Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 108, Nuggets 104

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

The Hawks wobbled the Nuggets in the third quarter.

The knockout blow didn’t come until less than a minute remained in the game. It came nonetheless.

The Hawks (10-5) lost a seven-point fourth-quarter lead but rallied for a 108-104 victory over the Nuggets Wednesday night at Philips Arena in a nationally televised game. It was the Hawks’ eighth win in the past 10 games.

With the Hawks holding a two-point lead at 103-101 with 53.9 seconds remaining, Josh Smith picked up a loose ball after Lou Williams and Devin Harris forced Ty Lawson to dribble off his foot. Smith drove to the basket for an emphatic dunk and was fouled by Corey Brewer. After sinking the free throw the Hawks could celebrate Smith’s 27th birthday with the only present he wanted – a victory.

The Hawks lost a nine-point fourth-quarter lead in a home loss to the Cavaliers on Friday. This game didn’t get away.

“Just play through everything that happens,” said Williams, who sank a pair of free throws after the Nuggets got a 3-pointer from Andre Iguodala with less than 30 seconds remaining. “In this league, everybody plays at a high level. Whoever you are playing, they are going to make runs. You are going to make runs. You just have to survive and be on top when it’s done.”

Al Horford led the Hawks with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Smith added 16 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. Both setups were nifty passes to Horford for in-close finishes.

Lawson finished with a game-high 32 points for the Nuggets (9-10). It was his two costly turnovers in the game’s final minutes that spoiled the effort.

“It would have been tough (to lose after leading in the fourth quarter) but we weren’t thinking like that,” Horford said. “We were thinking this was a must win for us. This is a big win for our team. I know that they are 9-10 but they are a great team and we needed to get this one here.”

The Nuggets entered the game among the NBA leaders in rebounds and points in the paint. The Hawks outdid them in both categories, holding a 47-40 edge in rebounds and a 56-50 advantage in points in the paint. This came after the Hawks were outrebounded by 21 against the Cavaliers.

“After watching that long video tape of us not boxing out versus Cleveland it kind of paid off tonight,” Smith said.

The Hawks took an 11-point lead in third quarter, 73-62, with a 13-1 run. They had the Nuggets on the ropes.

The Nuggets slowly fought back and finally grabbed a 98-97 lead with 2:34 remaining after a 10-2 run. Their lead grew to three points, 101-99, on a Lawson 3-pointer with two minutes remaining. The Hawks got a basket from Horford to tie it and two free throws from Williams after a Lawson turnover to take the lead for good. Smith then put the icing on his own birthday cake.

“I’ll take the win over that play,” Smith said. “Louis Williams played great defense on two possessions at the end on Ty Lawson. I kind of anticipated the play and was able to get that steal. I saw Brewer coming and I wanted to finish strong.”

The Hawks also got double-digit scoring from Williams (16), Harris (12) and Zaza Pachula (11, all in the first half) in snapping a four-game losing streak to the Nuggets.

“We had a chance to fold the tent there and we didn’t,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We persevered. I’m just happy that we pushed through it. There are going to be nights like that. We just have to push through those moments.”

The Hawks took a 55-51 lead into halftime after leading by as many as eight points in the second quarter. A 9-2 run midway through the quarter led to the early cushion. Pachulia’s 11 first-half points led eight different scorers Hawk scorers.

The lead was gone 1:30 into the third quarter as the Nuggets opened with two 3-pointers by Lawson. Drew said he didn’t like Jeff Teague’s energy to start the second half and inserted Williams.

The Hawks host the Wizards on Friday, ending a stretch of seven of eight games at home.

- Chris Vivlamore

47 comments Add your comment

High-sider

December 5th, 2012
11:58 pm

High-sider

December 5th, 2012
11:59 pm

High-sider

December 5th, 2012
11:59 pm

High-sider

December 6th, 2012
12:02 am

Grimey

December 6th, 2012
12:14 am

LD needs to use jenkins

Jamaaliver

December 6th, 2012
12:35 am

Horford is so dependable. The model of consistency. Pencil him for 15 & 10 every game. He’s the face of the franchise and he should be considered untouchable.

