Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 103, Cavaliers 87

Vivlamore reporting from Cleveland. Here is my game story from the Hawks win over the Cavs Sunday so you may comment.

CLEVELAND – All the Hawks needed was one good quarter out of Joe Johnson.

They got that – and more.

Despite being thinned by injury, coach Larry Drew was cognizant of putting too much stress on Johnson’s troublesome left knee. However, the All-Star scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the first quarter en route to a 103-87 victory over the Cavaliers Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.

By the end of the first 12 minutes, in which Johnson played every one, the Hawks had built a 12-point lead. Johnson was 4 of 5 from the field, including hitting all three 3-pointers, and had four assists. He scored the Hawks’ first seven points after the Cavaliers scored the first four points of the game. It would be their only lead.

The lead grew to as much as 17 points in the second quarter with Johnson on the bench for a good portion resting the knee that recently cost him six games with tendinitis. The Hawks would lead by as many as 19 points, before withstanding a third-quarter 18-5 Cavaliers run that saw their advantage trimmed to six points. Johnson answered with two straight baskets as the Hawks went on an 8-0 run and pushed the lead back to double-digits.

“I just try to take what the defense gives me,” said Johnson, who ended up playing 35 minutes. “It wasn’t anything special I was out there doing.”

The Hawks (26-19, 13-13 on the road) have won two straight as they go into Monday’s key Eastern Conference matchup with the Celtics at Philips Arena.

Although injuries forced his hand to a degree, Drew has switched to a starting lineup that features Johnson at small forward, with Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard and Jeff Teague at point guard. It’s paying dividends. Johnson is averaging 25.7 points in the past six games since returning from the knee injury. Teague finished with 18 points Sunday. Hinrich, who is averaging 9.5 points over the past nine games, finished with 14 points.

“We are doing what we have to do with all the guys injured,” Hinrich said. “It seems like, depending on what day it is, someone is hurt, someone is back. We are just trying to hang in there.”

Drew said he challenged Teague to be more aggressive in the second half and take on the challenge of facing Cavaliers star rookie point guard Kyrie Irving. Teague scored 13 of his points after intermission, including several drives to the basket.

For his part, Teague likes the three-guard approach.

“I like playing with Kirk,” Teague said. “He is going to help you out on defense. He’s going to knock down shots. He raises the level of intensity on the floor. It makes me pick up my energy because I see him playing so hard.”

The Hawks improved to 15-2 when Johnson scores 20 or more points.

It appears the three-guard approach may be around for awhile.

“It gives us another guard who can really defend,” Drew said. “It takes [Johnson] off the ball a little bit but we are still able to run things through him. With both Jeff and Kirk in the backcourt it gives us some versatility at the guard spot.

“With Kirk in the lineup, especially at the very beginning, he really gets after it. It just makes us much more aggressive and gives us another guy with the ability to break you down off the dribble. It gives us another guy who can catch and shoot. So far it has worked out.”

Josh Smith struggled offensively, finishing with just seven points on 3 of 15 shooting. Smith had more assists (season-high tying nine) and rebounds (eight) than points.

The Cavaliers (16-26), who lost for the third straight time, were led by Alonzo Gee with 20 points. Irving added 19 points and Antwan Jamison had 17. The Hawks had six double-digit scorers in a 27-point win over the Cavaliers at Philips Arena on Jan. 21.

130 comments Add your comment

KevinA

March 18th, 2012
7:26 pm

good win, loved the early passing

STRETCH

March 18th, 2012
7:27 pm

Rico

March 18th, 2012
7:28 pm

Go Hawks! Cannot wait for Big Al to get back with this Unit. Josh really stepped it up in his absence.

tjhook

March 18th, 2012
7:29 pm

Interesting comments by Teague. So Hinrich inspires him to play harder . . . that is good to know, especially since the core has not provided that type of leadership. We should see how that plays out and if Willie Green can bring that sort of inspiration. Sund may get Executive of the Year yet. The key is what things is Coach Drew willing to try or not try.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 18th, 2012
7:34 pm

“So Najeh do you contend that Collins has a Bowen-like defensive impact that his numbers can’t account for?”

Not to Bowen’s extent, but he has had a significant defensive impact for a big part of his career. The dude started for an NBA Finals team. I don’t care what your numbers are, you can’t do that if you are a scrub.

Collins is a specialist, just like Jason Kapono or Reggie Evans is a specialist. The difference is that the one thing that Kapono (shooting) and Evans (rebounding) do well is reflected in PER, whereas the one thing Collins does well (post defense) is not. Doesn’t make Collins a good player, but it definitely means he doesn’t belong in a list of the worst players in the league.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 18th, 2012
7:37 pm

I didn’t see the game… what happened with Josh? Did he take a lot of bad shots or was he just unlucky on the shots he usually makes?

Jameyan

March 18th, 2012
7:59 pm

@Najeh… When Josh realized his was on the verge of a triple double he started forcing shots and jacking 3’s…Which led to Cleveland to make a run in the 3rd. Drew took him out and didn’t see the floor again…I am excited about this 3 guard look because there aren’t too many great SF’s who Joe has to deal with on the offense and defensive end…Mismatch everywhere on the court

Spyro

March 18th, 2012
7:59 pm

Mix of both, Najeh.

Spyro

March 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

When Josh realized his was on the verge of a triple double he started forcing shots and jacking 3’s

Wow, some people are that stupid. That’s not what happened.

brigadierjerry

March 18th, 2012
8:11 pm

Saw this posted elsewhere wondering what your guys thoughts on the below post:

The Hawks seem to always build a nice mid range team that goes nowhere and then keep the basic same core for 5 years until there is beyond a shadow of a doubt that group of players can’t take them to the finals. They did it before in the late 90’s and its funny to me that they are doing something similar now by keeping the same core for so long with minimal changes

From Basically 1995-1999 these were their main starters each year excluding Mutombo who joined in the Summer of 1996.

Mutombo
Laettner/Henderson
Corbin
Smith
Blaylock

If u look at the team they basically had the best defensive center in the league Mutombo which was suppose to take the team to the next level. The problem wasn’t him, it is that Blaylock was a steady, but nothing special PG who was rapidly aging. Steve Smith was a talented shooter who had a good attitude. He however didn’t have the passion of a true leader in crunch time. Corbin got lucky and found a niche with Lenny Wikens despite being old and being the worst starting 3 in the league for years. They eventually got Laphonso Ellis but even he was sorta washed up by the time he got to Atlanta. Laettner was always soft and made dumb mistakes but they basically got him for Andrew Lang who was less talented overall. Hindu eventually turned out to be good, but by that time, the Hawks were ready to rebuild. This sounds very familiar to the situation on our team now.

Basically what I am saying is that the Hawks usually have one special player surrounded by other players who will never elevate their game to the level needed for a deep playoffs push. Management doesn’t wanna rebuild, but all they need to do is swap out their young pieces for different young pieces and try to find championship caliber chemistry, the same thing the Hawks of the late 90’s should have done but waited too late to do and caused a long painful rebuilding process for Atlanta fans including putting people like Bob Sura and Pryzbillia on the floor getting heavy minutes.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
8:26 pm

Biggie Lou, pumpkin pie … Our finale is 30 mins away! Yeah! I got my Heineken’s packed on ice and the popcorn is popped … Its showtime baby boy!

The Walking Dead on AMC!

My Hawks did their thing, the laundry is done, my teeth are flossed – three times today. Its a fine day at my house!

Let’s go Get them Celtics! WIN on 3 … 1 2 3!!! WIN.

TMACfan

March 18th, 2012
8:32 pm

Good stuff guys, keep it up!

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 18th, 2012
8:40 pm

FIRE LD
FIRE SUND
FIRE WOODY
FIRE JOE

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 18th, 2012
8:44 pm

I REALLY like this Teague Kirk Joe lineup. All 3 can defend, are quick, good passers, and they all can shoot reasonably well.

Kirk had a rough stretch when he returned, but he has settled in nicely. The extra minutes will help him get a new contract too so he must be pretty happy. It’s pretty cool he and Teague can switch off on guarding the other team’s PG (like a John Wall). This is a very good point guard depth chart we have and I hope Pargo returns soon

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 18th, 2012
8:45 pm

Our upcoming schedule is not tough. We should win every single game this week.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 18th, 2012
8:46 pm

We do have a b2b2b the 23rd-25th. 2 of those teams suck. I can see us losing in Washington for some reason.

Slimjr

March 18th, 2012
8:54 pm

Hire Woody!

Go Knicks!

Slimjr

March 18th, 2012
8:56 pm

Pargos gone for a while? Its no doubt trap!

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:01 pm

drmaryb, lucious lips, it’s time. Gonna be sweet!

Heineken? You’re my type of gal.

Game time.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:04 pm

Wow… that’s a crap ton of Walkers… Wow.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:14 pm

Big Lou! I told you they were gonna set that barn on fiyah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dayum there is a lot of them walkers coming! They’re gonna get away in the cars … Looks like Herschel is gonna lay down and die .. Or go to the basement and survive? IDK man!

