Reflecting On the Weekend Wins
Call me paranoid, but with all the injuries piling up for Atlanta I want Wally Blase (the Hawks trainer) to keep a close eye on Josh Smith’s back and shoulders. J-Smoove carried the team to a pair of weekend wins, despite not feeling 100% with head congestion.
On Friday night the Hawks scrapped their way to a comeback win over the Milwaukee Bucks behind 24 points, 19 rebounds and three blocked shots from Smith.
From Elias: Josh Smith recorded 24 points, 19 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in Atlanta’s victory over Milwaukee on Friday night. Only one other Hawks player has reached those levels in each of those categories in the same game. On November 29, 1983, Dan Roundfield had 24 points, 22 rebounds, six assists and four blocks for the Hawks against the Nuggets. (The NBA began officially tracking blocked shots in 1973-74.)
Josh got a huge assist from the reserves against the Bucks, with Pargo, Radmanovic and McGrady making huge plays in the fourth quarter to help secure the win. On Saturday against the team owning the league’s best record Smoove decided to take control on his own.
Josh Scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, and that doesn’t even take in to account the emotional lift he gave the team with his absurd dunk over Serge Ibaka.
It is worth noting that the Oklahoma City Thunder do not just give away victories (they entered the night 29-7). They are an extremely confident team, led by their demonstrative stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. As the final seconds counted down and they opted not to foul, the frustration and anger was apparent on their faces.
While everyone will remember Smoove’s dunk in the fourth quarter, many will forget that the Thunder actually rallied after that play to pull within one point with under three minutes to play. Smith responded with a dagger from behind the arc and then hit 3-of-4 clutch free throws down the stretch.
Overall, it was a huge pair of wins for the Hawks as they try to buy some time for Joe Johnson, Willie Green, and now Tracy McGrady to get healthy.