Cavaliers vs. Hawks: Josh Smith Scores 32 And The Hawks Needed Every Single One Of Them

Gotcha.

Quick Thought: Remember what I said about ugly games feeling better when you win. I know it's obvious, but I can't help feeling good even after atrocious acts of shooting all over by the Hawks.

Deep(er) Thoughts:

Guys, Josh Smith is becoming a leader on this team -- you can hear it in his post game interviews, in his performances on the court, etc. He is an extremely productive player, even if he's not achieving the perfect maximum of his abilities due to his shooting.

His 10 for 573 or whatever game from the field may grab your attention, but what should grab your eyeballs more is the terrific three point play that tied the game in overtime, his clutch free throw shooting (12-14) and his 17 rebounds. He and Joe and straight carrying the team right now --- hope it transfers to the playoffs.

Game Balls:

Joe Johnson struggled, too -- and his box scores shows his misfires very well, going 7-19. But when it came down to needing those baskets late, Joe was money. Johnson made five of those seven from 1:30 left in regulation straight through overtime. His bomb to bail the Hawks out at the end of regulation makes you wonder what the Cavs (or the Pistons or any team that lets him shoot game winners -- not the C's notice) were thinking. If you look at Byron Scott's face after Joe extends the game, the can't-believe-it smile on his face may be echoing the same sentiment.

Already discussed Josh Smith, but 32-17-5-3 is an impressive line, even if it took 29 shots to get there.

Jeff Teague had his hands full with the excellent Kyrie Irving, but still found time to go 6-9 for 12 points, seven assists and four steals.

Afterthoughts:

Joe, Josh and Jeff combined for 17 assists against two turnovers -- in a combined 140 game minutes. The Hawks had seven turnovers as a team and the +12 differential in the Hawks' favor is the reason the Hawks could pull out a game in which they got outshot 46-40 percent and got behind by 16 so early.

The Hawks were down as much as six points in overtime, thanks to a sequence that saw the game tied at 95 and Kirk Hinrich cough up the ball on a flash double team and then Hinrich double up the misfortune by trying to ankle whip Irving as he ran past. The clear path foul gave the Cavs what turned out to be a five point play. Then Joe hit a three, Antwan Jamison took a ridiculous looking shot, and Josh came through in transition with the basket and the bonus.

Jerry Stackhouse: 10 minutes, 10 points. I think I can honestly say that he is dialed in right now.

Final Thought:

Seemed like this would have been a tough game to gak -- not that it hasn't happened before --- so it feels extra good to pull it out anyway, despite the Fountain of Missed Shots.

Oh, one more thought. Can somebody tell Zaza to dunk? That is all.

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