Let's see...a terrible defensive performance, certainly as bad as it can get when you force a turnover on more than one out of every five of your opponent's possessions, an embarrassing rebounding performance* and a near-total offensive meltdown in the fourth quarter. Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, Al Horford isn't making the roadtrip and I'm not convinced that Marvin Williams** is completely healthy either.
*I would not be surprised (though I'm also not going to check two-fifths of a season's worth of boxscores) if that 15.2/63.3 OR%/DR% posted by the Hawks yesterday afternoon was the worst in the NBA this season. That looks like the rebounding performance of a low-major college team against a good rebounding high-major team. Or Michigan State against Kansas on Saturday.
**Marvin's fourth quarter line: 8 trillion.
Sekou adds detail to the ugliness of the day:
A light smattering of boos accompanied the Hawks as they left the floor for the locker room at the end of Sunday’s ugly 109-94 whipping at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I don’t think we’re playing together on either end of the floor. We’re just not helping one another. We’re not playing with any energy, and really, you have to put it on the starting five because we’re not doing [expletive] at the start of these games."
"Orlando took some starch out of us that last game. We’re not competing defensively like we have been. And that’s on me. I have to get them back playing defense because that’s the only [way] we’re going to have a chance to win."
Check the opponent's offensive efficiency at the top of the game recap of each of the last four games the Hawks have won and tell me again that playing defense is the only way the Hawks are going to have a chance to win.
Maurice Evans (emphasis mine):
"We’re just not playing with any intensity, and it’s coming from the way we’re starting these games. You saw Philly jump on us at the start. And then at the end of the game, they were still outrebounding us and getting to all the loose balls when we’re the team that needs to be playing with a sense of urgency. In my opinion, there seems like a complacency on our team right now, like we already clinched a playoff seed or home court advantage or something and we’re barely out of the starting gate of this season."
"All I can tell you is we’re not going to shake this off one man at a time. It has to be us doing it together."
"We controlled the pace of the game for most of the game. Right from the beginning we got out on the break, and I thought we established that.''
"I think both teams were a little tired. We were able to fight through it and get some easy baskets off their turnovers. That was a big part of the game.''
Woodson on Al Horford's injury:
"We’re looking at anywhere from five to 10 days. So it puts some extra pressure on Zaza, Solomon [Jones] and Randolph [Morris]. And we’re probably going to have to look at playing a little more small ball with Josh Smith playing some at center."
At Hawks Str8Talk, Larry asks a relevant question:
How do you get embarrassed TWICE by Orlando, then come home, get some Chunky soup, and ...get embarrassed again at home by the Sixers? Yeah, I know the Sixers were coming in playing well, but sorry - but this is not about missing players (sorry Al), this is about effort.
and provides a plausible answer:
As I understand it, the coach is responsible for the playing style, rotations, in-game adjustments, and motivating the players to play their best.
Jason Walker at The Human Highlight Blog takes a look at Josh Smith:
Josh Smith when winning: Takes the ball hard to the basket and finishes while making his presence felt on defense.
Josh Smith when losing: Takes the ball and stands outside to launch a jump shot and is nowhere to be seen defensively.
Any guesses as to what we have been seeing more of lately?
Did you realize?: Smith is shooting a career low from the free throw line (64 percent). Earn your right to shoot those bombs, Josh----still bricking from long range and then taking your free points to an all-time low is not a good way to start.
Kelly Dwyer goes behind the boxscore:
Gut-check time for the Hawks. They won six straight to close out 2008, but have lost four of five in the new year, and the lone win was a close three-point victory over a T-Mac'less Rockets team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. After this, Atlanta hits the road for six of its next nine, and Horford is set to miss at least three more contests.
The Hawks did succeed in one area yesterday. They lifted spirits at Liberty Ballers:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I just witnessed the best Sixers game I've watched all season. They went into Atlanta, which isn't an easy place to win these days, and out-played and out-hustled the Hawks en route to a 15-point victory. This was our first blowout win without Elton Brand and it was just magical to watch. Great win, plus entertaining basketball equals a very happy Sixers blogger.
The Pacific Time Zone beckons.