Out rebounded, out schemed, out hustled, out executed, out coached. To actually go through each facet would be absurd. It would certainly over reach since the Hawks are not as bad as they showed this afternoon. Which is a good thing, since they were New Jersey Nets bad today.
Rebounding of course told the story of the game. Detroit had 24 offensive rebounds. Atlanta had 27 total rebounds. That is like your friend dating more super models than you have seen in magazines. The front court was out hustled to be sure and the Pistons took advantage of the refs propensity to not blow the whistle for either side. Still, it is tough to put the onus on Al Horford and Josh Smith alone. At least they were forced to give some effort. They battled on box outs and had to play help defense on slashing guards. None of the front court even tried. I cannot say I ever expect much from Mike Bibby or Jamal Crawford so maybe Joe and Marvin get the wrath simply for being guilty of expectations but they were the most pathetic players in a pretty darn pathetic game.
Between Marvin and Joe, they had four total rebounds. Marvin was timid and Joe was disinterested, and when it comes to defense, I have no time for either. That is worse than ball hogging or cold shooting or bad shot selection. It is just poor effort, and I hope the team looks at the film and finds it unacceptable and gives a little post game newspaper quote saying so.
The Hawks were outplayed. There is enough blame to go around for weeks. I could do a 72 part series on it. To say one guy deserves it more, how this was a loss of coaching or Joe or even rebounding is a bit absurd. After all, the Hawks were a fast break away from having a chance to win this game despite all the horribleness. No one person was to blame. Everyone was to blame.
What I don't get is how little Mike Woodson adjusted to the universal horribleness. Bad shooting nights will happen, rebounding mismatches spring up, every non exceptional NBA player mails in a game or four during the season. I get that. I don't freak out about that. But the Hawks basically played seven guys. They literally played seven guys after halftime. I just don't understand the "well they got us into this mess, they need to get us out" style of coaching.
Yes, the Hawks starters were better than the Pistons, but not when Detroit is getting two shots every time down the court. Mike Woodson let it happen for the entire game. He hoped it would change. That was his strategy. And that...that is not coaching. I don't think Joe Smith or Jason Collins are going to win us many games, but this might have been the one where it actually happened. I don't know how well we could have held up offensively with Maurice Evans in the game, but I know he would have skied for rebounds. And I am not sure how effective the half court sets would have been with Jeff Teague in the game, but I know he is quick enough to keep a Piston guard in front of him more than one out of every four drives so Horford and Josh did not have to go flying off their man every time.
The bench might not have won the game, but the Hawks lost anyway and they lost the same way for four quarters. If your game plan is "play our six players the way we always play them," well I guess you can chalk today up as hiccup in an other wise perfect strategy.
In the end, the Hawks did not deserve to win, the fact that it was close just represents how ridiculously bad this lose really was. They certainly happen, it just does not help the psyche of the fans or team any time it happens. And really, you can only waste so many 11-15 shooting nights from Josh Smith before you start to realize this is a team that will live by Joe Johnson and has no problem dying by him either.