Saturday, March 12, 2011

Atlanta Hawks 91 Portland Trail Blazers 82


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
POR 87
24.4 18.4
ATL 86 1.058 55.8

The Hawks won this game on the defensive glass. On the final night of a four-game road trip, Portland failed, in the third quarter especially, both to do their usual damage on the offensive glass or to get back on defense following those missed offensive rebound opportunities. The Hawks took (all too rare) advantage of the many chances they had to turn missed Portland shots into transition scoring chances. All told, the Hawks tallied 27 fast break points in a game featuring just 86 Atlanta offensive possessions.

The Trail Blazers, because they lack guards capable of causing problems off the dribble, are a good matchup for the Hawks. With both Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague playing, dribble penetration figured to have been less of an issue than normal regardless of the opposition, but there's nothing about this game, won in Al Horford's absence and following three consecutive lop-sided losses, about which the Hawks shouldn't feel proud.

As to whether or not the Hawks can build on the victory, there are reasons for both optimism and skepticism. Neither Jeff Teague (24 points on 17 shots, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and just 1 turnover) nor Zaza Pachulia (6 points and 6 rebounds) should suffer another DNP-CD and anything approaching the 20 points (on 14 shots) Jamal Crawford scored, the 12 points Damien Wilkins scored, or the eight rebounds Marvin Williams grabbed, were they to occur on a regular basis, would aid the cause.

On the other hand, the Hawks, all too typically, got to the line just 10 times in the game and none of those guys mentioned in the previous paragraph will be as important to the Hawks, going forward, as either Joe Johnson or Josh Smith so the 25 points those two combined for on 24 shots and the nine turnovers they committed may be a greater harbinger of the team's future.

Then again, the Hawks are now 3-2 in Al Horford's absence (though they've been outscored by more than eight points a game without him), have never lost when Pape Sy dresses, and have never lost when Josh Powell gets arrested before the game. Harbingers are where you find them.


M said...

Free Pape Sy

Unknown said...

I fully endorse getting Powell arrested before every game to maintain the streak.