More after the jump:
Quick thought: After four games, three of which have been on the road, the Hawks have yet to lose. 82-0, baby!
The Hawks got up big against a scrappy, but less talented team, laid back, lost the lead, and pulled away in the end.
Get the feeling this is a narrative that could play itself over and over again throughout this season?
In the fourth quarter, when the starters came back in with about six minutes left, and the offense started moving again, the team pulled away for the final margin. Much, much better than last season's fourth quarter woes.
Let's hope it continues.
1. Larry Drew
Can I get an amen for a few things that Drew did expertly tonight: One, he called timeouts at the right times throughout the game, played the rotation wonderfully, and played Marvin Williams down the stretch.
2. Marvin Williams
8-12, 5-6, 22 points and some moneyball down the stretch to seal the deal for the Birds. Thank you, Marvin, for validating LD's vote of confidence.
3. Joe Johnson
Yes, the stat line shows 6-21, but it didn't seem like he forced shots--he just missed open ones, but kept it going defensively (look at the Cavs guards shooting on the night), and pitched in 6 boards and 9 assists.
Josh Smith will give you 62 games of up and down basketball, 10 games of oh-my-goodness, and 10 games of stinktastic effort. Tonight was one of the latter.
Smith was brutal defensively, as he tried to rely on his superior athleticism to defend JJ Hickson. The result? 11-17, 31 points and a career high for Hickson. Toss in the usual jump shots and standing around and it was one of those nights for Smith.
Jeff Teague's speed looks good on the court, and his up and down play only serves to say that he needs to get floor time to smooth out his rough edges.
Say what you want about Mike Bibby's defense---it's probably all true. But those of us who suffered through all the point guard tragedies since the Mookie Blaylock trade fully appreciate the acumen that Bibby shows on the offensive end. Good decision making, bulls-eye shooting, and getting the team in the right places and sets offensively.
4-0, baby! Still ahead of the Heat!