Hang another L on the tree. If you’re still counting, the Hawks have lost four of five, eight of 11 and 14 of 21. I’d say it’s looking more and more like Philadelphia will catch the Hawks, which would likely put them in a first-round matchup with the Miami Heat. Yikes. The other possibility is Boston.
- I know you’re wondering, so I’ll bring you Larry Drew’s comments on why Jeff Teague got his 12th DNP-CD, particularly with a little guy like Lou Williams making hay (17 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes).
“That wasn’t the problem,” Drew said of the defense of Williams. “I thought we did a really good job on Louis. A couple times we played him a little too soft and he just jumped right up and shot it. We actually fouled him twice at the 3-point line to send him to the free-throw line. That wasn’t the problem. We had the game under control. We just let it get away.”
I’m not sure what to say. Maybe it didn’t come out quite like the way he intended.
- Another symbol of the Hawks’ status as a rising power bit the dust, a few days after the five consecutive years with an improved record. With the loss, the Hawks will not finish at or above .500 in this brutal month, ending their string of 15 consecutive months with a record of .500 or better. (If memory serves, the stat the Hawks touted was consecutive winning months, and then they went .500 in February, so it was consecutive months of .500 ball or better, and now it’s kaput.)
- Interesting quote, in some ways, from Al Horford: “I think we played well. We just kind of ran out of gas at the end.” Perhaps it was because this was a game the Hawks might have lost even when they were playing well — against a surging team in its building on the back end of a back-t0-back – but it doesn’t sound like the Horford I’m used to hearing after losses.
- Joe Johnson was pretty downcast, more than anyone in the locker room I saw. The highlights:
“Down the stretch, I just think we don’t understand who should get the ball. Throughout the game, everyone’s free-flow playing, taking shots, making plays. … (But in the last five minutes), we don’t understand or we don’t know who that person is. If you notice the last four or five minutes, (expletive), I don’t think we know who should take the (expletive) shot.
On if it’s because plays aren’t being called: “I don’t know. It’s frustrating to me. You’ve got to go with the flow.”
More Johnson: “That’s why we look a little stagnant and lost the last three or four to five minutes, because nobody knows and everybody’s out there just jacking up shots.”
Finally: “I’m just frustrated. Like I said, we do a lot of talking but at the same time, we get out there on the court and we do nothing right, even though we know what to do.”
I’ll say this. Johnson is the one who seems most bothered by the way the team’s playing.
- A very strong game by Josh Smith – 33 points and 12 rebounds. Played closer to the basket.
“I was just trying to play off the guys that were getting plays called for them. I know they were trapping Joe heavily and I was just trying to put the onus on myself not to settle.”
- Kirk Hinrich sprained his right thumb in the second quarter. He still ended up playing 38 minutes, but he only scored three points after that. He said he’d be fine.
- Drew played seven guys – off the bench, Jamal Crawford and Zaza Pachulia were the only ones who got in. Both contributed well, I thought. Crawford had some pop in the rather free-flowing first half.
Horford said the minutes, particularly on the second night of a back to back, was a factor.
“I think it was,” he said. “I thought we were solid, but they just kind of kept bringing it. We had a good effort tonight, we just couldn’t get it done.”