Sunday, January 23, 2011

Atlanta Hawks 103 Charlotte Bobcats 87



Hoopdata boxscore


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 86
16.1 14
CHA 85 1.024 50.6

It's difficult to flush the memory of Friday night's performance from the brain (or any other organ, really) but the Hawks, after 25 more minutes of poor basketball, took advantage of the only opportunity the schedule presented them to save face and dismantled a poor Charlotte team on the road for a solid 20 minute stretch of the second half.

Joe Johnson led the way for the Hawks with an explosive, discretionary offensive performance. Among Bobcats, only Gerald Wallace could guard Johnson and the Hawk rarely forced the issue when matched up against Wallace in isolation. Johnson hoarded his possessions to use them on the many, many times Charlotte presented him with an advantageous matchup. It takes talent and self-discipline to score 32 points on 18 shots (plus 6 free throw attempts) and Johnson displayed both attributes throughout the night.

We're at the point when Josh Smith using 5 of 14 field goal attempts on jump shots counts as a measure of self-discipline, though it's a bit disappointing that Smith has not increased his contributions on the glass in Horford's absence, his 16 points on those 14 shots provided Johnson ample support in the scoring column, though.

Without Smith stepping up on the defensive glass, Zaza Pachulia (making a long-overdue start at center) pitched in with seven defensive boards in just under 28 minutes and Mike Bibby grabbed eight crucial defensive rebounds of his own while playing nearly 37 minutes.

Though he made a couple of handy shots in the second half, defensive rebounding was the greatest of Bibby's positive contributions. It was clear watching him struggle on both ends of the floor in the first half (2-6 shooting, two assists, routinely torched by both DJ Augustin and Shaun Livingston) yet play more than 18 minutes that the question must change from "Is Jeff Teague the point guard of the future?" to "When will the Hawks get rid of Jeff Teague and use his roster spot on a point guard the head coach believes can contribute?" Because Mike Bibby, though he does his level best and the talents of his teammates can paper over some his obvious weaknesses, is no longer a good NBA player and cannot reasonably be expected to play 30 minutes a night.

Larry Drew:
"I thought our guys came out tonight, especially after last night's embarrassing loss, and played with a lot of pride."
Zaza Pachulia:
"We had a chance to clean up our mess, and that's what happened."


M said...

I tend not to agree with the assertion that Bibby "is not a good NBA player". I wouldn't say he is a great player, but his shooting contribution and 3's cannot be ignored. I def agree that Teague should be playing more, but if we are down and need some quick points, I am taking Bibby. (I agree his defense is atrocious, but I think we need his points on the other end of the court)

Bret LaGree said...

Oh, I don't deny that Bibby is often the best choice the Hawks have but he has to shoot really well to break even when routinely turning the likes of Augustin, Livingston, Mike Conley, or DeShawn Stevenson into offensive contributors for their teams.

That the Hawks would be well served to acquire a quality point guard is a fairly timeless observation, but it also has the benefit of being true.

jrauch said...

Having attended Saturday night's game in person, I can attest Bibby made DJ Augustin look like Isiah Thomas had arrived in a time machine from 1988.

Its unbelieveable how bad he is on the defensive end.

On the flip side, I wish we had an explanation for why Teague isn't playing. He's shown flashes of being a solid contributor. I remember Teague just a few years ago destroying guys like Ty Lawson in ACC conference play. Guys who are now getting regular rotation minutes in the league.

Why not Teague?