Toronto–Maybe you are thinking the Hawks beat another lackluster opponent. But funk that: They beat the mess out of a lackluster opponent, and don’t think there isn’t a difference in this league.
– The Hawks dominated the Raptors because Smoove did it all, Marvin did more (again) and they didn’t let down in a circumstance where it had to be tempting. Yes, they are a much better team than the Raptors, but give them credit for leaving no doubt about it.
– Raptors coach Jay Triano summed it up: “You go one through five: DeMar got outplayed by Joe Johnson, Jose got outplayed by Mike Bibby, Andrea got outplayed by Josh Smith, Sonny got outplayed by Marvin Williams, Joey got outplayed by Al Horford. Nobody could score and we couldn’t stop those guys and that is why you have a 20-point game.”
– The Hawks have won three in a row after the famous Wednesday meeting so they deserve to feel good about themselves. “What we have been doing these last three games is something special,” Josh said.
– OK, maybe that’s a bit much, but still. “We are going to have ups and downs all season,” Marvin said. “I think sometimes other people panic more than we do. We just can’t get too highs on the highs and too low on the lows. We started off 6-0, obviously we are going to hit some rough spots. The one thing about this team is we stay together.”
– Smoove made all the right plays at the right times, effort and otherwise. He controlled the defensive boards, passed when he should have and (of course) helped make the Raptors jump shooters when the Hawks took control in the third quarter.
– “It just seemed like he was all over the floor,” L.D. said. “When he plays like that and plays under control, he is such a force. His defensive game, he was all over the place, rebounding the basketball, helping defensively and talking. Just a super overall game.”
– “He impacts the game in a great way,” Al said. “For this team to take it to the next level, everybody has to be the same way.”
– Back-to-back day games. An opponent that thrives in Sunday matinees (7-2 in its last nine). No problem: 11 of 20 field goals, seven assists and 27 points in the first quarter. “I was a little concerned with our energy, whether we would have our legs,” Drew said. “We started the game with good intensity.”
– You had the feeling the Hawks would dominate if they could limit Toronto’s offensive rebounds, points in the paint and take care of the ball. They did all of that in the third quarter and were off to a comfortable W.
– Watching Marvin go for 17 points and 12 rebounds a day after he was good against the Knicks, i remembered he had a couple games like that in the first two weeks. Then he hurt his knee. Now he says he’s moving better even if the pain is still there.
– “I am starting to get my confidence back in it,” he said. “There are still some things that still bother me. Coach is doing a good job with slowing me down and letting me sit out in practice.
– After three straight games with no free-throw attempts and nine rebounds combined, Marvin took seven free throws and collected 20 rebounds in the last two. “I feel more explosive out there. When I first got it banged, I didn’t feel explosive at all. These last couple games I’ve been getting to the line because I feel more comfortable pushing off. I still feel pain but I am starting to feel better each day.”
– Joe made 6 of 12 field-goal attempts overall despite missing 4 of 5 threes. It’s just the third time in his last 10 games he’s shot at least 50 percent from the field. So of course his teammates ribbed him for getting just one rebound.
– “Well, I had 10 yesterday, so that makes up for it,” Joe shot back.
– J.J. seemed more upbeat after this one. “Honestly, I don’t worry about the misses,” he said. “I am sure here soon I will get it back on track. As long as we keep winning, that’s the main thing, but I will get it back.”
– The Raptors are one of the best rebounding teams in the league with Reggie Evans. Not so much without him. “I think that was big,” Josh said. “He’s been a monster this year. He is one of my good friends. I hated that this had to happen to him, but I’m kind of happy I didn’t have to play against him. He’s a tough player.”
– Toronto’s defense, not so good to begin with, also suffered without Evans. But when the Hawks take care of the ball and share it they are tough for even good defensive teams to guard (see the Pacers). “When we play the right way, it’s beautiful basketball,” Smoove said.
– Keep beating up on the likes of the Raptors and they can buy time to figure out how to do it ugly against better teams.
– I’m out, Hawks fans.