Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Warriors 79
Joe and the Hawks were ripping and running in Oaktown. Anda Chu / Oakland Tribune
Oakland–The Hawks are something to watch when they defend, rebound and run the floor like this. Add in the kind of unselfish offense they played tonight, and they can look dang near unstoppable at times.
- Of course no one is going to mistake the Warriors for a strong or even competent defensive team. But they are pretty good on offense and the Hawks made them look awful.
- “I felt we really made an effort to contest and challenge every shot,” Al said. “Its’ a little frustrating for me because I wish we played like this all the time. I hope there is no looking back now. We saw how we can play so we have to be able to keep that up.”
- Kirk Hinrich, pregame, on playing with little preparation on Hawks’ schemes: “It’s important that I understand what we are trying to do at both ends. But a lot of times our lineups and our athleticism, I think the best way for us to play is to just play. Work hard on the defensive end and try to run.”
- And then the Hawks went out and played that way.
- Their aggressive D, spearheaded by Teague, so flummoxed Stephen Curry that fans started screaming at him to shoot when he didn’t have a field-goal attempt in the first quarter. The truth is he couldn’t find much space with Atlanta’s athletic guys challenging, rotating, communicating and hustling.
- Neither could Monta Ellis, who didn’t get going until the Hawks were in control.
- “I thought Kirk came in and played some D on Monte and the D I played on him was pretty good,” J.J. said. “But also the help we got on him from other guys. That’s the main key, man. In order for us to be consistent, in order for us to be a good team, we have got to be able to do the small things and help is definitely one of them. Hopefully we can try to get on a nice little streak here.”
- Hinrich looked pretty good considering he hasn’t yet had a real live practice with the Hawks. He used his size, long arms and positioning to harass Ellis and Curry. Offensively he seemed cognizant of quickly passing the ball ahead to Joe on the wing.
- “I felt so-so,” Hinrich said. “I’m just trying to get familiar with everybody, the plays and all of that. It wasn’t too rough. The good thing is we did such a good job defensively we weren’t forced to run a lot of sets. We were able to get offense from our defense.”
- Teague was a pest defensively. His soundness allowed his teammates to stay home more often and he seemed more aware. It’s probably no coincidence that he played 26 minutes and the Hawks weren’t scrambling as much tonight despite facing a pair of dynamic guards.
- “He picked up the point guard full court and really had a big impact because he was able to get over screens,” Al said. “That’s something we struggled with in the past, our guards getting over screens. Hopefully he will keep that level of play up. I am sure his confidence will keep growing.”
- Like he did at Phoenix, Teague got to the basket. It’s hard to keep him out of the lane. He was just 2 of 9 from the field because by my count he missed three runners but the attention he drew gave Al and Josh room for put backs.
- Teague has looked noticeably more confident in the last two games.
- “In this league, all you need is a chance, an opportunity,” Joe said. “He’s got that. He’s not going to have to worry about getting snatched out after making mistakes. I think we all understand he is a young player and he is going to make mistakes but now he can just play through them and just play freely. Obviously he’s got the talent. We’ve just got to put the ball in his hand and trust him.”
- Drew, pregame, on Teague: “He has probably gotten down a little but but I really think the trade is going to do him some good. As I told him, I wasn’t giving up on him even after I made the trade. I still look at him as a guy that can help this ball club and under no circumstances have I given up on him.”
- With Teague, Joe, and Hinrich doing good work on the perimeter, Josh and Al controlled the paint. They combined for 48 points (on 32 shots), 22 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and three blocks with just three turnovers.
- “Our scouting report was to force them to shoot jumpers and contest jumpers rather than kill us in the paint,” David Lee said.
- The Hawks shot a lot of jump shots early but then started playing more inside-out. “I guess against that this team you have to give multiple efforts because you have to give so much help to the post,” Curry said.
- You can tell Hinrich is happy to join a squad with a chance to go places. He said the Hawks have the making of a team that can be a real threat in the postseason.
- “I think we could be,” Hinrich said. “If we defend and make that a trademark of ours, with the versatility of our lineups and our length we can be a very tough team to beat.”
- Hinrich, pregame, on playing behind D-Rose in Chicago and John Wall in D.C.: “The mentoring thing, I wasn’t thrilled about it and I was still playing a lot of minutes. I was just trying to be a pro. They are young guys, good kids, and I appreciated my time with Derrick and John. They have great years ahead of them and I just tried to help them out and be a pro.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat