In the first quarter, the Hawks played better than the Wizards. In the next three quarters, with Caron Butler our for most of it, the Hawks just were better. Outside of a well executed first six or so minutes by the Wizards and a bad offensive third quarter, the Hawks played a great overall game. Certainly, the Wizards were not at full strength and dealt with a bit of foul trouble, but the Hawks responded by playing like the better team. Throw it all together and mention that Joe Johnson only played 30 minutes and you have a very satisfying win.
If you were looking for an embodiment of the 72 reasons to be excited, Josh Smith's block on Gilbert Arenas and subsequent ally-oop slam would do nicely. Josh is playing very enjoyable basketball. He fails to grasp perimeter defense and still drives the ball without any real plan when he gets to the basket, but the focus and energy are some how making those shortcoming all to be a little easier to deal with. And the guy was working the boards in the fourth quarter. I am talking Zaza effort on the offensive glass. It was impressive. And if you are ever impressed with Josh Smith and his head is below the rim, you should be very, very happy.
I get why he is annoying. At least on the offensive end. The guy has such incredible handles you want him to break his guy down, go to the hole, get fouled, dish. When it happened tonight, the game looked easy. But often Jamal uses that great dribble for a couple inches of shooting separation 26 feet from the basket. Tonight, he mixed the good and the bad well enough. To be honest, when the second team is all in, I don't even mine the contested long bombs, but come fourth quarter, the fuse will be shorter. So please Jamal, use your skill for good, please, please use it for good.
All that said, damn I like him.
Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby
The back court has yet to have a good game and the Hawks have two double digit wins. And the best part of it is Bibby and Johnson are getting their shots. They are just contributing in different ways. Bibby had seven assists to one turnover tonight. Joe played high effort, if not always successful, defense against the other team's best player two nights in a row. And he still dished out six assist per contest. A little more efficiency on offense and the Hawks are going to be scary good on offense.
- Cure for Mike Bibby's defensive liability? Nick Young.
- Joe Smith shoots three pointers...and makes them. News to me.
- Al Horford is three very makeable shots away from easily getting 14 and 10 every night. Seriously, guy had 10, 12, and 5 blocks. Could have easily been 16, 12, and 5 without doing anything different but finishing very average shots.
- Opposing players are going to be annoyed by Jeff Teague's defense 40 feet from the basket all year.
- Gilbert Arenas should use that dribble to pull up and drill the jumper which it felt like he did about 12 times and not try and maneuver through all five guys in the paint. His over dribbling that led to turnovers helped the Hawks take and then expand the lead in the first half.
- However, spotting us a 7 point lead in the fourth, I was very nervous he was going to try and succeed at winning the game by himself.
- Marvin Williams feel one rebound short of having the most workman's double double in the history of double doubles.
- Please, please Zaza. No more drives by you starting beyond the three point line.
- Mo Evans gave a damn efficient 17 minutes off the bench.
- Seriously that block and dunk by Josh. It was good.
2-0. I thought long and hard about it, and no, you can't ask for better than that.