San Antonio Spurs 102, Atlanta Hawks 92 or where Tony Parker shows one man teams are still scary

Box Score

Recap

In retrospect, that Mario West strip of Tony Parker for an easy lay up was not as big of a deal as I thought at the time.

Maybe we should start with what went right:

  1. We held Oberto scoreless.
  2. Hot Flip wanted some more action.
  3. Conceivably, Tony Parker might not have shot as well as the box score indicates because at least one of the four goal tends probably would not have gone in.
  4. The Hawks are officially in the playoffs.

Ok, I think I hit just about everything. Very easy to be thorough in this section. On to the bad. 

Switching

I understand the concept. I know some players have talked about how jarring it is. The Hawks have a bunch of long, athletic players that can guard a multitude of defenders. I just don't understand how a coach can stay with a strategy for so long that is obviously flawed.

It was not as if the Hawks were unlucky that Horford randomly kept finding himself on Parker with the shot clock winding down. That is what some NBA coaches call "by design." Unfortunately, Woodson played most of the first three quarters hoping his luck would change.

And its not like the Hawks can't just change up their defense. They can go under and/or fight through screens. I have seen Acie Law be benched for such activity. They could even trap the ball, but the one time i remember seeing them do that, the Hawks still switched defenders and Zaza guarded Tony the rest of the possession.

Excuse me while I go see if any liquor stores are open.

****Update*****

Coach Woodson wants Horford to get better at guarding point guards.

“We’ve just got to get better individually on the ball. And we had some slippage in that area.”

Josh Smith

Continuing the duel theme of being out coached and outplayed. The Spurs' strategy to illegally harass Josh Smith anytime he was near the basket was genius. The most common results from this style of play were:

  • Josh Smith went to the free throw line.
  • Josh Smith was fouled and went uncalled causing him to miss the shot and pout for two possession on defense. 
  • Josh Smith settled for jump shots.
  • Josh Smith turned the ball over.
  • Josh Smith pressed.
  • Josh Smith pass out of the post.

Only the last outcome has any positive for the Hawks valued at over 50%. It is also the least likely.

Dwayne Wade

Now that it is official that one player can beat the Hawks, the Miami heat are much scarier.

The way the ball bounces: a coaching style

Al Horford and Joe Johnson had a bunch of open looks around the rim that just did not fall. Joe still had a really good night, but he probably left 8 points out there on gimmies (at least gimmies for Joe, if I hit any of those shots, I would rip my shirt off in celebration). Al just plain missed. He started out 2-3 and failed to convert on his last six shots. They just bounced the wrong way on the rim.

It seems it was like that all night. Rebounds in a Hawk's hand slipped out. Long boards barely fell out of the reach of a Hawk player. 1/4 a step to late to pick up a charge that might make the game interesting. The Hawks just did not get any breaks tonight.

Except I guess one, the fact that Tim Duncan sat on the bench, Manu Ginobili might as well have, the Spurs were coming off a difficult game last night, and the Hawks were playing at home. So I guess that is more like five breaks, but still.

So it seemed to me Mike Woodson simply coached hoping those loose balls would be run down, those almost rebounds would be rebounds, and those floaters bouncing around the rim would somehow bounce in.

Because I would say only Josh Smith had a bad night. Horford had an off night. Joe, Flip, Mo, and Zaza all turned in at least average performances. And so out of that Woody hoped the ball would bounce right, and it didn't.

Because I can think of nothing the Hawks coach did to help the team win. He did not pursue advantages or hinder disadvantages. The defense minded coach minded the same defense that was not working the entire night. The game plan going in was in stone, and as Pop carved up an in game masterpiece, Woody just looked tired carrying around his stone tablets.

Comment of the game thread

By Bronn for his twofer "The Spurs call this play "the pick and score" and "It is yet to be seen whether cause any Hawk to cry but that's about it." 

Honorable mention from Duff Man with "If I am dying don't call 911. Call Flip Murray."

Go Hawks!

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