Sunday, February 28, 2010

Game Recap: Bucks @ Hawks (2/28)

Preamble Ramble

I feel the same way I felt going into February and that's that the Hawks aren't playing better basketball down the stretch than they did to start the year and that's exactly how I felt last year. Not a good sign for a young team, but it's simply what happens when you don't give the players who are the players who have the most upside and can help you in areas of need a chance to indeed do those things. So, with no further ado, we have a recap AND an announcement of monumental proportions...

Game Recap - Hawks 106, Bucks 102

Overall Observations:
  • Let's just say it - Joe Johnson in OT was great. Joe Johnson during most other parts of the game was not...
  • Jamal Crawford - you sir are very talented offensively, but when you don't have really ought to learn how to be a decoy and that passer you tried to be during game 1.
  • The Hawks frontcourt at some point has to think about a coup against the backcourt. When your frontcourt goes 18-31 (1-1 from 3) and 9-11 from the FT line for 46 pts and 10 asts vs. your 15-48 (2-11 from 3) and 10-11 from the FT line for 42 pts and 11 asts, I think a team meeting where I get to say - hey, the frontcourt has been doing work and we deserve more opportunities to win the game down the stretch b/c we're the ones getting us the lead for the most part in the first place. Letting you guys shoot us out of the lead AND try to shoot us back in is not a fair deal.
  • I would kill to have Chauncey Billups making decisions for us down the stretch of basketball games.
  • Again, Jeff Teague sure didn't do anything to make me believe that he didn't deserve more minutes tonight.
  • As a contrast, when Ridnour and Stackhouse brought production from the bench, they sure didn't get put back on the bench for much of the rest of the game. Also, now, I'm just thinking that Stackhouse was available for how long...might he have been an upgrade over Mario West.
  • John Salmons wanted that victory!!
Str8 Butter Award - Tonight's Str8 Butter Award comes with an announcement - Josh Smith was the reason we won the game and he's the reason we are as successful we are because....drum roll, please - he's now our best player. We know he didn't make the All Star game and he has brain farts with this jump shooting thing, but after watching the other contenders for the best player title - they have warts too, so Josh's wart is a 2-3 time a game thing that I have finally come to grips with and when I look at the many ways he impacts the game - he's simply the Hawks best and most important player. To say otherwise is that you're living in the past...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* M. Williams - Good night...some defense, some made shots, and that's really it...though we were happy to see him play in the 4th quarter.
* Josh Smith - 22 and 15 and 6...yeah, that's real baller status, Josh
* M. Bibby - Hmmm...the Jeff Teague starting campaign is not threatened by this effort.
* J. Johnson - Thanks for the OT love...
* A. Horford - A double double and good defense...the All Star Center formula

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* J. Crawford - finding a way to be good contributor when not making shots...which means - making free throws...ding, ding, ding!
* J. Teague - Good first half stint...that's all that needs to be said
* M. Evans - Mo, good energy and it was nice to see some offense/defense trade offs down the stretch from Woody. Nice!
* Joe Smith - It's actually funny seeing guys try not to stop action in the game because they know it'll mean it's the last time they will play in the game.
* Z. Pachulia - Not sure what happened to mean Zaza, but I certainly expected to see him try to light up his former team tonight
* R. Morris - Inactive
* M. West - DNP
* J. Collins - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

I've already done the I don't understand Woodson blog, so I'll let my disappointment with so many things ride right now and talk about a few things I like - like a full court press and like offense and defense exchanges with Evans and Crawford and like ...oh, that's it. We'll revel in that part, but we do want to just log this complaint. Who puts players in for one stint a game in the first half and doesn't play them again no matter what they do with that stint? I just can't recall a coach that plays a player for a stint in the game and never goes back to them consistently.

Str8 Talk Love

No love...

Season Prediction

53-29..ok, so as much as I've felt like we've regressed - we only have 5 more games vs. teams that are tough or tougher than us. 4 of those 5 games are at home. So, only the road and lapses in our game should prevent us from having a 50 win season (or an injury)...with that, I have to change my prediction for the rest of the season and give us the benefit of the doubt that we'll handle our business and end up as the #3 seed. Let's go Hawks!!!!


CoCo said...

You've finally seen the light! Yes, Josh is our best player. He has been the barometer for the team for the past 2 or 3 years, now he's finally ascended to being unquestionably the most important player. If he's not doing what he does best, they don't win. I've been beating this drum, glad someone else is beating it with me. :)

Anonymous said...

I want to touch on the part where you say you would love to see Chauncey Billups making decisions for this team. That was something I touched on the other day. I would love to have Billups or a strong point guard like that to make decisions and to get us into some kind of set to get us a good shot coming down the stretch of games. I felt like Bibby did this early on after his trade but that might have been more as to what he was replacing than anything.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Interestingly enough, Mike Woodson said when Bibby arrived that he could be the QB of the offense and that he thought he something better than what was called that he could do it. Basically, ceding all responsibility to Bibby. Of course, Bibby was never really a system PG, but he did run the system he was told to in Sacramento, so I think if we had one - he'd run it, but you can see that in a system where everyone is able to bring the ball up, everyone is able to determine when they are taking shots or doing things - it's just really disappointing that we can't determine when to do that and when to say - ok, we need to run a good play. Not just dump the ball and hope that Jamal or Joe can do something, but actually run a play where 2-3 guys are touching the ball, moving and trying to do things to actually create the best shot possible.

it's sad to see us think that our best shot in a set is created from just letting a player 'make something happen', esp. when every knows that that's what we're going to do. The majesty of why it works for D Wade, Kobe, and Lebron (besides the fact that they are waaayyyy better than our players at making tough buckets) is that they pass it enough to make you stay honest. Joe and those guys haven't figured out that you're going to have to run something counter to what you always do sometimes in order to make what you think is your best play more effective.

I mean ... I'd be in practice running plays where my 3rd and 4th options are my REAL plays. Meaning Joe and Jamal are the decoys b/c we know they are bringing 2.5-3 players with them. I'll take my chances with Marvin, Bibby, and J. Smoove against 2 defenders all day.

Anyway, that's just me. I know they don't have much experience winning games, but it's why the Celtics were getting so many Big Baby game winning shots last year - they were actually designing plays where they said - we'd rather get you the ball in a place where you are comfortable and OPEN as hell and just say - win the game for us than try to force feed a shot that everyone knows is coming. And Big Baby hit at least 3 that I saw last year...

Anyway, final thought, Coco - I always said that Josh's b-ball IQ was the difference btw Josh being our most talented player and our best player. His IQ has now caught up enough to make him our best player. That's the difference, so even earlier this year - I hadn't seen all the evidence (hence, the ref whoofing and the lazy days) that he was our best player, but in Feb - he's brought the whole package and I finally just have gotten past those jump shots. Even Kobe and LeBron throw up a few clunkers a game. Joe certainly does, so why am I holding Josh responsible for his?

CoCo said...

I have always found it interesting that Josh takes the bulk of the criticism on this team and he's not even the max player. I've said that for yeeeeears though. It's somewhere in my blog, several places actually. With a little effort I can prove it. Hehe. Not saying it's you, but there are bloggers among us who have been willing to point out each and every mistake Josh makes while only mildly criticizing Joe. Joe takes the least amount of criticism of any "franchise player". With this team, people have always been more prone to point to the flaws of others (Josh in particular) That always annoyed me. Other franchise players are held accountable when their team fails, yet Joe is not. I guess it's okay that Josh gets the bulk of criticism now, since he is in fact that best player.