Missed opportunities. Plain and simple.
The Hawks, a team that has let foul shooting be their demise, were perfect from the line going 21-21.
Josh Smith, the man who normally capsizes his own offensive performance with poor shot selection or free throw shooting, went 13-15 from the field including three made 3 pts. That is once in a season efficient right there.
The Hawks, a team that has been dominated on the glass at times, out rebounded the Sixers by 6.
And yet despite these serious positives, the Hawks could only manage one furious run that fell short by a point even at the time and failed to save any energy to finish the game.
Where were the stats undercut? How was Josh Smith's foray into offensive awesomeness wasted?
The very easy answer is turnovers and easy baskets.
I would not describe the refs as good last night. As a bias Hawks fan, I would say they had some timely bad calls, but one could say that most any night. The bigger issue was that the refs were calling quick fouls on the shot and drives, but allowing people to play very physical on the edge.
Philly adjusted and the Hawks didn't. The Sixers defenders slapped, pulled, and grabbed steals. Sure a couple of turnovers were unforced errors, but more of them were give me the damn ball. The Sixers made the Hawks play hard 40 feet from the basket and the refs let them do it, and the Hawks responded with lazy passes.
Easy (or lack there of) Buckets
The Hawks only had one run in them because that is all they had the energy for. The Sixers made our boys work.
On the Hawks' defensive end, Philly either got easy looks, open jumpers or slams, or the Hawks played really good defense only to give way to a high percentage look or untimely offensive put back.
On the offensive side, the Sixers had a great strategy against Woodson's "one on one" offense. They hedged out incredibly strong on swing passes on the perimeter. And since the swing pass is what the Hawks call "an entry pass," the offense usually began 40 feet from the basket with 9 second remaining. Never was there a back door, never a second option. Passes were forced and players were posted up outside the three point line.
The Sixers dared the Hawks to play team basketball, and the Hawks took the truth option, and the truth is when a team denies the first option that well and the first option is really your only option, the shot you get is going to be worked for and probably pretty difficult.
- Let it be known. A foul committed on Mario West strictly out of annoyance will forever more be called a "Goomba." Thanks to Duff Man for the coining.
- Al Horford continues his vacation in slump land. And our coaches demand for him to switch on the likes of Louis Williams cannot be helping his travels home.
- Josh Smith was really good on offense.
- I plan to mail the past two game tapes to Rick Sund this off season and with the note, "This is what you get from Bibby. Some really good stuff and some really bad stuff. Spend accordingly."
- Theo Ratliff's stat line from last night's game makes me cry.
- Flip Murray had a quintessential Joe Johnson off night. 19 points. 5-14 shooting. 5 rebounds. 6 assists. Unfortunately, Joe Johnson had the quintessential Flip Murray off night.
- Marreese Speights was highly annoying last night.
- If you want to be mildly depressed, go read the Hawks quotes from the AJC recap.
At some point, the Hawks are going to need to stop saying they came out with low energy or just couldn't make shots or this or that, and just go out and win a road game against a decent team. Because, home court or not, our boys are not undefeated at the Highlight Factory. Four wins are not guaranteed, and I would hate to see the season end because the team came out "flat."
Game thread comment the game from Ejamma with "Is James Verret serious? wow I never would have guessed that Flip wants to win even though he is from Philly."