Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hawks 107 Raptors 101




Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
TOR 91.2
48.9 14.4
27.9 11
ATL 91.2 1.173 45.5

50 wins ain't too shabby. A tip of the cap to the team is both one they deserve and, at the very least, a necessary tribute from one who predicted 44 wins. I made a joke the other day about the Hawks figuring out how to close out games sometime in 2012. That same joke could be made relative to when I accurately predict how many games the team will win in a given season.

As for the game that gave the Hawks win number 50, there are several opportunities for entry:
  • Chris Bosh's absence.
  • Joe Johnson's return.
  • The 14-point first quarter against the league's worst defensive team.
  • The 45-point second quarter.
  • The 48-point second half.
  • That 17 of those 48 second half points were scored in a 3 minute, 52 second stretch early in the fourth quarter.
  • That the Hawks scored subsequently scored 9 points in the final seven-and-a-half minutes against, again, the league's worst defensive team.
  • Marvin Williams' absence in the fourth quarter.
  • The myriad substitutions Mike Woodson made in the final 30 seconds.
And, I think, there are just as many defensible conclusions to be drawn about each item even though a unified theory of the Atlanta Hawks as of April 10, 2010 remains beyond the grasp:
  • Beating the Raptors, even unimpressively, when they're without Chris Bosh, is a step up from losing to the Pistons without Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, and Rodney Stuckey.
  • Sore though it may be, Joe Johnson's injured thumb did not adversely impact his production. Also, given the way the Celtics are playing, the Hawks may be able to earn the third seed while resting Johnson further at some point in the near future.
  • The league's third-best offense can look awful at times even without them settling for an extremely high percentage of jump shots. Yes, the Hawks were 1-11 outside of 15-feet in the first quarter, but they were also 3-10 inside of 15-feet. Against the Raptors. Without Chris Bosh.
  • The league's third-best offense can look awfully unstoppable at times, especially when the Hawks make six of nine three-pointers in the same quarter they never turn the ball over and grab seven of eleven possible offensive rebounds and get to the line 11 times. There are four factors. Those are them.
  • When the Hawks make a decent percentage of their shots in the paint but fail to knock down open jump shots, their production will be slightly above average even as the process looks sound.
  • That process: playing inside-out, moving the ball, moving without the ball, and spreading the defense out by putting offensive players in dangerous positions can be very effective. Of those 17 points, 3 came on an assisted (by Jamal Crawford) Joe Johnson three-pointer and 2 on an unlikely 18-foot jumper from Zaza Pachulia. The rest were scored in the paint and six of the seven made field goals were assisted.
  • Those shots in the paint stopped going in as frequently, the jump shot became a more frequent (and less successful) choice, and the Hawks turned the ball over three times.
  • Regardless of whether Williams' lack of production is primarily down to his own limitations or the role in which the team uses him, a team that isn't going to pay the luxury tax can't spend this much money on a guy who is considered surplus to requirements with those requirements being Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, and Maurice Evans.
  • Reactive coaching decisions which do not appear to be thought through could be (though certainly won't necessarily be) the dour, defining characteristic of the playoffs and Mike Woodson's legacy in Atlanta.
Mike Woodson:
"It's very satisfying, there's no doubt about it."
Joe Johnson:
"It feels great. I'm happy not only for myself, but for my teammates and the organization. We've come so far from when I first got here."
Josh Smith:
"We were able to accomplish something this year we haven't done in a long time."
Jay Triano wins the power of positive thinking award:
"The positive is we beat them in three other quarters. We just became too relaxed in the second quarter. Other than that, I think we played pretty hard and fairly well."
Except for the 22-45 second quarter, things went according to plan.

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