Another win vs another non-winning team. Not surprising at all.
The Hawks have found success against non-winning teams, winning 18 of a possible 22.
Don’t take anything away from the Hawks though. In fact, give them credit. One of the frustrating things about watching the Hawks was that you could never trust them, even against the bottom feeders.
But the Hawks have slowly given me more confidence in choosing them to win the game whenever it’s against a non-winning team, because they’ve consistently shown this season that they will handle their business.
And they did so tonight. The Hawks won by a really respectable margin of 16 against a not so bad Cavaliers team on the road.
Final Score: Hawks 103 | Cavaliers 87
SDS Player of the Game (Joe Johnson)
Joe Johnson, for the second straight game is the SDS Player of the Game. Joe Johnson had it easy tonight. He scored 28 points in 11-16 shooting in 35 minutes of playing time. It came so easy for him that Bob Rathbun said “Joe Johnson can easily get 50 tonight if he wanted to, but he won’t because Joe is an unselfish player” during the broadcast. While that may be an exaggeration, Mr. Rathbun was right.
I’m not sure if Joe is ever capable of scoring 50, but Joe could have easily scored more than 28 points tonight. There were at times, especially during the 3rd quarter, when I felt he deferred too much. I felt he wasn’t aggressive enough. Now, that’s not something I’m criticizing Joe Johnson for, because I like that he likes to pass…but Joe could have had a career night tonight. Cleveland just had no answer for him.
Another Hawks Player Out? What’s New? Get Well Soon Pargo!
Good news, Hawks won. Bad news, Hawks lose….another player.
According to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, Jannero Pargo will remain in Cleveland tonight as his teammates board a plane to go back to Atlanta. Jannero is set to have an appendectomy tonight in the Cleveland Clinic.
The team doesn’t have a time table estimate of when he’ll be back, but the best we can do is just send him our best wishes and pray that he won’t be out for too long. You can tweet him on Twitter if you want to @jpargo1.
Don’t Be Fooled By Josh Smith
Josh Smith had an all-around game tonight as he was near a triple-double. He scored 7 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 9 assists. When you see that stat line, you might say that Josh Smith didn’t play bad. Well, he did.
First off, Josh Smith took 15 shots today and only made 3. That’s 25% from the field.
Second of all, he could have had a lot more rebounds. Cleveland was missing shots but there so many times during the game where Josh Smith stayed in the perimeter and let Zaza Pachulia try to battle for the rebound all by himself. Cleveland grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. A lot of them could have been avoided if Josh Smith was a bit more active.
Third, he went back to his last season’s way tonight when it comes to complaining to the refs. Josh Smith was shouting, jumping up and down, and basically saying something to the refs in almost every possession (exaggeration). I was surprised he wasn’t hit with a technical foul.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a supporter of Josh Smith. I still think he’s the best player on the team right now and is the team MVP this season, but he just didn’t bring it as much as he could tonight. Just calling it the way I see it.
I’ll give him credit with his court vision tonight though. Some of his assists were LeBron James-esque.
Ivan “The Not So Terrible” Johnson
Boy, it’s nice to have this guy back. For the second straight game, Ivan Johnson has contributed significantly off of the bench.
Tonight, Ivan Johnson was just at the right place at the right time, whether it be for a pass or for a rebound. Ivan Johnson scored 10 solid points in 5-5 shooting and grabbed 4 rebounds (2 offensive) in 24 minutes. He just works hard, simple as that, and his hard work payed off tonight.
Jeff Teague vs Kyrie Irving
Okay, maybe it’s unfair to compare the two. Kyrie Irving was clearly the better player. Irving is more polished offensively and is easily the better distributor and floor leader, but Jeff Teague was certainly no scrub tonight. Teague showed two abilities tonight, the ability to attack the basket and finish and the ability to hit the jump shot. Teague shot the ball well tonight, scoring 18 points in 8 for 14 shooting. Teague also showed his ability to play defense. I know at times this season, Teague has looked like a pretty below average defender, but you couldn’t tell in this game. Teague was staying in front of his man and contested shots (even had 2 blocks!).
