The Hawks finally play a complete 48 minutes and put away the Brooklyn Nets 109-95.
From the onset, it was easy to see this Hawks team wanted this game. They pushed the ball in transition and got to the hole easily against a slow-footed Nets team. The shooters shot with the confidence they forgot in Chicago and the passing was crisp and unselfish.
Devin Harris turned back the clock and blew by multiple defenders to get to the rim for 18 points on 11 shots and an impressive +24 +/-. Zaza Pachulia was two assists away from a triple double and his 8 assists was a career high. The activity from all three bigs, Zaza, Horford and Ivan, was outstanding as they led the Hawks to a 41-37 advantage on the boards.
The defense on Brooklyn’s big guards was also well executed. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams combined for 9-33 shooting, thanks to faster rotations that the poor efforts from the past 8 games did not have.
Jeff Teague had a career high 28 points and 11 assists. It was an all around phenomenal performance by Teague, as he answered the calls of criticism of his inconsistent play. Look for Teague to take on a bigger role should the Hawks continue their fast pace in future games.
Except for DeShawn Stevenson, every single Hawk that played had 8 field goal attempts and shot at least 50% on those attempts. The Hawks assisted on 33/45 buckets, compared to 17/37 for the Brooklyn Nets.
This is no doubt a very good win for a struggling Hawks team. Can it be sustained? The Hawks travel up the East Coast to play a familiar opponent, the Brooklyn Nets, on Friday. Will Josh fit back into the rotation smoothly? There’s never anyway to tell with this Hawks team so stay tuned.
1. Jeff Teague: He had possibly the best game of his career and was seemingly fired up to play former teammate Joe Johnson. He shot the ball with confidence from the outside, got out and ran in transition, and played great rotational defense, logging a big block on Joe.
2. Devin Harris: For much of the game, Harris could not be differentiated from Teague. He had just as quick a first step to the hoop and even used the patented trailing steal to start a fastbreak. If Harris can replicate his recent play for the rest of the season, the point guard position can become a great strength for the Hawks.
3. Zaza Pachulia: Was that a tall, Georgian Rajon Rondo out there tonight? He passed out of the post as well as either Josh Smith or Al Horford have done all season long and outmuscled Brook Lopez in the post. I’m pretty sure T’bilisi would have declared today a national holiday had Zaza completed his triple double.