If the Hawks want to make their coach happy, they can add better shutdown defense to the mix.
Joe Johnson led six players in double figures with 18 points and the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 101-83
on Wednesday night.
The win in the Hawks’ home opener came one day after a runaway 106-70 win at New Jersey.
“They’ve got so much energy,” said Washington’s John Wall. “All they did was attack, attack, attack. They were just making their shots.”
The Hawks scored the first 11 points, made their first five 3-pointers and kept the lead in double figures for all but the first 2 minutes of the second half.
The Hawks have made it to the second round of three consecutive Eastern Conference playoffs. Coach Larry Drew knows his team isn’t being mentioned with Miami, Chicago and Boston as the teams to watch in the conference this season.
“We’re hoping we can become a team that’s mentioned with some of the other teams,” Drew said.
Drew said his team must work on defense to put teams away late in games.
“There were parts of the game tonight where we lacked defensive intensity,” Drew said. “I thought we had opportunities to really put that team away. … I didn’t feel we had a total grip of the game even when we got up by 20.”
The Hawks have had six players score in double figures in each of their two wins. Tracy McGrady, an off-season addition, had 11 points off the bench to join Atlanta’s five starters in double figures.
“We’ve got some guys capable of scoring and we’re doing a great job of sharing the ball,” McGrady said. “That being said, we want to be known as a great defensive team.”
Marvin Williams, playing with more confidence after off-season back surgery, scored 17 points and had eight rebounds. Josh Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Al Horford added another double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
“We’re a team that’s trying to learn on the fly,” McGrady said. “We didn’t have that long of a preseason, but it seems like it’s working pretty well for us.”