Postgame Thoughts: Third Unit Gives Hawks Lift Despite Loss
A few thoughts after tonight’s 100-94 loss to the Pacers:
– How about the energy the Hawks’ third unit brought tonight? The combination of Shelvin Mack, DeShawn Stevenson, John Jenkins, Ivan Johnson and Mike Scott helped turn a 22-point fourth quarter lead to just four. The first two units couldn’t find a rhythm tonight, but it was good for this group thanks to trapping defense and active hands that forced a bunch of Indiana turnovers. All five guys played the entire quarter.
– The Pacers are going to make a lot of teams look bad on both sides of the floor, but what was most disappointing to me was the fact that the Hawks played so poorly against essentially Indiana’s bench. The Pacers were playing without George Hill, Danny Granger, Lance Stephenson and David West and still had their way with the Atlanta.
– The Hawks were without Devin Harris tonight, but to me that was okay because this really isn’t his type of game. The Hawks were better off using Stevenson and Dahntay Jones to match up with the Pacers, while I think Harris is better suited for games like yesterday’s against Milwaukee’s quick guards. Hopefully the foot is nothing serious and he can get back on the court during the road trip.
– Mack had his best offensive output as a Hawk, scoring 10 points and dropping four assists. Atlanta assisted on 10 of its final 15 made shots after handing out only eight assists over its first 21 makes.
– Josh Smith shot the ball effectively tonight, going 7-10 on his way to 20 points in just three quarters.
– Kyle Korver’s three-point streak is now at 64 games thanks to a 2-4 effort from deep tonight.
– A few statistical notes: The Hawks forced the Pacers into 21 turnovers but committed 16 of their own. The Pacers shot 59 percent in the first half, but the Hawks got that number to 48 by game’s end. After scoring 58 points in the first half, Indiana mustered just 42 in the second.
This was a loss for the Hawks, but Indiana is a tough place to win for anybody. These teams could meet in the postseason, and I’ve said all year that this is the one team the Hawks absolutely want to avoid. Indiana has size and length that the Hawks just can’t match up with, and the Pacers showed it again tonight by scoring at will. Hopefully the Hawks can split the final two of this road trip. If so, going 2-2 on a tough road trip would still be an accomplishment. Hopefully Harris’ foot injury isn’t too serious, and we’re all still waiting to see how Zaza Pachulia will respond from the Achilles injury. Until then, the Hawks will have to weather the storm.
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