Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hawks @ Pistons - 2/11/09

Preamble Ramble

What we have here is a failure to communicate (name that movie)...damn the Hawks for trying to show that I don't know what I'm talking about and putting together a complete, solid road victory against a formidable (if flawed) foe. And we made free throws to boot...YESSSSS!!!!! To the analysis...

Game Recap - Hawks 99, Pistons 95

Str8 Butter Award - Flip Murray and Al Horford STEP RIGHT UP...more Flip than Al, but I have to give props to both guys when we needed to exploit the fact that the Pistons are dysfunctional (no Rasheed in the 2nd half.. huh? Did he talk to Acie Law IV in the tunnel?). Finally, Al was asserting himself in the offensive end of the court. 11 shots and we want more...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Williams - Nothing special tonight, but he definitely made baskets when they were available.
* Smith - Save the 3pter and the lapses that say .. I'm Josh the point guard and the missed free throws. Oh, let me stop fooling myself it was classic good Josh, bad Josh. But it's the good Josh that makes the bad Josh tolerable.
* Horford - As we said, if he steps it up - we are a viable and dangerous 4th seed...otherwise, we're a 1st round flop candidate.
* Bibby - The weight of last night's game might have made that foot sore and kept Mike from doing anything, but he was ineffective tonight, but in classic fashion - no Acie to back him up. Thanks Mr. Murray for picking up the slack.
* Johnson - Classic Joe Johnson - finally was shooting well from the floor, which is what we've missed from Joe. As a playmaker, he's been fine, but struggling with the floor game makes things tougher for this team and it was good to see him back and in control of his game.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Murray - Flip came to play - didn't force much, made big shots...of course, that begats the Josh Smith-like - I can make anything, but hopefully the All Star break will shake him out of that.
* Pachulia - Short stint, but a stint nonetheless, which is more than we can say for other bench players.
* Evans - Quiet night, but solid defense and steady veteran play.
* Law - DNP...way to reward an uneven performance and a good clean up performance once again on a night when your starting PG is playing fairly bad. Thanks, Woody.
* Jones - DNP
* West - DNP
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - DNP
* Hunter - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

No big complaints - the team played well, so I'll give Woody some credit. I can't help but give demerits every time you have Acie Law IV playing ok and needing to build his confidence, esp. on a night when your PG is not playing particularly well. But I'm speaking into thin air on that one.

Str8 Talk Love

No Str8Talk Love for this road game...but I'm going to try to get to the Lakers game after the All Star Game if these economic times will allow it.

Season Prediction

We hit the break at 31-21 and after weeks of making the season prediction 44-38, I have to take a pause and determine that we can go 15-15 down the stretch, so I'll change it to 46-36. That may be enough for the 4th seed in the East...we shall see! Congrats to Joe, Al, and Mike on being a part of the All Star Game activities and stay healthy!!


Jason Walker said...

What we have here is a failure to communicate

I know it's been used a lot, but that line was made famous in Cool Hand Luke---

Now, as we just mentioned over on Drew's site, while we love Al Horford, we haven't shied from pointing out that he has been too passive, especially defensively and that he needs to refine his offensive moves.

But you can't deny that he has a sense of clutchness---it may not have seemed like much, but he knocked down a clutch baseline J off a pass without even hitching once. Catch. Shoot. Bucket. Yes, he missed one of those throws late, but you never get the sense that he is tight late in games.

Woody, however, has made him tight early in games, scared to pick up even the first foul that will send ZaZa in the game.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

No doubt..I have no issue with Al's ability, but I certainly am very concerned with placing Al's career trajectory in Woody's hands right now. I don't want him believing that he's the 5th option on this team behind Joe, Josh, Mike, and Marvin (shoot..even Flip when he's in the game).

I don't think it's 100% Al being passive - I think it's a scheme that has no thought of an inside game. Running Al out on screens is not my thought of a low post game. I do agree that on defense - Al has to step it up, but on offense - he's a 5th option and if he's a 5th option - we lose in the playoffs.

I want Al to get to the point where he's demanding the ball against inferior players. If Rick Sund was being honest in thinking that Al can be the 2nd best center in the Eastern Conference (and I still scoff at that thought), then he needs to whisper in Mike's ear that we need to actually give him a chance to prove that. In any case, I would refute one thing...I have no idea whether Al is tight at the end of games b/c he's not getting the rock. Joe is doing the iso play and whatever happens from there happens.

I don't think he's tight, but that could be because he isn't doing anything but looking for a screen and a rebound. NE way, I was happy to see him take every shot he could possibly take at Detroit. Hit or miss.

Jason Walker said...

If you watch the games in the tournament against teams like Butler, Oregon, et al, you will see Horford demanding the ball on a team that included 3 other NBAers--and the team deferred to him.

It's there, just untapped---but do we have a miner in the coach's box who can't see the canary?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I hear you, but I don't draw any conclusions out of college games esp. when it was clear that he was better than those other so called NBA caliber players (Noah, Brewer, & ? aren't exactly burning up the league).

I am on record saying that Woody isn't a coach who is going to develop the talents of a player. He's trying to win every single game he can to save his job. So, he's not going to say - well, let me use this game against say...the Thunder to go inside and exploit Al's talents b/c if he loses that way - it's on him. I could go on, but I think we all see the same thing - it's too bad we don't have an opportunity to run the team long enough to see if our 'mad scientist' ways can change the complexion of the franchise for good.

Craig "Speedy" Ehlo said...

Larry -

Been following the blog since Hawks blogger night and was wondering if you could place my blog on your side list, Billy Knight Took My Lunch Money.

Thanks man!
Craig "Speedy" Ehlo (Steve)