At the end of the first quarter, Stan Van Gundy did a mid game interview. Answering a question about how, after hitting their first two three pointers of the game, the Magic had missed a bunch in attempts from beyond the arc, Van Gundy said something along the lines of "We are taking bad shots, not moving the ball inside out."
Now, the Magic were taking bad shots, there were threes hucked at the end of shot clocks and dribbling around without any ball movement and then shooting a jumper, but they were also fairly open shots. The Magic happened to make two and then miss a whole bunch. The two makes by Vince Carter were not any more open than the other misses. Well, Stan did not care. He still did not like them.
Fast forward to the end of the third. The Hawks just gave up a double digit halftime lead and were down two points going into the final quarter. Mike Woodson explains to Craig Saiger how the Hawks were fine. "We are getting open shots and just missing them, and [the Magic] hit some of theirs. We need to get in the bonus quickly."
The Hawks were getting relatively open shots. Josh Smith was missing difficult layups, Joe could not hit his runner, Bibby missed on some jumpers, Zaza could not make shots close to the basket, and Crawford missed from everywhere. None of those shots outside of maybe Zaza and Josh's were hotly contested and those two were close to the rim.
Yet they all came from one on one basketball. Whoever the play was run for was the person who was going to shoot the ball. The ball did not swing from one side of the court to another. It did not move inside out. Every play was a black hole of dribbling and selfishness. Even when a pass did happen, the extra one was certainly not going to be thrown. It was only so often you get a ball from Joe Johnson in that half, you have to take advantage.
And if you want to be really positive, then yes, even in that bad basketball, the Hawks got open shots. But for Woodson not to see the text book offense being run at the other end is more than a little disappointing. To say the third quarter was a difference in who made shots and who did not make them is to call Romeo and Juliet a boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl little tale. The Hawks offense was stagnant. It allowed Orlando's defense to suffocate because they only had to throw the pillow over one guy.
So after seeing the Hawks play great team basketball in the first half and Orlando fail to, and then watch the Hawks fall into a dribble around and shoot offense and the Magic have fantastic ball movement in the third, we all assumed Woody would see what Stan Van saw in the very first quarter. Open shots are not always good shots. Cut to the Hawks plan and.....
"We need to get in the bonus early."
That was the strategy? That was our fourth quarter plan? Happy Thanksgiving.
- Al Horford had three shots. One of was a fast break miss. One was a broken play jumper that was blocked and one was a slam dunk on a pick and roll. The other pick and roll ended in a Joe Johnson three. Zaza Pachulia had nine shots. Unless Al Horford plays under twenty minutes due to injury and that injury will keep him out for multiple seasons, this should never happen. One of the only strategies against Dwight Howard is to attack him, especially with guards, and get him in foul trouble. We don't have the guards to necessarily do that, but if you are going to give 12 shots to your center and don't mind 33% shooting, I highly recommend it be to Mr. Horford. He might actually get a foul call.
- That was text book example of how not to use Jamal Crawford. He could hit nothing and we left him to be a defensive liability for almost the entire second half. I guess he could have fit into the "get in the bonus early" strategy.
- Jeff Teague did nearly nothing wrong and played four minutes. But that is cool, we had Anthony Johnson under control.
- On that note, Anthony Johnson looked like Kevin Johnson out there.
- Zaza Pachulia had a three possession run of awesomeness. Unfortunately that was the cheese in a suck sandwich.
- Joe Johnson destroyed Pietrus and Redick in the first half. Hats off to the Magic for allowing Dwight to leave his man when Joe drove to force 25 foot floaters instead of the 12 foot ones that were going in every time. I will keep my hat firmly on for the Hawks and how they refused to even acknowledge that one extra pass would have left Dwight out of possession.
- When bad Josh is playing, even his dunks suck.
- While I have complimented the Magic and their coaching, how does it take a half to realize you have Dwight Howard on your team? If the Hawks had any semblance of offense and say won this game by one, Magic fans would have to be very frustrated. So basically, from a Hawks fan to you, you're welcome.
- Note to self: the double team on Howard worked fairly well, especially when Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby were not the guys closing out the three point shooter.
- Mike Woodson is losing confidence in Marvin Williams. That is not good for people who want the coach to lose confidence with Jamal Crawford in certain game.
- I like the alternate unis. So I guess there's that.
- The Hawks played a whale of a first half so at least my turkey was thoroughly digested by halftime.