Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hawks 91 Heat 83

Boxscore

Gameflow

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
MIA 91.5 0.91
44.1 9.4
19.6 13.1
ATL 91.5 0.99 44.9
25.3
26.2
15.3

Unlike the Utah Jazz, the Miami Heat are a team the Hawks can guard. The Heat don't push the ball up the court very often, the offense is run by a rookie point guard whose primary offensive weapon is not quickness, and they don't have enough shooters to adequately spread the floor around their lone post up target. Even the great, unstoppable Dwyane Wade shouldn't worry Hawks fans too much (Especially on a night such as last night when his teammates fail to knock down their open threes, or, in the case of Diawara and Moon, choose to take their open threes.) because the lack of other offensive threats allows Atlanta to put Joe Johnson (for the most part) on Wade and do as best he can to force Wade into the help either Josh Smith or Al Horford can provide around the rim. Wade is still going to get his (21 points on 17 shots, 10 assists last night) but he's (probably) not going to be able to do enough to consistently beat the Hawks by himself if the Hawks do anything on offense.

It was a delightfully diversified offensive attack for the Hawks last night even though Mike Bibby was largely absent. Johnson, Marvin Williams, Smith, and Horford each took between 13 and 17 shots and combined to get to the line 19 times.

Smith took three bad shots in the first quarter but, as the game wore on, complemented his fine defensive performance with good shot selection. Williams struggled to convert all of his good looks but played very aggressively. Horford followed up his fine game in Denver with a the first 20/20 from a Hawks player since 2001. I don't know whether it's his rebounding that's created his offensive confidence the last two games or getting more touches is fueling his effort on the glass but he's given a reminder of what a special (not solid, special) player he can be. Johnson showed the kind of leadership that the Hawks will need to keep the fourth seed in the East: He controlled the offense without forcing anything and trusted his younger teammates to carry their weight. It was a low scoring, inefficient game but the Hawks offense rarely, if ever, got stagnant.

Al Horford on his big night:
"They were all coming my way. I just grabbed them.

I just realized I had to be a little more aggressive on offense. I've kind of been coasting throughout the year."
Mike Woodson on Horford:
"From the Denver game we went to him more and utilized him a little bit more. And coming down the stretch that’s something I think we’re going to have to continue to do."
Don't point out that this something many observers had figured out by this time last year. Be thankful the words came out of his mouth and move on.

Erik Spoelstra auditioned for the role of Mike Woodson following the game:
"We did not really play with a real sense of urgency until the fourth quarter. We did not give our best effort."
The Hawks will need a similar effort (their good effort, not the poor effort of which Spoelstra spoke) and better shooting (a healthy Bibby would help there) Sunday night when the Cavaliers, led by the one player clearly better than Dwyane Wade, visit.

1 comment:

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's what's scary about these posts.

1. Al actually admitting that he's been coasting this year. I felt much better thinking that the offensive design and the coach was limiting him. That would support folks' contention that it wasn't Al that was the problem. This quote supports what I've been saying all along - yes, the coach can have an impact, but if you're special - you're just special and that's going to show up more than 3-4 times a year.

2. I will not be swayed by Woodson trying to take credit for Al's performance OR that he is going to try to capitalize on it going forward. This IS the same guy who said that after trading all backup point guards that he'd go to Acie as well and despite a hurt and struggling Bibby - didn't do squat. So, I'm not going to trust anything he says - I'll only trust what my eyes see.