Archives For Roy Hibbert

FINAL
Pacers win series, 4-3

IND(4-3) 95 – 80 (3-4) ATL

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 30 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 15 pts, 17 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

So that’s that.

The Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday after a lid seemed to form over their basket in Indiana. The Pacer defense was good, but the Hawks continued to get open look after open look. Unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans, those shots just would not fall.

The Hawks and Pacers were essentially even through the first quarter, but the second quarter is what set this game apart. Paul George got hot, scoring 10 points in the quarter, and the Hawks became icy cold, shooting 4-for-20 from the field in the period, including a 1-for-15 stretch to close out the half. The second half was like the first quarter: essentially a tie. However, the disastrous second quarter cost the Hawks the game and effectively ended their season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: This wasn’t exactly a banner game from Jeff: 5-for-16 shooting, five turnovers, and five fouls. Like all of the Hawks, he just couldn’t get his shot to fall, and that affected Jeff more than any other Hawk, as the defense is able to close down and focus more on Teague when the shots aren’t falling. 5/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was 6-for-21 from the field, but he did maintain his other strengths by continuously getting rebounds and jumping passing lanes. Just one note I want to take away from this game: after the way this series went, I find it odd that Millsap couldn’t get a foul call to save his life here. Not a conspiracy theory or anything, just officiating needs to be more consistent across games. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was one of the only Hawks that was actually able to find the bottom of the net during the game. He finished with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting, the best shooting by percentage of any Hawk during the game. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: It wasn’t DeMarre’s game, either. Paul George was hitting some extremely tough looks over DeMarre, a matchup disadvantage that was further compounded by DeMarre going 1-for-7 from the field. 5/10

Pero Antic: Pero was 0-for-5 from the floor… yet he posted the highest plus-minus of any Hawks with a plus-2 rating. Plus-minus isn’t everything, but it does seem to be an accurate reflection of Pero’s defensive abilities when compared to Mike Scott. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series tied, 3-3

IND(3-3) 88 – 95 (3-3) ATL

Key Performers:
D. West (IND): 24 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 18 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well it’s not like the Hawks lost in the most heartbreaking way imaginable, right? Oh wait…

For the second time in the series, the Hawks blew a late fourth quarter lead which a chance to either take a strangle-hold on the series, or in this game, to completely ice it altogether. Instead, we have the Hawks giving up what was once a double-digit lead, and then to make matters worse, they fouled with 33 seconds left after throwing the ball away while down only two points. (both mistakes courtesy of Lou Williams) Overall, it was just another postseason spectacle that people have become accustomed to seeing from Atlanta sports.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Teague may have missed a couple of opportunities last in the game, but it shouldn’t take away from his awesome offensive performance that he had. He scored 29 points — 18 in the second half — and was truly entertaining to watch as he dribbled, drove, and spun his way into the teeth of the Indiana defense. He also only had one turnover in 40 minutes of play. 9/10

Paul Millsap: He wasn’t exactly efficient from the field with his 4-for-13 shooting, but he was usually the steady force on both ends of the floor throughout the entire game. I’m going to repeat his stat line from the key performer listing because it’s worth repeating: 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He might not have always been successful with his shooting, but he gave his maximum effort in this game. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Wasn’t exactly a banner night for Korver. First off, he couldn’t really hit anything. Then, he got into foul trouble, which makes things worse because even if Kyle can’t hit his open shots, the attention he draws from the defense is always worth the spacing. And of course, he got a technical because Joey Crawford and Bennett Salvatore were officiating this game. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: It was one of DeMarre’s better defensive performances of the series, as he forced Paul George into 7-for-18 shooting. George was able to get to the FT line 10 times, but none of those attempts were due to a foul on DeMarre. 7.5/10

Pero Antic: Here’s where I’m conflicted: Pero played awful offensive basketball. He was 1-for-7 from the field with three turnovers… yet the Hawks were plus-11 when he was on the floor. The Pacers are still guarding him even though he isn’t hitting his shots, so I really don’t know what to make of his contributions. At least he’s good defensively. 5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 98, Pacers 85

Bo Churney —  April 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL
Hawks lead series, 2-1

IND(1-2) 85 – 98 (2-1) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 2 reb, 10 ast
L. Stephenson (IND): 21 pts, 13 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

It was a must-win situation for the Hawks; losing meant relinquishing home-court advantage back to the Pacers. They needed a strong performance in their home building and what happened?

