I left Taco Mac at halftime. That is how bad that game was. I watched bits and pieces of the second half back home.
The first two minutes of the game gave me unbridled optimism. Mike Bibby brought a clear and noticeable difference to the game. On one possession, he raced up the court and zinged a 30 foot pass to Joe Johnson on the wing. The ease of the whole thing was akin to realizing you have been going righty tighty to open a jar instead of lefty lucy.
I only need remind you the Anthony Johnson philosophy of backing his defender down 84 feet from the basket, followed by a sudden burst of dribbling, then a quick stop and pass off to Joe Johnson at the top of the key. The whole process used to make me get out of breath. Anthony Johnson makes the spectator sweat.
But that wasn’t happening last night. And it was awesome. After Marvin’s first made jumper, I screamed, “we are going to win it all.” Joking of course but no longer joking to mock the Hawks. Joking because I wanted to know what it sounded like. That is what a trade brings. Hope. Irrational, awesome hope.
Then the proverbial poop hit the fan.
The NBA: Where the Rest of the Game Happens.
Woodson ran the isolation play for Joe Johnson despite the fact that a) this play gives me heartburn b) Kobe is faster, more athletic than joe. c) Kobe is a great defender d) The refs were letting kobe maul joe This genius play calling led to at least two easy, fast break buckets and no made baskets for the Hawks. It also led to me ordering more beer than I should have. Mike Woodson. Taco Mac thanks you.
ZaZa? Yea, he is terrible. I don’t care what the stats say from this game. The stats lie. That was the worst double double in the history of the NBA. I am thoroughly convinced that Pau Gasol is not tough. He reminds me of a guy from college who is not tough. So my analysis is pretty air tight. Plus, I think Al does a great job on him, on both sides of the floor. ZaZa comes in and Paul becomes a three point the old fashion way basket machine. He does not see a fellow European. He sees weakness. It is not that Zaza needs to stop Gasol. It is that he doesn’t need to give up tick tack fouls. It is that he doesn’t need travel and waste possessions. It is that he needs to box out and hold his arms up. Also, Zaza always kind of looks like he is getting over a fist fight. That is a very random also, but it needed to be said.
New guy from the D-league? Yea he can shoot.
Salim? Yea he likes to shoot.
The Hawks played terrible. Bibby had lazy passes. Joe took bad shots. Marvin can’t dribble. Josh liked blocking shots more than guarding players. If you turn the ball over, can’t shoot, and don’t play defense, it is very hard to beat a team that is better than you. I would almost put that little tidbit in the realm of theories. Right up there with gravity.
Yet, this game comes down to Woodson. We were losing this one for sure. I don’t care if Tito Horford was roaming the sidelines. The Lakers were too good.
But to be down 40 in the first half? I am afraid that is on the coach. His job is to have his team prepared to win. Maybe not to win but at least prepared for the possibility. Ain’t no possibility last night.
New goal for the season. One home playoff game win and Woodson fired.