|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|MIA||86.4 ||1.25 ||66||25 ||23.1||16.2 |
|ATL||86.4 ||1.08||48.1 ||24.7 ||27.7 ||12.7|
A sound defensive strategy doesn't guarantee the result you desire. As in Game 1, the Hawks, in Game 2, made the Heat a jump shooting team, kept Dwyane Wade (Game 2 FT Rate: 25) off the free throw line, and controlled the defensive glass. Unlike Game 1, wherein the Heat converted 45.8% of their two-point attempts and 17.7% of their 23 three-point attempts, the Heat made 54.3% of their two-point attempts and 57.7% of their 26* three-point attempts. I think the Hawks tip their cap to the Heat and dare them to do it again. Miami isn't more likely to shoot 66% from the floor again than they were likely again to shoot under 40% from the floor after Game 1.
*26 of their 46 two-point attempts were jump shots. They scored 73 of their 108 points off of jump shots.
|MIAMI||Season Avg||Game 1||Game 2|
Some nights you just get beat and if you get beat with Dwyane Wade on the bench with five fouls and Udonis Haslem knocking down back-to-back 18' jump shots inside the final five minutes of a five-point game before Wade puts the game out of reach with a banked-in three-pointer (his 10th three-point attempt of the game) as the shot clock expires, I think a degree of equanimity and long-term thinking is useful. Not that Jermaine O'Neal's general improvement, Haslem's work on the defensive glass, and Michael Beasley (one assumes) realizing that Josh Smith cannot guard him if he alternates spot-up jump shots with dribble penetration shouldn't give the Hawks a clue that winning the series will be more difficult than it appeared following Game 1.
Nor should any or all of the ways in which the Hawks were culpable in their own demise be ignored.
- The free throw shooting failed to meet even the Hawks' low, established standard.
- Joe Johnson's fourth foul was thoroughly unnecessary, and, though the Hawks didn't lose any ground while he sat for 9:45 of the third and fourth quarters, comeback victories aren't built on a foundation of not falling any farther than 14 points behind for 40% of the second half.
- Flip Murray came alive in the second half but failed to erase the damage done during his 0-7 FGA performance in the first half.
- Josh Smith was fortunate that Mario Chalmers was foolish enough to give him a little push (and thus sacrifice Miami's opportunity for a free point) after Smith floored Jamaal Magliore early in the fourth quarter following Magliore's hard foul on Flip Murray. Murray, who is tough, responded to the foul by standing up straight and proud immediately following the contact, then made both free throws. Smith, who is not tough, responded to the foul by knocking someone down while their back was turned.
- Al Horford put up a nifty 11/11/5 line (marred by three missed free throws) despite much of his production (6 points, 1 assist) coming off of his own offensive rebounds rather than, you know, his teammated letting him touch the ball because he's a good basketball player.
- Perhaps Marvin Williams didn't sit out the fourth quarter of Game 1 just because of the Hawks' huge lead. After playing (and playing well during) his longest stint of the series, the first 8:32 of the third quarter, Williams didn't return to the game.
Once again the Hawks proved me wrong by making my assertion on the NBA Today podcast that I would be very surprised if they came out flat in Game 2 look as bad as most every other prediction I make.
"We didn’t star the game with a sense of urgency like we did in the first game."Joe Johnson:
"It starts with me. I definitely have to pick my play up. But I just thought we came out too complacent. We were nothing like the first game. We won that first game and felt like we won the series already. We didn’t have that fire in our belly. And they jumped on us, and we never recovered."Al Horford:
"I think we were a little too comfortable out there. I really didn’t see that sense of urgency from our team, starting with me and going down the line."Erik Spoelstra:
"We missed a lot of open ones the other night. It went tonight and it looks good. If you miss, it looks horrible."Jermaine O'Neal:
"Now we've got to find a way to bottle what we had tonight."Alonzo Mourning*:
"I came into town because I didn't like the energy in Game 1."*I did not expect to be quoting Alonzo Mourning in a game recap during this series. Do the Hawks have an answer for this? Too bad none of these Hawks played with Mutombo.
Atlanta's game plan worked to perfection -- Wade had only one basket inside 15 feet, a shockingly low number for perhaps the league's best penetrator, and attempted just six free throws.I'll be forgiven if I first thought that the opening line of Kelly Dwyer's recap was an open letter to me, right?:
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Wade beat them anyway. He nailed six 3-pointers and four other long twos, including a 30-foot banked dagger at the shot clock buzzer with 2:36 left to put Miami up by 10, as the Heat scored a 108-93 win that evened their best-of-seven series at a game apiece.
Anyone who says they have a handle on this series is a fool -- a fool, I tell you!Ahem. He goes on:
Mike Woodson won't double and take the ball out of Dwyane Wade's hands, which helps when Wade is dribbling too much and missing shots, but Woodson (as he often does) is making coaching decisions that "sound right," but have no basis in reality. After the game he mentioned not wanting to double-team Wade so as not to "expose us down low."CoCo provides a brief history of hawk independence and its impact on the Hawks:
What? Jermaine O'Neal has next to nothing left, he started the game by half-heartedly giving a bonehead screen that resulted in an offensive foul, and he still wormed his way to 19 points. You're exposed down low, Mike. And your take-it-or-leave-it approach to defense has caused perhaps the biggest per-possession jump in points between playoff games that I can recall.
Miami scored 73.6 points per 100 possessions in Game 1, and 127.1 per 100 in Game 2. From about 30 points below the worst offensive team in the NBA to about 14 above the best offensive team. And a 44 points per-game swing.
That's an astonishing leap, and that's on Atlanta's inability to create something consistent defensively. In their own gym. Against the same team. With just a few days between games. Blame the players all you want, but you can't tell me this Woodson weirdness isn't setting his (admittedly, in some cases, slow and disinterested) players up to fail.
I knew very early on last night would not end well for Atlanta. Spirit the Hawk is not really an indicator as to how well the game will go, but if my memory serves me correctly when Spirit refuses to take his normal route the Hawks lose. There have been a couple of games where he just decided to not fly down at all. Coincidentally one of those games was the season before last against Miami. The Hawks went on to lose that game.Drew bemoans missed opportunities:
If the Hawks had actually won, you can't imagine the fun I would have had with the fact that an actual Hawk roamed the building for the first few minutes of the game. The whole bit would have killed. Instead, we lost and I watched Al Horford and Joe Johnson laugh and take serious interest in both the bird's abnormal presence and safety. They might as well have taken shots of jager right before tip off.I can't pretend that Larry was happy with the team but he saved his best invective for his followup post about the non-players in the arena who disappointed him last night:
This is the playoffs people. You do not see Kobe laughing about kiss cam. This is kill or be killed. And I mean literally if you are Mike Woodson.
Two more observations:
1. Get Spirit off the court. While it seems funny, the game operations people have enough to contend with with the clock management and everything else that they seem to occasionally get wrong and taking the focus off the game b/c a bird is loose is NOT a good look.
2. Fans, GET TO THE #$*( GAME on time. Game 1 - everyone was plugged in from the first minute. Game 2 - not so much. In a game where the players weren't dialed in early, we needed to help them get dialed in and we certainly let them down. The fan's energy wasn't there until the 2nd half and ...uh, that's when half of the arena got there.
This is the PLAYOFFS people. Get to the game and make some noise.