Quick Thought: Leave the game tape. Take the victory.
Alternate Headline: Hey, the Hawks aren't the only team who can't figure out what works best for them and that 30 footers don't!
All you need to know is that the winner of this game shot exactly 40 percent, the two teams combined to take over 60 three pointer despite both shooting comfortably inside of 25 percent of them successfully, Al Horford got hurt and only played 20 minutes, and that LeBron James, who had easily gotten to the rim against any and all Hawks, decided that increasing the degree of difficulty would obviously help more than taking the easy way out by simply continuing to bludgeon the Hawks inside.
It was an ugly game.
But, Joe Johnson made three good plays in a row down the stretch in overtime---a heady drive and kick to Jamal for a three when the game glitched and the Heat weren't paying attention to Joe until he drove to the hoop in transition, a strong take to the hoop where he bumped LeBron off balance and hit a baseline floater, and a terrific pass to Josh Smith out of a nearly half court double team, and Smoove finishing the play.
Those three plays were two more than the Heat made, where they decided that LeBron had to keep on taking looooong three point attempts to win. Only one of those three went in and the Hawks hit the free throws down the stretch to win.
You have to use your imagination in this game to find some solid, no-flaw stars, so let's start with Jamal Crawford, who did his spark-off-the-bench thing and made some nice shots, including bagging the aforementioned late-game Glitch three. Crawford's 8-15 night would get an A+ if we graded on a curve, given the brick tossing that was going on in Miami tonight.
Joe Johnson was 8-24 and 0-6 behind the arc, but made the big plays late, including the shot that tied it up in regulation to help send it into overtime. 10 assists in this game seems like 20. Would like to see him get more than (2) non-seal-the-game free throws, but considering the Hawks only had (3) free throws going into the fourth quarter, I can't be surprised. Hey, he got his call for the year last night against Sacramento!
Also in the 33 percent shooting club was Josh Smith, who wouldn't be included on here except he took the ball to the rim in two critical plays. One, with 3:06 left in the game, Smith took a pass on the run, cupped it, and then made Joel Anthony pay for his existence on earth. Smith dunk on Joel only was replayed 100 or so times, each time showing Smith hanging in the air, taking a smack to the face, and then ripping the ball through the hoop. Smith also made the key lay-in off the Joe pass out of the double team and made all three of his free throws late. On a normal night, he would be relegated to the "Also" section for his relentless missing of outside shots...tonight, I show grace.
Anthony stepped on Horford's ankle in the third quarter, giving Al the rest of the night off. Al had an amazing (9) rebounds in his 20 minutes, but Anthony equaled him by grabbing (16) in his (38) minutes including (8) offensive boards. Anthony had (3) blocks, (5) fouls, and not a single shot attempt or free throw attempt in all that time. You think that LeBron or Dwyane Wade (40 shots, 23 free attempts between them) like a guy who gives them extra shots and doesn't want any for himself? Me, too.
Speaking of Wade....did he lose a coin flip with James to not take a single shot in the last 7:14 seconds of the game? Wade was 8-20, sure, but James was 11-30, and they both stunk taking 3-pt shots (2-14 combined).
Hey, maybe with 5:22 left in a close game on the road against a division rival isn't the best time to see if Jordan Crawford can give you something. He hadn't played since January 8th in a game and Shazaam! There he was. Fitting right into the flow of the game, he missed a 23 footer and got yanked for Mo Evans after his almost two minutes shift.
Mo Evans himself had a roller coaster game....hitting a couple of free throws late in the fourth quarter, knocking down a big three in OT, and then corralling an offensive rebound and putting in the follow up to give the Hawks a three point lead with 3 minutes left in OT. All of that helped balance out a sequence where Evans badly missed a three and then made a Mario West like half court blocking foul that was closer to resembling a red-line check in hockey than a defensive play on LeBron James, giving the not-so-hot shooter a couple of freebies with 54 seconds left in regulation.
Finally, Get well soon, Al. The team won't win many like this if you're out long.