Heat Check – Passed

Friday, October 22, 2010
By Jon Newberry

Last night’s preseason win over the Miami Heat was just what the doctor ordered.

Yes, it was a win against a quality team… which is nice. More than that, there seemed to be a breakthrough in the way the Hawks played the game. When Larry Drew’s offense was first discussed, here were the advantages that Hawks fans hoped would accompany the change in strategy:

  • Get everyone involved on offense, taking advantage of the team’s depth
  • Create easier, open shots
  • Make it so that the “TEAM” offense could more than offset any individual effort from the oppositions superstar

In the second half, as the Hawks rallied from a five-point halftime deficit, all of these advantages were evident.

1- Get everyone involved.
Nine different Hawks scored in the second half, with no one scoring more than 11 points (Mike Bibby) and five different players scoring six or more.

2- Create easier, open shots.
The Hawks outscored the Heat 38-24 in points in the paint. In the second half Atlanta had 16 assists compared to just seven for Miami. The Hawks hit 6-of-9 from behind the arc in the second half, a result of wide open looks created by excellent ball movement.

3- Use the sum of the Hawks parts to overcome LeBron’s big night
LeBron James scored 38 points last night, but he had a -17 plus/minus rating. That stat alone is hard to comprehend and a ringing endorsement for TEAM basketball.

Bottom line is that the offense works when executed correctly. As an added bonus for Hawks fans, the Larry Drew brand of basketball is very fun to watch. If Thursday night’s win is any indication, the Hawks are headed in the right direction and the 2010-11 season should be extremely entertaining.