Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Thunder 106 Hawks 99


Hoopdata Boxscore



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 82.6
52 28
24.3 12.1
OKC 82.6 1.283 48.8

The Thunder beat the Hawks at their own game last night, leveraging a low turnover rate and a high offensive rebound rate into significantly more field goal attempts than their opponent and thus rendering field goal percentage less important than it normally is. So Joe Johnson's 72.5 eFG% on 20 shots (plus 8-8 from the line for a 78.6 TS%), Josh Smith's 66.7 eFG% on 9 shots (plus 3-4 from the line), and even Al Horford who, on a relatively quiet night, scored a better-than-league-average 14 points on 10 shots and 6 free throw attempts weren't enough to pull out a win on the road at least not when the other eight Hawks combined to make 12 of 36 field goal attempts (3-8 3PTFGA, 6-7 FTA).

Joe Johnson's second half possessions...
  • 3Q (11:09) made 16-footer (Assist: Bibby)
  • 3Q (8:29) turnover
  • 3Q (7:29) made layup
  • 3Q (3:25) made step-back 16-footer
  • 3Q (2:44) made three-pointer (Assist: Josh Smith)
  • 3Q (1:59) made three-pointer (Assist: Josh Smith)
  • 3Q (1:10) made 23-footer
  • 3Q (0:26) missed three-pointer
  • 4Q (11:48) turnover
  • 4Q (7:38) made runner in lane
  • 4Q (7:03) made runner in lane
  • 4Q (6:13) made three-pointer
  • 4Q (5:50) Bibby made three-pointer (Assist: Johnson)
  • 4Q (4:31) made two free throws
  • 4Q (3:42) Horford made hook shot (Assist: Johnson)
  • 4Q (3:03) missed 10-footer
  • 4Q (2:08) turnover
  • 4Q (0:58) missed three-pointer
  • 4Q (0:26) Horford made 13-footer (Assist: Johnson)
Kevin Durant (33 points on 18 shots, 11 defensive rebounds) couldn't quite shoot or score as ridiculously efficiently as Joe Johnson but he got help from a wider a variety sources. Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook needed 31 shots to score their 31 points but they also combined for 9 offensive rebounds. Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison did a great job of using the space vacated by Atlanta's post defenders when they went to help the perimeter players defensively, combining for 22 points on 14 shots and 6 offensive rebounds.

Collectively, the Thunder exploited Atlanta's defensive weaknesses throughout the game* but the ease with which they got easy shots on two late, crucial possessions secured the result. None of Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, or Marvin Williams shot the ball well last night but Bibby had made a couple of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the second completing the Atlanta comeback. So Bibby was still on the court in the final 90 seconds. As was Jamal Crawford who hadn't made a shot** since the second quarter. When not making everything he looked at, Joe Johnson picked up two fouls (his fourth and fifth) while also being asked to guard Kevin Durant when Oklahoma City had the ball. Correctly surmising that the Hawks couldn't afford Johnson fouling out, Mike Woodson didn't leave him on Durant. Correctly surmising that neither Bibby nor Crawford could be expected to guard Durant, Woodson left himself with two options: Josh Smith or Al Horford.

*Duh, they scored 128 points per 100 possessions.

**Scorekeeping error note: Crawford was 4-9 from the floor not 4-8 as the boxscore states. For whatever reason, the jump shot that Crawford missed leading to Mario West's one-handed follow dunk with 37 seconds left in the second quarter was also credited to West who should be 1-2 from the field for the game and should not be slandered by the assertion that he attempted a jump shot.

So Smith drew Durant. Not ideal, but the reasoning is clear. What's less clear is why, with Smith out there, the Hawks, for the first times all night, double Durant (with Jamal Crawford coming off Westbrook to do so) as soon as he catches the ball on the perimeter. Both times (at 1:15 and 0:38 of the fourth quarter), Durant passes over two defenders* to Westbrook as Westbrook cuts into the lane. Both times, Al Horford and Joe Johnson are more occupied with Krstic and Green than Bibby is with Sefolosha so Bibby takes the lead in protecting the rim. The first time, Westbrook finishes himself. The second time, he finds Sefolosha at the rim who finishes nicely under pressure from Horford.

*Smith was not his usual defensive presence either as he was down in the low slung perimeter defensive stance he favors.

Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford have value to this team in the areas of making jump shots and handling the ball without turning it over. They both have approximately zero defensive value. Leaving them both on the court for key defensive possessions almost leaves three to guard five. To then use one of the three for the sole purpose of getting the ball out of a player's hands, then leaving him as a non-factor on the perimeter, further weakens the team defense for those two possessions.

Marvin Williams is having a disappointing offensive season from the perspective both of shot-making and shot-creation. Unlike Bibby and Crawford, Williams can provide value when not making shots. As noted a couple of days ago, he's far and away the team's best defender at the 3. He simply has to be on the floor (at least on the defensive possessions) for the last couple of minutes of games.

Now, the Hawks were down 5 on the road with 92 seconds left. Those two Thunder scores simply secured a win that was already highly likely due to a generally poor defensive performance from the Hawks. They aren't the reason the Hawks lost but they sure didn't help prevent the loss.

Darnell Mayberry in The Oklahoman:
The payoff for Kevin Durant came on two plays, a discreet set of decisions that validated the scores of simulated situationals, the endless post-practice repetitions and, at times, his expletive-laced frustration.

While we wait on the Thunder’s star forward to consistently make the big shot, Durant showed Tuesday night that he’s capable and more than comfortable in making the right play.
Mike Woodson:
"We just couldn't get stops. Defensively right now and rebounding the basketball, we're struggling in those two areas and those are the main two areas that you've got to be clicking to win games, especially on the road."
The Human Highlight Blog:
Among the many items to consume in the 106-99 Hawks loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder is whether the young upstarts from Oklahoma are really already beyond the Hawks in terms of their progression as a team.


They are active and long defensively, out Hawks-ing the Hawks, giving ATL all kinds of fits inside, especially on the glass, where the Thunder outworked the Hawks for (17) offensive rebounds, including (5) from PG Russell Westbrook. The Hawks started the season faring better on the defensive glass, but have slipped back into the familiar twenties (21st before Tuesday's game) in that category.
Royce at Daily Thunder:
And while we’re acknowledging big crunch time performances, give Thabo Sefolosha some major credit. You want Exhibit P for Thabo’s Defensive Player of the Year case? Watch him defend Joe Johnson the last six minutes of tonight’s game. As mentioned, Johnson was taking over. But after struggling a bit defensively for about 42 minutes, Thabo tightened up the laces and locked down. Johnson went 0-2 from the field the last six minutes with a big turnover forced by Sefolosha. Thabo’s value can’t always be calculated, but without his man-to-man D, OKC doesn’t win. Plain and simple. I guess this would fall under “Total Team Victory.”

1 comment:

CoCo said...

"Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford have value to this team in the areas of making jump shots and handling the ball without turning it over. They both have approximately zero defensive value. Leaving them both on the court for key defensive possessions almost leaves three to guard five."

Sigh. I mean, you know you have to give something to get something with most players in the NBA, but damn........ What are we going to do about this Bret? What is your suggestion?