Let me get this straight. If the Hawks are down 20 with less than six minutes left in the game they can attack off missed shots and attempt to get easy shots in transition. When they're desperate they don't have Joe Johnson play 1-on-5 in the half-court. Would that be because it's not a very good way to score points?
Had they spread across three or four of the games in which they have blown late leads the five or six minutes of scrambling, aggressive fourth quarter basketball they played last night, the Hawks would have a record to match their quality: average, maybe a bit better than average. Instead, they sit 18-24 because they approach a lead of their own as something to lose, choosing to play tentatively and slowly in the hopes that the game would just end already.
They put in a good effort to make the margin respectable in the end but if this team was serious about winning the game they wouldn't have opened the fourth quarter with Zaza Pachulia attempting to guard Al Thornton on consecutive possessions which turned an implausible but possible to overcome 13-point deficit with 12 minutes to play into an insurmountable 18-point deficit with less than 11 minutes to play.
Furthermore, I contend that Atlanta's recent road record is even worse than it looks on its surface. They have had a decent chance to win six of the seven games. Five of the seven teams played short-handed. Milwaukee didn't have Mo Williams when Atlanta visited. Toronto didn't have TJ Ford. Denver didn't have Carmelo Anthony. Portland was down 14 with 9:27 left. The Clippers (already just a 13-28 team in Elton Brand's absence) didn't have Corey Maggette or Chris Kaman. That should not result in one win and six losses.
Still watching them every night, one can lose perspective. The Hawks are home for the next four and the estimable Kevin Arnovitz at ClipperBlog wrote this sentence this morning after watching last night's game: "Atlanta is pretty good, but they need to learn how to find open looks for each other."
The Hawks are poorly managed and profligate but the season isn't over yet. I hope.
Josh Smith Jump Shot Log
January 30, 2008 @ Clippers