– Did the Hawks not realize the Thunder would come out and play hard? It’s pretty much what that team is known for. Well, that and Kevin Durant’s sick skills.
– Durant had 29 points but that wasn’t really the problem for the Hawks. “We got outworked it seemed like in every aspect of the game,” said Josh Smith.
– I thought the Thunder would give the Hawks problems because of their scrappy, relentless style. So did Woody: “You try to alert your guys to get them ready. I thought we just thought we were going to show up and beat them.”
–The Thunder built a 15-point lead by relentlessly attacking the basket. The Hawks got back in it with stronger resistance at the rim and good work on the boards.
– The Hawks showed defensive grit in the fourth quarter. But the ball movement and shot selection were weak, so the Hawks never could gain the lead even as the Thunder suffered its own offensive drought.
– “We limited them to one shot, got a couple steals here and there, capitalized on turnovers, but down the stretch we didn’t make shots,” said Marvin Williams.
– “We should have kept going inside-out,” Smith said. “It would have opened up the 3-point shot.”
– Um, maybe that’s not such a good thing, though. The Hawks clanked 7 of 8 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter. “Those are shots that guys on this team normally take in the fourth quarter,” Smith said.
– Mike Bibby missed three consecutive wide open 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford missed all three of his attempts, including the potential tying shot at the buzzer.
– “When you’re making them, they look good,” Woody said. “When you are not making them, you have to get to the rim and try to at least get to the free throw line, and we just didn’t do it.”
– I get the feeling I’m going to be writing that again and again over the next few weeks, so let me just go ahead and copy and paste.
– Smoove was great with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. If only his teammates matched his energy.
– He sparked the Hawks when they got back in the game before halftime. He blocked Jeff Green’s shot and fed Al Horford for a layup the other way, dunked on the next Hawks possession and found Bibby with a nice crosscourt pass for a 3-pointer.
– Bibby and Smith worked the pick-and-roll nicely early. The Thunder had to stop trapping Bibby. Swatting at the ball as Smith took a dribble proved to be more effective. He’s a beast when he gets to the rim but sometimes awkward on the way there.
– Jeff Teague got some early burn. If you saw how scary athletic the Thunder is, even in comparison to the Hawks, you understand why.
–Zaza, back after missing two games with flu-like symptoms, had five boards in five minutes during his first stint and finished with nine in 15 minutes. His toughness was needed with Horford in foul trouble.
–It seemed like the Thunder was beating the Hawks to every loose ball for a while. Durant and Co. really made the Hawks work.
–Hawks had seven turnovers in first half. Precise passing is a must against Oklahoma City, which is always swiping at the ball and diving for it when it’s loose.
–On one play Bibby ended up posted up behind Thunder big man B.J. Mullens. Bibby managed to fight him off from turning to the middle, and Mullens was called for a hook on his move to the baseline. Nice work.
–Bibby drew the assignment on Sefolosha, who is five inches taller, with Johnson on Russell Westbrook. The Thunder finally exploited the mismatch when it took control early in the third. Sefolosha twice scored easily over Bibby in the post.
– It’s one thing to get lit up by Durant. It’s quite another to let Nenad Krstic hurt you. The Hawks didn’t make it too hard on Krstic, who for stretches pretty much got open midrange jumpers whenever he felt like stepping out.
– The Hawks didn’t play great but the Thunder is legit. What would that team do in the East?
– “They compete,” Crawford said. “They are kind of like this team a couple years ago. They are on their way, for sure.”
– It seems like this Hawks team now needs to be more like the Thunder. Durant is one-of-a-kind but how good could the Hawks be if they were as aggressive attacking the basket and came out with that Thunder intensity all the time?
– I’m back to .500. Dang.
– And I’m out, Hawks fans.