|Team ||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|ATL||90 ||1.000 ||41.2 ||23.5 ||21.3||10 |
|DEN||90||1.111||50.6 ||18.3 ||17.5 ||6.7|
Winning three of the seven games on this road trip did nothing to hurt the Hawks. The trade they made might well help the team. If Josh Smith's right knee is seriously injured, neither will matter much.
The Hawks lack depth. With Kirk Hinrich missing from the start of the game, one-third of the 12 players the Hawks dressed were Jason Collins, Josh Powell, Hilton Armstrong, and Etan Thomas. They had just three usable guards (one of which has earned 10 DNP-CDs this season), two small forwards (one of which was signed as a free agent in December and scores a point about once every 8-and-a-half possessions he's on the court), and three post players (one of which the organization seems determined not to use as the third man in the post rotation despite signing him to a multi-year deal less than two years ago). That's with Kirk Hinrich missing the game. Kirk Hinrich was the third guard for the Washington Wizards a week ago.
If Josh Smith misses a game, Larry Drew will almost certainly have to use Jason Collins (regardless of matchups) and Josh Powell (just because he's there). No matter how many jump shots Josh Smith takes (and it was five more in less than a half of basketball last night), that's a massive drop-off in quality.
As for this loss, mark it down to the Hawks still struggling to defend in transition (Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson were always as culpable as Mike Bibby on that score), struggling to stop dribble penetration (even when Hinrich returns he won't be able to guard more than one point of attack), the absolute failure of Marvin Williams (3 rebounds in 36:28) and Joe Johnson (3 rebounds, 2 of them offensive in 40:42) to pick up the rebounding slack in Smith's absence, and the inefficient scoring of Williams (13 points on 14 shots and 6 free throw attempts), Crawford (11 points* on 12 shots and 5 free throw attempts), and Joe Johnson (22 points on 22 shots, including going 0-4 from the field over the final 5:16).
*Even that modest total inflated by the prayer he made at the end of the first quarter.
The healthy Hawk players did what they could and, with the exception of Al Horford (21 points on 15 shots, 16 rebounds, 5 offensive, a team-leading 4 assists, and 2 of Atlanta's 3 steals), they're mostly capable of better than they offered on the back-end of a back-to-back at the end of a seven-game road trip that began prior to the All-Star break. But how much is the team capable of if, in the fourth quarter, Marvin Williams is the team's best healthy option at power forward and Larry Drew's options on the perimeter are the woefully inexperienced Jeff Teague or the one-dimensional Jamal Crawford or the (inversely) one-dimensional Damien Wilkins?
"The things we were concerned about coming into this game they completely took advantage of it."Joe Johnson:
"We had bad floor balance, which is unlikely for us knowing we are playing a team that likes to get up and down the court. Knowing that if you didn’t shoot the ball, you have to get back. I messed up a few times on that and it costs us. Just boneheaded plays."Josh Smith:
"When I went out after the first half, and then Kirk not being able to go I think it hurt us a lot."Drew:
"When they started double-teaming Joe we tried to space the floor. This was one of those games where we could have used Kirk, could have used Josh Smith. Because one thing those guys can do is space the floor. We turned down some shots out of the double team which we can’t do. If they double team and you get an open look you’ve got to take the shot. We had some guys that were a little bit reluctant."Josh Smith is never going to take fewer jump shots.