Fresh into a new season, there are still plenty of teams that have lots of questions to answer and the Atlanta Hawks (3-0) are no exception.
Atlanta opened the season by dominating the New Jersey Nets (106-70), then blowing out the Washington Wizards (101-83) but last night they struggled to put the Nets away (105-98), yet they still escaped with an untarnished record. The mixed results against sub-par teams makes it difficult to judge just how good this Hawks team is.
The Hawks looked picture perfect in their season opener in New Jersey but a few adjustments made Friday night’s contest a much more competitive affair. The first go around Atlanta held New Jersey to an abysmal 31 percent shooting from the field and 20.8 percent from deep. Last night, however, the Nets connected on 46.3 percent of their shots from the field while shooting 45 percent from distance.
“(New Jersey) played really well tonight,” Jeff Teague said. “Guys were making shots for them. The first game they weren’t making shots and it made our defense look great. Tonight we played well but I think we want to do a little bit better on the defensive end.”
Al Horford said he is just happy that they were able to come out victorious.
“It was all about getting the win,” he said. “It’s going to be like that this season where teams that you are supposed to beat come out and they will beat you. Anybody can beat you if you don’t play your game.”
Things we’ll get more interesting over the next week as the Hawks will travel to Houston, Miami and Chicago before returning to Atlanta to take on the Heat for a second time, all within the span of six days.
“We have three very tough opponents coming up,” head coach Larry Drew said. ”But we are going to take them one at a time. We are going out on the road now to play some teams that are certainly going to be there when the smoke clears at the end od the regular season. So we have our hands full but we aren’t going to look past anybody.
The Hawks bench has played well and last night was no exception.
“I got some really good minutes from (Tracy McGrady),” Drew said. “I thought Willie Green played well, I thought Zaza (Pachulia) played well and I thought Vladimir (Radmanovic) did a good job.”
Solid bench play will be key in this condensed season, especially now, as the Hawks approach a patch of tough road games.