|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL||84.4 ||1.185 ||52.4||38.9 ||35.3||13 |
|CHA||84.4||1.292||56.3 ||26.3 ||32.4 ||14.2|
I still contend that a healthy Hawks team in the playoffs is worth more than winning these last few regular season games, third seed be damned within reason, but it wasn't fun to watch the Hawks fail to account for the absence of Joe Johnson (thumb) and Mike Bibby (toenail*). Charlotte deserves credit for their defensive effort in the first half. They, quite sensibly, denied Josh Smith and Al Horford shot attempts. The Hawks, though, showed little inclination to force the ball to Smith or Horford, or just to whomever Boris Diaw was guarding.
*Were you tempted, don't laugh. The ingrown toenail is an affliction to discomfort those with far more sedentary professions than NBA point guard. Even the way Bibby plays the position.
Before Marvin Williams, quite counter-productively, exited with his second foul four minutes into the game, the Hawks ran plays for Williams while guarded by Gerald Wallace. I'm a Marvin Williams booster. That's not an advantageous matchup for Williams. It is, though, more advantageous than using Mario West as the first guy off the bench. I get that the Hawks aren't starting Jamal Crawford while Joe Johnson's out because they want Crawford to be named Sixth Man of the Year. I don't get why that precludes using Crawford as the team's sixth man. Nor why Mike Woodson chose to use West (-18 in 9:51 of non-garbage time play during the first half) instead of Jeff Teague* or Williams** or anyone else capable of playing NBA basketball at a regular pace.
*Who looked distressingly scared to take a jump shot, though not completely ineffective tonight. I'm still withholding any judgment of Teague until next season.
**Who was successfully prevented from fouling out. What, that wasn't the goal?
I'm not concerned that the Hawks lost while short-handed and playing a very good defensive team. I'm concerned that the Hawks made no pro-active accommodation to their short-handedness. The starting small forward committed two early fouls? The backup small forward* was starting at the 2-guard? Put in the third string small forward. Wait, what?
It's not like Teague/Evans/Crawford is an unheard of combination** for the Hawks. Factor in that Williams sits for most of the fourth quarter and finishes the game with four fouls and there's no need to protect him from hypothetical foul trouble at the cost of playing Mario West in what, when he was not on the court, was a competitive basketball game.
*I'm ignoring that Mo Evans shouldn't be the backup small forward for now.
**BasketballValue.com is a few days behind, but 7 of the top 8 units (in terms of frequency) including Jeff Teague this season (through April 2nd) also include Crawford and Evans.
The above does not even address all the minutes Josh Smith got at the 3 so Joe Smith could defend poorly and grab just two rebounds* in 22:22. Tonight we witnessed both the cost of punting roster spots 10** through 15 and not recognizing that said roster spots were punted.
*Josh had just five in 36:49. Or, one more rebound than jump shots he attempted from at least 18 feet.
**Sure, Joe Smith is better than West and Jason Collins and Randolph Morris, but he's not been good (albeit in limited minutes) this season. Even tonight, it wouldn't be a big deal had the Hawks filled the back end of the roster with plausible alternative candidates for playing time.