– The playoffs have been a foregone conclusion for the Hawks for a while now so clinching is a bit anti-climatic. But, man, what a way to make it official.
– The Hawks came back from 14 down, the largest deficit they’ve overcome to win this season. “Fantastic,” Woody said of clinching. “We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us. There’s still a lot of work to do before the playoffs. We’ve got to keep rolling. We’ll handle the playoffs once we get there.”
– The Hawks handled a Spurs team that wasn’t going to be an easy out no matter what the standings say. They have a history of winning in Philips. They are desperate to make the playoffs. Ginobili went for 38 and maybe 10 of those came with guys in his grill. Duncan had 29 and 13. The Spurs got calls. The Hawks started terribly.
– The Hawks still won because . . . well, because of pretty much everybody. J.J., Al Jamal and, I’ll be danged, Marvin all made winning plays–and I probably missed somebody.
– “We all play off of each other,” Jamal said. “Whoever is going good, we give it to him. There is no jealousy.”
– Jamal is going to the playoffs for the first time in his 10 pro seasons. “It’s unbelievable,” Jamal said. “I’ve waited a long time for this. I’m not taking this opportunity for granted.”
– The Hawks ended a seven-game losing streak to the Spurs. “It was good,” Bibby said. “We played hard. That’s been a top team and a top coach for years. We pulled it off. It’s a good win.”
– It was a good W. Give fans in Philips Arena an assist, too. They were hyped. It was fun.
– Give Horford credit. Duncan gave him all kinds of problems for most of the game but then Horford got even late– and I don’t just mean that big dunk on Duncan. He had 10 of his 18 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime, made a big jumper, had a big steal and made two clinching free throws.
– “Duncan frustrated Al early, then Al picked it up and hit his stride,” Woody said. “He had timely baskets and when we needed a rebound he was there.”
– Mo had the most luck against Ginobili. The guy is a real pro. He stays ready, likes to mix it up and will make shots.
– What the heck got into Marvin? Woody has been on him lately about deferring too often. “He needs to not take a backseat to his teammates,” Woody said before the game. “It’s not about calling plays. (Shoot), I played 11 years and I got one or two plays called for me.”
– Marvin seemed to get the message. He scored 18 points in the first half—more than he’d scored in eight straight games coming in. Richard Jefferson blocked his shot but Marvin got it back and dunked. He made a fastbreak layup despite George Hill banging into him. And he made that jump shot at the halftime buzzer.
– Hard to believe that Hawks team going toe-to-toe with the Spurs late was the same group that looked so lost at the start. “They came out and established themselves in the first quarter and we didn’t respond well,” Woody said. “In the second quarter, we picked it up.”
– The Hawks hung in there by playing some D. They played the Spurs even in the third and had an advantage in the fourth. The Spurs wouldn’t go away, using a 7-0 run to take a 94-93 lead. “They are always going to be there at the end,” Jamal said. “You just have to give yourself a chance.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans.