"It's just the first game. We can't make too many judgments. But we are trying to make an effort to play better and we needed to shut them down inside and we did a good job of that when it mattered late."Joe Johnson:
"There's no doubt Josh and Al carried us in the first half and that's big. I knew I had to step it up after halftime because I was pressing a little too much early. But when you have those guys going off like that on both ends of the floor we're a tougher team to deal with."Mike Woodson, on Josh Smith and Horford:
"They really did a great job of protecting the paint. [Smith] made some unbelievable blocks when guys had plays right at the rim and he came form nowhere and got the block and we were able to secure the ball and go the other way. We really need those two guys to be shot blockers as well as to protect our paint."Josh Smith:
"You're going to have nights like this, when the other team is shooting lights out and you're forced to play outside of your comfort zone a little bit. We wanted to clamp down on the defensive end and put the onus ourselves to get stops when it mattered and I think we did that...I know it wasn’t the sort of defensive masterpiece coach loves to see, but it turned out positive for us in the end."Mo Evans:
"I feel like we kind of succumbed to the way they wanted to play and to the rotation they wanted us to use instead of milking that newly formed bench we brought in here. We’ve got to learn how to trust our second unit as well to go out there and play. We’ve got a lot of talent over there and I think we got a little nervous because they were out there making shots and then we had to extend our starters’ minutes a little longer than we probably wanted. That’s not going to work during those stretches when we have four games in five or six nights."Mike Woodson:
"We’re all trying to get used to one another. They’re especially trying to get used to me and what I’m expecting when they’re out on the floor."I had no problems with the distribution of bench minutes. Mo Evans had a very nice game but Marvin Williams is a better player. There will be nights when Jamal Crawford or Zaza Pachulia or maybe even Jeff Teague are playing better than a starter but last night wasn't one of those nights. So let's hold off on criticizing the coach on this issue until it's, you know, an issue.
If you really want to vent about something, note the apparent return of the Horford Treatment: Marvin Williams sat the last 2:43 of the first half after picking up his second foul and Josh Smith sat out the last 41.1 seconds of the first half after picking his second foul.
The Human Highlight Blog:
Game One also showed some of how Woodson may plan to deploy his bench and not use Mike Bibby so much. In what was not a settled game until the fourth quarter wound down, Bibby still logged just (30) minutes. He used that rest to make three big fourth quarter shots that gave the Hawks the lead and then put it out of reach. Two of the buckets were bombs that were standard issue open Bibby looks, but the 2-pointer sandwiched in between was a runner in the lane in which Bibby seemed to lose the handle on, but was able to sneak it by the taller players inside and get the bucket. That basket gave the Hawks a (4) point lead with 7 1/2 minutes left and the Hawks never trailed again.It was nice to see you too, department: CoCo has the good, the bad, and the ugly over at The Vent. I presume Hawk Str8Talk will have a recap once Larry recovers from witnessing Al Horford's IMPRESSIVE performance.
Be warned, the bar for describing Horford's performance has been set high atPeachtree Hoops:
Oooohhhh, Mr. Horford. I love you when you average 10 and 8. So 24 and 16 is going to cause problems for my marriage.To answer Joe Johnson's earlier question again, yes, that is a guy writing.
[Joe Johnson] deferred to Josh Smith and Al Horford for a half, and then the Hawks’ best player reminded us that, even though this team has more good players than at any time in two decades, he’s still the Hawks’ best player. And if that’s the new method — let others get involved early and let JJ save it for later — it just might work.Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star has a nice piece on Indianapolis native Jeff Teague.
It’s a simple concept, really: get the rebound, throw it to a guard, and run.Let's all spare a thought for Jared Wade of Eight Points, Nine Seconds:
Unfortunately, the Pacers were so focused on the “and run” part on Wednesday that they glossed over “throw it to a guard” on several occasions. Indiana made a whopping 25 turnovers in a frenetic 120-109 loss to the Hawks, and by my count at least six of them came in the backcourt while trying to advance the ball upcourt.
Each time, an Indiana player rebounded the ball and tried to throw it ahead to T.J. Ford or Earl Watson to push it upcourt. Each time, a Hawks defender was sitting on the outlet pass and pried the ball away from the Pacers.
Right after Solomon Jones entered the game, he found himself playing helpside D when the ball-handler was in the corner and his man was near the opposite elbow. He stood there under the basket, wildly looking back and forth between his two responsibilities and seemed to be overwhelmed by all the excitement going on around him.That Indiana went with Jones as Hibbert's backup rather than the smaller, quicker, and more talented Jeff Foster may be an indication that other NBA teams do not consider Al Horford as undersized a center as do some Hawks fans. Or it might just mean that Foster was playing hurt.
I’ll chalk this up to Solo still being inexperienced and having nerves due to the fact that he is trying to carve out a role on a new team that he might actually be able to get burn for. But Solomon Jones looked lost and frenetic out there — and it wasn’t just on this one play.
A couple times last night, I forgot for a second that Brandon Rush doesn't play for Kansas anymore before I'd remember and feel the peace of not having to be frustrated by him anymore. Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows does not feel that peace:
Despite the quibble about Dahntay being TOO aggressive, I'd much rather have that than what Brandon Rush ended up offering tonight. After a decent start and a couple of nice buckets in the lane, Rush wasn't able to rev up his game to match the intensity of the game. After a pair of turnovers where he literally just lost the ball on the dribble, JOB kept him tethered to the bench. Won't be surprised to see Dahntay starting on Friday.In the long term, I like Jeff Teague a lot. Still, I note that, in his NBA debut, DeJuan Blair scored 14 points on 10 shots, grabbed 11 rebounds (5 offensive), and earned 3 assists against 2 turnovers all in 23 minutes. Blair needs a nickname. Forward your suggestions to @kpelton.
In another debut, Ty Lawson scored 17 points points on 13 shots and earned 6 assists against a single turnover. It would have been nice to get more than one of the underrated players available at the bottom of the first round.
Lest I injure myself in the act of premature self-congratulation, I should also note that Jonny Flynn had a very nice debut for the Timberwolves.
If you've made it this far, let me know what you think about the switch to two post-game posts per game: the game recap appearing at night and quotes, notes, and links in the morning.