Initial Reaction: Atlanta Hawks 95, Milwaukee Bucks 80

Quick Thought: Good to see Jeff Teague tonight....very good.

Summary:

Why did the Hawks win tonight where they didn't win in New Orleans the night before? Hmmmm.....

Some differences:

Jeff Teague played against Milwaukee. He didn't against New Orleans. 

Josh Powell did not play against Milwaukee, but played against New Orleans.

Mike Bibby played 41 minutes Sunday night in New Orleans, but rested easy at 23 minutes against the Bucks.

Jason Collins started tonight and Marvin Williams came off the bench.

Al Horford Monday night stayed out of the "foul trouble" he got into in New Orleans and played 41 minutes versus 28 against the Hornets.

 

Those were some of the biggest differences that could be ascertained visually. It looked like the were getting better shots with more movement, but had to look at the box score to see if that was a difference after all.

In New Orleans the Hawks shot 47 shots from beyond (16) feet, and they made (18) of them. That's 38%. Those comprised 64 percent of their shots, way above the 52.1% average for the season.

In Milwaukee the Hawks shot 40 shots beyond (16) feet and they made (20) of them. This Florida grad says that's 50 percent. Those shots comprised (53) percent of their attempts, pretty close to the number for their average.

Well, that's...something....less shots from the tougher distances and making more of them. That's definitely better.

But wait! The Hawks shot 11-26 inside of (16) feet against New Orleans, a wretched 42.3 percent from that range, way off from the 52.8 they usually score from there. Against Milwaukee, this came back to normal, with 18 of 35 shots going in, a number of 51.4 percent.

So, the took less harder shots and made a higher percentage of the ones they did take, and took and made more from where it theoretically easier.

Now a twist---despite being more effective scoring, the Hawks scored the same percentage of points in the paint and free throw line combined in both the New Orleans and Milwaukee games. (47.7) against NO and (47.4) against Milwaukee.

The real difference in this game is the fact that Milwaukee may be the worst offensive team in the league and they showed it against a Hawks team that was going to do its best not to get caught flatfooted two nights in a row.

The Bucks are dead last in offensive efficiency and eFG% and nothing changed Monday night against the good guys. Milwaukee shot 37 percent overall, including 27 percent from three point territory. The had a mere (16) assists which is in-line with their league worst assist rate.

Even Andrew Bogut was highly inefficient, scoring 14 points while shooting (19) times. The Bucks bench, which had given a huge lift when beating the Hawks in the ATL last time, was toothless, unable to provide any meaningful run to get back into the game after their team fell way behind early.

The Hawks did what good team ought to do against a ineffective team like Milwaukee: Don't beat yourself, move the ball, and take good shots. Make the team who struggles offensively work for shots in the half court rather than make a ton of mistakes and give them easy baskets. And when they miss as often as they do, beat them to the boards. 

The Hawks didn't do anything extraordinary from what they've done all season, but they did all of the things they needed to not beat themselves. Ballgame.

The Stars:

Jeff Teague had the play of the game when, with 9:22 left in the game and the Hawks up eight, Earl Boykins stole Jeff's pass and went the other way. The ball went up ahead to Jon Brockman, who thought he had an easy layup to cut the Hawks' lead to six. 

It was not such a good game for Brockman who earlier in the game had shot a prodigiously bad airball during a free throw attempt. It would be a sign of things to come.

As Brockman gently lay the ball up for his bucket, Teague swooped in and did his best Josh Smith impression, swatting the shot off the glass. As the loose ball was saved, Teague was the one who scooped up the ball and raced down the court with a full head of steam. As he entered the lane, he flipped the ball to Horford, who laid it in and stretched the lead back up to 10. The Bucks would never be closer than (9) points again. Game Over.

Marvin Williams also gave good minutes off the bench, lending further strength to the Marvin-off-the-bench campaign that the man himself may not enjoy. Marvin scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting and pulled in 5 rebounds in his 24 minutes of work. He may not like coming off the bench, but as long as he is closing games on the floor, I'm good with it.

And I'm okay with it as long as Jason Collins can provide solid rebounding in his starting slot. Getting (31) minutes, Collins had (12) rebounds and has to be credited with helping keep Bogut inefficient offensively. Also, Collins is creating turnovers by getting run over by opposing players on defense, including two in a three minute span in the middle of the third quarter. He has to produce like that to make up for the zero (and that's being kind) that he is offensively.

I'm getting bored putting Al Horford's name up here in this space, but when the team gives the man (7) fourth quarter shots after shafting him the previous night, and the man comes through with (4) makes there to help close out the game, you have to acknowledge. Being on the floor (41) minutes, Al was able to pile up the counting stats, 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

Also:

Though Horford has been the man this season, his migration outside is obvious. Horford now takes 6.2 shots a game from beyond 10 feet, whereas last season he attempted only 3.6 shots per game from that range. Last season, Al took 6.7 or (65 percent) of his shots inside of 10 feet---now those shots account for almost half (49.6 percent) of his attempts.

I believe this is due to the fact that he actually gets the ball, sometimes, in the offense, whereas last season he was relegated to janitorial duty when on the floor offensively. His extra shots per game this season (a whopping two more per game) have gone to that well practiced and definitely deadly outside shot. When teams start to adjust, watch out for Al pulling a show and go and getting to the rim and the free throw line more often. Boss.

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