The march to the milestone 50th win of the season continued at home Saturday night, as the Hawks, minus J-J-J-J-Joe Johnson beat the Pistons minus Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace and Jason Maxiell, 91-85, and got their 49th win of the season.
Yup, they needed to hold Detroit down to (11) fourth quarter points to do so, but it wasn't as much masterpiece as it was checking the box. Jamal Crawford was on the hot side, scoring (29) points and hitting 6-9 on threes and the Hawks did enough with their front court advantage without Wallace and Maxiell playing to gain a 50-34 advantage on the glass to help put the game into the win column.
Quick thoughts after the break:
Josh Smith struggled shooting-wise (5-14), but we noticed that as the game went on, Smith stayed on the baseline more when the ball was moving around versus "spotting up" outside the three point line as we have seen him do more and more. In the game against CLE, Smith was so insistent to be out there that he was standing right next to another Hawk, obviously Smith being out of position. To the baseline Josh and thank you.
I rather liked the Jumbo lineup that was in the fourth quarter. We'll let the mathemagicians out there tell us how inefficient it was, but seeing Smoove, Horford, and Zaza overwhelm the Pistons on the glass when they were starting to show life on the offensive glass provided a 1970's-esque peaceful, easy feeling.
Besides, it wasn't like any Piston was going to post up. When Tayshaun Prince is providing the only power in your offense--you are definitely playing outside-in.
That said, it surprised me that the Pistons didn't continue to beat the Hawks to the hoop more consistently througout the game. It seemed like Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum was able to take (insert Hawk guard here) to the hoop, but they would start settling for jump shots. This was especially true of Ben Gordon, who I watched in his pre-draft workouts get to any spot on the floor and get a shot off. Now it seems Ben only wants to get to spots that are a safe distance from the hoop. He was 0-7.
Among the Pistons shooting brigade was known Hawk Hater Charlie Villenueva--but Charlie V was only 3-13 shooting and had (8) points.
All this misfiring Piston shooting was important for the Hawks to maintain a lead because DET only turned the ball over (3) times. The Hawks had (3) turnovers in the last (5) minutes of the game and (14) total.
Mentioned that Smoove was off shooting against DET, but the bigger concern is that he is backsliding terribly in the free throw department, going under 50 percent again(3-8). If he's not careful, there will be a Hack-A-Smoove strategy late in games come playoff time and the Hawks can ill afford defensively to take Josh out late in games.
Al Horford was boss against the weak Piston front line, even though he struggled with his pet jump shot. Al scored (14) first half points, (20) overall and grabbed (14) rebounds. Al seemed to be on about (75) percent power against the Pistons--but it was enough to get by the likes of Kwame Brown.
Admit it, you didn't realize (ok, I didn't) that Zaza had (7) rebounds in his (17) minutes. He must have a friend on the scoring crew.
And now, a final thought
We have to say it--SportSouth and its (100) angles in its telecast can stick it. How many times were we treated to shoe level views of the game or other odd angles, totally randomly, and missed some action because of it? One such play was the alley-oop from Jamal to Josh while we were staring down through the net as the play developed. Another such gaffe was showing the game from what looked like (1) mile away from the opposite baseline. Even in the Official HD Viewing Center we couldn't tell what was going on.
Listen Mr. Producer Man---stop trying to win some kind of production award and just show us the game. Save the clever camera angles for replays, please. Thank you.