Bumping The Road Bumps
Last year the Hawks won their first two games at home, and then took the show on the road only to have their win streak stopped by the World Champion Celtics. It was after the team won 6 in a row. This year the Hawks win the first two, and had their streak stopped by the World Champion Lakers. There is no shame in falling to the best in their buildings, but handing games over won’t help.
The Hawks were down by 2 after 1quater, 6 at the half, and 22 after the 3rd! A good start and nice half, changed by a demon of the past, an ugly third quater.
I like to get the bad out of the way first so let’s just get to it. The Hawks in L.A:
- Had 21 turnovers
- Saw Joe Johnson hit 7 shots in the first quarter and then one shot the rest of the way (he did drop 27 however)
- Only had Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson score in double figures from the starting 5
- Allowed the Lakers to shoot 52 percent from the field
Then there was the horrific 3rd quarter where the Hawks:
- Shot 31% from the field
- Were outscored 34-18
- Committed 8 turnovers
- Allowed 14 baskets, 9 of which were dunks and 2 were layups-ouch!
One bad quarter changes the game. Hopefully this was the last one this road trip.
Now for the good news:
- The Hawks bench scored 49 points against the Lakers
- No one told Jeff Teague that you go half speed when an opponent has a big lead. He finished with 12 points and a big dunk to make the Lakers put starters back in the game
- The Hawks were only outscored by only two points in the second half
- The Hawks shot nearly 60 percent in the fourth quarter to close the gap and make Kobe get off of his keister and get back into the game, showing no quit
It would’ve been nice to sweep all four games, but a split would work just as well. The Hawks need to win two out of the three remaining road games so that they don’t start the road in a hole.
The Hawks were winners of 16 games on the road last year and they certainly would like to improve on that record. The early part of this season is the opportunity to get a jump on early road victories.
While Portland had the fourth best home record last year, Charlotte and Sacramento did not. Sacramento had the worst home record in the NBA at 11-30 and Charlotte always plays the Hawks tough, but are beatable. Energy and focus are great at home, making both good on the road will be key.