Saturday, March 24, 2012

Initial Feedback: Different Class

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: Always aggressive but not intermittently effective. There's no doubt that this type of game is a necessary part of his learning and development. There's also no doubt that he could have been playing this type of game either of the last two seasons. 6/10

Kirk Hinrich: Timely contributions following Jeff Teague leaving the game with five fouls. Even with the vast gulf in quickness between them, Hinrich can defend John Wall pretty effectively since Wall won't kill you if you go under ball-screens. Plus, it's not like the Wizards surround Wall with shooters, so Hinrich had plenty of help when needed. 5/10

Joe Johnson: Put a dent in Chris Singleton's defensive reputation but didn't convert a percentage of shots befitting their quality. It was like March basketball worlds colliding, with Joe Johnson as honorary Jayhawk. The go-ahead possession should provide the template for every Atlanta possession. The lesson: Joe Johnson can't turn a defensive switch into a shot attempt at the rim on his own but he sure can make an open shot that team-wide ball and player movement creates for him. 7/10

Josh Smith: Quite understandably looked tired, having played a lot of minutes in three close games this week. Effective when going to the basket and made some jumpers in the first half and the one that tied the game at 90. To his credit, despite the heavy legs, he had a serious defensive impact. At least until a shot went up. After that, he was often just one of five Hawks getting overwhelmed by the Wizards on the defensive glass. 7/10

Zaza Pachulia: I don't know that he would have played tonight were the alternatives not Jason Collins and Erick Dampier. It's not often Zaza goes 10 minutes before grabbing his first rebound. Looked much more himself in the second half, carrying Atlanta's offense for much of the third quarter. 5/10

Marvin Williams: With Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich largely ineffective offensively for the first 40 minutes, Marvin brought a much-needed boost off the bench. You know, if Al Horford were healthy, the Hawks would have a pretty nice 8-man rotation. Of course, if Al Horford were healthy, the Hawks might have tried to trade Zaza Pachulia again, also. 5/10

Ivan Johnson: The way he contributes against the second units of lesser teams confirms his place int he league. Unless the opposition has a post behemoth on the court, Jason Collins should never be on the floor ahead of Ivan Johnson. 4/10

Willie Green: He defended Jordan Crawford well. If Crawford makes those shots, you tip your cap to him and invite him to do the same the next time you meet. 3/10

Vladimir Radmanovic: Provided an object lesson in the value of the three-point shot in the third and fourth quarters. Later, he provided in object lesson in the value of Vladimir Radmanovic not dribbling. 3/10

Jason Collins: Now on a 57-day, 7-game, 63-minute scoreless streak. 1/10

The head coach
Hanging around and waiting for the inferior team to beat themselves isn't a bad idea given the hand Larry Drew's been dealt. Of the 10 Hawks who played, I'd be hard pressed to convince that more than seven of them were fully healthy. For three quarters, before a shot went up, the Hawks played good defense. In the fourth quarter, they started rebounding Washington's missed shots. For all the frustrations and absences, this is clearly an above average defensive team. 6/10

A thought regarding the opposition
The Wizards (Jordan Crawford and Chris Singleton in particular) made some shots the Hawks were perfectly content to let them attempt. Making shots always helps, but they controlled much of the game by virtue of all the rebounds they got off their own misses. 14 through three quarters equaled a 10-point lead. None in the fourth quarter equaled just 14 points and, ultimately, a loss.

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