Another big night in NBA action as teams fighting for playoff spots are down to their final hours. I wrote about the Pacers yesterday, and today I'm writing about the Hawks. The Hawks are fortunate in that they are 2 games ahead and have the luxury of self-determination.

No easy task tonight though, facing the vaunted Celtics. For 3 and 1/2 quarters, the Hawks hung with and were even ahead, but it fell apart late. Still, they played very well. I haven't watched many Hawks games but I think they are the most athletic team in the NBA. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and Al Horford, are you kidding me? With so many long athletic forwards, no wonder Mike Woodson sticks with mostly PNRs and ISO sets, take a look,

I like what the Hawks do on offense. They keep things really simple. Why complicate things when you have that kind of athleticism. The Josh Smith dunk there was crazy, and what about Horford flying in there to snatch the rebound, wow. Schematically, the Hawks are very vanilla, they run the PNR and numbered ISO sets for a specific player.

Low Post 1v1:

Al Horford is a beast. I think the rookie of year will probably go to Durant, but Horford could end up the better pro. Huge upside there. In this play, the Hawks clear out, and enter the ball into the post from the high-wing,

Once down low, they space the floor and Horford makes his move. If the defense collapses, Horford can find any number of shooters on the perimeter,


I'm not normally a huge fan of ISO sets, but I think that in the case where the mismatch is sufficiently large, it is more than justified. The Hawks have incredible athleticism, probably more than they know what to do with, but their lack of consistent perimeter shooting will prevent them from making a run. But the future is bright indeed.

If you're looking for some more skill development stuff, take a look at Tom Crean's new DVD on Dynamic Skills which has some stuff on post skills and post-entry. Coach Crean of course is the new head coach for Indiana University. As always, be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.