Postgame Thoughts: Hawks vs. Nets
A few thoughts coming up on the Hawks’ 109-95 win over the Nets Wednesday night at Philips Arena:
— You knew the Hawks would respond after Monday’s loss in Chicago, and respond they did. Clearly determined and focused from the get-go, the Hawks led from wire-to-wire in picking up the win over the Nets, who came into the night with the NBA’s longest current winning streak at 7 games. After putting up only 58 points against the Bulls, Atlanta had 57 by halftime in this one, and led comfortably for most of the night.
— The Hawks had a very clear game plan coming into the game. Run. Run again. And then run some more. It was pretty effective too, as Atlanta took advantage of the Nets playing their second game in two nights to ring up a 29-12 advantage in fast-break points. Devin Harris was the catalyst early, repeatedly beating his former teammates down the court for layups in the first half and setting the tone for the way the game would be played. The Hawks have played Harris’ two most recent teams in the last two home games, and he’s averaged 21 points in two Atlanta wins. Watch out Dallas!
— A lot of good games all around tonight, but how bout some dap for Zaza Pachulia? The big man just missed his first career triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-best 8 assists. In a game full of highlights, the crowd got a particular delight out of Zaza’s behind-the-back pass to Al Horford for a jumper in the third quarter.
— The win was also a bit of redemption for Jeff Teague, who scored only 6 points on 2-8 shooting in the loss to Chicago. Teague dropped his fifth double-double of the season, including a career-high 28 points on 12-18 from the field.
— The Hawks played the game without Josh Smith, who was suspended one game earlier in the day due to conduct detrimental to the team. His teammates picked up the slack in his absence, as six players scored in double figures including all five starters.
— The game marked the return of Joe Johnson, back for his first game against his former team after seven years in Atlanta. And while the team payed a nice little tribute to JJ with a video during the first half, the Philips Arena crowd was not as generous, routinely booing him every time he touched the ball. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I will say it might have been effective, as Johnson shot just 4-15 from the field on his way to 15 points.
— Congrats again to Steve Holman, who marked his 2000th straight game voicing play-by-play for the Hawks radio broadcast. The team honored Holman during the break between the first and second quarters with a silver microphone and a framed photo montage autographed by the entire team. Here’s to 2000 more Steve!
These two teams are not through with each other, as they play again Friday night in Brooklyn in Atlanta’s only back-to-back home-and-home of the season. Tonight’s win was certainly a great way to start it off.
What’d you think?