Lou is definitely our closer.

Jenkins caught the red eye flight from California just in time to sit on the bench the entire game. lol

Josh…makes my head hurt. Happy Bbirthday, Smoove. Likely your last in a Hawks uni….

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
12:58 am

JaeEvolution:

So let’s get it straight. You want that scrub Mozgov for the Hawks?? He got flat-out beaten by Zaza (who has a very comparable salary) when he played face-to-face against Zaza in the 2nd quarter in every component of the game. In that quarter, Zaza scored 11 while he was ZERO points. Zaza also had 6 rebounds against his 5. Zaza is a much more intelligent b-ball player as well as more physical, and has the ability for great hustle plays.

Now tell me what you want – replace Zaza? Or having him as a third string C? But I guess you remeber very well when he played recently against the 3rd string scrubs of Hornets how he fauled out in several minutes. So tell me what is your point, I do cannot get it…

Grandad

December 6th, 2012
1:11 am

I`m glad we rushed JJenkins in for the game !

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
1:13 am

Grandad:

As a coach, do you think JJenkins had an opportunity to play in this game, e.g. would you play him?

Jae Evolution

December 6th, 2012
1:14 am

I don’t want to replace Zaza at all, I think Zaza loves ATL more than we know, he has his own businesses here and overall feels comfortable here. I think we could get him back here for a discount when the time comes. HOWEVER I also want another big C who can rebound, take up space, and use his size to intimidate alongside Zaza or in the starting lineup that would give this team legit SIZE instead of having a plethora of tweener PF’s who like to move out to the perimeter to shoot jumpers (Ivan, Tolliver, M. Scott, Vlad Rad, Powell) however Ivan brings much more than this so I would insist keeping him.

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
1:25 am

Jae Evolution:

…or in the starting lineup that would give this team legit SIZE…
———————————————————————————————

Here we strongly disagree. In my opinion, this is an example of useless size. What you gain in possible rebounds (and it remains to be seen how he rebounds against real C’s, e.g. he was not that good even against Zaza) you lose in all the other aspects of the game. And he is very SLOW. I think he will just be destroyed vs real Centers. Hopefully for Denver Koufos will return soon ;-)

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
1:28 am

And yeah, the Hawks deserve much better starting C !

Grandad

December 6th, 2012
1:37 am

Sameba

Once again, I only viewed the 4th qtr.

I have the whole game recorded / but I don`t know if I`ll watch.

To answer your question w/o watching would be unfair to LD.

However; rushing him back, mthere seemed to be a plan.

As a coach, I always had a plan.
I did not coach from the seat of my britches.
In other words, from my perspective, yes;
I would have played him for two reasons:
(1) I would have been giving him regular min all along
(2) after his strong performance at Bakersfield,
absolutely, I would have rewarded that effort.

-note-
management said;
they wanted to get him in a rhythm.
Well, he seemed to be in rhythm at Bakersfield.
Now, why would they waste that ?
_____________________________________________

Thanks for asking.

Jae Evolution

December 6th, 2012
1:44 am

On a night where the top rebounding team was out-rebounded by one of the worst he was one of the only ones to show up, he can rebound. He also took offense where he could find it, nothing wrong with that. He was 3-5 FGM and one missed FG was wide-open at the rim so essentially he was 3-4, he also had a nice block on Teague’s drive early on, he is not simply a rebounder.

Grandad

December 6th, 2012
1:45 am

Jae Evolution

I wish for another Big as well.
Also;
not at the expense of Zaza.
Zaza may very well be my *favorite Hawk.
*[he has tenure over Ivan]

However, any new Big should be a long rangy rim protector.
Not necessarily a starter, but a game changer defensively.

Jae Evolution

December 6th, 2012
1:55 am

“However, any new Big should be a long rangy rim protector.
Not necessarily a starter, but a game changer defensively.”

