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News » Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-03-19

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-03-19

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-03-19
A quick search for the reasons behind the Hawks' 6-0 tear at home could lead you all over the place -- from the comforts of home to the play of All-Star Joe Johnson to the inspired effort of a team playing without one of its core pieces.

Or you could just observe the obvious and see that when Josh Smith and Al Horford get rolling the way they have the past week and a half, the become a different beast altogether.

"When you have two young big men that make plays on both ends of the floor it's a whole new ballgame," Johnson said. "I think we can compete with anybody in the league when we're all clicking on cylinders the way we have these past few games.

"We're a tough team to beat when our energy is high and everybody is in good spirits."

The Hawks always seem to play better when Smith provides a boost of energy and Horford's spirit guides them.

And as far as frontcourt tandems go, young and old, they're as good as it gets when they're at their best.

"We just play well together," Smith said. "When Al first got here last year it was like we'd played together since my rookie year. We just clicked. And lately it's been a beautiful thing to see with both of us doing our thing at the same time."

It's looked that way during the Hawks' homestand, with them taking turns dominating the floor, as they did during in Tuesday's win over Sacramento.

Smith rocked the Kings for 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks while Horford mashed them for 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Knowing how to operate in basically the same space alongside another talented player comes easily to Horford. He played alongside Chicago center Joakim Noah at Florida, winning back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles while forming one of the most formidable frontcourt duos in college basketball history.

"It's about having good chemistry," Horford said. "In Josh's situation, he always tries to make people around him better. And there are some nights where I might have it going as far as getting rebounds. And you can see him shying off a little bit in that area. And if he has it going scoring, I'll back out a little. It's really all about balance and really just playing for the team."

HAWKS 119, KINGS 97: Did someone say 50 wins?

The Hawks have been talking 50 for five months, with most observers laughing as they rode the NBA roller coaster to highs early and lows after Christmas.

But the Hawks are getting the last laugh.

The Hawks took care of their 40th victory by rocking the Sacramento Kings.

It's the Hawks' first season with at least 40 wins since 1997-98, when they won 50 games. The Hawks (40-28) still have a ways to go get to 50, but it's not out of question. And certainly not if they keep playing the way they have in the past week and a half.

They're 6-0 on their seven-game homestand, which concludes Thursday against Dallas.

And even when their defense isn't sharp and their captain and All-Star Joe Johnson is struggling to find his groove, they can still run away from a team such as the Kings.

Al Horford and Josh Smith led the way on this night as all five Hawks starters and sixth-man Flip Murray scored in double-figures.

Johnson's streak of 30-point games ended at four. He managed 20 points but on 8-for-21 shooting from the floor. He missed his first eight shots of the game but also finished with five assists and four rebounds.

"It feels good to know that I don't have to put up 30 points for us to win," Johnson said. "And my teammates stepped up tonight. It makes it more exciting when guys like Josh Smith are running up and down the court and Al Horford is blocking shots, not only for us but for our crowd."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 19, 2009


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