Hawks vs Wizards boxscore
I wasn't really expecting a good showing in Detroit or Washington considering the amount of injuries the Hawks were dealing with as well as being in a back to back situation shorthanded. Still there could be an alarming trend developing here. Let's forget the offense for just now and examine the defense. In three pre-season games the Hawks have allowed teams to shoot 45% (Grizzlies), 52% (Pistons), and 53% (Wizards). To go a step further, teams have shot 55% (Grizzlies), 45% (Pistons), and 57% (Wizards) from three point range. So much of defense is about effort. Schemes matter a great deal but the greatest scheme in the world won't be effective if the effort is not there. A team like the Hawks that was average at best defensively last season can't afford to be lacking in the effort department. Lets hope that it was more injury related and tired legs that was the problem last night. Still it is something to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the exhibition season.
The major storyline from the Hawks perspective last night was the play of rookie Jordan Crawford. 30 points on 13-20 shooting is a pretty exceptional night. He also dished out 5 assists while committing only 2 turnovers. While I will caution it is still pre-season but Crawford is pushing for time during the regular season. At this point I don't know where those minutes will come from but if he shows that he can play the point perhaps even Jeff Teague needs to be looking over his shoulder.
Al Horford talked about the Hawks ineffective defense with AJC beat writer Michael Cunningham after the game and had this to say:
"It’s going to take time for us to trust each other. We’ve been playing together for a few years but when things break down, the next guy isn’t there."
That is mildly concerning to me given that this core group of guys has been together for some time. While lets be careful not to read a lot into that quote, lets watch and see what happens with the defensive effort as the exhibition season winds down.
Josh Smith didn't stuff the stat sheet like he normally does but I agree with MC that he played hard last night and was really the Hawks only line of defense at the basket.
Joe Johnson appears close to being ready for the season to start. Johnson hit his first four shots from the field last night in finishing with 14 points (6-11 shooting) in 24 minutes of action.
The Hawks did a better job of taking care of the basketball but still ended up with 16 turnovers for the night.A lot of those turnovers came from forced passes in transition and at times some sloppy ball handling. In terms of the new offense, it was pointed out in the comments section last night that the Hawks appeared to be forcing the ball into the high post. I only got to watch about half of the game on TV last night but I did see that some in the Memphis game. It appears that one of the entries into the offense is a pass directly into the high post and teams adjust and have been taking that away. As the Hawks become more familiar with the offense they will need to recognize when that pass isn't there and adjust accordingly. That has been the cause of some of the turnovers that have been committed.
The Hawks will have a much needed day off on Wednesday and hopefully the team will start to get healthy before Saturday's game against New Orleans.
Other Links / Commentary
Truth About It - Pre game coverage with a nice video conversation with Larry Drew talking about John Wall and Jordan Crawford
Truth About It - Conversation with Etan Thomas