We'll make this simple.
Hawks start slow.
Hawks come back and lead game.
Dallas goes zone.
Hawks shoot jump shots.
Dallas scores, and scores, and takes the lead.
A late technical foul helps game into overtime.
Dallas stays in zone.
Atlanta remains outside, missing jump shots.
Dallas remains outside, making jump shots.
Dallas scoring, Hawks snoring.
It's fitting that Jason Terry was in the house tonight, because we have to give a Jason Terry tip-of-the-cap to Jason Kidd, who absolutely, without question, won this game for the Mavs.
Yes, yes, Dirk Nowitzki was great--(37 points on 15-26 shooting). But Kidd had an unreal triple-double, laying down a 19/17/16 line--the first of such kind since Magic Johnson did the trick in 1989.
When Kidd entered the game in the fourth quarter, the Hawks held an 86-71 lead with 8:23 left to play. From that point on, the Mavericks outscored the Hawks 40-17. Kidd had (9) points and (7) assists the rest of the way, including a sure-to-be-discussed play where Kidd saw Mike Woodson directing his team on the court, ran full speed towards the coach, then threw a forearm into Woodson while he had just barely made it back off the court. Not only did Kidd get away with initiating contact like that, the Mavericks were awarded a technical foul for interference on Woodson.
Some call this veteran or savvy. We call it a "jerk" move.
Woodson was off the court, Kidd initiated contact, with a forearm shiver no less. It's not basketball, yet there it was.
Still, it had nothing to do with Kidd killing the Hawks with threes (3 of them in that run) or leading the charge of standing around in a zone while the Hawks continued to try to shoot over it with no success over and over again. And it certainly didn't take away from the statistically incredible night Kidd had. Bravo.
There will be plenty--there often is in games such as this. You can point to Woodson for his lack of adjustments to the zone or his sojourn onto the court which led to the Kidd nonsense.
Al Horford was terrible all night---losing Haywood on the glass, shooting 4-16 and missing a free throw down the stretch. He had his shot blocked (4) times, making himself awfully small around the hoop. His ineffectiveness was especially painful given the shooting struggles the Hawks had late.
Joe Johnson had a statistically tremendous game (27 points, 10 assists, 11-21 shooting), but he forced shots late and had a forgettable bit of basketball late that helped force overtime. Johnson was backing Barea down in the post, leveraging more than one forearm to Barea's chest in doing so, and then missed the short range shot. Johnson jogged back down and then, with his feet out of position, lost Jason Terry as the Jet took the ball baseline. Josh Smith rushed down to help only to watch Terry zip the ball back out to the top to Nowitzki, who slung it over to Kidd who hit yet another three pointer to give the Mavericks a two point lead.
Jamal Crawford took nine 3-pointers and missed seven of them. His coldness enabled a team high (low?) -14 for the night.
The team's transition defense was shaky throughout the game, which especially hurt when those long jump shots (The Hawks attempted 26 threes, 9 more than their average per game) went the other way. The ESPN TV team of Dan Shulman and Hubie Brown were calling them One and Done and the Mavericks were taking advantage the other way.
When teams go zone, one of the keys is to attack the middle, penetrate, get to the line. The Hawks decided they would shoot over it, and it failed. At the time that Kidd checked back into the game, the Hawks had attempted (18) free throws. For the last (13) minutes of the game, they would attempt (3) more and make only one.
Any NBA player will tell you about how teams always make runs, which is why it's so surprising that those same players on the court seem to forget that when they have a big lead. It's too bad tonight, because the Hawks had overcome their early game misery to play fantastic basketball, especially Josh Smith, who put an 18/11/8/7 (steals) up for the home team, only to watch himself fall into the same traps the team falls into--the chase for the glory of the made jump shot. They were in position to drop the 4th best Western Conference team--and let it go.
Zones, Jump Shots, and Jason Kidd.
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