Quick Thought: It was all Bibby's fault.
Pay no attention to that fourth quarter, the one in which the officials were bent on equalizing and bettering their atrocities from the first half.
Also bear no mind for the Hawks, once again, prematurely taking their feet off the offensive gas petal, choosing again to play the losing game of "take the air out of the basketball". This is also known as "giving your opponent unnecessary life when you are crushing them."
Also, don't pay any attention when network that broadcast the game, which won't be named here, will showcase Portland's effort in this game tonight, highlighting the inane race to make the game as close as (GASP) six point with under two minutes to play.
This game was defined by fantastic team defense from the Hawks, an effort that involved everybody, featured impeccable defensive rotations, began to erase the scouting report of hammering the Hawks point guards (unless there are neither of them in the game at the time), and held Portland to (49) points in the first three quarters.
The Hawks, save for the final 9 minutes of the game, stayed aggressive throughout, getting to the free throw line and getting enough fast breaks to reward their defensive rebounding and intensity.
He was almost given away for post-Joe financial issues, but Zaza Pachulia came through after Al Horford found himself in foul trouble the likes he hadn't seen since his first two seasons. Zaza gobbled up (12) rebounds, six of which were offensive.
I also liked the rebound game (literal and figurative) from Marvin Williams tonight. The Stache played only 28 minutes, but had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and had a pair of steals. Probably should be wondering why he wasn't out there more for the fourth quarter..and by probably I mean, figure it out Larry Drew.
Joe Johnson had an odd game. He never seemed to be making a positive impact on the game, and he was largely at the center of the game's worst offensive stint for the Hawks. Yet there he is, rocking a 9-16, 22 point game to lead the team.
The officiating was bizarre. I hadn't ever seen the Hawks get every call when they went to the hoop, but they did in the first half. It wasn't as if Portland was doing the same and not getting the calls---they weren't, but most everyone watching assumed the tables would turn in the second half, and they did. But that wasn't the cause of the fourth quarter "comeback" by Portland--it was the prevent offense the Hawks launched with way too much time left on the clock.
Jeff Teague looked good--and should have played more, but I'm sure he violated some unwritten rule of the court and that's why, despite his effective defense and play overall, he got the Royal Ivey treatment out there tonight.
Making that matter worse was that Drew, with Teague under house arrest and Hinrich not knowing the offense well enough to initiate, I guess, had Jamal Crawford running the offense. He's not a point guard, and no matter how many ways Drew thinks he sees it, he's not. 6 turnovers against a single assist would probably get Teague banished to the D-League or left at the team hotel, but that was Jamal's line tonight. There is no reason. You have Teague and you have Hinrich--stop the madness.
Horford picked up some weak fouls---he earned them, and it was far too familiar from his early years when he would pick up a couple off the ball, get a couple of illegal screens, and generally couldn't keep himself on the floor.
Next Game: Monday night, at Denver, 9pm EST.
Thanks to everyone on P-Hoops for making the game thread a good time and registering over 1000 comments! Good times!