Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Hawks lost for the second straight time Friday night and their lack of energy particularly on the defensive end has head coach Larry Drew concerned.
"I'm very concerned," Drew said. "I'm so concerned that I've got to think about the lineup now. That's three out of four (losses) but I'm more concerned about our energy. That is what concerns me the most. I can take losing but if we don't bring the energy, if we don't bring the juice, that's when I really have to look at things and I'm certainly going to do that. I may have to take a look at our lineup."
Given that Drew changes the Hawks' lineup regularly he may have to look elsewhere for improved energy. If you take a look at the last four losses Atlanta just hasn't played well in any real area. They have trailed by 17 points in all three losses and needed overtime to escape the three win Wizards. It is the first real rough patch of the 2012-13 season for this club that has surprised many with a very good start.
The Hawks have surrendered 100 points in two of the last three losses and narrowly avoided that against the Sixers. While effort and energy certainly has played a part the inability to matchup against small forwards like Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes and now Thad Young also hurt.
Atlanta has also taken a step backwards offensively and finally bottomed out against the Sixers. Al Horford talked about what the Hawks need to do offensively following Friday's loss:
"I think we need to stay true to what has been working for us and it's moving the ball of offense, sharing the ball offensively and playing good team defense. I think that it was very obvious that we didn't do that as we have in the past. We have to get back on track."
"One of the things is we are trying to do a lot of isolations and things like that," Horford said. "When we are most effective is when we are continually moving the ball, we are cutting to the basket and we are attacking. That's when we are at our best. On defense, we just have to do a better job period."
It was inevitable that a rough patch find the Hawks as all teams go through them at some point. The question is how quickly can Atlanta figure things out and get back to playing a winning brand of basketball? Things certainly don't get any easier on Saturday when they return home to face the Chicago Bulls to wrap up a four-game in five nights stretch.
Exit Question: Is it time to panic or is this simply just something that each and every team goes through over the course of a season?