HawksHoop Preview: Game 4

Buddy Grizzard —  April 26, 2014 — 2 Comments

Welcome to Must Win: Game 4 Edition. The Hawks kept home court advantage alive with a Game 3 win, but a loss in Game 4 would give home court plus all the momentum back to the Pacers heading back to Indianapolis. Atlanta benefited from two factors that might not help in Game 4. The Hawks were helped by an abnormal amount of luck (including a circus 3-pointer by Jeff Teague where he may have stepped out of bounds) and some correctable errors by Frank Vogel.

Kyle Korver was not having a great series but he came up huge in Game 3 with 20 points on six shots, including 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range and six rebounds. One of the biggest turning points in the game happened with 7:18 to play in the 4th. After a series of disastrous defensive possessions for the Hawks, the Pacers drew within four on an open corner three by Lance Stephenson.

On the next play, Teague drove into the lane and attempted a shovel pass to Mike Scott that didn’t connect. Stephenson sprawled on the ground to gather the loose ball and was ruled out of bounds. On the ensuing possession, Korver hit a pull-up three and was fouled by C.J. Watson, late fighting through a Pero Antic screen. Had Stephenson secured possession, the Pacers might have drawn within one or two rather than see the Hawks’ lead (79-71) stretch back out to eight.

Another stroke of fortune for the Hawks was the fact that Paul George picked up his second foul less than four minutes into the game. Vogel overreacted to this by keeping George out of the game until almost four minutes into the second quarter. This prevented the Pacers from establishing the successful Game 2 strategy of blunting Teague with George’s defense at the point of attack. Vogel compounded his error by failing to get a smoking hot Luis Scola involved in the offense early.

In Game 4, the Hawks cannot count on any of these factors working in their favor. Atlanta will need a star-making performance from Teague against the A game of George, who will likewise need a breakthrough performance to see the Pacers through to the 2nd round.

A further X-factor for the Hawks will be the play of DeMarre Carrol, a player who has emerged in this series as, dollar for dollar, possibly the best value in the NBA not named Chandler Parsons. In Game 1, Carroll had a double-double with 12 points on four shots and 10 rebounds. In Game 3, Carroll had another efficient offensive performance with 18 points on six shouts with four rebounds. Even more important than his efficient offense, however, has been his stellar defensive contributions.

At the bottom of this post you will find my Enhanced Play-by-Play for Game 3 along with running totals of what I’m terming “defensive miscues.” This is a very broad and subjective category that includes both obvious defensive mistakes and occasions where a player is out of possession defensively, possibly as a result of defensive scheme rather than individual error. Carroll made it all the way to the 3rd quarter before being involved in a defensive miscue. The fact that Carroll finished the game with only one attributed miscue makes his Game 3 one of the most stunningly phenomenal defensive performances I’ve ever witnessed.

I say these miscues are subjective because, in spending well over 20 hours reviewing every possession of this series on MySynergySports.com, I’ve been forced to make frequent judgement calls. When a player leaves his man to guard another player, it could be the result of a bad decision by the player or that player may be acting on instructions from the coaching staff.

Take for example a play with four minutes remaining in the 1st half (play 82 in the Enhanced Play-by-Play below). Evan Turner is backing down Korver and Antic leaves Roy Hibbert to double team him. Was this a judgement call by Antic? Was this what Bud’s defensive scheme called for? I have no idea… they don’t let me in the film room. Either way, the net result is what should have been a wide open dunk for Hibbert if he hadn’t fumbled the ball out of bounds. Since the defensive play put the defending team at a disadvantage, I count this as a defensive miscue involving Antic.

Now, contrast that with a play with 11 minutes remaining in the 3rd when Hibbert missed an elbow jumper. Antic left Hibbert to help on the baseline as George drove on Millsap. I feel pretty confident that Bud’s defensive scheme encourages Antic to prevent a dunk or layup, even if it means allowing Hibbert a look from 17 feet. For play 102 below, no defensive miscue is attributed to Antic.

