Friday, January 01, 2010

Knicks 112 Hawks 108 (OT)


Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
57.4 19.3
24.4 17
95 1.137 49.5

Nate Robinson On/Off Stats

On court: Knicks score 97 points in 38:24 on 69 possessions (140.6 pts/100 poss)
Off court: Knicks score 15 points in 14:36 on 25 possessions (60 pts/100 poss)

I'm sure some will appreciate* the irony in Atlanta losing to a team that repeatedly isolated a guard with the ball 25 feet from the basket because the Hawks were thoroughly unable to get the ball out of his hands.

*appreciate or rue

The Atlanta Hawks are the only team that wouldn't know how to defend Joe Johnson.

Through three quarters, Nate Robinson looked to be an interesting sidelight in an easy home victory for the Hawks. Good as Robinson was, Al Horford was the best player on the court through three quarters as the Hawks moved the ball well, allowing Joe Johnson to score fairly efficiently, while Atlanta's inconsistent team defense was still better overall than the Knicks could muster.

In the fourth quarter, Nate Robinson kept going, the Hawks stopped moving the ball, Al Horford rarely touched it except when rebounding a miss, Joe Johnson kept shooting but stopped scoring, and the Hawks lost control of the game.

What makes this loss extra-frustrating is that the Hawks appeared to have learned something from their recent second half offensive swoons, tonight's fourth quarter performance* included. On the first four possessions of overtime, the Hawks got the ball into Josh Smith or Al Horford on the low post. The Hawks scored** on three of the four possessions. On the next four possessions, the Hawks isolated (or ran that high screen-and-roll wherein Johnson makes no use of the screen except to move laterally across the floor) Joe Johnson each time. The Hawks didn't score on any of those, including a three-shot possession that lasted as long as it did thanks to an Al Horford offensive rebound and a team offensive rebound courtesy of Horford and Smith.

*Perhaps best exemplified by the possession that began with 1:09 left in the quarter and the Hawks up 97-95. Joe Johnson didn't begin his move to the basket (from an isolated spot on the left wing) until 11 seconds were left on the shot clock. He couldn't get a clean shot, New York knocked the ball out of bounds with 1 second left on the shot clock and Al Horford got his only field goal attempt of the quarter when he caught the in-bounds pass on the right baseline and threw a 16-footer at the rim. It missed.

**Once with Smith and on both of the possessions Horford posted up.

Johnson had 21 points and 5 assists on 22 shots through three quarters. He finished with 28 points and 5 assists on 30 shots (and 1 whole free throw attempt). Jamal Crawford needed 12 shots to score 6 points (he also had 4 assists) and was 1-7 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Josh Smith scored 24 on 14 field goal and 11 free throw attempts with 3 assists (and 3 turnovers) of his own. Smith got four field goal and three free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime. Horford scored 22 on 14 shots, just two of those shots coming in the fourth quarter and overtime while adding 4 assists and 19 rebounds (8 offensive), including 8 of Atlanta's 13 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Thus, in losing the game, the Hawks, offensively, willfully went away from what was working, and, defensively, didn't try to change what was not working. The Knicks scored 13 points in overtime. Nate Robinson scored 11 of those points and assisted on the Wilson Chandler bucket that accounted for the other two. Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams each made their lone field goal attempt in overtime, then Johnson, Mike Bibby, and Jamal Crawford proceeded to take the next seven shots, five of them from beyond the arc with Johnson's lone make cutting the lead to 4 with a sole second remaining.


Unknown said...

great point about us not being able to defend an isolation play. And when I mean a great point - i mean a super great point. How you allow another team to defend your bread and butter (and by butter, I mean margarine b/c it's not successful enough to be considered real butter) and yet you can't sniff at it in 17 minutes - well, it's a sad day.

CoCo said...

"The Atlanta Hawks are the only team that wouldn't know how to defend Joe Johnson."

That almost made me fall out of my chair laughing.

Hilary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Taylor said...

Bret, what do you think will finally make Woodson change his 4th quarter tactics, that is if he ever does at all? At times last night during the 4th quarter and OT I wandered why ATL even sent all 5 players to play offense. The other 4 (outside of Johnson) would have been better used to stay on the defensive end to make sure they were ready when the Knicks inevitably rebounded Johnson's misses.

weemsildinho said...

right on the money Bret. how there was no one there to challenge shots at the rim against nate was really puzzling. I mean, wasn't Jared Jeffries, maybe the worst offensive player in the League, on the floor during all of crunch time? whoever was covering him should have been running to nate as soon as he started making a move to the bucket. have to make someone else beat you in those sports, and the hawks repeatedly failed to make the necessary adjustments.

Now for offense, whatever happened to us when they went zone needs to remedied quickly. Give the Knicks credit for adjusting their D, but the Hawks are good enough on offense where they should be able to figure out how to get what they want against a zone after seeing it for a couple of possessions.

Bret, one last thing, but do you have pace, possession, and offensive stats for the Hawks in the fourth quarter as compared to the first three for the season? I feel like the hawks seemingly refuse to push the ball in the fourth quarter, and I would like to see if this has an effect on their efficiency in the fourth. Thanks for everything on the blog, you do a terrific job.

Bret LaGree said...


I'll look into that (fourth quarter vs. first three quarters) sometime this week. It could be it's something of a self-fulfilling prophecy (much like the pace slowing in the playoffs) that's not unique to the Hawks though they may suffer from a slow pace more than most teams.

Bronnt said...

Here's a thought, though-when teams start fouling at the end of fourth quarters, that would really mess up the pace factor.