|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL||88.6 ||1.184 ||57||19 ||32.4||15.8 |
|WASH||88.6||1.117||50 ||25.3 ||50 ||23.7|
The Wizards, you might remember from the preview, had broken the one point per possession barrier once in the last five games, and even then scoring just 1.006 points per possession against the Nets on February 28th. Shockingly poor interior defense and defensive rebounding from the Hawks ended Washington's offensive slump. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee* made 22 of 32 field goals on their way to 50 combined points. Had it not been for Blatche's seven turnovers or had Nick Young been able to match Jamal Crawford point for point off the bench, the Hawks might not have escaped with the victory.
*To be fair to Josh Smith and Al Horford, neither of whom covered themselves in glory, McGee did a good amount of his damage in transition (including the run-out dunk with less than a minute left that cut Atlanta's lead to four and exposed the continual inability of the Hawk guards to get back on defense) or by catching and dunking lob passes after an Atlanta defensive switch left him matched up against a smaller player.
Thankfully, Jamal Crawford is a much better scorer than Nick Young and Washington's perimeter defense is no better than Atlanta's. Crawford scored 12 of Atlanta's final 13 points in the third quarter to turn a deadlocked game into a six point Atlanta lead. The Hawks' second unit (plus Marvin Williams* standing in for the ill Maurice Evans) built on Crawford's single-handed offensive momentum to slice apart Washington's defense with quick, precise ball movement and extended the lead to nine points before the starting five (with Crawford in place of Williams) re-took the floor with 6:51 left in the game.
*To the interest, if not delight, of one blogger I'm sure.
Nine of the twelve subsequent Atlanta offensive possessions (the last twelve offensive possesions prior to Washington beginning to foul intentionally) ended with a jump shot. The Hawks scored seven points off those jump shots. The other three possessions were used by Al Horford and resulted in a dunk, two made free throws, and a turnover.
It's not especially complicated but until the Hawks figure out a way to play inside-out against zone defenses on a consistent basis they will not see much of anything else late in games. Had Washington a better sense of where to get (or better options for) their own shots in the half-court the game would have been more difficult, if not impossible, for the Hawks to close out.
The Hawks can't get away with Josh Smith wasting four of his ten field goal attempts on jump shots or Al Horford grabbing just a single defensive rebound or allowing an opponent to grab half of their own missed shots or making just 60% of the free throw attempts very often. That they got away with all of those tonight is a testament to Jamal Crawford's ability to create his own shot and the current state of the Washington Wizards.