Arsenalist: Old habits reappear
Old 11-08-2008, 10:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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FYI ... People who like Mitchell as a coach .... DON'T read any further. *Just kidding*

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Mike Bibby’s threes were daggers and Jose Calderon should’ve known better than to help when help wasn’t needed. There’s no excuse for not sticking to Bibby and making him the #1 priority when you’re on defense. Calderon got yelled at by Mitchell after the Hawks got an early transition opportunity and Calderon backed away from trying to make an attempt on the layup. You had a feeling that the Raptors weren’t prepared for the way the Hawks use their athleticism. On defense the Hawks were able to trap and recover as good as any team I’ve seen this year. The way you beat that is having options in your offense that react to certain situations. For example, if the high pick ‘n roll is nullified, you can’t just reset and run the same play with two different guys. There needs to be action away from the ball which uses the pick ‘n roll as a distraction to create shooting space for somebody on the weak-side. The movement or creativity in the offense isn’t there but before you shit on Sam Mitchell (and he does deserved to be shit on) also consider Parker and Moon’s talent level and ask yourself whether we should actually expect anything different. I don’t know.

Here’s my beef with Mitchell:

“There was just nothing we could do to stop them. We just couldn’t guard them tonight. Almost everybody was off. It happens.”

No, it does not happen. Mitchell should take responsibity for not having a plan to slow Atlanta down and can’t just write things off to “It Happens”. That excuse was somewhat acceptable against Detroit but we should’ve been better against Atlanta. Nobody’s expecting Moon and Parker to come out on top in this matchup but we are expecting them to provide some sort of resistance. I don’t want this team to accept failure by saying “It happens” because that’s loser talk. Pure and simple, he needs to be held accountable and we shouldn’t expect him to just throw his hands in the air and blurt out “It Happens”. I hate that.

So our nice little 3-0 start has come crashing down and we’re back to flirting with .500. It’s obviously early and there’s no need to hit the panic/panac button but there is serious work to be done on defense because if last night was any indication of how we’re going to handle that dreaded athletic wing player, we’re in for a long season. The ball’s in Sam Mitchell’s court, he’s got to make his pay cheque count for something by devising a scheme that hides our weaknesses against above-average opposition. Before the regular season began I said I’d give this team 10-20 games to find itself and work out the kinks of integrating a major new player and figuring out what to do with that sorry excuse of a bench, I’ll stay true to that.
Arse discussing his thoughts on Moon, Parker and company:

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Originally Posted by Arsenalist
You know it’s garbage time when the entire pub starts sarcastically chanting MVP, MVP as Joey Graham gets soundly rejected off the glass in a 24 point game. It’s one of those moments where you step back and start seeing the humour in these things, sure the atmosphere and the alcohol probably helps, but it doesn’t mean watching our wings try to guard Atlanta’s wasn’t utterly hilarious. When it becomes clear that there’s no way we can stop Marvin Williams, Flip Murray or Joe Johnson doing what they wanted to do and where they want it it to do it, it hardly matters if Bibby’s left open for 5 killer first-half threes. We can talk about the defensive problems we had all night but let’s sum this game up in a stat: scoring from the starting SG and SF spot. Against Detroit it was 49-14 and last night it was 31-8. You can’t win games with that kind of production from key positions. It doesn’t matter how “basketball-wise intelligent” your team is, you’ll get burned.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Mitchell keeps his cards pretty close to his vest with the media, so personally I don't really read too much into one clicheed throwaway statement.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Exactly. Why is it assumed that the "it happens" stance is what he takes with the team. The fact is that there was nothing he could do to get his team to not be off. He pretty clearly tried everything. Should he then go and blame the players publicly? I think that would lead to much more than being blamed for "loser talk".

They simply need to play defense. Against Atlanta and Detroit team defense was just not there at all. In the three wins it was quite evident through much of the play, and that allowed for a pretty good margin of error. So Sam just has to get that focus back where it belongs. Yes - the offense needs work, but it will come, and they shouldn't be putting any emphasis on it at all right now.
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