Monday, January 4, 2010

Game Recap - Hawks @ Heat

Preamble Ramble

Just when we thought it was simply execution that was at issue - we are introduced to something new...the Atlanta Hawks (we don't give a ...) edition. So, let's do it...

Game Recap - Heat 92, Hawks 75

Overall Observations:

The Good Stuff
  • Not one single thing...
  • Actually, I take that back - the very, very, very limited attempt by the team to give Al Horford some touches in the paint in the 3rd quarter
  • The decision by Jamal Crawford to take the ball to the hole in the 2nd half
The Bad Stuff
  • I'm just gonna start with the thought that during the interview with Coach Woodson - he said...the defense wasn't that bad, but the effort and energy were unacceptable. Which might be fair, but the follow up message that these things happen continue to give me the impression that most of what Coach Woodson says is based on giving the best case scenario in order to save his job. I can't imagine Popovich or Jackson or any elite coach not using the game and the postgame to rip the Hawks for every element of the team's performance tonight.
  • The jump shots...
  • The fact that D. Wade didn't do much to defeat us
  • The decision to not pound the paint on a night when Jermaine O'Neal wasn't even playing.
  • Getting outrebounded by 22 by a team missing its center and being a poor rebounding team already.
  • The fact that we've been giving up on Bibby at the point that he's not bringing more offense than his defense allows is good, but to not bring Teague as a change of pace is problematic.
  • That we didn't sit the starters or attempt anything different to change the tempo or game dynamic in the 2nd half.
  • That the only two starters who hit even half of their shots have the least shots and minutes.

Str8 Butter Award - Please...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

It would take too much time to say all the things that need to be said, but in a nutshell not one single player played that well.

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

So, today's complaint is the lack of an attempt to change the tenor of this game. It's one thing to tell us that the team had no energy in the post game press conference - it's quite another to actually do something about it during the game. During a game, when everyone on Twitter, Daily Dime Live, and even Dominique noted that the team was primed to lose in the 2nd quarter - NOTHING was changed. Not a full court press, not a little used reserve, not a benching of a starting 5 that clearly didn't come to play, or even waiving the white flag early enough to just rest your starters and get your reserves some experience (and prevent the bigger problem of a late game injury...visions of Joe Johnson's ankle injury in the playoffs were dancing in my head). Yes, we've been harsh on Coach Woodson for the past two seasons, but the measure of a good coach is based on how they use the elements produced to teach lessons that are needed for a postseason and after the game vs. Knicks (which we considered one of the Hawks worst losses this season) - you can't fault the Hawks for losing, but you can fault them for being unprepared to compete. That's 100% on a coach esp. with the specter of the biggest and hardest month of the season in front of you.

Season Prediction

Last time, we saw you - we were down to 50-32 as a prediction and well, we thought we were being harsh. Even though this team looks better on paper, we had the same 21-10 record as last year. As we know, we only went 26-25 from that point forward last year and now, we're 0-2 against two inferior teams with 3 straight superior teams coming up. Let's just hope that the 31-20 that we need to go to get to that 50 win season didn't just become that much harder as a result of simply not coming with effort befitting a great team.


Jesse said...

IMO, 50 wins ain't happening. JJ and/or Woody need to go because both are creatures of habit and us expecting them to change is what doctors point to as the definition of crazy.

Ron E. said...

I still think 50-55 wins is a good possibility (this team is still moderately better than last year's version), but I've completely given up hope of advancing or even competing in the second round and the first round rematch vs Miami scares me.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Step away from the's gonna be ok. Might be worse before it's better, but I'd worry less about victories in the regular season and more about how we're going to respond and prepare for the postseason. That's really the only thing I worry about. The Hawks have easy Feb and Mar schedules. I don't expect us to have a great January with our schedule, though I DO expect us to beat the teams we are supposed to - that's why having letdowns against teams we're way better than concerns me.

Not b/c we aren't playing well - that can change, but because if the coach can't convince the team that during a month when we are unlikely to win 'em all and therefore we need to destroy the teams we are better than - well, I worry about the message our coach is giving. I mean he spent the press conference trying to say how the last few games we didn't play that bad. You have to play bad to let the Knicks beat you, period.

Jesse said...

Yeah, well I said during the offseason that I was worried that this team might had peaked already and that we would probably see a regression this year. This effortless and disinterested play we are currently enduring will make that truth real quick-like, which means that we might not end up 4th seed or making it out of the first round.

