I was happy last night to see that there were NBA games on television. No football this weekend for the Dawgs-- no problem. Last game of the pre-season for the Hawks, going against division rival, Orlando Magic. Should be a good one, I thought.
I got myself in position in front of the television and waited impatiently for the game to come on.
I should have brought a pail with me.
Hate to be too critical, and maybe nauseating is too strong a description, but that's the first adjective that came to mind. It was awful, awful basketball from the Hawks. The Hawks got blasted by nearly 40 points. They shot a paltry 37 percent from the field, and 23 percent from behind the arc.
The Hawks starters seemed to have no answer for the Orlando Magic's schemes on defense. They were able to trap the ball in the corner and keep the Hawks from executing any plays. On the other side of the ball, no one from the Hawks could guard Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard, Michael Pietrus, or Brandon Bass. The Magic shot over 60 percent from the field and over 60 percent from three. Shucks, Dwight Howard even shot 7 of 10 from the free throw line.
Dwight Howard will get his points. But how could the Hawks go through the off-season and declare themselves much improved, when they did not bring in any shot-blockers? No one on the team got more than 6 rebounds. The Magic's big men had 8 blocked shots. Ours, just 1.
I think I heard one of the commentators say that Al Horford had a twisted ankle. If true, that explains some of the ineptitude in the post. But if Horford is hobbled or is not playing well, the Hawks need to have someone who can come off the bench and give the team a lift.
Didn't see Joe Smith play, but he's a pick and pop guy-- a tall player who shoots well enough if you give him space. He doesn't have enough weight to bang in the post on offense or defense. Haven't seen Jason Collins play in a long time, but if memory serves me, he's not a particularly proficient scorer, rebounder or defender. Keeping Solomon Jones would have been just as good an option, if not better.
If there was any good news, it was that Randolph Morris came off the bench and notched 11 points with 5 rebounds. I didn't see any of Morris' play, so he must have played in the 4th quarter when the game was well out of reach. However, if he's in shape, maybe he can help the team, and even challenge for minutes earlier in the game.
The most disappointing aspect of the game was the seeming confirmation that the Hawks management made a major mistake by re-signing Mike Bibby, and bringing in Jeff Teague, while letting the truly versatile Flip Murray leave.
Teague didn't impress me at all. I'm with commentator and former coach Hubie Blalock on this one: Teague has no mid-range game and cannot hit a 3-pointer.
How did Atlanta end up paying major money for another fast guy who can't shoot? Unless I'm missing something, Teague is a healthy Speedy Claxton. Shoots better from the line, but I'm afraid that's about it.
Teague went 0 of 15 from the floor and 0 of 4 from behind the arc. I would say that it's just one bad game, but the truth is that the guy is a point guard with a set shot. Bad form. He will shoot better from the field in the future. He can't possibly go every game with a 0% shooting average. But he won't ever be a great shooter, in my opinion, unless serious reconstruction is done on his shot. If I'm Mike Woodson, I make Teague work alone with Mark Price or some other shooting instructor for the entire season and off-season.
Let's hope that last night's game was an abberation. An off-night for the whole team.
Is Mark Fox getting the basketball Dawgs ready? I'd like to see the Hawks or the Dawgs play well in 2009.