Dec 13, 2012, 11:34 PM EDT
The Hawks are hot. They have won 5 out of 6 and if you want to look a little farther back 11 out of their last 13.
Then you can look at their schedule and say they did it against weaker teams (the lost to the Heat this week). I’d say so what? At the end of the day you have to beat the teams when you play them on the schedule and the Hawks have done that.
They did it again Thursday night in the one non-national game, thrashing the Charlotte Bobcats 113-90. It was pretty much the game we expected it to be.
The Hawks are 14-6 and, while it is far too early to put weight on such things, sit as the current three seed in the East. The reason is defense — Atlanta is the fifth best in NBA this season coming into the game and in the first half they showed the Bobcats why, holding them to 35.9 percent shooting and just 3-of-11 from three. Gerald Henderson gave Charlotte a solid 9 points, but Byron Mullens was 0-7 in the first half.
On the other end the Hawks did what they wanted — they shot 59.5 percent overall and were 9-of-16 from three. Devin Harris came in off the bench and attacked, getting 16 in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting (he finished with 20), Josh Smith had 12 at the break (he finished with 16) and even hit one of his threes.
It was a 17-point game at the half, 60-43.
Hawks sealed this thing by going on a run to start the third quarter, taking the lead up to 28. Even when the Bobcats made a 10-0 run in the third it didn’t matter. The Hawks bench scored 56 points, led by Ivan Johnson who had 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, as the Hawks cruised.
The Bobcats show a lot of signs of a young team — they do not communicate well on defensive switches at all. They didn’t get back in transition consistently.
A veteran team playing at all focused, like the Hawks, blow those things up. And they did.
Which is pretty much what we all expected in this game.
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