Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Fall to Heat
A few thoughts coming up on the Hawks’ 103-90 loss to the Heatat Philips Arena:
— This one hurts, because for the bulk of the night, the Hawks really played well against the defending champs. After a sloppy first quarter by both teams (no surprise with the layoff for the All-Star break), Atlanta really settled down and took control, taking a 73-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Then it took a turn.
The Heat were as hot as a team can be in the last 12 minutes of this game, hitting a ridiculous 14-18 shots (78%) to outscore the Hawks 40-17.
— The final score might suggest an easy victory for Miami, yet it was anything but. For the game the Hawks outshot (50%-47%), and outrebounded (42-33) the Heat, while also winning the points in the paint battle (44-38) and putting up a 23-11 advantage in fast-break points. So how did they lose???
— Turnovers, to answer my previous question. If there is one thing you absolutely cannot do against the Heat, it’s give them free possessions. The Hawks turned the ball over 21 times to the Heat’s 11, and Miami outscored them 23-10 off those miscues. That’s the ballgame right there.
— That said, several Hawks had really nice games tonight, led by Al Horford, who scored early and often on his way to a game-high 27 points along with 9 rebounds.
— Josh Smith struggled with his shot for most of the night, but as usual found other ways to contribute, finishing just short of a triple-double with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.
— Kyle Korver is truly a joy to watch. It’s not just that he hits 3-pointers every night (46 straight games and counting). Korver needs so little room to get his shot off that teams are forced to expend a ton of energy keeping up with him, which in turn creates lots of easy opportunities for his teammates. It’s the equivalent of how a great running game in football sets up the play-action pass — when Korver gets hot, his teammates are just as likely to benefit as he is.
– Ivan Johnson only played 14 minutes, but made them count by scoring 10 points, most coming in the second quarter when the Hawks began to impose their will on the game.
The defending champs appear to have the Hawks’ number this season, beating them three times so far, but they’ve all been very competitive. Atlanta will have one more crack at them in Miami in a few weeks. If they can cut down on the turnovers, they just may get off the schneid.
What did you think?