They are calling these days in January the "dog days" of the NBA season.
Makes sense, since the Hawks are certainly playing like dogs these days.
Whether it's simply fatigue from winning too much prior to January or the fact that the team is simply unwilling to do the things it did in December when they won 21 games, the Birds are playing like dead fish right now and until someone shows up with the life paddles, the Hawks are currently DOA.
Josh Smith when winning: Takes the ball hard to the basket and finishes while making his presence felt on defense.
Josh Smith when losing: Takes the ball and stands outside to launch a jump shot and is nowhere to be seen defensively.
Any guesses as to what we have been seeing more of lately?
Did you realize?: Smith is shooting a career low from the free throw line (64 percent). Earn your right to shoot those bombs, Josh----still bricking from long range and then taking your free points to an all-time low is not a good way to start.
Al Horford when winning: Well, healthy for one. Al is out for the Phoenix, Clippers, and Oakland game for sure. When they are winning, his energy is obvious and he is contesting shots defensively.
Al Horford when losing: Invisible, watching opponents attack the basket. Rushing his offense and playing small around the basket.
We've been saying it---Zaza Pachulia (the non-sick version) has shown more energy in games lately.
Did you realize?: Al is up in all the good categories and down in the bad ones. They only good stat he is lower in is his rebounds per game, which is down one per game--identical to his offensive rebounds per game.
The play of these two inside guys are critical to opening up the lethal shooting of Bibby and Johnson from the outside. In recent games, the tandem has gone ice cold, which means it's time for the interior guys to increase the good things that they currently do to lift the team higher. Starting on the defensive end would help.
You get the picture---and it's up to Woodson to get these guys in gear and defend from the opening tip. Another 30+ point first quarter is a pretty good indication that the team is not coming out of the locker room to make a defensive statement.
Oh by the way, one final thought on the 109-94 loss at home to PHL----When Royal Ivey and Lou Williams are on the floor for the Sixers, it makes 0.00 sense to leave a hot Andre Iguodala wide open for consecutive threes.
Just some friendly advise during these very dog days.
The HHB is preparing the Official HHB High Definition Viewing Room for some late games as the Hawks migrate towards the Pacific. Comments and late night snack ideas are welcome in the Comments section.