Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hawks 93 Celtics 85




Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
BOS 85.7
46.7 26.3
23.7 17.5
ATL 85.7 1.085 54.5

The Hawks won because Jamal Crawford, after dribbling the ball off his own leg under minimal pressure, beat two Celtics to chase the ball down in the corner and, despite almost half of the shot clock remaining, didn't pass the ball out of the corner but rather took an off-balance, falling-out-of-bounds three-pointer. Which he made. On which attempt Kendrick Perkins fouled him. Crawford converted the free throw to complete the least likely four-point play, the least likely and-1 any of us well ever see.


The Hawks won because the emerged from the locker room a fired up collective at the start of the second half, overwhelmed the Celtics with a passionate defensive effort, turned their defensive success into easy transition baskets, went on runs of both 11-0 and 9-0, and, briefly, turned a 6 point halftime deficit into a 15 point lead.


The Hawks won because, up 3 with less than 5 minutes remaining, the Celtics having scored on seven straight possessions, the Hawks couldn't get anything better than Joe Johnson forcing the ball into traffic and kicking it out to a unguarded (natch) Josh Smith 22-feet from the basket for Smith to take a jump shot with 10 seconds left on the shot clock. But the jump shot went in.


The Hawks won because, on their next possession, Al Horford began taking them game over despite his teammates not intentionally letting him touch the ball. First, he makes a nifty jump hook in the lane over Kendrick Perkins to put the Hawks up 85-79. Horford followed that up two possessions later, with the Hawks up five, by bailing out a possession that, prior to his active involvement, featured Joe Johnson missing two jumpers and Rasheed Wallace blocking a weak Josh Smith layup attempt by grabbing an offensive rebound, firing a quick kick-out to reset the offense, and setting a crushing screen to free Jamal Crawford for a drive to the basket that resulted in two free throws for Crawford. Not 30 seconds later, Horford would bail out Mike Bibby by racing back on defense to intercept a long Paul Pierce outlet pass to prevent a Celtic fast break following Bibby's turnover. To cap things off, Horford showed nicely against Boston's full court pressure in the final minute to make an easy catch, get fouled, and make the clinching free throws.


The Hawks won because, even though Boston scored on 10 straight fourth quarter possessions, the Celtics could only cut the Hawks lead from 10 to 5 over that stretch because Paul Pierce (1-4) and Rajon Rondo (1-2) didn't convert their free throws at a respectable rate.

Whichever perspective one gives greatest weight as to the reasons for it, the result itself was unimpeachable.

Josh Smith on Jamal Crawford:
"It's unbelievable. When he gets it going, he's hard to stop."
Crawford, on his four-point play:
"That felt like a rhythm shot* to me, going to my left. Except for getting laid out. I couldn't really see it, but I heard the crowd and I was like, 'Oh, it went in.'"
*Copyright Dominique Wilkins, all rights reserved, all wrongs reversed

Jamal Crawford's new nickname.

Mike Woodson:
"I don't want teams to just be able to settle in on Joe Johnson. We've got five, six, seven guys that can score the basketball if we're not selfish.

I've got combinations that I can use coming down the stretch run. We can mix and match, I think, with the best of them. Playing small ball doesn't hurt us.

We didn't have the meltdown. I look the two Cleveland games, Orlando, where we had sizable leads but we didn't bring it home. But tonight we just grinded."
Despite Jamal Crawford getting six shots up in the fourth quarter and Mike Bibby attempting (and making) two field goals in his brief appearance, Joe Johnson still took more fourth quarter shots last night as Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams combined.

Paul Pierce:
"We didn’t come out with the focus in the third quarter. It just seemed like every time you looked up a guy was open for the 3. Jamal Crawford made a couple crazy shots, but that’s what he does and you’ve got to expect that."
Doc Rivers:
"I thought they were more physical, I thought they attacked. We’re supposed to be the physical team, we haven’t been against them. They’ve been far more physical than us. We have a great spirit on this team and I don’t think we had that [last] night. It happens. I thought...on the floor, we were awful - very little talking. And then a lot of excuse-making. That happens and it won’t be the last time. But that’s twice now Atlanta has been the better team."


CoCo said...

That Al Horford paragraph pretty much sums up why I love him. I thought they were on the verge of letting Joe undo everything they'd done, but they stopped him and for that I am proud.

Bronnt said...

One thing Hubie Brown got right: Without Horford, this team isn't nearly as good.