Initial feedback: A completely subjective and immediate response to the events of tonight's game, featuring a comment and rating, the latter on a scale of 1 to 10, on every player who saw the floor and the head coach, along with ephemera and miscellany as the author deems necessary.
Your ratings and commentary, dear reader, are welcomed in the comments to this post.
Jeff Teague: Oh, yeah. Jeff Teague can be a tremendous improvement for the Hawks without being an above average point guard in the league. Not that Kyle Lowry getting the better of him proves anything definitively. 4/10
Joe Johnson: With Kevin Martin lighting up Joe Johnson, it became difficult to ignore the inefficiency with which Johnson scored. 4/10
Josh Smith: Josh Smith's stubborn insistence on shooting jump shots (0-6 tonight) does Johnson no favors with regard to the scoring load. Houston's offensive performance didn't speak highly of his ability to impact the game defensively, either. 4/10
Al Horford: If he was the best Hawks player on the night, it was largely by default (or the simple act of not taking bad shots). Luis Scola got the better of him. 5/10
Marvin Williams: Had a fine first quarter but never got back on track before sitting for the 18 minutes of the game. 4/10
Tracy McGrady: It's great that McGrady has been a positive contributor through four games and it's not his fault that those contributions have come at the expense of Marvin Williams. 5/10
Zaza Pachulia: Not built to play at Kyle Lowry's speed. Not likely to play enough minutes for The Horford Treatment to be even a consideration. 3/10
Vladimir Radmanovic: Despite a good early effort trapping Goran Dragic in the backcourt, he has to make shots to be effective. Didn't make shots. 2/10
Jannero Pargo: Admirable effort but he's a third point guard filling in due to injury. 3/10
Willie Green: Has improved to provide generic, inoffensive backup guard play. 3/10
Jason Collins: Inexplicably made his season debut after Pachulia picked up his second foul in the first half. Inexplicably on the court while the Hawks were trapping in the backcourt. Never had a chance. 2/10
The head coach
I understand the desire not to run the starters into the ground during the compressed season, but the lack of depth also means that the Hawks can't afford to split 46 minutes between Williams and McGrady. Not on a night where a scoreless Radmanovic and Willie Green play 32 minutes. Neither Williams nor McGrady can play point guard, but Willie Green can't play NBA basketball. Sitting Pachulia because he picked up two first half fouls made no sense, nor did the insertion of Jason Collins to remind us that he can't move well enough to defend the pick-and-roll effectively. Larry Drew will have to be creative in his rotations this season. Exploring whether or not Willie Green can defend Kyle Lowry isn't creative. It's stupid. 3/10
A thought regarding the opposition
It remains to be seen which will be the more effective season-long strategy, but the Rockets may have won this game because Kevin McHale was willing to play Lowry and Martin 40+ minutes each in Houston's third game in a row while Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Jeff Teague barely cracked 30 minutes. One can talk about superior energy and execution but the team that has its best players on the floor more often holds an inherent advantage.