Quick Thought: Holy cow -- where's the Tylenol?
I thought that, while it's easy to say there was no defense, it's more direct to say there was better offense. Both teams shot over 60-percent --- on three-point shots.
Carmelo did hit a variety of shots, including some too-easy drives to the basket, as the Hawks struggled to find a single person to cover the man. Anthony scoring 39 points on 32 shots tells you both that the Hawks never could find that man and when they did occasionally defending him well, he made the shot anyway.
The jagged gameflow captures the picture of the back and forth game so well. Every time either team made a run, the other was back at it, grabbing the supposed momentum and so it went.
Really thought the game came down to this: That the Hawks, who had seemed so effective in letting Jeff Teague get the ball and abuse the lack of players on the Knicks roster who could keep him in front of the defense, relied too much on Iso-Joe late, overly deferring to a player that New York was not going to let beat them -- and he didn't.
Loved, loved, loved seeing Anthony and company trying to make a point of getting to Teague's head. Does anything say that someone is having an impact than the other team resorting to mind games to shake a player's game?
Teague's 23 points, six assists and five steals show why the Knicks resorted to such tactics to slow him down. It's both hard and easy to understand why Larry Drew played the same guy the Knicks turned their full attention to only 20 minutes against Boston the other night. Teague is still growing, and is now experiencing some of the tests that he should have gone through before this season if not for the lack of trust in young points guards the Hawks have embraced going back through the Mike Woodson era.
Marvin Williams had it going -- back in the starting lineup as Josh Smith had to play center, Marvin was on target all night, shooting 10-14 for 29 points and 11 rebounds. Marvin also provided three blocks on the night, showing the entirety of his athleticism against New York.
Jannero Pargo had it going, too, as was the case it seemed for all shooters for the game. Pargo made 4-6 shots from three-point range, but really struggled with the feed pass into the post. Pargo typically picks up his dribble too-far away from a proper entry point to the post, making for odd angles that are prone to a defender poking the pass away.
Joe was very good shooting, 9-14 for the game, and would have been better served late being on the receiving end of a Teague dribble/kick-out. The Hawks were actually over a point per possession on isolations, according to MySynergySports.com, but was even better on spot-ups, scoring 1.36 points per possession.
By contrast, the Knicks were horrible in isolation, shooting 5-20 on those plays, but were a perfect 6-6 on three-pointers in spot-up. Who'd have thought that Steve Novak and J.R. Smith would have only two three-pointers between them, but the Knicks would have 12 overall (on 19 shots) anyway?
It was a game of almosts for Josh Smith, who had a number of good looks around the basket rim-out. In a stat-stuffing game, Josh fell silent, grabbing only five boards and scoring 14 points. His three blocks were welcome, but Josh never seemed to be able to make an impact offensively. Even the attempts to get him the ball in transition were a little off, not allowing the easy hoops that might have gotten him going.
Teague nearly brought the thunder at an emotional high-point of the game -- he sprinted down the lane and attempted a rim-crashing dunk that would have brought the house down, but instead it went off the back of the rim (and the front and the back again) and instead the Highlight Factory's balloon let out an audible "ohhhhhh".
Home court is still in play, being one game ahead of the C's, but it hurts not to get this one. Playoff intensity, chippy play, great shot-making -- makes the post season seem so near and love that, once again, the Hawks will be tough participants. As teams like Houston are eliminated, I'm thankful the Hawks are making another relevant run with a team that can be oh-so-fun to watch.