|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL||90.1 ||0.899 ||42.3||19.2 ||20.9||17.7 |
|ORL||90.1||1.254||59.8 ||24.4 ||29.7 ||13.3|
If Mike Woodson doesn't return as the Hawks head coach next season it won't just be because his teams have lacked the ability to make tactical adjustments. His limited finesse with man management continues even as the bench at his disposal has gotten deeper and is, by all accounts, full of players Woodson wants.
Neither bad shot* selection, nor a visibly bad attitude, nor even worse body language affected Josh Smith's minutes nor did Joe Johnson's bad body language or inability to make shots earn him a trip to the bench during the decisive second quarter. I doubt that a brief benching for either player would have made a difference in last night's result** but the lack of consequences for their actions provides no confidence in this team's future ability to face, much less overcome, adversity.
*And the bad shots were the only ones Smith seemed to make last night, whatever 'Nique's sense of how the long-term 28% jump shooter is doing recently.
**Though, I think it's unlikely that any combination of Jamal Crawford, Mo Evans, Joe Smith, and Zaza Pachulia could put up a worse combined line than Smith and Johnson did in the second quarter: 20:59, 0-6 FGA, 2-3 FTA, 4 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 4 turnovers.
It's unrealistic to expect players, even players as good as Smith and Johnson, to play well 82 times a season. There's no shame in having a bad game. A visibly bad attitude is harder to excuse but a simple demonstration of leadership from the head coach could nip such emotional and psychological weakness in the bud.
On the other hand, there's Al Horford. One would be hard-pressed to make the argument that he's the Hawks' best player but the Hawks are at their best when Horford is the team's most representative player. He always wants to play fast (in an aggressive rather than a hurried sense), he always plays hard, he's efficient both in getting his own points (when he gets the opportunity) and in creating opportunities for his teammates.
Both Johnson and Smith spent the night looking petulant and put-upon but neither had an assignment nearly as weighty as Horford's against Dwight Howard. Horford scored his team-leading 14 points on just 7 shots while playing 18:29 of his 25:43 directly against Howard. A higher percentage of Horford's court time would have been spent playing against Howard had Horford not drawn Howard's 3rd foul* late in the second quarter.
*And a technical on the frustrated Howard. Al Horford does a better job of getting Joe Johnson free throw attempts than Joe Johnson does.
"It went wrong when we came out of the locker room."Josh Smith:
"A couple of games ago, when we were facing a four-game losing streak and we faced the Nets, the desperation on our faces was similar to what [the Magic] had on their faces."Based on the evidence of the two games head-to-head this season, the difference in quality between the Magic and the Hawks does appear similar to the difference in quality between the Hawks and the Nets.
Joe Johnson, franchise player:
"We knew that coming into this one tonight, they were going to give us everything they had. Our defensive assignments, we messed up a few times, but I think more than anything, I think a lot of it was just effort. They were just beating us off the dribble and pretty much getting what they wanted."Al Horford:
"I think our guys got a little discouraged. They were going to the basket and Dwight was blocking their shots. We have to stay after a team and a shot blocker like that. I think the guys started to settle and take jump shots. They took us out of what we wanted to do and they went to the other end, and we couldn’t stop them."Well said. Sad, but well said.