NBA Analysis: Hawks Struggle to Close Out Games
By Jerel Marshall
Yesterday the Hawks got a taste of the best remedy for a struggling team: a win. But despite putting an end to a four game losing streak the Hawks still have to be concerned with their 0-4 record against teams over the .500 mark.
After dropping four straight capped by a lost to the sizzling hot Utah Jazz last Friday, Joe Johnson commented on the teams the Hawks have faced so far.
“I didn’t really get excited from the 6-0 start because none of the teams were playoff teams,” Johnson said. “[The four teams we lost too] were play-off teams.”
The team showed signs in both of the games this weekend but a blown lead on Friday begs questions about their ability to finish off opponents. Yesterday the Timberwolves began making their own run late in the fourth but the hawks managed to hold on for the 111-105 victory.
“We definitely have to be able to put teams away,” Josh Smith said. “We just have to watch film, see what we are doing wrong and try to correct it.”
Coach Larry Drew echoed Smith’s sentiments.
“When we put ourselves in certain positions our decision making has to be better, our defense has to be much stronger and we have to continue to be a blue collar team,” Drew explained.
Drew also added that the team has to work harder to secure rebounds.
Smith said that he isn’t concerned that the team hasn’t pulled things together as well as most people expected.
“If you look at Miami, they haven’t really got it together either,” he said. “Its not the time to panic.”
Smith would have a valid point unless you take into account that Miami made drastic changes to their roster this year and the Hawks have the same parts they had last season.
One of the problems over the four game slump was energy off of the bench. Drew said he was pleased with the effort he got from his subs in the first half against Minnesota.
“It was a huge relief,” Drew said. “They played really well the first half. Second half, I don’t think they played as well but their was not a big drop-off when I put them in there.”
Luckily for the Hawks, they have a light week ahead. They will take on the Pacers in Indiana on Tuesday before coming back to Phillips to take on the Mavericks Saturday.
The rest between Tuesday and Saturday may be what they need to earn their first win over play-off team.