Kevin C. Cox
The Hawks followed the lead of Devin Harris, Ivan Johnson, and the bench on their way to an easy 113-90 victory over the Bobcats.
The Hawks jumped out to early on the Bobcats thanks to good early play from Josh Smith and the outside shooting of Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, and Lou Williams. Smith had seven points, three rebounds, and two assists in his 10 minutes of play in the first quarter. Lou hit a pair of threes while Korver and Devin each added five points of their own as the Hawks took a 30-19 lead after the first quarter. The Hawks shot 61.1% from the field in the first quarter, and Larry Drew was able to rest some of his starters thanks to quality play from his bench. The bench group of Lou, Devin, Zaza Pachulia, and Ivan Johnson combined for 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while letting the Hawks starters to get some much needed rest on the second game of a back-to-back and third game in four nights.
The Hawks continued their strong play in the second quarter extending their lead to 60-43. They continued their hot shooting as they shot 59.5% as a team in the half. Devin Harris continued his strong play and finished the half with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting (3-of-4 from three). Josh Smith played just 15 minutes, but was very efficient scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field. The Hawks defense was also instrumental in their halftime lead as they held the Bobcats to just 35.9% shooting from the field and 3-of-11 from behind the arc. Atlanta also scored 12 points on eight Charlotte turnovers.
Neither team played much defense in the third quarter as each team scored 31 points, which kept the Hawks lead at 17 heading into the fourth up 91-74. Ivan Johnson, DeShawn Stevenson, and Smith each had six points in the quarter, and DeShawn added four rebounds. The Hawks shot 68.4% in the quarter, but allowed the Bobcats to shoot 57.1% from the field. Atlanta was sloppy with ball handling turning the ball over eight times leading to 10 Charlotte points.
The Hawks cruised through the fourth quarter on their way to an easy victory. Ivan Johnson provided the Hawks with energy on both ends of the floor and finished the game with 16 points and eight boards in his best game of the season. The Hawks were able to rest most of their starters down the stretch and played the final five minutes with Jeff Teague, John Jenkins, Anthony Tolliver, Mike Scott, and Ivan Johnson on the floor. Both teams struggled offensively in the quarter, but the Hawks finished with a convincing 113-90 victory.
Harris finished with 20 points off the bench to lead the team, with Josh Smith adding 18 points and five boards. Ivan Johnson’s 16 points and eight boards was good to see after two straight DNP-CD’s. The Hawks bench gave the starters a much needed rest, and it was the first game in which the Hawks finished off a team without allowing them to cut the lead to single-digits in the fourth quarter this season.
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