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
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
- 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 refs...it 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 Johnson...it 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.
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.
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.