Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hawks 101 Pacers 87



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
IND 90.4
42.8 11.1
19.2 6.6
ATL 90.4 1.12 51.7

A solid all-around performance (and a bit more than a solid performance from both Joe Johnson and Al Horford) carried the Hawks comfortably past a game but out-manned Pacers team. In lieu of forming a coherent argument this Saturday morning, I'll just empty the notebook...
  • In what may be the most lasting memory of this game, anytime Josh Smith caught the ball 12 or more feet from the basket, Troy Murphy played approximately six feet off of him thoroughly willing to let Smith attempt a jump shot of any length. Anytime Smith caught the ball in the post, the Pacers never gave a thought to double-teaming him. Both strategies worked for Indiana. I fear this will spread.
  • Roy Hibbert is a fascinating collection of strengths (offensive rebounding, post-up game) and weaknesses (mobility, stamina, strength).
  • Though I'm still upset Rick Barnes never taught TJ Ford how to play defense, it's always nice to see Ford healthy and playing to his full capabilities. It's even nicer when he's shredding the Hawks defense after Atlanta's built a comfortable double-digit lead.
  • I think (hope?) the Mario West as 6th man era died in 5 minutes and 22 seconds.
  • Maurice Evans was extremely productive and efficient.
  • Brandon Rush still can't finish going to the basket but it's not my problem anymore.
  • Acie Law IV's inability to finish going to the basket, though, is.
  • Another great shooting night from Joe Johnson but I haven't noticed an appreciable increase in the quality of the shots he's taken the last three games so I remain skeptical he's going to sustain play above his established level of fringe All-Star. Even the 15 free throws he's attempted and made over the last three games, while a lot for him, are still, when compared to his 64 field goal attempts, slightly below the league-average free throw rate (FTM/FTA).
Joe Johnson:
"I’m just trying to come out and be aggressive from the start and get in a rhythm early and then get my teammates involved. My shots been feeling pretty good, though, and that makes a world of difference."
Mike Woodson:
"That means a lot, that means our team is improving year by year. And we’ll continue to grow and get better. You know, the media has been so tough on this team and me over the years. But I’m a realist, and I’ve always said it’s hard for a young team to win in this league at a high level."
Ah, yes, the media pressure cooker that is being head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Woodson, why do you make it so hard to compliment you when things are going well?

Johnson, again:
"Seems like I'm just taking what the defense gives me. If I've got the open shot, I'm just taking, I'm not thinking about it. That's the main thing. I'm freelancing a little bit."
Other perspectives...


Bronnt said...

While Mario West's 5:22 were a poor 5 minutes, I can't really find any fault in Mario's play during that period. Obviously, the man doesn't have NBA offensive ability, but the team missed some makeable shots while he was in there that had nothing to do with him.

It started with Horford losing the ball out of bounds, then the next possession saw Jarret Jack steal the ball from Mike Bibby to create an easy layup for TJ Ford. After that, JJ missed a three, then on the next possession he actually fed Zaza for a missed shot in close, missed his own tip, JJ missed a tip-in, and West grabbed the offensive rebound, passed out to an open Bibby, and Bibby jacked up a missed three.

Two plays later, Josh Smith charged, then came a possession where he did everything you could want-he grabbed the offensive rebound after a Horford fade-away, passed out for a reset, then Zaza tried a jumper and Mario rebounded again and passed out to JJ, who tried to isolate and missed another jumper.

Obviously, his lack of offensive game didn't help, but Atlanta Hawks not named West missed 10 straight shots and committed three turnovers on the offensive possessions immediately following West's entrance. In that 5:22, he grabbed more offensive rebounds than any other Hawk the rest of the game.

In short, even though Mario ended up at -11 during that stretch, I can't say he played poorly.

Bronnt said...

Can I add how impressive it is that Al Horford is extremely underused and still can easily give you 4 assists from the center position?

His ability to take care of the ball and make good decisions is very underrated. Every coach at every level wants a good passing big man-the Hawks have one.