Monday, March 01, 2010

Hawks 106 Bucks 102 (OT)


Hoopdata Boxscore



Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
MIL 96.6
48.8 28.4
19.5 16.6
ATL 96.6 1.098 45

The Hawks probably don't win without Joe Johnson scoring nine points in the final 2:25 of overtime. The Hawks probably aren't in overtime without Johnson going 2-9 from the floor in the fourth quarter and 7-22 from the floor in regulation without attempting a free throw.

The Hawks probably don't win without Al Horford holding Andrew Bogut to four points on five shots in the fourth quarter and overtime or without Horford's help defense on John Salmons late in the fourth quarter or without Horford's 10 rebounds (3 offensive) or 17 points* on 13 shots (plus 3-3 from the line). The Hawks probably don't win if Marvin Williams doesn't play more than 75% of the fourth quarter and all of overtime, doing a capable job of keeping John Salmons in front of him. The Hawks probably don't win without Josh Smith helping on Salmons or grabbing 15 rebounds (3 offensive) or earning six assists or scoring 22 points on 13 shots (plus 6-8 from the line).

The Hawks win despite Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford** combining to shoot 5-22 for the game and 0-6 in the fourth quarter in overtime.

*Especially the six straight Atlanta points Horford scored after the Hawks fell behind 87-80 with 5:42 left in regulation, most notably the baseline jumper he made on the secondary break on a possession that began with a Horford defensive rebound which led to an outlet pass to Josh Smith, who found Jamal Crawford in the frontcourt, who got into the lane, drew multiple defenders, and found Horford open on the right baseline nine seconds after he grabbed said defensive rebound. A fourth quarter transition bucket for the Hawks? Yes. Notice which two Atlanta guards are absent from that description and discuss cause and effect.

**Crawford did make 8 of 9 free throws for the game and 3 of 4 in the final 15 seconds of overtime.

That's what happened. As to whether overtime occurs at all if the three guards who were a combined 10-30 from the field (1-1 from the line) through three quarters, rather than taking 14 (of the team's 18) field goal attempts in the fourth quarter (making 2*) and earning a combined zero assists, defer to (or even make an effort top include) Smith and Horford, who had 18 and 11 points, respectively, through three quarters on 21 combined field goal attempts...who knows?

*Their teammates were 3-4 from the floor, 4-6 from the line in the fourth quarter.

Sitting through another 18 point fourth quarter (though at least this time against a good defensive team) makes one wonder. One wonders why Josh Smith doesn't attempt a field goal* in the fourth quarter. One wonders why, during a four minute stretch of the fourth quarter when Milwaukee goes to a four-guard lineup meaning either Carlos Delfino or Jerry Stackhouse is guarding Smith, Smith never once touches the ball in the post.

One wonders if it's because Smith and Horford (and, to a lesser extent, Marvin Williams**) are responsible for rebounding, defense, and both creating and finishing transition opportunities so that Johnson, Bibby, and Crawford can play poor defense and take long jump shots (30 field attempts from beyond 16 feet from the troika in the game) with minimal consequences.

*He does go the line four times and turn the ball over twice.

**Williams made three of his five field goal attempts, his only three-point attempt, grabbed eight rebounds (three offensive), and played the aforementioned good defense to slow Salmons. He also opened the fourth quarter by making a 20-foot jumper but never attempted another shot.

You want to know why it took five years for Josh Smith to give up his futile effort to make three-point shots or why he still wastes about a quarter of his field goal attempts on long two-point jump shots he's almost as unlikely to make? Because, under Mike Woodson, there is no adverse consequence for poor shot selection. Poor shot selection does not affect one's playing time or shot attempts. (In fact, it probably increases the latter.) The only way to have one's playing time affected is to be a reserve who misses a shot or two, regardless of their quality. Having trust or showing confidence in your players is a fine and necessary trait in a head coach. That trust and confidence should, though, be in them doing the right thing rather than just what they want to do or feel like doing.

John Salmons on Joe Johnson:
"Yeah, he's tough. He hit some tough shots in overtime."
Joe Johnson:
"When you get a second chance you always want to come through. I wanted to make plays in that overtime to get us over the hump."
Josh Smith:
"We had to keep riding him to see if he could keep going. He was making tough shots and tough moves on his guys. When he's like that, we need to keep giving it to him."
You deserve the same treatment Josh. Also, the opposite is true. When's he not like that you don't need to keep giving it to him.

Mike Woodson on Joe Johnson's miss at the end of regulation:
"I thought he could've put a little more heat on Salmons [because] we were in the penalty, but he settled for the jump shot."
So there was one person watching who was surprised that Joe Johnson took a long jumper on a final possession. I would have guessed wrong.

