Quick Thought: Hawks are 1-0 on night where Al Horford is declared out for the next 3-4 months.
Without Al Horford the rest of the Hawks needed to step up and fill in the considerable gaps that Horford provides every night if they were going to beat the visiting Charlotte Bobcats.
And they did.
Josh Smith stepped up and took more shots -- and made them -- going 14-22 for a season high 30 points and then grabbed 13 rebounds as well.
Joe Johnson was off the mark with his long range shots, but was able to get to the free throw line and then rebound and assist enough to fill the stat sheet, quietly as always, ending with a 23 point, seven rebound, eight assist effort.
The #1 guy who has to jump start his already impressive growth is Jeff Teague, who responded by attempting 16 shots and making seven. He also provided a good night in the box score, supplying six boards and seven assists.
Zaza Pachulia, Willie Green, and Ivan Johnson also contributed --- all scoring over 10 points for the game and Pachulia getting 10 rebounds as well to complete his double-double in relief of Horford.
It's the kind of effort that we saw from Miami as they rallied around their starts sitting against the Hawks over a week ago. While Horford isn't on LeBron James or Dwyane Wade's level, his loss was important enough to saturate Twitter earlier in the day and was generally considered the one guy the Hawks couldn't lose, and the Hawks responded with a solid hustle/energy effort throughout the game.
20 offensive rebounds, one three point basket yielded, and only four offensive rebounds allowed. That's dominance.
Here is an excerpt from Charlotte's blog, Rufus on Fire:
Other than that, I really don't have much to say about this game. It was ugly. It had bad lineups. It had poorly-executed offense. It had abominable rebounding (OREBs Hawks - 20, Bobcats - 4) -- without Al Horford. The Hawks outperformed the Bobcats in every category, except for blocks. Atlanta had 12 more field goal attempts than the Bobcats, and hit a higher percentage. The only Bobcats' three-pointer came from Kemba Walker with 9 minutes left.
"We've given up. I don't know what to say," Paul Silas would say after the game.