Tag:2011 Hawks-Magic
Posted on: April 16, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2011 10:40 pm
 

NBA Playoff Buzz 4.16.11

Posted by EOB Staff

Continuing updates throughout the day on playoff miscelanea.

Update 10:35 p.m. EST: Here's your nightly roundup of all our CBSSports.com Eye On Basketball coverage. 

Update 9:26 p.m. EST: Liberty Baller with an interesting note. The Sixers had a lot more attempts at rim than the Heat did in Game 1. Something to watch going forward. Some of those are accounted for by fouls drawn by the Heat. But there's still a gap there, considering the slasher talent the Heat have. 

Update 9:18 p.m.: With 10 minutes left to go in the 4th, Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul (3 fouls in the 3rd quarter). Stan Van Gundy has left him in, with the Magic down 12. Risky move by the Magic coach. 

Update 8:47 p.m: Dwight Howard had 31 points in the first half. And the Magic are down 11 in the second half. 

Update 6:36 p.m.: It took over 10 minutes for any other Magic player to score outside of Dwight Howard. The big guy had the Magic's first 12 points before Hedo Turkoglu hit a free throw. Despite all that, the Magic are only down two to the Hawks inside of a minute. 

Update 6:24 p.m.: Danny Granger compared Derrick Rose to a "crazy, stalker ex-girlfriend." No, really

Update 5:22 p.m.: The Sixers had a great start, but as the game has worn on, the Big 3 for Miami have just pounded the hammer on them, and the Pacers are grinding down. Jrue Holiday has played well, but the defensive matchups are starting to overwhelm them. If we're not providing upsets, it's because we've fallen asleep. Sixers looking a bit overmatched right now. 

Update 4:50 p.m.: Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and a block, told the Indianapolis Star after the game: "There's no way they’re going to sweep us." That's the perfect attitude for the Pacers to possess, given that there's no pressure or expectations for them to do anything. There's nothing to lose.

Update 3:53 p.m.: Rose takes over down the stretch and finishes off the Pacers with an assist to a wide-open Korver and a great job of getting to the line. Question is, will that be the backbreaker for the Pacers or give them confidence? Have to think they have to wonder what more they could have done. Great win for the Bulls, heartbreaker for the Pacers, but the Bulls have some work to do on both ends. More analysis coming soon on CBSSports.com

Update 3:26 p.m.: Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that Rodrigue Beaubois will miss Game 1 vs. the Blazers. That just makes the Mavericks even more thin on the perimeter where the Blazers already have the advantage. He hasn't been great since returning from injury, but it's just one more thing going against Dallas right now. 

Update 3:17 p.m.: New Orleans coach Monty Williams describes Kobe in terms of what other players don't have, the dagger mentality. 

Update 3:04 p.m.: Tyler Hansbrough got an elbow from Kurt Thomas and went down hard. Hansbrough missed almost the entirety of his rookie season with vertigo. The Pacers checked his equilibrium and he's expected to return via ESPN TV. Bulls starting to chip away at the lead.  Here's video of the hit and the scary fallout.

Update 2:47 p.m. Lionel Hollins believes Manu Ginobili will play in Game 1 vs. Memphis. 

Update 2:42 p.m.: So much for that idea, as the Pacers score 12 in the first six minutes of the third, and now lead by 12 with 6:04 to go. Danny Granger has responded from a terrible first half and Darren Collison continues to light up Rose. 

Update 2:30 p.m.:  Both teams grabbed over 40% of all available offensive rebounds.  Hibbert was big the first eight minutes, then vanished. IF he doesn't have a big second half, Pacers will run out of steam. We're calling 25-13 third quarter advantage Bulls. 

Update 2:18 p.m.: Pacers... lead at the half? Collison with 15, Hibbert with 10, A.J. Price with 6. Derrick Rose is getting anything he wants in terms of perimeter transition. Pacers are trying to outgun the Bulls which you can't believe will work. Boozer with three fouls early.

Update 2:06 p.m.: Shaq is out versus the Knicks. Glen Davis and Jermaine O'Neal better have huge games. 

Bulls making a run, have cut the lead to 4 within 2 minutes to go in the half. 

Update 12:55 p.m.: Derrick Rose can get to the rim whenever he wants. So can the Pacers point guards. Rose has 13 and 2 assists, Pacers point guards 17 and 2 assists. Here's video as Rose blocks a shot and goes coast to coast, dropping a sick 360 spin in traffic before finishing the lay-up.


