Big Road Machine Rolls On

Saturday, February 11, 2012
By Jon Newberry


Playing without starting center Al Horford AND without “Mr. Kryptonite” himself, Jason Collins, the Hawks could have rolled over on Friday night and accepted defeat. Not this year’s team. Led by Josh Smith, Atlanta came out aggressive and played scrappy and physical the entire night to earn the 89-87 overtime win.

Following a similar script to last season’s wins in Orlando, the Hawks sacrificed offensive production and a quicker pace to wear down the Magic and their All-NBA center, Dwight Howard. In fact, this was the first time this year that Atlanta posted a victory despite scoring less than 90 points… and they even had an extra five minutes of action to increase their point total.

In analyzing the win, you have to start with Smith.

“I just took what the defense gave me tonight,” Josh commented after the game. “I wanted to be efficient down low on the block. I wanted to be able to help down there on the rebounds with Dwight. Just wanted to be able to come out there and put my best foot forward.”

His “best foot” included 23 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. When asked to comment on J-Smoove’s performance, fellow forward Marvin Williams didn’t have much to say.

“When you get a statline like that, it speaks for itself.”

One Hawk whose stat line might not jump out at you, but had a big impact on the game was Zaza Pachulia. With Horford and Twin inactive and newly acquired Erick Dampier only available for limited minutes, Pachulia was tasked with containing Dwight Howard by himself for most of the game. Big Z is usually one to make full use of his fouls, but without the luxury of a deep frontcourt he had to pick his moments tonight. The result was a solid night on both ends of the court, helping to force Howard into committing five turnovers and finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.

It was far from a two-man show for the Hawks on Friday night, as they received contributions from many angles. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams each scored four points in overtime to help lead to victory. Jeff Teague and Tracy McGrady combined for 12 points in the second period when Atlanta’s offense stalled for a bit.

The result was a big win that should build on the momentum that was gained from Wednesday’s home win over the Pacers. It is momentum that the Hawks will need as they host the Heat on Sunday before embarking on a five-game road-trip that crosses has the team playing on each coast.

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2 Responses to “Big Road Machine Rolls On”

  1. Elder

    Ive said it before and I will say it again. Smith is the best player on the Hawks team. There are many Joe Johnson in this league but its proven that Josh put up numbers night in and night out. He do so much that don’t make the stat sheet. ALL- Star. All NBA……. A message to Josh give the ball to the point you will get it back. Its amazing to me nothing against Lin who is all over sport center right now but Smith who got snub from the All-Star game put up numbers better than his ex teammate Howard in an overtime whammy in Orlando should get more air time. I’m glad NY found a player, a player that has help lead them to 4 straight wins to push them to 10 wins for the season and 10 games back from first. well you get the point. Atlanta Hawks takes back over the 4 spot, lead by All-Star Smith not Joe and only year after year the team improve. Ask Orlando who stomp us a few years back. Ask them about the Hawks. We hurt their Championship run cause we was the only team and still the only team that could stop Dwight and time after time Josh always make a big block to change the game………

  2. Elder

    We got the Heat on Sunday big stage….. We should be 4-0 against the Bulls and Heat combine. The Heat beats us with the bench when Wade and the others was out. Im glad they are back so we can play better ball.

    All this without big Al…..

    “My My My” give the Hawks some credit they are playing some b ball and the coach is coaching. With only that three game skid in our way on the home stand we bounce back on the road and after the Heat if we continue to play well on the road and get some fan support at home we can beat any and everybody in this lead.