Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hawks @ Nets - 11/14/08

Sure, we'll get full analysis below, but let's just sum this up for those who have only a few seconds - NO DEFENSE!!!! And with no defense comes 6-2. Can't say I'm surprised, though. We noted in our last blog that this was a trap game. Too much Hawk love going around. This was the first test to see if our veterans would be able to motivate our young Hawks to value this victory just like the other ones and to ignore all of the love from the media and fans, etc. Didn't happen, so let's get to the feedback

Game Feedback - Nets 115, Hawks 108

Str8 Butter Award - It was all Marvin Williams and his 3 pt shooting until - the fourth quarter and well Joe Johnson is clearly trying to debunk my contention that Josh Smith is more talented than he is (though I have always maintained that JJ is our best player). I guess I need to start considering that I may be wrong, though I am praying that our new 3pt shooting prowess will convince Josh that we don't NEED his 3pt shooting. All that said - 30pts in the 2nd half, 21 in the fourth - not missing any shots down the stretch, even ones that made me say ..nooooo! GREAT SHOT, JOE!! You, sir, are our first repeat Str8 Butter award winner!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Ok, Al - you have fallen into two categories. 1. They run the ball through you and you shine and most times we'll win or 2. They don't and you shoot 6 times and are uninvolved in the game, even in foul trouble. Bottom line, let me work on Woodson and you stay out of foul trouble (esp. knowing that you are going to be stuck on the bench due to someone's 2 fouls and you're out rule). We need you on the court on nights like this for 40+ mins.
* Johnson - Ok, so Joe is a little mad at me. I said that we need to stop the '4th quarter - give it to Joe and get out of the way' offense that we resort to every close 4th quarter. Well, ok - you proved your point. You can take over a game in a quarter. It was almost MJ-esque last night. the problem was - no stops on the defensive end. As a point in my favor of just continuing to run the same offense, maybe you could have stayed in front of Vince if you weren't tired from running over, around, through the Nets to score while everyone else sat at the 3pt line waiting for a kick out...just sayin'
* Bibby - Damn me for giving up some praise for playing defense in the Celtic game. This game, not so much D. If you score ok and your opposing PG torches you, the net gain is a loss and well, Bibby - you do have to stop the other player. I know Harris is a burner, so what do you do...let him shoot. Don't get beat to the cup over and over.
* Williams - Now, it's hard to extrapolate things over a season, but if Marvin can keep hitting that 3pter at this clip - maybe we've found something at the small forward position that we can exploit and can say he does better than Paul or Williams - please give me SOMETHING to hang over those guys (Billy Knight would like that as well, though rumor has it that he always wanted Williams and was TOLD to pick Williams by ownership - can't confirm that, but I'm just sayin' - maybe Knight wasn't the complete problem - now, Sheldon Williams - THAT was a pick that he should have been fired for). I still will continue my Williams as a super sub mantra, but let's focus on what we have. He STILL can't finish at the cup, but having a consistent jump shooter to play off of Bibby and Joe Johnson can't be bad. It would be even more valuable if we had a post game to utilize or if he could pump fake and take it (and finish) at the rim.
* Pachulia - Early foul trouble really hurt us tonight. Seeing Robin Lopez play hard, tough inside offense was depressing. Not only that, I kept thinking - wow, if we just had a Robin Lopez. That should say everything about how badly we utilize the post. Anyway, hard to give an opinion on your starting center when he gets 13 minutes and we're getting killed in the post. Someone tell me got hurt vs. was sitting per Woodson's whim.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Finally a big clunker from you...and yet, you are still getting minutes down the stretch. Need to see that lockdown D from you on Joe instead of you doing nothing on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. And more importantly, VETERAN LEADERSHIP - don't let us come in less than ready.
* Law - Welcome back to the lineup. Aggressive, assertive - a little out of control and 2 bad turnovers, but who can blame you when you don't know if you'll be back in the doghouse tomorrow night. Bottom line, Flip Murray is NOT a point guard. Reclaim your position, Acie. More minutes for Acie, I say.
* Murray - Flip put in the points and did his thing - huge minutes, big shots, just what we need from the bench. A vet who needed to step up during an off game. Again, getting that leadership on the defensive end would have been even nicer.
* Jones - Glad to have him playing hard, but wondering why he had more minutes than Zaza.
* West - DNP - ignoring that end of game stuff
* Morris - So, he can play against the Celtics, but not the Nets...when we had some foul trouble again. boy...oh boy!
* Hunter - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Well, I don't know what to say about today. Veteran leadership and coaching is what I expect when the 'trap game' approaches. So, what happens - our worst defensive effort of the season. Robin Lopez and Anderson and VC and Devin Harris all putting the smack down. More effort, more heart, more everything...

So, let's not talk about the same issues today. Our focus for today would be our rotation. Now, I know we are down Osh Smith, whom is our 2nd best player, our energy guy, and a defensive presence. I don't expect that we would have lost this game if he was there, BUT I also worry significantly about the fact that Woodson does not define a role for our players in DEED. I'm sure he does in the locker room, in the office, and in practice. But during the game - why doesn't Acie get consistent minutes (yes, he has sucked, but can someone not have a slump), why does Zaza start - work hard, then see the bench for the rest of the game after 2 fouls? Why doesn't Al get any freakin' touches in quarters 1-3? I get the 4th quarter JJ love fest, but I'm not sure I understand how we will prepare ourselves for the playoffs (yes, we are assuming that we'll be in the playoffs now - anything less would be a major disappointment) if we don't define what kind of team we are. Are we 7, 8, 9 people deep? Is Acie really the backup PG? Is Al a low post scorer? Can you convince Josh that we have 5 three pt shooters who are MUCH better than him, so get off the 3pt line? Those are questions that I have - do you have answers, Mike? Can we change our defense when we're getting torched by the NETS?

Str8 Talk Love

Some good news - we are the best 3pt shooting team in the league. Who ever would have thought that - even this early in the season? And this isn't a jack up the threes team, but we're hitting open threes left and right. It is encouraging that we can hit threes consistently, but the downside is that we were WAAYYYYY too perimeter oriented. The strength of our team is to run and play hard defense. That's to be complimented by good 3pt shooting and hopefully, an inside game led by Horford and Smith. Sound good, yep - me too.

Season Prediction
Went from 40-42 to 47-35 and today we have to move back a game to 46-36, but a win tonight will cause us to move closer to 50 wins. A loss and I'm going to have to really think about how I feel about being 6-3 after the schedule we've had. I'll be in the building for our drive to 7-2.

Let's get it....

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