(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma City Thunder (106) Atlanta Hawks (99) Game Recap


Match ups have been a common theme around the Soaring Down South blog of late. Recently we have talked about how bad of a match up the Celtics have when taking on the Hawks. Conversely the Magic cause the Hawks all kinds of problems. Add the Oklahoma City Thunder to that same  match up problem list.

With last night’s 106-99 victory the Thunder successfully completed the season sweep of the Atlanta Hawks. While this game got close at the end, it just seemed like the Hawks were laboring trying to stay in it. A Joe Johnson explosion and a switch to a zone defense allowed the Hawks to close the gap and tie the game but they never could get over the hump. When the Thunder needed points Kevin Durant got to the free throw line, if they needed a big shot then Jeff Green delivered, and most painfully to this writer if they needed a big offensive rebound then Russel Westbrook came up with that as well. The Hawks ultimately had no answer.

I touched on it in the preview that the Hawks needed to take advantage inside and control the offensive and defensive boards. The Hawks have seen their Defensive Rebounding efficiency slipping at an alarming rate. This is one of the areas that they will have to look to improve going forward. The Thunder completely owned the boards out rebounding the Hawks 45 to 35 with 17 being offensive rebounds. Al Horford and Josh Smith had 11 rebounds combined, Kevin Durant had 11 by himself. For that matter Russell Westbrook had 9 of his own.

Kevin Durant was huge scoring 33 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He was also 14 of 14 from the free throw line. The Thunder held a big advantage at the line making more free throws than the Hawks attempted (27 to 25)

For the Hawks Joe Johnson was yet again marvelous scoring 37 points on 13 of 20 shooting. The problem was the Hawks couldn’t get a consistent effort from anyone else and just could not come up with a stop or a rebound on the defensive end when they needed it. Josh Smith scored 15 points and recorded the one thousandth block of his young career becoming the youngest player ever to do so. Al Horford chipped in 14 and Mike Bibby had 12 points and 6 assists in what was one of his better performances in recent days.

It’s important for the Hawks to leave this loss in Oklahoma as they return to Phillips arena tonight to take on the Clippers in a game they really need to win. As a team they have been taking care of business at home and they absolutely have to keep that going tonight against the Clippers.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Oklahoma City Thunder

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I can’t believe our front-line got out-worked by the Thunder’s. That’s unacceptable.

  • KWillis

    The Thunder really impress me, and Durant’s whole game improvement is off of the chart. I just wish we had the guys that could get to the free throw line the way they do. Is Durant already getting superstar calls or are they just that good at drawing contact.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    He’s already getting superstar calls, and Mark Wunderlich hates the Hawks. Rarely does he officiate a good game for Atlanta. I’m making that statement strictly off memory. In the post game show Stinger and Jerome were complaining about how Joe doesn’t get foul calls. Yes Joe does drive and at times he’s fouled without the benefit of the whistle, but Joe also maneuvers in such a way as to avoid contact. Where other superstars are jumping into defenders, Joe is contorting his body in such ways to make sure they don’t hit him. He needs to work on that, but Joe is almost 30 so that’s obviously just something he has no interest in. Maybe he doesn’t like getting hit or maybe he doesn’t want to get the reputation of some of the other league darlings. However, his refusal to initiate contact is the thing that separates him from the superstars and it’s also a big reason why he averages 20-21ppg as opposed to maybe 24-27 ppg.

  • KWillis

    In my opinion and granted I have no numbers to back this up. I want to say that Joe used to drive more especially when we first got him. It was so frustrating for the Hawks back then to not be very good and get in a close game and Joe couldn’t get to the line. I used to feel the same way about Reef when he played here. Granted I have no basis to back this up and it is just an opinion I formed off recollections. Its almost like Joe realized he wasn’t the call therefore he was better off shooting the fade away. Joe doesn’t have a lot of lift but he is strong. There is clearly times that he gets fouled going to the basket. Crawford when he gets rolling can get those calls. Joe never does. Back then I used to beg from my couch for Woodson to get a Tech or get thrown out in defense of Joe. Again I have no basis to back that up other than my own observations.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I definitely agree with you about the lack of calls in the early years, but bad teams don’t get those kinds of calls. I used to long for Woody to get a tech or something too, but I’ve come to realize that it’s on Joe. He’s going to have to whine and flop and flail and do all of the things we hate if he’s going to get the refs to acknowledge him. His quiet demeanor is charming and refreshing especially since most players argue every call, but it’s not going to get him anywhere. He’s going to have to become more vocal with the refs. I don’t see it happening.

  • KWillis

    Your right it isn’t his mentality. What do you think about the Clippers tonight?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    They should blow the Clippers out. They are not a good team and the Hawks have done pretty well dispatching of lesser teams this year. (all things considered) Should be a high scoring affair that highlights the Hawks strengths. Maybe they can talk them into leaving Marcus Camby here. ;)

  • KWillis

    I second that. I’d love to see Camby here even if all he did was come off of the bench.

  • KWillis

    Well it wasn’t exactly a blow out but I will take a win.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Right! No need to nitpick!