It would be easy to rant and rave about the things that went wrong in game 3. Heck, we did it nearly every game during the regular season. So instead of breaking down what went wrong (did anything go right?), I’ll just chime in with a few observations.
_ I didn’t get to watch the game live, as I had other pressing matters to attend to. Trust me, it looked just as bad on DVR at 1:00 a.m. I got so mad that I forgot to fast forward through the commercials. Or maybe it was just my subconscious, trying to give my ears a break from the sound of Jon Barry’s voice. Hmmmmm…
_ I don’t care what anybody says. Mike Woodson gets a pass on this one. All the way. There is not one single thing he could have done to help this game. His bench stunk it up in the first two games, so what were his options? After a while, he realized that calling timeouts wasn’t working. ESPN had the huddle wired a couple of times, and Woodson was doing his best to encourage his guys. He’s a better man than me. Had I been in his position, the mic would have picked up nothing but “beeps.” I’m talking, enough to make you think somebody was writing an essay in morse code. Mike Woodson kept his composure through it all, not panicking even once. In fact, I think he’s learned to be a bit smarter about this than in years past. Don’t believe me? Well, I know this: Joe Johnson played only 36 minutes, despite the fact that he was really the only reliable guy on the court on offense.
_ Joe Johnson probably thinks he walked into a time machine, because it sure looked like 2006-2007 all over again. As in, he gets 25 points, half a dozen rebounds, nearly as many assists, and no help whatsoever from his teammates. By the way, don’t let that box score fool you. Joe was getting his game on out there, and only the desperation of having to do it all caused him to shoot as badly as he did (9-22). That, and the Bucks finally starting really keying in on him once they realized nobody else was going to present a credible threat.
_ Josh Smith has found out that there are a couple of things to do in Milwaukee that he hadn’t done before. Sulk in a hotel room is one. Another is learning how to pronounce Mbah a Moute and Ilyasova. I hear that both names translated together mean “You had better hustle better next time.”
_ The lack of energy and execution was astounding. And just in case you couldn’t see that for yourself, Jon Barry made sure to point it out. 3, 719 times. In the first half. Just in case you might have gotten up for a snack, or gone to the bathroom, and missed it.
_ Al Horford was lucky that Kurt Thomas didn’t bring his cane. He would have really laid a whoopin’ on him if he had remembered it. Unfortunately for Al, Kurt did remember to bring his jumper, his rebounding, and his defense. Al only remembered to bring his jumper. What’s with kids these days?
_ This game was so bad that Marvin’s flops and flails didn’t look out of place. Yes, it was that bad. The Hawks missed more layups than a junior varsity boys team does when the varsity cheerleaders are practicing at the other end of the gym. If I’m Woodson, I say we skip the shootaround and just do layups all day at pre-game practice. You have to crawl before you walk….
Okay, had to stop there. It was all I could do just to finish the game, and with about 5 minutes left, the only “treat” was watching Zaza Pachulia go 6 of 7 from the field, when it no longer made a difference. The Hawks have been beaten on the road before. They are certainly no strangers to this in the playoffs. We looked for signs of a good team in the playoffs, and we were seeing them in the first two games. But this? This shouldn’t happen. Losing is one thing. Getting blown out by a clearly inferior team is something else.
How well with the Hawks bounce back in game 4? Are we too presumptuous in thinking that they will bounce back, or is a realistic expectation? There isn’t anything complicated about this. The Hawks beat themselves. Even on a night when it seemed like the Bucks couldn’t miss from 3 point range, they STILL did not have enough weapons to be as good as the Hawks made them look. Brandon Jennings hit a few 3 pointers, but the kid still only finished with 13 points and 5 assists. Four of the Bucks’ main rotation players were held to less than 50% shooting (Delfino, Ridnour, Stackhouse, Jennings). There really is not much else to say. Atlanta doesn’t need to get it’s mojo back. It needs to get it’s head on straight.
Here’s to hoping that the Hawks turn this back into the series that it should be. Fear not the deer. Fear the mirror.