Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bobcats 109 Hawks 100

Boxscore

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.

4 comments:

Bronn said...

I expected you might have had more to say about the offense. I mean, they scored 36 points in the first half and then scored 36 points in the third quarter. There's a point to be made about coming slow-after the first quarter, the Hawks won by 11 points.

Usage is still a serious issues, of course. Zaza is the best big on the bench, but for some reason, Joe Smith gets 22 minutes to his 6. Apparently, it's anathema to use Horford and Zaza together, but playing with a short bench should preclude from notions where your second best bench player only gets 6 minutes. A bit of line-up creativity is sometimes necessary for a coach. While I'm not thrilled about Josh Smith playing at the three, I can't complain about putting your best 5 players on the floor, which did not happen tonight.

CoCo said...

This game speaks volumes about the coaching staff. Glad I didn't watch the whole thing live. The loss looks better when you already know it's coming. Anyway, Larry Brown coached circles around Woody. Their (Charlotte) defensive effort in the first half should be applauded, but their defensive scheme deserves a standing ovation. They made Mario West more of a factor than he should ever be. Woody helped them by having him on the floor at all. There were just so many things one could nitpick, but I'm not going to do so.

Bret LaGree said...

Bronn --

I tried to address the issues in your comment in this morning's links page.

Also, if you have a moment, please send me an e-mail, I've got something in which you might be interested.

The Minister said...

I was in that arena and the Bobcats "fans" were SHOCKED when I told them the Hawks were third in the east.

But, then, they also saw a team that considers Mario West a legitimate NBA player.

At one point, the crowd was cheering more for Mario than Gerald Wallace. And at one point, Mario was doing more for the Bobcats than GW.