That the Hawks lost in Boston 104-92 isn't a surprise. That the Hawks will now fall short of the 50-win mark and thus ending our blind optimism also fails to register on the shock-o-meter.
The sad part of the Birds losing again is that they lost the same way and due to the same issues that have plagued the team recently, in some cases all season and the team doesn't seem to be interested at all, from top to bottom, to fix them.
We can start with the way the offense dribbles and let's every single defense get settled--failing to move the ball around with any sort of meaning, unless the meaning is to make sure we stop the ball long enough for our opponents to catch up.
We can move to the defensive end, where as a team it has been noted that there is no communication happening. Add to that Josh Smith's constant gambling and Mike Bibby's fast decline this season and you have a formula for extreme offensive effectiveness for the team's opponents.
We can go to coaching, where the staff has seen fit to rely too long on pet projects, not set enough boundaries with some of their biggest culprits, and generally has watched the team get no better from Game One to Game Seventy-Six.
Bottom line is this team is extremely talented--it's the only way that, even with all their flaws, that they can compete in any game, any night, any place. This was a (4) point game until really late---Boston was outshooting, outhustling, and outexecuting the Hawks---yet everytime you looked at the scoreboard, it was a two possession game. This was even despite an unofficial (3) times fouling a 3-point shooter, including the groan-inducing mid-court foul with Rajon Rondo launching a prayer.
However---talent alone will not win important games---and the Hawks lack of practice and apparent lack of interest in resolving their fatal flaws to date indicate that they will take their chances with how they do things today---and hope that post game words and shoulder shrugs will overcome the very problems that are causing losses today.
Al Horford, Maurice Evans, Zaza Pachulia, Josh Smith, and Solomon Jones combined for a throat gagging 12-43 from the field. (28) percent shooting from your frontcourt players isn't a statistical winning indicator in our books. Combine that with the Celtics big guys shooting 25-39 (64 percent for you Florida grads) and you wonder how in the world this game was still in doubt into the fourth quarter.
Horford continues to rush shots, fadeaway, make himself small inside, and generally becoming the antithesis of the player he actually needs to be for the Hawks. We understand that he is not getting many plays called for him night after night, but now we have to admit that he isn't giving any reason for them to do it---though we do argue that it doesn't stop other player from being allowed to commit the same mistakes over and over without taking away their plays.
It wasn't just Horford---Boston's aggressiveness made the Hawks take a lot of uncomfortable shots. This is a trend that almost all playoff teams have; to play energetic team defense which lowers the potential chance for the opposition to make their shots.
The Hawks have yet to adopt this principle for their own team. In fact, the Celtics had plenty of high percentage open shots to choose from. Rajon Rondo was treated like he was Flubber West out there---now he has had issues shooting, but Josh Smith not challenging him on (2) mid range jump shots was just lazy--and Rondo made him and the Hawks pay.
Something has to change---or the result will be an early playoff death.
The HHB is going outside to practice team free throws--we are a team dedicated to fixing our fatal flaws---other areas of improvement can be noted in the Comments Area.
Feb 27: Magic vs Hawks
2 hours ago