Slimjr

March 18th, 2012
9:17 pm

drmaryb: checkout “The creature from jekeyll island”

Goldman Sach’s is childs play compared to these boogers..

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:25 pm

Did blondie get off? She was left behind! I saw Darrell get his woman! The civil rights attorney ran into the woods me thinks! Wow! Biggie Lou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

March 18th, 2012
9:25 pm

“I can see us losing in Washington for some reason.”

Washington looks much better without McGee. One of the rare cases in which addition by subtraction is actually true. And when the Hawks go to DC Nene will probably be in uniform.

By the way Marc Gasol had 1 turnover and zero free throw attempts in the 4th quarter of the Wizards-Grizzlies game. If he had made one trip to the line and not had that turnover, you would have beat me 6-5.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:26 pm

drmaryb, yes you did. I told you there would be a ton of walkers. I wonder where that Helicopter came from. Also, so far only two farm people are dead. Andrea might be dead too, though.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:30 pm

You go Glenn! You go!

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:34 pm

Do these gas guzzlers ever run outa’ gas – Biggie Lou?

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:36 pm

Motorcycles are great on gas. Way to be overanalyzing, though.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:39 pm

Biggie … I think Andrea is gonna make it somehow …I saw here head for the woods! She should stumble out on the HWY … She had a duffle bag filled with guns on her.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:41 pm

No way Andrea can be near them. The farm is miles away and she’s on foot, compared to them in vehicles.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:41 pm

Old eagle eyes don’t miss a thing. Haha

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:45 pm

Run chick, run!!!!

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:46 pm

Biggie Lou …. Honey Buns … I told you she was running in the woods! They shoulda put food in the cars man … Not the basement!

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:47 pm

I knew it!!!! Score points for big easy!

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:48 pm

Yeah, but she’s far away.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:49 pm

Air Borne! Kudos Biggie – you called it! They’re all infected! That explains why so many walkers. Once dead the virus wakes them up to walk! Wow! This is brutal ugly!

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:51 pm

Rick: “I wanted him dead”

Gangsta.

His wife is an idiot, though. She caused it.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:51 pm

How ironic, the girl who wanted to kill herself is still alive! Haha …. Biggie Lou!!!!!!!!

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:55 pm

Run Bambie Run! Is right! She will catch up to them at the stop, where the finally ran outa’ gas! They should have siphoned gas from those stranded cars.

I’m sure the keys are in the ignition, they should have switched getaway cars too. Everybody who can drive should have grabbed one.

Overanalyzing? Me thinks not .. Just smart that’s all. Hey God blessed my mind! Blame God … LOL

Rico.

March 18th, 2012
9:56 pm

I can wait til Al gets back I hope he can pass a physical, we should really get a good return on him on the trade market. He will never be in Josh’s league so its best to ship Al for a High 1st rounder and cap space.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
9:58 pm

Chick with a Katana???!! Hot. Super hot. With zombies on leashes… wtf.

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
9:58 pm

Who was that? The grim reaper?

Sorry cohortts … Gotta’ talk to Biggie Lou!

Hawks won, let me talk dead! LOL

Rico.

March 18th, 2012
9:59 pm

Spyro

March 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

When Josh realized his was on the verge of a triple double he started forcing shots and jacking 3’s

Wow, some people are that stupid. That’s not what happened.

Yeah We know Spyro, but a lot of Al horford supporters feel they need to hate and dis Josh in order to make Al look better. Its sad that Josh Does such an out standing job and the haters just dont quit.

Slimjr

March 18th, 2012
10:00 pm

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
10:01 pm

I know what she is. I bet she’s a walker that is conscious. I bet money! Like maybe they can stay sane after being bitten.

doc

March 18th, 2012
10:02 pm

the great furman bisher is dead is the headline. man i enjoyed him so many times over the years of my addiction to all sports a true word craftsman.

he will be missed, the memories great ….. SELAH.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
10:02 pm

Was that a prison? Wow. Awesome set up for next season.

Sautee

March 18th, 2012
10:11 pm

doc,

You know how I feel about Furman. Part of my raisin’. RIP

drmaryb.[*_*].

March 18th, 2012
10:13 pm

Thriller!

The original zombie movie: Michael Jackson gets a shout out! RIP Michael, so sad he isn’t around to see how he inspired this movie.

Big Lou

March 18th, 2012
10:16 pm

That chick with the swords is a sista, too. I saw her in the comics. She’s one bad mocha killa. Awesome.