Game Recap: Phoenix Suns 105, Atlanta Hawks 97

At first glance I wanted to give out a pass for last night simply due to a pretty substantial trade being completed right before the game. Say what you want about Mike Bibby but he has a pretty profound impact in the Hawks locker room and there was no doubt that when he, Mo Evans, and Jordan Crawford were left behind at the team hotel that it could have played a part. Of course when you look at the game, you see a lot of the same things that have hampered this club over the last several weeks are still there. Don't get me wrong, Atlanta had to make a move and may make another one before today's trade deadline, but we shouldn't think that Kirk Hinrich is going to solve all of Atlanta's defensive issues. Will he help? Yes but he is not going to be the cure all either unless this team does some serious rallying around and finally gets on the same page.

Atlanta started well and then gradually fell behind due to some hot Phoenix shooting particularly from Channing Frye. Too often once the Hawks get down, it seems that the five players on the floor all have different ideas about what they need to do to get back in the game. The deficit eventually reached eighteen points before the Hawks dug themselves out of the hole and tied the game at 92 thanks in part to some hot shooting of their own. As Jason points out in the instant reaction, the Hawks got back into the game because their long jump shots started going in. It almost feels like a fluke when it happens because it is the equivalent of swinging for the fences constantly in baseball.  After the game was tied, the law of averages evened out. The Suns got easier shots which they made and Atlanta either turned the ball over or missed on long attempts. 

Josh Smith played 45 minutes and turned in 26 points, 6 boards, and 4 assists. Pretty nice game but he also presents a big problem for the team as he is once again living exclusively on the perimeter. Sure he had a nice game but that isn't necessarily what the team needs from him. Al Horford turned in another near double double with 17 points and 9 rebounds. 

Jamal Crawford became aggressive again almost like he had been assured that he wasn't getting traded. Whatever the reason Atlanta needs his scoring from the bench in the worst way. His 19 point 8-14 shooting night is more in line with what the team needs to help offset his defense. Joe Johnson is not very assertive right now either and when the Hawks offense is in gear, he is getting it in the spots that he wants. Last night he played 41 minutes scoring 12 points on 5-13 shooting. At times I forgot he was out there which just cements that the team isn't playing cohesively at the moment. 

Jeff Teague got his second career start due to the Hawks being shorthanded. The results were 10 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers in 19 minutes. 

Running down Phoenix's box score it is interesting that their bench killed Atlanta. Contributions from players like Hakim Warrick (10 points), Mickael Pietrus (11 points), and Jared Dudley (17 points) did the most damage. Marcin Gortat played 32 minutes off the bench scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while reminding us of how happy we are Orlando traded him to the western conference. 

Craziest stat of the night goes to Marvin Williams who played 29 minutes and went 1-7 from the floor while scoring two points. Yet according to ESPN.com's box score Marvin was +8 in +/- for the night and the only Hawks player that had a positive number. 

One more note from Michael Cunningham post game. Many were wondering where Zaza Pachulia was in this game and it appears he was held out due to a potential trade so stay tuned as the Hawks may not be done dealing yet. 

Zaza was held out as the Hawks continued trade discussions. I’m thinking any swap would be big for big but no word yet on the details of the teams/players involved.

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