Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Los Angeles Lakers 104 Atlanta Hawks 80




Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 91
16 7.7
LAL 90 1.156 53

Yes, the Hawks missed several open shots in the fateful first half but they also made themselves easy to guard. Whatever defensive value starting Jason Collins against Andrew Bynum had was overwhelmed by the value the Lakers gained by being able to defend five-on-four in the half-court. Atlanta's primary ball-handlers, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, approached a defense overloaded to the strong side with lots of dribbling. The resultant offensive stagnation further encouraged Josh Smith to continue his evolution into a spot-up shooter which in turn magnified (possibly exaggerated) the damage of the turnovers he committed when attempting to make an aggressive play.

Finally, Larry Drew hammered the final nails in the offensive coffin by applying The Horford Treatment to his two best players. Josh Smith sat with two fouls for the final 5:05 of the first half. Al Horford sat with two fouls for the final 3:59 of the first half. Horford left the game with the Hawks down 15 and a lineup of Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Mo Evans, Marvin Williams, and Jason Collins on the floor. The Hawks would trail by 21 at the half and never get closer than 18 in the second half. But neither Horford nor Smith fouled out which is the most important thing.

Larry Drew:
"I don’t think we went to the rim enough. I just thought we settled, which is starting to be a pattern with us. When you fall into that type of pattern when you are not making shots you’re going to struggle. We went 1-for-15 from the three, yet we settled for the three. We have to have more basketball savvy than that."
If Larry Drew truly thinks the Hawks are "starting" a pattern of shooting a lot of jump shots, he's clearly playing a longer game than I previously appreciated.

Also, Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Teague's meaningless fourth quarter efforts got the Hawks above their season average Free Throw Rate for the game. Not that either of those options are under consideration for meaningful minutes that might create real change of the cage-rattling kind.

Al Horford:
"I can go down competing, but we are not competing at our highest level it’s frustrating."
Joe Johnson:
"We didn’t play with an edge; we gave them too much respect. We didn’t have that fire, that competitive nature that we need. It’s frustrating, man. I don’t know what to do."
It's not Joe Johnson's place to say this, of course, but more good players would be a start. Though I'm a loss as to which player on this roster, Al Horford and Josh Smith excluded, or which contract on Atlanta's books, Jamal Crawford's expiring excluded, any other NBA team would covet.

Michael Cunningham provided a brief post-game update on which way the trade winds blow:
Kirk Hinrich is a possibility and Ramon Sessions remains in play. No to Devin Harris (who is probably headed elsewhere) and Raymond Felton (whom the Nuggets apparently aren’t looking to move).
Both Hinrich and Sessions would improve the Hawks to some degree but, even if the Hawks acquire one, serious questions need to be asked about why the team could be improved by adding either third guard from two teams with a combined record of 25-86. If the Hawks don't acquire either, the questions should center around why the Hawks lack the assets to acquire a third guard from a wretched, rebuilding team.

1 comment:

jrauch said...

I don't see why Sund isn't getting more flak for how this roster has been put together.

The young guys he does pick that seem like they could be contributors end up in some nebulous coaching dog house, and the other picks are laughably bad foreign picks that will likely never pan out.

Mix that with a spineless coach totally afraid to really rattle the cages of this team, and you get a soft, ill-fitting bunch.

I'm looking forward to our annual playoff sweep at the hands of the Magic.