Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hawks 146 Raptors 115


Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
TOR 94.6
57.3 41.5
18.2 9.5
ATL 94.6 1.543 65.3

I don't know that I can add a lot to the above table. One watches the Raptors sees and knows that they're bad, really bad defensively but it's not until one watches them (not) defend the team* one's most familiar with* that the comprehensive nature of Toronto's failings become fully apparent. Toronto did not pressure the ball. They did not keep the dribbler in front of them. They did not challenge shots. The didn't rebound missed shots. They fouled fairly frequently. They did not force turnovers.

*A team about which the second half against Orlando and the intermittent commitment to getting good shots in the loss Sunday in Detroit live in the forefront of the mind.

Toronto looked so bad defensively that it's difficult to give Atlanta much more credit for their ease in scoring the basketball than one would give, say, the Kansas Jayhawks for scoring 98 points* at home against Alcorn State tonight. But that's not fair. The talent gap** between the Hawks and the Raptors isn't enough to explain scoring 146 points or 154 points per 100 possessions. No, the Hawks did what they chose not to do in Detroit. They kept it simple offensively. They moved the ball. They moved without the ball. If they dribbled, they dribbled toward the basket. It was easy. Part of that was Toronto's incompetence but part of it was Atlanta's competence.

*But only 122 points per 100 possessions.

**The difference in forethought regarding team construction might. How did Colangelo think the Bosh/Bargnani post duo would defend anyone? Sure, Bosh is great defending the pick-and-roll but who's going to run pick-and-roll when they can just dump it into their other big man in the post when he's guarded by Bargnani? So you put Bosh in the post where his lack of bulk is something of a weakness and then you still have Bargnani struggling to guard players away from the basket. It's a hell of a collection of offensive players but no sort of good team.

This rout doesn't solve anything. Most teams are going to take away the first, best, and easiest offensive option some* of the time. The Hawks will again (maybe even Friday night against the Knicks) have the opportunity to fall into old habits and their collective life more difficult. Tonight was fun, though, and should be enjoyed. I'm not even the least bit concerned about the Hawks allowing the most points per possession of any game yet this season. Toronto made this game perverse and it's unlikely to have much predictive value but failing to enjoy the laughers makes the season drag.

*Joe Johnson, after the Hawks scored on each of their first nine third quarter possessions (totaling 21 points), did use his last two on-court offensive possessions to dribble a lot at the top of the key before 1) missing a fall-away 20' and 2) missing a weak, floating runner amidst multiple defenders. He's still got it.


Unknown said...

I could be wrong but I think Joe actually took 3 bad shots in a row. It is getting hard to track these days.

CoCo said...

I think Joe thought no one would notice since the Hawks were up by so many. I noticed, and apparently others did too!