BOSTON – The balance and depth of the Hawk continued to show with Wednesday’s 105-91 victory over the Celtics.
The Hawks rolled the Celtics despite resting starters Al Horford and Kyle Korver. The team rested Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap and drubbed the 76ers Tuesday. Now, with a game rest for each starter and two road wins, the Hawks head north of the boarder for an important matchup with the Raptors.
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. The Hawks are indeed balanced. Just take a look at the box score from the win over the Celtics. All 12 active players entered the game and the 11 who played more than two minutes scored. All six of them shot at least 50 percent from the field. The bench chipped in with a total of 33 points.
2. You can’t argue with the rest given Teague, Carroll and Millsap. They combined to score 62 points. Both Teague and Carroll said their legs felt fresh after the day off. When asked if the rest was good, Carroll said: “You saw that one-handed dunk, didn’t you?” It might not be totally due to fresh legs but Teague absolutely abused Brandon Bass on consecutive possessions, first a cross-over move that led to a layup and another a step-back jumper.
3. I’m starting to notice – and like – the on-court chemistry between Mike Scott and Kent Bazemore. The two have known each other since their days growing up in Virginia. You can see that the look for each other within the confines of the offense. With Bazemore starting to make 3-pointers and Scott already a threat from long range, the duo help with the floor spacing. Each also has an inside game. Bazemore can slash to the basket and Scott can back down an opponent.
4. Let this be known. The Hawks could afford to rest their starters for a game against the likes of the 76ers and the Celtics. They are not good. The 76ers are well on their way to another lottery pick. The Celtics have gone into full rebuilding mode with a series of trades. Coach Brad Stevens joked before Wednesday’s game that he requests a daily copy of the team roster just so he knows who is available.
5. You don’t want to overstate the importance of games near the mid-point of the season. However, the final two games of this road trip are big. The Raptors and Bulls are teams the Hawks could meet deep in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Hawks have already lost twice to the Raptors this season. It’s odd to think that those games account for 25 percent of their loss total. DeMar DeRozan returned Wednesday after missing 21 games with a torn tendon.