Instant Reaction: Hawks 96, Raptors 78

Quick Thought: Josh Smith, under control, is an All-NBA player.

Summary:

Think the Raptors are weaker than ever inside after Chris Bosh left for Miami? You're right, and the Hawks went at Toronto over and over again in dominating their hosts.

Josh Smith messed around and had a triple double, getting 10 assists to go with 13 rebounds and 12 points. Smith, when he plays under control, is a lot of problems, especially for a team that is completely bereft of inside talent, such as Toronto. 

Between Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams, the Hawks did a good job of corralling the avalanche of misfires (33 of 45 misses) from the Raptors. Williams had 17 points and 12 rebounds to give himself a double-double for the first time since March 19th against the Bobcats.

The Hawks locked down in the third quarter, holding the Raptors to (11) points while scoring (25) themselves in getting the fairly easy win, on a back end of a back/back no less. The Hawks are proving that they can beat the teams they are supposed to and are now beating them without much drama, especially with the offense going through the bigs down the stretch.

Three Stars:

1. Josh Smith

Triple double and seem to lock in after getting a technical foul after Leon Wood said he flopped when DeMar DeRozen ran through his pick. Played patient and in control, especially when considering how much he seemed to have the basketball. 

2. Marvin Williams

Nice to see the bounce in his step, finishing strong around the rim, shooting with confidence, and most importantly providing defensive rebounding and defense in general from the 3. Having mere competency in that spot makes a big difference.

3. Mike Bibby

 I'm going to give the Bibster love because, as much as I like to give Horford nods for his industrious work, I love that when the Hawks want to free up Al, Joe, or Josh to go to the hoop, it's Mike that sets the hard screens to get them there. Also, his passing is still sublime as he proved when slipping a pass to Josh Smith that barely eluded the reach of Jose Calderon.

Also:

When I heard Jerome Jurenovich talking before the game about how Larry Drew wanted to get the ball into Joe Johnson's hands more at the top of the key to avoid teams double teaming Joe, I had flashbacks to the Iso-heavy offense in New Jersey, when the Hawks did indeed free up Joe and Jamal Crawford, but at the expense of what had been a very efficient offense previously. But the Hawks never really showcased Joe at all, save for of course the obligatory opening play, which will eternally feature Joe coming off a screen to free him up in the middle of the floor for a jump shot, which he missed today. 

Joe did end up with a solid 6-12 day from the floor (16 points, 4 assists), though he did most of his damage (5-7) from inside the three-point line, and it showed the Hawks offense can be plenty high powered without coercing the scheme to highlight Johnson.

Marvin made his second highlight-friendly play of the game in a row, when he went high for an errant Jamal Crawford miss and slammed it home. This, off the heels of his rim-rocking drive and close against the Knicks Saturday night sends the signal that all seems well with Marvin's physical being. And that's very good.

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