“We’re starting to play a little bit better. When Josh Smith got thrown out of the game, it was big for us because he changes the dynamic.”— David Lee
“I’m just reacting, not thinking any more. Whatever happens, happens.” — Chris Duhon
“It’s huge because of where we are psychologically. We could have wilted because they are good, and that’s where the veterans come in.”— Mike D’Antoni
The ORANGE AND BLUE VIEW
Well some pundits may say that yesterday’s win against the Hawks the 4th Best team in the East was an impressive showing, but I see the Hawks the same way I see the Phoenix Suns.
Both are pretty high scoring teams but neither team is particularly big inside. They both rely on small tweener 3/4 guys inside and get their shot blocks on weak side help defense. Both teams are amongst the top 5 teams in scoring yet both are also in the 2nd half of the league in scoring defense (Phoenix 27th and Atlanta 17th). Both teams are also top tiered teams in terms of field goal percentage for, (Phoenix 1st and Atlanta 8th), but on the other hand both also are in the lower half of the league in field goal percentages against (Atlanta 17th and Phoenix 20th).
Both teams started out hot and have recently fallen back down to earth,… they both were both crushed by the Orlando Magic a more traditional half court and defense 1st team- Suns were also spanked by the Cavs another Eastern Conference defensive oriented power that is balanced out by traditional front court players. Both teams also lost to the creme de la creme Lakers.
In addition both the Suns and Hawks lost to similar tweener frontcourt and running teams in the Hornets and Knicks.
What does this tell me in the small picture,… well with regards to the Knicks, they took advantage of the Suns’ phantom defense and the Hawks lackadaisical defenseon the perimeter, (Josh Smith’s ejection on a non call Smith argued vehemently*), and both teams overall lack of size and strong side shot blocker inside.
In the big picture I believe the results of the Knicks recent wins against both the Suns and Hawks coupled with the Suns and Hawks overall struggles against Conference Powerhouses with traditional complimentary power players inside and defensive first orientation, if not capacity,** is a damning indictment on the small tweener lineups overall and the D’antoni fun and gun system in general. This is b/c such teams fade against bigger traditional style offensive defensive balanced powers and they are both readily susceptible to losing to mirror image styled teams in e.g., the Knicks and Hornets.
If the D’anton system and tweener front court teams wilt against such traditional NBA powers what does that say about D’antoni’s system as being a means not only to attract star free agents (will Bosh and Johnson have the same effect in D’antoni’s New York as a Lebron and Wade pairing [I doubt it]) but even if so,… contend with traditional powers?
The wheat has been cut from the chaffe, as the fools gold gimmickry of eccentric styles and lineups fade, and the cream of the NBA is still in its traditional styled powers! Any thoughts or feedback?????
*It appears that Josh Smith’s boneheadedness was contagious as the Hawks continued to turn to the long ball despite it not going down for them- note that they are one of the leagues 2nd tiered 2 point shooting teams and give up a higher percentage of three point shots than they themselves shoot- sounds like a play cut from the cloth of the Knicks own buffoonery! Off course the Hawks also failed to convert on their second shot opportunities as they beat the Knicks easily on the offensive glass.
**Artest and Lakers Length if you were wondering along with Kobe’s indidivdual defensive prowess makes them a easily capable defensive power if they want to focus their attack from that point of view… they haven’t primarily off course 1