Yeah, I suggested Larry Sanders on Milwaukee a few blogs ago, but his trade value has been going up and up lately, kid has been on a tear. Top 5 in BPG, rebounding at an excellent clip at only 23 MPG, would love to get him.

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
1:56 am

Yeah, he blocked sleepy Teague… I could not recognize Teague 2night… Can he rebound?? Not so sure… His average this season was 3.3… When playing Hawks, someone from the opposing team always puts up their career stats (e.g. Lawson?). It is pity he may not get much more playing time after Koufos returns, so that one could see his abilities when playing against opposing teams starting Centers… So keep an eye on him… if you like him so much…

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
2:05 am

Grandad:

However, any new Big should be a long rangy rim protector.
Not necessarily a starter, but a game changer defensively.
—————————————————————————————–

Exactly, and the fact is that today was a very nice game for the Hawks’ frontcourt… In the absence of Koufos. We outrebounded Denver (the 1st reb. team) and had more points in the paint. Thanks for a very “rangy rim protector” who is Mozgov ;-)

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
2:07 am

^Thanks to the very “rangy rim protector” Mozgov

Grandad

December 6th, 2012
2:33 am

Personally; from my p o v,
right now, the best available kid, may be Cole Aldrich.

He is getting virtually no PT in Houston.
He is only 6-11, but 7-6 w-span gives him a 9-2 stnding reach.

He`s a Kansas kid, solid, nothing great, maybe a young Zaza …
that can block shots !
[plus better hands and can actually dunk in traffic]

-note-
former lottery pick just wastin` away, much like Mullens a yr ago.

Grandad

December 6th, 2012
2:35 am

Also I would not mind stealin` Bledsoe away from the Clips.
He ain`t playing much at all.

Sameba

December 6th, 2012
2:46 am

Grandad:

I like Bledsoe very much. he is very athletic (just recall his dunk over Smith) and playing smart. However, he has a long contract with Clippers. Do you think they will let him go?

Taylor

December 6th, 2012
5:17 am

I don’t understand why anyone here is discussing trying to get another point guard, or any guard for that matter. We are overstocked with them between harris, teague, stevenson, williams and jenkins if he ever god forbid gets minutes. However I think the hawks should consider trying to package toliver, scott, and a draft pick depending on how the season goes around the all star break in an attempt to get a legitimate back up center since from what i understand of the stats the hawks perform at a higher level defensively when zaza is on the floor. Thus they should start zaza, horford, smith, korver, teague. Then the second team would be (new backup center), ivan, stevenson or morrow, lou and harris.

I know my line up might be different from everyone elses, i just dont understand the need to do any trades this year unless we are trying to build a team that will entice dwight or paul to come play here next season since I think both will leave their teams. Lakers are getting too old to keep dwight around since after kobe leaves it will be like he was with the magic again doing only alright and the clippers if they dont do good enough this year i cant see paul staying there instead of the possibility to play with and create his own big three.

Just Joe

December 6th, 2012
5:54 am

Reality check.

Hawks have had a very easy schedule so far. 15 total games played compared to some teams that have played 20 already. 9 of the Hawks 15 games have been at home.

Hawks have 3 wins and 4 losses against .500 teams or better.

Hawks are going to need another big man as the schedule picks up. 5 games over the next 7 days starting Friday. 3 road games including at Memphis and at Miami.

Ken Strickland

December 6th, 2012
6:24 am

The Hawks could definitely use another big man, but we need a legimate starting SF that rebounds and plays solid perimeter DEF even more. The most impressive aspect of last nights win was how our Bigs stayed aggressive on both ends of the court despite being in foul trouble.

We saw some really nice interior passing from the Hawks last night. That’s an indication that our players are getting a feel for each other. I saw some nice traps and help DEF as well. In fact, Lawson’s 2 critical turnovers were caused by him being surprised and trying to dribble through them.

