East Rutherford, N.J.–This was a real professional effort by the Hawks, who never let the Nets back in it after taking control in the second quarter. And they did it without J.J..
– “It feels good,” Jamal said. “They are down but you can’t take anyone lightly. We are getting better at not giving teams a chance to put together a run and come back.”
– OK, so it was the Nets, who could end up historically bad. But these are the Hawks, who less than a week ago messed around with the Wizards and lost to Golden State’s skeleton squad not too long ago. Now they’ve looked sharp while beating down inferior opponents in the last two games.
– “There are no ‘gimmies’ in this league,” Woody said. “We’ve had games like this where we came out on the other end. I thought our guys came out focused.”
– The Hawks were a bit sluggish from the jump. It reminded me of the game in Washington: a low-energy start in front of a sparse, downtrodden crowd. I’m starting to think the Hawks just don’t come out with good energy under those circumstances. I know I don’t.
– But then the Hawks dominated the second quarter by getting the tempo more to their liking. They got off and running by getting 18 rebounds to New Jersey’s seven. The Hawks made 13 of 24 shots to 5 of 20 for the Nets.
– Jamal made a 29-foot 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. “I told Mike if he gave it to me, I’d make it for him,” Crawford said. Jamal went for 15 of his 25 points in the period.
– Shaky first start for Teague. The rook’ was out of sorts early, dribbling off his leg at one point. He rushed shots, missing a couple of them ugly. The Hawks played faster when Jamal and Bibby were out there.
–”We kept asking him before the game if he was nervous, and he was saying, ‘I’m good,’ but he was nervous,” Smoove said. “Naw, he did pretty good. He’s just got to get some minutes and get a feel for the game.”
– Teague’s assessment: “So-so. OK. Not too bad. It felt a little different at first. I was a little nervous because I didn’t want to mess up and everyone would be like, ‘Look at that rookie out there, he’s terrible.’”
– Woody didn’t think his rookie was that bad. “He was OK,” Woody said. “Probably a little nervous. He played pretty good. He’s got to work to get better and he will get better. We’ll push him. He played pretty well considering he’s not played a lot of minutes. Not by any measure am I disappointed in his play.”
– Horford had a career-high seven assists a game after Smoove set his career high with 11 dimes. “I’m constantly telling my ‘bigs’ in practice when they handle the ball they’ve got to make good decisions,” Woody said.
– Joe Smith played in his 1,000th game. “It don’t feel like the Day One, I can tell you that,” he said. “It feels good to be able to do this for so long.” I had to remind Joe he’s still a young man in real world terms.
– The game got testy when Terrence Williams hammered Mo Evans in the final seconds. Mo said Nets players told him they were upset because he was trying to score with the shot clock off. He said he thought there was more time.
– He wasn’t happy with the flagrant foul. “Don’t act like you’ve got all this pride when you are (7-60), you know what I’m saying?” Mo said. “If y’all have got a no-layup rule, then you wouldn’t be in this predicament. You’ve been getting disrespected all year. To his credit, (Williams) came up and apologized.”
– Mo also noted that he got called for a flagrant on T-Will in an earlier meeting. But he said he was going for the ball on that play while Williams just grabbed him.
– Man, do I miss T-Will at the Ville.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.