Saturday, February 07, 2009

Hawks 102 Bobcats 97



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 88 1.16 47.4 39.5 29.5 13.6
CHA 88 1.10 48.7 30.2 30.7 13.6

With the exception of end-of-quarter buzzer beaters, the first half constituted a comprehensive debacle for the Hawks. Personally, I found allowing the not just
Gerald Wallace-less but also the playing both Adam Morrison and DaSagana Diop more than DJ Augustin Bobcats to score 55 first half points more troubling than the Hawks scoring just 43 points of their own even considering that six of those points came via the aforementioned buzzer beaters, three more on a wildly off-target but banked-in Maurice Evans three-point attempt, and an additional two on an obvious but uncalled instance of Solomon Jones* committing offensive goaltending. 

*Said uncalled offensive goaltend being the sum total of Jones' contributions in 5:18. The memory of those good minutes he played in Al Horford's absence continues to dim.

Atlanta's poor defense in the first half allowed Charlotte to play Diop alongside Emeka Okafor without negative offensive consequence for much of the second quarter. Their combined presence aggravated Atlanta's first half struggle to score in and around the basket. Atlanta finished the first half 9-29 on 2PTFGA, 6-11 on 3PTFGA, and took just 11 of the 39 free throws they'd attempt over the course of the game. Four of Atlanta's fifteen made field goals (and one of the eleven free throw attempts) were the direct result of offensive rebounds. Charlotte's first-shot defense was extraordinary in the first half.

To the Hawks credit, they did not appear to spend halftime wishing Joe Johnson was in town to take and make jump shots. The Hawks opened the second half by making a concerted effort both to spread the floor and push the ball up the court thus creating open jump shots for Mike Bibby and Maurice Evans before Charlotte's defense was set. Not that the Hawks stopped attacking the basket altogether. They also correctly assumed that Morrison and Cartier Martin could not play two good defensive halves against Marvin Williams. Williams attacked the basket mercilessly in the second half, scoring 20 points on 2-5 FGA and 16-17 FTA.

Atlanta's adjustments might not have been enough to make up for the dreadful first half had Charlotte not cooperated by fouling all manner of Hawks. Emeka Okafor's three fouls in the first 6:14 of the third quarter (none of which were drawn by Williams) sent him to the bench for the remainder of the quarter and fully liberated the Hawks offensively as they scored 21 points in the final 5:46 of the third quarter to pull ahead by a point.

At that point, Charlotte had lost Raja Bell to injury and his absence had a clearly adverse effect on the Bobcats' offense. Boris Diaw's disappearing act didn't help Charlotte either. He played 7:16 of the fourth quarter and contributed a single assists, a corner three-point attempt that failed to draw iron as the shot clock expired and no rebounds. On the other end of the court, Mike Woodson countered the Okafor/Diop frontcourt with the Horford/Pachulia tandem (a good decision certainly made easier by Josh Smith's awful offensive* night) while Marvin Williams continued to thrive as the Hawks' first offensive option. Since the Hawks won, I hope his teammates took the opportunity to tease Williams about his calf cramping late in the fourth quarter. It took less than two games worth of carrying Joe Johnson's workload for Marvin's body to protest.

Smith's five blocks certainly came in handy, though.

Speaking of Marvin,
here's Al Horford:
"Marvin took over for us. He really was aggressive going to the rim and getting fouled."
Marvin also inspired some vintage Larry Brown sarcasm:
"It's tough when you play against LeBron and they keep putting him on the line. Every time we play LeBron and Kobe (Bryant) and people like that, they shoot 20 free throws. It's tough. I'm just being facetious there."
Does that final sentence mean that Larry's slipping in his old age or that he thinks we can't keep up? Something to ponder between now and tonight's tip against the Clippers. And/or you could read The Human Highlight Blog's recap which is so good that I've given up on trying to find the best bit to excerpt.


rbubp said...

It would seem The Man Whose Grass Is Always Greener is chiding the refs for mistaking Marvin for LeBron. Well, at least he can still cook up a witty comment (unlike his witless protege on the other end of the bench).

Jason Walker said...

Back atcha Bret---and thank you---