With the exception of the 76ers thriller over the Magic, most of the games today were duds. I happened to catch the Heat vs Hawks game which was a dud. I've watched both the Heat and the Hawks a few times during the regular season but I never got in-depth into either team. But after watching this game and looking back at the regular season stats and the past 30 game history log.

The Hawks devised their gameplan around 2 things. Double team Dwyane Wade on the catch to get the ball out of his hands and let his teammates try to make plays instead. And go under all ball-screens, to prevent penetration first and close out second. Take a look at these three sequences which show both strategies,

The decision to double-team Wade and force the ball out of his hands was an easy one,

As for the strategy to go under on all screens, consider that the Miami Heat were 9th worst in the NBA during the regular season with a 3-point FG% of 35.7% on an 8th highest 19.9 attempts, it's easy in hindsight why the Hawks made this their strategy.


Credit to the head coach Mike Woodson and the Atlanta Hawks for coming up with a great defensive gameplan. Good enough to limit the Heat to just a paltry 64 points total. To be sure, the Heat won't continue to shoot 17% (4-for-23) from 3-point line, and they will find a way to get Wade past those double teams. But if the Heat cannot show they can consistently hit that outside shot, the Hawks will continue to go under, stop penetration and make it extremely difficult for the Heat to gain points in the paint. This all puts extreme pressure on the Heat defense (especially transition defense against the Hawks potent early offense); trying to keep games under 90 points. A tough task indeed.

For more info on double-teaming and trapping defenses, take a look at Bob Kloppenburg's DVD on the SOS Defense. Coach Kloppenburg is a former longtime assistant coach in the NBA. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.