As a result of this exhaustive research, I presently rate Korver quantitatively the worst defender in this series. There’s been back and forth debate about this (which I always consider healthy) on Twitter, where many insist that Korver’s defensive abilities are well above average. I agree that Korver’s defensive technique, awareness and effort are exemplary, but his lack of speed causes him to frequently be out of position.

An example of great defense by Korver is play 111 when he gets caught on a hard pin down by Stephenson on the left block but still recovers to contest George’s missed 3-point attempt. A different player might have been taken out of this play, but not Korver. Seconds later Korver would contest a Hill layup attempt and then beat everyone down court to set up for a transition corner three that would put the Hawks up 50-42. The effort and defensive technique are always there. It’s just that, at 33 Korver can’t always keep players with elite speed in front of him.

Am I saying that Korver is a worse defender than Mike Scott? Of course not. Scott’s defensive issues come down to awareness and decision making. He might be a half step slow but he has the physical tools to be something more than terrible on defense. Take for example play 157 with 10:30 to play in the 4th quarter. After losing track of and getting torched by Scola throughout the series, Scott leaves him twice in one possession to double the ball handler. This results in a made elbow jumper for Scola as Scott recovered too late. Then, on the very next offensive possession for the Pacers, Scott DOES IT AGAIN, resulting in an uncontested layup for Scola. I just can’t imagine Bud’s defensive instructions before the game were “help on the point guards… Don’t worry about Scola, you can leave him open.”

Scott plays fewer minutes and therefore defends on fewer plays than Korver, but there’s no comparison when it comes to the egregiousness of a typical Scott miscue. Do I think Korver is a better-than-average NBA defender? No. Is Korver one of the first players I would try to sign if I was trying to fill the bench for a contending roster? Absolutely. On a team for which Korver is not asked to be the 3rd-best offensive starter, he’s everything a contender could wish for.

Is Paul George ready to step up and be the best player on a contending roster? That’s a whole other subject. An example of why I don’t believe the Pacers possess the chemistry or culture to compete for a championship is play 125. Scott staggered George at the free throw line with a pick, freeing Carroll to hit an open three and put the Hawks ahead 56-47. Nobody picked up Carroll and George stood at the free throw line with his arms raised wondering why.

A championship culture is a culture of accountability and responsibility. Champions cover for their teammates, they don’t point fingers and play the blame game. I said at the start of this series that it could either break the Pacers or ignite a run to the Finals. Maybe they will flip a switch, the light will come on and they will get it. I waited a long time for Josh Smith to flip that switch and it never happened, so I have my doubts.

Enhanced Play-by-Play, Game 3:

