If this Atlanta team has proven anything it is that they can beat the teams they are supposed to beat particularly this season on the road. Last night it was Marvin Williams having his best game this season and perhaps one of the best of his career that led Atlanta over the Cavs. Williams scored 31 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. Marvin connected on 9-14 shots from the field and 10-11 from the free throw line. Easily his best performance of the season thus far.
Atlanta took a 13 point lead into the half before Cleveland cut it back to eight at the end of the third. The Hawks finished the game off strong outscoring the Cavs 25-17 over the final quarter to cruise home with a 99-83 victory.
Without Joe Johnson, Larry Drew elected to go with a big lineup that placed Marvin Williams at shooting guard and Jason Collins at center. The Hawks essentially went eight players deep with Jamal Crawford, Zaza Pachulia, and Jeff Teague all seeing action.
The results of the big lineup were some interesting match up advantages in the Hawks favor. They repeatedly ran Marvin to the post where he ended up with some good opportunities. It was very much like what we have seen coach Drew do with Joe Johnson at times but Atlanta seemed to stick with the plan a lot longer in this one.
Josh Smith just missed a triple double with 13 points, 18 rebounds, and eight assists. His shot selection left something to be desired in this game but with 18 rebounds you won't here me complaining. Al Horford also came up with a double double going for 20 points and 10 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich added 13 points and five assists as he continues to look more and more comfortable with each passing game. Jeff Teague scored 10 points off the bench in 21 minutes of action.
This was a win that Atlanta clearly had to have but like the New Jersey game doesn't answer a lot of questions. Sure the Hawks have played better of late, but they still have to prove that they can do so against quality competition. They will get their chance this week with home games against Orlando and Boston as well as a road trip to Houston.
As of yet there has been no update to the status of Joe Johnson other that he is questionable. With a couple of off days between games it is likely that he could return to the lineup on Wednesday.