‘Lid’ Blocks Out the Positives
With 8:34 left in the third quarter, Joe Johnson hit a routine 15-footer that gave the Hawks a 49-44 lead, forcing the Lakers to call a timeout. The rest of the quarter featured a host of missed opportunities as Atlanta failed to connect on any of their 19 field goal attempts and made two free throws. That coldspell resulted in their five-point lead turning into an eight point deficit.
The third period was when the poor shooting was the most obvious, but the truth was that the Hawks missed open jumpers and shots from close range much of the night.
“There was a lid on the basket for a long period of time,” Josh Smith concluded after the game, “especially in that third quarter.”
“On offense we just missed a lot of easy shots,” Joe Johnson concurred, “and it hurt us toward the end of the game.”
The 34.4% shooting from the field (a season-low) overshadowed what was overall, a very solid performance by Atlanta. Two of the main goals coming into the game were to slow down Kobe Bryant and to neutralize the Lakers size in the paint. The Hawks limited Kobe to just 10 points on 5-of-17 shooting and tied a season-high with 17 offensive rebounds, the most since opening night in New Jersey.
Unfortunately, no matter how you spin it, a loss is a loss. The good news is that the team is right back in action on Wednesday night, continuing their road trip in Phoenix against the Suns. The statistics show that odds are against Atlanta continuing to shoot so poorly, so expect to see that lid removed.