Who?: Atlanta Hawks vs Denver Nuggets
What?: Hawks get back to winning ways, knock off Nuggets 108-104
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012
How?: Front-court dominance
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.
Points: Ty Lawson (32)
Rebounds: Josh Smith and Timofey Mozgov (13)
Assists: Andre Miller and Ty Lawson (7)
Steals: Ty Lawson (5)
Blocks: JaVale McGee (2)
Game Grades: Each player is given a grade on an A+ through F scale based upon their game performance.
The Atlanta Hawks took the floor on national television Wednesday night as they matched up against the Denver Nuggets.
Atlanta, being fresh off a heart-wrenching loss to the Cavs five days earlier, had more than enough time to right the ship. Namely, their woes on the glass and defensively.
“I think we have some tough guys, it’s just a matter of when we get out there on that court, bringing some type of physical presence, and we didn’t do it well enough against Cleveland,” Hawks player development instructor Nick Van Exel told Hawks.com “And we know against Denver, they’re just as tough as far as going to the offensive glass, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.”
With a glaring disparity between Denver and Atlanta in offensive rebounding, being ranked first and 25th in the league, respectively, the Nuggets were set to give the Hawks an absolute nightmare on paper.
So of course it was only natural for the Hawks to go on to outrebound the Nuggets 19-11 offensively, ultimately becoming one of the games deciding factors.
Basketball is fun, isn’t it?
That said, while a win is a win. What good would it be unless I got to over-analyze and overreact to every players performance?
Fine, it’s still pretty awesome. But you’re stuck with me anyway. (*players will not appear if they did not play at least 15 minutes*)
Jeff Teague: F
Yikes. It was just a night to forget for Teague. He logged 9 points on 4-16 shooting and only dished out four assists. He also managed to make Ty Lawson look like the second coming of Derrick Rose, as Lawson dropped 32 on him.
Lawson was due though. He had been dealing with a shooting slump for the better part of this season and things just started connecting for him. I honestly don’t think it would have mattered all that much who was guarding him, he was just feeling it. So don’t look too much into this one. It is what it is.
Devin Harris: B+
Look, I know what you’re thinking. And no, it’s not a typo. Harris actually looked like the real deal in this one. Maybe he was having New Jersey flashbacks or something. Regardless, he was excellent in dictating the pace with the ball in his hands, he was aggressive but didn’t force the issue(5-6 FG) and notched three steals. I wouldn’t bank on this kind of outing consistently, but he seems to be steadily finding his groove in Atlanta.
DeShawn Stevenson: C+
Stevenson remains the quintessential role player. Never thought you’d hear that, did you? He’s a sturdy defensive presence more often than not, and while he’s not Kyle Korver he’s been a stalwart from beyond the arc. He finished with 9 points on 3-5 from deep. It’s not exactly the kind of performance that’s going to have you naming your future children DeShawn, but there’s something to be said for not trying to do too much and simply letting the game come to you.
Josh Smith: B
Yeah, yeah. His steal, dunk and free throw were the dagger that sealed the game, I get that. But it still doesn’t change the fact his performance just didn’t sit right with me. He finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. And while that might look fairly “stat sheet stuffer supreme” on the surface, it was the manner in which he played that had me, and I’m guessing the entirety of Hawks’ nation, cringing every other 20 seconds.
As in typical J-Smoove fashion he’d make an amazing open court play, dishing it off to Al Horford in a flat-out spectacular sequence one second, then follow it up with some lackadaisical transition defense and cough up a panicky turnover off a double team the next.
To be honest, the Hawks looked better when he was on the bench more often than not. And if we were to weigh this performance against a max contract, Smith is treading water.
Al Horford: A+
25 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 12-20 FG. Horford’s stats are a lot like his game. He can let it do the talking.
Lou Wiliams: B-
First off, Lou had Andre Miller guarding him. So how he didn’t drop like a billion points is beyond me. However, he did finish with 16. Although it was on 4-13 shooting.. He rounded out the night with six assists, two steals and a bit to be desired at the line going 2-6. Yeah, just another night at the office for Williams really.
Zaza Pachulia: B
Zaza was decidedly Zaza. 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block.
Ivan Johnson: B+
Ivan Johnson is a beast. I say that figuratively, but with each passing game I start to question that just a little more. He only played 15 minutes, but he successfully rattled Danilo Gallinari to the point where he had no lasting impact on the game. His six points and four boards were really just icing on the cake, because as usual his presence extended far beyond the box score.
The Hawks will look to build on the win against Washington Wizards at home, Dec 7th. It will be the second time the teams have faced off this season, as Atlanta took the first game in a 101-100 thriller.
You can catch the game live with NBA League Pass or check Fox Sports South for your local scheduling. You can also check back daily with Soaring Down South for everything Hawks.
Plays of the Game
Player of the Game
The Atlanta Hawks (10-5) will host the Washington Wizards (2-13) on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 PM (ET).