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: Got in the lane, finished or found the open man, and knocked down open jumpers. None of the Hawks played a great defensive game, but Teague's block on Deron Williams deserves commendation. 8/10
Joe Johnson: Led the devastating jump shot barrage and helped put the game away with a couple of his patented, contested, made fall-away jumpers in the fourth quarter. Played some solid on-the-ball defense but his tendency toward immobile ball-watching didn't help the team's effort to defend the three-point line or on the defensive glass. 7/10
Josh Smith: That so many jumpers went in doesn't make them better shots but, at the risk of rationalizing Smith's shot selection, fewer of the jumpers are coming as a result of him floating a step inside the three-point line. I doubt there's a real difference between Smith shooting 19-footers and 21-footers, but the former creates a more aesthetically pleasing viewing experience. 9/10
Al Horford: More than once, he seemed oddly unprepared to shoot his patented face-up jumper when left wide open, resulting in just 4 of his 10 jumpers going in. Struggled to close out on shooters when the Nets went small in the second half and his absence in the defensive paint was felt on the boards. 6/10
Vladimir Radmanovic: Solid fill-in effort from a guy who may have to fill in for Tracy McGrady as often as not. His ability to spread the floor is a great asset to the starters, individually, and the team's offense as a whole. No Marvin Williams on the glass, Radmanovic made an effort and met reasonably mild expectations. 5/10
Zaza Pachulia: It's a fine line for Zaza, but when his shots aren't going in when he gets multiple chances to score, he's on the wrong side of the line. 3/10
Tracy McGrady: For all that McGrady's already added to the Hawks this season, the team would be better off with him playing few minutes and providing little value the rest of the regular season if that he means he's able to contribute in the playoffs. 2/10
Jannero Pargo: Five points in six minutes. Making the most of limited minutes until Hinrich returns. 3/10
Willie Green: Any night Willie Green doesn't hurt you, it's a good night. 3/10
Ivan Johnson: Two minutes, no impact. 1/10
The head coach
It's interesting that he chose to ride his starters for the first time this season against the Nets. Obviously the absence of Williams and the effective absence of McGrady influenced his decision. The Hawks attempted a ton of jump shots (55 of 78 field goal attempts by my count) but New Jersey's poor, passive defense makes that less of an indictment than it might otherwise be. Even against the Nets, three minutes is too long a time in the NBA to attempt to run out the clock with a 10 point lead. I won't miss the trapping defense from the second unit when it goes away, either. 7/10
A thought regarding the opposition
Avery Johnson deserves credit for keeping his team in the game after the disastrous first quarter. He made good use of his limited (both in numbers and ability) personnel to construct an offensive attack that challenged the Hawks. That there was no way to construct a defensive resistance says more about the personnel on hand than Johnson's tactical acumen.