The Chicago Bulls, despite an awful shooting night from Derrick Rose and just about everyone else still had the game in their hands. They started the night with a 14-0 run. They had a 19 point lead in the second quarter. Still, the Atlanta Hawks, led by Al Horford’s 31 points (career high) got their first lead in the game with 29 seconds remaining, and held on for a 83-80 win.
Is this a better defensive fit now for the Hawks, with Kirk Hinrich, facing his former team? Sure looked like it if you look at the numbers, as the Hawks limited the Bulls to only 41% from the field. It wasn’t like Atlanta were hitting them with ease (40%) but you catch my drift. The question is, now that Bibby is gone and Hinrich seems to be the preferred man to start at point – Are the Hawks a better team? If Josh Smith is playing, probably. At least defensively. Not enough for a long playoff push. The ceiling for this team is too low, way lower than Chicago’s, Boston, Miami, Orlando and even the new look Knicks. Still, a big win over a top-dog East team is always fun.
Speaking of the Celtics, they finally beat the Phoenix Suns (after four straight losses to the Suns) in a not so close game (115-103) that had a few heated moments, like the Garnett-Gentry front, beginning about a month ago after Genry said he “lost a little respect” for Garnett following a game between the two team in late January. Rajon Rondo also caused some sparks by trying to hit a three while most players were walking off the court and added some arrogant remarks, how surprising, later on.
Still, this was a Celtics game from pretty much the first minute – Three players – Paul Pierce (16-13), Kevin Garnett (28-11) and Rajon Rondo (16-15) finished with double-doubles. The Suns couldn’t get anything from their starters, combining for 34.1% from the field. With that kind of numbers, even 63 points off the bench won’t help. Especially when you can’t guard anyone. Paul Pierce also made the highlight reel with the best dunk of the night over Channing Frye.
Is still don’t like the trade the Celtics did, but against teams like the Suns when it’s much more of a running game, having Green and Krstic does have its advantages.
And two more notes to leave you with – Double double monster Kevin Love had another 20-20 night, hist 48th straight double double and his 9th 20-20 game of the season. The more impressive news is that the Timberwolves won! On the Road! Beating the lifeless Pistons 116-105.
The San Antonio Spurs enjoyed the warm Cleveland hospitality and are the first team with 50 wins this season. George Hill forgot about his awful Memphis game, scoring 22 points, leading the Spurs to a 109-99 win.