Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 94, Pistons 79
Bibby had bounce for the Hawks. (AP Photo)
Auburn Hills, Mich.–It’s not that the Hawks played particularly well. It’s that they didn’t stay down once they got there and then competently put away the Pistons even though scoring wasn’t easy after halftime (a situation that’s never been their strong suit).
- It’s not a W that will answer any questions about their status in the East. It is a W that allows them a chance to move forward from the ugly Ls to Philly and Charlotte at Philips.
- “We play with more of an ‘us against them’ mentality on the road,” L.D. said.
- Not sure about the mentality, but the Hawks got production from some places they can’t always count on. Bibby, of course, topped the list.
- He hadn’t scored as many as 17 points since he had 19 against the Nets on Dec. 19. That’s also the last time he had as many combined points and assists (24), and this year he’s never had as many points, assists and rebounds combined (30).
- “This was probably one of his better games this year,” L.D. said. “It just seemed like he had more zap, more spunk and he was moving around really well. I wanted to keep him out on the floor as much as I could, especially when I took Joe out.”
- The Hawks don’t win without Bibby’s contributions. He scored on a night they struggled with it, was the only guy rebounding outside of Smoove and Marvin and expertly pushed the pace when the Hawks needed to run.
- Even in the halfcourt, Bibby was dancing with the ball. Bynum seemed caught off guard when Bibby blew by him for a basket in the second half.
- “I was more aggressive,” Bibby said. “I have been letting myself get down a little too much and I let it affect the way I played. No one really expects me to go to basket anymore so I just tried to make an effort to make things happen.”
- Bibby’s offensive production more than compensated for his troubles keeping Stuckey Bynum out of the lane. In the second half his teammates minimized the damage by getting more in sync with the backline help, the closeouts and the switches.
- “Even though we was scrambling out there sometimes, guys stepped up and helped each other out,” Josh said. “For the guys that was helping each other out, somebody else had their back. Whenever we have that trust factor out on the court defensively, that’s when we are a tough team to score on.”
- Smoove (28 points on 17 shots, 14 rebounds) controlled the game at times. His jump shot was falling, too.
- The Pistons managed just 28 points after halftime. They scored seven points in the opening eight minutes of the fourth quarter. After making 8 of 10 3-point attempts in the first half, Detroit made 2 of 9 after halftime.
- “We had to defend that 3-point line,” L.D. said. “We had to run them off. They have got some guys that can really stroke it. When Villanueva came in the game, when Daye came in the game we had to make a conscious effort defending the three. We ended up switching a lot of things they were involved in just so we could get body on body. When that happens we have got to make sure we sit down on guys like Bynum and Stuckey. We have got to contain them off the dribble.”
- Things got away from the Hawks when L.D. went to the bench in the first half. Actually, throw out that stretch late in the first quarter and early in the second and the Hawks pretty much dominated the Pistons. L.D. tightened the rotation after halftime, using only Marvin and Jamal until garbage time.
- The Hawks were off and running in the second quarter with the Bibby-Joe-Marvin-Josh-Al lineup. They were credited with eight fastbreak points and I counted at least two other baskets created off the secondary break.
- “We knew they played last night and we knew their legs were going to be a little tired,” Marvin said. “We are a faster team than they are. Once we went to the small lineup, we’ve got five guys that can push the ball and make plays.”
- Marvin was the exception to the general lack of anything from the bench. He stuck his nose in to collect seven defensive rebounds and earned eight free-throw attempts.
- This was a game for those blog people who like Marvin coming off the bench because he gets more involved that way and the second unit desperately needs his production.
- “Coming in as a reserve, he’s getting a chance to get a real feel for the game just watching the rhythm of the game,” L.D. said. “When he gets in there, I am going right to him. Tonight he did a good job playing within himself.”
- Marvin still doesn’t see it that way: “You’ve got to feel it to get a feel for it, I think. It’s going to be something that obviously I am going to have to adjust to, but I will figure it out.”
- Zaza is out of sorts. His worst moment was catching the ball in the paint alone near the rim and fading away from it to miss a bank shot. It’s getting to the point where sometimes it almost seems as if he would rather be fouled than have to finish at the basket.
- Jamal had a season-low two shots in 30 minutes. And this time he didn’t offset the lack of points with dimes, getting just two against three assists. Can’t remember the last time he was this unnoticeable.
- Joe didn’t have it going but at least he didn’t shoot the Hawks out of it. Interesting, though, that L.D. called a timeout after Joe missed an iso jump hook on the baseline and Josh rebounded Gordon’s miss. The Hawks were up 88-75 at the time but clearly Drew was worried about poor shot selection letting Detroit back in it.
- Marvin, by the way, scored on a drive after that timeout. The Hawks worked the ball around but couldn’t find an opening so Marvin took his man off the dribble.
- L.D.’s caution about fouls, not health, limited Al to 28 minutes. “It’s good,” Al said of his back. “At this point it’s just sore. But I feel pretty good.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat