– This one was looking like Philly all over again early. The Pacers got any perimeter shots they wanted while making 6 of 9 3-pointers in the first quarter. Brandon Rush was lighting up J.J. for 4 of 4 3s. The Pacers scored 31 points.
– Tweeted Hawksdawgs of Peachtree Hoops: “The Hawks have closed out on a shooter one time so far, and Mo Evans fouled Troy Murphy for a three point play on that possession.”
– Enter Jamal Crawford. He scored 10 points during the 12-3 run that energized the Hawks. “Now that’s what my team expects of me,” he said. “If I’m not doing that I am kind of throwing everyone else out of wack.”
– It wasn’t just Jamal, it was all the bench guys. Zaza, the Rook’, Mo and Joe Smith all had a hand in limiting the Pacers to 7 of 20 shooting in the second quarter. Shoot, Teague even got up to bloc Danny Granger’s shot on a fastbreak.
– “Our second unit came in and really picked up our defense up and got us going,” Woody said. “I thought that was the difference in the game.”
– Lately it seems Woody is more willing to let the bench guys play, particularly if the starters are going to be so nonchalant about things. The reserves have earned that trust. If the Hawks lose with the reserves playing big minutes but giving big effort, so be it. Better that than to watch the starters just kind of be out there.
– After scoring 31 points on 12 of 21 shooting in the first quarter, the Pacers scored 52 with 21 of 60 over the final three quarters. Yeah, they had a few shots rim out but the Hawks were much more disruptive and cleaned the boards to limit second chances.
– Horford went to work in the third quarter: 12 points, eight rebounds, 6 of 8 shooting. He finished with 18 and 12 for his eight straight double-double. His counterpart, massive Roy Hibbert, couldn’t stay in front of him on defense and wasn’t much of a factor on offense.
– “He’s been consistent from Day One he stepped foot in Atlanta and put on a Hawks uniform,” Woody said of Al. “He’s been fantastic. He’s been on a nice roll here of late by getting the doubles-doubles and we are going to need him to continue to do that.”
– That will be easier to do if the Hawks limit those stretches where they seem to forget about Al. Not so today, when the shot distribution looked nice: 18 for Josh, 14 for Al, 13 for J.J. and 15 for Jamal.
– Smoove helped close out the Pacers with 11 of his 20 points in the fourth. He also had 13 rebounds, two assists and a steal.
– In three games against the Pacers, he’s averaging 20 points and Horford is averaging 25.6. ““We have struggled with them all season,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said.
– It had to be encouraging for Woody to highlight a guy on the scouting report and then see the Hawks go out and do a number on him. Granger had dropped 30 or more points in four straight games, including 44 against Utah on Friday. He got just 18 points on 7 of 19 shooting against the Hawks.
– Granger and Brandon Rush credited the Hawks’ switches off screens. Unlike the Sixers, Indiana doesn’t have the combination of size and athleticism to exploit favorable matchups.
–There weren’t many opportunities for Granger to step around a screen and get to the basket or pull up for a jumper. “Atlanta always gives you problems because they switch every ball screen,” Granger said. “We just really didn’t take advantage of the switches like we should have tonight.”
– “Their switching on defense really gave us problems today, which really took us out of our rhythm to make any shots,” Rush said.
– Things got a bit dicey after Woody started pulling starters with a 90-75 lead. I thought he might put guys back in after A.J. Price hit that 3-pointer to cut the lead to 91-84.
– Mo and Mario both had nice hustle plays.
– With nine games to go the Hawks matched their victory total from last season. They didn’t make a big deal about it.
– That’s also eight straight home Ws. They are 30-7 at Philips with five home games to go.
– The Hawks are off Monday but Smoove is scheduled to “work” a shift at Champs Sports at Lenox Square Mall on Monday from 3 to 4 p.m. Smith is to work the cash register and be a personal shopper for select fans. The store also will be giveaway items signed by Smith.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.