Pre Game Notes:
"This is definitely a fine opportunity for us to kind of see where we're at," Johnson said Thursday. "We've been struggling a bit on the road. This is a chance for us to get out there and find ourselves a little bit."
"Hopefully after we get off this week road trip he will be back and be ready to play," Drew said.
Add these four games for Marvin and that brings Atlanta’s total to 50 games missed because of injury/illness after 38 games. That number was 25 for 82 games last season.
The 50 games missed due to injury already is an astonishing stat. While few of us figured that the Hawks would remain as healthy as they were last season I didn't think they would be hit this hard this early. Look at that 50 game total and consider that Joe Johnson returned two or three weeks earlier than first expected. That number could be even higher at this point.
"When you shoot the ball you’ve got to pop your elbow, and I can’t quite do that," Johnson said. "When I’m on the court, I don’t really think about it. As long as we win, that’s all that matters."
This was what I was talking about in my recap of the Thunder game.
"We have always positioned ourselves for a win, which is a good sign," Hawks coach Larry Drew said before his team played the Thunder on Friday. "But we are still learning how to win on the road; we are still learning how to play on the road."
Pretty good synopsis in my opinion. The Hawks haven't yet been able to get the key stops or execute in the key moments offensively to enable them to win on the road.
"We made very, very carless mistakes, careless turnovers," Drew said. "The shot selection was not good. We talked about that at the very beginning. Against a team like Oklahoma you have to conrol tempo and limit their momentum. We turned the basketball over, had some ill-advised shots."
At one point in the second quarter it looked like no one on the floor wanted to take a shot which led to a Zaza Pachulia 18 foot jump shot attempt.
Serge Ibaka was terrific. I had a feeling that the Al Horford – Jeff Green matchup would be a tough situation for OKC so Scott Brooks went with Ibaka in the second half. Serge saw 31 minutes and registered 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while holding Horford to just 14.
Ibaka did a good job but I also think that the Hawks went away from Al Horford late in the game.
To be honest, Josh Smith can go cry me a river. It was New Years Eve, the crowd was excited, and we all wanted to see a ending better than theHawks could have provided. Adding on top of that was the complete lack of end-game scoring by the Thunder. In the final 4 minutes, a tip-shot by Ibaka and that dunk were the only buckets the Thunder could muster. So that bucket was just our way of saying "let's entertain the crowd and go out on a high note".
While I don't ultimately think it is a big deal, there is a big difference in finishing a triple double with 4 minutes to go in a game and finishing one at the buzzer when the other team is letting the clock run out. Now if you had wanted to bring up Josh Smith's missed between the legs dunk in the playoffs a few years ago and I might not have commented. It was a bush league play at the end of a decided game. It is similar to Ricky Davis throwing a ball off the back board to himself to secure his tenth rebound and a triple double. Yet at the end of the day there is no damage done. For the Hawks to address it anymore just makes them look like a sore loser. Like I said before, if you don't like it, quit letting teams get in that position.