Cavaliers & Hawks Players & Coaches Quotes/Reactions:
I just try to take what the defense gives me. It wasn’t anything special I was out there doing.
I like playing with Kirk. He is going to help you out on defense. He’s going to knock down shots. He raises the level of intensity on the floor. It makes me pick up my energy because I see him playing so hard.
It gives us another guard who can really defend. It takes [Johnson] off the ball a little bit but we are still able to run things through him. With both Jeff and Kirk in the backcourt it gives us some versatility at the guard spot. With Kirk in the lineup, especially at the very beginning, he really gets after it. It just makes us much more aggressive and gives us another guy with the ability to break you down off the dribble. It gives us another guy who can catch and shoot. So far it has worked out.
We are doing what we have to do with all the guys injured. It seems like, depending on what day it is, someone is hurt, someone is back. We are just trying to hang in there.
First of all, that’s a pretty good basketball team. Second of all, I thought in the first quarter, they came out and, as we would say, punched us in the mouth — and I don’t think we ever really responded after that. That’s the bottom line.
I thought Pachulia physically beat up Tristan and Samardo. Every now and then when (the Hawks) were shooting the ball, I thought we were on offense because he had pushed us so far under the basket, it looked like he was blocking our guys out.
Great road win for the #atlanta_hawks tonight in Cleveland. It felt good to get back on the floor!
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) March 18, 2012
My prayers for my man J Pargo. Hope that surgery goes well and wish you speedy recovery brother.
— Zaza Pachulia (@zaza27) March 18, 2012
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) March 18, 2012
Extra Short Notes/Box Score Watching:
- Zaza Pachulia played a game high 40 minutes, and he gave the Hawks 9 points and 12 rebounds in 3-11 shooting. While he didn’t shoot the ball well, his “energy” and tenacity for the ball was something the Hawks really needed.
- Kirk Hinrich started at SG once again, and played well….once again. Played 37 minutes and scored 14 points in 6-10 shooting. Played solid defense on Gibson, Parker, and Irving as well.
- Jason Collins played in his first game since going down in February 2nd with an elbow injury. He missed the last 21 games before this one. Played 3 meaningless minutes in the 4th quarter and couldn’t make a mark in the box score.
- Jerry Stackhouse played 9 minutes and scored 9 points in 3-5 shooting. This was his 2nd highest point total of the season (scored 10 vs Heat on March 7).
- Tracy McGrady played 26 minutes and contributed 8 points and 6 rebounds.
- It will be interesting to see how Larry Drew will handle T-Mac’s minutes tomorrow vs Celtics since he played long minutes in the first game of a back-to-back.
- Antawn Jamison was one of the Hawks’ biggest contributors even if he wasn’t wearing one. He took a lot of shots, and he missed a lot of shots. Scored 17 points in 6-22 shooting.
- The Hawks record is now (26-19) and they still maintain their 6th seed spot.
- The Hawks are tied with the Indiana Pacers (5th seed) right now, but Pacers have the edge since they have played 2 less games than the Hawks so far this season.
- The Hawks are back to .500 in road games, posting a record of (13-13).
- They are now only 3.0 games behind the Orlando Magic (3rd seed).
- With this win, the Hawks are now 2.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics (7th seed).
- Hawks are now 6-4 in the month of March.
Even though this is just another win vs another losing record team, it’s still a good win for the Hawks. They took care of business today.
It’s not like they barely won this game either. They pretty much had control of this game from tip-off until the final buzzer.
But….Hawks can’t celebrate too much, this is the first game of a back-to-back…so as Swizz Beatz would say, “on to the next one“.
The Hawks will play the second game of their back-to-back tomorrow vs the Boston Celtics.
This game will be the start of a 3 game home stand for the Hawks.
The Boston Celtics are a respectable 23-21 this season.
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Topics: Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Ivan Johnson, Jason Collins, Jeff Teague, Jerry Stackhouse, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Kyrie Irving, Tracy McGrady, Zaza Pachulia