FINAL

MIL(15-67) 103 – 111 (38-44)ATL

Key Performers:
M. Scott (ATL): 17 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
B. Knight (MIL): 31 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta ended their season on Wednesday night by getting a win over the lowly Milwaukee Bucks, finishing the season with a 38-44 record. With Paul Millsap sitting out again to rest his sore right hand for the playoffs, Mike Scott was inserted into the starting lineup and he was one of the leaders of the ATL effort. Scott led the team with 17 points (eight in the first quarter) and was also tied for the team lead in assist with four. In fact, everyone was getting in on the assist game, as six different Hawks had at least three assists; this includes rookie Mike Muscala, who had his best game as a pro with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Atlanta’s next game will be on Saturday at 7PM (on ESPN!) as they start their first round series with the Indiana Pacers.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Mike Scott: I already went over a lot of Mike’s success in the opening statement, but here’s some other stuff he did: he led the team with 32 minutes played, scored 15 points in the first half, plus he had a pretty neat rip on a Jeff Adrien attempt in the paint. Mike doesn’t always do a lot on defense, so you have to appreciate when he doesn’t something on that end that leads to a bucket. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Only 20 minutes from Jeff, but something that I liked is that he was 2-for-5 on 3-pointers in that time. I like Jeff taking open 3s. He should get some open opportunities in the upcoming series against the Pacers and it is really refreshing to see him not only attempting, but making those shtos. 8/10

Pero Antic: Pero didn’t have a lot of touch on his shot on the night (2-for-8 from the field), but he did the other things that have made him a positive player this season: defending well, plus his general presence opening the lane for his teammates on offense. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: I was actually a bit concerned when I found out that DeMarre was playing in this game, mainly because he’s been deal with some slight ailments lately and I didn’t want his extreme-effort style of play causing another injury in a game like this that doesn’t affect the standings. Nonetheless, DeMarre looked fine, putting up 13 points, four assists, and three steals in just 22 minutes of play. And hey, he made all of his layups! 8/10

Kyle Korver: I never thought Korver could play 22 minutes in a game without attempting a three, but that is exactly what happened in this game. He still had seven points and four assists, but just so odd that he didn’t even get a shot off from 3-point land. Makes you appreciate his 3-point streak even more. 7/10 Continue Reading…

According to aggregate plus-minus for the four games against the Pacers this season, Atlanta’s starters have had a rough time against Indiana’s starters. By contrast, several Hawks bench players have been consistently impressive. Following is a ranking of the team by aggregate plus-minus (APM) for the four games against Indiana. For example, Dennis Schröder was +8 on February 4th and +3 on February 18th. Therefore the Hawks outscored the Pacers by 11 points for the season while Schröder was on the floor

Pero Antic, APM: +30

Antic has been a Pacer killer in two games as a starter against Indiana. Antic shot 13-for-18 (72%) from the field and 6-for-10 (60%) from 3-point range in those games, averaging 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds. The Hawks have outscored the Pacers by 15 points per game during Antic’s time on the floor. Continue Reading…

With his blistering on-ball speed and a change of pace that leaves defenders in the dust, it’s no mystery as to why many Hawks fans agree that an aggressive Jeff Teague is the best Jeff Teague. Shooting 38% from mid-range and 32% from downtown, logic would presume the optimal method of attack for Teague is getting to the basket instead of settling for jumpers.

However, on some nights we’ll see a timid Teague, one refusing to take advantage of his talents and instead doesn’t actively look to get into the paint. Being the only Hawks starter with a dribble-drive game, this Teague stagnates and diminishes spacing on an offense that is predicated on ball movement and is third in (pace-adjusted) three-point attempts per game.

At least, that’s what the “eye test” suggests. Statistics on the other hand convey that not only is Teague consistently assertive, but he’s actually one of the more hungry attackers in the league.

Per SportVU, Teague ranks fourth in the NBA in drives per-36 minutes, with “drives” being defined as when a player dribbles the ball from 20-feet out to within 10 feet of the basket. According to this, Teague not only consistently looks to find gaps in the defense but does so more than a vast majority of the NBA. The kicker? Atlanta’s netting 10.7 points per game on Teague drives, which ranks 7th in the league.

So what is creating this image of Teague only being aggressive on certain nights?

Continue Reading…

FINAL

CHA(42-39) 95 – 93 (37-44)ATL

Key Performers:
M. Scott (ATL): 20 pts, 6 reb
A. Jefferson (CHA): 27 pts, 15 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks really didn’t have anything to play for tonight other than pride and tooling up for the playoffs. Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and DeMarre Carroll all did not play. Despite this, the Hawks probably should have won. The Bobcats played horrible basketball most of the night but the Hawks were only able to capitalize on it once. The Hawks had tons of wide open shots from deep but couldn’t hit a large chunk of them. I guess you can’t expect the bench unit to finish off the opposing team, but you don’t usually expect them to blow a 15 point lead against the opposing teams’ bench plus one starter, and that’s what happened tonight. A very weird game.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Lou Williams: Ever since reentering the rotation, Williams has not disappointed. Looking at his box score I’m surprised he had as poor a game as he did because he did a lot of small things really well such as pushing the pace and running the fast break. Still, 0-for-7 from deep is really tough to overcome. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Teague continues his strong finish to the season. Tonight he did a little bit of everything with some points here, some assists over there, and some rebounds here. He finished with a stat line of 11-5-4, but that’s not what was so great about his play tonight. Teague shut down Kemba Walker. Walker was hounded all night long and had a dreadful game. Even when he did get an open shot he looked uncomfortable because of everything Teague was doing. 8/10

