Missed Opportunities Haunt Hawks in Loss

Thursday, March 1, 2012
By Jon Newberry

The Hawks had more than a few opportunities to seize control in Wednesday’s 85-82 loss to the Warriors at the Highlight Factory, but in the end they were only able to pull even for 19 seconds of the second half.

In the fourth quarter, with the Hawks trailing 70-66, neither team scored a point for over three and a half minutes. During that stretch Atlanta missed two shots at the rim and committed two turnovers… and that was just three and a half minutes of the missed opportunities.

“We’re not being efficient enough in our fast break,” Coach Drew said after the game. “We’re coming away game-after-game, where we’re right at about a 50 percent clip, and that’s just not good enough. Then we have to make our free throws.”

Oh the free throws… we were hoping he wouldn’t go there. The Hawks missed 10 free throws in the game while the Warriors only missed one. (Monta Ellis missed the team’s last free throw of the game.)

Unfortunately, neither of these themes concerning missed opportunities on the break or at the line are new to this year’s team. The last road trip was marred by pour finishes on the break, with the loss against the Lakers standing out as the best (or worst) example. There are also a handful of examples of close games when missed free throws could have changed the outcome. BOTH losses in Chicago saw the Hawks shoot poorly from the line. The first time it allowed a Bulls comeback, the second it prevented the Hawks from completing one.

The bottom line is that the Hawks are too good to be missing these high percentage shots. There is no “strategy” to fixing these problems, the team just needs to break through the mental barrier and take advantage of opportunities.