Initial Reaction: Hawks 103, Bobcats 87

Quick Thought: Thank goodness for the next game.

Summary:

Hey, it's good anytime to get a win. Don't know quite how to describe this game....it was Charlotte's early due to DJ Augustin and the Hawks in the second half when the Hawks went zone, the Bobcats got cold, and the Hawks wouldn't let them back in with some solid defense.

The Bobcats didn't have the overall firepower to keep the Hawks reeling. While they have been solid defensively this year, being in the upper half of the league, they are no #3 ranked Hornets, whom the Hawks tried to shoot through last night. Tonight the Hawks moved just enough to get better looks and, unlike last night, the Hawks made a good bit of them.

The Hawks got to the line almost twice as much as their hosts as well, thanks to Charlotte deciding to jump shoot. The Bobcats are in the Top 5 in free throws per field goals attempted, but tonight the Hawks out-threw them 23-12.

59-38 for the Hawks in the second half. It never felt like the Hawks were doing any one thing great, yet their solid play melted the game away from Charlotte.

The Stars:

It was the kind of game you would hope from Joe Johnson after such a showing Friday night. Well, alright, it's not fair to expect 12-18, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, but that's what Joe delivered anyway, for a 32 point night.

Mike Bibby was better, too...bouncing back from his shooting doughnut against New Orleans to go 5-10 for 14 points. Mike also hit the glass as needed, getting 8 rebounds.

It felt better having the more productive backup big man start and play most of the game. Sure, Zaza Pachulia played the most minutes last night, too...but his activity level and rebounding were evident. Zaza had 9 points and 8 rebounds in his 28 minutes.

Also:

Maurice Evans is a great interview, hard worker, and good teammate. He also needs to work to add "good fast break player" to the list. Mo on the break is the basketball equivalent to the Lennon/McCartney choice on trivia games. When I think it's Lennon, it's actually Paul....such is the misfortune when Mo is making a choice on the break.

When Josh Smith can beat a double team through the post as he did with about 10 1/2 minutes left in the game tonight, you can see why teams are all but standing out of bounds, begging him to shoot from the outside. 

Gerald Wallace is usually a well-versed Hawk Hater, but didn't score his first field goal until 9:56 left in the game. He made a shot the next time down as well, but that was it. 

Derrick Brown hadn't played since January 8th for the Bobcats, so when he immediately ended up on Joe, Johnson made him pay with a too-easy post up. Nice recognition.

Get well soon, Al.

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