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Al Horford really is that important

"I haven’t had a night like that this year. Unfortunately, I had it tonight." - Al Horford via the AJC

If you told me Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson were going to combine for 56 points on 55% shooting, Josh Smith would dish out seven assists and pull in 16 boards, Marvin would put in 10 points, and the Hawks would only have 7 turnovers, I would bet large sums of money on a Hawks' win.

It, of course, was not a win. Even if you call it a moral victory, you can't call it a win. Moral victories are still losses. You just don't break lamps over them. No, the Hawks put up good numbers and got whooped. A majority portion of the credit goes to San Antonio for having probably their best game of the season (at least there best first half), and a decent portion can be placed on Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and Mike Bibby's horrendous defense in the first half. And we can of course go to the tried and true by tipping our hat to the overall lack of effort by the Hawks as Spurs got wherever they wanted to go on the court.

Yet, the most abnormal cause for those perfectly great stats still leading double digits deficits for almost an entire game was Al Horford. Since I love Al, I have already put full blame on his stitched hand, but he was off last night. He did not bale out bad defense or take advantage of open shots. He could not secure rebounds or get his teammates involved. But most strikingly, Al lost his energy. He had no impact on the game. I think that is the first time I can honestly write that all season.

Horford comes every night with an understated leadership and workman's effort. In the midst of ranting about getting him more shots, I think we forget the dude lays the tracks for just about every victory the Hawks have. Last night, Al Horford was bad, and even worse, I saw quit in his game. That was tough to type, let alone witness. Yet, maybe it is these moments that make me appreciate all Horford does for this team. Through 43 games, no matter how many points he scored or rebounds he grabbed, the man had not had a bad game. Not one. Every night he was a reason the team was as good as it was. If it takes one bad game to remind me of that, I guess I can take it. Like I said before, moral victories.

Loser Dots

  • I don't know why I have never done this before, but I am seriously questioning Marvin Williams basketball IQ.
  • We wasted a possible Joe "freaking" Johnson last night. That is sad.
  • Of late, Jamal Crawford is not even flopping on these four point plays. His release demands you foul him apparently.
  • Zaza Pachulia needs more work in the lay up lines.
  • Three years ago, did you ever think you read this? (via Hoopinion) "I contend, that without Smith's defensive effort in the first half Atlanta never would have had the chance to get the game within single digits in the second half. San Antonio's 66 first half points came despite Smith, not because of him."
  • After a lot of stat work, I have come to the conclusion Mike Bibby was bad last night.
  • Everyone root for double overtime tonight for the Celtics.

Go Hawks!