Friday, November 27, 2009

Hawks 100 76ers 86

Boxscore

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 86.2
1.16
57.4 20.3
23.5 17.4
PHI 86.2 0.997 50.0
14.1
15.0
15.1

There were two distinct kinds of offensive possessions for the Hawks tonight: those where Joe Johnson handled the ball and good ones. That's a slight exaggeration but it was no coincidence that Atlanta's key second half run came with Johnson on the bench.

Late in the third quarter, the Hawks bedeviled the 76ers with a series of Jamal Crawford/Al Horford screen-and-rolls on the right wing which created good shots for either Crawford or Horford or allowed one of the two to create, after penetrating the Philadelphia defense, good shots for their teammates.

In the fourth quarter, the Hawks went away form the Horford/Crawford screen-and-roll but, even though Woodson left the ineffective Johnson on the floor until Johnson, mercifully, committed his fifth foul* the Hawks refused to let Johnson ruin too many possessions. Instead, Al Horford continued to receive, then distribute, the ball from the high post. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith got the ball on the left block. Jamal Crawford dribbled only a reasonable amount and did so while moving toward the basket. Mike Bibby finished possessions by taking (and mostly) making jump shots others created for him. For one night, an isolated Joe Johnson (in this case isolated on the weak side, one arm raised in a largely futile effort to call for the ball) freed the Atlanta offense. His teammates ignored him; as he had ignored them far too many times himself.

*Thus instigating my first celebration of Woodson's sixth foul phobia manifesting itself.

It was only an otherwise nondescript game against a depleted 76er team but any evidence that the Hawks can thrive while shedding their dependence on Joe Johnson to dominate possessions in the pursuit of contested shots is an opportunity for growth. Combine that with the material difference between Jamal Crawford attacking the basket (tonight) and settling for long two-point jumpers (last night), the reminder that Al Horford, when brought out of the post and put in motion, can use both his quickness and passing ability to negate an opposing center's size advantage and this could game could stand as something greater than the Hawks winning a game they ought to have won.

2 comments:

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

i actually almost wrote this exact same thing except that I give Woodson credit for yanking him in the 4th quarter (an unheard of move - something we call coaching), but yet continue my push for Evans for Williams in the starting lineup and more Teague minutes.

Can't for the life of me understand why it's even SCARIER to see our reserves in the 2nd half than the 6th foul.

rbubp said...

An interesting thing I saw back on the ESPN broadcast of the Boston game-they had a little video excerpt where Joe explained his "when did we become a selfish team" comment after the Charlotte game.

I wish I could link to it, but basically Joe said that he meant that the team did not come out and play hard in that game, "play defense" and "play hard." So JJ's interpretation of "selfish" play has nothing to do with ballhogging, ignoring teammates, and refusing to pass out of double- and triple-downs.

I do wish someone would explain it to him.