Pretty solid effort for the Hawks, particularly after the half.
- Hawks had 36 baskets and 27 came on assists. It’s not their highest percent of assisted baskets, but it’s close. I asked Larry Drew Saturday morning what statistics were important to him, and the one thing he mentioned was assists, as it helps him gauge how the ball movement is. He sounds very encouraged by what he’s seeing, not surprisingly.
Drew: “I think in watching Joe and watching Al and Josh and all those guys, it seems like they’re stating to really pick up what were trying to do and they’re having fun with it.”
I thought it was a pretty sharp game for them, passing-wise. Joe Johnson had some good touch passes to set up Mike Bibby, and there were several out of the post to spot-up shooters.
- Drew said he had concerns about the team not having its legs after coming back off the road. I seem to remember hearing the same thing recently, that the first game at home after a road trip is often kind of difficult. Energy can be lacking, etc. I don’t quite fully understand the reasoning – I guess maybe you’re still weary from the travel – but his concerns were founded. He said the team was winded early and he had to challenge players at halftime. He said the team was “clearly being outran” in the first half.
They took control after the half. It helps, I imagine, that the team that they had to take control from was the Pacers, who are a pretty weak bunch, although they certainly frustrated the Hawks.
- Josh Smith on playing Tyler Hansbrough: “Psycho T, isn’t that what they call him? You definitely have to match his intensity. He’s definitely a hard-nosed, hard-working player. You’ve just got to keep your eye on him every possession.”
- Drew on mismatches (including Smith-Hansbrough): “I thought we did a good job of that tonight. Our first couple wins against Indiana, we did the exact same thing, just went to some of the matchup problems, and if they didn’t come down, we scored. If they did, we got the ball out and made them pay.”
- Johnson: “I thought we came out pretty aggressive, but we got a little lackadaisical there in the first half and really let them back in it. It happens, but in the second half we pulled away.”