It is unfortunate that these Atlanta Hawks can’t realize on a nightly basis what works for them and what doesn’t. It is even more unfortunate that they don’t have a coaching staff that can point these things out to them and then require that they do the things that make them successful. Last nights game against the Miami Heat was a perfect example.
During the first half the Hawks continually dumped the ball inside causing the Heat defense to collapse. The Hawks Al Horford and Josh Smith did a great job of finding open teammates spotting up from distance. With ball movement comes easier shots, and easier shots go in at a higher percentage than harder shots.It is no surprise that the Hawks led much of the first half and also stretched that lead out to double figures.
When the second half started the Hawks decided to skip a step and abandoned throwing the ball inside at all. Sure Jamal Crawford came in and got hot hitting what seemed like three pointer after three pointer. However, I want to point out that just because a shot goes in doesn’t necessarily make it a good shot and poor shot selection is not a recipe for success. Contrast that with what Miami did. While the Hawks were gunning away from the outside Dwayne Wade was busy driving the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line. When the Hawks adjusted on Defense and tried to collapse on Wade he simply kicked the ball out to Quentin Richardson who was left all alone due to the shifting defense. The Heat last night recognized the recipe for success and the Hawks ignored it.
The Hawks fourth quarter looked reminiscent of the last two games against Miami. Michael Beasley sealed the win with two huge threes and one huge offensive rebound tap in. The Hawks couldn’t secure a rebound when they had to have it and couldn’t hit a jump shot when it mattered. The lesson to be learned is if you live by the jump shot then you die by the jump shot. Long contested jumpers don’t go in at crunch time, particularly on the second night of back to back games when the legs start to go. However that doesn’t deter these Hawks from trying. I really can’t blame Al Horford or Josh Smith for not being able to convert late or for not grabbing that rebound because basically they were ignored for the whole second half until the final minutes of the game. Hats off to Erik Spoelstra for switching to a zone knowing that the Hawks will just jack up jumpers if they are allowed to.
So the Hawks lost a game that they pretty much controlled for three quarters. You could say it was no big deal over the course of an 82 game season and I would be inclined to agree with you if not for the fact that we have now lost three out of four to Miami. The most troubling thing to me is that when the Hawks lose you can say the same things about nearly every loss. Jermaine O’Neal injured his knee and yet the Hawks still ignored attacking the hoop. On a night when Joe Johnson attempts more threes (11) than Al Horford has field goal attempts (6) I needn’t look any further in the box score to figure out why the Hawks lost.
Three game road trip coming up beginning in New York on Monday night. Here is hoping that in the mean time someone at least points out to this team what works and what doesn’t.
An opposing View: