A few thoughts after tonight’s 124-101 win over the 76ers:
- How about our rookies? One game after combining for 45, John Jenkins and Mike Scott combine for 38 more on a combined 14-23 shooting off the bench. Jenkins backed up a career-high 23 with 21, and Scott netted 17 to go with eight rebounds.
- Josh Smith scored 28 points tonight, but for me his 11-18 shooting stood out as the most impressive thing about it. J-Smoove didn’t try to force anything, and he also went 5-5 from the free throw line.
- It was good to see Devin Harris back after missing three games with a sore foot. He’s been bothered by that foot problem all year, but when he’s healthy this is a different team, particularly on the offensive end. Having a guy who can compliment Jeff Teague on the fast break and find open guys is huge for Atlanta. In the playoffs, that’s what they’ll need to create offense against good defensive half-court teams.
- Happy birthday Ivan Johnson! The big man celebrated by scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
- Kyle Korver cut it close tonight. After sitting much of the first half with foul trouble, he got just one look in the third quarter and missed it. With a 20-point lead, I wasn’t sure if Larry Drew was going to put him back in. He did though, and Korver finally got one to fall after his teammates deliberately passed up open shots to get him the ball. The streak is now at 71.
- Lost in the Smith/Rookies statlines was Teague’s double-double. He’s the guy that really makes the Hawks go, and his 13 points and 11 assists were a big part of Atlanta’s run in the second and third quarters.
- A few statistical notes: The Hawks scored 29 or more points in each of the four quarters tonight, shot 54 percent for the game and were 18-19 from the free throw line.
As the Hawks look to get ready for the playoffs, a game like this really helps. With the regulars back and playing well, coach Drew has to feel a lot better than he did after last week’s game against the 76ers. Now that everyone appears relatively healthy, the hope is we can keep it that way as we play out the final three games. The Hawks are now tied with Chicago for fifth in the East, and Boston was in trouble as of this post being published.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images