The Atlanta Hawks always seem to be in the same place every year. Then when the playoffs come around they do little to no damage and bounce quietly into the hot Atlanta son. This year seems to be the same story. Although to there credit they did make a move at the trade deadline. Atlanta received Captain Kirk Hinirick and Hilton Armstrong. Hinirick solidifies the Hawks defense, provides vertern leadership, and a sharp shooter from the outside.
Another plus for the Hawks is that they moved Mike Bibby. Mike Bibby has put up solid numbers over his 13 seasons in the league. Over his career Mike Bibby is ranked 13th all time in three pointers made and has definately put up his share of points. However he has always been a defensive liability and over the past two years his numbers have been on the decline.
Kirk Hinirick is much younger, a defensive upgrade, and offensive force to a team looking for someone to solidify the point guard position. Captain Kirk also has the ability to create his own jump shot off the dribble or off of a screen. He is also a true team player and can definately create for his teammates and will be a leader for League.
Hilton Armstrong is a young player with a tremedous amount of upside. He adds depth to atlanta team that really lacks depth at all positions. He will see more playing time in Atlanta and is a nice piece coming off of the bench.
Overall Kirk Hinirick is a good pickup for the Hawks moving forward. He will bring a solid player to a hawk team that has lacked an offensive and defensive threat at that position. This is not going to lift them to the conference finals but it is certainly a start and solidifies the point guard role for the hawks
The defending Eastern Conference champs the Boston Celtics at there home court. The first quarter the bulls looked lackadaisical and nothing would fall. Then the bench like it has for the last five games sparked Derrick rose and the starters. Rose found his shot and took it to the hole on Rondo who seems to struggle guarding the quicker Derrick rose. The. Bulls defense really clamped down on big baby and forced him to take that 17 foot jumpers all night. The Celtics could not really get anything going offensively after that. The Bulls defense smoothered the Celtics big three and took them out of the game. The Derrick rose floater was in top form as it seems to always drift over the defenders hands. Derrick Rose scored a season high 36 points. He was unstopable. Derrick Rose has become the true leader of this young Chicago Team.
Carlos boozer also had a fantastic game 22 points and 10 boards. His low post pressence really caused the C’s Big BabyDavis big problems. Scoring wise Boozer is the best in the paint whether he takes it to the hole with his spin moved drive, or his short close range jumper this guy has not lost a step. Boozer may be considered a triple threat because he draws the double team and can pass to find the open man . Another part of boozers game that bulls fans love is the ay he runs the pick and roll. Derrick and Carlos haven’t spent that much trims together but they run this pick and roll at the top of key and with a screen by Boozer and a quick dump off back to rose as he drives to the basket.
Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver both had impressive production over the last three games. Ronnie Brewer has been more active and has been the offensive spark the bulls traded for in the summer. He dropped ten points on the C’s which isnt alot by any means but his j has been coming along nicely. Plus we all know that he is there for his d, but whatever offensive porduction you can get out of him is a plus. Kyle kover should be a started for the bulls because bogans provides nothing. If we are going to compare hin to a player on the early 90’s bulls, he would be Steve Kerr. He is clutch and is ice cold off that screen from the three point line. That is his game so the offense should work to screen defenders so Korver can be that three point marksman that he is.
This game was truly a big game for this young team. The Bulls started off sluggish but got the win because of there defense and offensive explosion from the future mvp Derrick Rose and the other starters. The Bulls bench has to be one of the deepest in the league. They have great roll players like Omer Asik and Taj Gibson stepping up there game and helping the Bulls outscore there opponents every night. With this win the Bulls have continued to roll and prove that this young team is ready for the playoffs. The Bulls prove that they may be young but there commitment to the defensive end keeps them in every game. This team is playoff bound and could really do some damage to the teams in the Eastern Conference. This Bulls team has a low post game, pick and roll game, three point shooters, one of the best benches in the league, and one of the best defenses in the league.
The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly are the team to watch with Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook in the lineup. These two prolific scores certainly can bring the house down with there offensive explosiveness. This fearsome twosome account for 49.4 points per night. The Oklahoma City Thunder can put points on the board, but there commitment to defense is whats really impressive. There defense can shut down opponents in all defensive categories including rebounds, steals, blocks, and points allowed. They allow 102 points per game while scoring 104 of there own. The stat that shows the most importance to me is the percentage of shots that the opponents are scoring on a given night. 82games.com breaks this down into four categories: tips, dunks, close and long range jumpers. The close range, dunks, and tips accounts for 34 percent while the other 67 percent is jumpers. This shows the interior defense is not allowing the opposition to get inside and easy baskets. The back court of the Oklahoma City Thunder is what fuels this defensive machine.
Russell Westbrook is not the typical point guard. He does give up the rock but he can also open up an offensive show every night. Westbrook shoots 45 percent from the floor and drops 22 points (14th) and 9 assists per game (8th). He is at a plus six in offensive production from last year to this year. Him playing for team USA really helped his game experience. Defensively he is a beast. He shuts his opponents down and holds them to 17 points per game which is a plus 5. Russell takes more of a Scottie Pippen role in my eyes. He is great on the defensive end and certainly can dish off to teammates but he is the number two guy on the team. Russell and Scottie’s production are very similar to each other as far as field goal percentage and points per game. Defensively we know Scottie was one of the league’s best. He was good at getting into passing lanes and shutting down opponents most effective offensive weapon. We see a flash of this in Westbrook. He certainly can shut down the best at the point guard position. He takes away passing lanes and dribble drives and has them settle for mid-range j’s. Westbrook also ranks in the top five in steals and does not turn the ball over (averages 3.8 a game).
Kevin Durant is one of the leagues best. He is so versatile and hard to defend. Defenses only hope to contain him. Kevin Durant drops 28.8 (#1) per game, total points (1495), and ranks third in the league in points per 48 minutes (35). He has one of the games best efficiency ratings in the game at 25.9. Kevin Durant also shoots 47% from the floor and 41% when the game is on the line. How can you shut down someone that can run and is that athletic? You can’t. He can dribble drive, shoots the mid and close range shots well, and can post his defender up. Not only is Durant an offensive machine but he can play a little defense to. He understands there are two aspects to the game of basketball: offense and defense and is commitment to both. He is like Michael Jordan in that aspect. He lead the league in scoring, points per game, points per 48 minutes, and just flat out dominated the game of basketball. Both are clutch when the game is on the line and shoot a similar field goal percentage on the floor. Defensively, Jordan was one of the best at shutting down opponents. He was named First Team All NBA Defensive Team nine times during his long illustrious career. Its only a matter of time before Durant will receive the same props. The comparison between Durant and Westbrook to Scottie and Michael may be a little premature to some oor. Defensively, Jordan was one of the best at shutting down opponents. He was named First Team All NBA Defensive Team nine times during his long illustrious career. Its only a matter of time before Durant will receive the same props.
The comparison between Durant and Westbrook to Scottie and Michael may be a little premature to some folks, but numbers do not lie. Michael and Scottie dominated the league and is the most fearsome twosome in the game. They had the killer internal drive that can just take over the game when all is lost. They had an offensive game that would blow opponents out of the building. They also got it done on the defensive end by shutting down there opponents most offensive threats. Their 72-10 record proves that. Kevin and Westbrook account for almost 50% of the Thunders points per game. How many teams can say they have two of the top fifteen scorers in the game today? Their defense is intense and one of the best in the league. The best aspect of this team is that they commit to both aspects of basketball.