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Hawks Vs. Trail Blazers Final Score: Portland Hands Atlanta 97-77 Defeat

Quick Thought: This is your game. This is your game on missed jump shots.

Deep(er) Thoughts:

Could it be as simple as this: The Hawks have won every game when they've shot .441 and higher. 16-0. This includes their wins over Chicago, Portland and Indiana.

Lest I ignore that every team wins when they shoot with this amount of success, know that listed are the following teams and the times they've lost when shooting the same or better:

76ers--- 4

Celtics--- 6

Thunder--- 4




So when the Hawks have a moderate amount of success shooting the basketball, they win. When they shoot worse than .441 percent, they lose. They have a 3-12 record in those games. For reference sake, the league average is .444.

When they shoot as bad as they did in Portland, a .411 clip, they are sunk. Per, they've shot that percentage or worse eight times now and have lost every time with the exception of the Minnesota win at home.

So with acknowledging that, for the most part, when the Hawks don't make more than 44 percent of their shots, they are likely dead in the water, let's look at the other aspects of the game.

I felt like Portland was going to be tough to beat considering their collective length. When Nicolas Batum got the start over Wesley Matthews, that was going to make it tougher because Batum is just the sort of energetic, fly-in-the-ointment the Hawks struggle to match and overcome.

Toss in the fact that Portland had lost four in a row at home, an outlier in terms of their usual home dominance, LaMarcus Aldridge's return to the lineup and one of those seasonal, ‘hey, let's pull it together for the season's sake' type of moments for the team, and it was going to take a lot to get past this talented team.

You know, the sort of thing that shooting .411 doesn't quite get done.

The Hawks started alright, but their first quarter defense was atrocious, just the sort of start that gives a team desperate for momentum exactly what they need, instead of getting them down early and keeping them asking questions.

The second quarter was marred by missed shots and their collection of their own missed shots. Eight offensive rebounds for the Blazers in the second quarter alone allowed them to keep stretching the lead while the Hawks struggled to muster any kind of offensive momentum.

Instead of the hang around and come back and win outcome we saw in Phoenix, the Hawks never could get enough execution to make that kind of run, and all that was left was statistical finalities.


I am not a big fan of lobbying for stastitical achievments, so while I know Josh Smith wanted another triple-double badly, it's more impressive when you don't have to try to create one down the stretch of a game that is already won or lost. Not preaching, just my opinion. A 14-10-9 game on 50 percent shooting is what Smoove landed on for the night.

Admit it, you thought that Jamal Crawford would have more of an impact in the two games he would play against the Hawks this year. His 22 points in Atlanta were after the game was decided and he posted a goose egg in the win Portland got, and looked lost in the process. I don't believe Jamal will be a Blazer next year if that second year is any kind of mutual option.

I thought the Hawks did some things right, even if Josh had some negative things to say about ball movement afterwards to the Real MC. Little things like taking the ball inside when they were in the bonus, even if unrewarded, were present. Teague went inside, took the right shot outside and still went 1-10.

There was no reason for Kirk Hinrich to be in position to close the game. His defense getting around picks and staying between his man and the basket were slightly better than Teague, but his offense was not even as Teague's miserable shooting night and there is no way you would see Kirk track down a Blazer on a break and stuff his pizza against the glass.

Feeling like the Hawks are wasting a really good run by Willie Green, who was 7-9 from the field. His history indicates that he won't be this hot forever, but he will keep shooting. Gotta take advantage when Flip Willie is on like he is on this stretch.

Finally, rebounding. The Hawks were ultimately outdone by Portland length, even if they haven't found a way to capture that for themselves all season consistently, they unleashed it against the Hawks and buried Atlanta's relatively small frontcourt.

Final Thought:

Even in losing, this team is better than previous iterations. They are more capable, more sound. With the exception of the Lakers game, where things looked as if they would begin to erode for the season, they've mustered some resliency, though it's not reflected in the 20-point loss.

If they shoot even league average, they'll win. Pretty good place to be.

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