The Atlanta Hawks started fast and cruised home late improving to 3-1 on their current five-game road trip with a 94-72 win over the New Orleans Hornets. Atlanta jumped led by 21 points midway through the first quarter and then saw that lead get whittled down to just five points before ended the third quarter with a 24-3 run to seal the deal and get the starters some much needed rest in the fourth quarter.
Coming into this game, Larry Drew had expressed concern over the slow starts that the Hawks had gotten off to in recent games. There was no such start this time around with Atlanta leading 27-11 at the end of the first quarter. Even with the big lead, Hawks coach Larry Drew wasn't particularly comfortable with the lead. The Hornets answered with their own 11-0 run but credit the Hawks for never really losing control of the game.
"I didn't feel totally comfortable, particularly after that first quarter," said Hawks coach Larry Drew, who got his first win against the Hornets after two losses. "I was happy we got off to a fast start, but I started to see a few defensive breakdowns. ... I'm most proud about this win is we maintained our composure."
In the past few seasons we have seen a lot of big leads vanish and either turn into narrow wins or bad losses. This version of the Hawks has done a much better job of building a lead and then closing things out.
- Atlanta wins despite getting 15 combined points from Joe Johnson and Josh Smith on 7-25 shooting and going 10-17 as a team from the free throw line.
- To Johnson and Smith's credit they did man the boards for Atlanta with Johnson grabbing a team-high nine. Smith finished with eight boards and four blocks.
- Atlanta got 54 combined points from Jeff Teague, Marvin Williams and Willie Green to more than offset the off night's from Johnson and Smith. The trio combined to make 20-30 field goal attempts and 11-15 from beyond-the-arc.
- Larry Drew was able to empty the bench in the fourth quarter and no Hawks starter played more than Joe Johnson's 30 minutes. That is significant as Atlanta heads into the final game of the five-game road trip in Toronto on Tuesday.
- After missing the end of the Detroit game, Atlanta got a sterling performance from Jeff Teague who scored 11 of his career-high 24 points in the first quarter. Teague was 9-11 from the field, 4-4 from deep and handed out four assists for good measure. He showed no ill-effects from the ankle injury in the game.
- Marvin Williams has now made 10-15 three-point attempts during the four games of the Hawks current road trip.
- What's it going to take to get Ivan Johnson a spot in the NBA's rookie/sophomore game during All-Star Weekend? Johnson finished with nine points and three boards in Sunday's win.
- Atlanta improves to 15-6 on the season and climbs to No. 3 in the Eastern Conference Standings trailing only the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. Atlanta has now built a 2.5 game lead over the Orlando Magic who have suddenly lost three games in a row.