Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Game Recap - Hawks @ Blazers

Preamble Ramble

How quickly can things change? Well, there was a lot of discourse in this blog regarding how good of an offseason the Hawks had. Much of it hinged on Jamal Crawford. Well, color me convinced that Jamal is an uncompromisingly excellent upgrade from Acie Law IV and/or Craig Claxton. Now, we are only a DeJuan Blair knee collapse and Ramon Sessions to the NBDL away from completely obliterating my turn at GMin' the team to a faster ascent to championship contender status. With that as the opening paragraph, let's get to the business of recapping this game in time for ANOTHER late night with the Hawks. [Note: All gushing exterminates if 1) we lose to the Kings and 2) Jeff Teague doesn't see the court for more than 15 minutes tonight]

Game Recap - Hawks 97, Blazers 91

Overall Observations:
  • Osh Smith might have gotten the worst foul call ever seen for his 2nd call - it was "justifiable Mike Woodson AND Osh Smith should have gotten Ts in Rasheed Wallace-like fashion" bad.
  • 2009-2010 Game 4 4th quarter - Start of Osh Smith's reel for Defensive Player of the Year (Help Side Edition)
  • Thanks Jamal for making it even clearer that we have options when Joe Johnson is having a tough quarter. This should make the need for 46 minutes from Joe disappear...
  • Rebounding edge vs. the BLAZERS..ok, maybe DeJuan Blair was useless to us for games like this
  • Of course, the person we picked instead didn't do us much good either in this game.
  • Have we ever explored the concept of offensive and defensive substitutions? Bibby and Crawford down the stretch doesn't inspire confidence when a stop is needed. Evans or, dare I say it, Teague...maybe?
  • Might be the only time I ever say this - Shelden Williams probably looked more effective in his last game than Brandon Roy did last night. 1 out of 200+ games ain't bad...see, I'm not bitter about how that turned out for us...
Str8 Butter Award - In the vein of diversity, we have to give credit to Zaza Pachulia for holding the fort together when it was quite possible that Osh might not have seen the court for the rest of the half. His 12pts, 3 blocks, and solid defense in 14 minutes were key to keeping the Blazers from running rampant on the inside where the Blazers' length could have caused lots of foul and rebounding disadvantages. Kudos Zaza...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* M. Williams - Can I repeat this any more times? Marvin looks lost in the starting lineup. I can't help but think that there are a lot of small forwards with less ability who can just play defense and take open 3s (and for less money). There has to be an effort to make him more aggressive during the beginning of games (or our suggestion ... sending him to the ben...oh, nevermind)
* Osh Smith - Simply put, this Osh Smith (flaws and all - yeah, we saw those jumpers) is the one who actually buys himself a few ridiculously launched jumpers. If that comes coupled with altered shots, steals, MANLY blocks, drives to the basket, jump hooks, transition and garbage buckets, we'll take it. We'll give you your J back, we'll do whatever possible to just get a sustained 90 more games of that. It would cause us to have a Peachtree Hoops to Zaza like love affair with you. Doesn't that sound appetizing!!!
* M. Bibby - 4 games in - we like the veteran presence, but let's just better be mentoring Teague for his STARTING job in 2010-2011
* J. Johnson - We could say that we're happy that he made up for that absymal first half like a star should or we can say we're disappointed he couldn't get some rest during this back to back, but we'll just leave it at - that was some great D on Brandon Roy.
* A. Horford - Another double double and in a game when traditionally the thought is that the opponents length will adversely affect his production. Of course, there weren't enough touches in the post, but what can you expect when Crawford comes in and dominates like he did.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* J. Crawford - Crawford = X Factor! We are fully on board and, while there was evidence of that questionable shot taking (about 3 heat check jumpers too many), when you come in and put up 27pts, 7 assists, and no turnovers - we can't quibble and we have to almost immediately think of how this weapon translates into games vs. the Magic, Celtics, and Cavs. Can't wait to see it...
* M. Evans - It would have been nice to see Evans relieve Johnson of the Roy lockdown responsibilities for a few minutes, but we won't complain about results.
* Joe Smith - Incomplete
* Z. Pachulia - Str8 Butter Award says it all...
* J. Teague - DNP. Did I not call this?
* R. Morris - DNP
* J. Collins - DNP
* Hunter - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Let's stick with the 99% good. Basically, he did the things that I normally don't associate with Coach Woodson. He saw how effective Crawford was and gave him more minutes. He realized that Osh Smith needed to play, so he didn't keep him on the bench all 1st half after those 2 fouls and Osh ended up with (wait for it....) 2 fouls. He even brought Evans in the game for defensive purposes at the very end once we had enough points to win the game. It really was a well managed/no panic effort. And I liked when he went after the referees on behalf of his players. Really everything you can ask of your coach during an in-game scenario. We'll never be fully on board with our off/def philosphies, but let's not talk about that today.

