I'll let the respective head coaches succinctly and without deviating from socially acceptable coach-speak delineate the difference between being in Year One and being in Year Six of building a team.
"I told them (in the locker room), 'If I didn't think they were any good, I wouldn't be upset.'"Mike Woodson:
"Take nothing away from the Kings, they have guys that can score the ball so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. We knew that fourth quarter was going to be huge. Again, I've got to get us, the most important thing is we came in here and got our win."Coach Woodson's quote comes from Sekou Smith's final game story for the AJC. He's off to write for NBA.com. The Human Highlight Blog offers a fine appreciation of Smith's tenure:
Smith came along in a dark time for Hawks coverage in the paper, as Michael Lee had long since left for the Washington Post, the team was completely rebuilding, and the paper was assigning very unqualified staff writers to cover the game.Ditto.
All Smith did was inject a real beat writer mentality to the position, offered sometimes extremely strong opinion with the "pages" of his AJC blog, and roped quite a few people into good conversation about the franchise. Smith never pulled a punch, offered great material and asked the questions Hawks fans wanted answers to.
Good luck, Sekou--You'll be missed in the land you call Hawksville.
More from Westphal:
"We couldn't stop them. We couldn't stop them pretty much the whole game. The really executed well and went to their big time players. All of them."Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom on the decisive fourth quarter:
The Kings failed to find way to get Kevin Martin shot attempts and didn’t have an adequate backup plan during this period. Martin checked into the fourth quarter around the 10-minute mark but didn’t attempt a shot until there was 3:43 left in the game. The Hawks made a concerted effort to keep the ball out of his hands and to force any other King to beat them. And it worked.Yesterday I praised the Hawks' defensive rebounding through four games:
“They had a pretty good plan. Every time we set a ball screen, they were doubling it,” said Martin on why the Hawks were able to keep the ball out of his hands.
The Hawks...are, on the year, grabbing 78% of possible defensive rebounds (3rd in the league). It's early, but that's up from 71.6% last year (24th in the league).Sacramento grabbed 35% of possible offensive rebounds last night so now, through five games, the Hawks defensive rebound percentage is 74.6% and they rank 12th in the NBA. Still above average, still a positive development, but still in flux.
A longer (early) evaluation of the season long themes is scheduled for sometime during the Hawks' three consecutive off days next week.