Atlanta Hawks: Nuggets 118, Hawks 117 (OT)
Denver–There were series of gaffes, miscalculations and questionable strategy by the Hawks and an incredible 3-pointer from Danilo Gallinari, and yet the Hawks still had a chance to win with a play that was executed perfectly . . . right up until the point where Zaza Pachulia’s layup attempt bounced harmlessly off the rim.
- “Just missed it,” Zaza said. “It was a great opportunity for me.”
- He can get in line with Joe Johnson’s turnovers and forced iso Js, Jannero Pargo’s fumble, Kirk Hinrich’s missed free throws and shot-clock violation, Vladimir Radmanovic’s 0-for-4 on 3s. . . . and don’t forget those 11 dunks and layups the Hawks allowed in the first half.
- Larry Drew said the final play was designed to free Zaza near the basket: “The execution was perfect. We executed. That was probably the best play we executed all night. ‘Z’ just missed a point-blank layup. But I told the guys it didn’t come down to that. That game was lost in the first half when we didn’t make a stand defensively and they basically had their way with us.”
- Joe took the heat off Zaza and Kirk and put it on himself: “We don’t put this game on Zaza missing a layup or Kirk not making a free throw. I look at the stat sheet and I had five turnovers and probably three of those were at crucial times.”
- Kirk: “It’s tough. I had a chance to win it. I made the hard one, the first one, and I missed the second. I’m very disappointed.”
- Zaza: “We had so many opportunities, you know. I don’t think we were lucky today. Of course it’s not an excuse. I have to finish that. But if you think about it, the turnover we had over there off Pargo’s leg, Gallinari’s three, Kirk’s free throw and my layup. That’s four big things. We just weren’t lucky today. Again, that’s not an excuse and personally, me, I have to finish when I have that kind of opportunity. I take that blame on my shoulders.”
- On the 3, Gallinari wasn’t even squared up when he received the pass. Joe and Josh Smith were all over him when he let it go. “I don’t know how he made it,” Joe said. “It was definitely a tough shot. He caught it kind of fading. But before that we couldn’t get big stops. They were either scoring or we were fouling.”
- Drew: “He hit a tough shot. You couldn’t have defended it any better than that.”
- Kirk: From my vantage point, I was boxing out under the basket. When he let it go, I thought, ‘There’s no way he will make that.’ And then the ball fell through the net into my hands.”
- Another beastly line for Josh: 33 points on 23 shots, 13 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and just one turnover. His tendency to try to set ballhandlers up for blocks when they drove contributed to some of those 11 dunks and layups but the perimeter D was atrocious.
- Josh put the Hawks ahead with a sweet spin move after Drew went away from Iso-Joe. The Hawks missed him once he fouled out 2:46 into OT because he was setting up Joe and Kirk for open Js.
- Joe put the Hawks ahead 117-1112 with a crafty move, keeping his dribble alive to thwart a double team and making a fadeaway J. But he missed on a forced iso J that led to two free throws for Nene and got bailed out on a forced drive when, after a long review, the refs decided the replay was inconclusive and the Hawks kept the ball.
- Drew: “When we lost Josh, and then I couldn’t bring Marvin [Williams] back because he took the bang on the hip, I was going to ride Joe. I just tried to put him in a position where he could operate and we just surrounded him with shooters.”
- The last play wasn’t Iso-Joe, though. “Going down the stretch we had opportunities that we just kind of let slip away,” Drew said.
- Both Joe (34 points on 26 shots, 6/10 3FG) and Kirk (22 points on eight shots, 3/4 3FG, 5/6 FT) had great games that were marred by bad moments.
- Marvin once again was aggressive early coming off the bench. It’s a role that seems to suit him.
- Marvin came back in the game briefly late in the fourth quarter after he suffered the hip injury. It was his pass that Pargo bobbled off his knee. “He couldn’t move,” Drew said of Marvin. “I only used him at the end there just to be a passer on the out of bounds. I wanted to put him back in down the stretch and overtime but he couldn’t go. I had to use what I had.”
- The Hawks said both Marvin and Willie Green (back, hamstring) will miss the game tomorrow at the Clippers. Tracy McGrady is expected to play after being held out on the first night of a back-to-back, to the Hawks will have 10 healthy bodies available.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat