Monday, November 16, 2009

Hawks 99 Trailblazers 95 (OT)


Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
POR 95
50.6 17.5
20.0 20.0
ATL 95 1.042 45.6

Joe Johnson's 26 second half points, 18 of them coming in the fourth quarter and overtime played an indisputable role in Atlanta's comeback victory. The 18 shots Johnson missed and his leadership by (over-dribbling) example played an indisputable role in necessitating the comeback. If a good player takes enough difficult shots, then some of them will eventually go in. Only if that good player has teammates capable of overcoming the majority of those difficult shots, i.e. the ones he misses, does he have the opportunity to make impressive, meaningful shots.

Joe Johnson got the necessary help tonight to make those late guarded jumpers count. Josh Smith scored 20 points (8-14 from the field, including 0-3 on jump shots) and followed up Saturday's 17 rebound performance against New Orleans by grabbing 16 more caroms. Al Horford sat for the last 15:08 of the first half after picking up his second foul. He played the entire second half and overtime. Atlanta scored 74 of their 99 points with Horford on the court. Portland scored 32 of their 95 points during the 15:08 that Horford spent on the bench. He finished with four fouls, 15 points, and 10 rebounds.

Marvin Williams deserves credit, on another frustrating shooting night, for demonstrating his other talents and Mike Woodson deserves credit for utilizing those talents. Williams played eight more minutes than Jamal Crawford and missed four fewer shots. Williams threw away two in-bounds passes, but that bettered Crawford's three turnovers, as did Williams' three assists, two rebounds, his steal, his block, and his effort in the team's defensive concept.

Of the two field goals Crawford made in 10 attempts, the aftermath of the first demonstrated his limited utility even when making a bucket as Crawford's layup was immediately followed by a Rudy Fernandez layup at the other end--Fernandez being Crawford's man and Crawford jogging along yards behind Fernandez. Crawford possesses no second gear when the other team has the ball. When he's hot, he can't be guarded. When he's not hot, his team can't win games with him on the floor.

But the Hawks did win. They won despite not fouling Greg Oden, when up 3, on Portland's final possession of regulation. They won despite being outshot by a team that insisted on playing Steve Blake rather than Andre Miller down the stretch. They won despite their veteran guard troika needing 52 shots to score 51 points. Simply put, this is not a game the Hawks think about winning two years ago nor is it a game the Hawks would have been likely to win last year. This is a better team--a different team. 13-of-31 shooting nights from Joe Johnson are all too familiar. It's the consistent, two-way impact of Josh Smith and Al Horford which serves as the foundation of this 9-2 start and it's their performances that must continue if the Hawks are to accomplish something truly special this season.


thirdfalcon said...

Completely agree with you about Marvin. That was exactly what I was asking from him. He's in a terrible shooting slump, but he found ways to contribute. We would not have won that game without him. Period.

Natural Neutral said...

Give credit to Woodson for taking Crawford out and keeping Marv in.

Take that credit away for coaching Portland into OT with us by not fouling old Gregory.

mick said...

i was at the game and i can say the two plays that turned it were the horford three from the corner and the wierd play where josh smith had trouble catching the pass, probably traveled, hit two defenders and somehow scored an out of control lay-up. That was the first moment where it looked like the hawks might be able to do a lot of things wrong and still have good things happen. It should also be noted that Horford outplayed greg oden in every way except oe on one down low when greg was giving the ball and the rest of the blazers cleared out.

CoCo said...

The Hawks had absolutely no business winning that game, but they did. They are a good team, because good teams win games they should not win.

Eric said...

Mike Woodson needs to do something about the offense. vs. New Orleans it looked awesome. The ball was moving and people were making shots. Tonight was "the Joe show." Four guys stand around the ball and watch Joe Johnson try to hoist up shots. That will not win games long term.

Bret LaGree said...


I think Nate McMillan and the Blazers deserve as much credit as the Woodson and the Hawks get blame for Atlanta's poor offensive night. They're a good defensive team in general and their zone caused problems for the Hawks last night in particular.

I expect more teams to zone the Hawks in the future so zone offense is certainly something that needs work.