We got in touch with DolPhanDave over at Peninsula is Mightier. He was kind enough to answer our questions. Thanks Dave. Enjoy the blogging with enemy.
1- In ten words or less, describe how you see the Atlanta Hawks.
Dangerously underrated, but not incredibly deep.
2- Dwayne Wade is really awesome. If you were forced to, and consider this questing forcing you to, what is the one thing that pushes Wade from that awesome category to the really awesome one?
His ability to take a game over and basically score at will. When Dwyane decides that he wants to score, he can do several things. He can break down a defense by simply driving in, through and around them, which means he either gets an easy layup, gets fouled and earns two free-throws (he averaged 9.8/game this season) or dish the ball to an open teammate (shown by his 7.5 assists/game). He also has a solid jumper. Some nights it takes him longer to get his ‘touch' going, but once he does then guarding him becomes that much harder. This season he added a semi-consistent three-pointer to his arsenal. He hit more trays this season (88) then in the previous 5 combined (85).
3- What can the Hawks do to slow him down (and by that I mean score only 30)?
He often will carry the ball up the floor himself while still playing as the 2 guard, but you can get the ball out of his hands by doubling him as soon as he crosses the half-court line. Still, it's difficult to have two guys chasing him around screens when he tries to get the ball back.
Keeping the ball out of his hands and keeping him off-balance when taking jumpers might keep him off his game enough to concentrate on getting his teammates more involved and focus less on scoring himself.
4- I think your coach is not very good. Am I being judgmental?
I think that this is a common opinion as I get asked this question a lot. Erik Spoelstra has done a good job considering that he's gone through half a season with no real starting center, and the other half without a solid starting small forward. Until we traded for Jermaine O'Neal, the season began with Udonis Haslem (our starting power forward) at center and rookie Michael Beasley playing the 4. Once Beasley was moved to the bench, we had Joel Anthony start 28 games at center.
Basically, the Heat have had serious rotation issues this season and the coach has dealt with much of the criticism. But there is so much more to his job then just finding a working rotation without all the parts to fill it. He has helped our youngsters develop their jumpers (he is an AMAZING shooting coach), and took a 15-win team from a year ago and brought them back to a 43-39 record and the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. He also helped rookie Mario Chalmers (the NBA's most underrated rookie in my opinion) get through those tough ‘rookie walls' while starting all 82 regular season games.
5- I was disappointed to here Wade and company instituted a no night life in Atlanta. Now that that is out of the way, how do you think Miami's young pups (Cook, Beasley, Chalmers) will handle the playoff intensity and atmosphere in Atlanta?
These youngsters have been playing in hostile environments all season so I don't think that will effect them as much as the pressure of there being ‘no tomorrow' in the playoffs. Daequan Cook had been shooting lights-out right up until he won the 3-Point Shootout during the All-Star Weekend, but since then has been struggling mightily. While I'd love to see him start drilling four 3-pointers a game, if he doesn't it wont be because of anything but whatever has been keeping his shots out of the bucket the past two months.
As for the rookies, Beasley will be fine. Nothing gets to this kid, and when he does have a bad game, he comes right back with a good one. Over the final four games of the regular season, Beasley has been playing his best ball of the year, averaging 24 points on 56% shooting, going 6-for-10 from beyond the arc and adding 11.7 rebounds. I think with Mario Chalmers, much of his success will come down to how well he plays against Mike Bibby. Chalmers is at his best when he creates off the dribble, and since Bibby isn't exactly the fastest point guard in the league anymore, Super Mario could potentially have a lot of success. As long as he stays out of foul trouble, he should be good for 8-12 points/assists each game, and usually grabs a few steals as well.
6- Who should I be nervous about that I am probably not nervous about?
James Jones has had a tough season recovering from pre-season surgery on his shooting wrist, but has shows flashes of his 3-point shooting brilliance and could very quickly hit a handful of 3's. Should Jones or Daequan Cook get going, then you should be very nervous.
Jamaal Magloire has been playing great off the bench for us, providing a source for rebounds and even a few buckets when Jermaine O'Neal is on the bench, but may lose some minutes due to Udonis Haslem switching to center at times so that Michael Beasley can get more minutes at the 4. Now I don't think you should be ‘nervous' about Magloire...he is something to keep an eye on.
7- Who on the Hawks has you waking up in cold sweat?
Other then Joe Johnson, I get very worried with the idea of Josh Smith getting going against the Heat. I know how well he does when driving the ball, but if he gets his jumper clicking as well then Miami could have some problems matching up on D. Having Udonis Haslem back is key, but Smith is young, fast and quite frankly scares the crap outta me.
I think the Heat will steal one of the first 2 games on the road, ditto with the Hawks in game 3 or 4. It will likely come down to game 7...and that game will depend on if D-Wade can score 40+. I have faith in Wade averaging 35 ppg this series, so I'll be the homer and go Heat in 7.