Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hawks 105 Bulls 102



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
92 1.14 48.8 25.9 30 12
CHI 92 1.11 50.6 21.7 47.6 19.6

I'm going to take an opportunity to do something I haven't had opportunity to do recently, something I might should have done in recapping Monday's game and comment positively on the Hawks' team defense. I assumed the good performance Monday had much to do with Toronto missing Jose Calderon and the rest to do with Josh Smith playing well against Chris Bosh. However, last night the Hawks handled Derrick Rose pretty well for the entire game and, admittedly with some help from Vinny Del Negro, kept Ben Gordon from being a factor in the game for the better part of three quarters.

Now, if only that solid team defense had continued after a shot left a Bulls player's hands. Credit to Mike Woodson for resisting the temptation of the four guard lineup for the entire second half thus limiting Chicago's dominance on their offensive glass.

Half4-Guard Lineup, Minutes Used
Atlanta's DR%

On the offensive end of the court, Atlanta's four best players valiantly carried the load in the absence of Al Horford and Marvin Williams which was good as Flip Murray, the only other* alternative, missed 8 of 10 field goals and 2 of his 4 free throw attempts through three quarters. Of course, Flip being the maddening and interesting sort he played the entire fourth quarter, took just three shots, made two of those including his only three-point attempts of the quarter, made both of his free throws, and even picked up an assist.

*and a self-appointed alternative at that

Zaza Pachulia made an offensive impact by utilizing his strength against Joakim Noah* and his quickness against Aaron Gray. Josh Smith (mostly) forswore the jump shot, made his free throws, got what rebounds the Hawks put to their name, and miraculously got back on the court in the second quarter despite committing two personal fouls in the first.

Josh Smith in the first half:


*I'll admit both that I've always like Joakim Noah more than most and that I don't understand how he's gone from Florida's leading scorer on the first national championship team to a guy who never looks to score but didn't 'Nique go overboard in criticizing Noah's offensive limitations on a night when the young man was dominating the offensive glass and getting a couple of dunks in transition? At least we didn't have to hear him constantly harping on the other team's poor shot selection while they're scoring at will against the Hawks.

Joe Johnson managed to have a terrible shooting night without taking a single shot I noted at the time as being forced plus, despite using 18 shots and 6 free throw attempts to score 16 points, Johnson contributed 8 assists against a single turnover. Johnson's poor shooting night didn't matter because Mike Bibby had a night for the ages: 31 points (12-21 FGA, 5-10 3PTA, 2-2 FTA, 6 assists, 5 steals, 3 turnovers). I don't know which was more impressive: Bibby's shooting or the three steals he picked up in the Bulls' backcourt. I can say with a strong certainty that the latter was more unexpected.

Speaking of which, Mike Bibby:
"It just looked like they wanted to run a little bit, so I was hanging around. hey didn't see me so I just made a shot in there for the ball."
Josh Smith on Bibby:
"He is one of those types of players that when he gets it going, it's kind of hard to stop him. In clutch situations, when we needed a bucket, he was hitting big shot after big shot."
Sekou Smith has more from Bibby:
"They were killing us on the boards all night but the guys kept fighting and I kept telling everybody let’s see what we’re made of and take this game. We were lucky our shots were going in, because they were killing us on the boards."
Both CoCo at The Vent and Jason at The Human Highlight Blog got the numbers out to show how much Mike Bibby had to overcome to lead the Hawks to victory.

From the opposite perspective, Matt McHale of By the Horns looks at the 11 Bulls possessions following Derrick Rose's layup which gave Chicago a 96-93 lead:
Missed three-pointer by Gordon; missed layup by Deng; layup by Gordon; turnover by Rose; missed three-pointer by Hinrich; missed jump shot by Deng; Gordon hit two (out of three) free throws; turnover by Gordon; missed three-pointer by Gordon; desperation three-ball by Rose; Gordon hit one of two foul shots (with the second being an intentional miss so that the Bulls could try and get the ball back before time expired).
The Hawks get two days off before playing the Bucks Friday night at Philips. Even if it's not enough time to get both Marvin Williams and Al Horford healthy, Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby could surely use the rest after both played more than 44-and-a-half minutes last night. Zaza Pachulia may not feel to sprightly himself this morning after playing a season-high 39:18.


Jason Walker said...

Maybe I am crazy (as a UF alum, I guess I have a degree that proves it), but I have been thinking ever since it seemed he wasn't fitting in over in CHI what a good fit he would be in ATL and what it might take to get him here.

Bret LaGree said...

I think Noah would be a good fit anywhere but I have no idea what the Hawks have that could afford to give up for him that Chicago would also want?

Also, I thought the rumor was that Noah and Horford didn't get along in college?

Jason Walker said...

It was be surprising to me if they didn't get along because all Jo did in any interview was tell people that Horfie was the straw that stirred the drink (which he was).

Then again, living with the same guys for three years, especially someone as unique as Noah, could have taken its toll----Maybe Noah was the type to finish the last of the milk and never did the dishes---these things sting, Bret---they really sting---

CoCo said...

Will I be seeing you Sunday Brett?

Bret LaGree said...


CoCo said...

Great I look forward to it!

zone4boy said...

I know Joe shot like a dog, but I was very impressed with his arrest of Rose down the stretch: the kid was petrified to dribble against Joe, with room to work on a island. How often do you see an entire starting line-up well above even in plus-minus lines? Signature win: stifling D and big shot taking/ making in the fourth. I am confident that Joe can bottle Redd against Milwaukee.

zone4boy said...

On another tangent, sure, the fan voting for the All-Star Team is jacked up enough, but how about some of these coach's picks? How much of a travesty is it that Szczerbiak (soft), Peja (soft), Ben Wallace (offensively offensive), Brad Miller (who?), and to a lesser extent, Okur (wierd), David West (work in progress), Jason Richardson (erratic), Ilgauskus (molasses), Rip (complimentary), and Yao (baby-bottom soft) have about 20 appearances between them, yet JASON TERRY AND MIKE BIBBY HAVE NONE!!! As a Hawks guy, I remember Jason Terry leaving limbs on the floor while his teammates were out for drinks by the fourth quarter. Goes to Dallas and directly impacts their deep playoff runs for years to come. Then there's Mike Bibby, who helped lead the Kings very deep every year as a baby (and robbed of a Finals appearance), sees his team disband, has injury trouble, reinvents himself and comes to Atlanta and helps change the culture of a franchise. I know that certain positions are stacked and some guys have "breakthrough"/ fluke seasons, but the coaching fraternity as a whole should be ashamed of the facts stated above. Both of these guys should recieve lifetime achievement nods, and would likely light it up for about 15 or 20, something those other guys could only dream of.