Monday, October 19, 2009

Hawks 113 Wizards 95


There's no narrative to a game that doesn't count. Hence, bullets...
  • Mike Woodson on the fight for the 13th and final roster spot:
    "It could be a big guy. It could be a point guard. It could be an in-between perimeter guy. We've got a tough decision to make. It's good because everything's been so competitive but I don't like to see guys not have a job, either. That's the tough part about it."
  • Zaza Pachulia (hip) sat out his second straight game.
  • Joe Smith made his pre-season debut with 5:16 left in the first quarter.
  • Jamal Crawford returned to action 49 seconds later.
  • In Pachulia's absence, Jason Collins replaced Al Horford with 1:56 left in the first quarter.
  • Antawn Jamison (right shoulder) and Javaris Crittenton (left foot tendon) both sat out for the Wizards. Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller missed the game with the flu. Cavs to blame?
  • Today's reason to buy Pro Basketball Prospectus 2009-10: Kevin Pelton on Flip Saunders, defensive* coach:
    Saunders is never thought of as a defensive coach, but his Detroit teams finished no worse than sixth in Defensive Rating and were second in the league in 2005-06. Only once in Saunders’ eight full years in Minnesota did his teams rank worse than 16th on defense. In Washington, that qualifies as locking down at the defensive end. The best Wizards team under Jordan finished 17th in the league, while Washington was 28th on D in 2006-07 even with a healthy squad.
  • These two teams will do this for real in 11 days. The proximity of real basketball brightens my evening.
  • On Washington's first possession, Randy Foye attempted to post up Mike Bibby.
  • The Hawks scored on their first four possessions. On the fifth, Al Horford blew a layup after Josh Smith found him in transition.
  • The Wizards went zone on the first possession after the last of the Hawks' starters left in the first quarter. Jeff Teague penetrated from the left wing and made a floater.
  • Nick Young makes one appreciate Jamal Crawford's relative versatility as a basketball player and restraint as a shooter.
  • At the start of the second quarter, Joe Smith looked spry defensively by both helping on Caron Butler in the post and getting back out to challenge Dominic McGuire's 20-footer.
  • Despite spotting him a couple of minutes of game time and a near-infinite difference in the desire to shoot, Jason Collins scored before Jamal Crawford did.
  • Even allowing for the difficulties in drawing meaningful conclusions from pre-season games, watching the Hawks blow out the Hornets without Okafor, Diogu, Darren Collison, and Marcus Thornton, the Bobcats without Chandler and Diaw, and the Wizards without Arenas, Jamison, and Mike Miller has not, I suspect, broadened my knowledge of this team. The starters (plus Teague and Mo Evans) looked sharp again offensively but the resistance (again) appeared minimal.
  • By my best estimation, JaVale McGee is eight feet tall. The six offensive rebounds he grabbed in the second quarter were impressive, too, but he remains a work in progress.
  • Randolph Morris got the backup center minutes in the second half. He didn't commit a foul for almost five minutes of game time, making a bucket and grabbing three defensive boards in the meantime.
  • For his third personal foul, Morris just ran through JaVale McGee while jogging back on defense.
  • Fact: No one will run harder down the length of the floor to foul a three-point shooter than Mario West.
  • Replacement refs note: 24 fouls and 23 free throw attempts through three quarters. 16 fouls and 27 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter. Players and quality of play are a factor in these pre-season foul and free throw totals.
*Washington is obviously without a defensive anchor like Kevin Garnett or Ben Wallace (and I say that as an admirer of Brendan Haywood's utility) in his prime so building a league-average defense would be a decent accomplishment.

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