1. PG travelled after won tip, trapped
2. Korver made 3-of-3 fts, PG fouled after fought over screen 0-3
3. PG missed ft line J, DeMarre fought through solid Hibbert screen
4. Korver missed top-of-circle 3, Hill late fighting over screen
5. Stephenson missed top-of-circle 3, Korver late close
6. Teague missed top-of-circle 3, PG caught on solid Millsap screen
7. Hibbert missed hook over Antic
8. Millsap missed baseline J, Hibbert late close
9. Stephenson missed corner 3, Korver late close
10. Carroll makes open layup, PG caugt ball witching missed cut 0-5
11. Hibbert hits ft line J, Millsap late close 2-5
12. Korver hits baseline J, Hill late getting over screen 2-7
13. Stephenson missed elbow J, Korver contested
14. PG off foul pushed Carroll
15. Teague missed runner contested by Watson, Hibbert over Antic’s back
16. Watson makes layup +1 ft after steal, fouled by Teague trailing late 5-7
17. Millsap made 2 fts, fouled by Watson who switched 5-9
18. Korver stole Watson pass
19. Watson stole Korver pass
20. Hill thew entry to West OOB
21. Antic missed long 3 end of buzzer, West contest
22. Hill made 2 fts, borderline blocking foul on Korver 7-9
23. Teague missed open top-of-circle 3, Watson left him to double in lane
24. West makes ft line jumper, Antic didn’t get his hands up 9-9
25. Millsap missed 5-foot hook, Hibbert contested
26. Hill missed long J, Williams contested
27. Teague makes runner, went by Watson 9-11
28. Hibbert misses fall away over Antic
29. Williams makes 1-of-2 fts, got a step on Stephenson who fouled 9-12
30. Stephenson made ft line jumper, crossed Korver over 11-12
31. Teague makes open top-of-circle three, Watson never made it around screen 11-15
32. Mahinmi missed baseline J, Millsap helped in lane
33. Millsap layup into Hill’s chest 11-17
34. West made 2 fts, got a step on Brand who fouled 13-17
35. Brand missed baseline J, Mahinmi late close
36. West missed baseline J, Scott lost him helping in lane
37. Teague missed runner in lane, Watson contested
38. West missed elbow J, Scott ball watching, collapsed into lane, completely lost track of West
39. Scott made 2 fts, Mahinmi over the back 13-19
40. Brand missed layup, Mahinmi helped on Teague drive, West contested
41. West made runner, Brand contested 15-19
42. Brand made layup +1 ft, West foul, sweet dish by Teague, Scott erased Watson with a screen 15-22
43. Hill missed left side 3, Williams late close, foot in the paint
44. Watson made 3, Williams hand in his face 18-22
45. Scott missed baseline J, West contested
46. Stephenson made layup, blew by Korver 20-22
47. Scott missed left side 3, Mahinmi late close, played way off
48. West made layup, blew by Brand 22-22
49. Scott made turnaround in lane, Stephenson played straight up on switch 22-24
50. West made top-of-key jumper, Scott hand in his face 24-24

51. Williams made open layup, give and go with Brand, lost Watson, Turner weak help 26-24
52. Scola made layup over Brand who helped after Scola lost Scott 26-26
53. Williams lost dribble
54. Scola missed elbow jumper, Scott contested
55. Mack missed top-of-circle 3, Turner late contest, played too far off
56. Watson missed floater in lane, got by Williams
57. Scott missed top-of-circle 3, Scola late contest
58. Turner missed right side 3, Mack no contest, helped on ball handler
59. Millsap made 2 fts, fouled on drive by Turner who switched unnecessarily 26-28
60. Scola missed top of key jumper, Scott late recover after helping on Mahinmi, Millsap switched to Stephenson
61. Millsap missed corner 3, late contest by Mahinmi
62. Turner missed ft line J, shot too quick for Williams to react
63. Scola makes layup over Millsap, Scott helped on ball handler after Scola’s moving screen on Williams 28-28
64. Williams missed runner, Watson contested
65. Watson missed open left side 3, Mack late getting back on D
66. Millsap missed top of key jumper, tried to draw contact on PG for his 3rd, no whistle
67. Mahinmi missed layup, Millsap contested
68. Millsap made open dunk, Mack blew by Watson and drew triple team
69. Turner blocked by Williams, who recovered after Turner went back door
70. Carroll makes right side 3, late contest by PG 28-32 (how cautious is PG being after the early hook?)
71. Scola makes 1-of-2 fts, blocking on Antic after Millsap let him slip a screen and get by 29-32
72. Teague missed runner in lane, Antic erased PG with solid pick
73. PG throws ball away, unbelievable defense by Carroll
74. Millsap makes layup, Mahinmi ball watching 29-34
75. Hill missed open 3, Teague went under screen
76. Teague blocked on layup attempt by Mahinmi after getting by PG (again, is PG being tentative on D?)
77. Millsap missed long 2, Scola late contest on quick shot
78. Hibbert missed top-of-key jumper, Antic played off him
79. Teague’s dribble poked away from behind by Hill running fast break
80. Turner hits open corner 3, Teague switched onto Turner then didn’t guard him 32-34
81. Korver hits left side 3, late contest Hill who turned his head for a moment, that was all Korver needed 32-37
82. Hibbert loses ball out of bounds, should have had dunk after Antic left him to double ball handler Turner
83. Teague missed open top-of-circle 3, Hill ball watching/double teamed Millsap unnecessarily.
84. Hibbert makes hook over Korver, Antic is guarding empty space 34-37
85. Antic missed right side 3, West late contest, caught on Millsap brush screen
86. Hibbert missed short range hook, Millsap contested
87. Korver missed open top-of-circle 3, PG late contest, Teague got in PG’s way with dribble handoff
88. Antic missed putback tip
89. Hill makes layup, blew by Teague 36-37
90. Millsap threw ball away on drive against PG
91. Stephenson misses top-of-key J, Korver went under screen
92. Millsap missed desperation heave at buzzer
93. West makes hook over Millsap 38-37
94. Antic missed right side 3, West indifferent contest
95. PG missed quick elbow pull up contested by Carroll (2 for 1)
96. Millsap makes 2 fts, block on Hibbert on drive to basket 38-39
97. Copeland missed open left side 3, Millsap caught on pin down by Hill
98. Millsap missed elbow runner at buzzer

