WHO: Toronto (3-1) at Atlanta (3-0)
Injury Report: Once again, Speedy Claxton will be presumed out. For Toronto, Nathan Jawai is out and Hassan Adams is doubtful.
For Entertainment Purposes Only: Atlanta -3, 183.5 o/u
While You're Waiting For Tip-Off: Don't forget to stuff the ballot box.
The Hawks are reveling in an era of good feeling:
Any doubt about whether the Hawks trust each other was answered at crunch time of Wednesday’s win in New Orleans.
With the game on the line, the Hawks swung the ball from side to side repeatedly until they found the shot they wanted. It didn’t matter who took the shot, only that it was a good one.
And to think that a year ago this team, 3-0 heading into tonight’s game against Toronto at Philips Arena, had trust issues.
The Hawks took 19 shots in the fourth quarter in New Orleans: 7 of them were out-and-out low-percentage shots, either Josh Smith jump shots or three-point attempts by Flip Murray or Acie Law IV; Maurice Evans and Marvin Williams each made their lone three-point attempt, Flip Murray made a layup, Zaza Pachulia missed two layups, and Joe Johnson took 7 (of Atlanta's last 9) shots, 6 of those being jump shots.
It's great they went 11-19 (scoring 27 points) on those attempts but I don't think that's a consistent recipe for success. Or a major change from what we saw in a typical fourth quarter last season.
One further note of caution, Mike Woodson is getting comfortable with playing Flip Murray for the entire fourth quarter:
"That’s the ultimate sign of trust to me. That’s huge. And it doesn’t matter who is in the game. When you get to that point, where you trust each other, where you realize we didn’t even have our point guard in the game: How much trust is that? And you had guys stepping up making plays. That’s the sign of a team that’s growing.”
Just keep doing whatever you're doing that makes this a good defensive team and render my criticism of the offense pointless. Then everyone can be happy.
In news from north of the border, Mike Ganter of The Toronto Sun reports that Jermaine O'Neal has two goals heading into tonight's game:
So the goal heading into Atlanta is two-fold for the Raps marquee off-season acquisition: Get to the line as early as possible and hopefully establish a rhythm and stay out of foul trouble.
The foul trouble -- twice in the past three games he has picked up two quick fouls and found himself chained to the bench -- has played into the whole shooting funk.
The latter goal should be easy for O'Neal to accomplish if the Hawks continue their early-season trend of forgoing trips to the free throw line.
I'll be attending again tonight which will likely mean the absence of the Josh Smith Jump Shot Log from tomorrow's recap. Unless, of course, any enterprising commenters wish to notate the time remaining on the shot clock and the distance of each field goal attempt in the comments below.
If anyone wants to read a professional NBA columnist fill digital space despite having little of interest to say about the Hawks, knock yourself out.