–Wonder how many of those Hawks fans who left the game before the end will swear they were there to see it. Hawks down 100-96 with 10 seconds left and they win. What a finish.
–You can say the Suns choked this one away when Amare Stoudemire missed that free throw after Jamal Crawford rebounded Josh Smith’s miss and put it back. And you’d be right.
–But it’s also true the Hawks recovered from a bad start and forged a tie by making stops late. “We got some good bounces down the stretch and we capitalized,” said Hawks forward Joe Johnson. “We showed a lot of guts, poise and character.”
–And then there’s that shot. Johnson said the play was designed for him to catch Mike Bibby’s inbound pass off a curl. “Not only was I doubled, but Grant Hill grabbed my jersey.” I just watched the replay again, and it’s true.
–So Crawford up top was option No. 2 for Bibby. He said he practices long 3-pointers like that all the time and knew it was good when he let it go. “I started running back the other way. It felt really good, I can’t lie.”
–Nothing wrong with Jared Dudley’s defense on the shot. He didn’t give Crawford much space and got a hand up but it didn’t matter. “He’s a big shotmaker and he proved it tonight,” Johnson said.
–When Stoudemire went to the free-throw line with 3 seconds left, Crawford said he told Hawks assistant Larry Drew: “‘Give it to me, I’ll knock it down.’ He was like, ‘We don’t even have the ball yet.’”
–Crawford’s shot erased memories of a sluggish start for the Hawks. I thought the Hawks came out flat. Smith, though, said the Hawks actually were too keyed up. “We were real energized. All we had to do was calm our nerves down.”
–Three Suns possessions in the second quarter brought out the boos: Louis Admunson scored a layup as Smith watched, Leandro Barbosa beat the Hawks down the floor for a layup, and then Goran Dragic sailed in for an uncontested dunk and 33-21 Suns lead.
–Grant Hill didn’t look old out there. He’s still quick enough and he’s so savvy. That makes him very tough some nights. This was one of them (21 points, 8 of 14 shooting).
–”Grant Hill can play, man,” Johnson said. “He’s still got it. He’s one of my favorite players.”
–Mike Woodson wanted the Hawks to avoid going “ballistic” trying to outgun the Suns. They had to be tempted to do so but resisted, showing surprising patience at times. So that’s something.
–The Hawks attacked the basket early but missed a lot of shots in close. J. Smoove was the worst culprit. He started 0-for-6 until finally making a basket that was, of course, a tip of his own miss.
–But, to his credit, Smith didn’t let his troubles scoring in the paint affect the rest of his game. He had 15 boards and his effort and energy were key during Atlanta’s 28-point third quarter. “I can always depend on other things to get me going,” he said.
–At one point Woodson pleaded with Bibby to feed Al Horford in the post against Robin Lopez. Bibby obliged and Horford worked Lopez for two straight baskets. Then the Hawks went away from Horford. No, it didn’t make sense.
–With Lopez back on Horford in the third, Woodson again wanted it to go to him on the post but this time the Hawks didn’t even get it to him once. Horford led the Hawks with 24 points, but think what he might have done if not ignored for stretches.
–Not that any of that matters much after Crawford’s shot. OK, judging by your messages stuff like that still matters to some of you but, come on, enjoy this one for a minute.
–First game I’ve covered in months, late start and down to the wire. Of course.
–I’m out, Hawks fans.