–It had been a minute since you could say the Hawks opened with an unfocused effort and stayed in that mode. Maybe their last game at Washington but at least they turned it on in the fourth quarter to win that one. You might have to go back to the loss to the Heat before the All-Star game.
– Sure, the Hawks have had issues closing out games but they haven’t been sleepwalking. Until now. “I think from the start we just weren’t with it,” Al said. “I know it’s a long season but games like this are unacceptable, especially at this time of year when we have something at stake.”
– That latter part is why you can’t say this is just one of those games in a long season. The Hawks are playing for something. If they are serious about a special postseason they can’t still be using that crutch with 10 games left.
– The Hawks came crashing down after finally beating the Magic on Smoove’s tip dunk. ”You always know after a big game like Orlando can’t have a letdown,” Jamal said. “We should have handled our business from the beginning and been done with it.”
– Al really wasn’t trying to hear that. “I don’t think that (Orlando) game had anything to do with this one,” he said. “I feel like we overlooked (the Sixers) and that’s not the right thing to do. If you do that in this league any team can beat you.”
– This game and at the Wizards both fit my theory about the Hawks lacking energy when they play on the road in front of sparse crowds. OK, so the Nets W didn’t t mesh with that but, well, that was the Nets.
– These were the Sixers, who actually match up decently with the Hawks due to Iguodola and Dalembert in the frontcourt. I lost track of how many times those two got to the rim for dunks and layups.
– Nothing illustrated the Hawks’ effort issues like Philadelphia’s 58 points in the paint and 28 fastbreak points. Not hard for the Sixers to shoot 50 percent with all those easy points. And the Hawks’ 19 turnovers were due to poor focus against an athletic, scrappy team that tries hard. The Hawks could be twice the team if they consistently added those last two traits to their talent.
– Philadelphia’s points in the paint also highlight the potential issues with the switching defense when the Hawks face a team that also has long athletes. And those fastbreak points are what can happen with opponents who match the Hawks’ speed and surpass their effort.
– “From time to time we come out with a lack of focus,” J.J. said. “That team still plays hard. We didn’t show up. We acted like we could turn it on the fourth quarter.”
– Ah, yes, the fourth quarter. Presented with a chance to still pull out a W despite everything they did wrong, the Hawks’ focus faltered. When Iguodola and Dalembert turned it up a notch, the Hawks stumbled and fumbled around.
– Trailing 97-95, J.J. dribbled into Philadelphia’s long-armed interior and lost the ball. Jamal scooped it up and missed a 3-pointer. Dalembert then converted what seemed like his 37th alley-oop dunk as the Hawks watched, and finally Josh fumbled the ball away under the basket.
– The Hawks had so many lapses like that. “They played great so give them credit,” Johnson said. “But mentally we just weren’t in the game.”
– Iso-Joe: missed a turnaround jumper, made a 3-pointer, and had the aforementioned fumbled drive. It seemed like Joe used more high picks by Al tonight before probing the defense instead of the usual one-four flat.
– I missed Woody postgame but I’m guessing he used his reserves fairly liberally again tonight because of their re cent solid production. Or maybe he was looking for better effort. Zaza and Mo provided it. Teague only got four minutes but he did a good job of keeping his man from the basket even when he got caught on a couple bad switches.
– The Hawks appeared ready to take control when Bibby’s 3-pointer staked them to a 58-52 lead. But the Sixers responded with a 10-0 run, during which they just found a much higher gear than the Hawks.
– Bibby came to play, at least. He’s starting to come on late in the season. Remember he’s a guy who knows what it takes to make a deep playoff run.
– Just think how much worse it could have been for the Hawks if South Gwinnett High’s Lou Williams (back) had played. He’s yet another high-energy guy who can expose the Hawks when they are nonchalant.
– I figure the Hawks won’t have an energy issue against the Pacers on Sunday, if only because they are back at Philips. Looking at the schedule, you now have to wonder about those games at Detroit and Washington in the final two weeks.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.