By Buddy Grizzard
Initial feedback: A completely subjective response to the events of the 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.
Joe Johnson: Left the game with 2:27 to play in the third and did not return due to a knee injury. Had 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in 26 minutes. Also had the worst +/- on the team at -20 for the game. 4/10
Jeff Teague: Played only 18 minutes after Jannero Pargo got hot in the third quarter and stayed in for the entire 4th. Had 6 points, 1 assist and two turnovers and was -13 in those 18 minutes. 2/10
Willie Green: Started, played 18 minutes and had 6 points on 50% shooting from the field but also was not a part of the third quarter crew that played the entire 4th. 4/10
Zaza Pachulia: Not averaging a double-double as a starter but gives steady, unspectacular production. In this game he provided 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 31 minutes and was part of the unit that got the Bulls lead down to 5 in the fourth quarter but couldn't come all the way back. 5/10
Josh Smith: The numbers looked good: 17 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks in 43 minutes. But Smoove shot only 7-for-21, all of his points coming in the paint as he went 0-for-8 on jumpers. 5/10
Jannero Pargo: The Hawks were unable to re-sign Jamal Crawford in the off-season and instead replaced him with streak-shooter-by-committee. Tonight's contributor was Jannero Pargo, a player absurdly listed at 6-foot-1 who does not deserve the designation "point guard." Pargo's 19 points were flashy as he shot the team to within 6 with 4 threes over the game's final 14 minutes. But his ball handling in the 4th quarter? Not so flashy. He started off the 4th with a heat-check three that missed the entire rim, followed with a bad pass straight to noted passing-lane disruptor Kyle Korver, dribbled out the clock and missed a layup, then dribbled into a triple-team on the baseline and pelted it out of bounds off Smoove. 4/10
Kirk Hinrich: The Hawks are obviously playing Kirk a lot of minutes in an effort to get him in game shape and create some sort of trade value (lest the team receive little in return for the pair of first-round draft picks it traded away to acquire him). But 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 minutes from one of your primary point guards is not going to win you a lot of games in the meantime. 3/10
Tracy McGrady: After complaining about playing time after the loss at Portland, played 22 minutes and gave customary production of 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Helped the fourth-quarter unit close to within 5, but the Bulls made enough tough shots with the clock winding down to keep this game just out of reach. Larry Drew would do well to communicate better with his players. He has enough problems without a player mutiny like the one McGrady helped orchestrate in Detroit last year. 4/10
Vladimir Radmanovic: With Pargo as the evening's designated streak shooter, Radmanovic took the night off, shooting 0-for-5 and going scoreless in 12 minutes, although he did collect 5 rebounds. The Hawks are 1-7 in the month of February in games in which Radmanovic plays at least 10 minutes. Two of the Hawks three wins this month came as Vlad averaged 3 minutes against Orlando and Indiana. 1/10
Ivan Johnson: During a stretch of 4 games from Jan. 29th through Feb. 4th, Ivan averaged 23.5 minutes, 9.5 points and almost 8 rebounds per game playing primarily as backup center. During that stretch, the Hawks out-rebounded 3 of 4 opponents. In the 7 games that followed, Ivan averaged 8 minutes, 3 points and 2 rebounds. In those 7 games, the Hawks were out-rebounded by 6 opponents. Against Chicago, Ivan played 2 minutes and the Hawks were out-rebounded 51-41. Grade: Incomplete
The head coach: The Hawks are 5th in the NBA in future committed salaries at over $244 million. To manage that quarter-billion dollar investment in personnel, the Hawks hired a coach with no previous NBA head coaching experience. He looks as in-over-his-head as you would imagine he would be. Since Lenny Wilkens retired, the Hawks have employed Lon Kruger, Terry Stotts, Mike Woodson and Larry Drew as head coaches. Once Drew is let go by the Hawks, it's hard to imagine that any head coach the organization has employed since 2000-2001 will be in any demand whatsoever by other NBA teams seeking to fill head coaching positions. 1/10
A thought regarding the opposition: With 3:42 to play in the third quarter, Tom Thibodeau angrily called timeout after a Zaza Pachulia run-out layup. As Thibs shouted at his team on the sideline, the scoreboard showed his team ahead by 19.