Hawks 93, Nets 84
- The Hawks have to take this W, a professional effort against a scrappy opponent, and move on to Washington. They have a small margin for error that was razor thin without Zaza Pachulia, a reliable rebounder and source of easy points (from free throws if not always layups) on a team short of both and needing both tonight.
- The Hawks never could quite shake the Nets because of Deron Williams, New Jersey’s offensive rebounds and their own bad possessions. Finally, Josh Smith went to work in the post and got to the line, the Hawks outscored New Jersey 31-15 in the period and they secured their fourth W in five.
- “Sometimes you have a game like this where teams trade baskets and [it's] team makes a stand defensively and creates some separation,” Larry Drew said.
- The Hawks did it in the fourth quarter, when they played solid team defense and really made the Nets work for their shots. New Jersey is not a good offensive team but it’s not like that always matters with the Hawks. That thin margin and all.
- This time Josh settled for jump shots long before fatigue became a factor. But then he scored 21 points on 14 shots in the second half, when the Nets couldn’t handle his athleticism and skill around the basket without fouling. He finished with his latest monster line: 40 minutes, 30 points on 25 shots, 12 rebounds, four assists against one turnover, two blocks and a steal.
- Drew on Josh: “I know he’s tired. I’ve been riding him. When we need baskets we put him in the post and he responds very well. When he attacks the basket he’s tough to defend. I tell him, ‘Don’t let people off the hook by settling for jump shots.’”
- Early in the game Joe Johnson was making 3-pointers and slipping in for his floater. Then he got his shot blocked on a couple drives in the second quarter and never really got back on track. But credit him for being noticeably more decisive with the ball in the first few games. He had four assists against no turnovers in the second half but he’s got to do better than two rebounds when the opposing wings are getting 15.
- Jeff Teague took the challenge against D-Will and struck the right balance of driving to score and driving to set guys up. Six assists with no turnovers and 17 points on eight shots. The three rebounds were a bonus, too, on a night the Hawks needed everyone to help.
- Kirk Hinrich finding his shot (4 of 6 on 3-pointers) has to rank high among the positive developments for the Hawks heading to the playoffs. Drew likes Hinrich for his defense but it doesn’t matter if he can’t score and kesp turning it over.
- Marvin Williams had a successful return with 11 points on eight shots and six rebounds in 26 minutes. If he can produce lines like that on a consistent basis then the Hawks wouldn’t need to rely as much on the does-he-have-it-tonight games of Vladimir Radmanovic and Tracy McGrady.
- Ivan Johnson’s seven rebounds in 21 minutes is a reason to wonder why Drew insists on starting specialist Jason Collins (two rebounds in 14 minutes). Ivan’s four turnovers and Twin’s zero points are reminders that, outside of Zaza and Josh, the Hawks aren’t getting many points from their frontcourt.
- You might have heard that D-Will is pretty good. “They always pose a problem because of Deron,” Drew said. “He’s always been a hard defend for us.”
- D-Will needed 20 shots for his 20 points but in the context of the Nets it’s hard to blame him for his high usage. Williams is impressive to watch and it’s no wonder there are teams with better talent eager to put him in control. “He can shoot it, drive it, post it, he’s strong and he has the green light,” Teague said.
- Jannero Pargo on the timetable for his return: “It depends on how I feel, but a week or so.”
- After the game, Teague nervously watched his little brother play a game for that other school next door at the Dome.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat