"It's just beautiful basketball right now."Mike Woodson:
"I can't ask for anything better. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys that made a commitment when they came into camp this year."If that doesn't make you smile, Hawks fan, let Erik Spoelstra help push the corners of your mouth up:
"We have to develop some real toughness and resolve when we play teams like this on the road."Teams like this = teams like the Atlanta Hawks. Good times.
It's likely just an accident of timing, that it's on his second-worst shooting night of the season (though a good shot selection night) that Josh Smith begins to get attention for his massively improved play.
Jeff Teague on Josh Smith:
"He plays so hard. The things he did on the floor, like blocking shots and rebounding and all of the things he doesn't get credit for, like taking charges and getting deflections and things like that ... I always try to pump him up when he comes off the floor to let him know that somebody's seeing what he's done and that we appreciate it."Charley Rosen:
The one player on the Hawks who's most responsible for the quantum leap the team has taken thus far this young season is Josh Smith.It goes on from there, praise to0 voluminous to excerpt.
There's no question about this.
Where he used to hoist up at least one or two ill-advised treys per game, Smith's 3-point attempt Wednesday was his first in the 12 games the Hawks have played.
Where he used to shoot first and never ask questions, Smith totaled a game-high seven assists and is averaging 4.0 this season. Compare this to his career average of 2.6 assists per game. In addition to his registered assists, Smith also made seven other timely passes to teammates who missed their ensuing shots.
As for Smith's first three-point attempt of the season, it came at the buzzer to end the second quarter when the ball ended up in Smith's hands only because Jamal Crawford, after getting tripped about 30 feet from the basket, passed/rolled the ball to Smith. It wasn't a bad shot.
John Hollinger praises the Hawks (and Smith in particular) up one side of the Daily Dime and down the other. Read the whole thing, but savor this Dwyane Wade quote contained therein:
"Atlanta forces me to be more of a jump shooter. They did a good job of forcing me out of the paint. You have to be smart when you play them, because they are a very athletic team and they will meet you at the rim."Ira Winderman:
Once again the Heat offense stagnated early, often leaving nothing more than jumpers as options. That, in effect, had the Hawks off to the races.At Peachtree Hoops, Drew liked what he saw from Marvin Williams offensively last night:
The refs called a great game, it just was a bad game for Marvin Williams. They allowed a lot of contact around the rim, and they allowed it both ways. I am fine with that consistency, but Marv was beating his man and driving the ball under control. With a normal ref crew and one or two of those shots dropping, and Williams easily has 20 something points. Marv was more confident, got more opportunities, and hit a few much needed jumpers.Josh Smith, via Sekou Smith's new digs:
"We know we're a good team. We're not a cocky bunch of guys but we're confident in ourselves. And we know that we have the depth that we need this year. And we're treating each game more precious than the last because we know we have something good going here."The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. My vote for the Ugly? That "Nature Boy" hasn't taken off as a nickname. Let's all do our part to make this happen.
Another good, thorough recap from Hawk Str8Talk, if overshadowed by this announcement:
Upcoming - a mea culpa to Mike Woodson, Josh Smith, and Rick Sund.I can't wait.
The Human Highlight Blog finds this year's Hawks team more fun than the last edition that started this hot:
10-2, atop the NBA, and near the top of every meaningful NBA category, the Hawks have relevance in a way they haven't enjoyed since the 11-0 start of 97-98 season, which happens to be the last time the Hawks won (50) games in a season.Matt Moore, Hardwood Parxoysm's Lion Face/Lemon Face of 11.19.09:
But while they are enjoying similar statistical glory as their 90's brethren, this team is doing it in a much more exciting manner. Where the Lenny Wilkens coached teams won, their style was rather bland and garnered little enthusiasm (in context---we realize it's better than losing. Really. We know.). This team, especially when the wheels are rolling, is exciting to watch on both ends, due to the athleticism of Horford and Smith and the precision and timely shooting of The Backcourt.
Lion Face: Joe Johnson, I mean, Josh Smith, I mean, Al Horford, I mean, oh, hell. THE ATLANTA HAWKS AGAIN.
You know how you’d see Johnson go Nova, and say “Man, if they could just get someone, anyone else producing for him, they’d be pretty good.”?And then you’d see Smith do something incredible and say “Man, if only he could play consistently with a modicum of intelligence and have some artillery support, they’d be pretty great!”? It’s all coming together. Johnson wasn’t having one of his “pull it out of his backside” nights like against Portland the other night. This was work. Pump faking, range shooting, defender slipping, screen using work. And Smith? Hold on, you might want to sit down. You ready? Josh Smith…
used the low post. I know. I’m not ready for this world either. I don’t care that he was up against Beasley and Shavlik Randolph. It’s the fact that it actually occurred to him. Strike up the banjo, billy ray! We got ourselves a hoedown!