Catching up with the “other” game 5’s, as the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks hope to take a 3-2 lead in their series against the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards respectively.
Everyone was so baffled by the adjustment the Warriors made, which was putting Andrew Bogut, the player they would most like to help out on defense, on Tony Allen. But it worked perfectly. Bogut kept Allen in the back of his mind, and the Grizzlies never took advantage of Allen being open, because of how bad of a shooter he is, even when left wide open from long range.
The other adjustment was Stephen Curry playing more like a ball distributor in the early goings, which opened up the spaces and room for him to start scoring later on. The Grizzlies never made the kind of defensive adjustment needed to make it a crammed, physical, small spaces kind of game again, and were never going to catch up with the Warriors, who usually speed by opponents once they get to a certain lead (usually 15 points).
Adjustments is always the name of the game in the playoffs. Now it’s on Dave Joerger to try and find the balance between the only defensive scheme that’s been working for him and generating a little bit more offense, even if it means not having Tony Allen on the floor. Or maybe just start giving Allen a directive that’s more than aimlessly wandering the basketball court when his team has the possession?
Wizards vs Hawks
The “boring” series of the conference semifinals might be getting a familiar face back, as John Wall is reportedly been upgraded to questionable heading into game 5. That’s big news because the Wizards are 5-0 with him in this postseason, although a player without a 100% healthy hand could be a bit more difficult to make the most of.
The Hawks won game 4 because players like Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, the two best passers on the team, had plenty of touches and made the right decisions with them. Kyle Korver continues to serve as more of a decoy, but this time he had more touches and got the ball moving quickly, including one beautiful assist to Millsap in the first half.
The Wizards got nothing from Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat. Relying on Paul Pierce to carry the team at his age isn’t smart or realistic. He’ll have good games, but hardly on consecutive outings, with his body usually resting after a 22-point performance for more than two days. Ramon Sessions needs to shoot less, but it’s hard for a player to change his tendencies at this stage of his career and the series. It might be more about stepping than adjusting for the Wizards, or maybe it’s simply about waiting for Wall to return.