I haven’t been this disgusted after a game since the Nate Robinson explosion at Phillips earlier this season. After that game the coaching staff, Mike Woodson in particular, drew my fire for not making any adjustments and by doing what I thought was equal to not trying to win. After taking about 10 hours to collect my thoughts I am disgusted with the entire team this time around. Coaching staff to All Star Player, To role player, to bench warmer. Everyone is accountable for this mess of a game last night.
There will be some people out there that will say give credit to the Warriors because they played really well and were at home. They will say Stephen Curry is an amazing player and had a really great night. But NO. That isn’t the case and if you think that then move along because you are not going to like the rest of this post. Fact is the Hawks played the Warriors’ game for most of the night but all it took was one ten minute stretch in the third period of playing basketball the correct way to put the Hawks ahead by 18. The Warriors are not a good team and this game should have been over.
First I am going to blame the players. I have defended for the last week the fact that we made no moves at the trade deadline because I thought that this group is good enough to become a consistent winner. This game result has me wavering on that statement now. I know they are not championship contenders but I thought with a little luck we could challenge for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Forget it, our players don’t have the Basketball IQ to pull that off. We completely obliterated the Warriors in the third quarter with 38 points. Beat them to a pulp with 24 of those coming in the paint. We had an 18 point lead and that was the blue print. But no, we have to prove we can win another way. Al Horford disappears from the game and our defense completely stops along with any ball movement.
One more thing about the players, the officiating last night was terrible no doubt. Heck Joe Johnson even got a T which never happens. However, that is no excuse and when Josh Smith starts crying ( see picture above) in the first period how many calls can a team expect to really get? More so it is not ok to think you got fouled and cry about it while a team like Golden State has the ball and is pushing it to the other end and scoring.
Which brings me to Mike Woodson. After last night I am not even sure who runs this team. To me as someone who has cautiously defended Woodson over his tenure I have to say that the last two games have me thoroughly confused. First against the Suns we don’t play anyone in the second half of the game off the bench but Jamal Crawford. Tonight we play the bench more but where are Joe Smith and Mo Evans? Are they hurt? Or is there something else going on here? If they are hurt then I will retract all of this but there is no way ever so how that Mario West should be in the freaking game ahead of Mo Evans. Mario should be playing for the Warriors with their assortment of D-League players and not for a team that thinks it can challenge for one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference.
The last two games I almost feel like Woodson is trying to prove a point with some of his bench players but has completely lost some of his starters in the process. Maybe even the whole team. Perhaps I am old fashioned, or I watch too much college basketball but when a good coach says to get the ball inside then his team makes an effort to get the ball inside. I am not sure that Woodson demands anything of his players anymore. He is supposed to be a defensive coach. When someone misses an assignment coach them, when they do it again then get them out of the game. When Josh Smith goes on a crazy drive to the basket and doesn’t run back on defense because he thought he was fouled then get him out of the game! Send the old man in there for him and say this is how it is done. No matter how bad things are going it is all about effort.
The whole game is summed up in so many ways by Josh Smith ending up with the basketball and hoisting the final three point attempt. Really Woody? We can’t come up with something better than that? Did we anticipate that they might actually defend Crawford?
Im at a loss. I guess I am just disappointed. This one game will not make or break our season, but it does show everything that is wrong with this team. I think Jason over at The Human Highlight Blog says it the best:
Still, the blueprint and DNA of this loss is one that is marked across the franchise at this point, with these players, and these coaches. The refusal to play fundamental basketball and eschewing of what has proven to be successful even throughout the course of the single game that they are playing has served and will serve as their ultimate escort from the 2009-2010 season.
Again, we realize that this doesn’t make the Hawks a losing team. This outcome doesn’t automatically invert their record or weigh more than the single stroke in the loss column. But, it does continue to color in the fact bubble that this team cannot be counted on to play consistently to the strengths that have led/will lead to their greater success.
I don’t know what is ailing this team at the moment. Road trips are supposed to bring teams together but right now we look more individualized to me than at any other point this season. I don’t know if it is chemistry problems, coaching problems, or just a funk but they need to get it figured out. As a fan I don’t ask for much, but a consistent effort from the Head coach right down to the team manager is a must. Right now we are seriously lacking on the effort. It would be foolish of me to change my stance on resigning Joe Johnson, the coaching staff, and what I think this team is capable of as a team due to the result of one regular season game. Let me just say that after tonight I moved one full step closer. The warning signs are becoming apparent. Its time for the Hawks to recognize them and do something about them before it is too late.