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: Kept attacking the basket even after Lebron destroyed him a few times. Was the Hawks second leading scorer with 16 points and had 4 rebounds. Needs to do a better job protecting the ball, as he had 5 turnovers and only 2 assists. His 6 straight points late in the fourth tied up the game, but then went away. 5/10
Zaza Pachulia: Had a tough night playing against the Heat and the officials. Some absolutely ridiculous calls were made against Zaza, but he kept the Hawks close by grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 9 points. He owned Joel Anthony inside with just huge effort all game. Only downside for Zaza were some poor passes that resulted in 3 turnovers. 6/10
Josh Smith: Continues to lead the Hawks while Joe is on the bench with another 20+ point game (23) and 6 rebounds. Scored the first 8 points of the game for Atlanta off jump shots which of course kept him shooting from the perimeter. Had to take two deep 3s as the shot clock expired towards the end of the game, but did make 1 of 2 to give the Hawks a late lead 80-77. Took some really tough shots late, and wasted 9 of the final 12 seconds standing around with the ball when the Hawks needed a tying basket. Not sure how much of that was on Josh and how much is on Larry Drew. 7/10*
*Bonus point for the way he answered Jerome Jurenovich's question before halftime about his thoughts on the Hawks not having a single FT attempt to that point:
"That's what I was asking the officials, I mean, no way in hell have I seen a game where a team is playing that good of a defense. We just gotta keep grinding and hopefully it'll turn around and they'll probably see some stuff they missed in the first half."Kirk Hinrich: Only had 5 points starting at the 2, but grabbed 4 rebounds and had 2 assists and 2 steals. His one made 3 of the night was big to cap a 10-0 Hawks run to give the big lead in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately the Heat went on a run right after that to take back the lead. Looked much less lost on defense than last night, but that's mostly because the Heat offense went exclusively through LeBron in the first 3 quarters. 4/10
Marvin Williams: With T-Mac sidelined due to the back-to-back games, I was hoping Marvin would come to life with the added minutes. He did have the best plus/minus of anyone on the team (+8), but only had 7 points for his 31 minutes on the court. Marvin played great defense on Bosh in the first half, but was unable to slow down LeBron (but who can?). Another positive was that Marvin was the only Hawk to not commit a turnover on a night where they had 22 that led to 32 Heat points. 4/10
Jannero Pargo: What was Joe Johnson doing to kill Pargo's offensive game? Pargo had 9 points and was 2-for-3 behind the arc, and there's not more you can ask for from the 5th best guard on the team. The one miss, sadly, was the shot at the buzzer to try and tie. I can't imagine that was the best option the Hawks had on that play, though. Huge situation when the Hawks had no one to take the big shot. 5/10
Jerry Stackhouse: Joined Ivan Johnson in getting the most minutes of anyone off the bench with 19, and was one of only three Hawks in double figures (10). This was Stack's best game in a Hawks uniform, but the 3 turnovers were definitely moments of lost focus. His three to tie the game late in the fourth seemed really big at the time, and would have been huge if the outcome had been different. Can anyone honestly expect a better game from Stack the rest of the season, or even his career? 8/10
Vladimir Radmanovic: Had no chance of slowing down LeBron, so it was always disappointing to see that match-up play out. When his defensive is a liability he needs to be making shots, but VladRad made his only 3 in the first quarter and then went cold. I still was thinking he might get a look in the final 12 seconds when the Hawks were trailing by 3. 2/10
Ivan Johnson: Did a great job defensively against LeBron and Bosh. Had two ticky-tack fouls called on him right after coming into the game but kept going to the offensive glass strong. Only had 2 points, but grabbed 5 rebounds. 3/10
Erick Dampier: Was inserted to battle with Dexter Pittman, but only played 4 minutes. It was almost like he was in just to have another body to get a horrible foul called on. Incomplete
The head coach
It felt like he always waited a possession or two too late to call a timeout when Miami would make a run. I really liked when he switched to a zone with 4 minutes left, and it led to a bad Bosh three point attempt, but then the Hawks completely went away from it and surrendered the lead. Really can't have too many complaints when the Hawks are this shorthanded, but it would have been great to steal a second win in Miami. 5/10
A thought regarding the opposition
The Miami version of the Big Three is too good on a normal night, but when they shoot 16 more FTs than their opponents it's going to be tough to beat them. The Hawks made the most of their trips to the charity stripe (8-for-9), but it was an 11 point swing for Miami. LeBron and Wade were the only Heat players in double-figures, but still combined for 49 points. It stings to lose a game like this that the Hawks had a great chance to win, but at least they looked competitive instead of rolling over like we were seeing before the All-Star break.