Saturday, February 26, 2011

Atlanta Hawks 95 Golden State Warriors 79



Hoopdata boxscore


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 90
50 24.4
GS 90 0.878 38.2

Given that the Atlanta Hawks have more often embarrassed themselves than the opposition this season, it's fair to focus on the ease with which they overwhelmed the Golden State Warriors for three quarters and mostly ignore that the Warriors were very, very poor. By forcing 14 Golden State turnovers and grabbing 13 offensive rebounds in those first three quarters, the Hawks were able to build an insurmountable 26-point lead despite just average (50.7 eFG%), by their standards, shooting. As the Hawks have, in their success, so often been dependent on their jump shooting (admittedly the blowout portion of the game was aided by Josh Smith making six of ten jump shots), seeing them win a game with the aid of other qualities came as a welcome sight. It's also not entirely coincidental that the Hawks won this game so easily on a night they played through Al Horford (22 points on 13 shots, 13 rebounds, 7 assists) and Smith (26 points on 18 shots, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) more often than Joe Johnson (12 points on 14 shots, 5 assists) or Jamal Crawford (9 points on 10 shots).

In his Hawk debut, Kirk Hinrich showed himself to be a clear defensive upgrade on Mike Bibby, if not a player who can eliminate dribble penetration all by himself. Simply by not providing a clear path to the basket on an opponent's first step, Hinrich will have value to this team. By virtue of picking up two personal fouls in his first stint (and as useful introduction to Larry Drew), Hinrich played few meaningful minutes and we'll have to wait for him to face sterner opposition before beginning to evaluate how quickly he's picking up the offense and learning to play effectively with his new teammates.

One thing the Bibby trade did not solve was the team's poor roster construction. With Pape Sy in Utah and Larry Drew (reasonably in at least three of their cases) not wanting to use any of his four (4!) backup centers against Golden State's small second unit, Josh Powell was elevated to the third man off the bench, a role he, quite predictably, failed to perform adequately. With the Hawks just $167,000 below the luxury tax line, neither that particular roster imbalance nor the general lack of quality depth are problems likely to be solved.

Larry Drew:
"I thought we really showed up tonight. First half we were about as good as we have been all season. We were relentless defensively.

The minute we get the basketball we have to race the lanes and get down the floor. When we do that we are a pretty good ball club. We've got enough offense in the half court; what we've been lacking is stops so that we can run."
Al Horford:
"It's a little frustrating for me because I wish we played like this all the time. I hope there is no looking back now. We saw how we can play so we have to be able to keep that up."
Horford on Jeff Teague's defense:
"He picked up the point guard full court and really had a big impact because he was able to get over screens. That’s something we struggled with in the past, our guards getting over screens."
Joe Johnson on Teague:
"I think we all understand he is a young player and he is going to make mistakes but now he can just play through them and just play freely. Obviously he’s got the talent. We’ve just got to put the ball in his hand and trust him."
"I thought Kirk came in and played some D on Monte and the D I played on him was pretty good. But also the help we got on him from other guys. That’s the main key, man. In order for us to be consistent, in order for us to be a good team, we have got to be able to do the small things and help is definitely one of them. Hopefully we can try to get on a nice little streak here."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Pre Horford treatment, it was nice to see how fast Hinrich moved on offense and defense. I have never seen an Atlanta Hawk guard cut through the lane like that in awhile. Brett, after seeing the trade the Nets made for Williams, do you think it would have been possible for the Hawks to land him? If so, what do you think it would taken?