Postgame Thoughts: Hawks Show Heart In Must-Win
A few thoughts after tonight’s 96-92 win over the Lakers:
– We knew this would be a tough game without Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, DeShawn Stevenson and Zaza Pachulia, and it certainly was. The Lakers came from 14 down to take the lead in the second half, but this was truly a team win as the Hawks battled through adversity and some unbelievable Kobe Bryant buckets to pull out the victory.
– Kyle Korver made a three pointer for the 57th straight game, extending a franchise record. So far, the only team I’ve seen make a commitment to defend him for 48 minutes is the Celtics. The Hawks play Boston again in two weeks, so we’ll see if they defend him the same way in 16 days that they did last week.
– How about the play of Shelvin Mack? With Teague down due to an ankle injury, Mack was the backup point guard to Devin Harris tonight and was serviceable in extended minutes, scoring seven points, recording two assists and not turning the ball over at all while giving Harris some much-needed rest.
– Johan Petro once again did a nice job in the starting role. In his third start in four games, the big man scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and held Dwight Howard to just 10 points and three offensive rebounds after he scored 39 last night against Orlando. Petro has done nice work against Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and now Howard this week. All three were All Stars this year.
– Al Horford looked like a man possessed tonight. He got a bit too excited in the second half, but his first half dunks were monstrous. Without his frontcourt mate, the Hawks needed him to bring energy, and he certainly did.
– John Jenkins scored 12 points tonight on 3-6 shooting from downtown, giving him 22 over the past two games. He’s certainly not afraid to take the shot when he’s open, and that aggressiveness is a good sign coming from a rookie. I can’t wait to watch him get even better.
– Kobe Bryant went off for 20 points in the third quarter on his way to a 31-point night, but he needed 33 shots to get there. You’ll take that if you’re Larry Drew.
A lot of guys played well tonight, and there’s a lot that can be said. Harris made some great shots when we needed him to, and Ivan Johnson may have grabbed the offensive rebound of the year. Overall, a gutty performance by an undermanned Hawks team, and a victory they so desperately needed. The next step now is to get everybody healthy and ready for the final 18 games of the season.
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