Update 1:30 p.m.  After one, the Pacers... lead the Bulls? Darren Collison has 10 points despite Rose's spectacular plays. Roy Hibbert is owning the offensive glass, but Carlos Boozer is getting some work done. Not much ball movement from Chicago. 


Original post 12:30 p.m. The NBA has opened up a new stats tool which is pretty significant, called StatsCube. So we'll be peppering you with information from that all day. Here's a start. The Pacers actually shoot 10% better with Rose on the floor versus off. But then, they are also outscored by 8 points more per 48 minutes when Rose is on the floor. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports J.J. Redick reports no pain and is good to go versus the Hawks Saturday night. Redick's role in this series isn't important. He can't check Joe Johnson, and won't run point. Though him versus Kirk Hinrich could be really good and that's not a joke. Redick's rust will be something to watch. The Magic need shooters. That make them. As opposed to Gilbert Arenas, who's a shooter that doesn't. 

Pacers bloggers are not exactly confident going into this series. Not that they should be, but it shows the difference between the NBA and other sports. Fans don't have hope in the first round when they're overmatched. 

Another nice touch, the Bulls shoot 12% worse when Roy Hibbert is in, but don't lose much in rebounding.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:04 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 3:18 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference First Round Picks

The NBA playoffs are here. We've previewed the Eastern Conference. Now here are our picks along with the rest of the CBS NBA staff for you to mock or praise. Be gentle. 




Here are the EOB picks for the Eastern Conference, with a little 'splainin. Leave your picks below. 

8 Pacers vs. 1 Bulls

Ben Golliver: If Derrick Rose can walk on water and turn water into wine, surely he can overcome an average Indiana Pacers team that has no hope of stopping him. Of all the playoff series, this one probably has the greatest sweep potential, as the Bulls enter the series fully motivated because they need to establish their post-season reputation ASAP. There’s not a single match-up that truly favors Indiana. Prediction: Bulls in four.

Royce Young: Almost every matchup favors the Bulls as well as style of play. Indiana will play them hard and probably play them pretty close, but this has sweep written all over it. The Pacers won't do any sneaking up because of Granger's bulletin board material, so their best shot at stealing a game is gone. However, I'd like to think the Pacers will be excited enough to pull one off at home, just to treat the Indy fans. Prediction: Bulls in five.

Matt Moore: This should be a sweep. It really should. On the surface it has all the makings. But with the Bulls' offense able to dry up like it can, versus a young and versatile Pacers team with a top flight center and a good point guard, I think the Bulls wind up giving them the gentleman's sweep. It's still a sweep, but you give 'em one, to be polite. Prediction: Bulls in five.

Ken Berger: Roy Hibbert can make Derrick Rose think twice before driving to the rim, but the Bulls are too good defensively to allow Indiana to mount any sort of a challenge. This will be a test of how serious Chicago is about winning a championship. A matchup like this doesn't deserve any more than their minimum time investment. They'll need to get this over with quickly and get ready for the brutal battles ahead. Prediction: Bulls in four. 

7 Sixers vs. 2 Heat

Ken Berger: If this were the timid, confused, jump-shooting Heat team we saw earlier in the season, the Sixers would have a chance to make this interesting. But the way Miami is attacking the rim and scoring in the paint, this will be a quick and relatively painless path to the second round. Two things the Sixers have going for them: Lou Williams is back, giving them a boost off the bench, and they're one of the top 3-point-defending teams in the league. So there's that. Prediction: Heat in four.

Royce Young: The Sixers are long, fast, athletic and can run. The Heat are longer, faster, more athletic and run better. Not good for Philly. There is always a chance things could happen because I think there's a sincere uncertainty about exactly how the Heat will respond to playoff basketball, but Miami just has too much talent for the Sixers. Maybe they can win a game, which I think would be a victory. Prediction: Heat in four.

Ben Golliver: The Miami Heat have been up, down and all over the map this season, but they closed strong and draw a match-up against an overachieving 76ers group whose season will still be seen as a success if they get bounced quickly. Elton Brand will be a load, but everyone else is manageable, and Philly just doesn’t have the overall offensive chops to keep up with the triad. Prediction: Heat in five. 

