Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Atlanta Hawks 96 Milwaukee Bucks 86

Boxscore

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
MIL 86
1.000
43.3 8.9
37.5 15.1
ATL 87 1.103 49.4
21.3
25.6
11.5

Al Horford and Josh Smith were the dominant forces on both ends of the floor for the Hawks. They combined for 41 points (on just 24 shots and 8 free throw attempts), 24 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals. They committed only two turnovers. They were on the court together for 30 minutes and 23 seconds during which the Hawks outscored the Bucks 67-45. They were both off the court for 6 minutes and 42 seconds* during which the Bucks outscored the Hawks 19-4.

*One minutes and 50 seconds of that was garbage time, won 4-0 by the Bucks. Call it a 15-4 deficit over 4 minutes and 52 seconds of competitive basketball.

Horford and Smith allowed the Hawks to coast to victory on a night when Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford combined to make just 4 of 18 field goal attempts (1 of 6 three-pointers) and Joe Johnson once again chose to make both his ability to make difficult shots and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's fine on-the-ball defense too central to events. Johnson scored 27 points on 23 shots. Not especially impressive unless you saw how difficult the shots were. Perhaps less impressive when you consider 5 of Johnson's 12 made field goals were assisted by either Smith or Horford. Johnson earned six assists of his own (against three turnovers) and, to his credit, was more active than normal defensively, blocking two shots himself, and playing a significant role in Brandon Jennings's (somewhat predictable) 3-15 shooting night.

Smith and Horford had hands in that as well. They're asked to defend the entire court on a regular basis, but it works almost flawlessly when they're leaving players as limited offensively as Mbah a Moute, Kurt Thomas, or Dan Gadzuric to cover for Atlanta's perimeter defenders. I suspect Scott Skiles will either have to start Mbah a Moute on Smith to improve Milwaukee's post defense or play Ersan Ilyasova (who had a double-double at halftime but was a non-factor in the second half) a lot more in the hopes he does damage in the space Horford and Smith vacate when switching on ball-screens or providing help defense.

Something has to change for Milwaukee to win one of the next two at home as it's hard to imagine Milwaukee making enough shots of the quality they're getting or Atlanta missing enough shots of the quality they can get when they play through Smith and Horford.

2 comments:

dbracy007 said...

As much as Hoopinion rags on Joe Johnson, his playoff numbers are up all across the board compared to regular season numbers. 24.5 ppg, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assist plus shooting 50% from the field , so its not like he just throwing stuff up there, meanwhile I guy like Kobe is shooting 38% after two games. Everybody recognizes the once in a lifetime advantage the Hawks have down low, and they are exploiting it, you guys obviously hate seeing JJ do his thing. When Horford and/or Josh struggle on the road in game 3 or 4, what are you going to say then? Keep feeding them? Remember Josh & Horford weren't exactly converting their post ups in game 1 against those little Bucks and you guys got mad the Hawks went away from that. Do you expect the Hawks to keep feeding them against Orlando as Dwight swats their shots left & right? Unless JJ shoots less than 45% then you can complain about shots, until then shut the hell up!!!!!!!!

Bret LaGree said...

Guys?

And at the risk of not shutting the hell up and further offending you (thanks for reading and commenting), I'll reiterate that my only complaint with the volume of shots Johnson has taken in this series is that it's unnecessary for him to challenge Mbah a Moute as the initial offense of a possession. He'll have sufficient opportunity to get far easier shots up against Salmons and Delfino during the course of the game in addition to those shots Smith and Horford can create for him and those possessions that devolve into a difficult shot.

Plus, if anybody shoots over 45% over the Magic that would itself be pretty significant improvement on the regular season. It would be especially impressive if they do so while continuing to avoid the path of least resistance.