Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 106, Kings 99
Sacramento–The Hawks engaged the Kings in a smallball, free-wheeling game, kept them off the offensive glass and won. All of that overshadows the lax closeouts and careless turnovers that allowed the Kings to hang around longer than they should have.
- Larry Drew went with Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard, Joe Johnson at small forward and Marvin Williams on the bench. I’ve long favored that alignment and Drew has said he’s considered using it regularly but never has committed to it and still isn’t.
- “Possibly,” Drew said. “I’m big on matchups. Coming into this game, one of my fears was they started three guards. I didn’t want to put our club at a disadvantage having Marvin chasing guards. It has some value for us in playing Kirk in that starting spot. We bring in a guy who gives us a toughness. We are a little bit more defensive-minded with him in there. When Marvin comes off the bench, he comes in more as being a first, second or third option.”
- Marvin was in attack mode while bulling his way to the basket and dunking on people. Could it be that coming off the bench might offer him some advantages? “I don’t know about advantages,” he said. “I guess it gives you a chance to see how the game is going to be called and how its’ going to be played. I think that’s really the only thing. I just wanted to come out and be aggressive coming off the bench. [Drew] told me earlier in the day and it was no big deal.”
- The potential weakness for this starting lineup is rebounding but not tonight because Zaza Pachulia was beasting on the boards. He could have had an even bigger night if not for a suspect call on his fourth foul. “He was playing his butt off,” Josh Smith said. “Whenever he’s able to be active like that on the glass, he’s that much more effective.”
- Small ball became even smaller for the Hawks with Zaza in foul trouble. It worked because Josh had more success handling DeMarcus Cousins’ skill around the basket, Vladimir Radmanovic suddenly grabbed rebounds like he’s 6-10 and Jeff Teague and Joe got it going offensively.
- “I had to make a decision whether to bring [Erick] Dampier back in the game or move Josh to the five spot,” Drew said. “I made the decision to go small on Cousins. He was having a good game. I didn’t want to start double-teaming him and opening up the 3-point line. It worked to our favor offensively because we were able to do some things differently and it was a bad matchup for them.”
- The Hawks had some good offensive possessions in the fourth quarter because Josh and Joe made good decisions out of double teams. “We missed some shots out of the double team but we made the right play,” Drew said.
- “When Josh was posting I tried to get weak side,” Joe said. “I knew he would find me. We played off of him. He had it going. ”
- “Normally that diagonal pass is open to the other swing but he was definitely open,” Josh said. “I was able to get him some easy looks, some open jump shots. I was able to knock down some jumpers and score on the block. They were drawn to me and I was able to make plays out of the double team and out of the dribble drive.”
- Josh had his jumper working early so the Kings were forced to respect it. “Offensively, he’s a tough cover,” Keith Smart said. “He’s too big for a small forward and too quick sometimes for a power forward. He chases the ball to the shot clock. Anything that he sees going to the basket, he’s going to chase that and going to try and control the basket, control the paint. His jump shot was working tonight.”
- Clearly the trade request isn’t affecting Josh’s play. A Sacto media guy asked Josh if he wants to be a “Hawk for life”: “I’m here. I have one more left on my deal. We have to see what happens. I just have to keep playing the way I’m capable of playing and keep doing what I’m doing and not worry about any outside distractions.”
- Another Sacto media guy, who apparently doesn’t have an Internet connection, asked Josh if there were “rumors or something about you being traded.” Josh: “”Can you ask me another question?”
- Another efficient scoring night for Joe (21 points on 13 shots, 9-for-9 on free throws). This time he actually looked better in the second half than the first. But Joe has never been great at getting around defenders and you can see that losing even just a little bit of quickness makes that task nearly impossible.
- Joe said he’s back in the lineup for good and doesn’t plan on sitting on the second night of back-to-backs or doing any other modifications for the knee. “It feels good,” he said. “The strength is about 85-90 percent. It’s way better than I was two weeks ago.”
- Teague (16 points on 11 shots, seven assists, three steals) had a strong effort. He was in control while weaving through Sacto’s defense. Teague seemed to get fired up once Isaiah Thomas got him a couple times.
- Hinrich’s jumper is looking better. He did good work against Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton.
- Another ineffective stint for Jannero Pargo, which was surprising since this figured to be his kind of game.
- Tracy McGrady got a DNP-CD. “This was a game where I’m looking at the matchups,” Drew said. “This Sacramento team, they are young and get up the floor. From a matchup standpoint it made sense to shorten the rotation to go with more speed.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat