First of all, sorry about the lack of pre-game thread---this is what happens when you let a Florida Grad run the joint for a while. Thanks to Bronn for getting a game thread up as the telecast began (well, the Hawks end of it anyway).
Secondly, the Hawks (with Joe Johnson back) took care of the fighting-for-their-playoff-lives-but-without-their-best-player Toronto Raptors, 107-101.
Now, first time to (50) wins since Mookie, Deke, and Smitty were balling in the ATL---nice accomplishment so we won't go around boo-hooing the first quarter (ahem--14 points) or the total lack of defense in large parts of the game.
We will be running a post later this weekend or early next week about this joining the long list of things the Hawks hadn't accomplished for a long time---it's a good time to be a Hawk fan.
Quick hitters after the jump---
The ball movement at times was terrific---it makes those nights when they simply won't do it all the more maddening when they crisply move the ball in and out and side to side to get good shots. Toronto is just the kind of team that will give you an easy shot if you don't force the offense and simply move the ball. I dare say if the Hawks don't work it like they do, they lose even this game.
Also, the Hawks needed every bit of the (18) offensive rebounds they got because they shot terrible. Zaza Pachulia was the only Hawk above (50) percent shooting for the night, and surprisngly (not really surprisingly) his 4-5 night didn't pull the Hawks much above (40) percent for the night. Great work by Smoove, Al, and Zaza taking advantage of the Bosh-less frontcourt.
The Hawks scored (45) of their (107) in the second quarter---and it was essential that the Hawks take control of the game at that time else feel the temptation to trudge their way through the rest of the game. Jamal Crawford got hot---had (19) points by the time the half ended---and the Hawks imposed their will on their guests and pretty much was inclined to trade hoops the rest of the way.
Had to laugh when Woodson put in Randolph Morris at the end of the game and then had to promptly yank him when he turned the ball over on a wide open outlet from Josh Smith. Not the way you want to spend your (8) seconds of playing time for the night. Ditto for Mario West coming in the possession before and fouling Jarret Jack shooting a three. Those two plays took the game from nine to five points. But they won, so we can laugh, right?
We'll be scheduling a game thread for the Wizards game---so have no fear---we'll be ready---even if Fox Sports isn't.
Congrats on Fiddy, ATL!