6:26 p.m. My apologies. I thought this had posted this morning.
Wow. Impressive performance last night. As I wrote in my story, I think a lot of things went into it. Toronto is a poor defensive team and was on the end of a back-to-back. The Hawks were agitated after the Detroit loss and rested. And I think someone posted something that Al Horford said, that the Hawks do well against up-tempo teams because they can run but also defend. It was just one of those nights where everything worked. Mike Bibby, for instance, made all four of his 3-point attempts. Every player except Jeff Teague and Jason Collins shot 50 percent or better.
Anyway, onto the next thing. I am planning on writing for Friday about back-to-back games, particularly the Hawks’ difficult set of them this month. After the Knicks Friday, they fly to Dallas for a Saturday game. Dec. 18-19 home against Utah/at Chicago; Dec. 22-23 at Minnesota/at Denver. Dec. 29-30 Cleveland/at Cleveland.
Not that Chicago will be a cakewalk, but Dallas/Denver/Cleveland for back ends of back-to-backs is pretty rough. Mike Woodson said before the game that he wanted to go somewhere between 8-6 and 10-4 for the month, which puts even more of an emphasis on the rest of those games. Not much margin for error.
We’ll see how it goes. I’ll leave you with a couple sound bites from the locker room that I didn’t get into the story.
Woodson: It’s fun to watch. The basketball’s moving and I think we had 30-some assists, guys are sacrificing the basketball and that’s how it’s got to be offensively. We’ve got enough guys that can score the ball and make shots. We’ve got to execute our offense and when it calls for you to set a screen, you’ve got to set the screen. It calls for you to make a pass to set up the guy that’s going to receive it, you’ve got to do that. So I thought we did an excellent job in that area tonight.
(my comments: This sounds like Woodson told the team much of the same thing leading up to Toronto. I don’t think he just pulled that out of the air.)
Joe Johnson: I think everybody pretty much knows we’re an explosive team. We’ve shown that throughout this early season but I think our consistency is where we’re lacking. We’ve got to figure it out out on the road instead of just having it pretty good at home. We’ve got to get to where we’re a pretty good team on the road.