– Blog commenter TheZaZaGuy said it pretty well: “I was at the game. Kind of worried, but we pulled it out. Basically, we’re just better.”
– Better offensively, at least, on this night. The Hawks talked about how defense got them back in it, and that’s true when you look at the 11 points off seven turnovers in the second half.
– Still, after halftime the Clippers scored 51 points, shot 46 percent and had 16 rebounds (six offensive). The Hawks were just better with 62 points, 55 percent shooting and 17 rebounds (two offensive).
– The game was low energy from the start all around: Hawks, Clippers, Philips and press row. Both teams played the night before and maybe the fans did, too?
– No energy excuses for the Hawks. The Clippers were playing a back-to-back, too, and it came at the end of their eight-game, 15-day road trip. They also are one of the worst road teams in the NBA.
– Yet the Clippers outworked the Hawks for most of three quarters. “The back-to-back had a little to do with it,” J.J. said. “But right now we’ve got to be desperate. Coming down the stretch run of the season, we need to get in a good position for the playoffs. We can’t have letdowns like this where we are fighting hard to come back pretty much the whole game.”
– Nights like this are where Jamal and J.J. make the difference (no caps on that for Jamal because, sorry, that nickname is just too wack for him). They combined to score 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting in the fourth quarter. “In the second half, especially the fourth quarter, Joe and Jamal began to do what they do best, which is score baskets,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “The Hawks are tough to contain when both of those guys begin to score the way they did.”
– Jamal recorded his fifth four-point play of the season in the third quarter. There was some initial confusion about whether that’s an NBA record. The Hawks later confirmed it was Crawford’s 24th career four-point play, breaking Reggie Miller’s record (according to Harvey Pollack’s NBA Statistical Yearbook).
– “I just shoot when people don’t expect it,” Crawford said. “By the time they react, I’m in my follow-through.”
– Before the game, Woody said the Hawks depend too much on Smoove and Al to rebound. Then Marvin goes out and posts his first double-digit rebounding game since Dec. 5 (!) and just his second of the season (!!).
– The Hawks still gave up 14 offensive rebounds a night after allowing 17 to the Thunder. It’s a worrisome trend.
– Here is how hard the Hawks had to work for this one: Marvin, Smoove and Al all had double-doubles, but it took 34 from J.J. and 22 from Jamal to win.
– There were a handful of times the Hawks simply got beat down the court for layups. It happened twice in a row when the Clippers built that 13-point lead in the third. The fans let the Hawks have it after that, and rightfully so.
– I counted three Iso-Joe situations in the fourth quarter. The results: J.J. was fouled by Baron Davis and made both free throws to cut the Clippers’ lead to 84-83; J.J. went down the middle of the lane for a layup to tie it at 86-86; and J.J. went baseline for a layup that tied it at 88-88.
– That’s four Iso-Joe possessions in two games, with six points and a turnover. Excellent so far but there haven’t been heavy doses of it counted in a game yet.
– And Hawks blog legend Sekou informs me that he coined the term “Iso-Joe.” So let me give him Ps on that before this thing ends up in some ugly sampling lawsuit that all parties later come to regret.
– J.J. and Crawford were big in the fourth but don’t forget Horford: 3 for 3 from the field, 4 of 5 free throws and three rebounds in 10 fourth-quarter minutes. “He was being aggressive,” J.J. said. “That’s what we need him to be every night.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans. And I mean that for real once this NyQuil kicks in.