Saturday, January 07, 2012

Initial Feedback: Three-and-a-half Games in Three Days? No Problem.

Buddy Grizzard wrote tonight's initial feedback.

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.


Boxscore

Players
Josh Smith: The record will show that Josh Smith's outside shooting was a statistical outlier in this game. If you looked at the numbers on Smith's shooting from 16 feet-and-out, you can understand why we cringe. But if you insist on firing away despite the evidence you maybe ought not to, you will eventually have games like this. I could not have predicted the disparity in energy (in favor of the Hawks), the home team having played three games and four overtime periods in three nights. Josh Smith lead the way as the Hawks out-hustled the Bulls from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Some of his finishes were below the rim in the second half as his legs may have started to get heavy. But he did the job, even returning in what should have been garbage time in the fourth quarter as the bench's wobbly performance downgraded this win from a laugher to simply a dominating performance. Had a game high 25 points and 6 blocks to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and only 1 turnover in a modest 34 minutes. 9/10

Marvin Williams: Played only 6 minutes due to an ankle sprain. Incomplete

Al Horford: Scored 14 points on 7-8 shooting, added 7 rebounds and 4 assists with only 1 turnover. Had a huge block on Deng as the Hawks outplayed the Bulls on both ends. Second on the team with a +/- of +29. 8/10

Joe Johnson: Played only a modest 31 minutes but definitely looked tired in the second half. Still lead the team at +35 as he scored 17 on 7/14 shooting and added 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals against 3 turnovers. I simply cannot account for how a player that has exerted so much effort over the last three nights can still help the Hawks out-hustle a deeper, more well-rested opponent. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Will the real Jeff Teague please stand up? Scored 12 on 6-for-8 shooting while adding 2 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals against zero turnovers. After listless performances in the previous two games, Teague had his swagger back. 8/10

Vladimir Radmanovic: The record will show that Vlad Rad's 5-for-5 night from three point range was NOT a statistical outlier. He was among the league leaders in three point shooting last season and good shooters will have these games, even after a series of off-shooting nights. I've observed that even when Vlad's shot is not falling, he's still hustling and getting involved in other ways. He did all of the above tonight in 28 minutes, playing significant minutes with the starting unit. 8/10

Willie Green: Scored 10 on 5-for-10 shooting but was on the floor when Chicago did most of what little damage they were able to do. He was -18 for the game. 6/10

Jannero Pargo: I've criticized Pargo for his lack of defensive speed but not defensive effort. The Bulls were so listless tonight that Pargo's defense looked credible. Still Pargo failed to contribute statistically on an 0-for-3 night in 18 minutes. 4/10

Ivan Johnson: About what you would expect from an unheralded rookie nobody had ever heard of two months ago. He traveled on his first touch, went 1-for-5 and had 2 turnovers. His biggest sin was that his play forced Josh Smith to re-enter the game during what should have been garbage time in the fourth quarter to ensure the Bulls didn't assemble a run. 2/10

Zaza Pachulia: Played more like he did in the playoffs last year given more minutes (20). Scored 6 and added 5 rebounds with only 1 turnover and two fouls. If you play him, he will produce. 6/10

Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Collins: Garbage minutes were rendered inconsequential by the lift Vlad provided. Incomplete

The head coach
After disasters on the road against Chicago and at home against short-handed Miami, I was starting to be of the opinion that Drew's career as the Hawks coach might end prematurely. But one thing you can judge coaches on is the way they get their players to respond after tough losses and how their teams handle adversity. The Hawks have earned that split against Miami and Chicago that I talked about previously, and the Hawks can once again hold their heads up and be mentioned among the Eastern Conference contenders. 8/10

Buddy Grizzard formerly toiled as the sports editor for several small, local newspapers, has been a producer for CBS and Clear Channel radio and worked as a videographer for CBS Sports website MaxPreps.com

1 comment:

Bronn said...

The Hawks seem to be both the worst 6 win team, and the best 3 loss team.