Ok, again - I hate to feel like a soothsayer, but for those who don't frequent the blog - here's what I think sums up the night (and all but one are time worn and repeated bullet points):
1. Free Throw Shooting - we noted on Monday that our free throw shooting sucks at the order of losing about 3-4 points a game to the average team. Well, tonight - it was on the order of 10 pts and that's just unacceptable. And as the Blog Nation has noted - we can't even hit technical free throws. 15 missed free throws is what I'd expect in a youth league...And to respond to Josh's statement in the post game interview - IT DOES MATTER ABOUT THE FREE THROWS!!!!! To say that it doesn't is just a cowardly way of saying - I wasn't to blame. No, you were absolutely a MAJOR reason we didn't win tonight. A better answer would be - I need to concentrate on my free throw shooting more, so I am not getting in the way of helping us win games on the road.
2. Ride The Hot Hand - The hot hands tonight were Flip, Marvin, and Josh. Now, Flip and Marvin didn't shoot much in the 4th quarter. I was expecting plays to be run for them until the shots stopped falling. I'm not even sure why Mike Bibby even was put back on the court. Bottom line, when you have players scoring - let them SHOOT! Run plays for them. I would say the same about Josh, but he had his chances at the free throw line and he blew them, which led him back to the perimeter where the law of averages brought him back to earth.
3. Al Horford - Maybe he's more critical than I ever imagined b/c we look awful right now.
4. Coaching - The bench is not being utilized outside of Flip Murray and when a player is killing you or an offensive strategy isn't working - where is the change? Personally, if I'm the coach - I'm breaking boards, throwing chairs, something to fire guys up. I'd even be partially encouraged if I thought Mike Woodson even understood what was happening with the team - his post game analysis of why we lost as 'we're not making shots and not making free throws' is BUNK. When the reporter asked if it's fatigue, to summarily dismiss it just shows what we're dealing with. To the naked eye, it sure looks like they are tired. The stats say they are playing the most minutes of any duo in the league. So, MAYBE we can get some other players to give us a spark - maybe...Acie, Gardner, someone...oh, nevermind.
Final Note - I think I finally understand why a guy would refuse to go into a basketball game. I always thought it was crazy to not just do what the coach tells you to do, but come on - you're short handed and you don't get the call for weeks on end and every once in a while with 50 seconds left and the game out of reach - you are asked to come and finish up as if that's some kind of reward. It's not like those 50 seconds are going to keep your players fresh or prevent an injury. So, as far as I'm concerned - Screw You Coach. Now, if you're Morris or West or Hunter - you're stealing money anyway and are fortunate to escape some of this recession. But if I'm Solomon or Acie, I'm looking at my coach like - sorry, Coach, but to hell with going into the game for 50 seconds.
Well, it's time for a prediction update...and my last prediction was 45-37 after flirting with 50-32 for some part of the year. I'm going back down to 44-38. I hate to be pessimistic, but this looks like the 2007-08 Hawks. Didn't I say that I didn't want 2008 to end...short of watching President Obama take office, this year hasn't been kind and with our kryptonite (aka the New Jersey Nets) coming to town at that. Let's hope my last trip to Philips for a few weeks will be a fruitful one.
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