Friday, November 27, 2009

Magic 93 Hawks 76




Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ORL 85.9
50.0 16.5
30.2 15.1
ATL 85.9 0.885 40.9

The problem with the offense in the second half* was not so much the jump shots or not getting to the free throw line. The Hawks didn't get to the free throw line and took plenty of jump shots in their successful first half. The problem was that the Hawks stopped creating jump shots for each other, took marginally more difficult jump shots themselves, missed a disproportionate number of those jump shots, and didn't get any (well, 4 of 31) offensive rebounds. Of the eleven field goals that the Hawks made in the second half, six earned assists. The Hawks had six assists in each of the first two quarters. The lack of ball movement in the second half even made not turning the ball over (just three in forty-one second half possessions) seem a dubious achievement.

*I recognize that it's not entirely accurate to say "the second half" as the Hawks scored six points on their first three possessions of the third quarter. It's the rest of the second half, the 19 points the Hawks scored on the remaining 38 possessions that troubles.

Any outside observer, limited to knowledge gleaned only from watching last night's game would be forgiven for assuming the Hawks, rather than the Magic, were the team that played and traveled the night before. Regular readers know that I'm reluctant to blame losses on a lack of effort both because it's a vague diagnosis and because who am I to judge the relative efforts of professional athletes. For example, Al Horford put in a tremendous amount of work battling with Dwight Howard last night. Does that effort, though, excuse Horford standing and watching as Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, or Matt Barnes grabs an offensive rebound? Jamal Crawford works hard to get himself 20-foot jump shots. Does that effort preclude him from getting back on defense? Joe Johnson's excellent first half gave the Hawks a lead to blow. Does that hard, effective work in any way explain his 3-12 from the field, one assist second half?

I suspect the Hawks were worn down by Orlando's physicality more than they lacked the fortitude to equal Orlando's effort. Howard, of course, is a physical freak to be equaled by no one but Orlando looked to post up Lewis and Carter whenever they felt either had a size and strength advantage over their defender and it was Lewis and Carter and Barnes who grabbed the majority of Orlando's second half rebounds, combining for 20 (compared to the 16 rebounds the entire Hawks team managed after intermission).

Mike Woodson:
"The second half, we played totally different than we did in the first half. We shot it, we moved the ball, we defended well in the first half, and it's like we forgot how we got the lead. We played so differently in the second half.

We can't predicate everything we do on making shots. I thought tonight we did that in the third and fourth quarter. We shut it down when we couldn't make shots. When you're missing jump shots, you've got to find a way to get to the free-throw line and we didn't do that tonight."
It was not a good second half for the jump shooting Bibby/Crawford/Johnson backcourt. In the grand scheme of things, it might be a good thing that Woodson stuck with the grand plan, but it's unlikely that Jeff Teague and Marvin Williams moving toward the basket could have done any worse than their veteran betters teammates did on the perimeter.

The introspective Joe Johnson:
"It doesn't feel good. We're trying to be one of the best teams in the East, and we had no answer for what they did against us in the second half. It's like, ‘Are you a contender or a pretender?'"
Peachtree Hoops on the second half:
Whoever the play was run for was the person who was going to shoot the ball. The ball did not swing from one side of the court to another. It did not move inside out. Every play was a black hole of dribbling and selfishness. Even when a pass did happen, the extra one was certainly not going to be thrown. It was only so often you get a ball from Joe Johnson in that half, you have to take advantage.
The Human Highlight Blog:
What 54-25 displayed was a turn in the game on the Orlando offensive end, as the Magic stopped settling for outside shots and blasted a hole into the lane and creating shots and second chance opportunities that were not there in the first half. Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and even Rashard Lewis came out banging and stunned the Hawks into submission. That frontcourt outscored the Hawks 57-22 for the game.

This led to a deterioration of shot selection on the Hawks end, as the inability to keep Orlando out of the hoop in the second half led to more time to settle in defensively for Orlando on the other end and much, much harder shots for the Hawks. In the first half, some outside shots were falling, which probably gave the hosts a significantly false sense of security as they tried to shoot their way out of the slump and instead lost more energy and momentum in the process.
Kelly Dwyer provides some balance from our Hawkcentric navel-gazing by (accurately) pointing out that Orlando played good defense in the second half:
Everyone dug in, and the Hawks didn't have an answer. Sure, some of the jumpers that fell in that first half dried up, but every screen and roll was met with menace, any bit of penetration was quickly made up for by the Magic D, and the result was a 25-point second half. 25 points. And these are the Hawks we're talking about.
Crashing the Glass addresses Atlanta's inability to stop Anthony Johnson.

Third Quarter Collapse credits the 4-out/1-in sets for unleashing Dwight Howard in the second half.

1 comment:

M said...

what a disgusting 2nd half performance.. Ashamed at myself for picking up some last minute tickets for this game.. also being so close to the action it seemed that bibby has not fully healed and the ankle looked to bother him