This is basically how it went.
Hawks got off to a slow start. Cavs got off to a hot start. Joe Johnson struggles. Cavs lead by as many as 16 points. Hawks come back from that deficit, lead by 1 at halftime, thanks to Josh Smith and Jerry Stackhouse. Halftime. Joe continues to struggle. Josh Smith continues to try and carry the team. Cavs and Hawks keep exchanging blows. 4th quarter. Josh Smith takes more shots and puts team on his back. Joe Johnson continues to struggle. Hawks and Cavs keep exchanging blows. Hawks down 3. Joe Johnson hits three pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Overtime. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith making big shots. Kirk Hinrich makes bad decision by turning the ball over and committing a flagrant foul. Cavs are up by 6. Joe hits a 3. Josh Smith makes an “and-1″. Tie game. Tristan Thompson fouled. Makes 1 of 2 free throws. Cavs up 1. Joe Johnson makes another big shot, Hawks up 1. Irving takes a jump shot, miss. Alonzo Gee gets a GW tip opportunity. Miss. Hawks win by 1.
A game that I’ll like to forget to say the least.
Final Score: Cavaliers 102 | Hawks 103 OT
SDS Player of the Game (Jerry Stackhouse)
Josh Smith and Joe Johnson easily had the better stat lines, but you can have complaints about the way they did play last night (you’ll see below). For Stackhouse? You can’t, simply because he did the best that he could in the opportunity that he got. That, and because well, I don’t ever expect much from him.
Also, I just had to give it to him because this is probably his last chance of ever winning one (not that it’s such an honor to).
In 11 minutes of playing time, Jerry Stackhouse scored and tied a season high 10 points. He scored 8 of those points in the last 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter which was huge in the Hawks’ comeback from a 16 point deficit. Stackhouse also tallied a steal and an assist in those 3 minutes as well.
It was a career night for Josh Smith. He tied a career high, playing 51 minutes and he got a new career high in field goal attempts (29).
Josh Smith shot a lot tonight and didn’t see the ball go in very much, going 10-29 from the field.
However, you just can’t look at that and say Josh Smith forced shots and had another sub par game. Because he didn’t (at least for the latter part). Josh Smith played hard. When the Cavaliers were up 16 points, and when it looked like the Cavs were about to run away with this game in the first half, Josh Smith was once again the spark that led to a Hawks come back.
Josh Smith played hard, and it showed in his rebounds, as he grabbed 17 out of the Hawks 38 rebounds.
Did I mention that he also went 12-14 from the free throw line and scored 5 of the Hawks’ 12 points in overtime?
Yeah, it was ugly to see Josh Smith take shot after shot and see him miss so much, but you take Josh Smith out of this game, the Hawks would have easily been blown out (by the Cavaliers!).
Josh Smith finished with 32 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks.
Joe “Superman” Johnson
Joe Johnson scored 22 points in 7-19 shots. That’s not something to harp about if you’re just looking at the boxscore.
Joe played terrible in the first 47 minutes of the game. Cleveland really turned up the defensive pressure on him and made him miss 10 out of his first 12 shots, and forced Joe Johnson to pass the ball.
However, Clark Kent went into the booth and came out with his cape on with about 1 minute left in the game. With the Hawks down 2 with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter, Joe Johnson hit a three to put the Hawks up 1. Cleveland made two consecutive field goals and now the Hawks found themselves down 3, with only 5 seconds left. Once again, Joe bailed the Hawks out by hitting a three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Joe continued his heroic play, scoring 7 of the Hawks’ 12 points in overtime, including the go ahead and eventually game winning basket with 18 seconds left in the game.
Overall, sure, Joe Johnson finished 7-19. Not great. But in the last minute of the game and the entire overtime period, Joe went 5-6 from the field for 13 points. That’s impressive.
Joe had a rough shooting night, but it’s hard to criticize him when he stepped up late in the game. I know one can argue that the Hawks wouldn’t even be in that situation if Joe played better in the first 47 minutes of the game, but he didn’t. But he did make up for it. All that matters is, is that Joe Johnson led his team to another victory with his heroic play late in the game. To criticize Joe Johnson on the way he played, even though he was the best player on the court in the most critical parts of the game, is reaching a “hater” level.
Joe Johnson finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 0 turnovers.
Wait, this guy is only 19 years old?!
Kyrie Irving is going to be 20 years old in Friday, but it’s still unbelievable to say that this guy is still on his “teens”. He’s just unbelievable to watch. I was skeptic when the Cavaliers drafted him, but it looks like they really knew what they were doing.
In 42 minutes of playing time, Irving had a near triple-double posting a statline of 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. The 7 turnovers he had hurt his team, but you can’t deny that he’s the clear leader and the clear MVP of that team.