And for that 1%, as we called from a mile away, no Jeff Teague after what has to be called good production. Let's just hope that there was a discussion with the young PG regarding why he probably wouldn't get much burn AND that he's re-inserted in the rotation tonight on a BACK TO BACK night to rest our starters.

Str8 Talk Love

No love today other than our bottomless pit of awesome man love for the Hawks.

Dance Team/Game Ops update - N/A

Shout Outs - N/A

Final Notes - None.

Season Prediction

Last night's win makes for an uptick in the record guess - 49-33! Yes, winning on the road against an elite team should count for something. Be on the lookout for this to end up at 45 or less though if we lose vs. the Kings. Believe it!!!


thirdfalcon said...

We're not as far off as you think on Sessions to the D-league. Have you seen his numbers? ugly stuff. And it's pretty fishy to me that a point guard that has had his numbers can't crack a starting rotation. I'm beginning to think we dodged a bullet.

Btw who was that guy that used to be on our team that Woodson used exactly like he's using Crawford(i.e. playing big minutes when he's hot, and reducing his role when he's not? Switch Flurry maybe? no, that's not it. Twist Burry? No, it's Flip Murry! How can you say that you don't associate Woody using a player that way!?!

Other than that good recap though!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, Well, by that logic - we wasted a lot of money on Marvin Williams, so I don't think it's worthwhile to make any real assessments based on 5 games. Additionally, if your team was awful like the Wolves - you'd do what we should have done with Acie Law...give the ball to your point guard of the future from day 1 and live with the trial and error that comes with that before determining if you have a player or not. That worked for us with Al, Josh, Josh, and Marvin (remember how horrible Marvin was), so I think the same is what is happening with Flynn.

So, I don't think that's fishy at all. I never thought Sessions was the second coming - I thought he was a young PG that we could grow with sorta like they did with Rondo where you deal with some of the growing pains while getting to the playoffs.

As for your last comment, I don't get where you think Woodson 'managed' Flip. He always played him generally the same minutes each game. There wasn't some swing on that that's worth noting as a coaching adjustment. In fact, when he tried to play him as anything other than Hot Flip masquerading as Vinnie Microwave Johnson - the results were less than impressive.

But I think Jamal has shown a little more versatility than that and therefore, I can see times when Woodson will play Johnson and Crawford together or Johnson Crawford and Bibby together in ways he never did with Flip, but we'll see.

I just don't want to see any more DNPs next to Teague's name. Period.

Anonymous said...

yet, you're happy to make 5-game assessments for the team's overall record.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Anonymous, It's a new season - let's start off on the right foot. As I always say, this is FUN. I don't want the blog to be about being a cynic for cynic's sake. So, I say that saying - trying to find inconsistencies where there aren't really any if you ask for more info would be so much more valuable.

So, to your point, the game by game season prediction is just fun and by no means meant as some shaman-like attempt at me saying I know something about prognosticating. Like I always say, a talented team can win 50 games and still be woefully unprepared to win titles. So, I use that season prediction to show that our game play is trending upward or trending downward. That's all. After 5 games, it was enough to see that Crawford could win us 2 more games than I thought. That's it...I am not ready to make the assertion that all the players on our team and others (esp. others since I don't follow them as intently as the Hawks) will have terrible seasons and the factors involved in it.

I said all that to say - let's play nice and enjoy the ride...