Let me be clear, the Hawks should rarely win against the Lakers in LA. It would take a full team effort and at least one sensational effort. Early on, the Hawks made it clear they had no interest in giving a full team effort, but Joe Johnson was flirting with the idea of going beyond sensational.
Joe was 7-8 in the first quarter with one foul, and Mike Woodson sat him toward the end of the first quarter. You can say that Joe was not going to be enough. You can say the Lakers are better than Joe 'freaking" Johnson, but I would like the chance to prove you right. Coaches don't take out guys that hot in 9 year old church basketball. It makes no sense. Yes, he may have cooled off. Really, he had to, dude was on pace for 90 points after the first eight minutes. But why does your own coach cool him off?
The Hawks still could have won. The task was made impossible by the Hawks refusal to take care of the ball. With Joe's first quarter, the Hawks could easily have been leading this game at halftime. And the first half was not good defense. It was sloppy ball handling and bad decisions. The Hawks could not control their rebounds and then when they finally did, the team turned it over again. Oh and Joe was on the bench. You just cannot give up easy dunks and extra possessions against a good team and expect to win.
And after the halftime speeches, it only got worse. The Lakers started playing better team defense and the Hawks kept throwing it to them on the other possessions. LA had 9 dunks in the third quarter. The refs gave the Hawks no foul calls so instead of succeeding despite the no calls the Hawks settled for jump shots and complaining. The refs did not have a chance to screw LA because they just kept putting in wide open dunks.
Against good teams, it is tough to say where the supior team causes the problems or where the lesser team throws it away all on their own. Josh Smith taking jump shots, Marvin Williams missing wide open shots, 7-23 from the three point land, 19 turnovers and 25 points off those turnovers through the three quarters that matters. The Hawks lost and they should have lost, but the idiotic coaching, poor shooting, settled for jump shots, and inability to hold on to the ball made it a mess where you can blame the person you like to blame with a handful of surefire facts.
- Garbage time minutes are only slightly above preseason minutes in terms of good barometers (and against Jordan Farmer it becomes even less accurate), but Jeff Teague looked great.
- That dunk though needed no barometer. It was incredible.
- Josh Smith cannot, cannot look at his first two games and then at this one and not feel dirty inside. He just can't.
- Someone needs to send Marvin to a motivational speaker.
- Welcome back to earth Al Hoford's game.
- Why is Kobe Bryant so good? After the ba donk a dunk by Jeff Teague, the lead down to ten, and Bob's voice rising in excitement, Artest shot a dumb long two point shot that he missed. Hawks could rebound and cut the lead to eight. Byrant fought off two Hawks for an offensive rebound and put it back up and in.
- Jamal Crawford should never guard Kobe Bryant.
- Jamal Crawford will make the shots he missed on some nights.
- Josh Smith missed a dunk. I blame his jump shots.
- If Kobe Bryant had four called fouls in this game, he easily committed twelve.
- Seriously, how do you take Joe Johnson out?
More later. Until then....