The NBA playoffs feature best-of-seven series, but the Atlanta Hawks could perhaps end their series in just two games tomorrow night. The Hawks took down the Magic in Orlando in Game 1 on Friday night and another victory would send them back home with a 2-0 lead.
Atlanta coach Larry Drew admits he may use some Jameer Nelson bulletin board material to help his team get to that point. At the end of the regular season, Nelson said publicly that he told Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose that he’d “catch you in the second round.”
Drew says he didn’t use the comment to motivate his team in the first game. Whatever he did, however, it worked as the Hawks gave up 46 points and 19 rebounds to Dwight Howard but didn’t allow his counterparts to beat them, winning 103-93. It seems like they would stick with that gameplan Tuesday night, and if it works again, this series may be over.
Larry Drew joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta with Mayhem in the AM to discuss the Game 1 victory, the gameplan against Dwight Howard, how Kirk Hinrich stifled Jameer Nelson, whether they have used Nelson’s comment to Rose as motivation and the significance of possibly going back to Atlanta up 2-0.
Reflections on beating the Orlando Magic in Game 1:
“We’re in a position now where we’re going to try to be a little greedy. I thought our guys did a phenomenal job in Game 1 just executing our gameplan. … I thought our guys did a phenomenal job just from start to finish.”
On the gameplan that includes Dwight Howard scoring his points and then stopping those around him:
“That was definitely the gameplan. Going back into last year and looking at how we played Dwight, we did not have a lot of success in double-teaming him last year. He’s a guy that, in most cases, demands a double-team. But what you open yourself up to is the 3-pointer. This Magic team is loaded with 3-point shooters and you have to make a decision. … Our success this year has been the fact that we have made a decision to just try to play Dwight head’s up the best we can.”
How Kirk Hinrich made a big difference in Game 1:
“He did a phenomenal job. When you go back and look at the tape and look at how he worked Jameer [Nelson] and forced him into tough situations, I thought Kirk set the tone. A lot of people look at this Magic team and everybody talks about Dwight, Dwight, Dwight, but to me the head of the snake is Jameer Nelson, because he gets these other teams going. … The key to me is how we defend Jameer Nelson.”
Whether he used the comments of Jameer Nelson and Derrick Rose at the end of the season — saying ‘Catch you in the second round’ — as bulletin board material:
“We didn’t use that for Game 1. We still have bullets in the chamber to use as far as Game 2 is concerned. … When you get into a playoff series and comments and things like that, we try to stay away from giving the opposition something to rally around. … I did not use it for Game 1, but certainly it could be used for Game 2 because that’s just a lack of respect for us and the success we’ve had against Orlando.”
On attempting to take a 2-0 series lead back home to what could be a raucous crowd:
“We’re really excited about when we will get back there for Game 3. Game 2 is [Tuesday] and we’ve already put Game 1 behind us. … Our guys have really responded to the fact of how the regular season ended. They flipped that switch, which I knew they would. … Right now, they’re playing with a playoff energy, a playoff intensity.”