Monday, February 22, 2010

Warriors 108 Hawks 104




Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 95.3
48.3 21.6
29.5 14.7
GS 95.3 1.133 55.4

The essential version of my thoughts is up at The Daily Dime (#9). Rather than reconstitute the long(-er) version of that, allow me to expand on certain threads in the time-tested bullet-point format.
  • The two key differences in the fourth quarter were 1) Josh Smith's refusal to attack the basket and finish off the Warriors and 2) Don Nelson's refusal to let Monta Ellis finish off the Warriors. Smith went 0-5 from the floor and earned just one assist. His first and last field goal attempts of the quarter were unnecessary jump shots. He repeatedly tried (and failed) to back down Andris Biedrins rather than going around (or past) him from a moving start as he did so frequently in the previous quarter. Keeping Ellis out of the game for most of the fourth quarter didn't just reduce the number of terrible shots on Golden State possesions, it also forced Joe Johnson to work much harder for his points than he had to when matched up against Ellis. It's to Ellis's credit that, when he returned for the final four minutes, he went all Mike Bibby, gambling for steals on the premise that if Johnson got a shot up against him it would be a high percentage shot. It's a doomed strategy for 48 minutes but can turn the tide of a game that's been shortened to 10 possessions in length.
  • Joe Johnson played a good fourth quarter. Unless one considers iso-Joe to be a contagion, this loss wasn't on him at all. Yes, he used the bulk of the team's possessions but, unlike his teammates, he converted his scoring opportunities at a high rate. Not having to help Ellis on Johnson also freed the rest of the Warriors to give Smith and Horford more attention in the fourth quarter.
  • Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby don't offer much (in Bibby's case, anything) when they're not making shots. Crawford played the entire fourth quarter, Bibby played the final 6:41. Neither made a shot. Bibby didn't even attempt a field goal. Marvin Williams is no panacea, but his abilities as a rebounder and defender make him a better option than playing both defensive sieves down the stretch.
  • It should not be overlooked that Jeff Teague played a fine game and finished off the third quarter quite strongly. When he becomes a full-fledged member of the rotation, I suspect some of these dribble penetration prevention issues will magically disappear.
  • It'd be nice to have those four first half minutes Mario West played back so as to give them to a useful contributor. There's been no report of Mo Evans being unavailable last night.
  • Mario West's limitations didn't cost the team the game, but his inclusion in the game is an example of deep concern I have about this team: possessions, even points, aren't taken seriously on a consistent basis. Other symptoms include Josh Smith taking jump shots (or Josh Smith even being on the court for a final possession with the Hawks down three), the failure to make (or maintain) the connection between defensive rebounding and transition opportunities, and both the volume and timing of technical fouls earned. From the head coach on down on the last score.
Jamal Crawford:
"I thought I got pushed under the basket. He (the official) didn’t think so. I voiced my frustration and got the technical."
Fouled or not, called or not, the ball went out of bounds off of Golden State. The Hawks had the ball under their own basket with 34.6 seconds left (and almost an entire shot clock) in what would have been a tie game had Crawford not given the Warriors a point there because...he felt like it?

Mike Woodson:
"The tech didn't help us with Jamal. I thought he got fouled. He got hit and bumped almost out of bounds, and he didn't get the call. Sometimes that happens. He kind of lost his composure."
Al Horford:
"We were too comfortable. We thought we could just let them make their run and come back and we would still win."
Mike Woodson:
"We just failed to execute coming down the stretch. We had a comfortable lead and we stopped doing the things that got us the lead. Defensively, we just shut down."
Peachtree Hoops:
One fourth quarter possession I especially enjoyed was Joe Johnson dribbling it up and immediately posting himself up, then passing out to Crawford. Al Horford came up on the other side to set a pick for Crawford with the defense all over rotated to Joe's side, and Crawford just passed back into Joe before Al even got there. Joe put up an airball floater.
Don Nelson:
"It was one of those games where we pulled all of the right strings and made big shots. We were a little lucky, too, but we'll take it."
Chris Hunter:
"What we wanted to do is protect the basket and help the smalls out because they have big guards posting up. We were able to get rebounds, run, leak out and get some fast-break buckets."
Monta Ellis:
"Me being me, I always want to be out there. I just sat back and waited my turn. Coach called me, I was ready."
Mike Woodson:
"We built a comfortable lead and failed to continue to do the things that got us into the lead, and we just can't do that. I haven't seen that all year from this team, except the time we self-destructed in Cleveland."

Matt Moore at Pro Basketball Talk:
[T]heir ball-movement came to a crashing halt as we've seen before this season. The inability of the coaching staff to program a low-post set has killed them this season. They're somehow afraid of what has gotten them so much success the rest of the games.
Mike Bibby:
"We just fell apart. We're up 20 points. A team of our caliber shouldn't lose that game. It happened but we can't let it happen too much."
CJ Watson:
"A win is a win to us. We just get them however they come, whether it's a sorry team or a playoff team like that. It doesn't matter. We're just trying to get as many wins as possible and get coach his record."
The Human Highlight Blog sums up what last night's loss means:
[T]he blueprint and DNA of this loss is one that is marked across the franchise at this point, with these players, and these coaches. The refusal to play fundamental basketball and eschewing of what has proven to be successful even throughout the course of the single game that they are playing has served and will serve as their ultimate escort from the 2009-2010 season.


mick said...

Do we think Woodson just dosn't call horford's number down the stretch in games or do jamal and joe just over rule him and keep calling their own? Horford dosn't seem to make to big of a fuss about not getting the ball late despite the fact that he can be unstoppable at times and unlike most big men Al shoots free throws at over 75% meaning you can't just hack him and hope.

Bret LaGree said...

I think it's a combination of him being the third or fourth option and the team slowing the game down (or allowing the game to slow down) in the fourth quarter which both reduces the number of possessions to go around and plays against Horford's strengths. He's a much better offensive player in transition, pick-and-roll, or after a teammate has broken down the defense. The slow, stagnant possessions don't give him a chance to work on the move and he's not a great back-to-the-basket player yet.

CoCo said...

I know technically Joe didn't play poorly. I give him credit for making his shots, but we cannot overlook the fact that in order for Joe to make those shots the ball had to stop moving. That's the biggest problem. Joe making shots in the 4th quarter means nothing if it takes the rest of the team out of the game. They completely stopped doing everything they did to build that lead. It's unacceptable. The fact that this team can't get out of the teens in 4th quarter scoring lately should be a clear indication that their approach late in games is flawed.

rbubp said...

Smith should have been out of the game. He was exhausted in the 4th, and it was painfully obvious. The Warriors require a lot of running up and down; Woodson should have a) rested Smith for the 4th or b) planned on playing others when the starters showed signs of tiring.