After a third quarter collapse and loss in Philly the night before, the Hawks responded to Larry Drew’s claims that they quit by blowing out the over-matched Cavaliers, 121-94.
Joe Johnson led the way with 25 points on 10-18 shooting, including 5-9 from three. Joe is really starting to pick his game up after a slow start to the season, averaging 22 points on 50% three-point shooting over the last five games. He seems to be taking more shots in the flow of the offense instead of relying on isos, which is really keeping the offense from continually getting stagnant in the halfcourt. I really hope Joe continues to do this, because it is becoming increasingly obvious that this team is better when keeping ball movement high and rarely falling into isolation sets.
Some other positives from the win:
- Zaza started and played a great game: 13 points, six boards (five offensive!), and four assists. He and T-Mac really have a great two-man game going when they are on the floor together, which I think is a great weapon to have from a second unit. Though Drew has been starting Collins recently, I think continued performances like this from Zaza will earn him a permanent spot against teams that don’t have Dwight Howard.
- Marvin, Ivan, and Pargo went a combined 16-23 from the floor, with Pargo adding six assists. This was probably Pargo’s best game as a Hawk, as he had no turnovers with his 14 and 6. He also had a few heat checks, which were entertaining to say the least.
- This was the highest scoring game for the Hawks this season, surpassing the 111 scored against Charlotte on the 12th.
- Jerry Stackhouse scored!
Even though this was a blowout, there still were a couple of negatives.
- Smoove had another bad offensive night, going 2-9 from the floor. His shot selection wasn’t terrible, but he still managed to miss a few at the rim that he normally makes. However, he did make some great passes and recorded four steals against one turn.
- Despite the blowout, the Hawks did let Cleveland shoot 49% from the floor. It’s great that the Hawks had a great shooting night, but they can’t allow opponents to shoot almost 50%.
All things aside, this was a great win on the second night of a back-to-back and shows that the Hawks may have more mental toughness than last year. They start a five game road trip in Milwaukee on Monday, so let’s hope they maintain that mentality.