Game Recap...Nuggets 124, Hawks 104.
- If there is a formula for a Hawks victory, it doesn't include not playing defense (over 50% FG including 50% from 3 pt range), Josh Smith shooting jump shots (4 - and no, going to 2 for 4 does not make it right), and a lack of energy.
- While somewhat yielding to the notion that the Denver air on a back-to-back, this game was never in the Hawks W bank on our sheet, BUT doesn't that highlight why we should have played our starters even LESS time vs. the Timberwolves in a game that we were going to win no matter what? We have a no moral victory clause, but playing the Nuggets on a road back to back competitively would seem to be something to build upon.
- I'll just say that I REALLY hate that any Denver road loss can be covered up with the 'thin air' excuse.
- I miss Joe Johnson's post game complaints about the team and what we need to do to win the postseason. Please don't get complacent with that vocal leadership, Joe.
- As a corollary to our biggest playoff complaint, is there something to that fact that the Hawks have lost most of their games fairly easily this year? An argument can be made that we only were close to defeating Chicago and maybe Detroit in our 8 losses. They can't all be victories, but can they mostly be hard fought? Or is that asking too much? Bottom line, blowing teams out and getting blown out would seem to not be a good formula for building the mental toughness needed for playoff victories. Just in case you forgot, we've got a 2 year playoff streak of losing EVERY game by double digits.
- I'll use Ty Lawson as today's example for why you play your rookies/backup point guard. In the prior two games without Billups, the Nuggets lost both games. One with Lawson as the starter (where he performed poorly) and another from the bench (where he performed decently)...which led him to last night's performance..where he basically outplayed Mike Bibby and gave the Nuggets an early lift. Karl's consistency and trust in Lawson to perform the role he'll need to perform for the Nuggets to maintain a consistent level of play should Billups get hurt again or if Anthony Carter stinks up the joint in the postseason is what the regular season should be used for. Not to mention that you can win games that way too. So, all that was said to say - after a pretty good run in blowouts during the win streak, Teague is back to playing garbage time minutes on days where Bibby didn't show up to play and the Nuggets were determined to not let Joe Johnson beat them. THIS is what GM Sund should be evaluating before giving Woodson another contract.
- Speaking of coaching adjustments, player pride aside - it would seem that the same way the Nuggets got it in their brains that Joe Johnson would not defeat them - at some point, oh - the third quarter maybe...someone should have said to themselves...I won't leave JR Smith and someone else should have said - I'll help Jamal Crawford keep JR Smith from even getting the ball. If we're gonna lose, let's see if Aaron Afflalo, Kenyon Martin, Nene, etc can be the one delivering the final blows.
- Now, forgetting the coach for a second, I'm not that old, but I do remember a time where if a guy tried to show you up and break a record on you, you'd put him in the 5th row. I'm sorry, but Hawks - that was maybe the most disappointing thing I've seen all season. You put JR Smith on his ass - you foul him as soon as he gets the ball just to let him know that you are not making a mockery of our perimeter defense for a record...we can do that all on our own (make a mockery of perimeter defense, that is). Bill Laimbeer, anyone?
- Does anyone get the feeling that maybe Joe Smith is that integral to our psyche? I don't remember Josh Smith shooting 20 ft jump shots and getting more technicals before Joe Smith went out. Come back, Joe...
- Interestingly enough, the worse Maurice Evans plays - the more I want to reiterate my Mo into the starting lineup and Marvin to the bench theory for improving the Hawks...I need some statistical data to back me up because right now it's all HS8T gut feel.
- Just gonna say it again...Teague - 2 DNPS, 10.8 minutes a game (with about 60% of those in garbage minutes) will not prepare him for the playoffs, so anyone who is wondering..our only hope for keeping our 3 guard rotation fresh and spry for the postseason (b/c that's all the next 54 games are for since only a collapse could prevent us from a top 4 seed) is to keep blowing teams out and to be blown out, so that they are on the bench in the 4th quarter. Any hope that we'd make it a point to rest our players (as a short term and long term strategy for success) no matter what is pretty much out the window.