99. Millsap threw pass away
100. PG made 2 fts, fouled by Antic at rim after he blew by Carroll 40-39
101. Millsap lost ball OOB on drive
102. Hibbert missed elbow jumper, Carroll ran out, Antic doubled PG on baseline drive
103. Carroll hits right side 3, Stephenson went under Millsap on the dribble handoff 40-42
104. Hill missed ft line pull up, Teague couldn’t get around PG’s pick
105. Carroll makes layup +1 ft, Hill contested because PG was late recovering 40-45
106. PG misses elbow pull up contested by Teague after Carroll’s scrambling D leaves him sprawling OOB
107. PG makes layup over Millsap in scramble after off reb 42-45
108. Korver makes elbow pull up, poor job by Hill getting around Millsap screen 42-47
109. West missed ft line pull up, Scott guessed drive
110. Teague misses layup, Hill contested
111. George missed 3 contested by Korver who fought through Stephenson pin down
112. Teague’s oop to Scott tipped to Hill by Stephenson
113. Hill missed layup, contested by Korver
114. Korver hits corner 3 in transition, Millsap ignited break by winning the rebound from George and Hibbert 42-50
115. Stephenson hits corner 3, Korver dug down too hard in the lane 45-50
116. Scott missed quick hook over West
117. Stephenson missed runner after blowing by Scott, switched after Stephenson drive and kick
118. Hibbert threw off reb into backcourt
119. Millsap banks in 3 after PG partially deflected Teague’s pass 45-53
120. Stephenson missed hook over Scott after blowing by Korver
121. Korver missed right side 3 in transition, 3 Pacers went for off rebound, Carroll dropped off to Korver between his
legs and screened George
122. Hibbert missed layup, contested by Millsap
123. West blocked by Millsap after George off reb
124. West makes put back, Millsap out of position after block 47-53
125. Carroll makes open left side 3, Scott took George out with a screen at ft line and nobody picked up Carroll 47-56
126. Hibbert missed shot at basket over Carroll
127. Millsap makes 1 of 2 fts, fouled driving into Hibbert’s chest 47-57
128. West makes tough baseline J well guarded by Scott 49-57
129. Teague missed pull up from ft line, George didn’t make much effort to get around Millsap screen
130. Scott tipped away Hill’s pass intended for West
131. Teague rocks the breakaway dunk. George trotted back on defense, didn’t want to risk being on a poster
132. Stephenson missed open left side 3, Korver ball watching
133. Mahinmi put back 51-59
134. Millsap missed open straight away 3, Korver pinned down Mahinmi
135. Millsap strips West on drive to basket
136. Teague made 2 fts after foul in transition by Hill on layup attempt 51-61
137. George made corner 3, Millsap late contest but George got rid of it in a hurry 54-61
138. Williams hit corner 3, crossed over George 54-64
139. Hill layup attempt blocked by Brand
140. Stephenson makes putback over Brand after several pump fakes 56-64
141. Carroll missed open straight away 3, Stephenson bit on Millsap’s drive and kick
142. Hill missed shot at basket after running Teague off staggered screens
143. Mack stripped by West on drive to basket
144. George breakaway dunk 58-64
145. Williams missed straight away 3, late contest by Watson
146. West missed ft line step back, indifferent contest by Millsap (Bob Rathbun: Hawks only have 1 offensive rebound
147. Carroll missed open right side 3 after Stephenson doubled Millsap going for a steal
148. Mack missed open left side 3 after Brand off reb
149. Millsap threw ball away on drive
150. West missed baseline fall away over Carroll
151. OLD SCHOOL LOU hit a pull up 3 over Mahinmi, Stephenson switched rather than fight through a screen 58-67

