Quick Thought: This game typifies what this team has shown they are capable of turning in throughout the season.
What can you say? The Hawks led early, then never again. Every time they would come a bucket down or try to push themselves past their guests, they would blow a transition opportunity, take a wild shot or not even get a shot at all. This team can play at times like there's plenty of time to flip the switch -- tonight they ran out of time and it served them right.
Despite a stated coaching approach that said the Hawks could attack with penetration, and despite the success gained or at least the good shots they got when they did, too often Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson fired away over and over again, often without even trying to get an easier shot. They didn't take that approach absolutely, but too often considering they 22 percent from long range and 33 percent overall.
Josh played toward the bad end of his considerable spectrum, and Jeff Teague sometimes followed suit. Teague reminds of Smith with some of his defensive risks in trying to jump passing lanes, creating a power play for the opposition. Smith tonight was seen loafing back in transition, not a good look for a guy jacking 5-20 without really taking an aggressive approach.
Smith was the only one who did get to the line, taking eight free throws to lead both teams, but hurt the club by missing half of them. Josh was able to pull down 10 rebounds, but played surprisingly small most of the night, save for a couple of blocks.
Really, holding the Warriors to 41 percent shooting and Monta Ellis to a wretched 10-27 shooting night at Philips Arena should have meant a Hawks win, but much like the theme of the night, no matter how the Hawks helped themselves defensively or otherwise, they would give it right back with lethargic play.
The Hawks seemed to play well below the rim tonight, like a rec league team. The Warriors blocked shot after shot around the rim as every Hawk seemed to poke and prod instead of finishing above the rim. Some of that was Zaza Pachulia, who shot 5-14 because of this, but also contributed 16 rebounds.
Telling that the Hawks shot so poorly from the free throw line, and the Warriors made every free throw they intended to. Joe Johnson was perfect on his four attempts, but Smith, Tracy McGrady, Pachulia and Marvin combined for a 9-19 total.
Just a dud of a game, like a few we've seen before from this team. It's a shame it happened on the first game back off of a break. This team will bounce back, but they are what they are: A better than average team who can take out some of the best while losing to anyone on any given night. The truly top of the league team doesn't do that, but that's not what the Hawks are, is it?