Turnovers, Breakdowns Doom Hawks vs. Heat

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat

A few thoughts after the Hawks’ 104-88 loss to the Heat:

– Atlanta kept up with Miami in the first half, but the Heat buckled down on defense about midway through the second quarter and turned a six-point deficit into a halftime lead.  The Hawks came out strong in the second half to take the lead back, but the real game-changer was that 13-2 third quarter run that Miami went on to stay ahead for good.

Hawks vs. Heat
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– The Hawks committed a season-high 24 turnovers tonight.  You’re not going to win many games with a number that high.  The Heat’s defense is good, and that’s part of it, but a lot of the turnovers were unforced, which is the disappointing part.  If the Hawks take better care of the ball, they could have been right in the game.

– Other than the possessions that ended with turnovers, I actually thought the Hawks’ half-court offense was pretty good.  They had 22 assists on 33 made baskets, so they were moving the ball well, and I thought the shot selection was good.  They shot 45 percent, which isn’t terrible, and they got to the line 15 times.  Again, turnovers were the difference.

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat

– Not only do turnovers hurt because it’s an empty offensive possession, but against Miami they are also bad because the Heat are so good at turning them into points.  They got 22 points off of them, which actually is a low ratio, but they all seemed to be timely buckets.  Mario Chalmers when on a run all on his own in that third quarter, and those points all came off empty Hawks possessions at the other end.

– The Hawks were pretty good in the half court defense, but too many times they allowed Heat ball handlers to dribble by them.  Against Miami, you have to give a little cushion and force them to shoot perimeter jump shots off the dribble.  Tonight the Heat got 48 points in the paint, most of which came off the dribble drive.  When they weren’t scoring after the blow-by, it was because the Hawks were forced to double team, which led to open shooters for Miami.  They have a lot of good ones, and they hit 10 threes tonight.

Coach Bud didn’t put the starters back in at all in the fourth quarter, which I thought was smart.  With the game out of reach, it was good to see the bench get some extra reps.  Mike Scott played especially well, leading the team in both points and rebounds off the bench.  Ever since Summer League, he’s shown that he can be effective when given extended minutes.

Pero Antic also gave the Hawks a boost off the bench.  In just 15 minutes, he scored 12 points, including two threes, and he defended pretty well.  It seems like he’s becoming more comfortable with the American style of play with each game.

– For the second straight game, Coach Bud used Shelvin Mack as the backup point guard instead of Dennis Schröder and for the second straight game, Mack delivered an efficient performance.  Tonight he had seven points on 3-7 shooting and three assists, and the Hawks were actually +2 with him on the floor.  Through 11 games, he’s shown no reason why he shouldn’t permanently be in that second unit role.

Kyle Korver extended his streak of games with a three-pointer to 84 straight, hitting Atlanta’s opening bucket to put an end to the drama early.  He’s now just five games away from tying Dana Barros for #1 in NBA history.

This was not a pretty game, but it’s certainly one the Hawks can learn from.  Without Paul Millsap and Lou Williams, Atlanta struggled to score, but I don’t know if either guy would have made a dramatic difference.  The good news is they can forget about this game and focus on Detroit back home tomorrow.

Tweet of the Night

Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images

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