Matt Moore:  I flipped on this prediction six times. I started out with your standard 2-2-2 6-game set. Then I went all wacky and went to a seven game series with fans and media talking about how terrible the Heat are, and could they lose in the first round. Then I walked it back to a sweep. Then back to a six-gamer. Then I thought maybe a gentleman's sweep (5 games, you give 'em one out of being polite). But I keep coming back to that Heat team that lost to mediocre team after mediocre team this season. Except Philly. Which either means the Sixers have no chance or they're due. I have absolute faith in Miami winnning. I just have no faith in them winning comfortably. Prediction: Heat in six. 

6 Knicks vs. 3 Celtics

Matt Moore: The Knicks take two games here because stars step up in the playoffs, and both Stoudemire and Anthony are huge stars. The Celtics are much better but still finding their way. The Knicks defense will show up for 1.5 games, and that plus their offense will land them two games. Anthony is not efficient, but he's going to have a field day with Pierce's defense. Billups will have one big game and so will some other random Knick. That will give them a false sense of hope in New York going forward. Should be entertaining. Prediction: Celtics in six.

Ben Golliver: Given how much the midseason trade for Anthony compromised New York’s depth, there’s a sense that the not yet fully formed Knicks are just happy to be in the post-season for the first time since 2003-2004. The Celtics, meanwhile, aren’t playing their best basketball but they do enter the post-season with a greater urgency, given the age and mentality of their core players. The Garnett/ Pierce/ Allen/ Rondo core has defeated far better all-around teams than this year’s Knicks, and a B- or better performance from Boston should be enough to see the Celtics through to the second round and a likely dream match-up with the Miami Heat. Prediction: Celtics in five. 

Ken Berger: Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony cancel each other out. Kevin Garnett and Amar'e Stoudemire cancel (and curse) each other out. Boston's gaping hole at center isn't a big deal, since the Knicks don't have a center, either. So this comes down to how well Ray Allen shoots the three-ball, and the point guard matchup. Rondo torched the Knicks during the regular season (though only one of those meetings was post-trade with all the regulars playing). Despite his late-season swoon, Rondo should be in full orchestration mode against the slower, older Chauncey Billups. One caveat here: While defense trumps offense in the playoffs, Melo and Amar'e are so scary good that if either one gets on a serious roll, it would change the complexion of the series. Prediction: Celtics in five. 

Royce Young: Back when the Melo trade finally happened, most people agreed: You don't want these Knicks in the playoffs -- they're dangerous. Are they though? Are they actually dangerous enough with two elite offensive players to push the Celtics? Depends on your definition of "push." I think the Knicks can win two games, but this is Boston's series. Prediction: Celtics in six. 

5 Hawks vs. 4 Magic

Royce Young:  Everyone is picking Orlando -- myself included -- but the Hawks actually won the season series 3-1. But that's being ignored because it's hard to forget what happened last postseason between these two teams. I get the feeling the Hawks are ready for this one and want to prove a little something, but the Magic are much better than they are. I feel seven games though for some reason. Prediction: Magic in seven.

Matt Moore: This series will actually be pretty interesting.  All the matchups point towards the Hawks being able to make a run and knock off the Magic. But we've seen this kind of situation with the Celtics versus the Heat last year. You have to trust the tested playoff team that's won before. Factor in the chance that Nelson steps up and Howard's ability to take over a game every now and then and the Magic are still the favorites, if for no other reason than their defense. Prediction: Magic in six.

Ben Golliver: For a capable,versatile, athletic group, the Atlanta Hawks sure are disappointing. They strike fear in the hearts of no one considering their heartless performance last season. Their uneven, often unmotivated, play under first year coach Larry Drew doesn’t bode well for avoiding a repeat of history. This year’s Magic are good – not great – but they have more than enough offensive firepower and the best player in the series, by a mile, in Dwight Howard. Prediction: Magic in four.

Ken Berger:  Atlanta won the season series 3-1, in large part because they kept Dwight Howard's damage to a minimum on the offensive end. Of the teams Orlando played four times this season, only Miami held Dwight to a lower scoring average. The Magic are on the short end of defensive mismatches at every spot except center, and even there, Jason Collins has done as good a job on Howard as anyone. So why am I picking Orlando? Because Howard will control the paint defensively and the glass, because the Magic are better-coached, and because the Hawks have been so inconsistent lately it's hard to figure out what they are. Also, there's not much home-court advantage in the ATL, and when things start going poorly for the Hawks, they get ugly quickly. Prediction: Magic in five. 
Posted on: April 14, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 12:59 am
 

Series Preview Hawks-Magic: Birds of pray

Our first-round series previews continue with Hawks-Magic. Will Josh Smith be the X-factor for Atlanta? 
Posted by Matt Moore




I. Intro

The forgotten series. The Magic and Hawks face off in the 4-5 matchup, traditionally nothing more than an also-ran series. It's usually one of the most competitive, but it's also usually the least sexy because of the lack of elite teams involved. That archetype certainly fits here. The Magic's window seems to have shut once and for all as the trade for Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas along with Hedo Turkoglu has failed to return the Magic to a 2009 level of perimeter lethality. Dwight Howard's put in an MVP-worthy season, even if he won't win, but still fails to make an impact that drives the word "unstoppable." 

