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San Antonio Spurs/Atlanta Hawks Game Review:Offensive Rebound

You're an Atlanta Hawks fan. You've just watched your team overcome a (wait for it) lackluster first quarter of action against a San Antonio Spurs team that's playing for their playoff lives and win, in overtime, 119-114.

If you don't have a smile on your face after this one---I don't know when you're going to smile.

The team came out and tried to take the Spurs temperature to see how hard they would have to play tonight. Before they got their first reading back, they were down double digits. It wasn't so much the type of offense--after they had run their usual first couple of screens for Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby, they tried to go inside to Smith and Horford and found the footing shaky, at best.

Ditto for the defense which gave up (33) points in that first quarter and saw Manu Ginobili begin what would be a game long torching of the Hawks defense, and almost specifically, Josh Smith.

But after Ginobili (38 points) and Tim Duncan (29 points) left the game, the Hawks began to chip away, using second quarter turnovers to get the halftime lead and then they needed every single one of their (21) offensive rebounds to get two chances to win at the end of regulation (sorry, Joe) and to ultimately win in overtime.

Marvin Williams scored (26) points, including the two game sealing free throws, a multitude of drives to the hoop, and a fantastic interception of a Spurs inbounds pass that saw Marvin channel his inner Prime Time and then step into take and make the first half buzzer bucket. He had

Joe Johnson couldn't shoot straight most of this game (again, including two great looks at the end of regulation) finishing 8-23, but he was grinding to get some key hoops inside (and out) and somehow snuck in THIRTEEN assists. That was the most assists from Joe since March 2nd of last year (WAS), the 5th time in his career he has had exactly that many dimes, and tied for fourth most ever (3/13/2006 he had 17 against MIL). All of his (13) or more assist games have come as a Hawk.

Jamal Crawford made it two for two on the Hawks "big guns" who couldn't find the range outside tonight. Crawford missed all (6) of his 3-point shots, but made a bundle of circus shots inside against the Spurs, helping the Hawks to (54) points in the paint. With the win, the Hawks clinched a playoff spot---soon taking Crawford's name off the list of players with the longest tenure in the league w/o reaching the playoffs.

The player tonight was Horford. We will not debate that without every ounce of Horford's hustle, scoring, and relentless rebounding, the Hawks are wiped out of the arena Sunday night. Al had (9) offensive rebounds and (9) defensive rebounds to go with his (22) points. He faded away too much early against Duncan but came back with a vengeance with a s-t-r-ong one handed flush on Duncan. That play and the clutch outside shot that gave the Hawks a (4) point lead with (35) seconds left in overtime were huge.

It looked as if the Hawks were going to have to shoot (and make) threes late in the game to beat the Spurs, who seemed unstoppable with bucket after bucket behind Ginobili and Duncan. They had a (4) point lead with a minute and a half to go in the fourth. But the team dug deep, Johnson made a runner, Horford stole the ball and then followed up a missed Crawford layup with a successful layup of his own, giving Joe his chance to end it in regulation.

They stayed patient, energetic, and aggressive. After the first quarter, they offensively didn't rest or resort to frequent isolation habits--they moved the ball and without the ball. And they played just enough defense to get the win over a desperate team playing their aging stars major minutes to win the first game in a long roadie. 

So, to continue to emulate Hubie Brown--you're a Hawks fan, you've watched your team win this game showing a lotta heart, now you gotta smile while you enjoy the highlights: