Jan 1, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia (27) and New Orleans Hornets power forward Ryan Anderson (33) battle for a loose ball during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hawks defeated the Hornets 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks vs Hornets: Game Grades

Jan 1, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) shoots over New Orleans Hornets power forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hawks defeated the Hornets 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a dismal start, the Hawks can tie  a pretty little bow around Tuesday night’s game against the New Orleans Hornets and toss it into the wins column as a solid start the new year.

It was a much needed win, as they were playing the tail end of a back-to-back after dropping a game to the Houston Rockets the night before.

Atlanta  finished with 30 assists as a team, limited themselves to seven turnovers and shot 49 percent from the floor.

Which ultimately allowed the team to overcome their shortcomings on the glass and to defense the deep ball. As New Orleans won the battle on the boards 47-30 and shot 10-20 from beyond the arc.

Atlanta responded late though, limited the Hornets to just 3-8 from three in second-half, after giving up 7-11 in the first.  They also forced 13 total turnovers on the night.

With that, here is my assessment of each Hawks’ individual performance. (Players will not appear if the did not play at least 15 minutes)

Jeff Teague: C+

4 points on 8 shots. Double yikes. He finished with 8 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He also only turned the ball over once. Although, if that’s supposed to be some sort of icing on the statistical cake.. we’re reaching, desperately.

Lou Williams: C+

9 points on 13 shots. Yikes. He did, however, have a solid defensive game and his 7 assists certainly don’t hurt his cause.

Kyle Korver: B+

Prior to tonight, Kover was ranked 15th in total three pointers made and 11th in three point field goal percentage. You can add four more threes on seven attempts to that total after tonight. He didn’t light up the stat sheet, but he’s stretching the floor like few can.

Josh Smith: A+ (Player of the game)

If you’re an Atlanta fan, Josh Smith has inevitably frustrated you on a near nightly basis in some way or another. Fortunately, he has games like this to help us forget all about that. Posting 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocked shots and 2 steals in 37 minutes. He was also 11-20 from the field.

Al Horford: B+

Horford finished with 20 points on 10-17 shooting. When you couple that was his three rebounds and three assists.. well, you still have an efficient 20 points.

John Jenkins: B

Johny Jumpshot! His minutes are trending upward and his shot are falling. He went 3-4, making his lone three point attempts and had two assists with no turnovers. He gets at least a B, out of sheer Shuttlesworth-ness.

Zaza Pachulia: A

Double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds. Six of those rebounds just so happened to be offensive. Not to mention he knocked down both of his free throws. Just another Zaza classic.

The Hawks will now look to carry this momentum into their next game as they face off against the Detroit Pistons. You can catch the game live on NBA League Pass and Fox Sports South, or listen to it free at NBA All-Access radio at 7:30 PM ET, Jan. 4th.

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