Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicago Bulls 95 Atlanta Hawks 83


Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR%

CHI 80
1.188 51.4


The problem with energy is that it's finite. The Atlanta Hawks fell behind early in Game 5, they fell behind by a lot: 15 points just 10:37 into the game. They worked hard to get all of that back before the third quarter ended but had nothing left in the tank to compete effectively in the fourth.

The Bulls played Taj Gibson and Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer for the entirety of the competitive portion of the fourth quarter. In normal circumstances, they aren't collectively better than Jeff Teague and Josh Smith and Al Horford. When they're fresh (none of the Chicago trio had played more than 10 minutes in the game prior to the fourth quarter) and the Hawks players are exhausted, well, energy won out.

It's not a knock on Teague or Smith or Horford or Joe Johnson that they ran out of gas three-quarters of the way through the 93rd game of the season. They gave all they had. Nor is Larry Drew in line for criticism for riding his starters too hard. Only Zaza Pachulia provided any productive auxiliary minutes. Jason Collins didn't hurt the team when he was on the floor but he didn't help, either.

The same can't be said of Jamal Crawford. If anything, Drew played Crawford too much. That early 15-point deficit came about, in no small part, because Crawford allowed Keith Bogans to score roughly a week's worth of points (that would be a total of 8 points) on three consecutive possessions. Crawford provides no value if he's not making shots and he missed eight of his nine shots tonight, generally showing a greater interest in flopping post-release than even pretending to play defense.

Some joker on Chicago's stat crew inserted nine minutes, two points, and a rebound on Marvin Williams' line of the box score. I watched the game. I know better.

Even if Drew doesn't deserve criticism for the lack of options at his disposal tonight, a Hawks fan couldn't help, even while savoring the possibility of the Hawks winning the game, but watch Jeff Teague score 21 points on 11 shots, earn 7 assists, refrain from committing a turnover, and make Derrick Rose work for many of his 33 points, and feel angry about many, if not most, of 1674 minutes he watched Mike Bibby play for the Hawks this season. Some of the pleasure of this (modest-to-date) playoff run derives from the element of surprise. In no way, though, would a second-round playoff exit or a trip to the Conference finals be undermined had Teague (and, to a lesser extent, Pachulia) played as much during the regular season as his talent (especially relative to the alternatives) clearly warranted.


Adam Malka said...

It's the elephant in the room, no? How in the world Larry Drew is not being grilled repeatedly and ceaselessly about Teague's regular season minutes is beyond me. Even when things go right, there is some incompetence being exposed.

But... at least we'll now get to see Teague as the Hawks' regular point guard next season, right? (Gulp)

The game killed me tonight. I really thought there was a chance after that 3rd quarter. But the ball stopped in that 4th quarter, and whether the Hawks lost their energy or not, we have seen that kind of offensive display--and the coach's inexplicable reliance on 3 guard sets--to blame it all on "the juice."

Josh said...

Gotta love this quote from Larry Drew:
“He’s surely not the Jeff Teague we saw during the regular season.”

How would anyone know? We hardly saw him.

Unknown said...

what happened to Teague is simply a fireable offense to me. Since no one else is offering another explanation, I'm going with 'it's personal' and therefore, Drew must go.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Modest or not, this is still the best single-season Hawk playoff performance since 1988, right? Six-game defeat of 52-win team in first round, two games taken (at minimum) off of 62-win, league overall No. 1 team in the second? Over the past 23 seasons, this is it, and only 1994 is even close to my thinking.

So I'm trying really hard to be grateful and not think about how much better, how much more fun this team is to watch--even in defeat--with Teague at the point.

To Hawk_Luv's point, if I had the slightest bit of faith that Drew would be replaced with a coach of greater standing (and salary), I'd agree.

Unknown said...

Hawks better win game 6 and 7, wr have a great opportunity.

Sent from Myrtle Beach

Xavier said...

What is the point of questioning if Teague should have played more before Game 6 of the EC Semis? Does it solve anything as to how to figure out to beat the Bulls?

Andrew said...

Jamal Crawford is simply awful if he's not contributing points. He can't play D, can't dribble, and is a black hole as far as the ball is concerned.

Unknown said...

i agree with everthing you said but would like to add that it seemed like everytime we took the lead the refs would call a cheap foul on the hawks.eleven more freethrows attempted killed us.we need jamal to start scoring some to have a chance to win this series..imo

CoCo said...

I really think Teague's inexperience running this team reared its head at the most inopportune time last night. He was too content to give Joe and Jamal the ball and just let the play develop, or rather not develop. By the time he realized this wasn't a good idea, it was too late. He was and has been the Hawks most consistent player in this series. Also, Al, Joe and Jamal have to play better. Two All Stars and a former 6th Man of the year should be contributing more.

jonesppp said...

you're missing the point...No matter how we slice it we had a better chance with Zaza or Collins on the floor. Zaza went out went out with 10 minutes to go and that's exactly when Chicago went on their 10 minute run. Then Larry Drew promptly gave up at 1:17 down 12 by bringing in the bench. LD had options whether they had the best +/- or not.

jonesppp said...

The bulls fourth quarter lineup was the same as it was at the end of the "competitive" third quarter with Zaza playing. So it's no coincidence the run came. We played big for much of the game and to go away from that really made the difference. We got away with that in game one and at home.

Bret LaGree said...

It's the sarcastic, scatter-shot combative comments that don't actually disagree with what I wrote that make writing the recaps late on a school night most worthwhile.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Bret, that was an awesome surprise on coming back to this thread. I howled.

(I'm hoping my addition wasn't part of the problem, though. If so, apologies.)