|Team ||Poss||Off Eff||eFG%||FT Rate||OR%||TO%|
|SA ||88 ||1.128 ||50.7 ||29.7 ||29 ||15.1 |
|ATL||86 ||1.023||50.7 ||23.6 ||9.1||12.5|
Outside of Rick Sund, no one confuses the Atlanta Hawks and the San Antonio Spurs. The records of the two franchises prove the vast, general difference. This game provided a few microcosms of the difference:
- Gregg Popovich was managing his players' minutes while trying to hold onto the first seed in the highly competitive Western Conference. Larry Drew was managing his player's minutes while trying to hold onto the fifth seed in the highly stratified Eastern Conference.
- In the fourth quarter, the Atlanta Hawks played the once solid, former heart surgery patient, 33-year-old Etan Thomas, who had played less than 44-and-a-half minutes so far this season and is being paid $854,389 (by the Hawks, the league pays the rest of his salary). The San Antonio Spurs played the productive, not yet 22-year-old DeJuan Blair, who has played 1631 minutes and is paid $918,000 this season and is under (an unguaranteed) contract for an additional $2.04 million over the next two seasons.
- In the fourth quarter, the San Antonio Spurs took five shots (and made two) outside of six feet. The Atlanta Hawks took 14 shots (making four) outside of six feet. They took eight shots outside of 15 feet. They made one of those.
- Al Horford was terribly inefficient shooting the ball (12 points on 15 shots, 0 free throw attempts) but he was, in the game-long absence of Josh Smith and (surprisingly) in the second-half absence of Jason Collins, the only Hawk who made any sort of impact on the glass, grabbing 9 of Atlanta's 25 rebounds. The Hawks have been a bad rebounding team for years. It's a fair argument as to whether the Hawks' bad rebounding or penchant for long two-point jump shots serve as the better, unflattering analogy to the Spurs' being defined by the corner three.
- To his credit, Horford earned five assists while his franchise player teammate Joe Johnson earned just two while taking 23 mostly contested shots in order to score 21 points. Horford was the better perimeter defender of the two, as well. Case in point: the Antonio McDyess layup that put the Spurs up six with 5:46 left. Johnson, after missing a runner, picks up Tony Parker (not his man), fails to get through a ball-screen, and, as Al Horford picks up and cuts off Parker's dribble penetration, Johnson stands at the three-point line, watching Horford's man, McDyess, roll to the basket for a thoroughly uncontested layup.
- The Atlanta Hawks owe Joe Johnson $107.3 million over the next five seasons. The San Antonio Spurs owe $162.3 million total over the next five seasons.