Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 92, Bobcats 75 (exhibition)
- In just five days the games will count for the Hawks. It’s hard to know what conclusions can be drawn from two exhibition games against one of the worst teams in the East. So I guess most of the following analysis comes with that disclaimer.
- Fans responded to Ivan Johnson’s energetic, physical play. So did his teammates. “I was impressed,” Al Horford said. “The thing I like the most about him is he’s aggressive. He goes out there and plays hard. He’s fearless. I think he would be a nice addition to our team.”
- I never would have thought so–Johnson is an undersized, over-aged prospect at a position where the Hawks have up to five guys as options. But Johnson has produced and made the most of his chance, earning a “very close look” from Drew.
- “When we had him in the minicamp the thing that intrigued me was how hard he played,” Drew said. “He is capable of making shots but he’s like a Mack truck in there at times. If you get in his way he will run you over. If there is a loose ball he doesn’t care who’s around him, he’s going after it. We need that on our team. He brings a presence when he’s on the floor, a physicality when he’s on the floor.”
- There were times when the Hawks looked like a bona fide, hard-nosed defensive team. “We really committed to it,” Horford said.
- Atlanta’s defense improved once Jannero Pargo replaced Donald Sloan at point guard. Pargo had more success keeping D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker out of the lane.
- The Hawks look a lot different when Jeff Teague (ankle) is in the lineup to slow dribble penetration. Teague said he would be ready to go on Tuesday.
- Sloan (three assists, no turnovers) was steadier on offense than he was Monday. “I thought he did a good job stepping in for Jeff Teague in running the club,” Drew said.
- Brad Wanamaker played six ineffective minutes in the second quarter, turning the ball over three times, and then never saw the court again. Pape Sy wasn’t as aggressive as in the first game but played just 10 minutes.
- The Bobcats were able to finish at the rim but that was in spite of Josh Smith and Al Horford challenging everything at the basket (Walker is going to be a good one). Smith and Horford also led an energetic effort when the Hawks trapped.
- Zaza Pachulia was good on D, too. He stays in good position and challenges everything (if only he could jump higher those more of those would be blocked shots). He rebounds and gets to the line. Zaza quietly had a very good camp.
- Smith got what he wanted around the basket. I’m thinking the newly-slim frame and better health means we’ll see more of that this season. He’s so quick to the hole and even more explosive when he gets there.
- Joe Johnson had a bad shooting night (3 for 11) but it looked to me like he often was just working on his one-on-one moves. He had his hesitation game working and got to the line for six free-throw attempts. Joe also had five assists against two turnovers and a couple scrappy steals.
- Tracy McGrady looked a little livelier while getting to the free-throw line early. But Corey Maggette really took it to him at the other end and McGrady had to start fouling. McGrady also didn’t make a shot in three attempts and failed to record an assist in 14 minutes.
- It wasn’t a good camp for T-Mac. The Hawks have to hope he will dial it up when they need him.
- Vladimir Radmonovic (11 points on five shots) has shown a crafty show-and-go game from the 3-point line. He will drive to the basket and then look to pass or draw a foul. A couple of his four turnovers were a result of him zigging while his teammates zagged.
- “It’s going to take some time, especially with this short preseason,” Radmanovic said. “I have to learn some things on the run. I feel pretty comfortable with the system. It’s just a matter of figuring out some spots on the floor where I’m going to be open or make my teammates open.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat