|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|MIA||79||1.15 ||50.8||49.2 ||19.4||8.9 |
|ATL||79 ||1.34||52.1 ||47.1 ||34.3 ||7.6|
Don't let the glacial pace fool you, defense was strictly optional for most of the game. True, the Hawks held Miami a hair under a point per possession in the first half but the lead Atlanta built that was just large enough to sustain Dwyane Wade's scoring burst* to open the second half had far more to do with the Hawks scoring more than a point-and-a-half per possession during the first half. For the game, Atlanta's offensive efficiency easily surpassed that of Miami in either of the games the Heat won in this series.
*Wade, already frustrated by/uncomfortable from getting leveled by Josh Smith and clumsily wrapped up by Solomon Jones, appeared to pay special attention to Mario West's ridiculous rain dance at the end of the first half. Congratulations Mario, you successfully jumped around like a poorly behaved 10-year-old while Wade dribbled in place in order to take the final shot of the half. You truly are a king among men. Oh, and Mario? You stayed in front of Wade exactly zero (0) times during your extended third quarter stint. No one likes an arrogant walk-on.
So how did the Hawks score so easily? They didn't turn the ball over. Miami compounded their poor defensive effort by fouling a lot, and both Joe Johnson and Flip Murray started scoring all of sudden. Murray entered the game making less than 30% of both his two- and three-point attempts through four playoff games. He made eight of ten two-point attempts (just one of five three-point attempts) in Game 5, scoring 23 points on 15 shots.
After Johnson's 1-6 start from the field to open Game 5, his eFG% was down to 37.5% for the series. From that point forward, Johnson made five of nine shots (one three-pointer included) and went to the line 15 times. He'd attempted 17 free throws through four games of this series. Johnson didn't go to the line 15 times in a game all season. Or last season. Or the season before that. Or ever in his NBA career. So maybe we should hold off on declaring Joe Johnson back until he makes at least half of his shots in a game rather than scoring his points in a thoroughly atypical and likely unrepeatable fashion.
The health of Al Horford's ankle (Marvin Williams' wrist runs a distant second. No disrespect to Marvin but there's a much bigger difference between an ineffective and/or limited Al Horford and Solomon Jones than there is between an injured Marvin Williams and a healthy Mo Evans.) is the main concern as the Hawks look ahead to Friday's chance to move into the second round:
[Horford] had his ankle placed in an iced compression boot at halftime and did not return. “It did swell up a little bit, but we got on it so fast I think that helped,” Horford said after the game. “I think [Thursday] will be the real test, where we can see how it is. But if I can get some treatment on it the next couple of days, we’ll see by Friday.”Miami's concerns are substantial as well after the team-wide defensive meltdown of Game 5 exacerbating existing worries about defensive rebounding and Dwyane Wade's physical well-being.
If Horford can’t play, that means the Hawks would have to finish the series without two starters. Starting small forward Marvin Williams hasn’t played since spraining his wrist late in Game 2 and is likely out for the remainder for the remainder for the series.
"I was tight. Then I had my head, so it was tough. But I tried to play through it."Erik Spoelstra:
"They kicked our butts in pretty much every way possible that you could in a basketball game and there at the end it turned into a highlight show, pickup game, highlight reel, really trying to embarrass us."And, yet, Josh Smith succeeded only in embarrassing himself.
To me, Spoelstra's use of "embarrass" is intended to motivate his players more than anything else. No one outside of the traveling media from Miami seems to have publicly expressed any specific criticisms about the Hawks' conduct. Save for me, above, of course. It should be kept in mind that the Miami press corps seems constitutionally incapable of considering rebounding to be a factor in who wins or loses a basketball game, or, if things continue apace, a playoff series.
The Hawks blogosphere has no such blind spot. Don't believe me? Check out the lede at Peachtree Hoops:
Rebounds. In a game that had fake injuries, flagrant fouls, chippy behavior, missed contest dunks, and hot Flip, it is weird talking about something that hinges on boxing out and trying hard. This was a soap opera game that was decided by the guy that holds the boom mike.At TrueHoop, Kevin Arnovitz gives Josh Smith the Al Thornton treatment by categorizing and detailing every possession Smith used last night. SPOILER ALERT: Josh scores more efficiently at the basket than when he's launching jump shots:
Yet, Atlanta had more effort and better focus. The Hawks out rebounded the Heat by eight and six of those were offensive rebounds.
On Wednesday night, Smith's full range is on display -- the astonishing speed/power combination, the unpredictability, and the callowness. He finishes with 20 points on 20 possessions, 6-16 from the field, 7-9 from the line, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and two steals. The results are true to form. The shot selection isn't perfect, but we've seen worse.6 "Giddys" and 6 things to be careful about before Game, yes, 6 at HawkStr8Talk.
In lieu of competitive basketball in this series, Kelly Dwyer discusses issues of decorum:
Josh Smith's attempt at a late-game dunk was bush league. He went for a modified Isaiah Rider-turn with the Hawks up 20, and botched it. I don't need to act haughty or holier than whomever and beat the pulpit. You'll get that from other areas, and (if you'll continue to read) from me.
It was stupid, it made no sense; and the worst part? What if that had gone in? Would that have sent the Hawks' fans into a tizzy? Or would they, as I would expect, kind of cheer and murmur at the thought of "was that really necessary? Wasn't that kind of a prick move?"
But to hear Heat coach Erik Spoelstra complain about it, talking about how the Hawks tried to "embarrass" the Heat? Come on. First of all, come up with a game plan and a rotation to beat the Atlanta Hawks, a team that is coached by a man named Mike Woodson.
Secondly, remember this game? When you called a timeout with 30 seconds left, and your team up 13 points? I wasn't angry because I'm a Bulls fan -- if you're the Bulls, and you don't like it, then find a way to be closer than 13 points with 30 seconds left -- but I was angry as a fan of smart decisions, and good decorum. Josh Smith had none of that on Wednesday, and Erik Spoelstra whiffed on it back in December.
If I were him, I'd let the players do the complaining about the Smith play, take advantage of the seething anger behind closed doors, but pass on stirring things up to the press. But that's me. I think stats tell the whole story, or something.