Josh Smith is nice. He really is. A game like this the day after all-star reserves and some real feelings would have been hurt. Apologies would have actually had to be issued. And coaches would rather quit than apologize. So it is a good thing. Because Josh allowed the Hawks to play six on five for most of the game. And certainly for all of the fourth quarter. At one point, I actually saw Brad Miller cuss as a Bulls jump shot went up because he knew Josh was going to jump over him. I don't know what the lowest usage rate is for a triple double, but Josh had to of challenge that record tonight. He pissed excellence, and in doing so, pissed on the all star game. Hats off.
The difference in the game was 14 turnovers to 8 and 9 offensive rebounds to 14. This is the definition of the focus and effort. It is why I say it every dang recap. Against elite teams, the Hawks have to game plan well, but they are good enough these days to win most nights with focus and energy. But it should be noted, everyone else was normal. Which goes to show you, Josh Smith's exceptional is game changing. Someone important should file this away. Pull it out for the next thirty-three games.
The third quarter fake collapse
Lets not pretend the Hawks past two third quarters were ok. Third quarters like the last two nights lead to 20 point losses to the Magic. You can be impressed Atlanta does not freak out or implode, but you can't pretend they are good enough to mail in whole quarter against elite teams.
I have a hard time blaming attitude when the Hawks respond so quickly in the fourth or even energy since they are not so much better than the Bulls or Clippers that they can just flip a switch and dominate. The effort and attitude were failing in the third and succeeding in the fourth.
Instead, I think it is a focus issue. And in all honesty, I wish Woody had a rotation with the bench that resembled the first half more. Where the second unit starts coming in during the third and starts the fourth. It could cut down on starters minutes and give the first unit a mind set that they can go full bore for those first 8 minutes knowing they are getting a rest before a final push.
- At home, the Hawks shot 11 free throws. Two of those were for a clear path. That is insane. The Bulls would have only fouled out one guy if only one guy could take on fouls at a time.
- Mike Bibby dark horse second most vital player tonight.
- It baffles my mind that the Bulls get into a half court offense. How Mike D'Antoni did not take over this team is a crime against humanity. (I wrote that before I heard Jon Barry say that. Now I feel dirty.)
- Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford both like making shots harder. The difference is Jamal Crawford looks for the foul in the process. Both are uncanny at hitting self induced impossible shots.
- Mic'd up Mike Woodson, defend first, rebound second, and then run. I actually love that. Let's do that. Why don't we do that?
- Rose is incredible. I was more than impressed. I have nothing bad to say about him. Jon Barry's verbal masturbation over him on the other hand leaves a little to be desired.
- For as many minutes as Marvin Williams is playing, he is actually putting up pretty dang good stats.
- The Hawks doubled Rose on the inbound to start the second half. He broke it with one step. It was the most impressive breaking of a semi-press I have ever seen.
- Joe Johnson not dribbling around is nice for a lot of reasons, but another one is that the opponents cannot set up for defensive rebounds on quick shots.