Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hawks 127 Warriors 122




Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
GS 89.9
56.4 29.1
33.3 12.2
ATL 89.9 1.413 58.4

The Atlanta Hawks are an unserious basketball team. The are either incapable of identifying how best to attack opposing defenses or lack the discipline to do so consistently. They seem unprepared for opposing teams consistently to attack Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford's defensive inadequacies. Too often they fail to play to their strengths and seem oblivious* to their weaknesses.

*Especially their defensive weaknesses. Anthony Morrow posted up Bibby and Crawford for fun. Crawford repeatedly went under screens when guarding attempting to guard Stephon Curry. Defensive specialist Mario West put in a non-disastrous but spectacularly ineffectual shift that figures to impact the opinion of those who matter not a whit. The guards provided no support on the defensive glass, either.

Still, they win 65% of the time. Talent, even when it's sub-optimally applied, and good health count for a lot. The Hawks didn't win this game on the strength of a gameplan or in-game tactical decisions. They won because Josh Smith and Al Horford* were good enough to overcome a poor defensive effort** from their smaller teammates and more questionable half-court offense in the fourth quarter.

*Marvin Williams' 14 rebounds (9 offensive) and the nine three-pointers made by Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford provided significant additional value.

**Poor defensive performances by Atlanta guards is hardly noteworthy. Their consistent inability to get back on defense last night was shocking.

Smith scored 29 points. Horford scored 27 points. Both made 10 of 15 field goal attempts. They combined to get to the line 23 times. The extra defenders they drew, combined with their passing ability, created most of the open three-pointers Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford made. They played tremendous* basketball but it wasn't enough to convince one of their teammates and/or their head coach to let them touch the ball every single trip. Playing fewer minutes than both Horford and Smith, Johnson took just one shot fewer than both and turned the ball over more often than Horford and Smith combined. Plus, he was sick. That Joe Johnson was either "fighting a cold" or suffering from "flulike symptoms" partially explains his pitiful defensive performance** but makes every offensive possession he dominated the ball in the fourth quarter rather than ceding the point of attack to either his dominant teammates in the post more frustrating than normal.

*Whatever defense the Hawks played came courtesy of Smith and Horford, as well.

**And how Mo Evans grabbed more rebounds in four minutes than Johnson did in 37.

Expect the Hawks to get well against the Heat tonight. Miami lacks the personnel to take advantage of Atlanta's defensive weaknesses the way a lesser team like the Warriors can. Sure, Daequan Cook could make 11 jump shots again but I wouldn't bet on it.

Mike Woodson:
"We were tied at halftime and neither of our big guns had done anything."
But Smith had 18/6/4 and Horford had 12 and 8 at halftime.

Oh. I see.


M said...

I just do not think it is accurate to say "The Atlanta Hawks are an unserious basketball team" when they are 40-21. I just cannot support that statement.

Vishal said...

Excellent last line.

nolan said...

I think the fault lies entirely with Woodson. It's the coaches responsibility to respond, adjust, motivate, and lead an NBA team. He is not or can not do that. Do we have any word on his future?

rbubp said...

"The Hawks didn't win this game on the strength of a gameplan or in-game tactical decisions."

Doesn't seem to be the case by the numbers. Perhaps not on defense, but there was apparently a different offensive approach than last time...or so I'm told by HHB, and the numbers support that analysis.

Bret LaGree said...

"Unserious" may not be finest choice I've ever made but I'm frustrated with the lack of self-awareness throughout the organization and the lack of discipline that prevents the team from playing to its strengths in a relentless fashion.

Good enough is good enough too often.