The Hawks came out strong offensively, and made it a point to not get pounded on the boards by a tough team. Though the Nuggets outshot the Hawks 52.6% to 42.3% in the first half, the Hawks had 14 more shots in part due to a 9-4 offensive rebounding edge and five fewer turnovers (13-8).
By the finale, the Hawks outmuscled and out-hustled Denver in the offensive glass, 19-11, and took home the 108-104 victory. The 19 offensive rebounds are the most the Hawks have had in a game since January 12 of this year a season ago. The Nuggets never folded, however, as the Hawks never led by more than 10 points. Both teams came into Wednesday night in the with sub 70% season marks from the line but both teams shot above 84% tonight.
Devin Harris had a strong first half alongside Jeff Teague for most of the night. He went 4-4 but left the court limping just before halftime. He was less of a factor in the second half, finishing with 12 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Despite blowing a few layups, Zaza was a beast in the second quarter, getting to the line 6 times for 11 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, including 3 key offensive boards. However he made no other impact whatsoever from that point on.
The story of the game was Ty Lawson blowing by everyone in transition and feasting in the paint. He also added a 5-5 night from behind the arc for a total of 32 points on 16 shots, 7 assists and 5 steals. Jeff Teague may have had his worst game of the season, watching Lawson get to the rack over and over and missing 12 of 16 shots that resulted in an incredibly bad -18 +/- rating.
In a game that looked to be a mismatch on the boards, the Hawks handled themselves very well, snatching the rebounding margin 47-40. Next game is Friday at home against the Washington Wizards coming off a recent victory over the world champion Miami Heat.
1. Al Horford: He was in the mix offensively and defensively early and often with 25 points on 20 shots, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 assist and a block. Denver’s 7 footers were not nearly mobile enough to stop in the halfcourt nor in transition.
2. Josh Smith: Despite the handful of obligatory bad shots, he lead the team rebounding with 13 and altered many shots on the defensive end.
3. Lou Williams: He didn’t shoot too well, but it didn’t matter as he got to the line 6 times to help pace the team for a 16-19 output from the line. He even served as the primary ball handler down the stretch with 6 assists in the game.