Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down the Hawks defensive strategy against Dwight Howard in their 103-93 game one victory.
Of the Hawks strategy, Pruiti writes:
The Hawks were determined to stick to the game plan, and that is what they did. Not doubling and sending late digs (which were so late it was like they weren’t even there) allowed Howard to go off, but when the Magic aren’t hitting threes, they aren’t as effective. The Hawks know that, and they were committed to allowing Dwight to go off as long as the three point shooters didn’t get anything going.
After watching this Atlanta team the entire season, I came away very impressed that they executed their game plan flawlessly and stuck with it even when Howard was rolling offensively. After 31 first half points, it would have been easy to change mid-stream and send the double team. Particularly when they were down to options No. 3 (Etan Thomas) and No. 4 (Josh Powell) guarding him. Be sure and check out the entire post as Pruiti offers an excellent break down as always.