Over/under: Kyrie Irving will be the best PG in the NBA in 3 seasons. I say over, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s under.
Please, no more overtime games….
- Kirk Hinrich: 38 minutes
- Jeff Teague: 44 minutes
- Joe Johnson: 45 minutes
- Zaza Pachulia: 48 minutes
- Josh Smith: 51 minutes
Celtics & Hawks Players & Coaches Quotes/Reactions:
It was a great play that coach [Larry Drew] drew up … I was surprised when I turned and looked that I was that wide open. “Fortunately for us, it worked. I got a great look. I just tried to set the ball right in my hand, and I got it off, got a great look, and it went down for me. was surprised when I turned and looked that I was that wide open. All I was thinking about was just getting it up. I got a great look and it went down.
We gave up a 3 and a three-point play while up six in overtime so within 30 seconds it was a tied ball game … which is something we just can’t do … We gave them the game. We just made some bad decisions at the end.
That was a little bit too close for comfort. I think that’s a heck of a win for us, particularly the way we won. We came out that first quarter very lethargic. We allowed them to get off to a fast start. Our defense was non-existent. We didn’t put up any resistance. I told these guys before the game even started that we can’t go out and play the names on that jersey. They’re going to play hard. They’re still in the playoff run. They’ve not been eliminated. They’re still in the playoff hunt, and they’ve been playing well. When we came out, we didn’t play with a sense of urgency, which is really disappointing to me.
Fatigue was definitely a factor in that game. I played the whole second half including overtime. “It was a game we had to win. Coming off a tough loss to the Boston Celtics, we wanted to come out and try to get a win tonight. They jumped on us early on, we came back in the second quarter. It was a tug of war match through the second half. I have to take my hat off to Joe (Johnson). He knocked down some big shots and made some big plays in those extra possessions.
We figured we would just play solid defense at the end of regulation instead of taking the foul. They did a good job of getting a good look at it. We gave them the game.
It gave us life. It gave us a chance to try to prove ourselves and get a win. We had to dig down deep. We were down six I think with a minute and a half to go. Just the fight in our team, the will to not lose this game, we displayed that tonight.
Big plays by Joe and Josh down the stretch, solid game by Z. Go Hawks!
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) March 22, 2012
Extra Short Notes/Box Score Watching:
- Zaza’s Pachulia’s 6 game streak of grabbing 10 or more rebounds ends as he only grabbed 7 points. Scored 14 points though. Needs to finish better at the rim.
- Hinrich made some crucial mistakes in OT, and contributed only 10 points in 4-13 shooting. Also fouled out.
- Jeff Teague contributed 12 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals. Solid statline, but had trouble guarding Irving (like everyone else).
- Tracy McGrady played 9 minutes?!
- Jason Collins played 5 minutes and was a -12 on the court. How is that even possible?
- Welcome back Willie Green. Thanks for your 2 points in 15 minutes.
- Former Hawk, Donald Sloan, contributed 2 points and 2 assists in 11 minutes.
- The Hawks record is now (27-20) and they still maintain their 6th seed spot.
- The Hawks are now only half (.5) a game behind the Indiana Pacers (5th seed).
- The Hawks now post a record of (14-7) in home games this season.
- With this win and an Orlando Magic win, the Hawks continue to be behind the Orlando Magic (3rd seed) by 2.5 games.
- With this win, the Hawks are now ahead by 2 games against the Boston Celtics (7th seed).
- Hawks are now 7-5 in the month of March. 7 games left in March.
Josh Smith was big. Joe Johnson played big in the end. Jerry Stackhouse had his moments. Zaza Pachulia played hard. Jeff Teague had his moments. Hawks win in overtime. Let’s just move on and forget about this game now.
And please, Marvin Williams….please Ivan Johnson….please Jannero Pargo….even you Vladimir Radmanovic…come back soon. The rotation is just way too short right now. I don’t care if you guys are below average players that contribute very little in so many games…the Hawks just need more bodies out there.
The Atlanta Hawks will wrap up their 3 game home stand on Friday vs the New Jersey Nets.
The Hawks are undefeated in the season series so far, winning all three games by a combined margin of 48 points.
The New Jersey Nets are (15-33) overall and post a road record of (10-15). They have lost their last 4 games overall and have lost 6 out of their last 7 games.
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Tags: Alonzo Gee Antawn Jamison Atlanta Hawks Byron Scott Cleveland Cavaliers Donald Sloan Game Recap Jason Collins Jeff Teague Jerry Stackhouse Joe Johnson Josh Smith Kirk Hinrich Kyrie Irving Larry Drew Manny Harris Tracy McGrady Tristan Thompson Willie Green Zaza Pachulia