The Atlanta Hawks looked to run the Dallas Mavericks off the court early. However, despite a valiant comeback the Mavs still fell to the Hawks 105-101.
The Hawks came out of the gates racing on a 10-0 run. Jeff Teague and Devin Harris motored past the lead-footed Mavs and torched them for 13 combined first quarter points. As a team, the Hawks shot 13-25 in the first quarter with 12 fast break points and 20 points in the paint with only 1 turnover.
However, they gave up their 8 point first quarter lead and went in to the locker rooms at half only up one. Mavericks shot themselves back into the game from beyond the arc. Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter were both inexplicably left alone on the three point line and both made the Hawks pay.
Darren Collison was able to break down the defense and find shooters. Collison and Greivis Vasquez are the latest to expose a recurring trend of poor Atlanta point guard defense. OJ Mayo started very hot, but eventually logged more shots than points by game’s end.
Despite some rough shooting in the fourth quarter, the Hawks Big 3 carried the team to victory. Teague had a near double-double and lead the Hawks to 26 fast break points. Josh Smith hit pull-up three pointers in transition with newly-found regularity and did his best Kyle Korver impression with a 4-5 mark from three point land. If this is Smoove’s response to the swirling trade rumors, it certainly give a clear signal to how he’s handling all the noise.
1. Josh Smith: I don’t even know what to say after this performance. Smoove, shooting .324 this season and .284 from three in his career, hit four huge three point buckets. The shot selection can be picked apart as poor, and over the long run Josh has proven he cannot makes the shots he did at a high rate, but for this game those buckets were incredibly important. He also drained a pair of last minute free throws to help seal the win.
2. Jeff Teague: Teague continued his good work. He was clearly the quickest player on the floor at all times and embarrassed the disorganized Mavs transition many times over. He finished 1 assist from a double-double.
3. Al Horford: Horford had the quietest 20-10 game of the season. He has regained form on his midrange shot and had a number of easy buckets to keep the Hawks in the game even after losing a big lead.