Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quotes, Notes, and Links: Milwaukee Bucks 107 Atlanta Hawks 89




Mike Woodson:
"They were the most physical team tonight, and it showed on the scoreboard. We just didn’t match any of their ‘physicalness’ to start the game."
Making shots is a kind of physical play, I guess.

Scott Skiles:
"With Bogues (injured center Andrew Bogut) out, we need our defense to create some offense for us. It's hard for us to slow the game down and throw it inside. We need to get stops, get the ball out in transition, look at early offense and hopefully knock some shots down. We were able to do that early in the game, and we weren't in the two games in Atlanta.

We're still hopeful at some point we'll shoot 25 or 30 free throws. But in games that we don't, we're going to have to make some threes. And it's got to come off ball movement and unselfish play, and then you step into them and knock them down with confidence."
One of these coaches takes the post-game questions more seriously than the other. Or maybe less seriously, thus being both more straightforward and detailed in his answers.

Joe Johnson:
"It’s unacceptable to get blown out like this. We’ll look at the tape and correct our mistakes, but more than anything it’s about coming out and playing with more effort."
Then again, the Hawks players really do appear to believe that effort is more important than execution so Woodson's post-game answers may be every bit as direct and honest as those I've come to anticipate so eagerly from Skiles. They're not unrelated, of course. It takes hard work to execute well but I suspect that the specific focus on detail and process leads to better effort than frantic requests for effort. Frantic, as opposed to say, lackadaisical, better described Atlanta's performance (at least when they had the ball) for much of the first three quarters.

Jamal Crawford:
"They did us like we did them. They protected their home court."
Michael Cunningham:
The Hawks’ pick-and-roll defense was awful. After solid defensive efforts in Games 1 and 2 the Hawks were back to those familiar bad switches and lax closeouts. That meant layups and open 3-pointers all night for the Bucks.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute:
"We found our offense. We held the ball too much in Atlanta trying to exploit a mismatch, and they were doing a good job of collapsing. Once we started sharing the ball and cutting, guys were finding openings and gaps and they were able to drive and kick and get into the game we usually play."
John Salmons on the Carlos Delfino three-pointer that ignited a 10-2 Milwaukee run in the third quarter that pushed their lead from 54-45 to 64-47:
"If you look at that possession, that's exactly what we were talking about these last three days. It's trusting each other and moving the ball, finding the open guy. We did that on that possession and Carlos hit a big shot for us."
Scott Skiles on Kurt Thomas:
"I could probably start with a lot of guys but Kurt was great. He plugged up the middle for us, knocked down his shot, moved the ball around, boarded it. He was really active tonight. It's no secret the first couple of games they owned us in the paint, and we were able to take a couple of things away from them tonight."
Brew Hoop on Mbah a Moute:
Scott Skiles said in the pregame presser that he would start by sticking The Prince on Josh Smith and the result was fantastic: None of those game-changing dunks, half as many blocks (1) as Brandon Jennings, as many field goals (2) as Primoz Brezec in 30 more minutes, as many assists (1) as Dan Gadzuric, and not many more reasons to like the city of Milwaukee for Smith, who was boo'd every time he touched the ball.
Mark Bradley:
The Hawks fell behind and stayed there. They never put any game pressure, to use a Krzyzewski phrase, on the home team. They made it too easy.

And that’s the reason the Hawks still aren’t considered a first-tier NBA team. Yeah, they won 53 games this season, but they had a losing record on the road. Given a chance to make a bold statement in this essential road game, they looked up halfway through the fourth quarter and saw themselves 28 points in arrears.

They’re better than that, or they should be. They’re seasoned enough to know what’s coming in a Game 3 on the road. They’re gifted enough to take an inspired opponent’s best shot and hit back harder. But on this sobering night they seemed content to rely on Philips Arena to win the series for them.

Which it can. The Bucks aren’t apt to break through in Atlanta. But the Hawks can’t reach the Eastern Conference finals unless they win away from home against an opponent far better than Milwaukee.
Soaring Down South:
As putrid as the Hawks were on offense, this game was lost defensively and on the backboard.

The Hawks are now 1-8 in their last nine road playoff contests. Those losses have been by an average margin of 24 points. That is simply not showing up ready to compete.
For all the coaching adjustments, matching up and other things that go into a playoff series, sometimes it’s the simple things that end up making the biggest difference. For the Bucks, that “little thing” was finally hitting the three at a respectable clip.
Sekou Smith on Josh Smith's willingness to speak:
When Bulls center Joakim Noah made a few wise cracks about Cleveland, he followed up those comments with one of the best playoff games of his young career.

Hawks forward Josh smith made similar statements about the city of Milwaukee but couldn’t back up his bold words with a performance of the same ilk.


A word advice to young Mr. Smith, let it be from now on. Even if that’s what you really think, let it be! And in the event that you just can’t help yourself, the least you can do is back it up!

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