Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Throttle Grizzlies
A few thoughts coming up on the Hawks’ impressive 103-92 win over the Grizzlies at Philips Arena:
— The Hawks played tough even though they lost to the Pacers on Tuesday, and kept that energy up against the Grizzlies to complete the season-sweep against the Western Conference contenders. The final score showed only an 11-point margin of victory, but the game never felt in doubt after halftime. Really one of the better performances of the season for the team, given the level of competition.
— Josh Smith and Al Horford get the most chatter for potential All-Star appearances, but I’d argue that no player makes a bigger impact on the Hawks when he is on his game than Jeff Teague. JT attacked early and often, getting his own shot and creating opportunities for his teammates, and putting up his 4th 20-10 performance of the season, finishing the night with 22 points and a season-high 13 assists.
— Of course, it’s easy to rack up assists when everything your teammates throw in the direction of the basket goes down. The Hawks shot a piping-hot 62.2% in the first half, including 7-13 from downtown. Rookie guard John Jenkins hit a career-high 3 3-pointers, all in the second quarter!
— Speaking of 3s, Kyle Korver continues to hit them with frequency. Korver hit a pair tonight, pushing his consecutive game streak to 42, which ties the franchise record held by Mookie Blaylock. KK goes for the record Friday night against the Hornets.
— The Hawks led 58-48 at intermission, but really put the hammer down in the third, outscoring the Grizzlies 11-0 over the first 5 1/2 minutes to extend their lead to 21. The Grizzlies in fact scored only 4 points in the first 10 minutes of the period.
— Devin Harris, still dealing with a nagging foot injury, returned from missing the past two games to really make a difference. Harris played 16 minutes, scoring 8 points and dishing out 3 assists off the bench, and keeping the Hawks’ engine revving with Teague on the bench.
— Ivan Johnson had two monster dunks. Here’s one of them. As Dominique Wilkins said on the broadcast after the second one, it was “a man’s dunk.” Indeed.
— Kudos also go to Anthony Tolliver, getting only his second start of the season and making the most of his minutes, as he chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes. Tolliver rarely does anything outside of his comfort zone, and made smart plays when the opportunities presented themselves.
A much-needed win for Atlanta coming off two straight losses, and with some winnable games coming up the Hawks have a good chance to finish strong heading into the All-Star break.
What’d you think?