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Open thread and contest: Game 61

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Regular Season Game 61
Wizards (34-25) at Hawks (22-39)
Phillips Arena
7 PM

Previous Results:
Wizards 96, Hawks 95.
Wizards 93, Hawks 92.

The Wizards hit the road to play the Hawks tonight, a team that is reeling like no other.  They've lost six games in a row, and Chase from Impending Firestorm is not happy.

Another finger must be pointed at Coach Woodson, who has a complete inability to coach to the strengths of his team. This is an extremely young team that is not necessarily top-heavy talent wise. Joe Johnson should play as many minutes as possible, and probably the Josh's as well, but behind them there is really no one who deserves any more playing time than anyone else. The athleticism and youth means the team should run as much as humanly possible, and yet Coach Woodson slows the team down into a halfcourt game and subs sparingly at the most. He claims that players need to earn their playing time, yet when someone like Batista or Jones comes in off the bench and plays a great game he still sees no more minutes in the next game. It is absolute horse crap that Coach Woodson rewards players for playing hard. If that was the case, Jones would be playing over 20 minutes a game.

Coach Woodson also needs to run more and push the ball up the court. It is clear from every opposing announcer that the young team is best when running the fast break. Pretty much everyone on the team can handle the ball minus Lorenzen Wright and Esteban Batista, yet Coach Woodson continues to make the team play slow and hold down the possesions. The problem with this is that Atlanta still turns the ball over like crazy, but they don't get enough opportunities to make up for their mistakes, which makes them the lowest scoring team in the league. If we are going to turn the ball over 20 times a game, we may as well do it trying to get more chances to score. It is absolute idiocy from the coaching staff to run such a slow, ball control offense with no point guard. I wanted to give it a shot and loved the focus on defense, but it just isn't working and I just can't take it anymore.

This sounds eerily like the first Jordan year here, where we had MJ who didn't want to run, and a bunch of youngsters like Rip Hamilton, Courtney Alexander, and the like wanting to run.  This year, we're hearing many of the same complaints out of Cleveland, where many feel guys like LeBron and former Wizard Larry Hughes would benefit from getting out on the break more.  

The problem is that few seem to understand that it takes more than having a bunch of athletes to run a successful up-tempo team.  Atlanta seriously lacks a point guard, and they already commit too many turnovers even in a half-court game.  If they were to push the ball, they would simply turn the ball over more and make their offense even less efficient.  This is the fundamental problem with the Hawks.  With no point guard to complement all their athletes, they're never going to be able to reach their full potential.

As far as tonight goes, if Atlanta tries to push the ball against the Wizards, they're getting killed.  The Wizards push the ball better, and they try to enforce that style on you anyway.  If the Hawks play more under control, like they have in the first two games, it'll be close, and luck may end up being on their side tonight.

Hawks blogs: Impending Firestorm, Hotlanta Hawks, Crafty Veteran.

Your lines for tonight.

Wizards at Hawks: Hawks by 1 (huh?)
Over/Under on Big 3: 68.9 points.

This is an open game thread, so anytime Shelden Williams enters the game, laugh.  I order you.

Update [2007-3-7 18:58:11 by Pradamaster]:: Just heard on Sportscenter that Joe Johnson is hurt and won't go tonight. The Wizards better win by 20 now.