Instant Reaction: Hawks 116, Wizards 96

Quick Thought: Welcome back motion offense, attacking the paint, winning ballgames....and thanks.

Summary:

Well, we know the Hawks can beat inferior teams...at home. The Wizards took an early edge and then the Hawks blew the doors off Washington by doing things very absent when they lose: scoring in the paint, rebounding, getting to the free throw line, and making jump shots.

The Hawks played the backups for the entire fourth quarter and maintained a 20 point lead despite Gilbert Arenas and others playing through to try and make a game of it late in the fourth quarter. 

Three Stars:

1. Josh Smith

Stayed dedicated, for the most part, to getting inside, taking only 3 of his 14 shots from outside the paint (he missed them all, natch). The result was a very efficient (20) point night and real trouble for the Washington defenders. He added (14) rebounds, (5) assists to go with his points...and did it in 3 quarters. 

When Josh is like this, it's easier for the Hawks to win. I guess that's also "natch".

2. Al Horford

Set the tone and maintained his insane energy throughout the game, going 6-11 (15 points) and grabbing (13) rebounds of his own, seven coming on the offensive end. 

Horford is revered by many Hawks fans and lauded by national pundits alike for all the "professionalism" he brings to the court. It's also because he is very productive, but I must point out that Horford never pouts when not being involved in the offensive game, getting no plays called for him, for watching teammates hog the ball and make awful, awful basketball plays that Horford rarely attempts. 

Tonight, despite being an All-Star, despite blowing out all productivity numbers and being a huge reason the Hawks won their first (6) games of the season as well as not being in foul trouble, got his first play called for him with (5) minutes left to go in the half. He got another one in the second half. There were more plays run for Marvin Williams and Mo Evans than for Horford. 

Oh, all Al did with those is get fouled on one, and with the other he took shot-blocker JaVale McGee off the dribble, went inside, and slammed it home. It was a rare, "off the rear end" moment for me while watching a game. Still, you know, hey, keep shooting a hundred jump shots a game, whatever.

3. Joe Johnson

Another solid statistical game, box score wise, for Joe, but I appreciated that, except for a couple of instances, he was committed to keeping the ball moving. And it was good to see him hit open shots, too. Funny how the percentages start going up when the ball starts moving around.

Also:

It's been said many times around the blogs, but the most talked about blather from the national heads last season was Josh Smith's three point attempts. They totally ignored that he still took a ton of jump shots, but they almost all counted for a potential (2) points instead of (3), so the adjustment probably cost the Hawks points last season.

Tonight, Mike Fratello tsk-tsked Smith for already taking (20) threes, as if he was making another 180 degree turn in his approach to the game. What the people that prep Mike for the games need to focus on is where he isn't shooting from (inside) rather than jump shots in general, and not to look so narrowly at if his feet are a foot closer in from one year to the next.

I almost said it after the Nets game, but didn't want to linger long on that effort, but I am now hyper-aware of every time Marvin Williams tips a defensive rebound out of bounds. I swear, he has to lead the league in the dept.

Good to see Zaza Pachulia display signs of life (and Drew for letting him get a third foul in that game), but he still is a little off his game ever since we made a big deal about how much better he is than Jason Collins when on the floor (he still is, of course). Still, Collins hit a three tonight, Zaza....what's your answer to that?

It says something when the Hawks used Jordan Crawford to come in and run the point in the second half, and we didn't see Jeff Teague until the bench was emptied. Does it mean that the Hawks are really ready to trade Teague? Could they be trying Jordan out to see if he can back up Bibby at the point? Oh my.

I was very thankful that the Hawks ran their offense again after a one game return to the iso-past. The Hawks worked mis-matches consecutive times and took advantage of every thing a bad team gives you. Now, let's focus on doing that against the big boys, eh ATL?

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