Just how deep are the Hawks this season?Two guys who didn't even play in the Hawks' last game opened and closed the action for the Hawks, who got a balanced scoring effort with all five starters in double-figures and with at least four assists, in a win over Memphis Wednesday night.
Josh Smith got a steal on the opening possession of the game, returning to the starting lineup after a 12-game absence (high ankle sprain). He finished his night with 14 points, a team-high-tying six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 27 minutes of action.
"I knew I had to do something early just to get myself established in the game," Smith said. "I definitely wanted to start on the defensive end, and being able to come up with that steal off the tip was key."
Zaza Pachulia came in late for Smith and had two huge rebounds and a driving lay-up to help the Hawks put the game away, bouncing back after not playing for what Hawks coach Mike Woodson termed "matchup reasons" in the Hawks' win over the Wizards Saturday night in Washington.
Pachulia finished his night with six points, six rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.
"I'm ready to play every night," Pachulia said. "I got in the game and did my best to help the team and obviously, everybody has their role, so I had to do whatever I had to do."
After watching it for the last month, Smith said it felt good to be back in the middle of the action.
"We're playing very unselfish, and it gets contagious when you do that," he said. "We played together and we just have to keep doing that every night."
The question is can they do it again Friday night with the Knicks invading Philips Arena with their high-octane attack?
HAWKS 105, GRIZZLIES 95: Play your role, no matter how big or small it is. That's the message Hawks coach Mike Woodson has been pounding into his players the past four years. The message seemed to sink in Wednesday night in a 105-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Philips Arena, with the Hawks using production from all over to subdue the upstart Grizzlies.
Not even the squandering of a 26-point lead was enough to take the shine off of one of the Hawks' most complete performances of the season.
Joe Johnson led the way with 26 points, five rebounds and four assists while his backcourt mate Mike Bibby added 20 points and 10 assists. Al Horford added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks and Marvin Williams 16 points, five assists and four rebounds.
"It doesn't matter who plays on this team," Woodson said. "And that's kind of how we're trying to build. To worry about that, then we have problems. My job is to make sure that when guys do play, they're ready to play and they do a job. If not, I have to go to the next guy and try to figure it out.
"Right now, everybody is on the same page, so the minutes you do get, you have to make it the best supporting minutes that you play."