The Hawks? The Hawks are the quietest successful disaster story, ever. They gave Joe Johnson a max contract no one thought he was worth, then extended Al Horfor which everyone thought should happen. They upgraded at point trading Mike Bibby for Kirk Hinrich, and won enough games to land in the five spot after an early season run through an easy schedule. But whenever faced with a key moment, the Hawks have been ran over and through. Except against the Magic. 

II. What happeneed: A Look at the Season Series

The Hawks topped the Magic 3-1 in the regular season. The Magic are heavy favorites based on Howard and playoff experience, but the Hawks have been in the playoffs the last three seasons prior this year's, and have made the second round twice. They are an afterthought in the playoff race. But that doesn't mean they're push overs, especially against Orlando. 

The Magic's only victory over the Hawks came when Dwight Howard dropped 27 points and 11 rebounds. Howard averaged less than 20 points per game against the Hawks this season, largely due to foul trouble. Al Horford is the most underrated All-Star in the league, a terrific defensive presence that can manage Howard as well as work with an effective double-team. Jameer Nelson averaged 19 per game against the Hawks, but bigger was Josh Smith who averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and over 2 blocks per game against the Magic. 

III. The Easy Stuff: Josh Smith is going to destroy everyone

Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass split time for the Magic at power forward, with the occasional appearance from Hedo Turkoglu. None of those three players have the skillset necessary to handle Smith, which is why he put up such strong numbers against the Magic. Bass isn't fast enough to handle Smith's explosion, Anderson doesn't possess the strength to match him in the post, and Turkoglu doesn't have either of those traits. Smith's going to be able to slice through defenders like they were made of Sriracha.

Smith doesn't take up a ton of shots, he works for easy ones and has tailed off on ill-advised jumpers in his career. He's never going to be the dominant force many hoped he would become, but he can make a huge impact. The question here will be if he can make a significant impact across a seven a game series on the glass and helping defend Howard. Smith works so much from the perimeter and swoops in on rebounds. But Howard takes up so much space, that strategy can suffer at times. Smith needs to be a focal point on both sides of the floor for the Hawks to win this series. 

IV. Secret of the Series: The Maginot 3-point Line

Did you know that the Hawks allow the fifth fewest 3-pointers made? And that they allow the fourth worst percentage from the arc? The Hawks have long, versatile wing defenders and close out hard on 3-pointers. That's going to put a huge crimp on the Magic's style. The Magic need to get their offensive flow going, and that meanes 3-pointers. But if the Hawks stay home and force the Magic to beat them with perimeter penetration off the dribble, the Hawks may have a shot at this thing. Kirk Hinrich is a significant enough upgrade over Jameer Nelson that he'll succeed where Bibby failed last season. From there it's up to Smith and Marvin Williams to close out, along with Joe Johnson. Smith once again comes in handy here against Ryan Anderson. Smith's athleticism will allow him to help defend inside on doubles and recover on Andreson effectively. It's all about spacing, and the Hawks have the length to cause problems in that area. 

For the Magic, they need to get the advantage off their bench with their shooters. Jason Richardson will get his fair share, but the rest have to step up, including J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas. If Arenas continues his poor play, the Magic are going to find long runs during the bench unit minutes. The Hawks are a paper tiger but they've still got claws. 

V. The Dinosaur Narrative: The Magic Rebound myth

Having the best rebounder in the playoffs doesn't assure you the best rebounding. The Magic are thought to have the edge on the glass in this series thanks to the existence of Howard along with Bass and Anderson. But the Hawks outrebounded them by 5 on averge in the season series. They tied the Magic on the offensive glass 9.3 to 9.8. Those second-hand opportunities are thanks (again) to Smith's athleticism, Horford's savvy know-how and effort, and Joe Johnson's size advantage over smaller, thinner guards. It's a fundamental part of the Magic's approach, and the Hawks are able to neutralize it. Just because Howard's massive doesn't mean the Magic have an advantage on the glass. 