Pero Antic: Antic returned from injury and got the start. Unfortunately for him that did not lead to much success. He struggled all night long and was far less effective than Muscala and Brand. 2/10

Mike Muscala: Muscala had one of his best games as a rookie tonight. 21 minutes and given the task of helping out on Al Jefferson, the rookie stepped up. His defense wasn’t spectacular but it wasn’t horrible. On the offensive end Muscala was 3-for-5 with 8 points and a lot of nice hustle moments. 6/10

Cartier Martin: Martin also deserves big props for his efforts on the defensive end tonight. While Teague was busy hounding Walker, Martin found himself with the task of of guarding Gerald Henderson. Martin held Henderson to a dreadful shooting night and between him and Teague, they shut down the Bobcats starting back court. 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

According to the Atlanta Hawks’ official Twitter account, Jeff Teague has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after leading the team to a 3-1 record, including wins over the playoff-bound Heat and Nets, and a conference-best 7th consecutive postseason appearance. Teague averaged 20 points, 6 assists and nearly two steals per game over that stretch, including 51% shooting from the floor and 92% from the free throw line, and has never missed the playoffs since entering the NBA.

For the week, according to the official Hawks press release, Teague “led all Eastern Conference point guards in +/- ratio (+37) and made field goals (tied with 27), while ranking second in total steals (seven) and tied for second in made free throws (22).” It is the first Player of the Week honor of Teague’s career.

In February I blasted Teague, writing that he, “looks like one of those guys who doesn’t have that much love for the game. It gets him paid so he shows up, but that’s about as far as it goes.” After watching Teague will his team into the postseason, that statement appears disproved. Teague is playing the best basketball of his career and I doubt either George Hill or Mario Chalmers is looking forward to facing him in the first round.

FINAL

MIA(54-26) 85 – 98 (37-43)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 25 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast, 4 stl
L. James (MIA): 27 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks won their third straight game, with this victory over the Heat clinching the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The win is thanks to Jeff Teague, who was extremely aggressive in attacking the basket nearly the whole night. He wasn’t really attacking in the fourth quarter, but that’s because Lou “Chicken Man” Williams was cooking up something extra crispy. Williams had 23 points on the night, 18 of which were scored in the game’s final period. Lou actually completely closed the game for the Hawks, scoring the team’s final 12 points after the 2:54 mark to thwart any chance of a Miami comeback.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was rather quiet on the night, only putting up 11 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, which broke his streak of seven consecutive double-doubles. One thing of concern: Millsap appeared to twist his ankle in the fourth quarter, but he remained in the game. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks decide to rest him over the final two games. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was attacking the basket with AUTHORITY on several occasions, putting up a couple of highlight and-one finishes that got the Hawks contingent of the crowd to make some noise. “He always sets the tone when get gets out there and is aggressive and he pushes the tempo,” said Paul Millsap of his starting point guard. “He attack and he attacks. It’s good for us. It’s what we need from him.” So… how about some of that same aggressive stuff in the playoffs, Jeffrey? 9.5/10

Elton Brand: With Pero Antic sitting out, Elton Brand had to start for a second consecutive game. He played 27 minutes and made his defensive presence known when he had a highlight reel block on a LeBron James layup attempt in the first quarter. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: LeBron turned it up a bit at the end of the game, but for most of the game, DeMarre played great defense on the league’s best player. DeMarre made LeBron work for each and every bucket when he was on the floor. On offense, DeMarre had five turnovers, but he also hit three 3-pointers and was an overall plus on that end, too. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Really quiet night from Korver; only four points and three rebounds. Wade was scoring early, but that was more a factor of Wade hitting jumpers than of poor defensive play by Korver. 3/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(43-36) 88 – 93 (36-43)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 27 pts, 10 reb
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta’s magic number is now 1 after an impressive, albeit surprising victory over the Nets. Surprising in the context of this game, not in general (the Nets were without Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Andray Blatche,) as the Hawks went 1-18 from three point range and had three sub-twenty point quarters yet somehow pulled away by five. A narrow margin in favor of the Nets dissipated in the second quarter thanks to strong minutes by the bench squad, and Atlanta soon pulled ahead to go up by double-digits. The Hawks scored a whopping 39 points in that second quarter thanks to some crisp defense, a whole lot of Jeff Teague and transition basketball. After a third quarter where Atlanta cooled off and just barely clung on to their lead, the fourth quarter turned into a back-and-forth affair that favored the Hawks in the final minutes. Down three with 47 ticks to go, the Nets looked to Joe Johnson, who was suffocated by DeMarre Carroll, forcing the miss. Teague took it down the other end and dropped in a floater off a high screen and roll. Ball game.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: A perfect game from Paul Millsap tonight, coming up huge in a must-win. Having to guard smaller opponents all night, Millsap stood up to the task without fault, holding Paul Pierce to 5-14 shooting and still helping on the interior. On the offensive end, Millsap came up with some big buckets in the fourth and finished with a big 27-point night on 10-19 shooting from the field. He also collected 10 rebounds. 10/10

