Full Recap: Hawks Have Most Impressive Lost of the Season vs. the Miami Heat

March 7, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia (27) and Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) fight during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

 

The Atlanta Hawks were without Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Tracy McGrady, Willie Green, and Jason Collins coming into this game. Add the fact that they’re facing arguably the most talented team in the NBA on the road (Heat had a 16-2 home record coming into this game), and that the Hawks were on the second game of a back-to-back, you would think Hawks would lose this game.

Well you’re right.

But you also probably thought that it would be a pretty bad blowout. That’s where you’re wrong. Despite all the facts and stats going against the Hawks, they battled the Miami Heat from tip-off all the way until the final buzzer. The Hawks were just one Jannero Pargo three away from sending the game to overtime.

Final Score: Hawks 86 | Heat 89

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SDS Player of the Game (LeBron James)
I wanted to give this to a Hawks player so badly, even with the loss, just to avoid giving it to LeBron. No disrespect, I think LeBron James is easily the most talented player in the NBA, and I think he’s the clear MVP this season, but his personality on the court yesterday was just something that irritated me a little bit. Even though I felt the Hawks were getting the short end of the stick in free throws and on foul calls in general, LeBron still felt like he had to complain about every call that went against him or his team. Nonetheless, LeBron is the SDS Player of the Game. He scored 31 points (11-21 shooting) and grabbed 11 rebounds.

FREE THROW DISCREPANCY!!!
The Heat went to the free throw line nearly three times as much as the Hawks. Miami finished 19-of-25 from the line while Atlanta finished just 8-of-9.

Now I’m not saying it’s completely the referees’ fault, because it wasn’t. The Hawks at times did settle for the jump shot and Miami didn’t. They attacked the basket and tried to draw fouls while the Hawks at times tried to avoid the contact.

But like Josh Smith said in his halftime interview with Jerome Jurenovich, “no way in hell have I seen a game where a team is playing that good of a defense”. The Hawks had 0 (zero) free throw attempts in the first half compared to Miami’s 14. The Hawks didn’t shoot their first free throw until the 9:06 mark in the 3rd quarter.

Turnovers will kill you, kill you I tell  you, kill you
The Hawks had 22 total turnovers total last night. A pretty big chunk of them also came when the Miami Heat went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter. What makes it even worst is that a lot of their turnovers were careless and unforced turnovers. They just lost focus and seemed to give the ball to the Heat. They were just sloppy with the ball pretty much all night.

Teague had 5 of the turnovers while Jerry Stackhouse, Zaza Pachulia, and Jannero Pargo each all had 3. Ivan Johnson and Kirk Hinrich also had 2 turnovers of their own.’

LeBron James & Zaza Pachulia
Things got a bit physical in the second half….and who would have thunk it? Zaza Pachulia was in the middle of it.

It all started with Zaza Pachulia wrapping up LeBron James on a breakaway in which LeBron clearly didn’t like as he gave Zaza a shove. Dexter Pittman also joined in and gave Zaza a shove, but nothing resulted of it.

Later on in the game, both Zaza Pachulia and LeBron James dove for a loose ball. LeBron put a forearm around Zaza’s neck/throat (intentional or unintentional, you decide) and Zaza took notice as he grabbed LeBron James on the neck. Zaza Pachulia was called for a foul and was also called for a technical foul.

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Heat & Hawks Players & Coaches Quotes/Reactions:

Larry Drew on loss:

There was too big of a discrepancy with the free throws, and then you turn the ball over 22 times. We still had an opportunity going down the stretch, but clearly we didn’t make the plays at the end.

Josh Smith on the team’s character:

We’re steadily growing each and every day. We’re starting to put consistent games together where we’re playing together. We’ve been unselfish. We have to limit our turnovers more, especially down the stretch.

Josh Smith on the effort: 

We fought our tails off. We played extremely good on the defensive end. They hit some tough shots down the stretch and I think if we were a little bit more controlling of the basketball and not so many turnovers we probably could have won.

Zaza Pachulia on the scuffle with LeBron James:

I wasn’t doing anything but playing hard.

Larry Drew does not blame loss on effort: 

I don’t fault our effort, not one bit. We played last night, we got in at 1:30 this morning and we come in and play against one of the hottest teams in the league. Our effort was there. They did a phenomenal job in fighting every possession. We had an opportunity and we kind of let it get away.

Jerry Stackhouse talks about the team in general and the Miami Heat:

I’ve said that all along from the beginning. It’s a process. Nobody is contenders right now. They put that team out there as the world beater, and we come in here competed with them as much as anybody else and felt like we should have won the game. We felt like a few less mistakes on our part and we give ourselves a better chance. We feel we are a good team. We are not where hope we will be on April 28th but we are getting there

Jeff Teague on the Hawks lost: 

We had too many turnovers, mostly me. I had five, a couple other guys had three. And we still was in the game. We had some chances to seal the deal. It was a great effort us being down a couple people.

Jason Collins tweeting after the game:

Tough loss tonight in Miami for the #atlanta_hawks. I’m sure the guys are looking forward to bouncing back in the next game!

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Extra Short Notes (Box Score Watching):

  • The Atlanta Hawks were outscored in the paint 38 to 40.
  • The Atlanta Hawks outscored the Heat on fastbreak points 19 to 17.
  • The Hawks were up by as much as 10 points in this game while the Heat were up by as much as 9 points. The Hawks lost that 10 point lead quick in the 3rd quarter by not taking care of the ball.
  • Josh Smith scored 23 points in the game, but his team loss. Meaning, the flawless 12-0 record of when Josh Smith scores at least 20 points is now marked with an L.
  • Josh Smith attempted 12 shots (made 5) in the first quarter. Only Demarcus Cousins, Michael Beasley, and Kobe Bryant has done that this season.
  • Zaza Pachulia provided toughness and energy like you always expect from him. He fell short of a double-double by one point. He grabbed 10 rebounds.
  • Jeff Teague scored 16 points in 8-12 shooting, but turned the ball over 5 times. He was fearless going to the basket in this game, making a ton of floaters, runners, and layups.
  • Jannero Pargo scored 9 points and was 2-3 shooting from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the lone miss came at the buzzer when he had the opportunity to send the game into overtime.
  • Jerry Stackhouse had his best game of the season, posting a season high 10 points in 4-8 shooting. Had 3 turnovers though.
  • Erick Dampier played 4 minutes, but didn’t look like the worst big man on the floor, thanks to Dexter Pittman.
  • The Hawks record is now (23-16) and maintain their 6th seed spot.
  • Despite this loss, the Hawks still hold a winning record on the road (11-10).
  • They are still only 2.5 games behind the Orlando Magic (3rd seed).
  • They are still 2.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics (7th seed) and 5 games ahead of the New York Knicks (8th seed).
  • Hawks are now 3-1 in the month of March.
  • The Hawks lost the season series to the Heat, 1-3.

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Final Thought:

The players, fans, and coaches can’t hang their heads after this loss. I know every loss hurts and you want to win every game, but they shouldn’t focus on the loss too much.

Like the cliche quote that high school coaches like to say “If you leave it all on the court, you’ll have no regrets after the game whatever the outcome may be”….or something like that.

Yes, the Hawks could have won if they went inside a little bit more or if they turned the ball over less, but just the fact that they had the opportunity to do it despite having 5 key players out, it’s impressive and it’s still praise worthy.

Give Larry Drew and the players credit. They’ve fought hard the past 3-4 games.

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Next Game:

The Hawks will continue their 6 game road trip to Detroit on Friday night.

That game will be the 3rd game of the 6 game road trip.

The Detroit Pistons are only (13-26) for the season, but they do post a somewhat respectable home record (10-11).

The Pistons are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season, winning against the Lakers in an overtime home thriller.

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Topics: Atlanta Hawks, Jannero Pargo, Jeff Teague, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Smith, Larry Drew, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Zaza Pachulia

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