This is definitely a playoff caliber team, despite our lack of rebounding, size, and player utilization by LDrew. As much as he’s screwed up in certain areas, and as much as we’ve complained, he’s done a good job of getting so many new players to function so quickly as a solid winning team.

ag

December 6th, 2012
6:32 am

A closer look at last night:
Josh Smith (7.5) Played under control most of the night, but again struggled scoring early. Had big dunk and one with less than 30 seconds.
Al Horford (9) Looks like he is hitting his All-Star form. He still missed a couple of easy baskets, but 6 offensive rebounds sealed the game.
Devin Harris (9) Clearly best game as a Hawk. Makes you wonder if the Hawks will trade him and risk downgrading their bench.
Jeff Teague (2) Clearly was pressing after quick start of Lawson. Struggled from the field and was his worst game this season. Did score an important three to end one of the Nuggets runs.
DeShawn Stevenson(8) Actually guy is growing on me. Pretty much shut down Igudala, and was more than 50% on 3 pt shots.
Ivan Johnson (7) Good energy off the bench wuth some big rebounds.
Anthony Morrow (7) Thought played a lot better than his line. Only played in the first half.
Lou Williams (8) although he struggled from the field, drove to the hole and converted all six free throws.

Larry Drew. (9) After giving up two 3’s in the first two minutes of the second half, Jeff Teague was replaced by Lou Williams. He also benched Teague the last three minutes of the game in favor of Lou.

ag

December 6th, 2012
6:37 am

ZaZa (8) Had a very impressive first half. Yet, late in the half his had flashbacks to last year as he could not convert a layup, and did not try to dunk on Ty Lawson. He did stuggle in the second half as Lawson and McGee went LA Clipper – Lob City!.

ag

December 6th, 2012
6:46 am

I don’t understand why the Nuggets signed McGee and for him to come off the bench. A guy like McGee would take us to the next level.

Simba

December 6th, 2012
7:13 am

@ag: Apparently JaVale has asthma to the point where it effects his endurance on the court pretty badly. For that reason, I think they bring him off the bench to be a change-of-pace guy in the minutes that he is able to play.

ag

December 6th, 2012
7:16 am

He can jump out the gym and clearly the game changed when he is in the game. Yet, asthma will slow a brother down. I was happy every time he left the court.

Steveo

December 6th, 2012
7:51 am

Who cares….just a bunch of overpaid illiterates ….running around….what they play is NOT basketball..and the Hawks even suck at that….

Jimmy Crack

December 6th, 2012
8:01 am

Good team job, again. This Hawks team has a ton almost-elite talent, it is up to LD to put it together every night.

Happy B-Day, Josh! Great game! (you still can’t shoot but you’re the best #3 in the East)

Mike is Back

December 6th, 2012
8:29 am

CV, glad we showed up to play for nationally televised game…solid win against a good team…the Hawks are not built to blow teams out…they are built to win games. Josh is still trying to find his way on offense…but he is actually trying to play under more control…he is still clanking them up…however, the frequency is decresing.lol

GREAT WIN…GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ag

December 6th, 2012
8:38 am

Your life; Criticizing a team you don’t care about and calling people illiterate – while they are sleeping in their nice homes and could care less about you. Steveo – a true loser. Make better use of your time and read all the articles no only by the AJC – but the entire web.

Samurai Squirrel

December 6th, 2012
8:49 am

I loved the ESPN commentary on the game. Berry was hitting a lot of the facts about the team that we’ve noticed on the blog. The part that killed me though was how he kept talking about Josh Smith as a #1. He would call him a #1 and then call him out for having no back-to-the-basket game. Smith, in my book, is a very good #3 player on a championship caliber team. I like that we’re winning, but I don’t know that winning and finishing in the top 4 in the East will improve our future.

Ernest

December 6th, 2012
8:50 am

I did not see the game but looking at Teague’s stat line seemed to suggest he took a look of jumpers and did not drive much. I say that because he did not have any free throw attempts with 16 shots. He also did not have many assists (though the pass recipients could have missed shots). Is this observation correct?

bfred

December 6th, 2012
9:03 am

As much as I’d love to see hat Jenkins can do, I don’t think last night was the time. The game was tight for most of the 4th and LD obiously didn’t want to let another one slip away. I can understand sticking with the vets. But I don’t have too many concerns – he averaged north of 20 versus Kentucy each of his last two years against guys who are almost all now in the NBA.

ag

December 6th, 2012
9:13 am

Ernest – no, he took very few jumpers. The length of the Nuggets bothered him all night. He drove to the basket on almost all of his shots. He certainly should have more asssits, but the guys missed their shots.

