Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lakers 96 Hawks 83



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 93.6 0.89 38.1 22.6 27.8 16
LAL 93.6 1.03 47.4 5.2 53.8 24.6

I find halftime of the West Coast games to be something a gauntlet so I try and reserve a few small tasks* to complete around 11:45 EST so I don't fall asleep and miss the second half. Before last night's game I hadn't considered that this might be an issue for the traveling party.

*Procrastination with a purpose.

Not that the first half offered much to indicate that the Hawks were an especially energized bunch to begin with. Atlanta couldn't do anything against the Laker defense, struggling both to create shots (17-45 FGA, 1-7 3PTA: 38.9 eFG%) and get to the free throw line (just 3 FTA) throughout the first half. Defensively, the Hawks kept themselves in touch by forcing nine turnovers and played decent defense on the Lakers' initial shot but allowed Los Angeles to grab 15 of 29 offensive rebound opportunities.

Most of their struggles carried over into (or became even more pronounced in) the third quarter (Lakers offensive rebounds: 7, Hawks defensive rebounds: 1) and, when augmented by the Lakers beginning to make shots, put the game out of hand early. I made the note "BALLGAME" with 9:58 left in third when, down 36-51 and coming out of a timeout the Hawks created nothing better than a Josh Smith 22-foot jump shot.

With a (presumably) winnable game in Sacramento tonight, Mike Woodson chose not to contest the fourth quarter. Mario West contests everything, however, and provided some cosmetic repair to the final score. I don't think his 7 point, 4 rebound, 5 steal performance (in 6:42!) will mean much in the long run but if it suggests to the head coach that his energy guy should maybe play more than 10 seconds at a clip we may have reason to look back on this game fondly. If not, we'll simply recall this as a night when the Hawks were put in their place.

Mike Woodson sounds a familiar lament:
"We played a quarter and a half and then they hit us in the mouth and they shut us down. Coming out in the third quarter, we were just flat, so flat, to the point where, when they hit us we didn't respond."
Woodson on rebounding:
"Just starting with the forwards. They played almost 30 minutes a game and get just three rebounds between them. That’s a problem."
Joe Johnson:
"Our rebounding attitude is obviously not sufficient. It was their will against our will and they wanted it more. We watched rebounds come off. We’re not trying to pursue it and get it. We don’t get it unless it comes right to us … that just kills me."
Johnson played 30 minutes and grabbed one defensive rebound.

Peachtree Hoops:
Josh Smith going through an entire game without a rebound is just horrible effort. I can't think of any other excuse. But it was not just him. The whole team was bad. An example from the second quarter that I will try to type through my tears. A Laker shoots a long jumper. No one boxes out Pau Gasol. A problem of course, but Joe leaves Kobe and stands directly behind Pau either planning to out tap the 7 footer for the ball or to get an over the back foul. Instead of doing either, the ball simply goes to a now unboxed out Kobe on a long rebound for an easy score. This is more than bad effort; it is bad basketball and bad basketball leads to triple doubles in the third quarter.
Hawks Str8Talk:
Blowouts happen to teams who rely completely and solely on perimeter scoring (and the Joe Johnson isolation play) to spur their offense.

No comments: