Hawks fail to inspire in win over the Wolves

While it’s good that the Hawks were able to beat Minnesota by 6 while not playing all that well, the fan base isn’t so thrilled. If one could call it a businesslike performance, I would, but that’s too positive, we’ll just call it a corporate-like performance. Lifeless, dysfunctional, and mismanaged, but ultimately successful.

I didn’t catch the entire game, but in the few precious moments I was lucky enough to see I managed to count the fans.  There were 46 fans on the screen.* So there is that to consider, but even still, the team should be used to playing for scarce crowds by now.  I don’t care if 100 people are there, the team should soundly outplay Minnesota at home.

A win is a win, even if you win ugly. That’s the edict in sports, even the NBA, used after every corporate-like performance ever recorded. You’ll hardly ever see a coach or player refuse to sugar coat a lackluster victory, because why would they right?  They won the game. They have a built in out, they’re golden. All they have to do is look into the camera and channel Herm Edwards for a few seconds, and they’re off the hook for giving it less than a-hundred. So, when that doesn’t happen, it’s a little disheartening.  Here’s the captain of the team, minutes after the win, hitting you with some truth:

“We were OK. It was nothing to really write home about.”- Joe Johnson

I’m not one to jump off the cliff after an NBA regular season game.  There’s 82 games, you can’t expect every one of them to be stellar.  Especially when the same same 5 guys are going for 40 minutes every game.  Which brings us to a long-term concern about the bench over at PeachtreeHoops. The main point of his argument is that Woodson still hasn’t found a decent 5-man second unit.

It’s true that the bench, while containing solid individual pieces, just doesn’t work for long stretches of time.  For instance, Jeff Teague’s defensive deficiencies prohibit him from being paired with Jamal Crawford, or in front of the non shot-blocking prowess of Zaza Pachulia. But Teague is the best ball-handler in the second unit, and could possibly help create offense for a few minutes if paired with say, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Joe Smith, who could protect the rookie on defense.

It’s all about the combinations of starters and reserves, about trying every combination until you find one that works. Woodson has yet to fully experiment with his rotation, and barring the improbable signing of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, this is how the team will look for the rest of the season. If the Hawks are gonna get past the 2nd round this April, it will be with the roster they  have now.

Which is why they’ll need better bench chemistry, and a better rotation, meaning more minutes for Teague and less for Bibby.

* No I didn’t actually count.  There were probably a few more than that.  Looked like 49 or so.

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