The only porblem is not many Hawks roll when JT0 goes to the basket. He is forced to take tough shots.

Jimmy Crack

December 6th, 2012
9:14 am

Samurai, Berry was spot on at describing some of the strengths and weaknesses of our team, I did enjoy that. I think he was referring to Josh as a #1 as in Josh is one of the elite players in the NBA and he would be designated, along with Al Horford, as the Hawks’ top go-to (or #1) players.

Ernest, Jeff had a tough night defending Ty Lawson (so did everybody else) and it may have affected his offense. LD kept trying other bodies to slow down Lawson, without much luck until the end.

Big Ray

December 6th, 2012
9:34 am

Again, it’s still early, but 15 games into the season, I could NOT have said that I thought by now the Hawks would….

1) Have a winning record, much less be winning two-thirds of their games…

2) With Al Horford as the leading scorer (and Josh right behind him by half a point).

3) With the leading scorer at less than 17 ppg.

4) And LD at the helm.

Just sayin’….not half bad. Let’s see where this goes.

And it seems that Josh and Al can have good games together after all. It’s just a matter of matchups.

Astro Joe

December 6th, 2012
9:34 am

I hope that last night’s game puts an end to the inane Tolliver obsession. LD opted to use Ivan at SF (which wasn’t a good match-up with the very quick Denver wings) and had Tolliver glued to the bench. It took LD all of 10% of the season to remove Tolliver from the rotation. That is the equivalent of about 6 quarters of an NFL regular season. Not exactly an inordinate amount of time.

Big Ray

December 6th, 2012
9:38 am

Doc ,

Per your comments on the last blog RE: Shaq vs. Dwight….on the mark, every one of them. Shaq made MVPs and brought rings until the game got past him. Dwight does neither and would have gotten his lunch eaten on a consistent basis by Ewing, Olajuwon, Mourning, Shaq in his prime (oh that would have been ugly), David Robinson….

Heck, there were PFs that would have given him the fits. A healthy Antonio McDyess, Derrick Coleman, Shawn Kemp….back then, being 6′10″ or 6′11″ meant you were a PF…not necessarily a Center.

The professor from high school playground needs to go back to school….

Big Ray

December 6th, 2012
9:40 am

Astro Joe,

What obsession are you talking about? Tolliver is a better SF than Ivan is, but Ivan helps us more on the court (at PF) than Tolliver helps us ANYWHERE, if you ask me. Then again, I haven’t seen a reason to follow every argument on here lately, so I’m probably missing something…

O'Brien

December 6th, 2012
9:57 am

I have my issues with LD, but its hard to argue against him when the Hawks have a 10-5 record. Also, they have only had one “bad” loss. 13 points to the Clippers. Their other 4 losses? by 7, by 6, by 4, and by 2. So they have been in just about every game.

And alot of fans think the Hawks will have to choose between Al (I want to play PF) and Josh, but games like last night shows that they can play well together. We just need a legit backup Center (and more often than not, Zaza is arguably the best backup center in the league), and a legit backup PF (which Ivan handles sometimes).

Hopefully Ferry will make a move to bring in a legit SF who can hopefully defend and rebound.

Good win Hawks.

DS

December 6th, 2012
10:00 am

I wonder what would take to get Wilson Chandler from Denver.. I know he’s injured but I don’t know if he could have any playing time there even if he was healthy

DS

December 6th, 2012
10:00 am

AMo for WChandler? Do salaries work?

Astro Joe

December 6th, 2012
10:11 am

Big Ray, some bloggers continue to obsess with the notion that Tolliver received rotation-type minutes early in the season. And continue to talk about it, even 6-8 games after he last received rotation-type minutes. You know how folk start chewing on old bones around here.