The outcome was never in doubt as Atlanta began pulling away early in the first quarter behind a few threes from Kyle Korver and some mid-range jumpers from Horford. Horford had a big night in particular, dominating inside and out, and had 14 points at the half. He sat most of the second half as the Hawks amassed a 30-point lead a few minutes into the third quarter.
The Hawks again shot over 50% from the field, the second time in as many games and the third time in four games. Atlanta has also scored over 100 points in their last four games, and over 105 in their last three. In other words, the Hawks have been feeling it on the offensive end more than any other team in the league over the past week-and-a-half. Granted, the opponents were not of the defensive stalwart variety-- the Knicks, Lakers, Kings, and Jazz are all at the bottom rung of the league.
The Hawks offense has proven that they can blow the doors off of any mediocre defense; they've done so over and over again this season and the recent streak is a testament to effective transition offense and impeccable ball movement. The question that still lingers ominously for Atlanta against elite competition is: can their defensive front hold up? It helps that the Hawks are in the Eastern Conference though. No one has any illusion of championship expectations this season, so it's hard not to be happy with Atlanta's play thus far.
But we do know that Atlanta can score, and score well. They did so against the Jazz on Wednesday and they did it at will. The Jazz's offense was stifled by a combination of their own anemic shot selection/execution and Atlanta's defensive effort. Horford, Paul Millsap, and Elton Brand did a solid job corralling Utah's young backcourt, holding Derrick Favors to 6 points and Enes Kanter to a quiet performance when the game counted (he finished with 13 points, mostly through garbage time buckets, albeit impressive garbage time buckets).
Lou Williams still has it
He doesn't have it nightly, anymore-- yet-- but he can still explode for some big games. Tonight was exhibit A. He canned six of his ten attempted three-pointers and was disruptive on the defensive end. If he can give half of this on a consistent basis, it would greatly behoove Atlanta. Then again, he's not lucky enough to play the Jazz every night.
The bench was solid... again
That's been a theme of the Hawks' recent offensive dominance-- the bench has provided a smooth transition late in the first and third quarters, and then they've had to play the whole fourth quarter because by that point, the game was completely out of reach. That's how it's worked of late: the Hawks' starters have bombarded the opposition, and the bench comes in and either sustains or enhances the lead already built.
Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack, and Elton Brand have all played really well as of late (Brand had 5 blocks tonight), and Lou Williams and Pero Antic provided valuable minutes against the Jazz.
John Jenkins, unfortunately, has been the one blemish on an otherwise impressive stretch. He compiled a quick 0-5 shooting performance in about three minutes. He bounced back with some good shots in garbage time, but that didn't really matter.
Derrick Favors' struggles in Atlanta continue
The Jazz's young star center averages 6 points per game in Atlanta, his lowest in any of the NBA cities.
Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll both played a big part in the beat down of their former team
Millsap had a strong start to the third quarter and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Carroll's stat line was less impressive, but his impact was obviously palpable. He nabbed four steals and was hugely disruptive on defense. He also had a nifty behind the back dribble after a steal and quick dish to Millsap for a slam... nothing like re-uniting the old Jazz duo to only accentuate the beat down Atlanta was throwing on them.
The Hawks have Miami up next. Let's see if they can stay hot with the defending champs on deck.