Postgame Thoughts: Hawks vs. Bobcats
Some postgame thoughts on the Hawks’ at times harrowing but ultimately triumphant win over the Bobcats Wednesday night at Philips Arena:
— Classic game from Josh Smith tonight. 17 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks, 3 steals. He’ll want those free throws back from the game’s final minute, but overall when Josh is playing aggressive (particularly with his passing) like this, he is a load few teams can handle.
— While Smith made contributions up and down the box score, perhaps his finest moment won’t show up on one. With the Hawks leading by 1 and 5.2 seconds left to play, the Bobcats tried to inbound at half court. Smith anticipated the pass into the frontcourt and caused Ramon Sessions to lead his man too far, throwing the ball away and giving it back to the Hawks.
— Al Horford was named Player of the Week on Monday, and had a game befitting the title against the Bobcats, posting an impressive 17-11-6 with 3 blocks. Big Al did a lot of things right tonight, but I guarantee the part he’s happiest about is the pair of free throws he made with 4.2 ticks left to give the Hawks a 94-91 lead. Horford had a rough go of it at the line last week as we all know, so I imagine this was a bit of a confidence booster for him even if he’d never admit it.
— This Hawks team is so fun to watch, in part because they share the ball so, so well. 28 assists tonight for Atlanta, with 4 players dishing out 5 or more.
— Great ball movement typically leads to open shots, and Atlanta had plenty of them, many from distance. 12 made 3-pointers on the night for the team, a season-high total. The Bobcats seem to bring out the best in this Hawks team, as they’ve now made 23 3s against Charlotte in two games this season.
— Give the Bobcats credit again — the Hawks led almost the entire game, but Charlotte never gave up and nearly had a chance to pull out the victory in the final seconds. You knew they were hurting after the horrendous loss they suffered Tuesday night to the Thunder (where they trailed by 40 at the half!), so it’s no surprise they came out and played with a lot of heart and determination. They nearly pulled it off, thanks in large part to Ben Gordon’s 26 points off the bench. Gordon hit an impossible three with 29 seconds left to pull the Bobcats within 1, and I’m sure had plenty of Hawks fans feeling a bit nervous when Charlotte was trying to inbound the ball with 5.2 left on the clock. Fortunately, Josh killed all that noise and Gordon never got a chance.
In the end Atlanta stood tough, made some stops in some key situations, and kept their win streak alive at six (the longest current streak in the NBA) with the Cavaliers coming to town on Friday night.
What’d you think?