Quick Thought: I can't remember ever handling the Jazz like that in Salt Lake City. Dominant.
Well, I checked, and the Hawks have only won (4) times in Salt Lake City since 1986, and none of those wins were more than (9) points, much less the double digit, 23 point stiff-arm the Hawks gave the Jazz tonight.
The Hawks showed poise on the offensive end, moving the ball from side to side, making the extra pass, and finding a surprising amount of good shots for everyone. The Hawks made a season high (14) three point baskets, and only one, the ridiculously expected bank shot at the end of the half by Jamal Crawford, was what Nique would call a "tough shot".
The Hawks built their lead early by knocking down those open shots, taking advantage of the mismatches on Joe Johnson, and playing solid defense. Even the turn-back-the-clock-to-2003 Andrei Kirilenko's third quarter, where he scored (12) of his (19) points on 5-5 shooting, made a dent in the dominance the Hawks were authoring on the EnergySolution floor.
Learning their lesson from last night in Sacramento, Larry Drew finished the game by playing his starters well into the fourth quarter, despite the lead bubbling up above 20. Jamal and Joe, along with Al Horford, scored all of the Hawks points in the final quarter until the benches were emptied. Clearly Drew was not going to let the Jazz, who have made a season out of dramatic comebacks, including the 90-86 win in Atlanta, get any kind of momentum and tear down what the Hawks had done so well in building.
With the ball moving so well and the Jazz struggling to cover the floor, all Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson had to do was make the open shots....and they did. The pair went 19-35/9-14 (3's) for (54) points, (6) assists, and (3) turnovers.
Al Horford was back to being his usual efficient self, shooting 9-16, with (8) boards, (4) assists, and (3) blocks. Nothing was going on inside for the Jazz and Horford was a big reason why.
He may not make great decisions on the break, even on good night, but it was good to see Maurice Evans find his stroke from long range again. Mo was 3-6 (3-5 from three) and his (4) free throws were the most since 12/1 against Memphis. He was often guarding Deron Williams, too, and Williams had a rough night fighting through Evans, Johnson, and then Horford, going 5-15 with 5 turnovers in his (35) minutes.
Not only did it give the Hawks a 3-1 western road trip, but it was the Hawks most impressive win against a team with a winning record. The Jazz were 24-11 coming in, though 6 of those losses had come at home.
Some common themes that occurred tonight:
- Jason Collins taking a charge.
- A Jamal Crawford (4) point play.
- Mike Bibby getting taunted by fans and then giving it back to them with a smile on his face.