Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 116, Pistons 84

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated game story, with quotes, for those who would like to comment.

No letdown, only a smackdown.

The Hawks erased any concern they would fall to an inferior opponent minutes into a 116-84 utter dismantling of the Pistons at Philips Arena Wednesday night. They set season-highs for points in a quarter (39) and points in a half (72) in building an early lead the Pistons had no hope of overcoming.

Consider:

  • The Hawks led 39-20 after the first quarter as nine different players scored.
  • They led 72-42 at the half as all 12 available players entered the scoring column. The .622 shooting percentage was the best of the first half all season. The Hawks led by as many as 37 points in the second quarter. The lead eventually reached 41 in the fourth quarter.
  • Joe Johnson logged the most first-half minutes of any starter with just 12. Many starters jumped to their feet and waved towels as the reserves continued to pour it on.
  • The Pistons made only 15 of 44 shots (.341) in the first half. The Pistons ended the first half with 42 points, a total the Hawks had reached with 11:28 remaining in the second quarter.
  • The Philips Arena crowd even attempted the wave in the third quarter.

The Hawks (37-25) were guarding against a letdown similar to the one suffered against the Raptors on Sunday, a loss they rebounded from the following night in Toronto. They led by 10 points with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter, by 20 with 11:44 left in the second quarter and by 30 with 4:42 left in the first half.

“That’s two games in a row we came out with a lot of energy,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “After a poor start against Toronto as far as our energy was concerned, we came out tonight and we got off to a good start really getting up and down the floor, moving the ball well and once we started going to the bench they energy was there as well.”

The Hawks kept pace with the Celtics (37-26), Friday night’s opponent, who defeated the Magic Wednesday. On the line over the final four games is the right to host a first-round playoff series. The Hawks, currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, will try to avenge two earlier season losses to the Celtics, who currently would be their first-round playoff opponent.

“I’m not sure what happened Sunday, but we are ahead now,” Joe Johnson said. “We control our own destiny. We just have to win out and everything else will take care of itself. Every game from here on out is important. We knew we let one get away our last home game so we wanted to come out and really set the tone.”

With four home games remaining in the regular season, the Hawks are searching for consistency and momentum going into the postseason.

The Hawks have won two consecutive and six of their past eight. They won the season series with the Pistons, 3-1, and ran their home winning streak against them to eight games.

The Hawks had six players in double-figures scoring, led by Tracy McGrady with a season-high 17 points. The others were Ivan Johnson (16), Joe Johnson (13), Josh Smith (12), Marvin Williams (10) and Willie Green (10). The team also recorded a season-high 72 bench points.

“With the guys we have coming off the bench, some of them could be starters on other teams, we’ve got veteran guys that know how to play and we provide great energy on both ends,” McGrady said.

The Pistons (23-39) lost for the sixth time in eight games. They were led by Greg Monroe with 17 points. They closed the game on an 11-2 run, as they Hawks went on a stretch of 4:21 without scoring, and still lost by 32 points. They prevented the Hawks from surpassing their largest margin of victory of the season (36 points versus the Nets on Dec. 27).

“It was very important considering these last few ball games we are still playing for something,” Joe Johnson said of the fast start. “The starters came out and set the tone and the bench came in and maintained and went a little higher. That meant a lot. That means everybody was very focused and aware of what we need to accomplish.”

Mission accomplished on this night.

121 comments Add your comment

northcyde

April 19th, 2012
12:31 pm

Slimjr . . stop your Marvin bias and just admit that Marvin can defend Pierce probably better than anyone on the team. Marvin has always been a good on the ball defender, especially against guys who aren’t superfreaks athletically.

Marvin isn’t going to lock down Pierce by any stretch of the imagination, but he is the best option to defend them, with JJ being the next best option.

Eric T

April 19th, 2012
12:43 pm

If Josh attacks the rim consistently aganist any team the Hawks could win the NBA Title

Bravesfan79

April 19th, 2012
12:50 pm

I think the Hawks GM has done a hell of alot better than the Celtics GM the past 3 or so seasons! Bringing in Jamal Crawford was a great move. So was bringing in Mcgrady, Pargo, VladRad and Green.
On the other side, the Celtics traded Perkins for pretty much nothing, messed up by counting on Shaq, and then brought in Wilcox, who has such a low basketball IQ it brought down the whole team when he was on the court!
I kinda hate that its gonna be my 2 favorite teams facing off in the 1st round. If only the Hawks could play the Magic instead.

Bravesfan79

April 19th, 2012
12:53 pm

Our worst move this season was bringing in Dampier. We should of went after that big white dude who played for the Jazz instead.

DawgNole

April 19th, 2012
12:54 pm

jamal crawford fan
April 18th, 2012
11:45 pm

It might not have been a blessing in disguise the tmac benching throughout the season. He is now fresh and looking like a weapon.
____________________

“It might NOT have been a blessing . . . “???

Is is safe to assume that you mean “It might HAVE been a blessing . . .”???

DawgNole

April 19th, 2012
12:57 pm

Slimjr
April 18th, 2012
11:48 pm

32 lackluster years..GET OUT OF THE GAME AND GO FISHING!
________________

45 lackluster years

DawgNole

April 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

sebastian
April 18th, 2012
11:56 pm

Will drew admit his mistake regarding tmac?
______________________

Doubtful.

SteveW

April 19th, 2012
1:01 pm

Now I do agree if Josh plays in that “zone” where he gets in the post, attacks, and passes out on occasion, the Hawks look as good as any team on the planet.

He just doesn’t stay in that zone very often.

And I’ve always wanted us to try the Marvin-Theo Ratliff experiment. Ratliff was built like Marvin; thin, long arms, maybe an inch or two taller.

Stick Marvin in the low post, especially in the middle of a zone, and tell him to attack the ball and shooter when it comes in the lane. He’s quicker than most C’s would be in responding to a pass off the attack also.

I know he’s been a failure as a #2 pick, and a 40 mill. contract. But I’ve often wondered if Marvin could be Theo. Then at least your getting an athletic shot blocker in the middle. And if he added a little bulk, he wouldn’t get pushed around by the bigger guys that bad. The NBA is short on Centers right now, so there’s not that many bigger guys to push him around really.

I would try Marvin as backup C during training camp, just to see what he could do.

SteveW

April 19th, 2012
1:07 pm

Najeh – I guess I’m not as sold as you are on having ZaZa on the floor at crunch time. Maybe the Denver loss lingers a little to close.

If Ivan was a little more mature and careful with the ball, I would say our closing team should be Teague, JJ, Josh, TMac and Ivan. A big C could possibly push Ivan around, but not to many of them could. But Ivan can get careless with the ball a little to much sometimes, and on occasion makes poor decisions again just a little to much for my taste.

I do think TMac, Ivan, and Josh could rebound just fine.

I hate to see Marvin closing out games. Too many clanked wide open jumpers at clutch time for me throughout his career. Sigh

SteveW

April 19th, 2012
1:10 pm

Our biggest mismatch against Boston. Doc vs LD

I think that alone may cost us the series.

And if you gave Doc the Hawks, and LD the Celtics, I still think Doc’s team wins.

But here’s hoping…. 4 straight trips to the Semi’s would be nice in a win starved city.

Hawks postseason way better than the Falcons postseasons recently.

Big Lou

April 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

“I hate to see Marvin closing out games. Too many clanked wide open jumpers at clutch time for me throughout his career. Sigh”

Why are they shooting jump-shots in the first place? If Marvin doesn’t close out the game, Pierce will win it himself. I just don’t trust JJ’s defense compared to Marvin’s proven past. There is a simple solution to your dilemma. DONT PASS THE DANG BALL TO MARVIN ON THE PERIMETER!

Big Lou

April 19th, 2012
1:15 pm

“Our biggest mismatch against Boston. Doc vs LD”

This is the thread winner. I want to see if LD can make adjustments this post season. Last one was his first, so I’ll give him a pass on being stubborn with CHI.

“Hawks postseason way better than the Falcons postseasons recently.”

That’s like saying one team doesn’t suck as much, but they both suck in the end. One just makes it one step further into mediocrity.

STRETCH

April 19th, 2012
1:17 pm

Magic center Dwight Howard has called team owner Rich DeVos to tell him that he won’t play for coach Stan Van Gundy anymore, WKMG in Orlando is reporting.

Howard missed his sixth straight game with a back injury Wednesday against the Celtics, and Van Gundy has already said that he is preparing for his big man to miss the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Howard is still upset that Van Gundy publicly said this month that Howard asked management to have him fired, sources told WKMG. According to the report, the 86-year-old DeVos took Howard’s call in his suite at the Amway Center sometime during Friday’s game against the Hawks.

Uncertainty has dogged the Magic for quite some time. Howard asked management for a trade in the preseason, but after months of speculation he signed a waiver of the opt-out clause in his contract, meaning that he would remain under contract to Orlando at least through next season.

Man it appears that marriage is over. Come on Sund, even if he doesnt want to be in ATL, atleast go after him. Seems to me he is pretty desperate now!

Slimjr

April 19th, 2012
1:55 pm

Man you keep using troll..It’s tire dude..Next

Slimjr

April 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

The Hawks dont need that drama queen.They got one in the head coach.. lol

Slimjr

April 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Slimjr

April 19th, 2012
2:10 pm

“Marvin isn’t going to lock down Pierce by any stretch of the imagination, but he is the best option to defend them, with JJ being the next best option.”

That’s what Mr. know it all has not figured out. Marvin is not going to lock down Paul in the Playoffs man..His game is geared for the playoffs..He has switched his game into playoff mode this past week..Just nailing it! Marvin will get a taste of it this Friday more than likely…

So be it, if that’s all they got…

Slimjr

April 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

“I would try Marvin as backup C during training camp, just to see what he could do.”

The only way Marvin should ever see the 5 spot, is in a pickup game in his neighborhood.. LMBO!

vava74

April 19th, 2012
2:39 pm

Marvin can’t post up 6′2” guards, how can he play the C position?

It’s completely different to use Marvin as a stretch/offensive PF coming of the bench than to think he can be used at the C spot.

The C and PF are more different than people think. A center HAS to be a physical guy and Marvin is ZERO physical.

Marvin’s limited attributes are:

- good FT shooter;
- good standstill shooter (not in crunch time);
- good positional defender (disciplined, moves his feet / laterally well);
- decent/good touch around the rim when he catches and does not need to put the rock on the floor.
- decent/good rebounder at the SF slot / passable rebounder as backup PF.

And that’s it.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 19th, 2012
2:43 pm

Shot blocking is an instinct. A lot of athletic players were/are never great shot blockers because they didn’t have the instinct or timing — see Tyson Chandler and Blake Griffin. Marvin may have the body type of Theo Ratliff (I think this is debatable, but that’s beside the point) but he has never consistently shown the shot blocking instincts to where he could fill such a role.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 19th, 2012
2:44 pm

New blog up.