Scott Skiles:
"We were up five points [in OT], and that's where we've got to be smarter than that. We also crowded Josh Smith on the perimeter, and he drove in and laid the ball in the basket. We made two, three or four mistakes that were really costly right there."
Michael Cunningham, beating the Elias Sports Bureau to the punch:
[The Hawks] are a combined 16 for 54 (29.6) from the field in the fourth quarter of their last three games.
Compare and contrast with HawkStr8Talk:
Jeff Teague sure didn't do anything to make me believe that he didn't deserve more minutes tonight.

As a contrast, when Ridnour and Stackhouse brought production from the bench, they sure didn't get put back on the bench for much of the rest of the game. Also, now, I'm just thinking that Stackhouse was available for how long...might he have been an upgrade over Mario West.
Stackhouse is definitely better than Mario West. Before meeting up with the Hawks perimeter D, though, he was making 41% of his twos, 41.7% of his threes, posting a FT Rate barely north of Joe Johnson's, turning the ball over once every 25 possessions he's on the floor (i.e. not possessions he uses), and taking 83% of his shots outside of ten feet (62.2% outside of 16 feet). You know Woodson couldn't resist getting that sort of veteran presence on the floor. He'd have been taking minutes away from Evans and Williams, too.

Peachtree Hoops:
That was the least satisfying Hawks win of the last four years. The only thing worse would have been a game won by Josh Smith jump shots.
A great lede to Brew Hoop's recap:
You didn't really expect the Bucks to win this one. Not on the road against a class home team, on the second night of a back-to-back.

But you didn't really expect the Bucks to lose it either. Not after six straight road wins and six overall, and with all the parts, new and old, meshing so well.

So it was fitting that after four quarters the Bucks had neither won nor lost.
John Salmons has done wonders for the Bucks and has even had some big late game moments against the Pistons and Bobcats, but when the game is on the line and someone needs the ball, if John Salmons is the best option you have, you probably aren’t an upper echelon team. The difference between Salmons and Joe Johnson was vivid in overtime, when Salmons couldn’t convert on two tries with the Bucks down two with a half minute to go. On the other end, Johnson had been putting on a show, hitting fadeaways in the lane, a three from the corner and any other tough shot he was shooting.
I failed to work the following thought into my recap proper so I thank Jeremy for giving me an opening through which to share this tangential thought: last night's game was not unlike a Hawks/Cavs game except that, against the Bucks, the Hawks had the far superior player dominating the ball down the stretch.

LeBron James : Joe Johnson :: Joe Johnson : John Salmons

Matt Moore at Pro Basketball Talk:
Joe Johnson had more shots (26) than points (24), and too often he becomes the entirety of the offense for long stretches, and not very efficiently. It turns into Kobe-time without the Kobe, and I say that as a staunch Joe Johnson supporter.
At Basketball Prospectus, Kevin Pelton looks at the importance of health to team success:
John Hollinger beat me to this observation last Friday, but if you're curious why the Hawks have exceeded expectations by so much in 2009-10, the above table isn't a bad place to start. (I'd also recommend Josh Smith's stat line.) Atlanta has been amazingly healthy, with just one game missed by a starter all season. I'm also including one or two key reserves per team in this analysis, and Crawford certainly qualifies. The Hawks missed him tremendously when he sat out a 94-76 home loss to Miami on Feb. 10, but overall their schedule-adjusted point differential barely budges, naturally. Every other legitimate contender has played at least 20 games minus one of their key players. Compared to that, the Hawks have been extraordinarily lucky in terms of health.
Changing of the guard at Ball Don't Lie. All Canadian references to be replaced by Brad Miller references.


Jonathan said...

This was one of the best post game recaps ever read. I just can't figure out why team can't adjust past these bad habits.

JMar said...

What does Mike Woodson do with that whiteboard during timeouts? Is he just scribbling away furiously to throw the other team off the actual play of "dribble out the clock and take a contested long jumper"?

nolan said...

I agree, this was an excellent recap. I can't stand Woodson's staunch refusal to adapt and riding the Joe Show endlessly, and his ignoring Teague (supposed to be future PG?? Minutes please??)/Evans/Williams in favor of slumping Bibby/slumping (injured) Crawford. How is it that a low percentage jumper is our best option in the fourth quarter with Smith and Horford on our team? GAH!!

Unknown said...

any recap with copious use of HawkStr8Talk quotes would be best post game recap ever read worthy :). Hey, Bret - you've always been at best fair to Mike Woodson - would it be fair to say that you've come over to my belief that we'll never REALLY know the ceiling of the Hawks or even its individual players (and yes, I'd include every single one of them with the exception of Bibby, Pachulia, and West) until we get a new coach.