First Thought: Sloppy, but comfortable win against another bad team.
Summary: The Hawks took an 11-0 lead and though they didn't play well in this game, they made that initial lead stick for the win.
Classic Hawk box score: All starters in doubles, joined by Tracy McGrady. Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams, grabbed 10, 10, and 8 rebounds respectively.
The bench was not nearly as crisp as last night, as Jannero Pargo, Willie Green, and Vladiza Radchulia all struggled to hold the early lead they were handed and none of them could figure out to let someone other than Nick Young (6-12, 21 points in 31 minutes) beat them. Just sayin'.
Sidenote: Hey, Flip Saunders! My PayPal payment is complete to you, sir! Thanks for giving Jordan Crawford (21) minutes instead of giving more to the undefendable (tonight at least) Nick Young. The former Hawk #1 was 0-6 and had 1 point, 1 board, and 1 assist in those (21) minutes. Meanwhile, Young provided (4) assists and zero turnovers to go with his game high scoring night. Thanks, again!
Jeff Teague alternated between unstoppable playmaker and wallflower a bit more tonight, as well as sloppier in general with the basketball. He'll need to work on controlling pace a little more and getting guys in the right positions to score, especially down the stretch. When the bench had to yield to the starters in the fourth quarter when the Wizards cut the lead to around (13), the team needed the offense to generate better shots. They didn't really get that until the final couple of minutes when Horford made a pair of field goals to seal the deal.
Yet Another Sidenote: To those who know me well, I am an unabashed fan of the shot blocker, especially when such a player can add "violent dunker" to his resume. So it should not be a shock that I have a lot of fun watching Washington's JeVale McGee play. He had two stupid goal tending calls, but he was way, way up there to do it. That he added a pair of thunder dunks and the Hawks still won by double digits meant that all was well, again, in watching a Hawks-Wizards game.
McGrady is showing that, due to his all around game which includes some fine passing, shot creating, and solid rebounding, he is not as much a downgrade from Jamal as may have been feared entering the season. T-Mac went 11 points/4 rebounds in a little less than (20) minutes, and threw a lot more good passes than his (1) assist might indicate.
The team played alright--it was enough to take out a team such as the Wizards---but they didn't play as crisp as even last night against New Jersey. They can't always count on shooting 43% and winning, especially since they don't--over the course of a full season---get to the line to shoot 28-35 often. They were able to handle some things defensively and rebounded enough to keep the Wizards from getting under (10) points close to the Hawks.
2-0 and a sixth straight home opener win is sweet, however, and it's nice to see this core continue to click and play well together.
Solid game from Joe Johnson, who hit 4-8 from three point and led the Hawks with (18) points. Jordan Crawford had no chance, at any time, of scoring on Joe, who seemed to want to make a point. Makes you wonder what practices were like when Jordan was in Atlanta.
Ok, now I get the secret of Josh Smith's mysterious drop in shot block rate since his early years with the team: Too much lunch. He's lost the pounds and he is flying around out there, making his presence felt inside and around the cup. If it weren't for a league-wide supression of actual blocked shot totals, we'd see this reflected accurately in the box scores. 5-11, 15 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks to go with a 2-13 performance from Andray Blatche.
For the second straight night, Marvin Williams has worn a mean, physical attitude out on the court and has found the three point shot he showed a couple of seasons ago again. 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4-8/2-3/7-10 shooting marked Williams' presence in the box score and so far the trade of mustache for 'fro has been the best deal since Speedy/Acie for Jamal.
Home game Friday against that same, Brook Lopez-less New Jersey team. (730pm EST, FSS). Will be interesting to see how much of what we saw up there opening night is duplicated at home.