The Hawks moved to 2-0 on their homestand with a 102-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta was led by Devin Harris who scored a season-high 25 points along with seven assists and three steals. Harris had 11 points in the first quarter to help the Hawks jump out to a 25-19 lead. Hawks head coach Larry Drew pointed to Harris as the catalyst for the victory.
"I thought Devin did a phenomenal job tonight from start to finish," Drew said. "He was very good in attacking the basket. It seemed like when we got into a little bit of trouble, he came up with some timely plays, whether he got to the basket, made a shot, or made a pass."
Josh Smith nearly had his first triple-double of the season with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. This was the second game this season that Smoove has missed a triple-double by two assists, and in this instance he had the entire fourth quarter to get them. After the game, I asked Josh what has to happen for him to get that elusive triple-double.
"These guys gotta make shots," Josh joked. "I'm doin' my part with the points and the rebounds. They just gotta make shots for me down the stretch."
Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with a stomach virus and had a solid night with 16 points and six rebounds before fouling out after 29 minutes of play. Horford's impact on the offensive end was clear, as the offense seemed to run more efficiently with Al in the lineup. Larry Drew was happy to have Horford back so he could get back into his game rhythm.
"It was really good getting Al Horford back tonight, getting him back into the lineup and into a rhythm," Drew said. "He picked up some quick fouls early so his minutes were limited, but I thought he finished strong."
Jeff Teague had a great night shooting from deep going 4-for-7 from three-point range as he scored 19 points along with nine assists. Teague struggled from inside the arc shooting just 2-of-8 on non three-point tries, but did well facilitating when the defense collapsed on him.
The Hawks improved to 42-33 with the win and took a half game lead over the Chicago Bulls for the fifth seed in the East. Atlanta will host the New York Knicks on Wednesday in what could be a potential playoff matchup (first or second round). While the Hawks will be looking to get as high a seed as possible, Larry Drew said that he will be resting some of the key guys at different points in the last seven games to have them fresh for the postseason. Drew would not comment on which games or which players, but did say that with so many injuries this year and players playing with minor injuries he will be keeping an eye on minutes in the final two weeks of the season.