Postgame Thoughts: Hawks at Grizzlies
Some thoughts on arguably the most impressive win of the season, a 93-83 road victory over the Grizzlies in Memphis:
— You know, it was a nice home stretch for the Hawks the last couple weeks. A lot of off days to rest, and a lot of victories — albeit over some of the league’s less impressive teams. As such, Atlanta got some credit for their winning ways, but the sportswriters around the league were still hesitant to crown this team true contenders. Something tells me that could change a bit after this win.
The Grizzlies came into Saturday night’s game with the best winning percentage in the NBA and have been nearly unbeatable at home. All the Hawks did was hand them their worst loss of the season, holding Memphis to their lowest point total of the year in the process.
— The first half was controlled by the Grizzlies, but the Hawks hung tough, never letting the game get out of hand. They trailed by 6 at the half, 47-41, but hadn’t played especially well. Then the third quarter started, and the team put together its best 12-minute stretch of the season.
Trailing 58-53 with 5:05 remaining in the third, the Hawks went off. Al Horford scored on an alley-oop out of a timeout to start a 20-0 run over the next 4 1/2 minutes, and Lou Williams capped it off with 11 straight point (including 3 straight 3-pointers) to give the Hawks a 73-58 lead. The Grizzlies didn’t know what hit them.
— Atlanta led by as much as 18 against Washington in Friday’s win, but allowed the Wizards to close within 2 down the stretch. And while the Grizzlies did their best to close the gap, the Hawks stiffened, never allowing Memphis closer than 6 throughout the final quarter.
— Josh Smith, take a bow. What an outstanding game for Josh, who played aggressively in the paint all night long on his way to a 24 point, 8 rebound night. Smoove was the Hawks’ closer in this game, scoring 7 straight points during a crucial stretch of the 4th when Memphis was threatening to make it a game.
— Make it five-straight double-doubles for Horford, who had 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Houston, here we come!
— Perhaps the most impressive stat of the night? The Hawks outrebounded the Grizzlies 44-40. The edge inside didn’t end there, as Atlanta also won the points in the paint battle, 42-38. That’s pretty impressive, especially when facing one of the NBA’s biggest and most-talented frontlines.
— The Hawks have still yet to allow a team to shoot 50% or better from the field this season — the only team in the league with such a claim.
A terrific, terrific win, and one sure to make fans around the league sit up and take notice.
What did you think?