Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Atlanta Hawks 102 Indiana Pacers 92


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 85
55.4 27
14.3 12.9
IND 85
1.082 47.1

If this game gets remembered at all it may be for Josh Powell playing just 2:52 and then only if this is the first step toward Larry Drew easing him out of the rotation for the good of the team. Powell's absence might just have been a response to Indiana going small, with Jim O'Brien using James Posey as his backup power forward, as Powell entered the game (to play center) only after both Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia picked up their second personal foul in the second quarter. Drew's decision to use first Powell, then Jason Collins at center in the second quarter allowed Roy Hibbert (he had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 of his assists in the 7 minutes he played against Powell and Collins) to keep Indiana in the game until halftime but Drew's tighter second half rotation maintained control throughout the second half.

Yes, Danny Granger and TJ Ford cut the Atlanta lead to 5 points with 7:48 and 7:03 left in the game respectively but Al Horford scored on the possessions subsequent to both of those Indiana baskets during a four-possession stretch wherein he scored six points and assisted on the other three. Josh Smith had a similar seven points in four possessions streak to finish out the third quarter.

Smith led the way for the Hawks with 25 points (on 16 shots, 9 of them jump shots), 8 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Horford needed 12 shots to score his 15 points, grabbed 6 rebounds (3 offensive), earned 3 assists, and finished the game with two personal fouls in one second less than 31 minutes of action. Mike Bibby's 16 points (on 9 shots), 7 assists, and just one turnover propped up the starting backcourt's production on a night where Joe Johnson couldn't outscore Marvin Williams despite playing 12 more minutes and taking four more shots. Off the bench, Jamal Crawford chipped in 11 points on 7 shots and Jeff Teague knocked two threes (bringing his season total to three) in the first quarter and earned three assists on his homecoming.

Defensively, the Hawks benefited from Darren Collison's absence as Ford (6 points on 10 shots, 5 assists in 37:19) never managed to capitalize on his quickness advantage against Bibby. The presence of Josh McRoberts on the court allowed Josh Smith the freedom to roam for several of those seven blocks. James Posey got free a couple of times when Smith helped defensively bit could not score often enough to off-set Smith's offensive dominance of him in the post. Hibbert (18 points on 16 shots plus three turnovers) struggled to execute his post moves effectively against Al Horford's combination of size and strength. Danny Granger didn't find much resistance from either Marvin Williams or Joe Johnon but Ford's inherent limitations and Horford's good work against Hibbert in the post prevented Indiana's half-court offense from finding a productive rhythm in the second. Committing just 11 turnovers went a long way toward holding the Pacers to 4 fast break points for the game. Even then, Atlanta's defensive efficiency for the season was worse after the game than it was before.

It may have been uninspiring but it was a perfectly competent performance, especially coming on the road (where the Hawks are now 5-1 on the young season). The limited use of Powell encouraged and the unnecessary strictures prescribed as part of the Horford Treatment must have reached their absurd pinnacle in the second quarter. The Hawks likely can't count on Josh Smith and Jeff Teague to shoot over 60% on their jump shots every night but the commitment Larry Drew showed to playing his best players throughout the second half could, if it's extended to the first 24 minutes of future games, raise this team's ceiling.

1 comment:

Shashank said...

Thanks Bret, always learn something from your game recaps