative for Miami is to restore that golden glow while also discouraging the Hawks from believing that they really are as good as they should be.

HERE’S HOW MIAMI CAN WIN:  The Heat have to solve Atlanta’s 2-3 zone defense that made their previous encounter a grind-it-out game.  Snappy ball and player movement leading to uncontested jumpers is imperative, and too-quick treys are verboten.  Also necessary are more of LeBron’s powerhouse dive cuts into the unprotected bosom of the defense. If he’s healthy. He sprained an ankle Wednesday against the Pacers.

* Dwyane Wade has to shoot better than 4-for-17, and cannot rely on jumpers. If he plays at all. He sat out Wednesday’s game in Indiana with a foot contusion.

* Mario Chalmers has to take better care of the ball.

* Atlanta’s successful backdoor cuts have to be countered with more pressure on the ball and more alert weakside help.

* Miami’s quick-handed defense, as well as their overall energy, must be maintained throughout the game.

* Their spotty transition defense has to be rectified.

* Because the Hawks’ man-to-man defense is vulnerable to strong-armed lane penetrations, the Heat must be alert in recognizing the defensive realignments and quickly revert to their normal attack mode.

* Atlanta’s high screen/roll setups can be double-teamed for profit.

* Keep Jeff Teague out of the paint and make him pass (preferably to his left) on the move.

* Double Al Horford on the move in the low-post.

* Focus, resilience, good judgment and patience are the keys for Miami.

HERE’S HOW ATLANTA CAN WIN:  Given the condensed season and Atlanta’s bringing their high-energy A-plus game in Miami, it’s no surpise that they couldn’t sustain a similar effort the next night in Chicago.  Indeed, their 4th quarter meltdown against the resurgent Bulls was a colossal one.  To succeed in their rematcfh with the Heat, the Hawks need to revive the same physical, mental, and emotional peak they achieved on Monday.

* Change zone formations to keep the Heat off-balance.  The bigs also need to execute quicker, more effective baseline rotations to hinder LBJ’s dynamic cuts.

* Even in their routine one-on-one situations there must be more player and ball movement to make Miami pay dearly for double-teams.

* Josh Smith must avoid launching 3-balls and driving into crowds.  He has to get viscerally involved in the offense.

* Horford has to initiate his low-post moves quickly before the doubler can arrive.

* The bigs have to provide more aggressive help on screen/rolls, especially on pin-downs for Wade.

* Teague has to get a better read on the defense before uncorking risky passes.

* Their transition defense has to improve.  This is simply a matter of pure hustle.

* Joe Johnson has to have his mojo working.

* Tracy McGrady must continue to recapture the rapture and be a high-volume point-maker off the bench.

* JJ, T-Mac and Jannero Pargo have to be accurate from beyond the pale to stretch Miami’s defense.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

  1. The Hawks want to slow the tempo to reduce Miami’s on-the-run opportunities.  The zone helps, but Atlanta must also diligently work the shot clock on offense.
  2. Notice how Atlanta’s zone keys on Miami’s best 3-point shooters — James Jones and Norris Cole.  Since Shane Battier had been shooting blanks in Miami’s first five games, he was mostly ignored on Monday.  But after hitting 3-for-4 from downtown, expect the Hawks’ zone to also tag him.  But what happens when Jones, Cole and/or Battier are on the court at the same time?
  3. Notice how Miami’s interior defense overplays Horford’s right hand.
  4. How passive or aggressive are Atlanta’s bigs in showing on the nether side of screen/rolls?
  5. How many ticks are left on the shot clock when Smith casts off a long-distance prayer?

19 Comments

  1. Heat's Numba 1 Fan says:

    Hey LBJ Has Inprove His Jumper D-Wade Needs To Inprove His Outside Shot CB1 Has Inprove his D….Yeah And They Got A good Bench Its Just They Have To Stay Healthy….

    • JZA says:

      They are healthier than Kobe Bryant that’s for sure. I do wonder how will the center position will play out. Since last year they rely on a 3 center rotation with Igauskas, Dampier, and Joel anthony. I doubt Howard, or Haslem can do a proper center backup. If Joel for some reason gets injured Miami would be in real trouble.

  2. JZA says:

    Again I am very surprised by the Coach decision to not play rookie Cole on the OTs and rely on Chamers which even though he did a fine job. Cole penetrating ability would have open the zone defense and could have given some earlier win for the heat.

    Still can’t hate for that W so in the end it all worked out for the Heatless.

    • Belizeboy says:

      Cole is a rookie and last night he was rushing too much. Chalmers had like 15 in the forth. Really easy decision to make. Love both of them on the team.

      • JZA says:

        Chamers however missed some critical baskets that would have given the Heat the W much earlier than what they did. Not to say that Cole wouldn’t have made the same mistakes. I just thought that the coach was “burning” his roster while having a pretty good backup.

        This has to do with also some decisions that the Coach has done, like keeping his premier 3pt shooters from the finals last year (James Jones for example).

  3. bonik® says:

    miami is sizzling. better prepare haters. :)

  4. BigBen says:

    Heat are soooo Hot!

  5. ice_pogi says:

    Without Wade and James….. Revenge is a promise to take…………. Let’s Go Heat………..

  6. dapluva says:

    Lets Go Hawks!!!!!!!

  7. Craig says:

    So still no respect for chris bosh!!!1

  8. Eiji says:

    James Jones will break that 2-3zone D :)

  9. boston_fan says:

    nobody wants the heat to win it all!unless you are a miami fan.I would rather see the boston win it all one last time before miami.

  10. Cebu Photos says:

    Miami Heat will secure to have a revenge to the team who made their standing bad… :D

  11. Arlind says:

    Miami HEAT are going to be NBA Champions this season for sure…They have a good team and they play well with each other, also they have some of the best distance shooting players such as James Jones, Mario Chalmers also Mike Miller if he’s going to play this season. Anyway I’m really hoping they’ll win everything this year because they are really giving us good basketball.

  12. karoLT says:

    Lets Go HAWKS

  13. Vishy says:

    wow good old charley on nba.com !! great news!

  14. Heat Fan says:

    There is going to be a Heat victory tonight for sure!!!!!

  15. Nikia says:

    BLAZERS ARE BEAST!!!!!