Archives For December 2012

In an effort to play more up-tempo from the start, Larry Drew is starting Lou Williams tonight at shooting guard vs. the Bulls. The rest of the lineup will be Teague, Korver, Smith, and Horford. This will be Lou’s first start in the NBA since the 2009-10 season when he was with Philadelphia.

It’s hard to argue with adjustment. Chicago plays a great defensive game under Tom Thibodeau, and putting Lou Williams in with Teague should keep the ball-movement at a maximum, while also show-casing Lou’s driving abilities.

This goes against my suggestion of starting Zaza, but it’s based on the same principle: creating a mismatch. My idea was more about creating one defensively, and LD decided to go with the offensive tweak. We’ll see how it works.

Some more nuggets from this game:

  •  This will be the first matchup between brother Jeff and Marquis Teague in the NBA. Marquis is a backup guard for Chicago.
  •  Of course, the more premier matchup will be between former Gators Al Horford and Joakim Noah. They won two national titles at Florida and always seem to take their best efforts against each other. It should be fun to watch.
  •  TI is doing a halftime show and is giving away free downloads and other stuff. All I got was his entourage blocking my car when I was in the media parking lot.

Hawks look to rebound vs. Bulls

Bo Churney —  December 22, 2012

The Hawks have lost three of four, with the only win coming in overtime against the lowly Wizards. In each of the losses, the Hawks have trailed by 17 or more, and have shot under 40%.

Needless to say, they could use a win against a good team at home.

The Hawks overall record is still good at 15-9, but tonight’s matchup presents a chance that they could fall out of the three-seed that they’ve held for about a month now. Chicago is 15-10, coming off of an impressive wins against New York and Boston. The Bulls are 7-2 in their last nine games, and have certainly been more impressive recently than Atlanta.

Calling this game a must-win is a bit of a stretch; we haven’t even reached the All-Star break yet, the team has a winning percentage over 60%, and the Bulls are still a pretty good team that the Hawks should have no shame in dropping a game to.

However, we need to see a better Hawks team in this game. They don’t have to win, but they need to look like the team that stormed out to a 14-6 start and was tied for 2nd in the East. That involves shooting a better percentage, turning the ball over less, and looking like they want to win the game. Continue Reading…

RECAP: 76ers 99, Hawks 80

Bo Churney —  December 21, 2012

FINAL

PHI(13-14) 99 – 80 (15-9) ATL

Key Performers:

T. Young (PHI): 18 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast, 5 stl
J. Smith (ATL): 17 pts, 6 reb, 3 asts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I’m going to be honest; the Hawks were flat-out lazy in this one. Josh stopped giving a damn after the first quarter, Lou really only cared for about a two minute stretch, and Al couldn’t do anything inside, and his season long struggle with his jumper continued. Few good things to take from this one, Hawks fans.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Josh was frustrating as hell in the first quarter, but he was productive, scoring 13 points on nine shots. However, after that, it was nothing but laziness from him, going 2-7 the rest of the way, and doing absolutely nothing else to make up for that. 5/10

Al Horford: Al is 9-35 in the last three games, so I guess it’s not surprising that the Hawks lost two of them, and needed OT to beat the Wizards. Thad Young wasn’t allowing Al to get anything on the inside, and his jumper continues to be lost somewhere in the Twilight zone. Hopefully the upcoming game against the Bulls will give him a bit of a spark. 3/10

Kyle Korver: Once again, Kyle was one of the few Hawks that was hustling on the floor, but he still missed several open looks that he could have easily made. Can’t knock the hustle, though. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff committed a bunch of silly fouls, which led to him only getting 22 minutes, with most of them coming in garbage time at the end of the fourth. The Hawks looked a lot better when he was on the floor, so he cannot allow himself to make mistakes like this. 5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Thunder 100, Hawks 92

Bo Churney —  December 20, 2012

FINAL

OKC(21-4) 100 – 92 (15-8) ATL

Key Performers:

K. Durant (OKC): 41 pts, 13 rebs, 3 ast, 2 blk
J. Teague (ATL): 19 pts, 1 rebs, 9 asts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks missed out on a grand opportunity to make a statement against the hottest team in the league. Instead, they shot horribly, and decided that guarding Kevin Durant wasn’t a good idea. The Hawks now have five losses at home, and are 1-4 when I am in attendance… (WELP!)

