Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chicago Bulls 94 Atlanta Hawks 76




Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 85
10 15.3
CHI 85 1.106 47.5

There's an inevitability about watching Hawks games as the schedule forces them to face better opposition. Maybe it's the relatively recent nature of the 26-point second half (when compared to the 50-point first half) but the second half performance seemed a distinct possibility even during that good* first half performance.

*Offensively, at least. There's nothing good about letting Chicago score 48 points on 44 possessions.

It was the familiar story: the Hawks were competitive as long as their jump shots found the bottom of the basket. Once that stopped (pretty abruptly after their first possession of the second half), the Hawks couldn't counter with something, anything else.

HalfPossPtsFTinside 15'16-23'3PTTO

NOTE: Of the the six shots the Hawks made inside of 15-feet in the second half, three of those shots were made by Jeff Teague, Josh Powell, and Jason Collins in the final 52.5.

Blaming the second half offensive drought on shot selection is admittedly simplistic in this particular case as the 10 second half turnovers further damaged the cause. Then again, 4 of those 10 turnovers occurred in the final 7:39 with the Hawks already down 80-67 and much of the damage had already been done by the continued reliance on long, low percentage jumpers.

Kirk Hinrich:
"In the second half it was like we forgot everything we did in the first half."
Jamal Crawford:
"We definitely didn’t have the movement we had in the first half."
Joe Johnson:
"I don’t think we did what we did in the first half to stick around which is move the basketball and get good looks. We started playing a lot of one-on-one and our shot selection wasn’t the greatest."
The Hawks did a lot of things right in the first half, most significantly getting the ball inside of 15 feet more consistently and letting Al Horford* touch the ball fairly regularly. But the Hawks also took more than half their first half shots from outside of 16 feet, with only a third of those long jumpers coming from behind the three-point line. For the most part, the Hawks were taking the shots the Bulls wanted them to take even in the first half. Because the Hawks have some good shot-makers, they could get away with taking those shots when they were going in, when they weren't turning the ball over. Both of those qualities failed the Hawks in the second half, but had they even managed to accomplish one of them after halftime, one has to suspect that the Hawks still would have lost just by a more respectable margin.

*Horford put up a tidy-to-recap two shots in each of the four quarters, but all five of his assists were earned in the first half.

Larry Drew on Derrick Rose's spectacular 24-point second half:
"Rose got to the basket at will against us. He attacked the paint and we couldn’t keep him in front of us. We tried a few zone possessions but he still got there."
Rose, in picking up Kirk Hinrich's fourth foul with 6:45 left in the first quarter and the Bulls up eight went a long way toward deciding the game. Rose scored 14 points in the 10:56 of the second half Hinrich was on the court and 10 points in the 8:11 Hinrich was on the bench.

Michael Cunningham asked Drew if he considered using Jeff Teague rather than Jamal Crawford or Joe Johnson against Rose in the second half:
"Thought about it but that to me that wasn’t the real issue at that point, him getting into the lane. We did nothing with a physicality as far as taking any hard fouls. That was my thought process. Even when he was getting to the line, we did nothing about giving hard fouls. I don’t care who you are playing against, if you play that soft, you are going to have problems in the paint."
Okay, then.

Drew on his team's poor rebounding:
"We are a team that’s had problems with the glass, and going into this game we wanted to pay particular attention to that, keep them off the glass and limit them."
The Bulls grabbed 90% of Atlanta's misses and 36.8% of their own misses.

At Peachtree Hoops, Kris Willis expresses a sentiment I currently share:
[H]ow many different ways can the same thing be said over and over?
At By The Horns, Matt McHale thinks that the easy win, in Carlos Boozer's absence, demonstrates that the Bulls are clicking.


Unknown said...

if you guys were wondering, THIS is why I stopped doing game recaps and all that - it was getting very depressing and was hard to come up with fun ways to discuss the Hawks and a trek to a title. In fact, there's no redeeming quality to any part of the Hawks getting to a title right now - could have been Teague or Crawford or a new coach who knew what he was doing or even a 1st round pick next year, but uh...we don't have any of that. So, I'll stick to my weekly truths column.

Bret LaGree said...

I fear even once a week might become unbearable for you.

The Hawks are so much more interesting when I underestimate them than when I'm right about them.

Zoe said...

I wonder if this bunch of players would respond positively to a coach like Thibodeau, who is SUCH a defensive stickler/tactician - always hyperinvolved in getting the most out of his Bulls team, shouting out his directions from the bench, working hard at getting what he thinks is the most of the each player, pushing them to do what they do best. The difference between his team, and the team that Vinny Del Negro coached (mostly the same roster) is like night and day. DelNegro seemed to be more of a "player's coach", letting the game dictate the action, not interfering. To go from a .500 team to arguably the best team in the NBA by switching coaches? Wow. Just what kind of due diligence did the Hawks put in when they looked for a new coach. I don't think LD has ANY control over this bunch once the whistle blows. Zero.

Adam Malka said...

That Drew quote is priceless. So too, Bret, is your response to it.

For all of the organizational ineptitude, let it be known that said ineptitude merely starts at the top. Drew doesn't have a winning hand here, but something tells me that he wouldn't much know what to do with one even if he did.