Atlanta Hawks Consistently Clamping Down Defenders

Mar 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) knocks the ball out of the hands of Phoenix Suns small forward Wesley Johnson (2) in the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are holding opponents to .253 3FG% (23-91) over the last four games, with no team shooting better than .300 from beyond the arc during the stretch. These past games, against the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and the Brooklyn Nets, have had their share of great shooters and the Hawks’ defensive unit has done a great job rotating to shooters and contesting shots.

To point out one game/team specifically, on March 9 the Hawks held the Nets to 26.1% (6-23) shooting from beyond the arc. While the game ended as a loss for the Hawks, the defense on display was energetic and aggressive. Also, on March 12 the Hawks held the Heat to 30% (6-20) from downtown, but, unfortunately, themselves shot 5-22 from three and lost 98-81.

In a league where the three-pointer is becoming more and more popular (See: PUJIT), proper defense is necessary to prevent large scoring outbursts, ala Stephen Curry’s show at the Garden a few weeks ago. Defending a team with sharpshooters is difficult, especially when they have low post options. The Hawks have themselves used this tactic against opponents using Al Horford and Josh Smith.

Tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, the Hawks look to even up the season series at 2-2. Keeping them from shooting the three should be relatively easy, as they have kept them 10% under their season average in the previous three games. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams will surely be firing away from deep all game long. In the month of March, Johnson and Williams are shooting the trey at 36% and 45%, respectively. Weak side rotations will be key tonight, as the Nets love to kick it out from their big man inside, Brook Lopez.

Topics: Atlanta Hawks

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