Linear Equations: Notes on 11.5.08

  • The Hawks are legit, at least right now. It’s one thing to be dangerous and capable of hurting teams with athleticism and scoring, but the Hawks tonight ran halfcourt offense and defense against a full strength Hornets team and just worked them. There’s terrific ball movement with the core players, Johnson is still able to score in spurts, and lets the offense move. They’re also playing absolutely terrific defense. The lack of focus that infuriated people for so long defensively is gone. They know where they’re going and what they need to do. They’re using their speed and athleticism to get back on gambles. They’re also cutting off the baseline very effectively, often creating clusters on the blocks. This is a much better team than the one we saw in the playoffs.
  • Tonight was a great night to watch Josh Smith, to see the gamut of what he brings. There were some turnovers and bad shots when he forced it. There was also the ridiculous control in transition, the speed attacking on the steal or the block, the strength on the drive, and the amazing all around effort. They worked him in the block and he narrowly missed a series of drop-step hooks. If he can develop that a bit more, yikes.
  • Al Horford ate David West’s lunch several times tonight. I love DWest. But he had a bad night and when he has a bad night, he’s a weakness defensively sometimes for the Hornets.
  • Tyson Chandler was invisible tonight. No alley-oops.
  • Okay, to all the people looking at Tony Parker’s line? Screw off. Amare Stoudemire shot 81%, had 49 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. OF COURSE Parker had 55. They went to double overtime (against the freaking Wolves, mind you), and they have no other scorers. Don’t get me wrong, Parker’s brilliant. And the shots he hit you knew were going in, because he’s a killer. But he had the third best line of the night. Maybe.
  • When you have Amare Stoudemire right now, you can beat anyone. That’s how good he is. There are maybe three players better than Amare right now. And I don’t feel good about putting any of them above him.
  • The Spurs are going to lose more until Ginobili gets back. As a team, they are fundamentally flawed, and are having to rely too much on Parker and Duncan, to the point that it’s going to be physically taxing and create further problems.
  • The Wolves on the other hand, are right on track. Kevin Love went right up against Tim Duncan to tie the game and send it to overtime. That’s huge. Love is going to be a great pro
  • Jefferson developing that hook is killer. A refined offensive set for the Harbinger is doom for the rest of the league.
  • This was the Heat team we had dreamed of. Marion out in transition, filling in the pieces. Beasley getting boards and learning his way. And Wade using the extra explosion to create steals. Chalmers is getting there. They just have to be patient. He’s going to be a great pro. They just have to let him get there.
  • Cleveland at 112.6 efficiency. You won’t stop this team when they run at that level. This Cleveland incarnation is decidedly less ugly than previous ones. That’s huge. They didn’t need to improve much, just a bit.
  • I guess we can hold off on the Toronto fellatio. Sorry, without AI, you gotta win that one at home for me to consider you scary.
  • The Jazz should have won by more over the Blazers, but Boozer came up with some huge buckets and this team is simply able to harness such focus when it needs to, they’re going to be really hard to stop. Until the playoffs.
  • Andre Iguodala sucks right now. Not gonna lie, that feels good to say. Won’t last the whole season, but man. Right now he’s terrible.
  • Bad Grizzlies showed up tonight. No focus, tired legs, terrible ballhandling, and too many fouls. I don’t think the Kings are a better team. They just kind of did basketball things and had Kevin Martin. Martin’s brilliant, no doubt, but I have a feeling they’re going to end with fewer wins than the Grizz. Then again, I’m biased. But the Grizz ended with an 18-5 run and they’re comeback was only really stunted by a looseball that happened to roll to John Salmons.
  • Salmons had a good night though. It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps up this efficiency rate.
  • Quinton Ross gets too many minutes for Memphis.
  • 42 points, 19 assists for Ridnour and Sessions. The Bucks are loaded at the most important position on the floor.
  • DJ Augustin is going to be very, very good if Larry Brown doesn’t crush his soul underfoot.
  • The Clippers are awful.

Hardwood Paroxysm