The game could not have started any worse. Seriously, had the Hawks decided to not send any players on the court and just let Houston get the game going alone, they couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. They didn't score their first points until the 6:52 mark of the first period. Dreadful. Even still somewhere between spotting Houston a 13 point lead and losing 84-92 the Hawks had an 8 point lead late in the game. What happened you say? Missed shots, no free throws and untimely turnovers. Not that there's ever a good time for a turnover, but you know what I mean.
One thing that stuck out to me was Josh Smith's turnover (bad pass) with 5:36 left to play. Turnovers are bad, they really are, but turnovers should also be quantified because some are worse than others.
For instance, if Josh is dribbling out of control when there's a more capable guy to his left or right and he turns the ball over, that's a bad turnover. Unforgivable.
However, if Josh just got a steal and he sees a teammate ahead and he tries to throw the ball to him but it sails out of bounds that's a turnover I can live with. Why? Because of the intent. I see what he was trying to do and it was a good idea, it just didn't work out.
I guess coach Woodson doesn't quite look at turnovers the same way I do and hey I don't blame him, he's obviously a bottom line kind of guy.
He yanked Josh at that point (while they were clinging to a two point lead and had completely lost the ability to score) and he didn't put him back in until there was only 1:53 left and that two point lead had turned into a 10 point deficit.
Josh is not the best defender in the league.
Josh is not the best defender in the East.
Josh is probably not the best defender in the Southeastern division.
Josh is the best defender on the Atlanta Hawks.
Josh was bad on offense.
Josh was not bad on defense.
Since Woody is a bottom line sorta guy he should have thought to himself since we can't score maybe I'd better try to stop Houston from scoring.
Woody could have genuinely thought Za Za was a better defensive option at that point. We'll never know because no one asked him. Maybe he was trying to teach Josh a lesson. Hey, I'm all for getting your point across, but there's a time and a place for it. That was not the time. Berate him during the time out, question his heart, question his manhood, then put him back on the floor because as bad as you need a bucket, you need a stop.
Yes he was dreadful leading up to the turnover. He missed three or four shots in a row to help Houston get back into the game. Dreadful.
But, for everything he was lacking on offense he was still pretty effective on defense. The bottom line is even though he was having a bad night, he was still the best option at the time.
I have no idea what to make of this team right now. All I know is if they are going to be bad, I want them to be all the way bad. Don't be middle of the lottery bad. Be number one pick bad. I know its waaaaay too early for this talk, but I'm seeing some of the same things this season that I've seen in the previous four seasons. That's not good.
For a thorough analysis of the game go see Brett.
Dec 17: Hawks vs Cavaliers
6 hours ago