You can always tell the difference between the good ones and the great ones in the NBA. Good players are content with making a play here or there and winning games under most circumstances. The great ones face adversity, embrace it and figure out a way to prevail in the end.
Folks, we may be seeing one of those epic nights from an Atlanta Hawks basketball player that's on the cusp of making that transition.
Al Horford posted 13 points in the third quarter to will his Hawks back into this one. Atlanta, which trailed by as many as 19 in the second quarter is down just 63-58 at the end of the third frame.
Atlanta needs every single superb effort by Big Al in this one. Josh Smith is out with a sore right knee. Joe Johnson is otherwise worthless -- shooting 3-for-14 from the field. Horford on the other hand has just taken this team on his back and carried it back into this one.
Horford quieted the bandwagon Chicago fans here at the Highlight Factory, posting 22 points and 13 rebounds through three quarters. He's been everywhere. Dunking his own rebound. Following through on others. Forcing turnovers and even nailing 3-pointers. As a result, we have a ballgame.
Atlanta opened the frame with a 15-4 run to make it close. When Chicago pushed back, the Hawks responded with another 19-9 run to cut the lead to as little as three on Horford's putback dunk with 1:13 left in the frame.
Time will only tell if the Hawks can come back from the abyss in this one, or if they've extended too much energy pushing back from down 19. But one has a feeling that if Big Al has his way, Atlanta will somehow figure out a way to win the basketball game.