Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 90, Hawks 76
Philadelphia–Maybe after he watches the video and sleeps on it, Larry Drew will regret the choice of words. But he was unambiguous about his feelings in the immediate aftermath of his team’s second-half collapse.
- Asked what happened in the third quarter, Drew said: “It got tough for us in the third quarter and we quit. That’s what happened.”
- Harsh words coming for any NBA coach, especially one with a veteran team. There were more.
- “I am hoping it’s out of character,” Drew said. “I saw a pattern with it last year and I thought we had turned the corner with it this year. Not the fact that we lost the game, but the fact that it got tough for us and we did not respond. You could see it in our faces and see it in our body language.”
- “Teams are going to make runs,” Drew said. “It’s how you respond to runs. You either man up or you fold the tent. Tonight we certainly folded the tent in that third quarter. What’s disappointing is we talked about when a team makes a run, you play through it. You don’t hang your heads and feel sorry for yourself, you don’t start crying to officials. You have to respond by toughening up defensively, executing your stuff even harder. I’ve seen us do it before. Tonight we didn’t do it.”
- “There are going to be more situations like this,” Drew said. “We have got to learn how to respond. More importantly, when it gets tough for us, we can’t hang our heads. I told the guys we had won four in a row and five of our last six. There was no reason to come out and put our heads down when things get tough.”
- I don’t know if I would go so far as to say the Hawks quit. To me, things came apart for some familiar reasons: stagnating offense, poor shot selection, carelessness with the ball and their struggles to score affecting their defensive sharpness.
- We’ve seen all of that lately from the Hawks; it’s just that the Sixers are good enough to seize on all those lapses and turn them into a running, dunking, ball-hawking, shot-making extravaganza.
- The Hawks were stagnant on offense and sleepy on defense. They stood around at both ends, watching Philadelphia take open jump shots and taking turns launching rushed jump shots of their own. The Sixers were off and running.
- “They picked up the intensity and we couldn’t make a shot,” Jeff Teague said. “That combination is always going to be bad. They got some easy transition baskets.”
- Josh Smith was chapped by Drew invoking the “q” word: “Everybody is entitled to their opinion. If he felt that way, that’s his opinion. I just felt we got a little careless with the basketball. In times of adversity, everybody has to stick together. Everybody. Players and everybody, and keep everything positive. The slightest thing can deter a situation or an individual.”
- Teague also rejected the characterization: “I don’t think nobody out there is trying to quit. They just made good plays. We don’t have no quitters on this team.”
- Joe Johnson looked lethargic for most of the night (though surely long-limb menace Andre Iguodala had something to do with that). Deadlines prevented me from sticking around to get Joe’s perspective.
- He tried to go Iso-Joe a few times with poor results. Then again, it was Iso-Everybody in the second half. Josh, Teague, Jannero Pargo, and Tracy McGrady also took turns trying to get it rolling on their own instead of sharing the ball like they did in the first half.
- This was Josh’s worst game in a while. He was missing jumpers and had just six rebounds on a night the Hawks got pounded 51-32 on the boards. Josh did have a good game passing the ball. All four of his assists led to layups.
- Teague was very good in the first half (five steals, nine points on six shots, four assists), not so good in the second. He could have been more aggressive when things came unraveled in the third quarter. Only once in the second half did he get into the lane to draw a foul.
- It was the same pattern for T-Mac, who just didn’t have the same spark in the second half after he abused Evan Turner in the first half. The Hawks should run that pick-and-roll with him and Zaza Pachulia all the time. It almost always results in a score or free throws for Zaza or a short shot attempt by T-Mac.
- Zaza was around the ball often when it came off the glass but frequently was beat to the spot.
- Marvin Williams missed open Js and never stopped settling for them. He’s usually reliable with getting to the line when the offense stagnates but not tonight.
- For long stretches Willie Green was the only thing working the Hawks on offense. Most nights the Hawks sort of figure out a way to get something out of the Green/Pargo combination.
- I suppose Drew has to play Jason Collins on a semi-regular basis as long as there are only two centers on the roster but 19 minutes is beyond pushing it. During that time, Collins had two rebounds, ended up in a few bad switches and was painfully ineffective on close-outs.
- Thaddeus Young ended up with 20 points and I don’t even really remember him doing anything special.
- The Sixers are good, especially when they can get the tempo to their liking. They missed a lot of open 3s in the third quarter or things could have been even uglier for the Hawks.
- “That was an incredible second half for our guys,” Doug Collins said. “The activity level defensively was off the charts. Everything we did tonight was triggered off our defense.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat