Postgame Thoughts: Hawks vs. Cavaliers
Some thoughts on the Hawks excruciating last-second loss the Cavaliers Friday night at Philips Arena, snapping the team’s six-game win streak:
— The Hawks have impressed so far this season in their ability to hold off opponents in late game situations, but their luck ran out tonight against a determined Cavaliers team. Atlanta led for most of the night, but just could never put Cleveland away and eventually the Cavs made a run at the right time.
— Josh Smith took full blame for the game’s final play, when Alonzo Gee got behind the defense for the game-winner with 0.4 seconds left. Said Smoove in the locker room, “It’s my fault — didn’t box out.”
— It’s admirable for Smith to own up to the lapse, but truthfully there was no one play that cost the Hawks the game. Cleveland outrebounded Atlanta 49-28, and rang up a 27-14 edge in second-chance points as well.
— The loss spoiled an excellent offensive night for Smith, who led the team with 25 points along with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
— Things were looking good at the half, after the Hawks scored a season-high 67 points and ended on a high note with Ivan Johnson‘s double-clutch buzzer-beating 3-pointer. However the 11-point lead was shortlived, as Cleveland started the second half on a 17-6 run to cut Atlanta’s lead to one and the game was back on again.
A frustrating loss no doubt, but every team is going to have a few of these per season. Cleveland got some big performances from some unexpected sources, shot 21-22 from the foul stripe, and found themselves in the right place at the right time repeatedly.
The Hawks have a few days off now to think about it, and hopefully the rest will bring the team back full speed when they take the court next Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.