152. Scola makes runner in lane, slipped screen, Brand ball watching 60-67 (Scott was a defensive dumpster fire on this
153. Mack missed ft line pull up, Watson lost him on Scott’s screen and handoff
154. Carroll put back and 1, missed free throw 60-69
155. Hill missed baseline runner, Williams bit on pass fake
156. Mack hits open straight away 3, Watson completely lost digging down in lane 60-72
157. Scola hits elbow J, Scott left him to double team the ballhandler on two separate occassions during this possession
158. Williams made 2 fts, fouled on drive by Mahinmi, Hill appeared to just give up on the play, making no effort to get
around Brand’s soft screen 62-74
159. Scola uncontested layup, Scott left him to help on the ball handler AGAIN 64-74
160. Brand misses top key J, Scola dug down to help on ball handler
161. George misses straight away pull up 3 over Carroll
162. Brand made 1 of 2 fts, fouled on layup attempt after Mack drew Mahinmi and dished 64-75
163. Watson missed ft line pull up, Scola solid screen on Mack
164. Williams missed top key pull up over Watson contest
165. Stephenson hits elbow pull up, Scola got Mack again 66-75
166. Mack missed straight away 3 over Scola contest after switch
167. Scola made 2 fts after Watson draw and dish 68-75
168. Williams pushed off on Stephenson off foul
169. Stephenson hits corner 3 after Williams left him to double ballhandler 71-75
170. Teague drove and thew ball away
171. Stephenson OOB trying to gather Teague’s errant pass
172. Korver hits pull up 3 plus 1 ft, fouled by Watson, late fighting through Antic screen 71-79
173. Scola hits baseline pull up, Antic doubled PG on drive 73-79
174. Stephenson stole inbounds pass
175. PG missed baseline fall away over Carroll
176. Millsap threw ball away on drive trying to dish to Antic
177. Scola makes open layup, Stephenson crossed over Millsap, drove and dished, Korver left Scola to help on Stephenson 75
178. Carroll makes 2 fts, fouled on a cut by Stephenson, late getting through screen 75-81
179. Watson missed open straight away 3, Teague left him to try to deflect a lob to the basket
180. Teague missed right side 3, late close by West who switched on Millsap’s pick
181. Antic makes 1 of 2 fts, fouled by Scola on rebound attempt75-82
182. Scola missed elbow jumper over Antic contest, OOB off Stephenson
183. PG missed right side 3, Carroll late after staggered screens, Stephenson off reb
184. Hill fumbled pass from PG, Carroll takes it away
185. Teague transition dunk, PG could have protected rim but went for a steal instead 75-84
186. PG missed driving layup, Millsap contest
187. Teague missed iso drive contested by Scola who switched
188. Stephenson makes 1 of 2, fouled on ft line pull up by Korver, borderline call, otherwise good D by Korver 76-84
189. Teague missed layup, blew by PG, no call on body contact by Scola
190. Scola blocked by Antic on hook in lane, non shooting foul on Hawks
191. Stephenson open back door layup, Korver and Millsap doubled him on the perimeter then nobody guarded him on give and
go with West 78-84
192. Teague hits circus running 3 at buzzer over Scola, may have stepped OOB before shot but that was not reviewable 78-87
193. Stephenson dribbles for 20 seconds, makes layup after getting by Korver 80-87
194. Teague makes 2 fts, fouled on drive after blowing by PG 80-89
195. Stephenson misses 2 fts after blocking foul on Antic, backdoor cut on Korver
196. Korver hits open corner 3, Hill was so woried about Teague’s drive that he left him open 80-92
197. Stephenson OOB on baseline drive
198. Teague makes layup over Stephenson’s late contest after Millsap nailed PG with a delayed pick 80-94
199. PG makes 1 of 2 fts, fouled on drive by Carroll 81-94
200. Teague makes 2 fts, fouled on drive by PG 81-96
201. PG makes 2 fts, fouled on drive by Carroll 83-96
202. Teague airballs elbow jumper after Scola switched
203. Stephenson makes 2 fts, off foul Millsap on drive 85-96
204. Carroll makes 1 of 2 fts, blocking foul on Scola 85-97
205. Stephenson missed right side 3, Korver playing straight up
206. Scola misses left side 3, Mack playing straight up
207. Scott makes 1 of 2 fts, fouled in back court by Stephenson 85-98
208. Hill misses half court heave

