The easiest post for me to write this morning would describe how the Hawks got destroyed defensively last night by the Warriors, allowing 135 points. While I normally would cut the Hawks a little slack because Golden State is an excellent offensive team and made a ton of shots last night, I'm in no mood to do so this morning (Leo Messi's hamstring, Rafael Soriano's elbow, and working class voters in Ohio have me in quite the state), so I'm going to write that easy post.
What the hell?!? You want to know how a team scores 135 points while only attempting ten free throws? They play an opponent who allows one uncontested lay-up after another because of a complete lack of defensive rotation. I know that the Warriors make it difficult to rotate when they go small because they space the floor properly and have a number of shooters on the court, but there is still no excuse for an NBA team to allow as many lay-ups as the Hawks allowed last night. Mike Bibby is a defensive liability and Mike Woodson couldn't hide him. He was roasted by Baron Davis early and then by Monta Ellis as the game progressed. You normally take that tradeoff with Bibby because he makes the offense run properly, but he was not much assistance on offense, either. The Hawks tried Josh Smith, Josh Childress, and Mario West on Davis, all to little effect. When the Hawks finally did rotate, the Warriors rained threes on their heads. The saddest part is that this was virtually the same game that I attended three years ago. It's good to know that the Hawks' ability to defend penetration from opposing guards and then kick-outs for open threes has improved over the years.
On offense, the Hawks kept pace with the Warriors for a half and then fell apart in the second half in a morass of forced outside shots and turnovers. Does that sound familiar? Am I the only one sensing a pattern in which the Hawks play well offensively for a half and then lose their ability to score once the opponent clamps down defensively? Do the Hawks have ADHD? Are we seeing the effects of a coach who can't match his opponents tactically?
And one other gripe: outside of Josh Childress, this team has no bench. They ought to have a bench. Salim Stoudamire and Zaza Pachulia ought to be able to to give the team 15 quality minutes apiece. Last night would have been a perfect chance for Stoudemire to go off, but he didn't do much. Is it a coincidence that both of them have had run-ins with Mike Woodson before and have now fallen off the face of the earth in their third years with the team? Am I becoming a stuck record on Woodson? Does this post set a record for question marks?