Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Danny

HEAT-Hawks Official Game Thread and Preview

Recommended Posts

670_heathawkspre_121109.jpg

(Photo Credit: Kevin Cox)

The Miami HEAT kick off a six-game road trip tonight in Atlanta where they take on the Hawks. The HEAT have won three straight, including an impressive 103-73 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night. The Hawks are 3-1 and are coming off impressive wins over Oklahoma City and Indiana.

1.The Hawks are another team that changed their core over the summer. What's different about this matchup now?

Couper Moorhead: Sometimes, you just need a change. Joe Johnson gets a lot of flak, but he is still among the better perimeter players in the league, and there wasn't really anything wrong with what he did for Atlanta -- he did it quite well, really. But the team was the same year in and year out, and with Johnson using up so many possessions every year, the growth of everyone around him was stymied.

Now it's all different. Lou Williams will replace more of Johnson's offense than many people think, they added some of the best shooters in the league -- which if you follow the extremely flawed conventional logic about last year's HEAT team, is a Miami weakness -- and the offense is all about Jeff Teague making things work for Al Horford and Josh Smith.

Danny Martinez: In trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams the Hawks gave themselves some financial flexibility that allowed them to bring in Kyle Korver and Lou Williams. The Hawks hope that those pickups, along with Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris, who came over in the trades, can space the floor for Josh Smith and Al Horford. In Williams and Jeff Teague, the Hawks have quick, athletic guards at both perimeter positions.

The Hawks were stuck in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. They reshuffled the deck with hopes of creating a more dynamic offense to match their strong defense from last season. However, the new acquisitions aren’t quite the defenders Johnson and Williams were. It will be interesting to see how the Hawks perform this season.

2. Did everyone forget how good Al Horford is?

Couper: This doesn't happen with every player that misses most of a season -- nobody is going to forget how good Derrick Rose is -- but Horford's style doesn't jump off the screen in the first place, so it's understandable that people forgot a little bit about him. But he's so very, very good. Possibly one of the 20 best players in the league if this season goes right. Horford can do a little of everything at an above-average rate, is a versatile defensive player and has excellent ball skills as well. If that isn't a dream frontcourt player, I don't know what is.

Danny: It sure seems like it. Horford appeared in only 11 regular season games last year before a torn pectoral sidelined him until the playoffs. Miss more than 80 percent of your team’s games and you’ll fade away from our collective memories. Horford’s playoff run was brief, but impressive. He’s carried it over to this season, where he’s played well in the Hawks’ first three games. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Horford will be in the All-Star discussion come late January.

3. If there is one Hawk the HEAT need to key in on defensively, who is it?

Couper: I'm going with Lou Williams here. As much as I like the players Atlanta added during the offseason, this is a team short of guys who can create their own shot. When the Hawks dip into the bench, Williams is expected to keep maintain the scoring margin for a few minutes at a time. With as explosive as Miami's offense is, unless there is going to be a strangely down shooting night, and they are likely due for one sometime soon, teams aren't going to be able to keep pace with bench units. Keep Williams under wraps, and you're forcing a number of Hawks players to do things they typically don't do.

Danny: In all likelihood, Josh Smith will get the most shots for the Hawks. Every 18-to-20 footer he takes is a victory for the HEAT defense. He’ll be important to keep a watch on, but not the player to key on. That player is Jeff Teague.

Teague is quick and can get into the lane in a hurry. So far this season, the HEAT have encountered trouble when opposing point guards were able to break the HEAT defense down and draw help. To prevent this, the HEAT need to play sound pick-and-roll defense. Slow down Teague, and the Hawks will struggle to score.

4. Much has been made of the HEAT facing bigger lineups on this road trip. Does the Hawks frontline worry you?

Couper: Chris Bosh and LeBron James aren't worried about it in the least, so I don't see any reason to be, either. The HEAT are going to give up offensive rebounds this year -- Zaza Pachulia could sneak in for quite a few tonight -- but the tradeoff on the other end is more than worth it. This will be a fun frontcourt matchup, but I don't see it as any more of a test than any other game. Whenever you think Miami is being tested, remember that even more stress is being put on the other team.

Danny: The frontline is worrying, but not because it’s big. It’s worrying because Smith and Horford are supremely talented players. I continue to think the size concerns are overblown. The Atlanta frontcourt players are unique in that they are big, can space the floor and can matchup athletically with Chris Bosh and LeBron James. It will be interesting to watch Smith defend James because he may be one of the few guys in the league who can match James’ athleticism.

5. Most of Miami's stars have been shooting far above average on the perimeter, whether from three or midrange. Will the offense have to compensate in any way once those numbers fall a little bit?

Couper: Process over results during the regular season, always. If the HEAT are getting consistent looks in the paint and the jumpers they do take are open most of the time, Erik Spoelstra isn't going to see much reason to switch things up. Shooting numbers are going to hit peaks and valleys, but the highs will always be higher if the shots are open.

The only exception to this might be how Spoelstra chooses to regulate his rotations, but even then any changes would be based on shot quality, floor spacing, pace and defense.

Danny: The important thing for the HEAT offense is that they continue to shoot threes when they’re open and available. Over the last twelve seasons, percentage of field goal attempts that are threes correlates more with offensive rating than three-point percentage. That means shooting the threes is more important than making them (but making them is still important!). When the HEAT offense is clicking, they’re creating open looks on the perimeter because defenses are rotating all over the floor.

Yes, the shooting numbers will come down, but no, the offense won’t really need to compensate. The HEAT offense is operating at an all-time level. A drop in shooting will likely mean the HEAT only operate at a league-leading level. Through five games, 58.6 percent of HEAT shots are coming either at the rim or from beyond the arc. Keep that figure and the HEAT offense will be just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We play ATL very well. But I sure am going to miss Wade abusing JJ now. Ah well. Let's start this road trip with a BANG or even better yet a couple KABOOMS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

J Smoove might have the athleticism to match LeBron but then again LeBron has had some of his best games against him. Honestly I'm expecting a blowout, as long as Miami playa like they give a damn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like Miler will get the nod over Allen?

Seems Allen might be a front runner for 6th man this year!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wade's not playing tonight because he has a cold, AKA were resting Wade so he can stay healthy.

Pretty much, and with how our other players have been playing, I ain't in the least bit mad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually this is a good game for Dwade to rest, get some more of the guys in there. I would like as the season continues a few games without LeBron and Bosh. Just give our team different looks, so they know how to play without a certain player. Never know who goes down in the playoffs gotta be ready.

for example if C. Bosh goes down in the playoffs again (hopefully not) are we capable of getting rebounds or keeping teams from abusing us in the paint. that's something that troubles me and I would like to see what we would do...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems reasonable. I mean, these long road trips, beyond the obvious wanting to win every game, the players (and coaching staff) are probably just making sure they all come back home healthy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wade's not playing tonight because he has a cold, AKA were resting Wade so he can stay healthy.

