– The Hawks dominated the Lakers in every which way. The offense was unstoppable. The defense was excellent. The bench was superb.
– The Lakers are tougher with Andrew Bynum (Achilles’) of course but that shouldn’t take away from the Hawks’ complete effort. “Any time you beat the Lakers, the defending (NBA) champions, it speaks volumes,” Woody said. “If we are committed for 48 minutes we can beat any team in the league, I really believe that.”
– It sure looked like it tonight. The defensive intensity, rotations, closeouts and rebounding were all on point. “Guys got after it,” Marvin said. “We took on the individual challenge to defend.”
– “I was satisfied with every position defensively,” Woody said, and how many times does he say that?
– Kobe got 28 points but only eight after halftime. He showed why he’s the best during that 14-point second quarter, when the Hawks did pretty much everything they could to slow him but he just made tough shots.
– “They did a fantastic job,” he said. “They’re playing with a lot of energy and confidence.”
– J.J. was just as good as Kobe with 25 points, eight assists and just one turnover. “Joe played like I thought he would play,” Woody said. “Kobe brings out the best in everybody.”
– “Just for the Lakers, period,” J.J. said. “Because they’ve been so dominant over the years.”
– After halftime, the Hawks hardly heard a peep from Lakers fans. “There were a lot of Lakers fans but that’s to be expected,” Mo said. “They’ve earned that. But it was good to have our fans cheer for us by the time the game ended. We definitely are going to need that support,”
– It’s not like the Lakers weren’t motivated. They are way clear of Dallas at the top of the Western Conference and probably won’t catch Cleveland for the league’s top record. But Kobe had said they were “on edge” after losing at New Orleans on Monday because they don’t want to relax heading to the playoffs.
– “They just outplayed us,” Phil Jackson said. “Regardless of inspiration, they beat us to balls, they were quicker to the offensive boards.”
– Good move by Woody to stick with Zaza over Al, who was strangely passive–why did he keep passing up those open jumpers Gasol was giving him?
– Zaza made a difference. It wasn’t just the 10 points and 10 rebounds, it was the way he made sure the Lakers got nothing easy when they came into his area. And no one fires up the guys on the bench like Zaza, whose highlight was a drive through the lane after a dunk after faking a pass.
– Mo (18 points, 7/9 FG) also was good off the bench. The Rook’ was solid. With those three getting it done it hardly mattered that Jamal had an off night shooting (5 of 14).
– “Our bench was huge again tonight,” Woody said. “They’ve been playing extremely well and we’re going to need them to play that way the rest of the way.”
– Woody seems to be trusting his reserves more. Tonight makes six straight games of at least 14-plus minutes for Mo, six straight games of 10-plus minutes for Zaza and two straight games of nine-plus minutes for Teague.
– “We are starting to get more opportunities to play,” Mo said. “We need to step in and get our rhythm as well (as the starters).”
– The Hawks had just five turnovers, none in the second half, and against six steals.
– J.J. had a swollen right thumb. “In the first quarter I was rasslin’ with Artest,” he said. “My thumb bent back. I was just keeping a heat pack on it.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans.