The Hawks went into shootaround knowing they were missing Al Horford, who went down with a stomach illness. The Warriors were without their similarly talented main post player, Andrew Bogut, who took the night off to help rehab his fragile left ankle. This left a Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia pairing versus David Lee and Festus Ezeli, the Warriors 30th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Lee’s 15.0 TRB%, the number of rebounds he grabbed based on how many were available, since becoming a member of the Golden State Warriors in 2010 is comparable to Smith’s 15.3% mark and Pachulia’s 16.3% rate in the same timespan. Festus Ezeli on the other hand, a rookie subbing in for Bogut, seemingly should be mismatched against the very physical Pachulia.
The result was only two rebounds each: for Zaza in 24 minutes and Ezeli in only 18. David Lee gave the big Georgian a large bleeding gash above his right eye due to a wild elbow in the first quarter, resulting in 5 stitches. This may have affected his aggressiveness on the boards upon returning to the game in the second quarter.
In a similar fashion, Josh Smith equalled David Lee’s total at 10 rebounds, each in more than 36 minutes.
What was the main factor for the 44-29 rebounding discrepancy? A very athletic rookie out of the University of North Carolina by the name of Harrison Barnes. He totaled 13 rebounds, including 3 offensive, to go along with 19 points, all career highs in his short time in a Warriors uniform. Barnes comes in a 6’8”, and was able to shed the smaller DeShawn Stevenson as well fellow ACC-bred rookie Mike Scott repeatedly to fly in a grab timely rebounds.
The rebounding deficit is a familiar tone, as the Hawks came into Wednesday 20th in Total Rebounding Rate, a team measure of TRB%, according to Hoopdata.com.
A lack of boxing out was a huge problem by all Hawks, and many times Warriors were able swoop in for the board and easy put back. Three examples of the lackadaisical nature of the Hawks are found here at 0:47, 1:07 (or here) and at 2:12. The first two show a clear lack of simply putting a body on the nearest opposing player whereas the third is a lucky long bounce and instinctual issue.
If and when Zaza Pachulia returns to his brutish form and hopefully Horford makes his return in Sacramento, they will be needed to counter the frontline of DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Thomas Robinson to limit the Kings to one possession and come away with a victory to get back to .500.