|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|SAC||91.6 ||1.058 ||48.9||17.2 ||26.8||15.3 |
|ATL||91.6||1.179||54.5 ||29.5 ||31.4 ||16.4|
I don't know that much was learned from that victory. We already knew the Hawks can outlast inferior opposition at home with only sporadic defensive contributions. We already knew that the Hawks are difficult to beat anywhere when Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford make their shots (14-26 FGA, 4-9 3PTA combined). We already knew that the Hawks will not ask their post players to carry them offensively even when they posses seriously significant* matchup advantages. Josh Smith and Al Horford combined for 31 points on 17 shots, were 9-11 at the rim, and earned seven** assists between them. Still, the Hawks used more than a quarter (21 of 78, 26.9%) of their field goal attempts on long two-point shots.
*Sacramento's post rotation: Jason Thompson, Jon Brockman, Hilton Armstrong, Spencer Hawes. There's not a good defender on that list.
"Their bigs dominated the paint."Tom Ziller:
All season, the biggest defense problem for the Kings has been a dearth of resistance in the interior. The Kings allow the league's fourth worst opposing field goal percentage at the rim, allowing opponents to shoot 63.7 percent within five feet. Switching up the starting line-up didn't help: Atlanta shot 75 percent at the rim on its way to a solid victory over Sacramento. The Hawks also happened to win a ton of second chances (11 in 35 opportunities, 31 percent), capitalizing on the Kings' lack of defensive rebounding prowess.I happen to think it's something of an accomplishment by Westphal that Sacramento's 26th rather than 30th in the league in defensive efficiency but there's only somuch any coach could do with this roster.
The record player's broke, and ain't no one on this roster fixing it.
**Six of those assists coming in the more competitive first half.
Amidst all that sameness, one thing stood out: Mike Woodson made a concerted effort to rest his starters. With the exception of Josh Smith (who missed the last 6:40 of the first quarter after getting kneed in the left quad), the starters rested for at least the first 4:23 of the second quarter, none played more than 8:34 of the third quarter, and Marvin Williams (who ably attacked Sacramento's interior defense himself, scoring 13 points on 9 field goal and 5 free throw attempts) was the only starter to play more than half of the fourth quarter. He played six minutes and one second fo the fourth.
The second unit (mostly) repayed Woodson's trust. Joe Smith, Zaza Pachulia, and Mo Evans were all active and reasonably productive. Jeff Teague and Mario West were both active and even Randolph Morris worked effectively against Sacramento's post defense in his late cameo.
West again got off to a terrible start defensively, giving up Tyreke Evans layups* on the first two possessions he played, fouling Jon Brockman on a breakaway dunk** and committing two more fouls in his first 153 seconds on the court. From that point on, though, he did a decent job making it difficult for Sacramento to get Evans the ball. Is this perhaps a strategy to force Woodson into giving him extended run?
*That West couldn't guard Evans was neither a surprise nor unique among Hawks players.
**Which, had Brockman made the free throw, would rather have compounded the team's embarrassment at letting Jon Brockman score on a breakway dunk.
Unable to get Evans the ball whenever and wherever he wanted it, Spencer Hawes (for some reason) took it upon himself to be the focal point of Sacramento's offense. That Paul Westphal neither called a timeout nor removed Hawes from the game to prevent this from happening was the largest factor in turning a four point Hawks lead with 2:26 left in the third quarter into thirteen point lead at the end of the quarter.
Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom:
[W]hen I was watching this game a certain play seemed to stand out to me and sum the entire contest.Michael Cunningham:
Spencer Hawes drove up the right side of the floor and endured a bit of contact and some ball swiping. Hawes lost the ball or was stripped of the ball or lost the ball while he was stripped and instead of fighting for the ball, he just looked to the ref for a foul call. While he was silently protesting the non-call, Mo Evans took the ball the other way, flew up the court and flushed it home.Why was this play a summary of the game for the Kings? Well, they were aggressive but couldn’t quite execute the way they needed to...
So the Hawks had a video session Tuesday in which Woody calls out his vets for not leading the effort on D. J.J. agrees and says the perimeter guys in particular need to pick it up.A lovely sentiment, the practical implications of which are best ignored.
I don't understand 1) Why more people don't attend mid-week games. 2) Why people can't get to games by tip-off. 3) Why this is considered a valid factor for some of the (completely unsurprising) mediocre defensive performances from the Hawks. Yes, it would help the team if they had a raucous home crowd behind them 41 times a year but it can hardly be a surprise to them when they don't.
"We can't do anything about the fans not showing up. The bottom line is we still have to play the game, and we've got to be professional about how you approach the game when you step out on the court. You've got to generate your own energy."I'm actually quite interested in why attendance remains low but lack any coherent or constructive analysis. If anyone has a useful theory to explain any part of the reluctance to watch a good basketball team in person, please pass it along.
JOSH SMITH LINKS
- Kelly Dwyer touts Josh Smith for the All-Star game in his mid-season review of the Southeast Division.
- Jeff Green would like a word regarding Sean Deveney's one-line case for Josh Smith as Defensive Player of the Year:
Terrific in help and one-on-one situations.