Who?: Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte Bobcats
What?: Hawks win sixth straight, beat Bobcats 94-91
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
How?: Second Half Surge
The Hawks looked to repeat what the Thunder did to the Bobcats two nights ago, or at least what the Hawks did to them last week in Wednesday’s game in Philips Arena. However, neither type of winning margin was repeated against Charlotte this time, with the Hawks sliding by the Cats 94-91.
The Hawks put up 32 three point shots, making 12, with Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson, Kyle Korver and Lou Williams all putting up at least 4. Save for a 35 3PA outburst last April against the Magic, the last time they had more than 32 3PA in a game was in the 1996-97 season. That team had Mookie Blalock, Steve Smith and current Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin as the most prolific three point shooters.
Josh Smith came very close to a rare 5×5, or at least 5 points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks. He started slow shooting the ball, 2-7 in the first half, but finished with 17 points on 7-15 shooting, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals. Ben Gordon singlehandedly made it a squeaker down the stretch, scoring 20 points including 5-7 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter alone.
The game was overall an offensive grind, with neither team surpassing 40% shooting. Still, this win moves the Hawks to 9-4, including a current 6 game winning streak. Next game is Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
1. Josh Smith: Josh gets this for his aformentioned near 5×5. He was everywhere, blocking shots and finishing transition breaks. Though he still jacked up 8 shots outside the paint, hitting only 2, he still is a gifted passer and rebounder and gave the Bobcats headaches the entire game.
2. Al Horford: He logged 42 minutes and was his usual self, almost equalling Josh Smith’s box score line stat for stat.
3. Lou Williams: He had to step up in the second half with Kyle Korver going down to an apparent back stiffness. He had 17 points and 5 assists.
Points: Ben Gordon (26)
Rebounds: Josh Smith (13)
Assists: Ramon Sessions (8)
Steals: Josh Smith (3)
Blocks: Josh Smith (5)
Game Grades: Each player is given a grade on an A+ through F scale based upon their game performance.
Jeff Teague: B-
Nothing spectacular from Teague on this night, but he was pretty solid through. He takes a small deduction for missing all 4 of his shots within the paint (very uncharacteristic), but 5 assists and three triples are enough to say that he contributed positively.
Kyle Korver: B
On a night where he shoots 3-10 from the field and 2-7 from three, it is tough to give Korver too much praise. That said, he reportedly has back spasms, and was still able to play 23 semi-productive minutes despite not having it going with his jumper.
DeShawn Stevenson: C-
I’m not sure why he started the game against the Bobcats (not his fault), but he also didn’t play well in the 21 minutes allotted to him. 1-5 from the field isn’t shocking, but it also isn’t good, and his defensive value wasn’t there tonight.
Josh Smith: A-
Such a Josh Smith game. He tied for the team lead in points (17) and assists (6). He led the team outright in rebounds (13), steals (3), and blocks (5). Pretty outstanding, right? Absolutely. “Good Josh” made more appearances than “Bad Josh” on this night. Even with all of that, I couldn’t hand out an A simply because he willfully attempted 9 shots from 11+ feet… He converted 2 of them.
Al Horford: A
Made the clinching free throws. Had a double-double with 17 and 11 and even blocked 3 shots. I love you, Al.
Devin Harris: C
24 minutes in his return, and he was about average for what you’d expect. 2-of-7 shooting including 2-of-6 from three-point distance isn’t something that you love. However, he did add 4 assists and 2 steals in those limited minutes, and generally contributed positively.
Lou Williams: B+
Led the team in field goal attempts (16) and three-point attempts (8), but with that, tied for the team-lead in scoring, and had 5 assists in 29 minutes as well. He’s still a volume scorer by nature, but his overall efficiency is unquestioned at this point.
Anthony Morrow: B
Should play more than 16 minutes on a night where the opponent doesn’t have a strong wing scorer. Made 3-of-5 field goal attempts including his only three-point venture, and didn’t kill Atlanta anywhere else. Exactly what you need from him.
Ivan Johnson: n/a
I have no idea why Ivan Johnson didn’t play, and because of that, I still included him here. He shouldn’t be catching DNP-CDs with the roster as currently constructed.
Zaza Pachulia: C+
Not Zaza’s best effort, but not terrible either. 2-of-7 from the field leaves a lot to be desired for a front-court guy, but his 4 offensive rebounds were big. With Al playing well (and playing 42 minutes), his contributions were hidden a bit.
Larry Drew: C-
Same story, different day. No seeming accountability for Josh Smith’s jumpers. Deshawn Stevenson starting (and playing 21 minutes) against one of the worst teams in the league as far as wing offensive options go. Ivan Johnson getting a DNP-CD while Devin Harris and the aforementioned Stevenson see extended time. He gets credit for a flowing offense on this night (28 of 36 field goals were assisted), but the negatives that we see game-in and game-out don’t seem to change.
Charlotte Bobcats: B
Charlotte got absolutely housed earlier in the week by OKC, but they came out and fought for 48 minutes on the road here. Ben Gordon was the best player on the court for the Bobcats, making 7 threes on a night where Kemba Walker was pretty dreadful in his 38 minutes. This definitely isn’t the same, laughable team that took the court last season, and they came about 2 plays short here. There’s no question that they are one guy (and maybe two) away from being even a fringe playoff contender, and they really need another effective wing/small forward to replace Jeffery Taylor’s 25 minutes a night. Overall, they played reasonably well, and this grade would be higher if they made their 2-point shots (39.5 overall FG% despite 50% on threes).
Plays of the Game:
Player of the Game:
Atlanta Hawks host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 PM (ET).