ATLANTA GA - DECEMBER 11: Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Solomon Jones #44 of the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena on December 11 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The game didn't start pretty but it finished well with the Hawks using a 32 point second quarter to separate themselves from the Pacers. It was a necessary bounce back win for the Hawks who suffered a loss in San Antonio the day before. Al Horford turned in a stat stuffing effort coming just two assists shy of a triple double. Horford would finish with 16 points, 16 boards, and eight assists and thoroughly winning his match up with Roy Hibbert.
Josh Smith bounced back from what is now being called muscle cramps that he suffered in San Antonio with 21 points and an eye popping 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He added seven rebounds and four assists along the way. The Jamal Crawford hot streak continued with 25 points on 7-16 shooting. A good sign of late is the amount of easy points Jamal has been accumulating from the free throw line going 9-11 from the charity stripe.
I am not sure what has been going on with Jeff Teague the last few weeks as his minutes have been sporadic. I'm not ready to can the coach over his treatment as of yet either and here is why. First and foremost is that we haven't seen any sort of consistency from Teague to warrant consistent playing time. His lack of a jump shot puts him in position where he needs to be on the attack constantly and we simply haven't seen that. Now the flip side of that is we won't see him get any better if he never gets court time but it is a delicate balance for the coach. Keep in mind that we aren't at practice and don't know everything that has went on but even this early in the season we have seen coach Drew be visibly upset with Teague when he was getting the team into the offense.
In this game Jeff made the most of his 19 minutes of court action and actually earned some praise from his head coach along the way. Teague scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds, while dishing out two assists without turning the ball over. Following the game, coach Drew praised Teague's play.
"I thought our bench did a great job in the second quarter. I thought Jeff Teague was the catalyst of that. His speed and his energy when he got into the game got us going."
Now we will have to wait until Tuesday to see if this performance results in more minutes for Teague in the next game.
The Hawks went back to their smaller lineup in this game with Jason Collins moving back to the bench. The results were good as the Hawks wanted to make Roy Hibbert move while defending and they were able to get some good looks off of that. When asked about the lineup after the game by Ken Sugiura, Drew replied that he could see Collins starting at times when Joe Johnson comes back from injury.
Drew put Horford back at center, replacing Jason Collins, to exploit the Hibbert matchup. Drew also said he could see Collins starting some when Joe Johnson comes back. Interesting possibility.
Interesting as such a move would likely move Marvin Williams to the bench with Josh Smith sliding over to the small forward position.
The Hawks have now won eight straight contests against the Pacers and doesn't play again until Tuesday night when they travel to Detroit.