Postgame Thoughts: Ivan Shines In Win Over Magic
A few thoughts coming up on the Hawks’ 97-88 win over the Magic Saturday night at Philips Arena:
– Chalk one up for perseverance. A night after the Hawks’ bench players scored 60 points in the loss in Boston, Ivan Johnson came off the bench to match his career high with 21 points. Oh, and he did this. The Hawks barely HAD a bench in this one, with Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford, John Jenkins, and DeShawn Stevenson out for the night due to injury. But they got big contributions nonetheless, and came away with a W.
– Speaking of Zaza, the Hawks announced before the game that Big Z will miss the rest of the season due to surgery on his achilles heel. It’s a huge blow for the Hawks to know they won’t have his toughness and rebounding for the playoffs. Get well soon Zaza!
– Devin Harris returned from missing the last couple games with a sore foot, and though it took him a little while to get warmed up, he dominated the action after halftime. Harris scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half as the Hawks broke open a close game to win comfortably. With all of the other injuries this team is dealing with, it’s imperative that Harris be available come playoff time.
– Without his usual running mate for the second straight night, Josh Smith played mostly within himself in racking up 21 points and 9 rebounds.
– Since getting run out of the playoffs in a sweep by Orlando in 2010, the Hawks have had the Magic’s number. Saturday’s win was the 6th straight for Atlanta at Philips Arena, and marked the second straight time they’ve swept the season series 4-0 from their Southeast rivals.
– Off the court, the Hawks held their first annual Hawktoberfest before and during the game, with 8 local breweries participating. The fans voted for their favorite brew, and in the end Monday Night took the trophy as the people’s choice.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, which can be expected given the injuries, the back-to-back, and the week spent on the road, but the team came through when it mattered to get the win and keep pace with its competition in the race for Eastern Conference Playoff seeding.
What’d you think?