Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pistons 94 Hawks 90



Disclaimer: The Hawks don't win that game very often. Detroit is the better team. If you wanted to argue that Atlanta got back in the game because Detroit lost interest in the game once they went up 15 less than 3 minutes into the second quarter, I'd concede at least part of the point. The Hawks played hard in the fourth quarter (6 of 14 possible offensive rebounds, 8 of 11 possible defensive rebounds, 9 free throw attempts) but executed poorly (3-19 from the field). Still, the Hawks made things more difficult than they needed to be and wasted a rare positive night registered in the Josh Smith Jump Shot Log.

My concerns, more or less chronologically...

Detroit built more than half of their 15-point lead in 3:05 seconds when Mike Woodson allowed them to play against the following lineup: Acie Law IV, Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, Lorenzen Wright, and Zaza Pachulia. None of those guys can create their own shot. At least three of them are average-at-best defensively. If you're going to cling to a Joe Johnson-centric offense, replace Marvin Williams with Johnson and get the Johnson post-ups and isolations out of your system while the second unit gets their minutes.

Tyronn Lue demonstrated amply in the second quarter that he could not guard Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey's not the first guy Lue can't guard (nor will Lue be the last guy that can't guard Stuckey) but Lue contributed enough offensively to keep from hurting the Hawks. Lue's second half appearance was a different story. Half-different anyway. Stuckey again did whatever he wanted but Lue killed the Hawks' offense (which never really recovered). Lue played 7:35 across the third and fourth quarters during which time Atlanta scored 9 points. The ninth point, courtesy a Rasheed Wallace technical, wasn't even created by the offense.

As with that bad second quarter lineup, it was obvious that things were not working long before a change was made. It's not like Woodson has a lot of options to sort through. Acie Law had a bad night, another one in which he compounded his mistakes by failing to convert the two good shots he created for himself. I don't blame Woodson for not putting him back in the game. Once it became clear that Lue was not productive, Woodson had a golden opportunity to ignore his roster's point guard deficiencies (in terms of talent, not numbers) and go big against the Stuckey/Rip Hamilton back court. How can you be so resistant to putting your best players on the floor?

Speaking of which, why didn't Al Horford play the final 1:37? Was Woodson afraid he would miss a free throw? set an illegal screen? get a rebound (16 more, 7 offensive last night for Al) or draw a foul? Maybe he decided Marvin Williams had broken out of his on-going slump by sitting on the bench for the last nine minutes of game time. Assuming Mike Woodson could make intelligent tactical decisions, why would he even bother with a roster this shallow?

Without further comment, I present the final two Hawks possessions both of which began with a sideline inbounds following a timeout:
  • Down 3 with 22 seconds remaining, Joe Johnson throws a shot toward the backboard over his shoulder while stumbling backwards down the lane with 16 seconds remaining. Josh Smith gets the offensive rebound, is fouled, and makes one of two free throws.
  • Down 4 with 14 seconds remaining, Joe Johnson shoots a 26-foot air ball with 10 seconds remaining.
Josh Smith Jump Shot Log
February 12, 2008 vs. Detroit

ResultQuarterTimeShot ClockDistance
MISS4Q3:53(:03)23' 9"
MAKE4Q0:45(:16)23' 9"

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Josh Smith really outdid himself last night. If he ever developed his jumpshot to the point where he can hit three out of five as he did, he'll basically be a poor man's Lebron. Joe Johnson is really struggling lately-aside from a great game against the Lakers, he's shot 3-13, 3-12, 8-20, 7-17, 4-15 this month. If he were playing as well as he did most of last season, this team would be five games over .500 and sitting at fifth in the east. Maybe he'll rest a bit over the weekend and come back stronger. I don't know.

I finally did see something I've wanted to see all season from Woodson last night-he opened the fourth quarter with Horford and Pachulia on the floor together. Horford is really more a PF than a C, and when Zaza is playing well as he does on occasion, we could really have a great defensive team on the floor with both of them, and Zaza isn't completely worthless on the offensive end like Lorenzen. Of course, Woodson negated the possible strengths of having his two big men on the floor at once by having Lue, Marvin and Childress playing the other three spots. If the Hawks could try using Childress, Johnson, Smith, Horford, and Pachulia together, that line-up would be really tough on an opposing offense.

Anonymous said...

I'd say it's time to blow up this team starting with firing Knight and Woodson (plus all his coaches) then turning over the roster except for Horford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Josh Childress.

Anonymous said...

I can't quite agree with that assessment. Knight has made some poor decisions, chiefly failing to draft the likely MVP this year, CP3. But, aside from Claxton, he's not made bad decisions which have led to large contracts and killed the team. Knight, I think, would be much better off but for the ownership group, which would be teh downfall of any GM we brought in here. Woodson does need to go, it's been long enough for him trying to learn how to coach.

As for the roster, Marvin is developing-I'd hate to see him actually turn into a star after leaving here, and he has that potential. I'd keep him, along with Horford, JJ, Smith, Childress, and add Acie Law IV so we have a chance to see if he can become a decent point given some time. Beyond that, yes, I'd lable everyone else expendable if you wanted to try to remake the team, but those guys ARE the identity of the team so it wouldn't be a remake if you kept those six, anyway.