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: That his emphatic third quarter dunk came with a technical foul attached was all too typical of Atlanta's misguided effort. A rare offensive triumph undercut by misdirected effort. Nice hip-check on Rondo to free Joe Johnson for the three that made it 71-75. 3/10
Kirk Hinrich: A dreadful night, ineffectual offensively and frequently at fault on the infrequent occasions Boston scored. His block of Brandon Bass followed by setting up Joe Johnson for a game-tying transition three seemed a notable fourth quarter exception at the time. 'Twas not to be. 3/10
Joe Johnson: Atypically and delightfully took a page out of Paul Pierce's book to draw and sell minimal contact on Pierce's fourth foul early in the third quarter. Otherwise, he hit shots only intermittently and did nothing of value when not hitting shots. Perked up briefly after the Hawks fell behind by 15. Committed his seventh turnover once the Hawks were back within four. 4/10
Josh Smith: There's not a direct correlation between seven jump shot Josh Smith quarters and 15 point Atlanta Hawks quarters but the two are not unrelated. We can (and should) argue circles about whether the jumpers are indicative or the cause of bad offense but the results are, either way, dispiriting. As was his remonstrating at Tracy McGrady prior to the in-bounds play that ended the third quarter. Once the ball was in play, McGrady wasn't the one who lost a man who sneakily moved five feet to the left. He made 3-4 jump shots in the first four-and-a-half minutes. Boston let him shoot eight more. He missed them all. 4/10
Zaza Pachulia: Grabbed 8 of Atlanta's 22 rebounds (and all three of the team's offensive rebounds) in the first half when not serving as a scapegoat for Tracy McGrady or Joe Johnson's inability to create offense off the dribble. This team can be so miserable to watch. Dribbling establishes status, rebounding just happens. 5/10
Tracy McGrady: His production has dipped to the point where playing back-to-back games can't adversely affect it too much. Here's hoping he can play again this week. 3/10
Ivan Johnson: The difference between playing the Cavaliers and playing the Celtics, in microcosm. 2/10
Jerry Stackhouse: It must be the dog days of the season. Back-to-back Jerry Stackhouse makes in the second quarter gave the Hawks a four-point lead (and the game a much needed instance of back-to-back makes) drove my thoughts to utility of writing about a playoff team not just employing but playing Jerry Stackhouse in 2012. That he was playing because Jannero Pargo, Willie Green, and Vladimir Radmanovic were all unavailable brought no comfort in the grand scheme of things. 3/10
Jason Collins: I don't deny he has his use and acknowledge both that he's better than Erick Dampier and was on the court in the third quarter due, in part, to Zaza Pachulia needing to visit the locker room. Still, 0 points on 5 possessions is bad. Even in the context of this game. Four rebounds were a nice surprise. 1/10
The head coach
The injuries aren't his fault and he can't do anything to change them. Josh Smith's shot selection isn't his fault. Joe Johnson's meandering dribbling isn't his fault. The difference there is that Larry Drew has proven incapable of instilling change. This team remains perfectly capable of overpowering inferior opposition and folding to the slightest residual competency from a marginal opponent. It's not a good sign that the Hawks came back only once the game became ragged and desperate. 2/10
A thought regarding the opposition
A shadow of their former selves, the aged Celtics should serve as an object lesson the Hawks as to the dangers of stasis with an expensive core surrounded by fungible spare parts. The Hawks got their core together younger, the Celtics timed their acquisitions perfectly. Without change, neither will end ceremoniously. At least the Celtics got to enjoy three Hall of Famers and a championship out of the journey.