The Hawks and Nets met up Tuesday night in Philips Arena and played to a standstill for around 3 1/2 quarters. The Nets benefited from an aggressive Jordan Farmar bench spurt, as well as Devin Harris finding the angles into the lane and getting to the line 16 times (hitting 13), as well as Brook Lopez finally finding his way into the paint for an 8-16 performance from the field alongside 8-11 shooting from the foul line.
But Josh Smith and Al Horford were up to their old tricks, gang, joined by classic Jamal Crawford-off-the-bench-to-jack-shots. The trio combined for 84 of the Hawks' 116 points, alongside 20 assists to only 5 turnovers. Josh Smith went 14-16 from the field (3-3 on 3-pointers) and 4-7 from the free throw line for 34 points to lead all scorers. Interestingly, almost half of Smoove's field goals came from long range. 6 of 14 were long 2's or 3's. Al Horford mixed in his usual soft hooks and mid-range jumpers for 24 points on 10-18 shooting, and added 10 rebounds to lead all players. Jamal Crawford, amazingly, was probably the least effective of the 3. He went for 26 points on 11-17 shooting with 2 rebounds and 3 steals, but had only a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. Al and Josh, meanwhile, had only 1 turnover a piece while racking up 7 and 6 assists respectively.
That 13-2 assist to turnover stat for the Hawks' starting PF and C outshines the rest of the entire starting lineup, along with Jamal Crawford who functioned as the backup PG - They sported 13 assists to 6 turnovers, combined. The consistency and efficiency of the Hawks' starting frontcourt was the main key in sealing the game in the 4th for the Hawks - Josh and Al went 6-7 in the 4th quarter, and the team worked off their strong play to go 11-14 overall in the 4th. That's 78.5% from the field for the quarter. We're not even talking unchallenged shots, people. I guess when you're hot, you're hot...
And it helps to have a frontcourt that can outplay your entire starting backcourt, including one of the best 6th men in the game.