Friday, October 08, 2010

Atlanta Hawks Lose Exhibition Opener to Memphis Grizzlies in Overtime

The final score: 115-111. And, largely, it does not matter.

Jamal Crawford (back) and Maurice Evans (knee surgery) didn't play. Evan Brock and Ricardo Marsh did.

Josh Powell and Zaza Pachulia both played twice as many minutes as Al Horford.

The first unofficial possession using Larry Drew's motion offense culminated in a 21-foot Josh Smith jump shot. Four of his ten field goal attempts were two-point jump shots of at least 19-feet. It's a process. Same with the 24 turnovers Atlanta committed.

There are potential positives to take away from the game: Jeff Teague led the team with 20 points on 12 shots and an end-of-quarter heave. He didn't make either of his jump shots but took ten shots in the paint in 31 minutes. Mike Bibby took 62 shots inside of 10 feet last season in 2197 minutes. Marvin Williams scored 18 points on 10 shots (plus 7 free throws), grabbed 10 rebounds, and earned 3 assists. Six different Hawks earned at least 3 assists.

Marvin Williams on the new offense:
"I love it. I know where my shots are going to come from every night."
Larry Drew on Williams, prior to his strong exhibition showing:
"It certainly seems Marvin is starting to find his niche again."
Drew on something that hasn't changed:
"One thing that was glaring was we turned the ball over and didn't get back on defense."
Nor has some of the rhetoric. It's incumbent upon Drew to prove that he means this:
"I’m not concerned about what we do offensively. The focus of the preseason is going to be defense. We are going to look at numbers like [defensive] field-goal percentage and the whole defensive realm. That is what is going to take us to another level. We have the athleticism, size, speed, and quickness to be a top-echelon defensive team."
That last sentence isn't true so much as a perfectly reasonable motivational tactic. No reasonable person expects Drew to coax an excellent defensive performance out of this roster, just something better than his predecessor could manage.

Acie Law IV scored 11 of Memphis's 16 overtime points. Bully for him.

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