Credit Where Credit is Due

Friday, April 29, 2011
By Jon Newberry

After 17 years as an assistant Larry Drew got what he wanted: a head coaching job in the NBA. He also got all of the scrutiny and criticism that comes with being the man in charge.

Things didn’t always go smoothly for Drew during his first season at the helm. He was saddled with lofty expectations from the start, and then he had to deal with a rash of injuries to key players throughout the regular season. The grumblings started after a few blowout losses at home early in the season. They grew in March when it became apparent that the team would not match last season’s win total (53), and it reached a high point when the team dropped its last six games of the regular season.

Fast forward two weeks and I would say it is time to give some praise to the man with the clipboard.

LD put together a somewhat radical game plan that led to a 4-2 series win over the Orlando Magic that not many people outside of the locker room had predicted. He was committed to guarding Dwight Howard with single coverage, instead keeping perimeter defenders focused on defending the 3-point line.

24 minutes into Game 1 Dwight Howard had 31 points. A lot of coaches would have scrapped that “single coverage” plan, and there were a couple plays where it looked like the Hawks players were going to deviate. Drew called timeout and got everyone back on the same page. The result was the most important win of the series. Howard finished with 46 points and 19 rebounds, but the Hawks got a 103-93 win and stole home court advantage.

“He had a plan throughout,” commented Jamal Crawford after the game. “Maybe at times, some people, or even us, didn’t understand it. But there’s a method to his madness.”

Five games later and the Hawks are moving on to Round 2 and the Magic are starting their summer vacations.

It has to be one of the biggest reversals in NBA history. One year after being swept (by a record 101 cumulative points), the Hawks take down the Magic in six games.

It is easy for the fans and media to criticize the coach when things aren’t going well. Let’s take a minute during the three days before the Hawks tip-off their series in Chicago and give a little credit to the man in the middle of the huddle. If coach’s reputations are made in the postseason, so far Larry Drew has a great game plan.

Tags: ,

9 Responses to “Credit Where Credit is Due”

  1. Eddie Cooper

    I thought Mike Woodson did a great job but n e ways…
    Big ups to Drew and his first career playoff series win! Looking for another against Chicago!

    • Bon Jovi

      Thats what you get for thinking to much

    • Anthony Huff

      OKay I comend Larry on his first playoff series but he needs to use his bench a little bit more because next series they r goin to be worn out there is no way u r not useing a guys like damien wilkins or jeff teague these guys bring u defense and hustle and u need that for a team like the bulls all im sayin dnt be like mike woodson deeper your rotation and develop your players so they not just taking up space.the hawks to me can compet wit any team in the league they need jus need to play to the level they can and somebody tell josh smith to get his big behind off the perimeter he should be averaging about 12 rebounds a game just dont be another mike woodson which mike woodson was a great coach i jus wish his offense would have been better but everything good he does larry drew doesnt i wish we would have kept him for defense of perpose thats it!?

  2. Go Hawks!

    Go Hawks! Lower playoff ticket prices!!

  3. IceColdATLien

    Most definitely gotta give LD some love. He initially comes off as having no idea what he’s doing but, after seeing him during the playoff interviews, I gotta say he’s fairly sharp at least in a bball sense.

    Knuckleheads like “J Smoove” (how contrived) are the main reason we got blown out so many times over the past year or so. However, it is LD’s fault for not bringin the hammer down on Josh.

    Regardless, Drew accomplished at least a cathartic series win that really puts last year’s debacle to bed. Let’s see what he’s got up his sleeve for the MVP… without the Hawk’s best perimeter defensive weapon, Hinrich. If he can get the Hawks to game 6 or 7 without his starting PG vs DRose, then LD will have his NBA head coach bonafides.

  4. mel

    First i would like to agree with a few of the boys up top…I would like to see him give his defense players a chance… I really dont know what to think of him not giveing Jeff a chance eveytime he get extended minutes he produces. Though i would like to see him go see the shot doctor after the season, him and Marvin. I think they can beat the Bull if he lets Teague press him the whole game..i mean full court from the time he get the ball on the inbound till he crosses half court and I mean an agressive press too. The thing is they can still use the same came plan on the Bulls they used on the Magic, stay home with everyone else when he comes in the lane lay him down and make him beat u by scoreing…He may average 34 to 38 but that would beat you alone. You can’t let anyone esle get off though.

    SO let Jeff hound him the whole game, when he comes in the lane you have to be rough on him, then stay at home on your man so he has no kick outs… he gonna get tired….Labron tried to do everything last year and he ran out of gas… Rose will too

    • RetiredK9

      Yeah, right. A backup point guard on a team that finished fifth in their conference is going to “hound” the league MVP. I want to thank you for making me laugh, a deep, long belly laugh that almost brought tears. And speaking of tears, that’s what you’ll be experiencing when the Hawks go down in four. They aren’t tough enough to stay with the Bulls. They settle for jump shots when they should be driving the lane. They argue with each other on the court and in the huddle. They have nothing like the cohesiveness of Chicago, and oh, by the way, they’ll be without their best perimeter defender in Kirk Hinrich. With Hinrich, the Hawks had a fighting chance to get a game, maybe even two. Without him, Bulls fans will be bringing their brooms.

  5. MoHawk

    You couldn’t have been ‘mo wronga!!!! hahahahah. Who’s laughing now

    • big al. aka t.c.

      is the hawks scared of josh smith and marvin williams,aint no way on god earth.a coach like phil jackson r popovich rdoc river would allow marvin and josh 2 run 2 the 3 point line and stand there watchin 24 second clock run downand lookin at there guards get outrebound on the boards. marvin has the freshes legs n the league..thats all he do the whole game is run 2 the 3pt line and wait for a shot he cant hit..he and josh need an ankel brace on 2 let them know when they r 5ft from the basket by shocking them if they think about moving away.if joe johnson is on a team like the lakers r sanantonio r dallas he is a allstar starter each year.he is double team by 2 and 3 guys every game because teams that play them no they bigs dont move other than zaza r hartford 2 the basket so he can make the pass on the cut.marvin william is a 6 man he can start for any team n the nba.he is not worth a billy goat and a hill side of beans.the hawks let 6 hall a famemer get away..chris paul. lue adene.darron williams brandon roy,ben gordon.mike conley jr.they coaches g.m.billy knight said they r not nba ready…this is the worse decision makin team n the world..they had all those top 1,2 3,picks for 6 yrs.and we r still building.they drafted paul gasol,and sent him 2 memphis.they gave up jordan crawford 2 washington and next year 1rd pick and 2nd rd for kirk hinhrich.and now he is hurt.they r stupid.thats why i gave my season ticket up 5yrs ago
      i have been waitin 35yrs for a basketball championship here n atlanta.guess i will keep waitin until im dead and gone..i am big al. aka t.c.fulton high class of 1979..they will never get a true center r a premier point guard..they talk about ahlectisim where ..they cant make a decent pass smith cant dribble williams is a 8th man not a starter let zaza have that spot and u will c double double at that spot each game he starts zaza,hartford,joe.jeff teague jamal crawford.joe johnson is your new small fordward.u r guaranteed 2 move pass 2nd rd and maybe the 3rd rd and get 2 our 1st championship chance just maybe,,,