Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 101, Wizards 83
- The Hawks held another opponent to lousy offensive numbers but this time Larry Drew sounded so-so about the effort. “There were parts of the game where we lacked defensive intensity,” he said. “You’ve got to put teams away, especially a team like that. They never stop playing. I never felt we had a total grip of the game even when we were up 20. A team like Washington, you have to take away hope.”
- The Wizards do a pretty good job of that on their own. At times you could see John Wall’s frustration as he tried to make plays for his teammates only to see fail to help. Even Nick Young’s 21 points on 6 of 12 shooting were pretty empty since he started 5 for 5.
- Neither the Nets nor the Wizards are sharp offensive teams so it’s tough to judge Atlanta’s defense right now. The Hawks know that, too. But there’s no denying that the talking, helping and energy have all looked good so far. “It’s two games, but I do see some good things,” Al Horford said. “We are starting to trust each other more on the defensive end.”
- Wall got to the basket when he wanted. “It’s tough to guard somebody that has freedom like that,” Jeff Teague said. “At any time he can take off and do what he wants to do. But when it’s like that if we can hold everyone else down we can get wins.”
- Wall met some resistance at the rim, particularly from Josh Smith, who got one of his two charging calls against Wall. Most of his six turnovers came when he got out of control.
- Young buried some 3s. Pogo stick JaVale McGee gave Josh and Al some problems when he got free around the basket. Otherwise, though, the Hawks pretty much held down the Wizards.
- When Marvin Williams (eight rebounds) helps on the glass, the Hawks can do things like hammer the Wizards 45-32 on the boards. Josh and Al had 10 boards each. “He’s being very aggressive on the offensive boards,” Al said. “We need that from him at that position.”
- It was another Marvin Blueprint game: rebound, make the open shots when they come and get to the free-throw line. “Knock on wood, he looks pain-free,” Drew said. “He’s really shooting the ball well when he gets his feet set. When teams double on the block he has to be able to hit those shots. Last year when he caught the ball at times he wasn’t even looking at the rim. Now when he’s catching the ball in his shooting range he’s looking to score.”
- “I just feel better,” Marvin said. “Sometimes before on a back-to-back it was tough to recover. Tonight I felt perfectly fine.”
- Atlanta’s offense benefited from some of their long 2s turning into 3s (9 of 23). Tracy McGrady’s effeicient effort was another positive: 11 points on five shots and four rebounds in 19 minutes. But all of Atlanta’s reserves except late sub Ivan Johnson ended up with negative plus-minuses.
- A lot of that was because the Hawks gave back most of their 15-point lead in the first half as Jannero Pargo missed his first four shots. Both Pargo and Willie Green still look a bit lost. “They are not comfortable yet with what we are doing,” Drew said. “As soon as they get in a comfort zone, I’m confident they will play the way they can play.”
- Teague’s ankle still isn’t 100 percent: “It’s getting better. I can’t jump like I want to but I can play.”
- The Hawks missed their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter but Washington wasn’t doing much scoring, either. The Wizards had five misses and a turnover over their first 11 possessions of the period. Al scored on back-to-back scores at the basket to calm things down. “That’s when we rely on our defense to bail us out,” he said. “We held the lead and hit some key shots.”
- “We got comfortable a little bit,” Teague said. “It happens in games but we recovered and got the win.”
- You can see Al trying to score around the basket more often. He had some success backing McGeee under the rim to neutralize his length and leaping ability.
- Jordan Crawford played just 21 minutes as Young stole his thunder and Joe took him to school. Jordan tossed up a half-hearted airball at the buzzer and quickly scurried off the court.
- As promised, Crawford engaged Teague in some trash talk. “That’s my man,” Teague said. “We held him in check tonight but I know next time we see him he’s going to try to be better.”
- The Hawks get the day off tomorrow.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat