If Only This Were A 3 Quarter Game; ATL Hawks: 100 | PHI 76ers: 105

Joe, we need you to make these shots...

Quick Recap for the people who didn’t watch it:

In the first quarter, it was a see-saw battle in the offensive end. The 76ers and the Hawks were both clicking on offense and  didn’t play much defense against each other. The Hawks did force some turnovers and a few bad shots that led to (12) fast break points, but for the most part, the Hawks didn’t play much D. The 76ers would either penetrate at will or get a wide open three point shot. Kirk Hinrich led the way for the Hawks in the 1st quarter, scoring 10 points in 4 for 5 shooting (2 threes). For the 76ers, Jrue Holiday led the way, scoring 9 points in the 1st quarter in 4 for 6 shooting (1 three pointer). The 76ers were the more “hot” team after one quarter, shooting 62% for the quarter compared to the Hawks’ 60%. That difference alone was enough to give the 76ers a 30 to 28 lead after one.

The Hawks and the 76ers continued to trade baskets in the second quarter. There were 14 lead changes between the two in the first half.  Neither team really got to keep a lead or extend their lead…well, up until the midway point of the second anyway. The Hawks went on a 9-0 run which gave them a solid 8 point lead that they kept for the rest of the quarter. Josh Smith(11 points), Jamal Crawford(7 points), and Marvin Williams (6) led the way in the second quarter combining for 24 of the Hawks’ 31 points in the 2nd. Thaddeus Young (10 points) and Louis Williams (7) led the way for their team, combining for 17 of the 76ers’ 23 points in the second. Despite the Hawks’ two best players (Joe Johnson & Al Horford) being non-factors in the first half, the Hawks still found themselves up 6 after one half. Hawks: 59, 76ers: 53.

In the third quarter, the Hawks kept up their lead. They actually extended their 6 point halftime lead all the way up to 11 points. However, the 76ers got on a 8-3 run in the last 2:30 minutes and cut the lead down to 6 by the end of the quarter. The Hawks led 80 to 74. Josh Smith and Marvin Williams carried the Hawks team once again, combining for 15 of the Hawks’ 21 points in the quarter. Things looked good for the Hawks after three quarters.With Joe Johnson and Al Horford combining for only 11 points in 5 for 18 shooting, one would think the Hawks are getting blown out. It was actually dumbfounding. With the way the Hawks are

In the fourth quarter however, the Hawks lead quickly diminished. The Sixers went on an 11-0 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes, which gave them a 5 point lead early in the 4th quarter. There wasn’t a lead change after that. The Sixers kept the lead throughout the quarter and for the rest of the game. They even extended their lead all the way up to 11 points. The Hawks had plenty of chances to come back and take the lead and snatch the win, but they just didn’t execute well enough offensively or defensively and they just seemed tired to me. The 76ers eventually went on to win the game by 5.

Final Score: Hawks: 100 | 76ers: 105

Some thoughts….:

  • In my opinion, the Hawks’ blown 4th quarter lead was due to fatigue. Coach Drew only opted to use a 7 man rotation, so players had to play more minutes than usual. You can tell that the Hawks were a bit lackadaisical by the end of the game. It could have been a lack of sense of urgency, but I doubt it since the Hawks played pretty well in the first three quarters. Fatigue was the reason in my opinion. If Joe, Josh, Al, and Hinrich played less minutes earlier on during the game and played more late in the game, I would think the Hawks would have had a better chance to win.
  • Anyway…why did Coach Drew use a short rotation on the second game of a back to back on the road? Yes… Marvin (31 min), Josh Smith(41), and Kirk Hinrich(38) probably deserved most of the minutes they got considering how well they played, but why does Joe Johnson get 43 minutes? Why does Jamal get 31 minutes? Joe Johnson was struggling offensively and Jamal Crawford was struggling defensively. Some of the minutes they got probably should have gone to Damien Wilkins and Jeff Teague. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be playing. Damien Wilkins has provided good minutes in the past few weeks and Jeff Teague was probably the only bright spot during the debacle vs. the Bulls.
  • Josh Smith. Please stop taking jumpshots. Whenever Josh Smith went inside, he seemed to score. Josh Smith did make a few of his jumpshots, but Josh Smith is clearly more effective when he’s driving the ball or posting up. We need more games like this from Josh Smith.
  • Marvin Williams had a good game. He was aggressive from the get go and attacked the basket. He settled for jumpshots (that he made) later in the game, but they were good looks. However, Marvin Williams’ aggressiveness stopped after the Hawks got down in the 4th quarter. I’m not sure if Marvin was scared to be the “man”, but take away the 4th quarter, Marvin had a good game.

My other Noteable Notes:

  • The Hawks once again fail to clinch a playoff spot. A win yesterday would have done it. Their next  chance is on Friday. If the Bucks lose their Friday matchup vs. the Knicks, the Hawks will clinch a playoff spot. If not, the Hawks will get a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Saturday if they win their Saturday matchup.
  • Last night’s loss will make the Hawks’ 19 month streak of .500 or better record officially broken. The Hawks will end up with a losing record this month.
  • With the Hawks loss and the 76ers win, the 76ers are now only 2.5 games behind Atlanta with 9 games left.
  • In my 76ers vs. Hawks Preview entry, I said the Sixers bench was something to watch out for. Well, they definitely didn’t go unnoticed. The 76ers had 39 bench points in the game.

Next up: The New Jersey Nets on Saturday. Yes, that means everyone gets a 2 day break from this Hawks team. Hopefully the Hawks can regroup in the next 2 days…

Final Thought: I’m happy New York is the struggling playoff team everyone is focusing on right now. They lost again yesterday. :)

Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Game Recap, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers

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