– The Hawks keep squandering leads to teams with less talent but they keep winning games.
– “We are handling situations better,” Al said. “Last year this would have been a game we let slip away. We feel confident. We are going to keep working to get better. We still have a ways to go.”
– Even so they are 4-0, 3-0 on the road and showing that they can be very difficult to guard when they share the ball and take care of it. Maybe it won’t be so easy once opponents start catching on to these new-look Hawks (and when the opponents get better). Or maybe the Hawks get better at running L.D’s motion sets and their balance and talent still win out.
– “Our guys are starting to buy into it and they are really playing together and they are playing very unselfish,” Drew said. “If they continue to do that, they will spread the wealth among the points. The feel of it right now that I am getting from the players is they are really starting to feel good about themselves and what we are doing.”
– L.D. had a talk with Marvin after he didn’t score against the Wizards: “I told him I had to get him more shots. I have got to put him in better situations. I want him to be more offensive-minded. With that being said, I don’t want him forcing things. I thought tonight he did a great job. When I ran plays for him he was aggressive. When ran plays for someone else, he waited until the ball rotated around to him and he knocked the shot down. But I’ve got to get him more touches.”
– That’s a good idea when he’s going like this. “I really wanted to be aggressive from the jump,” Marvin said. “Last game I wasn’t aggressive at all, and it hurts my team when I’m not very aggressive. I really wanted to come out and establish myself early.”
– L.D. replaced Jamal with Marvin with 4:50 to go despite Jamal’s 16 points on seven shots. Jamal didn’t look happy about it. Marvin got a rebound, made two free throws and buried a key jumper down the stretch.
– The Hawks got all the open looks they wanted in the first quarter. With Marvin involved, the Hawks had five guys who were threats to score and the Cavs just couldn’t guard them all. The numbers were ridiculous: 15/21 field goals, 11 assists, one turnover, seven guys with points.
– “I thought they hit some tough shots, but we had some defensive lapses as well,” Byron Scott said. “Then they got going and we still challenged shots and they still made them. You have to figure at some point they are going to calm down and miss some of those shots.”
– It happened in the third quarter, but really I thought Atlanta’s problems putting Cleveland away were due to lax halfcourt D in the first half. It wasn’t such an issue because they had seven steals in the half but the Cavs made it a game when they held on to the ball in the third quarter.
– L.D. didn’t see it that way: “I thought we were OK [defensively]. Hickson made some shots. He shot the ball a lot better than what I anticipated, I give him credit for that. Our defense was really solid. Pick-and-roll we did a great job. Coming in our gameplan was to limit their transition game, which we did. Only two transition points in the first half. Overall I thought our defense was pretty good, they just made shots.”
– Smoove continues to hold down the back line against all comers. He had five blocked shots and 11 rebounds and his 3 for 11 shooting hardly mattered with Marvin picking up the slack.
– “That’s what makes me special,” Josh said, grinning. “I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, I don’t hang my head because I’m not making shots. I have so many [other] attributes to be able to help my team. I did that on the defensive and offensive boards. I was able to deflect some shots, and whenever you deflect shots early it makes teams think about coming in there.”
– He made two long jumpers but was missing around the rim. Go figure.
– Another night where J.J. shot the ball poorly but the Hawks won. He started off overpowering Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson in the post but never really went back to that.
– it turns out that poor opener at Memphis was an anomaly for Horford. He posted his third straight double-double. For some reason, the Cavs left him completely alone at the top of the key to make a jumper to put Atlanta up 95-87. Maybe that’s just the poison they decided to pick.
– “He’s doing a tremendous job for us,” L.D. said of Al. “He’s rebounding the ball, he’s hitting his perimeter shots and he’s doing a little bit of everything. When he’s playing that way, we’re a very effective ballclub.”
– Another game where Teague couldn’t finish when he went to the basket and didn’t come close to making a jumper. But it really does make a difference when he’s pressuring the ball. There are fewer breakdowns.
– Some Cleveland reporters asked Hawks players about not getting as much attention as Boston, Orlando and Miami. They didn’t pull the no respect card.
– “If you look at Boston and Orlando they are the teams that have had success in the last couple years,” Al said. “Obviously Miami with their Big Three. We are going to keep going about our business, keep playing and get better. We will get our respect when it’s due. We just have to prove it to people.”
– I’m out, Hawks fans.