First Thought: Opening Night Blowout---but it a good way!
Summary: The Hawks used an opening 28-11 quarter to control the pace/flow of the game and never look back.
The Nets came back from (21) last night against the Wizards and you would hope that the Hawks would take advantage of a team like the Nets who might be a little weary from that type of game plus missing their center, Brook Lopez to get ahead early.
The Hawks did that with a little bit of fortune in hitting a number of long jump shots early, messing with the Nets defensively, and a whole lot of rebounding. The final total for rebounding was 51-36 Hawks, and the Nets were held to (9) offensive rebounds. Kris Humphries had (7) all by himself in that comeback against the Wizards.
The Nets were often one-and-done on the offensive end, and the Hawks used good ball movement and a strong bench effort to build on that first quarter run instead of letting the Nets back into the game in any way.
You wouldn't think that the Hawks would be in such a position to put a team away early without a huge effort from Al Horford, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith, but those three combined for (24) points the whole game and only factored in positively in spots throughout their considerably shortened effort in Newark Tuesday night.
Deron Williams: 3-11, 1 assist, 6 turnover, -22. Yowza.
The bench scored (55) points, giving all those (like myself) pause to reconsider that depth could be the Hawks big issue. And the way they did it on both ends made the Nets look like a very flimsy team.
Josh Smith may have lost (25) pounds, but he has not lost the will to jack long 2-point jump shots early in the shot clock after one pass. He did, however, regain the ability to explode on trail blocks. The (1) blocked shot he was credited with underrates his flying presence on the defensive end tonight.
Tracy McGrady played an "up" game for him. Keep in mind that, throughout this year, you will see ups and downs from him due to his age and considerable mileage. This is what took place last year in Detroit--and was overall a positive player off the bench for the Pistons. Tonight McGrady created his shot, got to the basket, and played very well.
T-Mac must have been shocked not to get calls that he has historically received on his way to the hoop. He got a single call among his (10) shots, but could have easily received (3) more. Welcome to Atlanta and life as a rotation player, T! Despite that, he shot 5-10 and looked crisp doing it---it was good to see him as a Hawk.
Oh, one more thing...the Hawks deployed a press tonight.....and it worked! This is where a good lottery ticket joke would come in handy. Too many things to summarize---go back and watch the game again. Excellent defense, good offense, and everything went right in a blowout that rested all the starters in the fourth quarter. Best case scenario.
Coming into the season, all eyes are on Jeff Teague as a potential difference maker. Tonight, Teague showed some of why Hawk fans why against the Nets with a solid 24 minute, 5-7 shooting, 13 point, 3 assist night. It might have been nice to see him assert himself a little more because, when he did, he was hard for Deron Williams, Sundiata Gaines, or any New Jersey Net to contain. Also as a testament to Teague's impact---please see Williams' line again above. Teague (among others) made Williams look like he mailed this game in.
He didn't make (6) of his (9) shots, but that's nit-picking when it comes to Marvin Williams' effort tonight. He had the key offensive rebounds early, assisted the second team in the second quarter with his energy, and got to the line enough to provide a 14 point/9 rebound effort in only (22) minutes. Oh, and he also rocked a kickin' fro---power to the people, dig.
Vladiza Radchulia was a big reason the Hawks never had to rely on the starters to pull away and stay away in this game. Radchulia combined for a 10-17, 30 point, 14 rebound effort. The Vladimir Radmanovich part of the that equation hit some early threes, and played an energetic, mistake free game, leading the Hawks with (17) points.He also had (5) assists and (4) steals, also team leads. Zaza Pachulia did his part, getting a double-double with (13) points and (11) rebounds, (8) of which were offensive. The Nets had no bigs that could go with either the first or second team of Hawks bigs, saying a lot about how Brook Lopez not being there impacts this team.
Not long to bask in the relative glory of this game as the Hawks open at home, tomorrow, against the Washington Wizards. Jeff Teague has matched up against Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, and tomorrow John Wall in his last three regular season games. He's proving something, folks.
Check out Kris Willis' Game Summary tomorrow morning and stay close to the site, Twitter, and Facebook for news throughout the day, culminating in the first home Game Thread of the season tomorrow afternoon for the 730pm EST game.
Goodnight everybody---thanks for your participation on the game thread and Let's Go Hawks!