The Hawks take Game 1 on a lesser offensive night

Jeff Teague goes to hoop. Never a bad plan. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Jeff Teague goes to hoop. Never a bad plan. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Jeff Teague goes to hoop. Never a bad plan. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

After a quarter, I thought more than ever that series would end in four games. After three more quarters, I’d started to wonder. The Atlanta Hawks won Game 1 — the final was 99-92 — of Round 2 but didn’t look like themselves, to say nothing of the East’s No. 1 seed.

Paul Millsap had as many air balls (two) as baskets. Al Horford dislocated his right pinkie. The Hawks went a bit 3-point crazy — even for a team as clever as this, that can happen — and took 30 of their 79 shots from behind the arc. They were outscored in the lane 54-42. They were outrebounded 47-39. They made five fourth-quarter turnovers.

If not for Jeff Teague’s driving banker with 1:19 remaining, this could really have gotten hairy. And here you’re saying, “Wait a second. These are the playoffs. All that matters is winning.” And that’s undeniably true. But the Hawks went the regular season’s final month without playing a game of consequence, and in Game 1 of Round 1 they didn’t beat the 38-44 Brooklyn Nets the way they’d grown accustomed to beating them.

For the hundred-thousandth time: The Hawks aren’t a superstar-driven aggregation; they’re a collective. When a key man like Millsap is off, it has a ripple effect. Without Millsap scoring on his rolls to the goal, the Hawks wound up settling for jumpers. Some nights they hit a lot of jumpers. This wasn’t one of those. They made only 43 percent of their shots.

Afterward, the Nets’ Lionel Hollins sounded almost like the winning coach. He said his team had been given reason to believe it belonged in these playoffs, which was a subject of much doubt as late as the second quarter Sunday night. He said his players — once they stopped making turnovers — found ways “to execute and score.”

I’m not sure I’d go that far. The massive center Brook Lopez had 17 points but managed only seven shots. (He made six of those, and the one he missed he followed home.) The Nets didn’t get Lopez the ball nearly enough — nine of his first 11 points were a function of offensive rebounds — and that has to be credited to the Hawks’ defense, which is the unsung part of this happy season.

The Hawks finished seventh in the NBA in defensive efficiency, up from 12th last season. The Nets finished 24th; every team rated lower missed the playoffs. On a lesser offensive night, the Hawks’ defense was good enough for them to win. That’s why they’re a really good team. That’s why they should win this series in five games, max.

From myajc: The Hawks hold on to win a skittish Game 1.

Reader Comments 1

23 comments
DealMe
DealMe

No big deal--ATL was just flat and overconfident in game 1---they'll explode in game 2 with a huge blowout win!!  Book it!

HBLWWClyde
HBLWWClyde

I agree let Horford sit to let the finger heal. Pero and Muscala must step up. We don't need Horford to hurt his finger again. 

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Horford need to sit game 2 out.


Let his finger heal during the week to be ready for game 3, Hawks are at home so him not playing won't hurt the Hawks, started Pero.


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Coach have play Scott at SF with Muscala playing a lot more at PF, Coach Bud not rotating the second unit on a consistent base like he did during regular season could hurt the Hawks.


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

Try to shoot with a dislocated finger taped and see how you do. Also I am worried with Millsaps injury. Play Muscala more!!!!!

Big Wally
Big Wally

@GloryBetweenTheHedges dislocated finger happened in middle of 4th quarter.  Lopez was outplaying him long before the injury ever happened. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

Horford and Sap got to give us more than 16 points combined.  Korver isn't going to shoot like that every game.  Lopez scored as much as them two combined.  Horford's outside jumper has gone awol.  Needs to just take shots in the paint. Milsap is just rusty.  He missed layups.

Pete21
Pete21

Funny to see so many dire comments. Didn't the Hawks lead for the entire game? Maybe too many folks had money on the game as the Hawks didn't cover the -10. As long as the Hawks can get things done Wednesday, we should be in great shape. The seeding is pretty well set up for the Hawks to make it to the conference finals and nothing yesterday changed my opinion that we should be there. We'll see Cleveland, right after they play a tough series against Chicago.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Paul Millsap had as many air balls (two) as baskets. Al Horford dislocated his right pinkie. The Hawks went a bit 3-point crazy — even for a team as clever as this, that can happen — and took 30 of their 79 shots from behind the arc. They were outscored in the lane 54-42. They were outrebounded 47-39. They made five fourth-quarter turnovers


And yet they still won!


Mark do us a favor! Stay TRUE (see where I am going here...Hawks should pay me for marketing) to the Hawks and don't go all the sky is falling.  It is the playoffs, nothing comes easy! Heck Golden State lost a 25 point lead...down to 4 before they pulled it out.  It is the NBA EVERYBODY makes a run.


Relax and enjoy the ride! Maybe next time make the article about "in spite of all those things you mentioned" the Hawks won! Just saying...

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

@AnsweredTHIS The thing is, see, he's a journalist, not a marketing rep for the Hawks.  He is not supposed to stay true to the Hawks.  You're a fan.  You do it.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Journalist!?

Brat Li is about 1/2 a mile too short in the smarts department to be called a journalist. He's a poohbutt blogger for a crappy paper and hellaciously lucky to be that. If this piece of trash of a paper actually had live alert human beings in the hiring department, Brat Li would be unemployed in about 20 minutes. Probably looking for a job selling shoes somewhere.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Not worried about this series, but if the health concerns continue and Paul/Mike/Al aren't 100% going into Round 2, that could be trouble.  


I'd like to see Muscala get more minutes - we need to prevent the other team from getting so many offensive boards, and keep Lopez honest with a few rejections down low.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Any win is a good win. The Hawks will have to play considerably better to get past Cleveland.

Game 1 was closer than it should have been.  Let's hope the Hawks win game 2 convincingly.

The last thing the Hawks need is to let the Nets get their confidence going before they return to

their home court. I look for the refs. calls to go the Nets way when they play in New York.

chalkdawg4
chalkdawg4

yeah - I think the league has called in the officials to extend this series a bit.   Hawks will have to overcome the NBA every series I think.  It looks like the fix is in.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Look out, my little Poogly Wooglies! 


The Squawky Hawkies managed to get through tonight, but they looked sooooooo raggedy.


You know and I know (maybe even this dim bulb blogger knows) the CHOKE that is the signature of ATL pro sports - it's a coming! It's right around the bend, it's just beyond the horizon...


When this down spiraling team meets a worthy, talented, highly motivated opponent, they're gonna come apart like a wet paper bag in a dishwasher.


Choke's a coming.... choke's a coming...... choke's a coming.


Prepare for your well deserved embarrassment!!!!

GetontheGusBus
GetontheGusBus

@Wilbo What bus you want to get on and we will buy your ticket? You need to get out of town, Jack!

POAD5150
POAD5150

Don't think the Hawks will be in the Playoffs for too long. 

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@POAD5150 


Wish we could say the same about you being here on this blog or in Georgia for that matter.

atlfanman
atlfanman

The most regrettable part of all of this is the injury situation with Paul, Thabo and Mike. Hopefully, Al's hand is not seriously injured.


Nevertheless the Hawks did what they needed to do, get a win. Refs nearly fouled Jeff out of the game with bogus calls and frustrated him on other non calls. The injuries and the refs might make this a longer series than it should be but the Hawks should still win it.


GO HAWKS!

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