Atlanta Hawks: Heat 116, Hawks 109 (3 OT)
Al Horford summed it up: “This by far has to be my worst defeat here as a Hawk. I didn’t feel like we wanted to win this game.” Possible exceptions include Ivan Johnson, Willie Green and Tracy McGrady.
- This was the kind of loss that people who can’t embrace the Hawks predict as soon as they hear LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are out. And then it happened. “I wish they would have played, to be perfectly honest,” Larry Drew said. “I think if they would have played we would have taken a whole different approach.”
- To get a sense of the Hawks’ disarray in this loss, listen to the various explanations for the poor pick-and-roll coverages that plagued them all game.
- Drew on Chris Bosh’s game-tying 3 at the end of regulation: “Mental, mental breakdown. Just total mental breakdowns from key players. We knew they were going for the quick basket. We were going to switch a lot of the things. When you make a switch, you come together. We didn’t do that. We tried to cheat the play and they stepped right in between us. It should not have been switched because we didn’t come together.”
- Horford: “That’s a miscommunication there. That went on all game. Guys were not on the same page and we weren’t switching. We were having some problems with the coverages. Jeff [Teague], you can’t fault him, he expects it to be done the right way every time.”
- Josh Smith: “I don’t know how much louder I can scream for whoever it is that a man is coming up and setting a screen. . . . We were giving up too many straight-line drives to the basket and dribble-drive layups. It’s disappointing to see that when somebody makes a play, as teammates we have to come up and help them. ”
- Drew said he didn’t want to foul on Miami’s last possession of regulation: “I trust my defense in that situation. We did everything right except we had a breakdown on our switch. We didn’t switch it. It just took a moment for Bosh to step back and get open. I thought we did everything perfect up that point.”
- The Hawks missed 12 free throws after halftime. “You’ve got to step up and make them,” Joe Johnson said. “I’m one of the biggest culprits.”
- Johnson also missed 6 of 7 3-point tries. He missed all three of his shots in the third overtime, when the Hawks became just the 10th team in league history to fail to score in an overtime period.
- The talk about Johnson’s renewed energy for this season looks flimsy now. For the second game in a row the Hawks needed their alpha dog to make one or two plays to win and he couldn’t do it.
- Teague struggled, too. He had five steals and seven assists against two turnovers but missed 11 of 12 shots and four of eight free throws. He didn’t fight hard through screens at times though, after talking to Drew and the Hawks, I’m still not sure how much of that is his fault–because they didn’t sound sure, either.
- Teague is still learning on the job but he didn’t look as confident tonight. “We missed shots and it carried over to our defense, starting with me,” Teague said.
- McGrady (14 points on eight shots, five assists, seven rebounds) didn’t play after the first overtime. Drew said it was a strategic decision and then McGrady wasn’t able to return: “While he was on the bench he stiffened up and he couldn’t get back in there.”
- McGrady: “I sat down for too long.”
- Smith was spent for the third overtime. He slumped on the scorer’s table before the jump ball. Horford pumped his fist and yelled: “Smoove! Come on, man!”
- Josh: “I understand that they are looking to me to generate most of the energy but at the same time we are all professionals. Everybody has to be able to go out there and play no matter who steps out there on the floor.”
- Horford got Bosh in Miami; Bosh returned the favor tonight. “He’s tough, man,” Horford said. “He knows how to play. He buys into his role with his team and steps back, but we know he’s capable of doing that any time.”
- Vladimir Radmanovic makes contributions but he can’t make a shot. This is a problem since that’s why the Hawks signed him.
- The good vibes generated by the Hawks after the W in Miami are gone now. And they still have to play two more games in two days.
- “The frustrating part is it’s little things we can control,” Horford said. “It’s free throws, it’s little things on defense that we do sometimes and other times we don’t. Tonight we probably let our guards down with those two guys being out. That’s somewhat of a factor, but that’s still no excuse.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat