This is Ken Sugiura filling in and giving Michael Cunningham a rare and well-deserved night off. Hope you all enjoyed the game.
A pretty impressive night, my first time watching Larry Drew’s club in person. Obviously, ball movement and the shooting stuck out, particularly given a) they were playing the back end of a back-t0-back in which they’d shot 38.8 percent in the first game; b) were playing their fourth game in five days; c) I’m not sure about a c. Actually, here’s a c. The Nets a pretty decent defensive bunch. Their defensive field-goal percentage coming in was 44.8 percent.
The lineup of Mike Bibby/Marvin Williams/Josh Smith/Al Horford/Jason Collins, which debuted is now 2-0. I imagine Drew will keep this lineup. He likes the size mismatches it presents at the 2 and the 3 (Williams and Smith), that it makes the opponent match up the Hawks rather than vice versa. He also likes that it frees up Horford to play the 4 and not have to wrestle the likes of Brook Lopez all night.
Drew on Smith at the 3: “Most 3’s will not be able to match up against him especially when he posts them. He’s learned to be a pretty good paleyr in the post when I can get him down there, but it does pose a problem for the opposition because they have to make a decision on whether to match up big against him or like last night (against Orlando), they matched up Quentin Richardson and I went right into the post at him and they had to change the matchup.”
On Horford at 4: “I think he likes the fact that he doesn’t have to get down there, every single night, bang against somebody that’s bigger and stronger. It certainly relieves him of that, puts him in a position where he can be a little fresher at the end of the game.”
- Jamal Crawford on the game: “I think we know that anybody can lead our team in scoring on a given night. We’re O.K. with that.”
- Also: “I feel a lot more comfortable (in the offense) right now.” He was 11 for 17 with six assists.
- Hawks were able to slow Lopez down (somewhat). He had 15 before halftime, nine after. But he had 32 the first game, a 107-101 Nets win Nov. 23. Drew: “I thought our guys did a good job in making some adjustments during the course of the game in defending him and in defending the pick-and-roll with Devin Harris.” (This is probably not that important, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a coach give credit to the players for making the adjustments, or if I have, it hasn’t been very often. This is even less important: I was interviewing former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel once and he was talking about something like that, about some schematic or personnel change the Giants had made in their season that had them playing better and he said something like, “After we made that switch,” then he paused, and said, “After I made that switch…” I think I can safely I’ve never heard that before.)
- We’re obviously way off from this becoming reality, but I imagine some of you must be wondering — what happens if the Hawks keep up this unselfish style and start really playing well without Joe Johnson? It’d be challenging for any player, I’d think, and any team to re-adjust to their lead dog coming back, but I might think it could be especially so here. For one thing, players look to Johnson as that lead dog and so it’ll be a change in mindset for everyone when he returns.
- Smith on his jump shot: “I work hard on my jump shot. I’m not surprised if anything goes in. I assume it’s going to go in every time. I’m a confident player.” (Then he laughed a little bit.)