More like not infect other players, especially on some meaningless games <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      At 12:45 PM, I will ask a trivia question in this thread for a pair of tickets to tonight’s game against the Hawks. Please keep in mind that you must be at least 18-years-old in order to qualify and must reside in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe County. Also, you are ineligible if you've already won tickets this calendar month.
      Please only play/answer if you can attend and qualify based on these rules.
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      The Miami HEAT host the Atlanta Hawks Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT defeated the Hawks 108-90 in their last meeting on Feb. 24. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What did we learn from Miami’s home-opening victory over Indiana?
      Couper Moorhead: On the HEAT’s side, their 37-19 second quarter was as close as we’ve seen them approach the combination of team defense and offensive flow that they so consistently had during last season’s second half. They got good shots, they hit those shots and they were flying around getting stops. And the offense, with the exception of a bit of stagnation in the middle of the fourth quarter that allowed Indiana to briefly make it a one possession game, generally looked like what it’s expected to look like.
      There’s a bit more to talk about on the defensive end. With Whiteside out Miami didn’t have a big body to soak up drive after drive but with all the athleticism they can put on the floor they still defended the rim remarkably well. The issue, then, was less the percentages and more the volume being allowed in that highly efficient zone. Now, Erik Spoelstra said again that there’s work to be done on the defensive end, but there might be something happening on that end of the floor that doesn’t have much to do with Miami at all. So many teams around the league, Indiana included, appear to be prioritizing high-pace and early offense that we might be in the early days of a new league-wide trend – one that could require a strategic response beyond what teams are accustomed to doing. Or, this could all be the result of the shorter preseason. Either way, the HEAT will surely adjust – it just might be about more than simply tightening things up when defending in transition.
      Joe Beguiristain: We learned that the HEAT are still capable of being a strong offensive team even without Hassan Whiteside in the pick-and-roll game. On Saturday, five Miami players scored in double-figures, including Goran Dragić, Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Josh Richardson. The one guy I want to highlight out of that group is Olynyk.
      As a whole, the 7-footer has made a seamless transition into the offense thanks to his ability to move off the ball for open threes, execute screen handoffs and finish plays around the rim. Against Indiana, Olynyk was the catalyst in the 37-19 second quarter that Coup mentioned above, as he helped Miami capture a 13-point lead at halftime. Although the Pacers came into the contest with one of the worst defenses in the league, the fact is Miami executed and did what it was supposed to do offensively. 
      Things were a bit tougher on the defensive end without Whiteside, but the HEAT had a few good sequences they could build on. In particular, Jordan Mickey showed quick feet on a handful of pick-and-rolls, so hopefully he can do the same on Monday if he indeed gets the start once again.  
      2: How is Atlanta different this year and how do you think their new look will affect this matchup?
      Couper: While it’s been a gradual process that didn’t just happen this past summer, this Hawks team could be seen as marking not just the transition from the team that won 60 games a few years back but the beginning of an entirely new era. First, DeMarre Carroll left, then Al Horford and Jeff Teague in free agency, then Kyle Korver in the middle of last season and finally Paul Millsap during the most recent free agency. Dwight Howard, too, was traded to Charlotte and Tim Hardaway Jr. signed with New York. This is a team that appears to be fully committed to developing their youth.
      As we mentioned regarding the league trend, Atlanta also seems to be committed to speed and spacing. All of their bigs are shooting threes, including Dewayne Dedmon, all of their bigger forwards and wings are capable of doing the same while handling the ball and they’re getting up the floor whenever possible. Which means, just like Indiana and Orlando, this will be another test of Miami’s transition defense.
      Joe: For starters, Atlanta traded Dwight Howard to Charlotte for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st overall pick in the 2017 Draft (which ended up being Tyler Dorsey). Then in free agency, perennial All-Star Paul Millsap signed with the Nuggets. As you can see, that leaves some tough shoes to fill in the frontcourt.
      In their stead, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has rolled with Ersan İlyasova and Dewayne Dedmon, but veteran Mike Muscala and rookie John Collins have also gotten some burn off the bench. Collins looked quite impressive on Sunday against the Nets, as he notched his first career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. With this being a back-to-back for the Hawks, perhaps we’ll see a little more of Collins and Muscala.
      Another thing to take note of is the availability of Dennis Schröder, who hurt is ankle against Brooklyn and had to exit the game. Atlanta is a little thin at point guard, but it looks like Malcolm Delaney will start if Schröder is out.
      3: If Miami is again without Hassan Whiteside, do you see them changing anything headed into tonight?
      Couper: The answer for Erik Spoelstra on Saturday night was to insert both James Johnson and Jordan Mickey into the starting lineup, moving Kelly Olynyk back into a backup role. Mickey only played 13 minutes, essentially shifts at the beginning of each half, but his floor spacing enabled Johnson to essentially be a playmaking center, both handling the ball at times and being a dynamic screener in pick-and-roll. It did leave Miami a little undersized, but without Myles Turner the Pacers weren’t exactly starting oversized lineups just as the Hawks aren’t expected to tonight. While Spoelstra will surely experiment as the weeks go on, as long as something is working he typically sticks with it.
      The question, then, would be what the starting lineup looks like when Whiteside does make his eventual return if Johnson ends up developing some chemistry with the Goran Dragić -Dion Waiters duo.
      Joe: I don’t. Mickey and James Johnson worked well in the starting lineup, and Erik Spoelstra stated after Saturday’s game that he thought Olynyk looked really comfortable with the second unit. All that leads me to believe that things will stay the same if Whiteside can’t play.
      Johnson did a nice job of making up for Whiteside’s absence against Indiana, as he led the team with five blocks. Whether he was coming over to help in the halfcourt or making plays in defensive transition, he was doing all he can. That’s why he is one of the team captains.  
      INJURY UPDATE: After Monday's shootaround, Coach Spo said Whiteside (knee) will not play and the lineup will remain the same from Saturday.

      Highlights:
      Feb. 24 – HEAT at Hawks
      Feb. 1 – Hawks at HEAT
      Game Notes:
      The HEAT and Hawks split the season series last year, with each team winning on the road and at home.  Miami is 1-1, while Atlanta enters the contest at 1-2. This is game two of the HEAT's longest homestand of the season.  
      Efficiencies (Rank):
      HEAT Offense: 103.9 (15) HEAT Defense: 106.7 (20) Hawks Offense: 98.2 (23) Hawks Defense: 105.9 (17)
    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
      At 12:30 PM EDT, I will ask a trivia question in this thread for a pair of tickets to tomorrow night’s game against the Hawks. Please keep in mind that you must be at least 18-years-old in order to qualify and must reside in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe County. Also, you are ineligible if you've already won tickets this calendar month.
      Please only play/answer if you can attend and qualify based on these rules.