We here at the HHB are not going to pretend to tell you what we know will happen; only what we believe ought to happen.
See, that way, if things go awry, it wasn’t the way it should have happened, so obviously somebody screwed up---and that’s where our team of experts, physicians, and undercover angels collaborate to present our usual insightful comments after the film has been viewed.
That’s right, aren’t we the clever little elves, eh?
The Way Things Ought To Be, First Round Edition
The Hawks have beaten the Heat twice under full strength, once even with Major Acquisition Jermaine O’Neal patrolling the paint for the Heat. One of the big reasons is that the Heat do not go after Mike Bibby on their offensive end, thereby ignoring the biggest Achilles heel of the Hawks defense. Mario Chalmers has been content to sit outside and take jump shots, which is just what the Hawks would hope the player that Mike Bibby is covering would do.
Another reason is that the Hawks have massively outrebounded the Heat, led by Al Horford, who had (32) rebounds in those two wins. And in the matchup with Jermaine O’Neal, the Heat threw in the towel by benching the Major Acquisition for the home stretch.
So, with the Hawks showing their strength at home and away in Miami, what’s with all this talk around the league about a Heat victory or at least a tight series?
In our ill-advised and highly questionable opinion, the Hawks ought to win this series relatively easily.
Do You Expect the M-V-P to be M-I-A in---MIA?
Dwyane Wade cannot be stopped, so it would be foolish to gameplan to overplay him and in doing so get all of the Heat role players to get easier shots, more confidence, etc—and even more foolish to think he won’t be successful.
But Wade being successful isn’t the key to the Heat winning---it’s the success of his teammates that is critical to pulling off the upset. So far, the Hawks have done a nice job in playing the Heat straight, and the results have been that the Heat have shown they do not have enough to beat the Hawks with just Wade.
Case in point, as the Hawks beat the Heat with Jermaine, Horford was everywhere O’Neal was---every juke, step through, fadeaway---there was Al, and the Heat center struggled to a 3-10 shooting night and the aforementioned trip to the bench for the fourth as they leveraged Michael Beasley at center as a conciliatory measure against Al’s work against the veteran big man.
With the Heat content to stay outside and not challenge Bibby, it helps the Hawks that much more play good man defense against the Heat.
As evidence to the case, as Hoopinion has pointed out statistically, the Heat beyond Wade don’t shoot many free throws---in large part because they would rather take their shots from a point more distant than the free throw line.
As long as the Hawks continue to execute as they have throughout the season against the Heat by playing strong, man-up defense, the Heat don’t have enough to take the Hawks in any given game.
Everybody Must Jack Threes
Actually, we mean this in jest, as the Hawks have had success going towards the hoop and getting fouls from the Heat and converting inside to boot.
Even with O’Neal, the Heat don’t have a serious threat inside defensively—and if they go small with Beasley in the middle, it makes it even softer for the Hawks to attack.
It’s important that the Hawks don’t thrust the entirety of the offensive production on Joe Johnson’s shoulders as that has been a formula for inefficiency for Joe and ignorant exclusion of what has made the Hawks a formidable team this season.
For example, having Mike Bibby available for this series and not a liability that would need to be removed defensively enables the array of superb inside passes designed to take advantage of Smith and Horford’s athleticism and finishing acumen.
If the Heat decide that Michael Beasley’s offense is too good to keep on the bench for vet (and former Gator) Udonis Haslem, then he might be shown to be a weakness for the Heat as Smoove can get by the rookie at any time.
Horford’s ability to run the floor will stretch the stamina of O’Neal---and the Hawks have just figured out how to reward the second year frontman for his court sprints.
Add in Marvin Williams and RFM’s ability to use and/or abuse the smaller Heat guards (that’s right Chris Quinn) and there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Hawks have too much firepower for the Heat.
Are You Series-us?
The point has been made that the Hawks are a good team and that the Heat have the best player. Since when has the better team not been favored in a seven game series?
The Hawks are extremely talented, represented in the fact that, despite not doing much to improve the areas that we believed needed to be addressed before the season, they improved (10) games anyway. Their strength has been when they have played together as a team, their weakness has been when they have been individually wrapped up in themselves and the team concept has been broken.
The Hawks, even with a bench that’s comprised of Mo Evans, Zaza Pachulia, and RFM, are a strong eight man unit, and they are hard to be stopped when they are together.
As long as Coach Woodson doesn’t try to make a Flubber West statement at key points of the series, the excellence that has been this (47) win season will make itself known against the Heat.
So we’re standing by the assertion that the Hawks should win—add in the flavor of the NBA sort of underestimating the Hawks in this series and there could be some major “nobody believed in us except us” vibe that could add a smidgen of tangible to the mix.
With all we’ve noted, we’re putting our ought’s where they ought to be by picking the Hawks to sweep.
That’s right Four to Oh in favor of the Birds. We just don’t see where the Heat can conjure enough to beat a fully healthy Hawks rotation even once.
Of course, that’s the way we believe it ought to be---if it doesn’t happen, we’ll be here to tell you whose fault it was.
See you in the second round.
The HHB is dizzy from the lofty prediction for the series---Dramamine and other medication can be left for them in the Comments Area.
Thabo Sefolosha: Atlanta Hawks Preview
4 hours ago