Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hawks 113 Kings 105


Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 94.1
33.3 18.1
SAC 94.1 1.12 44.3

It was something of a replay of the opening night win over Indiana. Three quarters of negligible defensive effort from the Hawks against a lesser team. A renewed interest in stopping their opponents from scoring in the fourth quarter gets a boost from said opponents forgetting to get the ball to their best offensive player and substitutions* worthy of first-guessing. Ultimately, it results in a victory whose nature encourages dissatisfaction yet resists complaint.

The Hawks couldn't force a turnover or hold on to the ball themselves. The Kings (the impressive Jason Thompson in particular) dominated their offensive glass. Sacramento scored 112 points per 100 possessions despite Tyreke Evans (7-21 FGA, 0-3 3PTA) using almost as many possessions as Kevin Martin (11-22 FGA, 2-5 3PTA). These are not encouraging signs.

But it was the second of back-to-back road games, the third game of a four game cross-country road trip that the Hawks are now going to split at worst. No team is going to be sharp every night. Winning ugly more often than the next team might be the difference between the fourth- and the sixth-seed in the East. Perfect, let us not forget, is the enemy of good**.

And good things there were...Jamal Crawford made it 53 points in two nights. Joe Johnson narrowly averted a couple of late turnovers and finished strong for the second night in a row. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith*** made the most of their limited offensive opportunities. Al Horford anchored the late defensive stand. Jeff Teague looked fairly impressive in his sole stint. One hopes he doesn't come to feel the need to do as much as possible in limited minutes and initiate a vicious cycle that further limits his opportunities. Wouldn't hurt the young man were his veteran teammates to blow out a weaker opponent.

Charlotte's excellent defense and execrable offense will provide a different challenge on Friday night. I look forward to that game teaching us a touch more about this team.

*Is it really worth it from the Kings' perspective to have Desmond Mason (who had played less than half-a-minute before his fourth quarter stint) rather than Omri Casspi guard Joe Johnson if that means that Jamal Crawford then guards Mason rather than Kevin Martin on the other end?

**Also, a witty saying proves nothing.

***The latest Atlanta big man to commit his fifth foul late in the fourth quarter and get removed permanently from the game. It didn't affect the outcome but that doesn't mean it makes any sense.

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