Keep Your Eye On the Boards
The single most important stat category for the Hawks this postseason has to be rebounding. Atlanta is 5-0 when they outrebound their opponent or at least finish within one board of matching. The team is 1-4 when they are outrebounded by five or more.
“We have to do things with energy,” said Al Horford following this morning’s shootaround. “That’s something that needs to be there all the time. We just have to do a better job collectively as a team.”
“It’s basically just energy and effort,” echoed Joe Johnson. “Putting forth the effort and making the mindset that we need to box our guys out and also, us guards getting down there, helping our bigs rebound the basketball.”
One way that Larry Drew is looking to help balance out the rebounding totals is by increasing the minutes of Jason Collins and Zaza Pachulia. Collins brings some added size against the Bulls’ frontcourt and Pachulia always brings energy and effort that helps frustrate Joakim Noah and his assult on the offensive glass.
Still, the Hawks know that it will take a total team effort to win the battle of the boards against this Chicago team.
“They’re just hard workers,” said Horford. “Deng always goes under the radar in the things that he does. Rose, he tip-dunked one in the other day after his own miss. Nobody had a chance to react. They’re rebounding from all different positions.”
MORE ON GAME 5
Handling the double-teams:
Joe – “I know in order for us to be successful as a team I have to score the basketball. If I have to press the issue at times I’m gonna do that. Like I said, I’m gonna try to be as aggressive as possible.”
Jamal – “Just doing what the play dictates, you know. If you get two people on you, you have to find the open man and hope that we finish and take advantage of it. That way they won’t do it. The times where they’re not two people, that is when you have take advantage and go one-on-one or whatever it is you feel like you have to do. Besides that, you just have to play the game. Sometimes try to test it and see how far they go with it.”