The Hawks used a smothering defensive effort and an efficient scoring offense to end a 10 year losing streak in Houston. (Wow 10 years?) This was exactly how the Hawks needed to start a very difficult week by beating a quality Western Conference team on the road. After trailing early the team was able to clamp down in the 2nd quarter and seize control of the game. When the Hawks are committed on the defensive end they are capable of playing with anyone in the NBA.
Josh Smith had 22 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 4 blocked shots. Lately his all around game has really ignited the Hawks who have now won 8 of their last 10 games and have taken a 1 game lead over the Orlando Magic in the Southeast Division. Joe Johnson chipped in with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on a very efficient 8 of 16 shooting. If their was a negative to last night Al Horford briefly left the game in the 1st quarter due to a cut on his left thumb that required stitches. He returned to the game in the 2nd and appeared to show no effects of the injury.
The Hawks are off on Tuesday and travel to San Antonio on Wednesday to take on Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Having already defeated Dallas and Houston on the road the Hawks need a win in San Antonio to pull off the sweep of the Texas Triangle which is something that I am not sure is ever happened. (someone needs to look that up). A great performance in San Antonio would be a great way to go into Friday night’s game against the Celtics in what is sure to be a sold out Phillips Arena. Another small tidbit to add to this week is if the Hawks can somehow overtake the Celtics for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference by Sunday then Mike Woodson would be the coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars. (due to Cleveland’s Mike Brown not being eligible) It is certainly possible with the Hawks trailing the Celtics by only half a game in the standings and the Celtics having as difficult a stretch of games as the Hawks do. The Celtics next 3 opponents are at Orlando on Thursday, in Atlanta on Friday, and back home on Sunday to take on the Lakers. So a lot of stuff to keep an eye on as it is sure to be an interesting week surrounding the Hawks. Also All Star reserves are announced on Thursday so we will have a report up on that as well.