Initial feedback: A completely subjective and immediate response to the events of tonight's game, featuring a comment and rating, the latter on a scale of 1 to 10, on every player who saw the floor and the head coach, along with ephemera and miscellany as the author deems necessary.
Your ratings and commentary, dear reader, are welcomed in the comments to this post.
Joe Johnson: This was a bounce-back game of sorts for Joe as he hit 8-for-10 for 18 points in only 21 minutes. His shot has been a bit wayward as of late, so it's good to see them go down, even against inferior competition. Good work on the boards again with 4 rebounds. 8/10
Jeff Teague: No starter other than Zaza Pachulia played more than Teague's 23 minutes as the bench did what it was supposed to do. Charlotte does not feature many players who could start on a playoff team. However, on a per-minute basis, 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting and 5 assists were a continuation of last night's break-out performance for Teague. 7/10
Josh Smith: Made only 7 of his team-high 17 shots on the way to 15 points and 3 rebounds in 23 minutes. The Hawks only outscored the Bobcats by about 4 points with Josh, Joe, Kirk and Teague on the floor. The second unit gave Josh a rare night off from carrying the load for this team. 5/10
Kirk Hinrich: It's been up and down for Kirk as he's had good nights where he seemed to turn the corner and bad nights that leave you with buyer's remorse. His 3 points and 3 assists in 16 minutes were superfluous. The Hawks get three days off to rest before starting the final stretch of the season Wednesday night in Boston. What he contributes to the Hawks the rest of the way will be far from superfluous. 3/10
Zaza Pachulia: Zaza played a hefty 38 minutes as he both started and anchored the second unit that put the game away. The combination of Zaza, Ivan Johnson, Jannero Pargo, Marvin Williams and Willie Green could conceivably be the Hawks second unit if Al Horford was healthy. This unit took the floor together with 1:22 to play in the first quarter and turned a two-point deficit into 48-36 halftime advantage. Zaza had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, added 16 rebounds and led the team in +/- with a monstrous +29. As mentioned previously, Zaza is one of only 5 players to rank in the top 10 in playoff rebound rate in 2 of the last 3 postseasons. 9/10
Ivan Johnson: The raw stats looked good again vs. the team Ivan won his roster spot against in the preseason. He scored 17 on 5-for-10 shooting, hit all 6 free throws and pulled down 6 rebounds. However, his four turnovers while functioning in the role of high post facilitator (against suspect defense) are an object lesson in why you feed developing players minutes. 5/10
Marvin Williams: A completely different player when he's not the fourth offensive option with the starting unit. 6/10
Jannero Pargo: Obviously reads Hoopinion and wanted to shut me up after my comments last night about his ability to run a team. Pargo had 15 points, 9 assists and 1 turnover in 25 minutes. I'll shut up about Pargo now. 7/10
Willie Green: Also looked much better than he did last night against Detroit. 5/10
Jerry Stackhouse: Got 5 minutes to bask in the warm reception from the Charlotte crowd. Incomplete
Jason Collins: Looking good in his role as defensive anchor on the Hawks' third unit. Incomplete
The head coach
The Atlanta Hawks are engaged in a battle for perception. Only a half game out of the third playoff seed, the Hawks are not given credit for how good they are. A big part of the problem has been games the team has lost due to poor game management. However, if present trends continue, I could see the Hawks turning the corner as an organization and coming together at the right time.
My chief complaints about Drew coming into this season were his utilization of available talent and my perception that the Hawks were not responding to him or following his lead. I can't cite a single instance of either issue in recent games. 7/10
A thought regarding the opposition
General Manager Rich Cho, when he interviewed for his position with the team, asked senior management if they were prepared to take a step back to take two steps forward. His interviewers responded that they were absolutely prepared to commit to a complete rebuild. At this point it looks like the Bobcats have taken about 20 steps back and are going to need some love from the ping pong balls to take one step forward.