Elton Brand: Coach Bud elected to not overplay Elton Brand a whole lot tonight, but in his 22 minutes of action he was his usual effective self on both ends. Most impressively, he totaled four blocks and two steals over that stretch. He also put home a couple of baby jumpers in the early going. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague had a field day tonight, especially in the time where he was matched up with his younger brother, Marquis. Oh, poor Marquis. Jeff went to town with a slew of crossovers and takes to the rim, finishing with 22 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Um… Ouch. Korver didn’t put up a three until the third quarter, when he launched two ill-advised misses. He went on to go 1-8 from the field and 0-5 from deep on the night, never finding any sort of a rhythm. However, he came up with a big rebound and strip in the closing couple of minutes. 3/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll played a phenomenal game, absolutely shutting down the red hot Joe Johnson, holding him at 9 points on 4-15 shooting. Carroll was also major on the boards where the Hawks were a bit out-matched, grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points for the double-double. Huge performance. 10/10

Continue Reading…

It was announced earlier today that former Atlanta Hawk Lou Hudson passed away after suffering a severe stroke. He was 69.

Hudson was named an All-Star six times while in Atlanta and he averaged 22 points per game in his career with the Hawks. Hudson is one of three players, along with Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins, to have his number retired by the franchise.

Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon had this to say on Hudson’s passing:

“Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club. As a fan growing up with this team, I’m fortunate to say I was able to see almost every game Sweet Lou played as a member of the Hawks. He was an integral part of successful Hawks teams for over a decade, and is deservedly recognized with the ultimate symbol of his significance to the franchise with the number 23 hanging inside Philips Arena. On behalf of the Hawks organization, I’d like to extend condolences to Lou’s family and friends.”

FINAL

BOS(23-55) 97 – 105 (35-43)ATL

Key Performers:
R. Rondo (BOS): 19 pts, 12 ast, 3 stl
J. Teague (ATL): 19 pts, 8 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Say it with me guys. Playoffs, baby! Play-offs! Well, not yet, not for sure, but this win definitely got the Hawks one step closer. And what a win it was. Atlanta opened up an early double-digit lead thanks to a ridiculous shooting stretch – making 19 of their first 25 shot attempts. A late second-quarter comeback by Boston cut the Hawks lead to single-digits, only to take control of the game in the quarter following. Around the midway point of the fourth, Boston led by nine points, and things seemed bleak for the Hawks. That is, until they went on a 19-3 run. Nineteen to three. A couple of Korver treys and big plays by every other starter helped the Hawks pulled off an impressive victory when the game looked all but over. Oh, and the Hawks were without Pero Antic who was inactive with a sore ankle.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: Teague’s jumper was cooking tonight, the tip of the iceberg that was his terrific outing. Teague connected on three of his six tries from deep, including one huge long bomb to spark the Hawks’ insane comeback. Every other facet of Teague’s game was on point tonight, and he finished with 19 points, 8 assists and 2 steals on 6-12 shooting from the field. 9/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre fell victim to some outrageous Jeff Green shots in this one, yet still held him to just 5-15 shooting from the field! Strong all-around game from Carroll, which has become old news at this point. 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists on 6-13 shooting. 9/10

Kyle Korver: SAUZ! Korver was all over the place tonight, connecting on colossally important threes, making superb passes and hit the boards well to top it off. Somehow the Celtics left Korver WIDE OPEN on two possessions, coming off of made buckets. One of them were during Atlanta’s 19-3 run, so thanks for that Boston. Korver was 4-6 from deep, scoring 17, grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 4 dimes with a team-high +17. 10/10

Elton Brand:

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33 minutes, 13 points and 13 rebounds, 300% shooting from the field. Okay, I made up the last stat. But he was terrific on all fronts. 10/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap had far from the greatest of games, but came up big on the glass and in the final minutes with a score inside and game-sealing block on Avery Bradley. 5.5/10 Continue Reading…

The Hawks and RPM

Bo Churney —  April 9, 2014 — 2 Comments

Last week, ESPN released a new stat called Real Plus-Minus (or RPM) as a new perspective into gauging the impact a player has on the court. For ESPN’s intoduction of the stat, click here.

In a nutshell, adjusted plus-minus stats work by taking your regular plus-minus figures and attempting to set a value to each player’s situation based on their teammates, their opponents, and even coaching. It then tries to put those numbers together and assign a “real plus-minus” as a figure of a player’s overall value. RPM is measured in net-point differential per 100 possessions. (100 possessions is about the length of your average game)

As with all stats, I don’t think you can just take one and use it to end an argument. With that said, RPM should provide an interesting new tool to look at when trying to confirm the impact of a certain player(s). Continue Reading…