It may not be a great idea for me to make pronouncements about the Hawks on the basis of following the final 30 seconds of today's loss to Portland on Gamecast, but I'll do it anyway. Here's the situation: Hawks and Blazers tied at 93, Hawks ball with 33 seconds to go. The next entry reflects that Joe Johnson missed a 22-footer at the shotclock buzzer and that the Hawks got a 24-second violation because the ball didn't hit the rim. I haven't seen the sequence yet, but I'm willing to bet that Joe dribbled the clock down and then tried to break him man down, which is certainly not his forte. Remember last week after the Hawks' last loss to Portland when I said that Marvin Williams and Josh Smith should be the ones to handle the ball on critical possessions because they're more athletic and more likely to get to the line? Yeah. This point was then driven home on Portland's final possession, when Brandon Roy (obligatory reference to the facts that we took Shelden Williams over Roy and I stupidly thought this wasn't a terrible move) drove and got fouled by Johnson. Again, I'm just guessing here, not having seen the highlights.
Here's the bottom line: Joe Johnson is shooting about 40% and doesn't get to the line much. The Hawks play a lot of close games because they do not have a significant margin for error against the rest of the league. If they continue to kow-tow to their star by letting him hog the ball on critical possessions as if he's Iverson or Kobe, then we're playing with a hand tied behind our backs. The Hawks have an athletic team. Why are they letting one of their less athletic players go one-on-one at the end of games?
Man, I'm going to look really premature if it turns out that Johnson did not get the ball in an iso situation at 93-93.