Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Milwaukee Bucks 98 Atlanta Hawks 90


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 89
18.6 14.6
MIL 89 1.101 49.4

During Milwaukee's 15-0 fourth quarter run which turned a 78-71 Atlanta lead into an 86-78 Milwaukee lead, a run which lasted four minutes and 40 seconds and six Atlanta offensive possessions, Al Horford literally touched the ball twice. Both touches were fully in service of a tenured guard unable to deal with Milwaukee's ball pressure and were not at all a result of the team making any effort to have their best player touch the ball.

On Atlanta's second scoreless possession during Milwaukee's run, Carlos Delfino forced Joe Johnson to pick up his dribble 30 feet from the basket. Horford showed out to the three-point line to relieve the pressure on Johnson. Upon receipt of the ball, Horford immediately returned it to Johnson on the left wing, where Johnson soon missed a contested jump shot. On the fifth of Atlanta's six scoreless possessions during Milwaukee's run, Horford set a ball-screen for Mike Bibby. Bibby was unable to turn the corner and threw a low, two-bounce bounce pass to Horford at the left elbow. By the time the ball got to Horford, he was double-teamed. He passed to Joe Johnson at the top of the key. Johnson dribbled laterally, unable to beat Carlos Delfino, before backing up to launch a three-pointer. It missed wide right.

Al Horford scored one-third of Atlanta's 15 fourth quarter points. He took two of Atlanta's 22 fourth quarter shots. Josh Smith attempted more three-point shots in the fourth quarter than Al Horford attempted shots.

One might expect that Horford's two game absence might have provided an object lesson in Horford's importance to the team. One might be disappointed. Even the embarrassing abomination of a performance against the Hornets did nothing to make the Hawks wish to make their most efficient and, arguably, most productive offensive player anything more than the team's fourth option.

Al Horford scored 17 points on 9 shots (and 3 free throw attempts) and earned 5 assists. He did look rusty early and committed an uncharacteristic four turnovers.

Josh Smith scored 14 points on 20 shots (and 3 free throw attempts), earned nary an assist, turned the ball over four times, and was at fault (not entirely, Larry Drew deserves some blame for creating the matchup) for Corey Maggette scoring 10 points in the first 5:23 of the game. Smith attempted as many jump shots as Horford attempted field goals in the game. Smith made one of his nine jump shots.

Joe Johnson scored 15 points on 13 shots (and 4 free throw attempts), and earned just two assists.

Jamal Crawford scored 20 points on 11 shots (and 9 free throw attempts), and earned three assists.

Mike Bibby scored 8 points on 7 shots. Yes, Bibby took just two fewer shots than Horford despite playing 8 fewer minutes.

Bibby and Crawford (and Jeff Teague) played a significant role in Earl Boykins scoring 20 points on 11 shots in 26 minutes. Seeing Drew play zone late in the fourth quarter, with the Hawks trailing, just so he could keep all his bad defensive guards on the court to take bad shots simply underlined the caste that exists within this organization. No objective evidence is going to change the allocation of shots or minutes.


Bronnt said...

I felt certain your recap would include some mention of the play, with 27.1 seconds left, out of a time-out, that resulted in Horford catching the ball in the high post and then passing to a wide open Josh Smith for a three point attempt with 17 seconds left on the shot clock.

The only question at this point is whether Larry Drew is slightly incompetent (to call that play) or totally ineffective (to let Josh stay on the floor, with the night he was having, continuing to jack up three pointers with plenty of time on the shotclock). Yes, the Hawks needed a quick shot there, preferably a three, but I don't know how you come up with that out of a time-out.

Adam Malka said...

I actually went to the game (I live in Madison and thought "why not?" I now regret this decision).

I grew so infuriated with the coaching, with Drew's utter lack of interest in getting the ball to Horford, having a competent defensive unit on the floor during the 4th quarter and, let's face it, winning in general, that I finally had to get up and just leave. And yes, as bad as Josh Smith was tonight, I'm pretty sure the precedent for nights like these was set months ago when the coach decided to let him do whatever the hell he wants. That said, I'm not sure Drew understands his culpability even now: after all, he DID run that play out of the timeout designed for a Josh Smith jumpshot.

Bret LaGree said...

Maybe I'm still in shock from the Hawks, a couple of weeks ago, running an out-of-bounds play with two seconds left on the shot clock for Josh Smith to run a curl off a down-screen for a 19-footer.

But I don't think Josh Smith taking that three was anywhere near the worst thing the Hawks did in the fourth quarter. It was a sure way to get an open 3 (Milwaukee definitely baited him into taking jumpers all night) and, down 4, it was sure to be quicker than Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford trying to get a shot off over Mbah a Moute or Delfino. It might not have been a significantly lower-percentage option, either.

jrauch said...

As we're approaching the All-Star break, I fail to understand what this coaching "change" reallly changed for the team.

1) Al still doesn't get near enough touches.

2) The play calls and rotation makes very little sense.

3) This team is still going to get destroyed in the second round, assuming it makes it out of the first.

4) Larry Drew has no idea what he's doing.

Bret LaGree said...

I'll mark you down as agreeing with Scott Skiles, then: "They run basically the same stuff. I don't mean to belittle what Larry said, but when it's time for them to do something, a lot of times it's in Joe's hands and he's going to try to do something."

As for what it really changed for the team, never discount the change in amount paid to the head coach as reason/motivation for change.