Saturday, December 5, 2009

Game Recap - Knicks @ Hawks

Preamble Ramble

First, let me say that there are only 2 games I hate to lose each season and that's vs. the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks...why? Because my friends from both cities - regardless of how good or bad the team is - will talk trash for days on end. So, of course - it stands to reason that the season we're good (much like Ga. Tech vs. UGA) we would decide that this is the season to lose to both of those DREGS of the NBA (or at least as presently constituted in the case of the Detroit Pistons). So, forgive me if there's a little more venom in today's game recap. On to my inner rattlesnake...

Game Recap - Knicks 114, Hawks 107

Overall Observations:
  • Josh Smith deserved both technicals. The first one because officials need to make it an issue (if the Hawks coaches and players can't) to impress upon Josh to SHUT THE #$@% UP. We've been saying all season that he needs to shut up for two reasons - no one gets every call and it's never benefited ANYONE save Michael Jordan to show up a ref. He deserved the second one because his teammates did not find it important enough to save Josh from himself, so for their lack of leadership - we deserved to see Josh leave the court in what we hope will be a lesson that is heeded for the remainder of his career.
  • Before moving on, we should also note that my friend noted that Mike Woodson bears some responsibility because he should have taken Josh out of the game when he was out of control vs. the refs earlier in the game OR when he missed that breakaway dunk. Sorry, but in high school - they teach you that if you miss a dunk - you sit. Simple as that.
  • Anytime Chris Duhon is lighting you up, the coaches need to figure out a NEW plan.
  • In the first half, I'm not sure that there were any good possessions after the opening 5 minutes. Watching a bad jump shooting display is NOT my impression of a fun Friday night.
  • Finally, we REALLY want to know what it takes to make an adjustment when the Atlanta Hawks are losing. Our vote is always going to be to find out what Jeff Teague can do for you. As other bloggers have noted, he could get roasted on the defensive end, but we don't know until we try. Not only that - if we're going to lose anyway, might as well get the guy some experience to draw from in the future vs. feeling like there is NO redeeming value in a Knicks loss.
  • Good to know that it doesn't just happen to Teague and that even though Joe Smith is the backup power forward and has been solid in backup minutes ALL season - when the starter is thrown out that it doesn't stand to reason that the backup would get more minutes. Yep, these are our Atlanta Hawks!
Str8 Butter Award - No one - yes, Joe put up numbers again in a great 2nd half, but the horrendous 1st half pretty much trumps it, so no awards tonight.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* M. Williams - Great start, but again - when we needed that extra spark on both ends. Not really much to offer on the interior when needed.
* Josh Smith - Well, we've dwelled on the immaturity of Josh already, but let's also just say - is it that fragile? Our average defense goes to poor if Josh isn't in the game? Really...well, there's another vote for Defensive POY AND Most Important Hawk.
* M. Bibby - As we've always noted, Bibby is as good as his ability to match in offensive production what he gives away in defensive production and on tonight - you sir provided 30+ minutes of not enough.
* J. Johnson - Won't say more other than - we have praised your vocal leadership at times this season, so it's time that we start to get back to praising your overall game again. You have to give us the reason to do are looking more like Michael Redd than D Wade every day.
* A. Horford - We appreciate your warrior effort, but it's a shame that Woodson didn't determine that help from Zaza or Joe Smith would make sense for you.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* J. Crawford - Jamal, when your 3pt ball isn't falling and the other team doesn't have a shot blocker - take it to the hole.
* J. Teague - Seriously, I won't let our good friend Third Falcon continue the charade - Mike Woodson just has a blind spot (i.e. trust issues) with you and so, despite 23 good minutes vs. the Raptors - that didn't EARN you more than 1 minute vs. the mighty Knicks and we can't for the life of us understand why esp. when you're short handed. Let's just hope that the teammates are explaining to you (uh, Zaza - we know you know!) that that's how Woodson rolls.
* M. Evans - Maybe the doghouse talk was premature, but then again you haven't really done much to earn minutes lately, Mo.
* Joe Smith - Just see Teague's notes and change it to 5 minutes and then, repeat. Good thing you're a vet, so we trust you to bring it when given the opp, but from this fan - no, we have no idea what Woodson is doing.
* Z. Pachulia - Maybe the only person who really did what we expected him to do.
* R. Morris - DNP
* J. Collins - DNP
* Hunter - Inactive. Why aren't you playing in the D League?

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

This game really encapsulates the things we like least about Mike Woodson. The lack of leadership, the lack of in-game adjustments, the lack of trust in his bench (where were Teague and Joe Smith), and just a bad offensive and defensive philosophy. There really is not Plan B with the Atlanta Hawks. It's just keep doing what you do and hope that if it's not working - that by doing more of it, playing more of the same players, playing them in the same combinations, etc will save the day. Against the average to bad teams, this works. But it should have been revealed to you by now that this doesn't work in two instances - if your team doesn't play hard or smart and if you actually lose some of the talent that masks its deficiencies.

So, we are flumoxxed when we read these quotes from you from the AJC...

"I played him early because I just think if we're struggling, I've got to think about putting him in the game if it's a sluggish type [of pace] where he can speed the game up and change the tempo of the game," Woodson said. "I think he can do that for us."

Fans have called for Teague to play more. Woodson said the rookie's minutes will come as needed by the team, as is the case for other backups.

"If Teague plays 10 minutes, it's got to be a great 10 minutes for us, because I might not come back his way for a while," Woodson said. "That's the unique thing about having a bunch of talent on your team. And they've got to understand. You can't play everybody."

Teammates have been encouraging Teague.

"Jeff's going to be great," guard Joe Johnson said. "He can do so much for you offensively and defensively. He's just got to keep learning."

When have you ever put Jeff in the game to change the tempo of the game? Why do you think that bench minutes have to come in wild variations? Isn't it standard and apparent that every game you have to play your bench? You can't play your starters the entire game and every game - someone might not play that well, so you ...uh, bring in players from the bench to give you production. Why is this so foreign to you? Why wouldn't you come back to your bench, particularly when the starters aren't bringing it or deserving of the minutes you are giving them? If you have a LOT of talent, then using all of the different talents might be useful.

Str8 Talk Love

Final Notes - Normally, I would talk about the dance team, the many ladies who think that leggings are now a substitute for pants altogether, or that I really can't stand the Knicks, BUT since I'm still steaming over last night's loss - I have no words. Nothing other than - get it together Hawks! Please...

Season Prediction

50-32!!!! But it's in jeopardy of falling by the wayside fast.

1 comment:

thirdfalcon said...

I dunno, dude. That game just felt like a fluke to me. The way they were hitting threes was crazy in the first three quarters, and we shot only 17% on the night. Even so we still had a pretty great points per possession rate. Joe had 8 points and 8 assists, so I don't really get the Redd comparison. He had a great game.

All that said, the three point defense has been bad all year. It's probably been our biggest weakness up to this point. Most of the Knicks shots were wide open from the outside.