Two weeks after being awarded, Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, center/forward A Horford has yet to slow down and the Atlanta Hawks (10-5) are benefitting big time.
Horford is averaging 16.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He is also doing a great job passing the ball, averaging 3.5 assists per game, which ranks 3rd amongst all centers.
One knock on Horford in that past has been that at times he is too passive. Over the past few games, however, Horford has done a good job looking for his own shot.
In their most recent outing against the Denver Nuggets, Horford was a critical part in securing a 108-104 victory, as he went off for 25 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and four assists. He shot 12-20 from the field and pulled in , a season high, six offensive rebounds.
Hawks head coach Larry Drew said that Horford’s on the boards was the most impressive part of the performance.
“Al was really good,” Drew said after the game. “He got into a rhythm very early in the game. I was really impressed by the fact that he was being really active on the offensive glass. Those that he didn’t get, he got his hands on them to slap them out.”
The Hawks have now won eight of their last ten games. Last Friday, the Hawks dropped one against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which brought their six-game winning streak to a halt.
Before Wednesday night’s game against Denver, Drew said he felt like it was only a matter of time before the hot streak ended. During the streak, the Hawks barely squeaked out wins against the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats. So, what’s a coach to do after their team drops a game against a bottom-feeding team who is missing it’s best player?
“We took a couple days off after [the Cavs] game,” Drew said. “We have a few guys that are banged up, but I thought from a mental standpoint we really needed it.”
The casual approach seems to have been the right as the Hawks managed to turn in their most dominant rebounding performances they have had all season. With a rebound differential of -4.00 per game the Hawks rank 27th in league in this category. The Nuggets rank second with an impressive +5.37 mark, but the Hawks managed to win the battle on the boards 47-40. In the loss against Cleveland they were outrebounded to the tune of 49-28.