Quick Thought: This team frustrates anyone who understands basketball. And everyone else, too.
Let's make it plain:
Josh Smith/Al Horford/Zaza Pachulia: 22-42, 54 points vs. Gerald Wallace/Other Bobcat bigs: 11-31, 27 points
Joe Johnson/Mike Bibby/Jamal Crawford: 9-33, 24 points vs. Shaun Livingston/Stephen Jackson 20-37, 54 points
The Hawks insist they are a guard driven team---and tonight those guards drove them way off course and right to defeat.
Hit a shot, or two, or three as Mike Bibby did and everyone becomes like a gambler in Vegas. Whoo boy. Ain't never gonna miss. Let's keep launching. Problem was those three straight Bibby threes were the only ones that went down for The Backcourt tonight, but it didn't stop them from attempting 17 of them between the three of them.
On a night where getting into the lane was, you know, working---that kind of persistence, stubbornness, or I would even say, arrogance, should cost you the game and it did.
Obviously, defensively wasn't much better for the guys outside the paint. They were killed by Livingston, who is a backup point guard who actually gets on the court, and Jackson, who had great success getting inside against the Hawks' guards, making 11 of 18 shots inside three point range.
That the Hawks went away from what was working (a 21 point lead at one point in the game) and the Bobcats adjusted their own faulty gameplan and led to daring the Hawks to not have the "shotmakers" carry the game down the stretch.
But the Hawks can't let go. They have to shoot long shots to win. Johnson and Crawford have to have the ball. They can't help themselves no matter how many times going through their bigs works for them. I should just forget it. It's Chinatown.
Heck, they were in the bonus with 8:53 minutes left in the fourth and didn't take a single free throw as a result of driving the ball to the hoop in the quarter after that. There's no excuse for that. Johnson, Crawford, and Bibby seems to believe that they were going to shoot the Hawks over the hump. For yet another night, they tried shooting until they started dropping and when they didn't, they were all out of ideas.
Hey, here's something you guys can try when you're shooting cold----anything else. Please. Ah, nevermind.
Kudos to Paul Silas for doing something very few coaches do at the pro level---start different players other than the starters to begin the second half. Unless it's for injury, the book says start your starters again to begin the second half, but DJ Augustin was as ineffective in this game as Livingston was effective so Silas went with Shaun to start the second half. Bold and effective.
Can Larry Drew please give up the ruse that Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford are secretly point guards and can handle those duties at any time on the court? Too many times the Hawks held the ball with one of them "guiding" the team, only to start the offense with less than 10 seconds on the shot clock. It's an ineffective strategy that doesn't leave much time for that pesky offensively efficient trait of moving the ball. It does, however, lead to getting great 20 foot jump shots with a center in your face.
Seriously, Rick Sund, go get another point guard, preferably one who can defend and get things started before the clock hits :09 on the shot clock before the first pass is fired. Thank you.
At least the Hawks aren't peaking as a team now---allowing for the team to catch fire down the stretch this season and storm through the playoffs.
Next game: Monday at Detroit (7:30 EST), kicking off a 7 game road trip and providing Marvin Williams with the chance to get even for Greg Monroe falling on him and costing him a bunch of games earlier this season. Revenge!!