Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Can’t Keep Up With Running Nuggets
A few thoughts after tonight’s 104-88 loss to the Nuggets:
– This was a recipe set up for disaster from the get-go. The Hawks were coming off a road game against one of the hottest teams in basketball in Los Angeles, had to fly into Denver in the middle of the night, turn around and play a game at 5,280 feet above see level a few hours later against a team that was 25-3 at home (Come on NBA, help us out?). It wasn’t likely going to be a win regardless, but the news that Kyle Korver, Zaza Pachulia and DeShawn Stevenson were out made it that much harder.
– Al Horford’s streak of consecutive games with at least 20 points ended tonight. Larry Drew pulled the big man with just under three minutes to play when the Nuggets stretched the lead to 17. A great run by Al…and he still led the team with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
– Congratulations are in order for Josh Smith, who surpassed 10,000 career points tonight. He’s only the eighth Hawk to have ever done that. Congrats J-Smoove!
– Devin Harris scored in double figures for the seventh straight game, most of which have been with him coming off the bench. If he can keep up the consistent shooting, it appears the Hawks have another reliable offensive weapon down the stretch.
– Newcomers Dahntay Jones and Jeremy Tyler got their first significant minutes of the season tonight with the team being shorthanded. Tyler pulled down three rebounds in just six minutes, while Jones dropped in four points in his first start as a Hawk. Hopefully these minutes will give the guys confidence going forward.
– John Jenkins was just 4-12 from the field tonight but did score 12 points. He, like many of the guys, saw significantly more playing time than usual.
– Jeff Teague appears to have shaken off the rust a bit. While he didn’t shoot the ball well, he was able to score 15 points, dish out eight assists and turn it over just twice against the scrap-happy Nuggets defense.
Denver scored 70 points in the paint tonight, out-rebounded the Hawks 48-35 and had 10 more assists. Those are usually signs of a tired team, and Atlanta was certainly that as they continually have up easy baskets in transition and uncontested layups and dunks in the half court. The Hawks will be glad to be home and will get a well-deserved and much-needed day off tomorrow. Although the road trip didn’t end well, 3-3 is respectable on any long trip like that. The Hawks now have the luxury of having more home games left on the schedule than any team in the East, which should be an advantage in the battle for playoff positioning.
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