Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Game Recap - Hawks @ Cavs

Preamble Ramble

It's times like these when we have to say some of the most obvious things, some of the most obscure, and keep a balanced viewpoint at the same time. Very, very difficult times here at Blog Central. Obviously, it was a tough, tough loss. So, let's just get to it..

Game Recap - Cavs 106, Hawks 101

Overall Observations:

The Good Stuff
  • Mike Woodson found a way to stop the foul trouble that Shaq causes this team and his name is...wait for it - Jason Collins
  • Mike Woodson also took the timeouts he should have been taking in the fourth quarter of the last game and it was used to great effect to stop the momentum of the Cavs at home. Kudos!
  • Joe Johnson brought his A game tonight. There's a pro to that and a con - let's leave the pro here which is...the alpha male that the Hawks needed was on display in the form of its best player.
  • Bob Rathbun and Jamal Crawford donating money on behalf of those missed free throws to the Atlanta Hawks Foundation is a fantastic compromise.
  • In the first half, Mike Bibby's defensive liabilities are offset completely by his ability to make outside shots.
  • Overall, the Hawks showed fight on the road that they normally have not shown against elite competition. It bodes well for the future that when faced with adversity - the Hawks competed at a high level.
  • LeBron was celebrating his birthday and we thank him for the gifts that he gave us in the form of passing the ball when faced with the defense of Bibby, Crawford, and even Pachulia. Thanks, LBJ, for letting us share in your special day.
  • Anderson Varejeo being forced to take a 3 at that juncture in the game
The Bad Stuff
  • Anderson Varejeo hitting his first career 3pt shot on the same possession
  • We already knew that LeBron was going to get the calls because it was his b-day, he always gets calls, etc, but Hawks 14-15 from the free throw line and LeBron 14-16 is a little ridiculous.
  • We don't really give Josh many passes on the scowling and complaining to the refs, so we'll say - bad Josh for getting a technical minutes AFTER they let the first complaints pass, but also can say - we understand. You were hosed on offensive and defensive plays.
  • That said, if we don't give up those 2 free points on technicals - we are taking a much different shot to win the game (we hope)
  • Standing around while dribbling down the shot clock when you are 3 down isn't our idea of a good offensive set. Watch that last possession and tell me if Marvin, Jamal, or Mike moved one iota to set a screen or do ANYTHING to create an open look.
  • The needed to be said again.
  • The Josh Smith's first and last shots of the game were jump shots. Both were ill advised and cringe worthy.
  • So, in a nutshell, Mike Woodson's performance in the 4th quarter was as much of a meltdown as the team's was in the last game. And it pains us to say that because we really did believe he was having a great coaching game going into the 4th quarter.
  • One more reason Woodson's 4th quarter was abysmal - uh, when you have a player who is the best defensive matchup for the best player on the planet, a guy who held the guy the night before to 14 points - well, you might want to use him to defend him esp. when said guy is putting up half a hundred on you.
  • The shot clock issue - well, yes - let's protest it, but let's not act like it's probably not karmic that this happened to our Atlanta Hawks aka the organization that has cornered the market in game operations snafus.
  • It can't be understated how horrible it was to NOT have Marvin Williams on the floor.
  • It also can't be understated that while to some degree it worked - we'd like to have Al Horford on the court more minutes than Jamal Crawford when Crawford isn't on fire.
  • If Crawford and Bibby aren't on fire, you CAN'T have them on the court at the same time. The defensive liabilities are just too great.
  • Another Teague DNP...sigh!
  • Boobie Gibson was basically the Coach Brown equivalent of Coach Woodson's coaching adjustment of Jason Collins matching up vs. Shaquille O'Neal. Too bad, we didn't get a counter offer.
  • For the Cavs, it can't be a good sign that Jason Collins can neutralize Shaquille O'Neal. How far the mighty have fallen...

Str8 Butter Award - Joe was that obvious.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

We're forgoing the player breakdown and will simply say - Jason Collins, thanks for showing us why you are on the roster.

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Most of the negatives have been discussed above and our positive vibes in the first 3 quarters are on display. Simply put - these are the kinds of games that we think Sund should evaluate before giving Woodson an extension. For the good and bad in order to evaluate just how you would want your coach to respond under the crucible of intense, high stakes, elite basketball.

Season Prediction

After all the hype, the Hawks have the same record 21-10 as they did at this time last year. How we perform from here will spell volumes for our postseason prospects, so we won't panic and leave our prediction of 54-28, but our prospects for a division title and real postseason success will require some big victories over the Magic and Celtics in January.


Nef77 said...

LOL at the idiots saying the "The League has to protect it's superstars." So that makes it right?! Smoove was getting killed throughout the game but he ain't injuried. If LBJ and D Wade are all that, let them play the same rules that everyone else plays. Bibby must be used to this BS though. He's had to put up with it since 2000 (Kobe)

Nicholas said...

This is the first game that i can remember that I, as a fan, have felt totally cheated. The game was completely changed due to the ineptness of the refs. How do you not know if the shot clock was reset or not. Why not look at the replay and get the call right??? How does one player (LBJ) shoot more free throws than the entire opposing team?? I hope that the league suspends all three and we get to play the last 2:00 again like a couple of years ago against the Heat. This was the most OUTRAGEOUS game officiating wise. If we can ever play them straight up then we will see if our team has the ability to compete against them but as of right now we don't know because we are playing the refs and the cavs. I'm a LBJ fan but you can't run over two players and the foul be against them thats insane!!

thirdfalcon said...

I didn't see this game, because it was my birthday and took me to dinner. But I'm encouraged that we played well enough to win against a team playing more like the great team we saw last year than the inconsistent one from earlier this year. It took a screwy malfunction, and a three from Anderson Varajoa (of all people) to beat us.

How bad were the refs? The free throw disparity was eye-popping, but di you think the game was called that unfairly?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, the refs were bad, but I think most Hawks fans are only looking at it through rose colored glasses. They let everything go except when it came to LeBron. And as much as I hate the superstar crap - it's what happens in the NBA, so I won't complain about it like it's not what has been happening for years. As exalted as MJ is, he benefited from that stuff majorly and everyone seems to accept it..same thing here. So, yes - we should have gotten more calls..Josh definitely didn't get calls on either end, but elite teams fight through all that.

So, you just have to beat them despite. So, I'm more concerned that we even let it get that close. Up 17 in the 3rd quarter - up 8 or 9 in the 4th. You have to close 'em out. We didn't...didn't even have our best defender on LeBron for the last half of the 4th quarter for an unknown reason. I mean Jamal and Bibby were cold in the 2nd half yet - we're running a 3 guard offense. So, yes - the refs screwed us. No, I don't think that's why we lost. Wouldn't mind them redoing that last 2 minutes, but I certainly don't expect that to happen.

My only hope is that they aren't thinking - hey, we won except for the refs. I would have preferred for Woodson to send the signal to the team that despite ALL the crap - we still were better than the Cavs last night and that it's still unacceptable that we lost. That would send the message that there are no excuses for losing. NONE! Then, quietly, send in a protest. Now, i know folks like Phil Jackson would have said exactly what Woody did, but Jackson also knows that his team believes it can win a title. Until I'm comfortable that we know that too, I don't want anyone thinking anything other than - no matter what...the victory is the only thing that is acceptable. No moral victories or blaming losses on refs.

Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Atlanta Hawks, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.