Mis and match. That describes what's going on right now between Josh Smith and his good buddy Michael Beasley as the two battle at small forward in the Atlanta Hawks matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at the Target Center. With Marvin Williams back in the ATL due to a bone bruise, J-Smoove moved over to SF, Al Horford started as the 4 and Jason Colins began this one at center.
Smith has had his way with Beasley, both inside the paint and out, connecting on 7-of-11 shots for 14 points with six rebounds. Atlanta has a 56-51 lead over the T-Wolves at the break.
It's good to see Jamal Crawford back and doing well against Minnesota, which hasn't beaten the Hawks since the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives in 2006. Crawford has 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. Mike Bibby also has 10 for Atlanta, which is doing this one without a ton of production thus far from Joe Johnson, who has poured in six.
The Timberwolves trailed by as many as 12 in the second, but clawed back into it late in the second quarter. Minnesota is playing a very physical, scrappy style of basketball right now, but it doesn't seem to be slowing down the Hawks, who are 23-for-43 (53.5%) from the field. The Wolves do control the boards, but only by a slight 24-22 margin.
Congratulations to Darko Milicic, who improved his brutal shooting percentage by connecting on 2-of-6 from the field. The $20 million man came into this one shooting like 14% from the field. It seems like the Hawks are toying with the Wolves here and will eventually put on the afterburners and blow them out. Time will tell in the second half.