Instant Reaction: Mavericks 98, Hawks 93

Quick Thought: You live by the long jumper, you die by the long jumper

Summary:

It is possible to look at this game and focus on minutes played and substitution patterns. Yet I can't pin this loss on any of that talk. In my opinion this game came down to a lot of long jump shots attempted (7-25 from three point range) and the inability to get stops when they desperately needed them. True the Hawks made a run in the second half and even had a shot to tie the game with less than a minute to go. However, it never really felt like the Mavericks lost control of the game after outscoring the Hawks 27-18 in the second quarter. 

The Mavericks employed a zone defense throughout much of the second period and it confused the Hawks. The zone seemed to take away Al Horford while allowing the Hawks into settling for long jump shots. Perhaps on a night where the Hawks were making shots the Mavs would have had to come back out of the zone, but on this night it was a game sealer. Josh Smith was able to find some openings along the baseline during that second period but it really seemed that the Hawks didn't figure out a way to exploit the zone until late in the game. 

Three Stars:

1. Al Horford

Horford finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. He was 10-12 from the field for the game despite having only limited opportunities in the first half due in part to the zone defense that was employed by the Mavs.

2. Josh Smith

Where would the Hawks have been without Josh Smith in the first half? Josh was the only player to essentially make a contribution in the ill fated second quarter. Smith finished with a stat stuffing 21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. 

3. Jordan Crawford

JC2 came off the bench in the second half and sparked the Hawks with 10 points on 4-6 shooting including 2-3 from three point range. On a night where Jamal Crawford was 2-10 in 34 minutes, the Hawks needed a boost from the bench and JC2 delivered.

Honorable Mention

Mike Bibby's 16 points certainly deserves mention.

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