– The Hawks are 3-0. Whatever their flaws, they can can take comfort in the fact that they have J.J. and Jamal to make something happen when all else fails.
– J.J. wasn’t hitting early, even when he went to the basket. Then he went off for 14 points in the fourth quarter. “He’s our guy,” L.D. said. “We rely on him a lot down the stretch. I told him I don’t want him to get discouraged. We put the ball in his hands at the end of games.”
– Joe made two iso jumpers that gave the Hawks the final spark they needed. “Joe Johnson hit some tough shots tonight,” Wiz rookie John Wall said. “That’s why he got paid this summer.”
– The Hawks called it a sellout at Philips but the seats weren’t full. Still, it was a pretty good crowd that stayed into it even when the Hawks were dragging. Said J.J.: “It was great to see everybody come out and show their support. We appreciate that.”
– The Hawks wouldn’t have been in position to win if Jamal hadn’t kept them above water in the first half. He had eight points as Atlanta’s bench scored 18 of 26 points in the second quarter and helped limit the Wizards to 13. Jamal will always attack with that floater.
– “‘Instant offense’ Jamal,” Al said. “We have to come up with a nickname for him. That might be a Twitter thing I do. Every time he comes in, he changes the game. We’re lucky to have him.”
– There was a Twin sighting, too. He had a pass go through his hands for a turnover soon after he checked in but quickly made amends. He blocked Andray Blatche’s shot to start a fast break that ended with a layup by Jamal, then harassed Blatche into a miss and followed with a jump shot to tie it at 40-40.
– “We’ve got to provide a lift,” Jamal said of the bench. “We want to push the tempo and get some easy baskets. If our starters are in a funk, we’ve got to get them back on track.”
– After facing two opponents with little post presence (thanks to injuries to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph), the Hawks were bothered by Washington’s length. Early on all that size packed into a zone had Atlanta taking a lot of jump shots.
– The Wizards bring in waves of athletic bigs. They had 13 blocked shots with JaVale McGee’s eight leading the way. One time Joe missed a layup because McGee was standing nearby.
– “It’s tough,” Al said. “They got to a couple shots I didn’t think they could get and McGee went up and go it. That’s impressive. Those are the teams where you have to go strong to the basket. We did a better job of that in the second half.”
– McGee also threw down a ferocious dunk on Smoove (Al got the heck out of the way). He is a big, athletic dude.
– Another double-double for Al. He made a baseline jumper and then threw down an alley-oop from Smoove to give the Hawks breathing room late.
– L.D. kept urging Teague to use picks and go at the hole. He obliged, though he had trouble finishing among all those big bodies. His jump shot remains a liability.
– At one point in the fourth, L.D. played Bibby and Crawford together with Joe at small forward and Powell and Zaza in the frontcourt.
– Wall brought the Wizards back at the end of the third by scoring 11 points in a row. The Hawks gave him jumpers in the fourth, which is the book on him, and he made 4 of 5. “He’s a blur out there,” Smoove said. “When he’s finishing at the rim and making shots, he’s real tough.”