Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bucks 87 Hawks 80



Atlanta's fourth quarter offense reached what I hope to be its nadir: 5 missed free throws, 5 turnovers, 2-16 shooting from the floor. Still, despite all that ineptitude and Royal Ivey's made 22-footer as the shot clock expired to put Milwaukee up 7 with 2:16 left in the game the Hawks remained in with a shout until Josh Smith left Andrew Bogut unguarded for a gimme dunk on Milwaukee's in-bounds play with 21 seconds left in the game.

Smith flirted with a points/rebounds/blocks triple double but he didn't play a particularly good game. Credited with only two turnovers because of the good efforts of Anthony Johnson to chase down two poor lob passes and one bad outlet pass, Smith failed to keep Yi Jianlian (5 offensive rebounds) off the offensive glass and took six jump shots making (predictably) just one. Smith wasn't much better converting the sorts of shots he should be taking, going just 6-14 from in and around the paint.

Not to single out Smith because everybody played poorly offensively with the exception of Marvin Williams. Smith was simply the most diversely poor performer last night.

Despite their awful offensive performance against a poor defensive team (Can any team play like a poor defensive if they get to face the Hawks half-court offense?) the Hawks could have won the game had they rebounded better defensively. Atlanta played good defense on Milwaukee's initial offense. The Bucks shot just 40.8% (eFG%) from the field and made but 16 of 23 free throw attempts. They made up for their poor shooting by grabbing 37.5% of the available offensive rebounds. (In comparison the best offensive rebounding team in the league this year, Philadelphia, grabs, on average, 31.5% of available offensive rebounds.) Lorenzen Wright, Shelden Williams, and Solomon Jones combined to play over 17 minutes off the bench while grabbing just one defensive rebound. That's abysmal even by the standard those three have established for themselves.

You can't run if you don't force turnovers (Milwaukee had but 10, half of those courtesy of Royal Ivey masquerading as a point guard for 37 minutes) and don't control the defensive glass. Atlanta can't score when they don't run. When they don't run they can lose to anybody.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Drew Ditzel said...

I was stuck in the Dayton, Oh airport and from your recap, I think i am glad i was there over watching this game. nothing like the inspector taking jumpers to make you wish for plane cancellations and airport hotels.

great to meet you at "blog night 2k8."

Anonymous said...

There was one small bit of good news to garner from the loss in Milwaukee: Mike Woodson didn't effectively foul out Al when he got his fifth foul. He played basically the last 5:30 with five fouls-the only point in which he wasn't on the floor was the aforementioned inbounds play where no one covered Bogut. I can't help but wonder if that's related-taking your center out of the game, immediately followed by the failure of anyone to guard the opposing center.

Bret LaGree said...

Good point, Bronn, and one I should have remembered to mention after hammering Woodson on that point repeatedly.

Horford sat for just 2:41 with five fouls and played the final 5:18.

It didn't make a difference in the game's outcome but it was the right thing to do.