The Atlanta Hawks came away Saturday night with what will stand out to many as the worst loss of the season. The Hawks blew a 19 point second quarter lead by being outscored 33-9 in the third quarter to the hated Boston Celtics. Atlanta missed out on an opportunity to make a statement and instead placed a lot of doubt on the good start to the 2012-13 season.
On Sunday, the Hawks took steps that will hopefully prevent such events from happening again by holding a team meeting and "air some things" according to head coach Larry Drew.
"We just watched film today. As painful as it was to watch, it was very, very productive. After we watched, we had some very good dialog amongst the group. I mean really good. I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I wish we could have won the game last night because we played well the first half and then we didn't play well the second half and came away with a loss. But that brought this meeting today. ... The guys had a chance to talk about some things and air some things. It was very productive."
One of the biggest question marks coming into the season was how all of the new faces for Atlanta would mesh together. It is still certainly a valid question with so many players in the last year of their contracts and nothing certain that their stay with the Hawks will go on beyond this season. Instead the Hawks have gotten off to a tremendous start and have credited the team chemistry and every opportunity.
In Saturday's loss it looked like some of that chemistry unraveled. On more than one occasion players continued to discuss things well into the timeout. Lou Williams through up his hands after not receiving a pass from Josh Smith in the fourth quarter. Jeff Teague had an on court discussion with Smith at one point as well. Drew described the situation as the team fragmenting.
"You can't expect to play well every game. This game is a game of runs. But when you do go through stretches where things aren't going well you pull together. You don't fragment. Last night, we fragmented. That was very discouraging. When you fragment, you start looking like a soft team and you start pointing figures and you start making up excuses. We fragmented last night.
According to Drew the meeting was a productive one and that the issues were discussed professionally without degrading anyone. He hinted that situations like this weren't always handled as productively in the past.
"In the past this type meeting would have resulted in some tempers flaring in there. It was very professional. I've got a very mature group. Guys said what they felt. There was no bickering. There were no hard feelings. Everybody was shaking their head in agreement. It was very, very professional. ... Sometimes it takes a game like that to humble you a little bit. They voiced their opinions about different things. It was very professional. It was unfortunate that we had take an L to bring us together like that. But like I said, things happen for a reason and maybe that was the reason."
Over the course of an 82 game season every team will likely go through something like this. Internal team meetings are both necessary and important. They can serve as a turning point. The question is which way will the Hawks go? Often times heading out on the road after a situation like this is the best thing as it brings everyone closer together and eliminates distractions.