Monday, March 30, 2009

Simple Answers

"If the Hawks weren't hitting their threes and the Lakers could make a shot, this would be an even game!"

--Dominique Wilkins, on the telecast of the Hawks-Lakers, Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Sometimes, the answer to the question, why did they win or lose, is pretty simple. For the Hawks 89-79 victory over the Lakers, it was as simple as THHF quoth above.

The Hawks made 10-19 3's---which means they were 23-65 from everywhere else on the floor (35 percent, everybody!). We can thank Mike Bibby and Mo Evans for being so money from Extra Point Territory (8-11), because Joe Johnson and RFM were not (2-7).

Not even the front court players could help the Hawks woeful shooting as Josh Smith and Al Horford continued their sub par shooting ways (4-17).

The HHB has noted often that Horford is rushing his moves and shots inside---this was no better illustrated than when Horford backed down, turned into the lane, had no competition for a dunk or baby hook, and he seemed to let the ball go on the way up. Horford is making himself small inside again---when he learns to use his height, reach, and gets patient on committing and making his moves, he will be a force. Until then, he is making it easy on the defense by altering his own shot.

In Horford's defense, he doesn't get many opportunities to work on his moves during an actual game. That the Lakers ran more post plays for Josh Powell than Horford gets from the Hawks should tell you that Woodson wants Horford to do all the dirty work, period---and get a bone once or twice a game.

As for Smith, well, we're going to pass on making the same comments we've made recently about Smith. He was all over the place (although not as all over the place as "Flubber" West, who somehow managed to score as many points as Horford) and not always in a good way. That his missed dunk was the least troubling of his mistakes should speak volumes, though it's unlikely that Smith even noticed. Smith did seem to make an effort on the defensive boards (8 of those, 11 total), which aided the Birds in the "upset".

Johnson's bad night could be chalked up to guarding Kobe Bryant, who struggled himself from the field (7-19). We don't know the actual impact of focusing more on one end of the floor, energy wise, that the other---we'll leave that kind of analytical scrutiny to smarter corners of the Hawks world (Hoopinion), but even so Johnson launched 18 shots (4 passed through the net), so he wasn't bashful even if he were tired from his efforts on Bryant.

But to speak to the other part of Wilkins' analysis, there were a lot of open shots that the Lakers simply missed.

Even though the Hawks seemed to move with more energy, which isn't always equal to efficiency, the Lakers missed a wide variety of open looks, including Kobe, who was not particularly covered when missing (5) of (6) three-pointers.

Down the stretch, when the Hawk shifted into the run-the-clock-down-under-ten-seconds-then-shoot-an-almost-unwatchable-shot mode, the Lakers still couldn't pull any closer or put any pressure on the Hawks to do something resembling anything on offense.

It's nice that the Hawks finally caught a team on a road trip that played like it, but the (10) point win over one of the better teams didn't exactly assuage concerns about the Hawks playing better basketball.

The HHB has a happy emoticon for this win, really, we do---doubters can leave their objections in the Comments Area.

1 comment:

CoCo said...

"Down the stretch, when the Hawk shifted into the run-the-clock-down-under-ten-seconds-then-shoot-an-almost-unwatchable-shot mode"
hahahahahahahahah! Just the laugh I needed!