Defensive Miscues (Game 3 individual plays and totals)

George 2, 10, 70, 76, 105, 129, 131, 138, 185, 189, 194 = 11
Hill 4, 12, 81, 83, 108, 158, 196 = 7
Watson 23, 27, 31, 51, 68, 145, 153, 156, 172 = 9
Stephenson 29, 103, 141, 147, 151, 178 = 6
Mahinmi 35, 47, 61, 74 = 4
Turner 51, 55, 59 = 3
West 85, 94, 180 = 3
Hibbert 8 = 1
Scola 57 = 1

Korver 5, 9, 30, 46, 91, 115, 120, 132, 177, 191, 195 = 11
Millsap 11, 60, 71, 97, 146, 177, 191 = 7
Teague 16, 75, 80, 89, 104 = 5
Antic 24, 82, 84 = 3
Brand 34, 48, 152 = 3
Scott 36, 38, 52, 60, 109, 157, 159 = 7
Williams 43, 56, 155, 169 = 4
Mack 58, 65 = 2
Carroll 100 = 1

Defensive Miscues (series totals):
Hawks (Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 = Total)
Korver 7, 9, 11 = 27
Teague 5, 12, 5 = 22
Millsap 10, 4, 7 = 14
Scott 2, 5, 7 = 14
Williams 8, 1, 4 = 13
Carroll 6, 4, 1 = 11
Mack 6, 2, 2 = 10
Brand 2, 2, 3 = 7
Antic 2, 2, 3 = 7
Martin 2, 2, 0 = 4
Schroder 0, 1, 0 = 1

Pacers (Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 = Total)
Hill 14, 5, 7 = 26
George 6, 5, 11 = 22
Stephenson 7, 6, 6 = 19
Watson 5, 4, 9 = 18
Hibbert 5, 9, 1 = 15
Mahinmi 4, 3, 4 = 11
Turner 6, 2, 3 = 11
West 1, 6, 3 = 10
Scola 1, 6, 1 = 8
Copeland 0, 1, 0 = 1
Allen 0, 1, 0 = 1

Data for Enhanced Play-by-Play is gathered using MySynergySports.com.

Buddy Grizzard


2 responses to HawksHoop Preview: Game 4

  1. “Was this a judgement call by Antic? Was this what Bud’s defensive scheme called for? ”

    After Hibbert fumbled the ball out of bounds I seem to remember a heated discussion between antic and somebody else. Through the hand gestures pero seemed to be telling the other hawk player that they should have shifted down on Hibbert.

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