Jeff Teague shrugged.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a sold-out and raucous crowd, the Hawks used a 59-point second half to take a 2-1 series lead on Indiana. Jeff Teague, despite the 7-for-20 shooting night, was tremendous, as he was constantly attacking the Pacer defense. Helping out Teague were Korver and DeMarre Carroll, who combined to shoot 12-for-17 from the floor and 6-for-11 from 3-point range. They were rewarded with a trip to the podium after the game.

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The Hawks now have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Saturday.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: I’m just going to let Jeff’s highlights speak here:

Like I said in the intro, I don’t care if Jeff was 7-for-20 from the field. He was extremely aggressive and produced a lot of open looks for himself and his teammates. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a bit sloppy on the night (six turnovers), but he still managed to put up 14 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists. One of his biggest contributions was a clutch 3-pointer that he banked in as the shot clock expired. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle finally got his shots to start going in, going 6-for-9 from the field for 20 points. He was responsible for one of the daggers in the fourth quarter, sinking an open corner 3 to give the Hawks a 12-point lead with not much time remaining. 9/10

DeMarre Carroll: In addition to scoring 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting, DeMarre held Paul George to just 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. He had no turnovers and had a plus-16 rating for the game. It’s probably a good thing that the Hawks didn’t trade him “and more!” for Jeff Green. 10/10

Pero Antic: In 23 minutes, Pero was 0-for-5, scored on one point and only had three rebounds… yet he probably still outplayed Roy Hibbert. Hopefully Pero can get his shooting touch back soon, because he might have a couple of huge shots come his way during the rest of the series. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series is tied, 1-1

IND(1-1) 101 – 85 (1-1) ATL   

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb
P. George (IND): 27 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

That was about the worst-case scenario for the Atlanta Hawks, injury-free category. Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap were balling again in the first half, again putting the Pacers on their heels by holding the lead after both of the first two quarters. However, that all changed in the third quarter as Paul George and Indiana finally gave a glimpse of the team that we saw in the first half of the season. George’s buzzer-beating 30-foot 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter was a symbolic nail in the coffin for the Hawks, giving the Pacers a 14-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

Why was this the worst case scenario? It isn’t just the Pacers winning this game; it’s the way they did it. The Hawks had the lead for half of the game. To allow the Pacers to storm back and rout them could prove to be critical as the series shifts to the ATL.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Take note, Jeff Teague: the best defensive team in the league figured that its best strategy for limiting the Hawks was to stick one of the best perimeter defenders in the game in your path. Take that as a huge compliment. How did Teague respond? In the first half — and the first quarter in particular — Teague did exactly as he did in Game 1. He let his teammates open up lanes with their spacing, then he broke down the defense by getting into the lane. In the second half, Teague had less success, going 1-for-5 from the field as Indiana’s defensive unit clamped down and the Hawks started to miss their open shots. Overall, I still think Teague played well. 8/10

Paul Millsap: Like Teague, Millsap continued his great work from Game 1 into the first half of this game. He hit two 3-pointers, he had a couple of great takes to the basket, and he was getting to the line, all three of which are things that he is going to need to do for the Hawks to win this season. Unfortunately, also like Teague, Millsap could not get the mojo going in the second half, resulting in the Hawks losing the third quarter 31-13. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver went 1-for-5 in this game, which is something that the Hawks absolutely cannot afford for him to do. The Pacers did a good job as a whole of keeping Korver from getting open, so when Korver actually is able to get free, he’s got to connect. Hopefully the 1-for-5 night (and 3-for-12 start from 3 so far this postseason) proves to be an aberration. 5/10

DeMarre Carroll: With Paul George guarding Teague for most of the game, I thought DeMarre might be able to take advantage of having a combination of Lance Stephenson and George Hill on him. He and the team really couldn’t take advantage of this, however, and at least two of his five shot attempts on the night were extremely forced. I would be interested to see if the Hawks are able to adjust and try to open up for cutting space for DeMarre in Game 3. 9/10

Pero Antic: With how many open looks Pero is likely to get in this series, they are going to need him to do better than 2-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-5 from 3. He did good defensively, but this series quite literally depends on Pero’s ability to stretch the floor. 5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Pacers 108, Hawks 98

Bo Churney —  February 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL

IND(41-12) 108 – 98 (25-27)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 26 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
K. Korver (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I guess there is some solace to be taken in that the Hawks were even in this game in the fourth quarter? The Pacers started off red-hot from the field, making 13 of their first 14 shot attempts. At one point in the first quarter, Indiana led the Hawks 31-9. The Hawks battled back to make it a 56-49 game at half, however, largely behind the efforts of Shelvin Mack and Lou Williams off of the bench. Coach Bud’s squad was essentially able to keep it in single-digits until the fourth quarter, when the massive amount of turnovers (22) finally allowed the Pacers to take a substantial lead with very little time remaining. The Pacers scored 35 points off of those 22 ATL turnovers. The Hawks are now on a six game losing streak and this game against Indiana was the first of a four-game/five-night set for Atlanta.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: At one point, I thought things couldn’t get worse for Millsap in this game… but then Gustavo Ayon got injured, leaving Elton Brand as the team’s only healthy center. This meant that Millsap was often matched up against Roy Hibbert, who is just simply to big for Millsap to cover without expending all of his energy. Paul finished with just seven points on 10 shots and simply looked overwhelmed. 3/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier got the start for the injured DeMarre Carroll and he actually had a decent night. He didn’t score that much until the fourth quarter, but his major weakness (defense) really wasn’t exposed too much by Paul George and the Pacer attack. Yes, George had 26 points, but a few of those makes were on rather tough shots that George managed to knock down. We also got to see Cartier finish the game at power forward because the Hawks were simply that parched for big men after Ayon’s injury. 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver had three turnovers, which was partially because Jeff Teague didn’t really feel like playing point guard tonight. Off of that, Korver hit 5-for-7 from three-point range and was a large reason why the Hawks were able to turn the 22 point Indiana lead into just a single-digit deficit. 7.5/10

Jeff Teague: Usually players are excited to be playing back in their hometown. Teague takes on the opposite persona. Jeff looked extremely passive all night and the result was that the Hawks played a lot better when either Shelvin Mack or Lou Williams were running the point. I know part of Teague’s struggles are related to the absence of Al Horford, but he’s been consistently outplayed by Shelvin for the better part of two months now. This is probably why, as Zach Lowe commented the other day, Danny Ferry isn’t exactly in love with Jeff Teague’s contract anymore. 1/10

Gustavo Ayon: Can the Hawks get a center that can consistently make a layup? Both Ayon and Brand had trouble finishing near the rim in this one. Gustavo’s night was cut short, however, as a rather impressive block that he made on Roy Hibbert caused him to injure his shoulder. His status is currently unknown. 3/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 97, Pacers 87

Bo Churney —  January 8, 2014 — 4 Comments

FINAL

   IND.gif(28-7) 87 – 97 (19-17)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Korver (ATL): 17 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast
P. George (IND): 28 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Sure, Indiana was on the second game of a back-to-back. Yes, Lance Stephenson didn’t play due to a right knee contusion. However, the Hawks — sans Horford — still looked pretty damn great against one of the best teams in the league. The Hawks opened the game on a 12-0 run, which included eight points from Pero Antic, and never looked back in the wire-to-wire victory. Antic and Elton Brand made Roy Hibbert an absolute non-factor, and DeMarre Carroll kept Paul George under wraps until the latter part of the second half. Every Hawk that entered the game scored at least five points and had at least one dime. Overall, it was a great team effort for the Hawks in a somewhat dominating victory.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Rough night shooting for Paul, who shot 1-for-10 from the floor. He contributed in other areas though, putting up five assists against zero turnovers and generally playing good defense on David West. Millsap has shot 13-for-54 (24%) in his last four games, so hopefully this 1-for-10 is a bottoming-out and he can return to his normal shooting percentages soon. 5.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Between Robby Kalland and I sitting on media row, we had at least 10 instances of us saying to each other, “Why is DeMarre dribbling?” It got so bad at one point that Coach Bud even called a timeout as soon as DeMarre tried dribbling against Paul George’s press defense. All of that aside, DeMarre had a great game, scoring well in transitioning, jumping the passing lanes correctly, and playing strong defense on Paul George, who took 25 shots to get his 28 points. Coach said of DeMarre, “On an individual basis, [DeMarre] really set the tone for us with his defense and activity.” 9/10

Pero Antic: As the Hawks official Twitter account tweeted earlier, is this the start of the Pero Antic “Rookie of the Month” campaign? Pero poured in another 16 points tonight, and his defense on Hibbert was especially strong. Pero also led the team with a plus-20 rating. 8.5/10

Jeff Teague: Sidenote on the “Why is DeMarre dribbling?” mention earlier: Jeff needs to have better awareness on going and getting the ball from his teammates when they are in a bit of trouble. Other than that, just an OK night from Jeff, who took a shot to head at the end of the game. Jeff said he was fine afterwards in the locker room, saying that he got hit on the cheek, which should relieve fans of possible concussion fears. 6.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver extended his streak to 105 games, which he did on a four-point play in the third quarter. The Hawks rode Korver’s hot hand on the second half, as Kyle scored 15 points on just six shots in those 24 minutes of play. 8.5/10 Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Indiana Pacers

Cole Patty —  September 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

2012-13 Record: 49-32 (3rd in East)z-indiana

Playoff Result: Lost Eastern Conference Finals

Key Additions: Danny Granger (injury), Luis Scola (trade), C.J. Watson (free agent), Chris Copeland (free agent), Solomon Hill (draft), Rasual Butler (sent from heaven)

Key Losses: Tyler Hansbrough (free agent), D.J. Augustin (but that’s a good thing), Miles Plumlee (trade), Gerald Green (trade)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (2nd in East)*

What to Expect: The Pacers postseason last year is very reminiscent to when Robby Kalland and I were walking the strip together at Las Vegas Summer League. The way the building are built, in both shape and sheer size, you can really believe you are a 15 minute walk away when really there was still an hour worth of travel before you actually arrived at Treasure Island, Caeser’s Palace, or wherever your destination was for the night. Robby would look at me and go “The Venetian is right there Cole, just a little be longer.” Before too long, Robby, while exhausted from walking in the Vegas heat, would be wondering “why isn’t The Venetian getting any closer!” while I’m staring it down with hunger in my mind.

The fact is, the Pacers were really close to actually upsetting the Miami Heat. They took them to seven games, and were a LeBron buzzer beating layup away from taking game one. While they lost by the closest of margins and feel on the cusp, they actually are farther away than that margin would normally suggest. Continue Reading…

FINAL
Pacers lead series, 1-0

IND(1-0) 107 – 90 (0-1)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 23 pts, 11 reb, 12 ast
J. Teague (ATL): 21 pts, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I’m not sure how to describe this game. The Pacers simply outrebounded the Hawks, forced turnovers, and took advantage of the mismatches in their favor. The Hawks, meanwhile, had Al Horford playing the same amount of minutes as DeShawn Stevenson. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t feel like a recipe for success.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: In 28 minutes, Al had 14 points, six boards, and three assists. In 28 minutes. Why did Al only play 28 minutes? Well, Coach Drew sat his star big man for the final 5:29 of the 2nd quarter, a quarter where Al had scored 10 points and was getting whatever he wanted against the Indiana defense. Why did Drew sit him? Horford picked up his second foul. Yes, Drew sat his best player for the rest of the half because he had TWO fouls. Predictably, the Hawks looked like a mess without Horford on the floor. 8/10

Josh Smith: Smoove appeared to hurt his knee early in the second half, and simply was not an effective player after it. Yes, he has his penchant for jumpers, but when he’s healthy, he can still explode to the basket, rebound, and play great defense. In the final portion of the game, it wasn’t that Josh was too lazy or disinterested to do these things; he literally looked like he wasn’t able to them. Maybe he should have only played 28 minutes… 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was called for a couple of fouls that left me scratching my head, but the fact remains that he could not guard Paul George. Clearly my thought that the Hawks could live with Korver on George did not turn out to be a great plan. Compounded with Kyle going 2-for-7 from the field… this wasn’t one of his highlight games of his career. 2/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff had a good offensive night with 21 points and seven assists, but his defense on George Hill in the first half… well, it left a lot to be desired. His defense improved by the second half, but by that point, it was purely the Paul George show and there was nothing Teague could have done to stop it. 7.5/10

Devin Harris: Early in the game, Devin tried to get into the lane a couple of times and draw a foul, but those whistles did not come. This seemed to adversely effect him, as he really did not get aggressive again until late in the game. However, even if he did get those calls, it might not have helped; he missed all three of his free throw attempts on the night. 5/10 Continue Reading…

With the series against Indiana starting at 1:00PM on Sunday, we decided to go 5-on-5 to preview the matchup, and of course, to give our predictions.

1. Which player on the Hawks is the most vital to winning this series?

Chris Barnewall: It will probably come down to Al Horford. At first I thought it might be Josh Smith, then I thought it might be Jeff Teague, but if the Hawks want any chance at beating the Pacers, Horford is going to have to be incredible. Horford will not only need to score on the best front line defense in the NBA, anchored by Roy Hibbert, but he will need to anchor the defense the way Hibbert does. Smith will have his hands full with David West shooting mid range jumpers, posting up, and attacking the basket. This will leave Horford to cover the spots that David West will spread.

Daniel Christian: Josh Smith. People love to talk about his erraticism and dub him an enigma, but the fact is he’s a relatively consistent and reliable player outside of shot selection and field goal percentage. He gives you great defense on the wing and help side every night, he creates for others in transition and in the half court, and is more often than not rebounding at a pretty high clip. Critics gloss over those facts en route to what seemingly is the bigger picture– a negligence to execute in the flow of the offense or a penchant for jacking mid-range jumpers. So long as Smith isn’t a detriment to the Hawks’ offensive movement (which he usually isn’t) and so long as he’s not killing possessions, the Hawks should be in every game. Smith can be incredible when he focuses on his strengths (i.e. scoring off cuts, drives (lefty hooks), and in transition) and is often a match-up problem for the opposing defense.

Bo Churney: Devin Harris. Being the playoffs, I believe the Hawks are going to get consistent efforts from Teague, Smith, and Horford. What the Hawks need, however, is a player that can do damage when these guys are sitting on the bench. If Devin can lead the Atlanta second unit to at least a draw against Indiana’s second unit, I really like the Hawks’ chances in this series.

Raj Prashad: Jeff Teague. Al Horford playing at a high level is almost a given. Josh Smith obviously needs to match up against David West and the tough Indiana Pacers defense. But we’ve seen thus far this year that even when Horford and Smith are tuned in, the Hawks offense can sputter if their point guard isn’t controlling the floor. Devin Harris can be sporadic at times, so Teague will need to be aggressive from the opening tip.

David Vertsberger: Jeff Teague. The Hawks offense can never stagnate in this series, and it’s primarily the point guard’s duty to keep an offense flowing. Enter a maturing Teague, who needs to be both the vocal and physical leader of this Hawks offense with one of the worst defenders of the Pacers’ starting five guarding him, George Hill.

 

2. Which player on the Pacers gives the Hawks the biggest matchup issue?

Barnewall: David West. I’m afraid of what David West is going to do to the Hawks. West is great at spreading the floor and attacking the basket. I imagine the player that will be covering West a lot will be Ivan Johnson. It’s not that Johnson isn’t a good defender; it’s that West is crafty enough on offense to really give Ivan problems. West is a player that if the Hawks can find a way to stop him, the chances of winning go up.

Christian: This is an interesting question because the Pacers’ greatest offensive strengths (front court and wing) are positions the Hawks can defend well with their starters. Obviously, without Pachulia, Hibbert becomes an incredibly difficult match up. So I’ll go with the Hibbert-Horford match up, mainly because I think Smith will be able to slow Paul George (he’s excellent at defending threes). Just another match up to consider is Jeff Teague guarding pretty much any point guard in a pick-n-roll, because that will end in either lazy defense or an attempted steal from behind as the opposition slips into the paint at will, causing a myriad of breakdowns throughout the remainder of the possession.

Churney: With Pachulia out, conventional wisdom would point to Roy Hibbert. However, looking back at the past games from this season, Al Horford absolutely destroyed Hibbert when he was matched up with him. In a pinch, I believe that Ivan Johnson’s strength could also match up with Hibbert. However, David West has absolutely killed the Hawks this season with his combination of skill and toughness, which are the sort of things that can get Josh Smith frustrated on both ends of the floor. If Larry Drew decides to put Johan Petro in the rotation, though, I would go for Hibbert. (DON’T DO IT, LARRY)

Prashad: Paul George. He’s a stifling defender who leads his team in scoring. With Horford and Smith tied up with their own match ups, Atlanta will most likely be relying on the likes of Kyle Korver and Dahntay Jones to keep the forward in check.

Vertsberger: Roy Hibbert. With Zaza Pachulia out, size is a key issue, and as capable of a defender Horford is, there’s always the possibility of getting called for a couple of early fouls and having him sent off the floor. Leaving no viable option to guard the imposing Hibbert, who after a bad start has played terrific ball later in the year. Continue Reading…

FINAL

IND(44-27) 100 – 94 (39-32) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Smith (ATL): 20 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl, 2 blk
R. Hibbert (IND): 17 pts, 13 reb, 3 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Coming off an important win over the Milwaukee Bucks last Sunday, Atlanta failed to capitalize on any positive momentum and fell flat against the Pacers on Monday night. It was a lethargic effort from the Hawks, who were plagued by a lack of activity from the starters apart from Josh Smith. Teague struggled from the field and failed to successfully initiate any sort of offense, and that reflected in Horford’s offensive production, as he only shot 6-15 on the night. More on player specificities later, but the energy, as I’m sure Larry Drew would like to say, was not there– the energy (cut to LD nodding vigorously)– was lacking. Obviously it isn’t easy working in the paint against Roy Hibbert, one of the league’s premier defensive centers, and defending the Gerald Green renaissance isn’t any fun either, but the Hawks failed to pick up what would have been an impressive win in an important stretch of the season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith played the best of any Atlanta player on Monday night, and one thing that is worth mentioning, whether it’s obvious or not, is that Smoove is so much better when he’s moving towards the hoop. Any shot in which his body or his motion is carrying him in a direction closer to the rim is usually a good Josh Smith shot. That was clearly evidenced by the work he did on Paul George in the post. Smith, who is a left handed player, frequently posted George while showing an intent to attack with a left-handed hook (a shot for which he has an affinity). Instead, however, Smith backed George down, showed the ball left, and then swerved and turned his body right for a right-handed shot around the hoop. The first three times he did this the Indiana help was late and he scored rather easily. Now for his jumpers: one was at the end of the shot clock and the other was a play in which the two and the three came off screens to the top of the key. This demonstrates the issue with Smith at the three offensively in Drew’s system because it flushes him out to the perimeter where he can jack in-rhythm or out-of-rhythm jumpers. Even though his 18-footer was in-rhythm on Monday night, you knew it was a bad shot. Still– is anyone complaining about Smith? He went 7-10 from the field. 8/10

Al Horford: At this point we’re all so used to 20-10 games from Al that anything less seems disappointing. It seems as if Hibbert’s defense had an effect on Horford early, and that effect perpetuated itself throughout the game. Hibbert contested six of Horford’s 13 shots, and of those six Horford only made one. He had much more success backing down/working against Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph. The Hawks have recently used a crossing screen with a guard on one block and Horford on the other to allow Al an easy seal-and-post right next to the hoop. They ran that twice against Indiana, once with Jones setting the screen, the other time with Korver. It works. 6/10

Johan Petro: He’s usually ineffective offensively because he’s not great with setting picks/scoring off picks due to his mobility (or lack thereof). His midrange shooting is somewhere between poor and inconsistent. He can be a spatial liability at times, but on occasion his hustle and defensive activity make up for that. That wasn’t the case on Monday as he failed to establish any sort of interior defensive presence. He did, however, have 4 offensive rebounds that all required a whole bunch of tipping and tapping. 4/10

Dahntay Jones: He kicked things off for Atlanta with a three-pointer in the opening minutes, but he didn’t score the rest of the night. He only played 12 minutes, so not too much to discuss here. 3/10

Jeff Teague: The Indiana defense did an exceptional job on Teague, but he missed his fair share of open looks. His outside shot was off the mark, but all 5 of his attempted layups were challenged by Hibbert, and as we know, that generally has a distinct correlation with low field goal percentages. On the other hand, his penetration didn’t seem to open the offense up as much as it usually does. That probably has something to do with Indiana’s number one ranked defense. 4/10

Continue Reading…