RECAP: Hawks 102, Jazz 91

Daniel Christian —  February 28, 2013


   UTA(31-27) 91 – 102 (33-23) ATL

Key Performers:

A. Horford (ATL): 34 pts, 15 reb, 3 asts, 5 blk
A. Jefferson (UTA): 26 pts, 11 reb

Two Hawks players came into this game on particular hot streaks. Al Horford was hoping to round out his already stellar February (62% shooting) on a high note, while Jeff Teague was looking to continue his high assist output. Add a third name to the list. Josh Smith didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (what’s new?), but he definitely qualified as “in the zone.” The Hawks have everyone on the same page right now, and the team is clicking as a result: the offense is smooth, the defense is (mostly) tenacious, and the execution has been exceptional.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: As I said, add Smith’s name to the list of Hawks on a hot streak. Smith torched the Jazz for 24 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. He struggled on defense against the bigger, and stronger Jazz front line, but he certainly made up for it with activity on the boards and impressive orchestration of the offense down the stretch. Again, the Hawks went to their killer set when they needed a basket most: that Smith-Horford high-low is almost unstoppable, and it put the nail in the coffin tonight in the midst of a Jazz comeback. 9/10

Al Horford: Horford has been playing out of his mind all month, but his performance tonight might have been the culminating outburst of a month full of unrecognized greatness. He scored 34 points (14-22 shooting), grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked 5 shots. He struggled at times guarding Jefferson, but for the most part he held his ground. And that 34 points? It’s a career high. Horford was unquestionably the second best player in the entire Eastern Conference in the month of February. If he can perform with this sort of efficiency on a consistent basis, he’s a top-15 player in this league. 10/10

Kyle Korver: The main thing we have going for us here is that Korver extended his streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer made. He’s at 50 now! But in 37 minutes of play he scored 4 points on 1-4 shooting. 3/10

Devin Harris: Harris seems to have mastered the concept of a revenge game (Marvin Williams has not). He’s played well against the Mavericks, the Nets, and twice now against the Jazz (also against the Bucks, which sort of counts because he’s from Wisconsin). He loves making a statement, putting on a show for the places with which he was once so familiar. He wasn’t a world-beater tonight like he was the last time Atlanta played Utah, but he was an offensive sparkplug and he ignited Atlanta’s offense early. One thing I’m starting to appreciate about Harris’ transition game is that he really does a great job of reading the defensive gaps– it’s almost like he’s a running back searching for a hole. He just explodes through whatever seem there is and kisses the ball off the glass. He had 12 points on the night. 6/10

Jeff Teague: I’ve opined that a good portion of Horford’s recent dominance can be attributed to the almost equally as recently dominant Teague. He’s been a killer ball handler in the pick-and-pop, finding Horford at the top of the key almost without even looking– he just knows where he’s going to be now, and it’s beautiful basketball. Teague also seems to be finishing better around the rim as of late (I have not statistically confirmed this, but you guys are seeing it too, right?) and that’s been making him more of a threat (if being more of a threat was possible) coming off a screen. He started off slow tonight, but he finished the last 3 quarters playing great basketball. Another great game from Teague with 19 points and 7 assists.   7.5/10

Zaza Pachulia: Offensively he was useless, and I guess LD gave him a shot to try and stop either Jefferson or Favors. It didn’t really work, and besides, the starters were playing fantastic basketball. No need to disrupt the rhythm. 2/10

Ivan Johnson: Atlanta didn’t get much from anyone off the bench, Ivan included. He didn’t really do anything wrong though, just played some decent basketball in 9 minutes of play and made his only attempted basket.  3/10

John Jenkins: Jenkins missed a few wide open threes, which surprised everyone, but he also finished a nice and-1 in the paint, which surprised probably an equal amount of people. 3/10

DeShawn Stevenson: His defensive tenacity is always welcomed, but when the Jazz were doing little to no damage offensively from the wings, Stevenson was more or less rendered useless. His offensive performance probably went as well as you think it did. 2/10

Larry Drew: There really isn’t too much to complain about here. Sure, you wish you get more out of your bench, but LD was right to ride the starters with how well they were playing. I particularly love when Drew allows Teague to play through some early mistakes (like he did tonight), because Teague does play through them and eventually opens up the offense in transition and in half court sets. The plays out of time-outs continue to be awesome, and the high-lows with Josh and Al continue to be even awesomer.  10/10

The opposition: Utah’s strength is their size up front and they weren’t shy about flexing that particular muscle tonight. Atlanta has their own brawn though (Horford), and it was the Hawks bigs that won the day. Jefferson is an absolute force in the paint and Favors played very well against his hometown team, but in the end, their pick-and-roll coverage was lacking pretty severely.  5/10


Next: Atlanta vs. Washington, Saturday, January 12th

Daniel Christian


4 responses to RECAP: Hawks 102, Jazz 91

  1. Hate that Al’s monster game is being overshadowed by Curry’s 54-point explosion (in a loss). Al deserves major pub for what he’s doing right now.

    To add to your comments about Larry Drew, I LOVE that he is willing to take a timeout 1-2 minutes into a quarter when he doesn’t like what he’s seeing. That timeout around the 10:15 mark of the 3rd was a great call — both teams looked sluggish and we had run a few horrible sets. After that TO, Teague and Co. went to work and opened the game up. Great move by LD.

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