Los Angeles Clippers at Atlanta Hawks
4:30 p.m. PST
December 4, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket
1. Why are the Hawks so good on the defensive boards but so poor on the offensive boards?
Bo Churney, HawksHoop, (@bochurney): Size and scheme. The Hawks scheme well to get defensive rebounds, which is evidenced by DeMarre Carroll averaging six boards a game next to Horford and Millsap. However, it’s not as easy to scheme to get offensive boards, where sometimes you just need sheer size. After Zaza left in free agency, the Hawks were left without someone that can just gobble up misses.
Andrew Han, (@andrewthehan): In a word: Budenholzer. In more words: did you know the Hawks’ coach, Mike Budenholzer, was a long time assistant for the San Antonio Spurs? A team that has been top three in defensive rebounding and bottom third in offensive rebounding the past two seasons? In less words: limiting opponent possessions and setting up on defense is important.
Seerat Sohi, (@DamianTrillard): This one’s easy. The Hawks are 29th in the league in offensive rebounding—behind only the Miami Heat— because they don’t bother crashing the offensive glass. It’s no coincidence that Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer’s former squad, the San Antonio Spurs, are the league’s third-worst rebounding team; the Spurs value transition defense over second chance opportunities and now, so do the Hawks.
2. Last year, when the Clippers played the Jazz, we saw DeMarre Carroll guard Chris Paul effectively. Would this strategy work for Atlanta on Wednesday night?
Churney: I don’t know how effective he’ll be, but he definitely seems like the Hawks’ best option to guard Paul. Jeff Teague is miserable in pick-and-roll defense, and with Redick out, it will be a lot easier to just put DeMarre on CP3 and hide Teague somewhere else.
Han: About as effectively as any other team putting a larger, more physical wing defender on Chris Paul. Stopping Paul one-on-one for an entire game usually isn’t a reliable option, especially because he’s so apt rub the primary defender off via screen. It’s mostly about funneling Paul to trap situations on the floor and then the help defender efficiently sealing him up.
Sohi: There’s no doubt DeMarre Carroll bolsters the Hawks perimeter defense but stopping an assertive Chris Paul will undoubtedly be a team effort. Per Synergy, pick and roll ball-handlers have struggle against the Hawks as of yet since they ICE side pick-and-roll’s so effectively. Atlanta loves to force mid range jumpers in those situations. The question is, will Chris Paul make his?
3. Will Willie Green hold onto the starting shooting guard spot for the entire time that J.J. Redick is out?
Churney: If he does, it won’t hurt as much as it sounds. With Redick out, Green is going to find himself in the rotation, so you might as well start him so you can properly stagger the minutes that Paul, Crawford, and Collison are on the floor.
Han: Seems plausible. As much as fans would clamor for Crawford or Bullock to enter the starting lineup, the title is mostly honorary if Green is logging approximately 15 minutes a night. And there’ll be no shortage of minutes for any wing player with Redick and Barnes both sidelined.
Sohi: Probably. If anything, Reggie Bullock might get a crack at the spot if Doc Rivers wants to set a defensive precedent in the beginning of games— primarily against teams with perimeter scorers. On the other hand, he might value bench continuity, especially since the second unit is finally playing up to par.