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: The difference between this season's Hawks team playing one good quarter to dismiss inferior opposition and the past two seasons' Hawks teams playing one good quarter to dismiss inferior opposition is, largely, Al Horford. Losing a really good player affects your margin for error. Zaza Pachulia's absence tonight only exaggerated that narrow margin. 7/10
Joe Johnson: Speaking of narrow margins, there's not much difference between a heroic 22-point, 19-shot performance and a doesn't make you lose by itself against a lottery team 16-point, 17-shot performance. Joe Johnson plays in that margin most of the time now and the Hawks are less than a third of the way through his contract. 5/10
Josh Smith: There's no doubt that Horford's absence is an aesthetic as well as a practical loss. Even when taking care of business, the Hawks don't evidence much understanding of how they're accomplishing that. For example, Josh Smith made 11 of 14 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws when going toward the basket. He made 1 of 11 jump shots. This is not just a Josh Smith problem. Those bad shots are not all bad decisions he makes. This is an Atlanta Hawks problem. 8/10
Kirk Hinrich: Joe Johnson has a long and distinguished history of defending Deron Williams effectively. The small lineup (and injuries) didn't make that possible. Hinrich and Teague both struggled with Williams' strength but both battled gamely and, just as importantly, made shots on the other end to more than mitigate that mismatch. 6/10
Jason Collins: Other than Shelden Williams, no one did more to hold Shelden Williams scoreless than Jason Collins. Williams deserves no like credit in the other direction. That was all Jason Collins. 1/10
Marvin Williams: A welcome return for a player who figures to be essential in the playoffs given Horford's likely absence and McGrady's rapid physical disintegration. Given Williams' playoff history, I don't blame the less confident among us. 6/10
Ivan Johnson: Activity does not always actualize. Congratulations on the birth of your namesake, an energetic, unfocused effort does not surprise given the circumstances. 3/10
Tracy McGrady: Had nothing. Doubled down on Josh Smith's truly wonderful T. Only the greats can draw a T after getting the call because they think a different referee should have called the foul. McGrady's piggy-backing smacked of chasing former glory. 1/10
Willie Green: Yes, I considered whether or not I'd rather have Gerald Green. Willie isn't healthy and one hopes he doesn't make things worse through an admirable instinct to answer the bell. 1/10
Jerry Stackhouse: Made no impact in the game nor an entry in the boxscore while being on the court for the final 81.8% of New Jersey's 11-0 run that ended the third quarter. 0/10
The head coach
Josh Smith took 11 jump shots. The Hawks trailed the Nets at home after three quarters. The injuries aren't his fault, the lousy roster construction isn't all his fault, but the team remains unconvincing. Fans of several teams would not take an adequate head coach in charge of decent talent for granted. Almost four seasons in, it's getting old here. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Either way, let's do it again tomorrow night. 4/10