It has been an interesting series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat. Both teams have ratcheted up the physicality and the list of injured is growing on both sides. I know Kenny Smith on TNT keeps talking about how he hates the Hawks half-court offense, he calls it dribble-dribble, dribble-dribble... But I actually think it works well for the mix of speed and athleticism that the Hawks have.

But what I wanted to talk about was this one play at the end of the 3rd quarter. The game was already well in hand with the Hawks up by 15 or so, but I think it illustrates an important point for all coaches to consider. If you like to play fast, you teach your players to close out shooters and run out on the break. That's what the Heat do here, but it backfires on them on and Flip Murray of the Hawks gets the offensive rebound and goes to the hoop and picks up the foul and makes 2 FTs,

I guess what I'm trying to say is not so much that teaching the run out is a bad strategy or tactic. But that as a coach, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis. How many more points can we score with the run out versus how many points we give up by allowing more offensive rebounds against. Much also depends on the talent of your players. Against a much bigger team you may give up more offensive rebounds anyways, so running out may make sense. Or even with a run out, how many points can you expect to score if you have a slow team.

Obviously, in this scenario at the end of the quarter, it would've been ideal to say always block out first. It requires a player with a high basketball IQ to recognize that in an end of quarter/game scenario, the better option is to block out and rebound down. But as coaches we often teach players not to over-think and just do, so Cook was just doing as opposed to thinking.


Its perhaps presumptuous to say that had the Heat secured the rebound, gone the other way and scored, maybe they would have won the game. But still, one cannot underestimate the psychological impact of closing to within 11 or 10 points.

As for the series overall, the Heat have still been too inconsistent shooting from the outside to win this series. Kudos to Hawks head coach Mike Woodson for sticking with the defensive strategy of forcing the Heat to beat them with outside shooting. With the exception of Game 2, the Heat have really struggled to find any kind of shooting rhythm, and as the series has gotten more physical, the harder it has even become. The problem for the Hawks though, is that this strategy will only work with the Heat, the Cavs are too good of a shooting team for it to work against the Cavs.

For more rebounding information, check out Jim Calhoun's brand new DVD on Rebounding and Basketball Wisdom. Coach Calhoun is the long time head coach of the UConn Huskies who made it to this season's Final Four in Detroit. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and any of your favorite basketball topics.