It's not that far gone yet, but it has to be corrected now before it corrupts the rest of the season.

thirdfalcon said...

I think you are being seriously naive if you think any NBA teams (or NFL or MLB teams for that matter) are giving maximum effort every night. The Rockets are the exception that proves the rule.

We'll be fine, we were never a title contender in the first place. We just had a chance to be one and that still hasn't changed.

That said while everyone is crying about the Iso-Joe, I'll be looking at the true most important area that we need to start improving again to reach rarified air. REBOUNDING!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, Well - I think you're being seriously naive if that answer is a good answer for what I said I was concerned about. You're 100% right I never think that we will give 100% effort every single night in an NBA season, but it's when that happens that causes a problem.

So, I forgave the less than 100% effort on about 5 other occasions this season. If you are playing a team at home that has already embarrassed you and is coming off a loss to the Nets - I'm not forgiving that. If you are playing a division opponent that has one of the best players on the planet and you don't even make ONE run in the game, I'm concerned. So, yes - you can talk about rebounding and it's an element, but put forth effort and the rest takes care of itself.

I'm less pressed about tactics and results when I know we're doing our best. I've already chalked up the fact that I've fairly confident that our tactics can be mid-level teams and below consistently (as has been proven), but can't beat good to elite teams in the postseason. Fortunately for us, there are only 3 other good teams in the East, so we'll get to the 2nd round and get our ass handed to us.

That said, I'm glad you finally decided to join us TF. Anyway, I'm not on the ledge about 50 wins, but I would say that there are several areas that need to be addressed with this team. The interesting thing is that rebounding and effort are almost synonymous, so that's all that needs to be fixed on that end. The Iso-Joe, well - I'm not crying about it. I just get frustrated that they talk about sharing the ball, which is something they do most games for about 85% of the game, then try to close out games with this ridiculous end of game 'give the ball to Joe or Jamal' thing and it's the height of bad coaching to me. I'll never understand why a coach would see a lead get built using one method, then leave that method for a method that has not proven to be effective. But to be clear - I already know all I need to know about Woodson, so I've factored that into my analysis on this team.

thirdfalcon said...

You don't have to forgive them. Your a fan and it's your right to bitch when a team that you support financially doesn't give 100%. But at the same time you'd be a fool to truly believe that you are going to get that effort.

All I'm saying about the rebounding is that it should be the #1 priority. Alot of the other things would fall into place if we won the battle of the boards every night.

If that doesn't convince you, go back and check out the box scores. Right around the time we got into this slump we stopped rebounding. Even in alot of our losses from earlier in the year (like the thanksgiving game) we got killed on the boards.

I think we basically agreed that rebounding would be the key to how much better the Hawks would be this year. Through the first 20 something games They were a good rebounding team, and knocking on the door to elite status. Through the past few atrocities they haven't gotten more than 4 offensive rebounds, and all anyone wants to talk about is how bad Joe Johmson is? I find that amusing.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I think if you're going to be honest - then you're going to have to say that you can have more than 1 thing be the cause of a loss. I can say - sure, rebounding has to be a priority, but I think going inside with the ball goes hand in hand with offensive rebounding. Shooting contested jump shots, having Al and Josh shooting jumpers all contribute to no offensive rebounding.

So, I think both can be 100%, so again - I don't think that you get any NBA to give 100% every night. What I expect is to know when it's a measuring stick game and to be prepared for that. I don't get mad when we lose to the Nets during a 5 game winning streak b/c I know it's overlooking an opponent AND that we're not going to play them in the postseason. But to not show up for games that matter and so, I agree with rebounding, but I don't think i said it was #1.

I said rebounding, toughness, and leadership would tell a lot about our ability to go far in the postseason. We have shown progress in rebounding...we haven't shown much in the way of toughness or leadership in my opinion. No one is leading when things go south. No one is grabbing Josh and telling him to shut up with the refs. No one is getting us into a successful set when the iso-Joe isn't working.

That's the part that I'm looking for. I don't bitch about the effort as if we need to get those games back. In fact, I heard Woody on 790 this morning and he's STILL talking about the Cavs game being stolen. I'm fine with a protest, but a few weeks later - I need the coach to say what needs to be said - WE NEED TO OVERCOME THAT AND NOT GIVE UP A 17pt LEAD. Period. Not crying about what you think the Cavs stole from you. Bottom line, we lost the game. I don't even want it back - I'd rather we use that as a motivational chip the next time we see them and if we see them in the postseason - even more of a reason to beat them again.