– The Hawks lost seven home games last season. They’ve lost four times at Philips Arena in the first four weeks this season. Can’t knock their 5-1 road record but also can’t ignore their inability to beat good teams at home.
– Losing by close margins isn’t much of a mitigating factor, either, since the best teams tend to win those kind of games more often than they lose them. The Hawks were healthy and rested this time, too, while Dallas came in after taking a tough L against Chicago last night.
– That didn’t keep the Mavs from looking sharper in the first half. L.D. said the Hawks haven’t played with the same energy at Philips Arena. It’s also true they haven’t played the same level of competition. “We have put ourselves in positions that we shouldn’t put ourselves in,” L.D. said. “A lot of that is a failure to follow details.”
– “I thought we had a good plan coming in,” Al said. “It’s a tough loss. We still have work to do as a team.”
– Down three with 13.2 seconds left, the Hawks ended up getting an awkward 3-point try from J.J., who looked to be trying to draw a foul on Tyson Chandler. Clearly that’s not what the Hawks were looking for.
– “Get a handoff, turn the corner and get fouled,” Drew said. “We drew up a play to go to the basket and get fouled. We wanted to put the onus on the official. If we make the free throws when we foul them and there’s plenty of time left. We did not get a clean exchange between [Joe] and Al on the handoff.”
– J.J. played with a glove on his left hand. He got it banged during the preseason and he favors it at times. I’ve never seen him miss so many open shots as the last month–the Mavs appeared to be letting him shoot long jumpers at times–but you never get far asking him if injuries are affecting his play.
– “I’m good, man,” he said yesterday. “Just nursing these little ‘nick knacks’ I’ve got. Other than that, everything else is cool. I will be all right.”
– The Hawks reacted as if they had never seen a zone defense before. They passed it aimlessly around the perimeter until someone decided to jack up a 3-pointer. The Hawks missed 18 of 25.
– L.D. said the Hawks expected to see zone and the plan was to reverse the ball and attack the creases. “We settled,” L.D. said. “That’s way, way too many 3-point shots for us. They zoned us and we lost discipline. We settled for perimeter shots. Our movement was slow. We looked unsure. We started holding the ball. We fell prey to exactly what they wanted us to do.”
– Al had 20 rebounds. His teammates had 17. The Hawks had a 20-18 edge on the boards in the second half but Dallas led 26-17 in the first with eight offensive rebounds. There were a few possessions where the Hawks watched the ball fall to the floor before Dallas collected it. “We did a poor job of boxing out,” Drew said.
– Atlanta’s bench was awful in the first half. The reserves played a combined 37 minutes and combined for two points and two rebounds. The goal is for those guys to provide energy but instead they let the game get away in the second quarter.
– The Mavs are the latest Hawks opponent to show the difference in depth between the teams Atlanta has beaten and the teams they can’t beat. It’s too difficult for the Hawks to beat good teams when the bench drags them down.
– This was the fourth straight game Zaza was just kind of out there. It’s perplexing because he had been productive and energetic.
– Jamal still isn’t shooting well and his turnovers are up. He had seven assists so it’s not like he’s stagnant but the instant offense has been up-and-down. He had a key steal, craftily poking the ball away from Chandler on a trap with Smoove and dunking at the other end.
– Another strong line from Josh: 21 points, six assists, five steals, 10 of 19 shooting. Just five boards, and it looked like he grew frustrated because he and Al were the only guys working to get them.
– The Hawks couldn’t take advantage of an off night for Nowitzki, who was 8 of 22. He was just 2 of 9 in the fourth period and missed at least four wide open looks that he almost always makes in clutch situations.
– With Bibby in foul trouble and L.D. apparently having seen enough of Teague in the first half, in came Jordan Crawford to play with a small lineup. He gave the Hawks spark by making his first four shots, including a fadeaway over Nowitzki.
– “It felt good to get out there and play,” Jordan Crawford said. “I’m just excited that I got the opportunity and I just tried to take advantage of it.”
– “Jordan gave us some really good minutes,” L.D. said.
– “Atlanta has so much firepower, and they they insert a kid who probably hasn’t played in three or four games and he lights it up,” Jason Terry said.
– Later, Jordan showed his inexperience. He messed up a coverage that led to a Barea 3, lost Terry on a pick-and-roll layup and threw the ball away when trying to whip a pass to Mo under the basket. Back came Bibby, who continues to be the only guard making 3-pointers consistently.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.