Philadelphia–It didn’t take long for the same old Hawks to make an appearance. Well, that’s not quite right because they did pull out the victory after trying to give it away, but you know what I mean: Stagnant offense, careless turnovers, poor shot selection, awful transition D, lack of poise . . .
– “It was a little flash of what we were doing last year,” Al said.
– — “We just kind of made some boneheaded plays down the stretch, with me leading the pack definitely,” J.J. said. “We’ve got to know the time and the score. In the fourth quarter, under five minutes [to play], we’ve really got to take care of the ball. That’s on me.”
– Instead of going with motion sets late, L.D. kept calling for Bibby to set a pick so J.J. could end up with a mismatch on Lou Williams. That led to a lot of standing around for J.J.’s teammates and a critical turnover when Williams poked away the ball and Nocioni scored on a fastbreak.
– “We’ve had some success running the pick-and-roll with Mike and Joe, and they did a good job defending it,” Drew said. “We came up with a couple of bad possessions.”
– They won with a bad possession, too, unless you think Smoove shooting a corner 3 with the game on the line is a good idea. It was the textbook “Nooooooooo . . . yesssss!” play for Smoove. Or, from the Sixers’ fans perspectives the arena: “Shoot it! Shoot it! . . . Shoot!”
– “We was able to get it done,” Josh said. “It wasn’t pretty. You are going to have games where it’s not pretty like how it was in the end. But we found a way to get the job done.”
– That dagger aside, Smoove is still shooting and missing jumpers. This is (not surprisingly) going to be the first big challenge for L.D. He’s said he wants Josh’s teammates to stop giving him the ball in bad positions, but what are they supposed to do when they are looking for ball movement and he’s the open guy?
– Thing is, the game is over and you look at Josh’s line and he did most everything else right. Glaring exceptions being those three fourth-quarter turnovers and a technical foul when he kept jawing at Bob Delaney, who was trying to give him some slack.
– Al rediscovered his jump shot plus some. He pushed around Spencer Hawes, controlled the defensive glass and played big around the basket. Al was 6 for 6 with four rebounds in the first quarter, but then you sort of always expect him to have a good game after a bad one.
– L.D. so far has made good on his pledge to use the bench liberally. He sticks with lineups like Teague, Jamal, Marvin, Powell and Zaza for long stretches. Then again, the bench guys make it easier when they hold it down.
– Zaza was physical on the boards again. Powell doesn’t have great touch around the basket but he’s got some nifty moves. Jamal is still Jamal, balky back and unmet contract demands be damned.
– The Hawks are winning because they are scoring with relative ease for long stretches. But the defense is still suspect. The perimeter guys other than Teague struggle to keep ballhandlers out of the lane and aren’t much better at closing out on shooters. Smoove can’t do everything.
– And don’t even mention the transition D. If the Hawks are going to turn the ball over they at least need to get back, especially against high-energy opponents like Philly. “We got a little lackadaisical an we didn’t get back on defense, which was one thing we really wanted to do against this team,” L.D. said.
– Teague can’t get a call when he goes to the hole. The only way for that to change is for him to keep forcing the issue until he gets his respect from refs.
– When Jamal and Teague are in the game together it’s like each is trying to play a different style. Teague wants to slow down and run some sets and Jamal wants to attack and do his thing. Both were aggressive, though, so maybe they can work it out.
– J.J. had ice on his left hand after the game. He said he took a hit during training camp. “It’s something that’s not ever going to heal because I get hit in the hand every game,” he said.
– Joe had 12 free-throw attempts and Jamal had seven. The Hawks were 26 of 31 from the line. These are all encouraging trends for the Hawks.
– We’ll see if blowing road leads becomes a trend like last season. “As I told them after the game, sometimes it’s not always going to turn out the way we want it to turn out but the main thing is we found a way to get a win,” L.D. said.
– Home opener vs. the Wiz tomorrow.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.