RECAP: Heat 98, Hawks 81

Daniel Christian —  March 13, 2013


MIA (48-14) 98 – 81 (34-29)  ATL

Key Performers:

D. Wade (MIA): 23 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast, 5 stl
J. Smith (ATL): 15 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast

The Hawks kept sinking and the Heat kept rolling; that sums up Tuesday night’s loss rather well, as Atlanta put forth another uninspired effort against an inspired Miami team. It’s weird with the Heat– they are some paradoxical combination of inspiring, incredible basketball with a when-do-the-playoffs-get-here? mindset. They seem bored, but yet still remarkably dominant. Even on a night when LeBron James shot 3-11, they absolutely trounced the Hawks. It’s disappointing to see Atlanta continue to struggle, but it’s a delight to watch the Heat. They’re on the verge of breaking the record for longest modern winning streak, and you can tell why. They are a phenomenal team, and with a team as beat up as Atlanta is, they probably should have won by 17.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith had mild success in the paint, but he missed all six of his jumpers and wasn’t as aggressive as the Hawks needed him to be. Part of the reason the free throw disparity was so significantly in Miami’s favor was because the Hawks could not get anything going at the rim; they settled for jumpers and did not attack the basket– Smith was one of the main culprits here. His defense was alright, but his rebounding was subpar. Still, despite all of this, he was the Hawks’ most active offensive player, especially in transition. 6/10

Al Horford: Miami’s team defense is fantastic, but Horford seemed lethargic on offense on Tuesday night. Maybe it’s because he was tired, maybe something else, but his jumper in the pick-and-pop was off and he wasn’t aggressive down low either. He started off playing pretty well, but then hit a cold streak while the Heat pulled away. From then on out, he wasn’t too effective. 5/10

Anthony Tolliver: He had 0 points in 25 minutes, so…. I guess this wasn’t his night? 1/10

Jeff Teague: The Hawks made a little bit of a run when aggressive Teague reared his vicious head in the third quarter, but that was short-lived because Teague tweaked his ankle and had to go back to the locker room. Hopefully Teague recovers and is ready for the next game, because the Hawks cannot afford another injury to this already depleted roster. 6/10

DeShawn Stevenson: Well, look at this way: Neither Wade nor LeBron really torched the Heat. They were, relatively at least, contained. Stevenson played solid defense all night and he scored five points more than Anthony Tolliver. 5/10

Ivan Johnson: One thing about Ivan is he always brings the energy. He tackled someone (accidentally, maybe), was aggressive around the rim, and was just a jolt of life for the Hawks. Unfortunately, by the time he came in the game, Miami had already taken control. He did have an impact, though, and for that, well, he gets a pat on the back or something. 5/10

Kyle Korver: It’s a hard concept to grasp with Korver. He’s a great team defender, but individually, he can’t keep up with the more athletic players in this league. Considering the Heat love to run isos for their 2 wings, who both happen to be top 5 players on the planet, Korver’s team defensive skills are a bit irrelevant. His offense is always a welcomed addition, but there wasn’t much of that tonight either. On the bright side, he kept the streak alive with another three-pointer! 3.5/10

Devin Harris: Decent game for Devin. Nothing spectacular, but 7 points and 4 assists in 19 minutes. 4/10

John Jenkins: Jenkins had a slew of open threes (and by that I mean three), but he misfired on all of them. When he’s not connecting from beyond the arc, he’s not as useful. 3/10

Dahntay Jones: He played hard defense all night and stuck with LeBron relatively well. He picked up four fouls because of this necessary and enjoyable aggression, but he also had an absolutely awesome fake behind the back pass that led to a layup over Chris Andersen. I know what you’re thinking… Dahntay Jones did that?! Well yeah, he did. And it was awesome. 5/10

Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott: They both came in for garbage time only, so their impact wasn’t particularly useful for the game. Scott had a nice smash on a feed from Jenkins and Mack… well, Mack made a free throw. So… there we go. 2/10

Larry Drew: It’s hard because the roster is so dilapidated and Teague’s injury in the third quarter (although it looked minor) did nothing to help that. He needed to push the guys to attack the paint, and he didn’t. He could not draw up anything that worked around the basket, and part of that is a testament to successful Heat defense, and part of that is on the players; the rest is on the coach. 6/10

The opposition: It’s incredible that the Heat can look this good when LeBron shoots 3-11 on the night. Bosh is really a fantastic spot-up midrange shooter and Mario Chalmers’ three-point bombs in transition ignited the run that gave the Heat separation. They’re good, you guys. They are very, very good. I guess you could tell that by their 19 game winning streak. 9/10


Next: Atlanta vs Los Angeles Lakers, Wednesday March 13

Daniel Christian


7 responses to RECAP: Heat 98, Hawks 81

  1. Josh smith was given a 6/10?!?!?
    You all just assign random numbers to every player every night. Josh smith finished the first half by committing one of the most atrocious fouls I have ever seen only to come out in the second half and miss three quick jump shots and turn the ball over attempting to pass it behind his back. He has lost multiple games recently for us- celtics and lakers… and yet you guys completely fail to acknowledge how vital his mistakes on key possessions are to this team’s winning or losing. Al Horford deserves a higher grade for simply not wasting possessions the way the smith does.
    I have backed smith for a long time… but I hate him. I hate him and I can’t wait to let him loose this summer (maybe another coach can turn him into an all star hall of famer… but not drew).

    Also, the “analysis” by this blog is so superficial… every game is discussed as its own entity. You guys should try and tie in trends from this season and past season if you can. Buddy Gizzard is the only true writer here.
    I miss Bret Legree… hoopinion was the realness

    • Daniel Christian March 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      First off– since when is a 6 out of 10 good? It’s not. Josh may have wasted possessions and his foul was stupid, but I don’t let one or two particular plays define an entire grade for a player in a game.

      Listen, Josh may not be the most fan friendly in terms of his style of play, but you’re focusing so much on what he doesn’t do and not what he does do, which is actually a lot. Last night no one played particularly well. I don’t see the crime in giving Smith, who despite launching jumpers scored more and just as efficiently as Al in less minutes, a higher grade. No one was great. Does it matter? There’s a reason no player was higher than a 6.

      And you speak of the analysis on this blog being superficial. Have you read anything other than game recaps?
      Take a look at my last two posts and tell me if you feel the same way.

      And not just to plug myself, but the other writers have also covered season trends with Korver’s defense, Smith’s erraticism, and Horford’s efficiency.

  2. Tonight was a fine example of why I have a problem with the post-game analysis on this blog.

    Josh obviously has amazing games statistically, but he is frequently the reason we lose. Al Horford’s stats are less impressive but his basketball IQ prevents him from ever being the cause of a loss. In my opinion you ignore this… Often, it feels like you just glanced at the box scores and highlights and wrote an analysis off of that alone. Al should be recognized for always looking to outlet the ball to a point guard when he gets a rebound, for passing up wide open long range 2s and 3s because he wants a better shot, and for never ever ever trying to make too difficult a play- an unnecessary behind the back pass. Without Josh in the lineup tonight the ball moved, shooters took shots, and guards brought the ball up the court. Had josh played he very well might have had 15-11-6 but he also very well might have had had that stretch of plays that just stabs the team in the back. Recognize that. Discuss it. Don’t just blow it off and say “although he took some bad shots, he was aggressive and overall had a descent night”… hahaha I read yall’s stuff all the time and thats literally what it sounds like every night. I have been a hawks fan for 20 years. I have loved josh smith before. I hate him now. he must go.

    • Daniel Christian March 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      I can accept some criticism, and I understand your points. But again, it’s selective amnesia with fans and Josh. It’s not just the stat lines that we appreciate. Josh can often stunt the flow of the offense– we are not afraid to point this out, we do so often– but he also can make the offense flow beautifully. He’s an incredible passing forward, and if you haven’t noticed, he’s a reason for a TON of the Hawks late game buckets. To say that Josh loses games is naive, because a game is not decided in one or two plays, regardless of the score in the final minutes; there are a myriad of different factors throughout a game that create those late situations. The offense often runs through Josh late in games and he often does a pretty good job. If you notice, most of LD’s set plays in the 4th feature Josh as the decision maker because, aside from his penchant for shooting 18-footers, he’s actually an incredibly smart basketball player. And there is no question his impact is crucial to the Hawks’ long term success defensively. At one point earlier this year, he had the best points per play allowed against small forwards in the league– in other words, he was the best defender of small forwards in the NBA. I don’t think he’s number one anymore, but he’s still near the top of the list.

      Now, there are clearly issues with him as the three because of the problem it creates with offensive spacing. It forces him to the perimeter and that often leads to defenses sagging off on him while he’s out there, and then he decides he’s going to take those jumpers. I get it. It’s frustrating. And so are some of the bone-headed plays like that foul at the end of the second quarter or his behind the back pass. I get that, I do, but this team needs Josh to reach it’s full potential whether you like it or not. Hate Josh all you want, but he is incredibly important to this team and usually has a net positive impact on the game. You can pick out the bad decisions all you want, but if you do so, pick out the good decisions as well.

      Now, Bo, Raj, and I could address this after every game and delve through every single play, but for the sake of brevity and timeliness, we choose not to. We write brief recaps that try to gather the gist of the game and the players’ impact on the game, and post true analysis pieces separately. That’s not to say there is no analysis in these game recaps, but they aren’t the specific, dive-in stuff that we do when we have time to watch film and truly dissect plays and impacts of plays.

      And a lot of the times, the whole “he took some bad shots, he was aggressive and had a overall decent night” (which is never verbatim, we’re always at least a little more specific than that) is truly the crux of the situation. Making a few stupid plays or taking a few stupid shots in a game doesn’t mean you’re horrible, you cost the team the game, or you played terribly, it just means that there were some silly decisions, but that there were also other aspects of play that positively affected the team, such as aggression in driving towards the hoop (thus creating offensive rebounding/free throw opportunities) and good defensive effort.

      This blog does tons of analysis outside of the game recaps as well, and on those pieces I doubt you’ll find a lack of specificity to be an issue.

      • Daniel Christian March 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

        Also: I swear it did not look that long in the comment box. Sorry for the essay-long response, but hope it addresses some of your points in an understandable way.

  3. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am not one of those amnesia type hawks fans. I have fought the good fight for him for years. I know he can make great passes, blocks, and just overall plays. I believe he can be an all star, possibly hall of fame type of player… I really do. But not in atlanta or at least, not in atlanta with this team and this coach. Him playing the 3 is a problem but his decision making is a far greater problem. He has no one to fear in the entire organization for his mistakes. He is never punished or scolded. He makes horrible decisions that if one of popovich/rivers/sloan/carlisle/many others players made- he would be screamed at on national tv on the sidelines so bad that espn would be covering it the next morning.
    This is the type of year we have been waiting for though- its not about the hawks potential with smith anymore… its about the future. We are free to hate smith without saying but at least he did this and that because finally we have cap space and our potential is now shaped by the organizations decisions this summer and not on the hope and prayer that he will make more good plays than bad ones. And seriously… this seasons, Josh has made a lot of really bad plays.

    • Daniel Christian March 14, 2013 at 12:12 am

      I agree with most of what you said here. Josh’s scoring has been incredibly inefficient this year. I’m not disputing that fact. But I want to dispel the notion that Smith occasionally makes the smart pass, because the truth is that Smith often makes the right pass. Now, sure, sometimes he’ll try something stupid like that behind the back pass, but that’s an anomaly in a game, not the norm. But like I said before, aside from his shot selection, he’s a very intelligent basketball player: good passer, excellent offensive and defensive anticipation, fantastic defensive positioning, etc. Decision making has many facets, which is why I hate the term “basketball IQ.” Josh excels in some of these facets and struggles in others.

      My main concern is that hopefully you understood what I was trying to say about the recaps. I appreciate the response and the feedback, and if you feel the analysis is not as specific as it needs to be in the post game recaps, I’ll try and improve in that area. Again though, I encourage you to read other analysis based posts on this blog if you have not already done so. Just to plug one of my latest pieces: