Hawks 91 Wizards 87

Boxscore

Gameflow

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
WASH 88.7 0.98 45.9 10.6 21.7 13.5
ATL 88.7 1.03 44.0 20.2 42.3 19.2

An ugly win. A precious win. I doubt anyone expected a great basketball game to break out between two teams missing 40% of the starting lineups which were expected to lead their teams to the giddy heights of a seven seed in the East were things to break right. I don't think that necessitated such a slow-paced, bad shooting game but it's a pretty good morning when aesthetics are all I have to complain about.

There were plenty of positives for Hawks fans to take away:

  • Zaza Pachulia's pain threshold. He was clearly playing with, at best, 1+ arms. Just giving the Hawks 34 minutes would have been impressive. Spending those 34 minutes grabbing 8 offensive and 10 defensive rebounds was special.
  • Marvin Williams made an effort to fill the void created by Josh Smith and Al Horford's rogue ankles. That effort paid off on the glass (6 offensive and 8 defensive rebounds) even as it (especially early) seemed to wreak havoc with his offensive game. When Marvin's amped up he tends to float on his jumper or try to create things off the dribble. I don't know if he calmed down as the game went on or just got tired from playing the final 34:25 of the game but, in the fourth quarter, we got the best of both worlds from Mr. Williams.
  • Without Mike Bibby's third quarter shooting (7-8 FGA, 1-2 3PTA) the Hawks don't win the game. Joe Johnson spent the 2nd and 3rd quarters missing all 6 of his field goal attempts and committing 4 turnovers. Bibby, himself coming off a 1-5 shooting performance in the 2nd quarter, gave the Hawks the burst of offense that made the three late three-point buckets important.
  • An improved defensive performance, especially in the second half, made the late heroic possible. The Hawks had no one who could check Caron Butler (21 points, 8-13 FGA in the second half) and got some help from the Wizards' inexplicable disinterest in getting Antawn Jamison more than 4 shots in the second half but it was a solid defensive performance overall.
  • Mike Woodson recognized it was a night when Flip Murray was not (despite the blind faith evidence by Bob Rathbun and 'Nique) going to "flip the switch" and limited his minutes. Of course, even held below 20 minutes of playing time, Flip managed to miss 9 shots and commit a turnover but at least he hit that heave at the end of the 1st half and his two free throws to ice the game.

Mike Woodson credited Marvin Williams' role in the victory:

"He was huge tonight. o have to defend Jamison and still to be able to score 21 points and get 14 rebounds, that's a man's night.''

Marvin Williams is impossible to dislike:

"When Al is out there, he's always grabbing rebounds. Somebody has to do it. I guess it was me and Zaza's time.''

Antawn Jamison is understandably frustrated:

"It's the same situation. We're just not closing games out. We're making the same mistakes. We've played it over and over again.''

I think Nick Young and Juan Dixon might be encouraged, the next time the Wizards are in a close game, to give some of those shots they took in the fourth quarter last night to Jamison.

Right, Mr. Jamison?

"I'm not going to sit here and lie. It was frustrating. You've got to find a way to get guys the ball. That's not the reason why we lost, but I would've rather had the opportunity to score the ball."

John Hollinger's also on board this particular train:

Even with Gilbert Arenas opening the season on the shelf (more on that in minute), Washington expected to be in the playoff hunt -- just as it was a year ago. Instead, the Wizards find themselves mired at 1-8 thanks to numerous breakdowns down the stretch.

The most glaring was their inability to get the ball to Antawn Jamison on their last meaningful possession, trailing 89-87. Jamison had the 6-3 Murray on him, giving him a six-inch edge, but Murray fronted and Juan Dixon couldn't or wouldn't loop a pass over the top, instead settling for a contested mid-range J that missed the mark...It was one of several times Jamison had a smaller man on him in the second half and didn't get the rock.

Marvin Williams gave Zaza a longer compliment when talking to Carroll Rogers:

"Game ball has to go to Zaza. The way he steps in and gets 18 rebounds is unbelievable. I’ve been here four years, and I’ve never seen him do that so. He really came out and made it a point, with Al out and Josh out, to rebound the ball tonight.”

An update on Al Horford's ankle sprain:

"If I can’t go to the level that I try to play every night, I’m not going to go because I don’t feel like I’ll be helping the team or myself, either. I want to be out there, being productive, not limping around.”

I applaud you, sir.

Woodson on Josh Smith's return from his ankle sprain:

"He’ll still be another four or five games probably."

Smith's take:

"I want it to be two, three games [before a return], but I’m not going to risk injuring it again and being out longer, because it’s definitely boring. It’s hard to see my teammates out there playing and I’m not able to contribute.”

Either way, my pre-season prediction of 34 wins continues to look foolish.

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