The Atlanta Hawks big men need to study tape of Al Horford

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

In order for the Atlanta Hawks to get back into the series against the Philadelphia 76ers, they are going to need to slow down two main players. One is Tobias Harris and the other is Joel Embiid. Neither one of these tasks is particularly easy.

To stop Harris they need to stop double and triple-teaming Embiid. This strategy is fraught with danger as this will potentially give the 76ers pivot the ability to take the game away from the Hawks by himself, he is just that good.

They could try and put Danilo Gallinari on Embiid. While the Italian power forward is not known for his defense, he could take on Embiid, trying to slow him down while the rest of the Hawks defense focus on their own players. However, before the next game, the Hawks bigs need to study tape of Al Horford defending Embiid.

Why the Atlanta Hawks bigs need to watch tape of Al Horford defending Joel Embiid.

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To put it simply, Horford is one of the few players in the NBA who can contain Embiid. Standing only 6’9″ Horford does not dominate Embiid physically, he simply takes the space away from Embiid without fouling him.

While the Hawks would love to have Horford in uniform for this series, his contract makes this an impossible task. The 76ers saw that he was available just after he knocked them out of the playoffs when he was with the Boston Celtics and signed him to a four-year, $109 million deal.

In effect, this took Horford off the market and stopped the 76ers from having to worry about him stopping Horford. Unfortunately, Horford’s offensive fit with the 76ers was less than ideal so they ended up trading him to the OKC Thunder where he will not worry them as they are rebuilding.

His record against Embiid is impressive though. They have played against each other 13 times, with Horford winning 10 of these battles. Of their five playoff battles, Horford has won four. The Hawks’ big men ould certainly learn from him.

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