Postgame Thoughts: Smith Huge In Win Over Mavs
A few thoughts after tonight’s 105-101 win over the Mavericks:
– The Hawks have made a habit of getting off to slow starts on the road, so it was good to see them come out firing tonight, scoring 31 points in the opening frame.
– Kyle Korver made a three-pointer in his 44th straight game tonight, one game after setting a franchise record with 43 straight. The streak is the longest active one in the NBA.
– Good to see Devin Harris back in the starting lineup after being bothered by a few nagging injuries. He scored seven first quarter points in his return and finished with 15 overall, including three 3-pointers.
– Say what you want about Josh Smith’s shot selection on the perimeter, but he had it working tonight, going 4-5 from three-point range and 10-15 overall (26 points). He has now hit 10 of his past 15 threes spanning five games, and his only miss from deep tonight came on a rushed shot at the end of the shot clock off a Dallas block. Oh, he had 13 rebounds and six assists too. I guess that’s pretty good.
– Jeff Teague extended his 20+ point streak to four games by making two critical free throws with 13 seconds left. There’s no doubt he’s a legitimate scoring threat that opponents will have to take seriously from now on. The Hawks were wondering who was going to pick up the scoring load in Lou Williams’ absence. I’d say Teague has been that guy.
– The Hawks have had double-digit leads in each of their past four games. In two of the past three, they’ve managed to hang tough when the other team has made a run and come away with wins.
– The offense has been clicking. The Hawks have scored 100 or more points in each of their last four games, and while the defense has been shaky at times, there’s more than enough firepower to keep this team in games.
– Just wondering – How many times is Al Horford going to slip a screen, catch a pass under the basket from Smith and dunk it late in the game with nobody around him? That slip screen play, with all the attention on Korver, has directly contributed to two wins over the past two weeks and has been a huge play in many others. Opponents have scouts for a reason, right?
– Zaza Pachulia looks to be fully healed. He grabbed 10 rebounds and scored eight points in 16 minutes off the bench.
– The Hawks did turn the ball over seven times in the fourth quarter, which would have stood out more if not for the stellar defensive effort. Dallas scored just 20 points in the final quarter.
– Horford was a forgotten man, as he often is with the attention that Smith, Korver and Teague get, but he chipped in 21 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 10-14 from the field. Another day at the office.
– Anthony Tolliver started for the third straight time tonight, though he had a rough go offensively, going 0-4 from the field and scoring just one point.
– The Hawks made their final six free throws tonight and needed every one of them to hold off Dirk Nowitzki, who scored the final seven for the Mavericks.
This was a much-needed road win for a team that has struggled to win away from home in 2013. The Hawks answered every punch Dallas threw and even battled back from a brief five-point fourth quarter deficit to win. They play their final game before the All Star break Wednesday in Orlando against the struggling Magic. It’ll be nice if they can take care of business and head into the weekend with some momentum.