We are going to have to depart from our regular game recap to just highlight some very important points that are on my mind after last night's game.
Game Recap - Knicks 109, Hawks 105
1. It is really difficult to feel good about anything that happened in the Garden when you feel like coaching is the difference between wins and losses most nights. If you have a team that's a poor rebounding team and they don't have a low post presence - why not play to your advantage (like we did in the first half) and just pound the paint? Horford, Pachulia, Smith, and Williams all could have had double doubles during the game at the rate that the paint was being abused by the Hawks. Watching Zaza and Al on the bench during large portions of the 2nd half is just..well, disheartening.
2. Mike Woodson's post game quotes (always a source of puzzlement) just again inspire NO confidence. Why not be honest about what happened in the 2nd half? We didn't come to play. Either blame the players for their lack of focus or blame yourself for not providing motivation or a coherent strategy that would lead us to victory, but you can go to hoopinionblog.com to see the tom foolery we have to blog about each game.
3. I will leave Josh Smith's free throw shooting alone and even the areas where individuals could have done better. I'm going to point only to the one area that made me go from 'hey, we can't win them all' to 'I truly hate my coach' mode. As I stated in the last game recap, I believe that Acie Law IV can go ahead and start spending the rest of the season working on his game for next season b/c he will not be used by Mike Woodson this season (and probably ever, barring injury or a mandate from on high). Now, my 25 years of watching Atlanta Hawks basketball - I can at least detect when a player just NEVER should play basketball. This is a team that played Royal Ivey, played the old Boris Diaw, plays Mario West, etc - I've seen some guys who I didn't think had a discernable skill and yet they got some burn. Well, in the time, I've watched Acie Law IV - I can't say he's starting guard material in the NBA, but when I'm watching Chris Duhon with a starting gig in the league - it begs to reason that Acie Law can at least play backup minutes for anyone. Of course, keeping him off the court provides enough shield from criticism until you watch what happened in THREE minutes of play. Law essentially brought the Hawks from smack dab in the middle of garbage time - let's run out the clock-dom to hold the phone - we were 2 missed shots from overtime at a minimum.
HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? Sure, anyone can throw up some lucky shots, but that's not what happened - he penetrated (when's the last time you saw a guard break down the defense and dish Chris Paul style), he hit an outside shot, he caused turnovers, he showed energy...now, I'm sure that's some frustration in that 3 minute stint, but damn me - if it didn't look like the kind of effort that we could use when Bibby is ...uh, sick and when you decide to take away some of the effectiveness of your starting and backup shooting guards into point guards (note: I still refuse to call Murray a point guard). I believe Law can run our team, but it's not important for that to happen right now. It is important for Law to play every night for at least 10 minutes. He needs to earn his team's trust, run the offense, and provide a blow for Bibby so he's fresh for the playoffs. Same for Joe Johnson. So, let me be clear - I laid down the gauntlet a few weeks ago in saying that short of the Hawks going to the Eastern Conference Finals - I want a new coach. Nothing will convince me otherwise - not even the fact that Bret predicted that we'd be under .500 at the end of the season and his expectations have been exceeded. We need a new coach and we need one NOW!!!!!!
Keep your head up, Acie, since we know that a DNP is coming for your next game. It matters not that you almost single handedly won the Knicks game on the road in only 3 minutes of playing time. Sigh!!!!
And to my loyal readers - yes, I had to wait for about 15 hours before I sent this b/c I kept writing expletives and needed to figure out how to write this coherently without the venom. Sorry for the delay....Oh and did I mention that we're not going to have home court advantage at the rate that we've played in 2009. Am I the only person who is upset that we're playing worse in 2009 than in 2008? Everyone thinks we match up so well with Miami (which I disagree with - think, D-Wade superstar calls and the team getting better as the season goes along b/c their coach PLAYS everyone), but we might not even be playing Miami or in the 4 or 5 seed slot. Wake up, fans. We are trending in the wrong direction.
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