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Hawks 88 Bobcats 87

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Box Score

Positives

  • Acie Law IV hits (exhibition) game-winning shot*.
  • Al Horford confirmed that as the game-winning shot by blocking Gerald Wallace's would-be game-winner at the buzzer.
  • Josh Smith doesn't attempt a three-pointer.
  • The front end of the bench: 11 and 7 for Zaza, 11 (on 7 FGA and 2 FTA) and 4 assists for Flip Murray, 12 points for Maurice Evans.

*It's been alternately described as a dunk and a layup so I'm being intentionally vague in the interests of not making the wrong descriptive choice.

Negatives

  • Marvin Williams, at best, sprained his left thumb and sat out the second half.
  • Al Horford attempted just 4 field goals and 4 free throws in 29 minutes.
  • The Hawks grabbed just 4 offensive rebounds.
  • Zaza Pachulia turned the ball over 6 times.
  • Solomon Jones and Mario West played 29 combined minutes and produced 4 points, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 3 assists, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 turnover.

Down 7 at the half, the Hawks started the second half with a big lineup:

So [Woodson] went with Zaza Pachulia at center — with Al Horford shifting over from center to power forward and Josh Smith from power forward to small forward — and watched his team wake up from that first-half slumber within the first few seconds of the third quarter.

The Hawks instantly became a better rebounding frontline and a more aggressive and active team inside on the offensive end. They went from trailing by seven at halftime to leading by as many five points late in the third quarter...

Al Horford:

"The big key is that a big body like Zaza frees both Josh and myself up a lot more and when we do that Josh is able to get out on the break and run the break. It’s just a big advantage for us because either me or Zaza can get the rebound and push it up the floor and have our best finisher out there on the wing running. Josh is a big mismatch for a lot of teams and we need to take advantage of that as much as we can."

Mike Woodson:

"I experimented with it because we might have to play big. I’m just tinkering with it now just to see. But we played a few games with it down the stretch last season. And I thought it was pretty good to start the third quarter. We kind of plugged it up defensively and rebounded the ball and it get it out and get a few fast break points that kind of got us going."

Sekou Smith:

I have to admit, the bigger lineup Woodson has been talking about since the summer looked better in person than I imagined it would. The Hawks were much feistier with Zaza Pachulia and Al Horford working inside together (which allowed Josh Smith to work the wing and the break as much as he could).

The results were rather pronounced as well. After managing just 11 rebounds and just four fast break points in the first half the Hawks piled up 20 and 13 after halftime.

It should surprise no one that the Hawks were 10 points better in the second half playing a more up-tempo and aggressive style than they did in the first half.

Larry Brown:

"Atlanta is going to be good. They have a lot of depth. Mo Evans and Flip Murray are really going to help them and Acie Law is much improved. They’re a good basketball team and they are very well coached. They did a much better job guarding the pick and roll than we did. I thought that was a big key. They were very active and they used the pick and roll very well."

There's no one Larry loves more than someone else's players. They've never done him wrong.

The Hawks return to pre-season action on Wednesday when they host the Phoenix Suns at 7pm. Mike Bibby is expected to return for that game.