There were more dives in this game than a swim meet. Fortunately, an underhanded Hawks team still managed to pull out a scrappy win over the Indiana Pacers Saturday night at home.
This game was pretty chippy, becoming increasing physical with each passing quarter. However it had no effect on the Hawks offensive efforts whatsoever, as they shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
And for the first time in a while, there’s really no clear-cut player of the game. Each Hawk brought something valuable to the table, and no players performance was expendable.
With that, here is my assessment of each player’s evening. (Players will not appear if they did not play at least 15 minutes)
Jeff Teague: B
He’s had better games and he’s certainly had worse. But he continues to step up as a closer for the Hawks down the stretch, which is pretty invaluable no matter how you slice his stats. He finished with 15 points and 6 assists in 40 minutes.
Lou Williams: A+
Lou could just as easily grab player of the game depending on what you value more. He finished with a career-high 12 assists as well as a game-high 21 points. He continues to be a volume shooter, but he’s looking increasingly confident within the flow of the offense.
Kyle Korver: B+
Korver finished with 16 points, shooting 5-10 from the field and 4-5 from deep. He also added two steals and countless hustle plays. He’s still not Bruce Bowen defensively, but he’s doing exactly what the Hawks need of him. And then some.
Al Horford: A
Horford started out of the gate on fire, connecting on his first six attempts. He finished shooting 10-13 for 20 points and 6 assists. His efficiency alone salvaged his night, even though his defense was suspect at times.
Zaza Pachulia: A+ (Player of the game)
It’s a hard to narrow down a top performer in such a solid team effort, but Zaza easily takes the cake. At least in my mind. He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while holding Roy Hibbert scoreless. Fantastic game.
John Jenkins: B
“John Jenkins for three!” — Get accustomed to it Hawks fans, this kid is for real. He finished with 10 points on 4-6 shooting and knocked down both of his three-point attempts. He made some rookie mistakes, but the energy he brought was something that could warrant a boost in playing time in the foreseeable future.
DeShawn Stevenson: C
So I may have fibbed in the beginning of this article when I said no players performance was expendable. Stevenson’s was. He played 15 minutes and missed a field goal. That’s it. I was actually surprised looking back over the box scores that he even played that long. He didn’t hurt the team.. he just didn’t do much of anything.
Ivan Johnson: B+
Well, he fouled out of the game in 15 minutes. And it was amazing. He posted 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. All of them being equally entertaining to watch.
The Hawks will now look to take on the Houston Rockets. You can watch the game live with NBA League Pass and Fox Sports South, or listen to it on NBA All-Access radio on Monday, Dec. 31, at 7:00 PM (ET).