If this were a video game, the difficulty would have been set on easy for the Hawks, even though they had to hold off a hot shooting Charlie Villanueva in the first half (19 point/27 for the game), which is the only thing that kept the Bucks within 10 at the half.
And since it was such a fun game, what's more fun than breaking things down bullet-point style?
- Mike Bibby was dominant offensively, not so much with his shooting as with his passing. Bibby offered 15 assists to various players, but none more fun to watch than the weak side alley-oop to Josh Smith, who had just given Bibby the ball at the top of the 3-pt arc. Both Bucks players stayed on Bibby and Smith looped towards the cup on the weak side, which seemed to be quarantined--Bibby tossed his hook pass with physician's precision and Smoove generously drove home the perfection.
- If you haven't read by now---the HHB hearts the game of Mike Bibby and we thank him for making this Hawks machine run sooooo good.
- We hope the coaches, family, and friends of Josh Smith found every recording method of this game and from this day forth play it in an endless loop wherever Smoove goes. Smith tortured the Bucks, scoring 22 of his 24 in that painted area of the court. Defensively, Smith ended a 2 game blockless streak (inspiring CoCo from the Vent to Comment and the HHB to openly break down the break down in Smith's blocked shot output) by swatting (3) for the night---and he seemed to be looking for the rejection with his defensive body language more in this game. Was it the extra rest between the Tuesday game against the Bulls and Friday night that made the difference in his energy? That's right, we're calling out newly ESPN minted Hoopinion to track the blocked shot rate when Smith has had extra rest since coming back from his early season injury vs. when he has had to play closer together.
- While someone is recording the game, someone send a copy to RFM, will ya? Murray could not miss against the Bucks, scoring as only RFM can score---with a dizzying array of Murray-esque shots. Three pointer stopping on a dime? Check. Turning against your own body and fading away with plenty of time on the shot clock? Check. Wide open 3's, crazy drives to the hoop, and everything else in between? Check-check-and check! Oh, and let's cap it off with a 4-point play to complete Murray's 11-13, 25 point night, shall we? Murray hit that three with Tyronn Lue taking his legs out from under him and there was no doubt about if it would go in---it was a good night for RFM.
- Marvin Williams was a rebounding beast---(8) in the first half, (9) overall. It was very good to see him back in action (coming soon: Al Horford) and even better that he got to get such a good game in and then sit back and relax for the majority of the second half.
- It was such a good night for the Birds that even Solomon Jones looked good. He scored 7 points, finished a 3-pt play, and still kept his prolific fouling going, hacking (5) times in his 15 minutes. Gotta stay true, Solly, gotta stay true---
- The Bucks played old school Hawks basketball---if that school was built earlier this decade. They took bad shots, turned the ball over religiously, and had nothing to say defensively.
- Good thing they payed Andrew Bogut all that cash this offseason, because obviously his absence was the difference.
- We go back to this thought---Why didn't anyone think Mo Williams was worth keeping? Utah scrapped him in favor of Carlos Arroyo and Raul Lopez (rimshot), and then the Bucks thought they were in such good hands that they couldn't/wouldn't overpay to keep him--really? Sure he might have wanted to play elsewhere, but why did he get so close to free agency?
- It was fun to hear I'm Bob Rathbun and Nique talk about Michael Redd coming back for the second half. They spoke about how he came out early after halftime and seemed determined to change the Bucks fortunes from the first half. He was dripping sweat as the second half began from his reportedly hard and focused workout. He had (1) field goal in the second half. Guess it was harder to score against actual opponents.
- While we're at it, if we were a Milwaukee fan (we're not) we might want to question the roster makeup of this team. It seems like players fit into 3 categories: guards with no singular talent, big men who can shoot, and big men who cannot shoot. That is all. No shot blockers (no, no, no---have a seat Mr. Gadzuric), no post players (you too, Mr. Bogut), no real point guards (yeah right, Luke). This---is a dead parrot.
So--it was a great night---That Joe Johnson had a fair night---and we say fair because the man brings it even when the shot is o-f-f (5 boards, 6 assists, active defensively)---and the Hawks still won easily tells you how bad the Bucks are and how the Hawks never gave into letting the Bucks back into the game.
The times that the Bucks seemed like they were willing to show some energy and patience offensively, the Hawks pushed back with stellar defense and snuffed out Milwaukee's curiosity. It was a display of good team basketball and not allowing themselves to lower themselves to an inferior team's level of play.
The HHB is going into the Official HHB Laboratory to find a way to permanently burn the game into Josh Smith's brain. Ideas on the process and other witticisms are welcome in the Comments Area.