Monday, November 02, 2009

Quotes, Notes, and Links: Lakers 118 Hawks 110



Hey, I called it. Joe Johnson's results-oriented emotional rollercoaster continued:
"I thought we were past this but I was wrong. We still complain too much. To be honest, we just didn't have the effort needed to do this right. If shots aren't falling we stand around. We think offense more than defense. And you're not going to win in this league like that."
I think the cause-and-effect relationship between standing around and shots not falling may, in fact, be the reverse of that which Mr. Johnson states. Of the seven field goals he made during his 18 point first quarter explosion, five were assisted by a teammate. It's a lot easier to get a good look in transition, on the move without the basketball, or when the ball's moving out of a double-team than it is by dribbling in isolation against multiple, set defenders.

Al Horford:
"We have to focus on the defensive end. We have enough scorers that we're going to score the ball. We're a little too worried about our offense. If you look at any of the great teams that win championships, they do it with defense. If we want to get on that level, we have to start worrying about our defense."
Mike Woodson continued the theme of energy deficiency:
"I thought tonight we were so sluggish with the basketball, throwing it all over the gym. They had a lot to do with it because they got up on us defensively and we went the other way."
Here's my issue with assigning blame for most losses to energy or effort: When Bibby's three-pointer made the score 70-74 with 6:44 left in the third quarter, no one thought the Hawks were sluggish. Forcing Phil Jackson to put his starters back in the game for the final 6:40 is not indicative of a lack of effort. The Hawks lost because they got stagnant* offensively and were not in position to rotate back defensively when the began to turn the ball over quickly and repeatedly.

*Due to (in order of importance) 1) Not getting stops defensively, 2) The Lakers defense in the third quarter, 3) Design.

Atlanta's 3rd Quarter Turnovers

Horford10:07Smith blocks Odom layup
Smith7:18Bryant dunk
Horford5:30loss of possession
Pachulia4:10Artest dunk
Crawford3:45Bynum dunk
Crawford2:56Bryant missed FGA
Pachulia2:41Bynum dunk
Smith1:01Bryant dunk

Peachtree Hoops raises the question of why Joe Johnson played just 9:21 of the first quarter:
Joe was 7-8 in the first quarter with one foul, and Mike Woodson sat him toward the end of the first quarter. You can say that Joe was not going to be enough. You can say the Lakers are better than Joe 'freaking" Johnson, but I would like the chance to prove you right. Coaches don't take out guys that hot in 9 year old church basketball. It makes no sense. Yes, he may have cooled off. Really, he had to, dude was on pace for 90 points after the first eight minutes. But why does your own coach cool him off?
One must feel sympathy for Mike Woodson, who, through three games, has been criticized both for playing Johnson too much (39 minutes in a close game on opening night) and too little (36 minutes last night in Los Angeles). Pinning the blame on Woodson for Johnson's 1-8 shooting in the final three quarters ignores the impact of Johnson's teammates in his hot first quarter (see above) and Ron Artest's defense against Johnson.


Kurt at Forum Blue and Gold offers an informed outsider's perspective on this:
Kobe was on Johnson for the first quarter, Artest on Josh Smith. Kobe started “playing free safety” as he likes to call it (we here have called it many other, less kind things). On one play in particular, Kobe left Johnson alone at the three-point line to double Horford inside trying to swipe at the ball for a steal, and Horford kicked it out for an open look by Johnson that he nailed. We all know you shouldn’t leave one of the best pure shooters in the game, but Kobe has and will. In the first quarter, six of those seven baskets by Johnson were assisted — credit here to the Hawks for making the pass to the open guy, these are not your Memphis Grizzlies. But Kobe was leaving him open for those shots.


CoCo said...

All I know is while I was flipping back and forth between the Hawks game and the World Series things got out of hand seemingly in the blink of an eye. It was 70-78 when I flipped the channel to go back to the Series. I came back and the Hawks were down 20. I don't know what happened, but whatever.

Peachtree Hoops said...

it should be noted, that I have been very happy with woodson's ability to expand the rotation to ten guys. and the 36 minutes was not too little but literally too late. joe was on fire in the first quarter. i don't know what that means, but basketball players talk like it means something. how the basket grows.

so to take someone out during that stretch seems inexplicable. joe hit some shots against very good defense in that first quarter too.

it is not to say that Ron Artest would have slowed him down, but joe missed open shots afterward. he was cold and kept cold by Ron. he left the game smoldering hot.

the gripe is looking to blame woody and finding legit reason to.

Peachtree Hoops said...

nor am i buying the artest shut him down end of conversation. the ron ron redemption story needed to be written after two subpar games imo.

he may have helped, but turnovers, coming back with his shot off, and quick shots jump shots by other guys did as much to undermine Joe as Ron.

unless he denied him the ball (which could have happened), and i just wasn't paying attention.

Bret LaGree said...

I figure there are three things that changed between the first quarter and the rest of the game regarding Joe Johnson: 1) He spent about 7 minutes of game time on the bench. 2) Ron Artest guarded him almost exclusively when he returned. 3) Johnson had to (or chose to) initiate all of his own offense.

I don't dismiss any of those factors but 1) was going to happen at some point whereas 2) was a good adjustment by the Lakers and 3) indicated the Hawks didn't recognize or couldn't replicate how Johnson got off to a hot start. I think the latter two are more significant.

Peachtree Hoops said...

i am ranking three most important for this game and for the long run.

but refuse to stop bitching about one and how woody did not wait for joe to miss before moving to the inevitable of resting him. mostly because i have missed complaining about woodson.

call me nostalgic.

CoCo said...

Like I stated on my blog, Joe sitting is probably not even among the top ten reasons the Hawks lost, but it's still inexplicable. Oh how I wish someone would have asked for an explanation. There will be plenty of games where Sekou will be able to write about a lack of effort or focus or not being ready to play etc....

thirdfalcon said...

It should be noted that Joe has gone out of the game at about the same time in all three games, so maybe it's just something we should expect. Yes, you have to make an exception when he's playing that well, but in the grand scheme of things it's probably better if Woodson continues to use this policy.

Either way we lost this game because of turnovers that lead to ridiculously easy shots for L.A. not because Joe was taken out in the first quarter