Saturday, March 6, 2010

GS-ATL Game Review: Core Discipline

The Golden State Warriors had played (2) games prior to Friday night's 127-122 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Philips Arena in which they had made over (50) percent of their field goals, (40) percent of their 3-pointers, and (80) percent of their free throws, all while turning the ball over (11) times or less.

In the first of these games, in Milwaukee, the Warriors lost due to being outrebounded on the offensive glass 15-2 by the Bucks and 46-31 overall. The additional (9) shots plus Brandon Jennings seasonal epic (55) point game cost them an early season road win.

The next instance, a home game in February against the Kings, Golden State blew Sacramento's doors off, 130-98, behind (89) points between the three guards (Stephen Curry, CJ Watson, and Anthony Morrow).

Against the Hawks on the road, the Warriors arguably played a better game than they did when they came back from (18) against ATL in their own house and won. They had more three pointers made (11-3), fewer turnovers (11-13), and more offensive rebounds (14-9).

What was different for the Warriors tonight is that the Hawks, despite the Warriors great success at making shots and getting freaky rebounds on the offensive end, stuck with what worked all night long--going inside--and got the win.

For the most part, the Hawks worked from the inside-out, as no Warrior was able to match up successfully with Josh Smith or Al Horford. Between the two big men, the Hawks shot 20-30, 16-23, for (56) points and (24) rebounds, (9) of which were offensive. Adding to the frontcourt dominance was Marvin Williams, who matched his frontcourt brethren with (9) offensive rebounds of his own.

For the Hawks, it was a must not to ignore the size advantage the team had over their visitors. It showed good, selfless team play on the part of the volume shooting guards to use this considerable leverage to win the game, especially in light of the outside shooting of their counterparts. The Hawks outscored the Warriors 52-38 in the paint, and few of the Warriors paint points were out of the half court set, scoring many on their (31) fast break points.

When the Hawks needed big buckets late in the game, when the Warriors simply wouldn't stop making jump shots, they went into Horford, who delivered with a quick move to the basket for one score and two clutch free throws. Smith added two more later to seal the deal.

The success of the inside game was augmented by the outside shooting of Mike Bibby, who was a happy recipient of wide open shots with Oakland sagging in to protect what they could of the paint. Bibby had a season high (7) made three pointers and (23) points, besting his previous season high against PHL in November. Such accuracy helped make up for the lack of hoop luck for Joe Johnson, who needed (14) shots to get to double digits in scoring (3-14).

Also not-hot was Jamal Crawford, who had (2) points through three quarters, but finished strong with (12) fourth quarter points, 5-13 shooting overall. But while being cold from the floor, Crawford and Johnson combined for (13) assists in what was a good ball movement game all around for the home team (27 assists).

Some for you and some for you

As good as the Warriors were, the Hawks were better due to using their strength. In a similar look at the Hawks prowess when hitting the 50/50/75/less than 10 turnover objectives they produced against Golden State, the Hawks have won both times they accomplished the same this season. This first was the home win against Toronto and the other was the recent win at Utah.

We're confused how Stephen Curry "only" averages 15.6 points per game overall in the league as he went over thirty points (31) against against the Hawks for the second game in a row. Curry put (32) in against the Hawks in Oakland and did it both times while shooting over (50) percent (13-18/11-19). Curry dished out (11) assists while committing (7) of the Warriors (11) turnovers on the night, all while doing what THHB calls "pitching a complete game"--playing all (48) minutes. No Hawk has done that since the '07-'08 season when, surprise, Joe Johnson played every minute against the Bulls in a 103-94 loss in Chicago. It was Curry's 4th complete game of the year.

Enjoy the highlights:


2 comments:

rbubp said...

I missed this game, so my comment will be a hypothesis: I surmise that shooting inside shots also allowed the potential for offensive rebounds for the Hawks while denying the Warriors long rebound chances that they were more likely to get...and thus fast-break points as well.

So Woody gets a kudo for actually adjusting his strategy, and the team for actually staying with it?

THHB said...

Rbubp,

You're absolutely right--funny as it sounds to praise the staff and players for doing so--we just haven't seen that kind of resolve often this season.