VI. The Line-Item Veto: 

PG: Kirk Hinrich is still a very good defender but his reputation has suffered a bit over the last few years. Nelson is as inconsistent as they come, but he usually excels until he hits a wall, then plummets in production. Expect him to have another big series. 

SG: Joe Johnson's numbers have fallen across the board in the first year of his zillion year, zillion dollar contract. He and Jason Richardson are likely to play to a tie. The big question will in terms of usage and how many possessions Johnson racks up. 

SF: The Hawks have been using lineups with Horford at 4, moving Smith to the 3 spot. But Marvin Williams still gets the most time at the 3. He and Turkoglu are essentially a wash, with Turkoglu's play making ability giving him a slight edge, if only for his entry passing with Dwight Howard. 

PF: We've been over this. Smith, Horford, whoever is here is better than anyone Orlando's got, and Orlando's got a few good players here. 

C: Uh, yeah, I'll go with the big guy in blue, thanks. 

Bench: The Magic peel Gilbert Arenas off, along with either Anderson or Bass. J.J. Redick is banged up but very good when healthy. Chris Duhon has a pulse. . The Hawks have Zaza Pachulia, Collins at times, Jeff Teague, and, oh, yeah, Jamal Crawford. Hawks get the edge. 

Coaching: Larry Drew has not impressed in his first season. Stan Van Gundy is arguably a top three coach in the league. Gotta go with SVG. 

VII. Conclusion

This series will actually be pretty interesting.  All the matchups point towards the Hawks being able to make a run and knock off the Magic. But we've seen this kind of situation with the Celtics versus the Heat last year. You have to trust the tested playoff team that's won before. Factor in the chance that Nelson steps up and Howard's ability to take over a game every now and the Magic are still the favorites, if for no other reason than their defense. Prediction: Magic in 6. 

VIII. CBSSports.com Video Preview

Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic will take on Joe Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks in round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Who will come out on top? Ken Berger joins Ian Eagle for an in-depth look at this fierce matchup.

Posted on: April 14, 2011 9:20 am
Edited on: April 14, 2011 9:27 am
 

Eastern Playoffs LiveChat today at 2 p.m. EST

We'll be chatting Eastern Conference Playoffs this afternoon at 2 p.m. EST. We'll break down each matchup and take your questions and comments. You should swing by and argue for why your team will win its series. I'm sure no one will disagree with you. Especially if you live in the Northeast. 2 p.m. EST here on EOB. 


Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 2:28 am
 

2011 NBA Playoff Matchups Set Wednesday

Final playoff positioning following Wednesday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




All playoff matchups are set following Wednesday night's games. We've got our 16 teams seeded.
Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. For more analysis on the East, check out our discussion from Tuesday

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta


Western Conference

1 San Antonio vs. 8 Memphis
2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7 New Orleans
3 Dallas vs. 6 Portland
4 Oklahoma City vs. 5 Denver

The Mavericks' win over the Hornets locked Oklahoma City into the 4 seed, they'll face Denver. A Lakers win over Sacramento gets them the 2. The Hornets loss doesn't really matter, since it all came down to Memphis. Memphis t anked against the Clippers to get to the 8 spot. Memphis to the 8. The Hornets wind up 7th. 

Meanwhile, the Spurs' tank squad lost to Phoenix . Chicago finishes with the best overall record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Finals should they advance that far. Again, something that could come back to bite a tanking team. 

Some quick thoughts, as our series previews start tomorrow: 

Grizzlies-Spurs: Memphis may have made a brilliant manuever or doomed themselves. Manu Ginobili was injured Wednesday night, and if he's out, the Grizzlies might push the Spurs a bit. But they also ended the season in pathetic fashion, even for a tanking team. If that carries over, this could be over quickly. 

Hornets-Lakers: This is going to be short, violent, and brutal. I'll let you figure out how. Worst matchup for the underdog. 

Blazers-Mavericks: Portland fans wanted this matchup. We'll see if it works out for them. There are some good things here for Portland. If Dallas doesn't hit another gear, they could get rolled in the first round. Again. 

Nuggets-Thunder: This does not look like a great matchup on the surface for Denver. They'll have to get together and play the series of their lives, but against an inexperienced Thunder team, there's some possibility here. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com