Quick Thought: The home team muscled up and pushed past an inferior Cavs team and was led by....Joe Johnson.
The Cavs were quite the weaker team, talent-wise, when compared to the Hawks Wednesday night, but due to a combination of aggressive play early on by the visitors and the propensity for the Hawks to go away from their size advantage and take jump shots, this game was close for about 30 minutes. After that point, Al Horford scored (10) of his (18) points in the third quarter, one in which the Hawks took a three point halftime lead and made it eight, and never would allow their guests within (6) points the rest of the way.
The Starting Five all deserve mention here because the box score was stuffed with all kinds of statistical goodness. Consider:
Josh Smith, 8-14, 16 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover.
Marvin Williams, 7-11, 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers.
Al Horford, 8-13, 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Mike Bibby, 2-7, 6 points. 3 assists, 0 turnovers
Joe Johnson, 9-17, 23 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 0 turnovers
That's a strong game, boys and girls. And you know how much Joe Johnson and Josh Smith handled the ball in this game, for a combined 78 minutes, and they had one whole turnover? Throw in the point guard's, Bibby, 30 minutes and you have over a 100 player minutes with high touch on the ball and a single turnover. Nice.
So considering the Cavs kept this a close game by attacking, you can easily say that the Hawks needed to take care of the ball this well to keep Cleveland at bay.
In another game where the Cleveland defense didn't inflate the Hawks offensive statistics like crazy (see above), Jeff Teague would be in our Stars area due to his energetic, 7 point, 5 rebound, 4 assist effort. He, too, had an ball-responsible night with one turnover in 18 minutes, and he had one of the two blocks on the night along with a fantastic steal and dunk. Jeff was aggressive and made his presence known.
Good to see Maurice Evans have a 4-8 game, but one must mention that his makes came largely from the inside on hustle plays, which is a good place for Evans to get his mojo back on the court.
The Atlanta Spirit Group AT LONG LAST settled their disputes and now Michael Gearon and Bruce Levenson will be the managing partners of the Hawks and Thrashers. This won't change much on the Hawks front, but it's good, for those guys and to the team, for the cloud of litigation to have finally cleared. Catharsis.