|Team||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL||89.4 ||0.985 ||44.6||16.9 ||33.3||15.7 |
|DET||89.4||1.007||46.8 ||20.3 ||17.5 ||16.8|
I suspect there will be little relevance, in terms of the Hawks' post-season success or failure, to losing the second game of a road back-to-back without Joe Johnson. Johnson's absence was in service of maximizing Atlanta' chances of playoff success. The playoff schedule precludes back-to-back games. The Hawks, who have seemed these past couple of weeks to adjust their effort level depending on the quality of the competition, should demonstrate greater interest in and urgency regarding the outcome of their playoff games.
Nor did this loss teach us anything we didn't already know about this team. They can struggle both to score and to get stops in the fourth quarter. They are not relentless either in attacking their opponent's weaknesses nor playing to their own strengths. Collectively, they don't get to the free throw line very often and one player in particular, who does get to the free throw line fairly often, doesn't make a very high percentage of his free throw attempts. The Hawks are prisoner to the jump shot and, when they aren't making jump shots, offensive rebounding and not turning the ball over can't always provide sufficient cover. Also, Joe Smith is not very good.
Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby took 34 shots. 26 of those attempts were outside of 15-feet. They combined to get to the line three times (all Crawford). It was great that Bibby made his first four field goal attempts but that's no sort of sustainable method of attack, as demonstrated by Bibby's 1-6 shooting in the second half.
Josh Smith and Al Horford and Marvin Williams took 36 shots. Three of Smith's ten field goal attempts came outside of 17-feet. He also missed four of five free throw attempts. Six of Williams' thirteen field goal attempts were outside of 16-feet. Williams missed half of his six free throws. Five of Horford's thirteen field goal attempts were outside of 15-feet. Horford only got to the line twice but he made both free throws.
17 of Atlanta's 22 fourth quarter field goal attempts were jump shots. Most of them taken against a Detroit frontline of Daye, Jerebko, and Villanueva. 15 of Detroit's 21 fourth quarter field goal attempts were inside of 15-feet. The Pistons got to the line seven times in the final quarter and made all of them. The Hawks (Josh Smith and Williams) were 3-8 from the line. Regardless of the quality of the opponent an inability (and/or unwillingness) to get into lane combined with an inability to keep said opponent out of the lane causes problems.
"We self-destructed again coming down the stretch. We’ve got to figure it out."Given the rate at which things get figured out (or even publicly acknowledged* as a problem), I expect the Hawks to start consistently closing games out sometime in early 2012.
*I've got April 2, 2010 as the day Woodson publicly addressed the rebounding problem that's been obvious since the summer of 2008.
The Michael Cunningham Sports Bureau:
In 15 road games since the All-Star break, the Hawks are 5-8 when they either had a lead or a tie in the fourth quarter. Of those games, tonight was the fifth time the Hawks blew a lead in the final two minutes.Mike Bibby sums things up pretty well:
"We missed free throws, we missed shots we normally make, we had turnovers."The "shots we normally make" point is a good and valid one. It's not that the Hawks took a ton of bad or difficult shots (especially relative to normal), it's that the Hawks don't have an alternate method of attack when the jump shots don't fall. This is the crux of their inconsistency.
"It was our veteran guards that turned it over. That just shouldn’t happen."John Kuester:
"This is a special win. It just goes to show whether a team is playing for a playoff (seed) or not playing in the playoffs this year, when you continually try to play hard and play the right way, you give yourself a chance."Soaring Down South:
The problem lies in that the Hawks didn’t maintain their focus long enough to keep the Pistons at bay. You combine those defensive problems with the same offensive ineptness that has plagued the Hawks during fourth quarters for the second half of the season and it is easy to understand how they came away with a loss in Detroit. Ultimately it just boiled down that the Pistons just played harder. As inexcusable as that statement is, it is however in fact truth.The Hawks are now tied with Boston at 49-29 and are projected* to win one game fewer than the Celtics, though Cleveland may well roll over in game #82 and the computer doesn't know that.
*Last night's results produced a two-game swing in Boston's favor in the projected records.