Just a few more tidbits from the season opening victory over the Grizzlies before we turn our sights towards Philadelphia on Friday.
The Hawks’ motion offense was working (witness J.J. scoring on an oop) but they didn’t stick with it exclusively. Jamal and Joe still got theirs on some good old-fashioned pick-and-rolls and isos. "I thought the mixture was pretty good," L.D. said. "It kept them off balance a little bit. We were effective."
Larry Drew‘s new offense look great as the Hawks pillaged our Grizzlies, basically from start to finish. Joe Johnson was able to get going (22 points and seven assists) without having to dominate the ball relentlessly. Josh Smith was in midseason form on the defensive end, blocking five shots and altering several others. But the Atlanta bench stole the show, outscoring the Grizzlies 50-28, led by Zaza Pachulia‘s 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Seven of Smith's ten field goal attempts were taken outside of 17 feet. He made just two of those shots, including his only three-point attempt. Smith converted all three of his attempts inside the paint. He also earned 4 assists in just 25 minutes, demonstrating once again how self-indulgence can't fully negate his gifts.
OJ Mayo was just HORRIBLY overmatched against JJ, and it wasn't about size. Joe Johnson is just a better player than OJ can defend. That's how it is. Can OJ improve his body positioning? He knows his players and their tendencies, but his basketball IQ and preparation both just write checks that his physical defensive ability cannot cash. His future with the Griz and in the NBA will be largely based on whether he can improve his D.
Everyone who played for the Hawks did something good. That’s what it tends to look like when the bench has 50 points, 19 rebounds, 12 free throws and makes 18 of 34 shots. It looked like a bona fide 10-man rotation for the Hawks.
On to Philly on Friday.