Friday, February 10, 2012

Initial Feedback: Atlanta at Orlando, February 10

By Buddy Grizzard

[Apologies for the delay. I created technical issues that prevented Buddy from being able to post this following the game last night. -- Bret LaGree]


Josh Smith: If Josh went into this game hoping to show Eastern Conference coaches the error of their ways, his 1-for-7 shooting from 16-26 feet in the first half certainly made a statement. In the second half Drew repeatedly called plays with Smith posted up on the right block. With the Hawks leading only 73-70 with 4:31 to play in the fourth quarter, Smith posted up Ryan Anderson, split a Dwight Howard double team and scored a layup, then followed with a dunk off another post up to stretch the Hawks lead to 77-70 with 3:43 to play. On a 23 point, 19 rebound, 5 assist and 3 block night, we nevertheless deduct a point for the first-half chucking. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Teague repeatedly bailed out the Hawks on busted plays by attacking the basket in the third quarter. He would find less success with this strategy with 3 minutes to play as misses on forced shots turned into a layup drill at the other end. Why do the Hawks have so many busted plays throughout the course of a game? 5/10

Joe Johnson: Was quiet throughout regulation but had another of his patented tear-drop layups over Howard as the Hawks built a 4-point lead in overtime. Was surprisingly bothered by Jason Richardson's defense on a 14-point, 5 assist night in which he did not collect a rebound. 5/10

Zaza Pachulia: Started strong at both ends and did well to avoid fouls and the Al Horford Treatment. Drew a pair of offensive fouls on Howard in the third quarter and repeatedly beat Dwight down the court for layups. Was a point shy of a double-double but had his third credible performance against an All-Star center this month. 7/10

Marvin Williams: His half court shot to close the half and 3-for-6 shooting overall from three-point range were indispensable in securing a Hawks victory. 6/10

Tracy McGrady: The only positive contributor among the bench unit with 9 points in 16 minutes. 5/10

Kirk Hinrich: Made Jameer Nelson look young again. 2/10

Jannero Pargo: Made Jameer Nelson look like Derrick Rose. 1/10

Vladimir Radmanovic
: Made Ryan Anderson look like Dwight Howard. 1/10

Erick Dampier: Two rebounds in two minutes... looked good out there! 4/10

Ivan Johnson: Wasn't given much of a chance to make an impact, scoring a basket and collecting two rebounds in 6 minutes. 4/10

Willie Green: A basket and two rebounds in 12 minutes as he padded the stat he leads the Hawks in: Green has the worst aggregate +/- for the team for the season. 1/10

The head coach
Drew put the Hawks in position to win, pounding the ball inside to Smith repeatedly as the team built a 78-70 lead with 2:26 to play in regulation. Where has this play calling been all season? I guess All-Star snubs need to happen more frequently to convince Drew to get Smith the ball in optimal scoring position. From that point, the Hawks game plan disintegrated. Blown Teague layups on busted plays opened the door for three consecutive Orlando layups as the Magic closed regulation on an 8-0 run to send it into overtime. Drew should feel fortunate that the Hawks gutted it out in the extra session. A loss here would have dropped the Hawks to third in the Southeast Division and focused a lot of attention on Drew's struggles managing late-game situations. 3/10

A thought regarding the opposition
Howard had only three points through the first 20 minutes of the game. Pachulia's ability to stay on the court for 43 minutes kept this game close despite Howard's 18 point, 18 rebound night.


Bronnt said...

I feel like this is too kind to Drew by a large margin. In the fourth quarter the play calling was generally atrocious. They run isolations in a way that really bothers me-there's nowhere else for the ball to go if the ball-handler loses his dribble or gets trapped because they can't space the floor. If JJ is down low on the right side, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams are both outside the three point arc on the left side, with Zaza Pachulia somewhere out by the elbow, and Jeff Teague at the top of the key-in short, no one in a position to help out when the inevitable double team comes.

Even the plays that Josh Smith had success running late were isolations, just isolations out of the post position. This still required him to make an excellent ball fake to get past Dwight Howard on the help, and for Ryan Anderson to play stupid ball denial defense rather than trying to funnel Josh to his help (which is Dwight Howard).

Apart from that, it was annoying to watch Marvin Williams sit for such a long time in the first half. He was once again the first player subbed out, only this time it was specifically to get Willie Green into the game at SF. Marvin Williams was also the last starter to come back in, and he was sitting while Pargo got his first half run. Drew at least did find time, eventually, to play Marvin alongside T-Mac, thus proving that T-Mac isn't Marvin's secret identity, but his sub pattern sets things up in a way that makes it hard for Marvin to play even 30 minutes in a game, even though Marv is having his best season ever.

One thing I will give him credit for is that he didn't fall into the trap of committing to a double team on Dwight every time. He let Zaza play him in man defense, and Zaza did a more than admirable job, which makes us wonder, again, exactly how useful Jason Collins is, at this point.

Adam Malka said...

Also, let's not forget that Drew took Teague and Pachulia out at the end of regulation and put Willie Green in the game. Joe Johnson then ended up with the task of having to guard Jameer Nelson, Josh Smith came for the help, and nobody was left on the court to box out Dwight Howard for the put back.

Perhaps at the end of regulation one of the assistant coaches reminded Drew that Hinrich was sitting on the bench, and that it was Hinrich who guarded Nelson so well last postseason; or perhaps Drew remembered it all by himself. Either way, he remedied the problem during the overtime, but not before sending the rest of watching into collective shock.

As for the iso's, yeah, that was some ugly offense in the 4th. I often wonder if anyone is coaching at all during crunch time.

clutch said...

Every team in the nba uses iso late in the fourth quarter, so you all need to stop complaining about that. Also, even when josh has a good game you all still have something negative to all are a joke!!

Buddy Grizzard said...

I never thought I would see "this is too kind to Drew" said of something I wrote, but then I looked back and saw that I gave Drew 6/10. This was a mistype and should have been 3/10. If you read Drew's post game comments in Michael Cunningham's game story, you can see that Drew majorly equivocates regarding what happened during the late game meltdown. Most coaches would have been able to describe what happened to minute detail.

Bret LaGree said...

I've corrected the coach's rating in the post.

JDK3665 said...

While I like seeing what grade you give all the players for the games, I wonder what you / we should expect them to get?

Should Joe & Josh give us a minumum of 8 each game? Should we expect nothing more than a 3 from Pargo?

Bret LaGree said...

Ratings explained:

10 = MVP
9 = Clear All-Star
8 = Arguable All-Star
7 = Above average starter
6 = Decent starter
5 = Quality rotation player
4 = Rotation player
3 = End of rotation player
2 = Deserves a roster spot
1 = Has a roster spot

JDK3665 said...

Thanks, that is very interesting... I was way off in my thinking of those values.

Any chance you could post a Hoopinion stating the team averages at the 1/2 way point? I wonder if people think the averages would be deserving.