– It seems unnecessary to quibble about the opponent under the circumstances. The Hawks ended their three-game losing
streak with a professional effort. They took control early and never let up, played physical against a bigger team and made John Wall look like an ordinary rookie.
– This felt like one of those beatdowns the Hawks routinely delivered to overmatched teams at Philips last season. They quickly established they were the faster, sharper, better team and never let the Wizards believe they could play with them.
– “We only put up one word on the board: ‘Energy,’” Mo said. “I think we fulfilled that. Everybody played with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, and we played together for the first time in a long time.”
– “We haven’t had a game like this all season long,” Smoove said. “We really did bring the energy and the effort tonight. We were able to bring it at both ends of the court. We were just helping each other out and having fun.”
– The sight of guys clowning on the bench after Twin made a 3-pointer was a sure sign of that. It was in stark contrast to the bickering and pouting during and after the Celtics game and the frustration at being unable to make a couple plays to beat the Nets.
– “I am just proud of the way we handled this little adversity we had going,” Al said.
– The Hawks overwhelmed the Wizards by defending, rebounding and running early. Atlanta collected all of Washington’s 10 missed shots in the first quarter and scored 16 fastbreak points.
– “They had to bring energy,” L.D. said. “That was the most important thing. It wasn’t about the game plan. It wasn’t about our strategy. The first line of business was to bring energy. That type energy I saw today I had not seen for a few games, especially from start to finish.”
– With Al Thotnton (back) out, the Wizards started a three-guard lineup of Wall, Arenas and Hinrich. The Hawks still controlled the open court because Josh and Al can push the ball and run the floor so effectively.
– The Wizards have three long, athletic guys who can defend the rim in McGee, Blatche, and Armstrong. Al and Smoove went right at them. You could see the determination on Al’s face when he pump faked McGee and drove by him for a powerful dunk.
– “We wanted to get into their bodies, understanding that if they contested shots they were going to off balance and we was able to get the offensive rebounds and get putbacks,” Josh said.
– McGee had been on a tear coming in with games of 24/18, 20/16, 10/12. He had 5 and 8 after three quarters. Atlanta’s edge in rebounding was 42-25 through three quarters.
–”The big emphasis was blocking out,” Al said. “McGee had been playing so well coming into this game. We held him off as best we could. I think our guards played a huge role coming in and making sure they helped out with the long rebounds.”
– J.J. had his best game in a while. He made the open jumpers he’s been missing (Smoove keeps setting him up nicely) and added five assists with no turnovers and five rebounds in 27 minutes.
– “I thought Joe looked like the Joe of old,” L.D. said. “Just watching the ball come off his release, it had the rotation on it. He wasn’t hesitating. Hopefully he can sustain that and keep looking for his shot. I thought he had been hesitating a little bit the last three games. Tonight he stepped up when he was open and he nailed it. That’s what we need from him.”
– Marvin had smaller defenders on him all night but never really did take advantage.
– With Josh, Al and Joe flowing, Bibby took just five shots and directed traffic. He knows how to hang back and get other guys going when he needs to.
– Extended minutes for the bench guys as none of the starters played more than 29 minutes.
– Jamal was flowing again. Only 1 for 5 on 3-pointers but seven free-throw attempts were his reward for venturing inside with the timber.
– JC2 still gets lost on D but you have to admire his spunk. The rookie provides energy in bunches.
– Wall got loose in the open court when the teams met in Atlanta’s home opener. It’s difficult to keep him out of the lane for any team, much less one with slow-footed guards, but the Hawks made sure there was lots of traffic for Wall to navigate when he got near the basket.
– “Last game John Wall ran it up our back,” L.D. said. “He was in the paint all game long. When he is driving the ball like that he forces people to help and you get sucked in and now you are leaving outside shooters open. We made it a point to make sure we shadow wall and have a big guy somewhere in the vicinity and keep him from getting into the gaps. But then we have to defend the 3-point line with Gilbert and Nick Young and I think we did a good job of that.”
– Arenas made 4 of 9 3-pointers, with two of those in the fourth. His teammates were 0 for 8.
– Young’s effort was the only thing that saved Washington from further embarrassment. He’s a nice young talent.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.