Sunday, February 28, 2010

What The Mavs/Hawks Game Taught Me...

Normally when our game recaps are a day or two late, it's because we've got other things to do, life to lead, or just laziness, but this time - it sincerely had everything to do with being utterly at a loss for fair, balanced straight talk about the Hawks. I actually was about to figure out if there was a Brother Mouzone (Wire-heads know what i'm talking about) that I could find. It was that serious.

So, I needed a few days. I need some perspective, so we're not going the traditional Game Recap route and we're going to just provide some things that we thought the Hawks taught us that evening:

The Good
  • Josh Smith - 3 years ago, I said that Josh Smith is so good from a talent, physical toolset perspective that he's actually the only player who has the capability of getting a quintuple double (pts, rebounds, steals, assists, and blocks). So, it's no surprise that he flirted with a quadruple double. Now, tell me again why he's not an All Star
  • The Hawks fight after a quick lapse in the first quarter
  • Joe Johnson's ability to calmly put up 27 pts, 10 assists, and 5 boards
  • A reminder that Mike Bibby can make clutch shots
  • That Al Horford would even be afforded the opportunity to go 4 for 16.
  • That despite it all - I really love the Hawks...too much sometimes...
The Bad
  • Josh Smith - jump shooting...nuff said
  • Joe Johnson's desire for a max contract from a team that believes it can contend for a title went down the drain at every instance of being unable to beat J J Berea for a bucket (read that again)...
  • Blaming the bench for every failure during basketball games. Our bench's problem isn't totally about skill on the level of other benches - it's about lack of role setting and expectations and confidence. These guys don't know what to do when they get in. Only two know why they are being brought in - Jamal is meant to score and Zaza is meant to rebound. That's it. Otherwise, they come in and don't really know what they should be doing and that's their problem. Now, that said - I watched the starters lose a 13 pt lead in about 2 minutes, which I've NEVER seen the bench do (which probably is due to opportunity), so let's dispense with the Hawks bench being awful. It's not the best, but it's serviceable when deployed sensibly.
  • Jeff Teague should not like our coach. If I played well for the past 3 games and the guys in front of me had trouble guarding J J Berea and Jason Terry, I'd expect to play. I didn't - we already know why, but we're just reiterating the fact that if Rick Sund called me and asked me for an extension endorsement - it wouldn't be forthcoming.
  • Fans should stop fixating on things that don't really lose playoff games. So what Jason Kidd may or may not have done something smart? So what if it was a move that would be 'kick you off a playground' worthy? This is the NBA, things happen (like they did in Cleveland, etc), but if we are playing better basketball and if we had the presence of mind to just take ONE timeout - I seriously doubt that Jason Kidd gets that desperate to find a point. Far as I'm concerned, if Jason Kidd didn't force that T - we don't even make it to OT, so let's focus on how we lost that lead, not one measly point that won't be replicated in the postseason.
  • Mike Woodson should probably stop tinkering with things that he's been doing well with such as...calling timeouts when momentum is swinging the opposite direction. I've praised Mike Woodson many times with his ability to stop the momentum. I've criticized him for not giving the team a new game plan to leave from those breaks, but I believe that to be a matter of coaching acumen, not a lack of awareness that you need to change. Now, unless he's adopted the Phil Jackson philosophy that a team should learn how to stop momentum on their own and work through those issues (and frankly you'd have to tell the team that that's what you're doing and then practice that ALL the time), what happened in the 4th quarter is unacceptable. I can't remember a time in a game when I said to myself we need a timeout and then 4 more possessions ensued and that a technical foul on the COACH led to that stoppage. I'm talking about 25 years of serious basketball watching at the high school, college, and professional basketball levels. So, I can't say much else other than ... when a new plan or wrinkle was needed - we went with....nothing.
  • Watching one of your core members (or so you tell us) sit for the entire 4th quarter while less talented defensive players are on the court not making shots.
  • Jamal and Mike Bibby are really useless when they aren't making shots. They do nothing else on the court to help the team...evidenced by the lack of putting us in position to score in the 4th quarter.
  • Finally, I still haven't figured out how a team goes away from what's WORKING!!!! I mean contested jump shots weren't working...3 point shots didn't get us the lead...just can't figure you guys out in the fourth quarter.
One thing we haven't learned about this team is when faced with true adversity what will happen. Is it bad that I wish we had an injury to just test our team's fortitude? I keep wondering if we could go on the road and beat a team like the Mavs if we didn't have our starting small forward. It's probably too late to want to find out.

No comments: