If you haven’t noticed, Josh Smith is playing like a beast in the last three games.
Two days after putting up a ginormous 25/5/5/4/6 game vs Chicago, Smoove led the Hawks again with 26 points on 10-14 shooting. Josh started off quickly, making his first four jumpers (that’s a phrase I don’t get to say often in regards to Josh), and consistently getting to the free throw line with 11 attempts. (Although he only made six of them)
After a terrible start the season, it is really refreshing to see Josh excelling. He is attacking the inside more and is making his jumpers. I don’t think he will continue to make his jumpers like he has the past few games, but his shot selection is definitely improving and we really need to see if he can continue to make the smart decisions on the floor.
Other positive notes from the game:
- Joe played another quiet, but great game. He finished with 22 points on 9-15 shooting, with six assists. Instead of forcing the isos like he sometimes does, he allowed for the offense to reset when it was obvious that his iso was going nowhere.
- Teague was aggressive throughout they game and was not as hesitant to take the open jumper. He was 3-3 from three point range and had four assists and two steals against two turnovers.
- Horford had 14 points on 7-14 shooting, and was the most successful Hawk on the boards with nine. He had six assists and was part of my favorite play of the game, where he caught a laser pass from Smoove and smashed it home for two.
Now, a couple of negatives from the game:
- The entire team was bullied on the boards, which the Nets won 40-33. Vlad Rad did have six boards, but he could have easily had more if he could have managed to grab on the ball more effectively. Joe only had three rebounds and was part of the tag-team effort with Radmanovic that allowed Nets rookie MarShon Brooks to collect 10 rebounds.
- The defense did a bad job of switching in the 2nd half, allowing Anthony Morrow and Shawne Williams (!) to go off from three point range. New Jersey finished 11-22 from three, and broke the 100 point mark for the first time this season.
- All of the starters played 37+ minutes, with Teague, JJ, and Horford all playing 42 or more. The bench really provided nothing; Zaza looked bad when he tried to put the ball on the floor (why does he ever do that?), and the rest of the bench crew really did not have enough time to do anything.
Overall, the team played decent, although the effort on defense left something to be desired. However, after playing the daunting 9-in-12 game stretch, it is good for the Hawks to get another win on the road, even if it was against New Jersey.