Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 106, Nets 70
Newark, N.J.–The Nets without Brook Lopez are not very good and they likely were gassed after coming back from 21 down to win at Washington last night. On the other hand, it kind of felt like the Hawks could have won with their second unit, and when’s the last time you could say that about them against any opponent?
- The reserves scored 55 of 106 points and collected 27 of 51 rebounds. More importantly, the Hawks extended their lead even as the reserves kept checking in. None of the starters played more than 26 minutes.
- “Man, I tip my hat to those guys,” Josh Smith said. “This is probably the deepest bench we’ve had in a long time, where [starters] are coming off and the bench is keeping the same intensity and energy as the starters, if not more. If we have this on a consistent basis I think we are going to be a pretty good team.”
- There’s no one on the bench you can expect will regularly have the kind of scoring impact as Jamal Crawford. But maybe there are enough pieces that can do a little bit of everything to cobble together an effective unit. “It’s a little different look,” Al Horford said. “We don’t have that explosive scorer like Jamal but we are doing it as a unit.”
- Zaza Pachulia (13 points on 8 shots) was getting deep position on post-ups and did his usual good work on the boards. He dunked on Shelden Williams for an and-1.
- Like he did in the preseason, Vladimir Radmonivic (five assists, four steals) showed he can offer more than just 3-point shooting. The Nets for some reason kept losing him at the 3-point line. He passed up a couple open looks because the Hawks were coasting and he wanted to use some clock.
- After sleepwalking through camp, Tracy McGrady suddenly was posting up, driving to the basket and generally playing with pep. He didn’t get a couple calls on drives and was hit with a tech for complaining about it.
- I figured he T-Mac was saving it. “I’m a gamer, man,” he said. “That’s what I am. I just get bored with preseason. I know that sounds crazy but I really do. The anticipation builds up for the offseason, especially being healthy and get out there and play. I’m like, let’s get this real thing going on.”
- Marvin Williams was the most effective starter. It was the textbook for how he can get involved: crash the glass (four offensive rebounds), get to the line (6 for 7 on free throws) and get in the open floor. His 3 for 9 shooting line included a couple tip-ins that wouldn’t fall.
- “I know his back is feeling better,” Larry Drew said of Marvin. “I told him I want him to be more aggressive. I want him to get the ball off the glass and bring it the length of the floor. He’s capable of doing that. Sometimes he gets a little timid.”
- “He’s been telling me to do that the last couple of seasons,” Marvin said. “I worked on my ball-handling a lot in the offseason and even still 15 or 20 minutes after practice or before games. I feel more comfortable with it.”
- Josh and Al helped control Kris Humphries. Jeff Teague and Jannero Pargo made Deron Williams work. “We’re having a tough time getting Deron space out there on the floor,” Avery Johnson said.
- Pretty much every time the Nets turned the corner or swung the ball there were bodies and flailing arms waiting. “We have guys that are versatile and have length,” Drew said. “Our defensive scheme tonight was to try to put them under as much duress as we possibly could.”
- Teague said his left ankle is still sore. It was hard to tell on a couple of those explosive drives to the basket. And if he really has improved his 3-point shot, look out.
- Drew used some of the trapping and ball pressure schemes the Hawks showed in the preseason. It had the desired effect of forcing the Nets to speed up and they aren’t good enough to make plays at that pace. The approach won’t work against better opponents or if Atlanta’s reserves don’t bring it like they did tonight.
- “Some nights we trap, some nights we don’t,” Drew said. “We try not to be a predictable ball club. A lot of times the game and the personnel predicate how we cover certain things.”
- I’m curious to see if the Hawks drill Washington tomorrow, too. “We can’t get satisfied with this,” Zaza said. “We have to keep it up. We should put this game behind us when we get to the plane.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat