Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Atlanta Hawks 98 Cleveland Cavaliers 84


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 86
1.14 55.4

A win's a win but there's little more the Hawks can take away from a fairly desultory performance against inferior opposition. Outside of Al Horford's post-Anderson Varejao ball-screen efforts to keep Mo Williams and Boobie Gibson away from the basket, Atlanta's defensive resistance was minimal. On the offensive end, the team appeared content to convert the occasional easy transition opportunity and take advantage of their jump shots being less contested than normal. And make no mistake, the game was normal from Cleveland's perspective. The Cavs, on average, score 102 and allow 112 points per possession.

If little was learned about this Hawks teams, certain things were reinforced. Al Horford (18 points on 13 shots, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers) is awesome, Joe Johnson (23 points on 17 shots, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and no turnovers) is a pretty damn good offensive player when he's making shots, a healthy Marvin Williams (17 points on 11 shots) is a lot better than Damien Wilkins, Jeff Teague (7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and another block in 18 minutes) is fast and fairly productive when entrusted with playing time, Zaza Pachulia (2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals) is active and fairly productive when entrusted with playing time, and Josh Smith is never more frustrating than when he's both fairly productive and clearly going through the motions. Smith rarely broke into a stride more dynamic than a stroll, was a relative non-factor defensively, and made it a point to settle for jumpers. Seven of his 14 field goal attempts were outside of 14 feet. He made 3 of them. Still, he posted 16 points, 11 rebounds (3 offensive), 6 assists, and no turnovers.

It was equal parts curious and encouraging that Larry Drew tightened up the rotation to 8 players given Jamal Crawford's absence and the poor opposition. The Hawks could benefit from more minutes for their top-line talent against sterner competition, though they might yet learn that Josh Powell can hurt them even when he doesn't set foot on the court as his presence on the roster precludes giving Larry Drew a reasonable option on the nights when Smith can't be bothered to play at full speed.

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