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: He had some great looks early, but then he started forcing his shots again, and it went all down hill from there. For example, on one play, he was blocked by KD twice, then turned the ball over, and finally, fouled Durant on a dunk at the other end. (the game probably ended there) He played good D on Durant and Ibaka several times, but he also was lazy when closing out Durant in the fourth, which is where KD got a lot of his points. 6/10

Al Horford: I think this might be the first time all season that Al had back-to-back bad shooting games. Of course, that might not be entirely his fault, as he had a couple of foul calls that did not go his way, result in Al getting extremely upset and earning a T. After that, it was all in his head, as he had a couple of “frustration” plays that resulted in bad looks. 5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was all over the place like a squirrel with his hustle, which was extremely fun to see on both ends of the floor when he wasn’t guarding Kevin Durant. However, Larry Drew should be charged with a war crime for making Kyle guard Kevin one-on-one for several stretches. Even if his shooting was a bit off, a 9-5-3-4-3 line is somewhat impressive. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff was definitely one of the bright spots in this game, even if Westbrook did take advantage of him in the first quarter. Teague finished with 19 points on 13 shots, and had nine assists to only one turnover. The Hawks had a lot of problems in this game; Jeff was not one of them. 6/10 Continue Reading…

The NBA– more thani anything– is a league of relationships. It is predicated on the idea that players, coaches, and fans will respond to one another– that they’ll know each other and vice versa. These relationships, this communication, is what drives the story lines of the NBA, and those story lines are what make a meaningless game in December interesting.

The Hawks beat the Wizards on Tuesday night, and no one really cares all that much. The Wizards are the worst team in the NBA and the Hawks, while solid this year, have a history of being largely erratic. People don’t want to watch that combination– at least based solely on those qualifications. But beyond an outer lining of what seems like a useless mid-winter game, inside of that shell, there is meaning. Maybe not significantly to the standings, maybe not significantly to half of a fan base, but in everything and every game, these inter-connected relationships produce meaning.

Continue Reading…

FINAL

WAS(3-19) 95 – 100 (15-7) ATL

Key Performers:

L. Williams (ATL): 24 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk
J. Crawford (WAS): 27 pts, 11 rebs, 11 asts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks were able to overcome a Jordan Crawford triple double and a strong night from Nene thanks to their again stellar defense. There were a few moments when it looked like the game might be slipping away, but someone, whether it was Teague, Smoove, or Lou, was always ready to pull Atlanta back, settle things down, and make a play.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith had an absolutely miserable airball in overtime that gave the Wizards life when they should have already been dead, but I say that first because everything else was great. He rebounded well, played strong defense most of the night, and with all things considered, stood by decent shot selection. 8/10

Al Horford: Horford had one of his worst games of the season in terms of scoring tonight, but he made up for it with activity in other areas. He pulled down 11 rebounds, had 6 assists, and was huge on defense down the stretch. It clearly wasn’t a night to remember for Al, because 5 points on 2-11 shooting just isn’t going to cut it, but he found ways to contribute when there was a lid on the basket. 6/10

Kyle Korver: If there is a cardinal rule of not leaving shooters open, then there’s even a more important rule, and that’s don’t leave Kyle Korver open. And if he’s coming around a screen then you better hurry because his release is quicker than a mongoose and all he needs is 2 seconds and he’s shooting it whether you like it or not and it’s going to go in so nanny nanny boo boo. So, anyway, yeah. 16 points on 5-6 shooting with 7 rebounds. I like it. 8/10

Devin Harris: In what looked like another great start, Harris poured in 8 points before tweaking his ankle. He was 3-6 from the field and was connecting from long range. He’s really been turning a corner recently, so lets just hope that ankle is okay. INC/10

Jeff Teague: After the game, Teague told me that he didn’t think it was a charge on the last Hawks possession of regulation. I don’t know if he’s right, but that mistake was enough to earn him a seat on the bench for all of overtime. There’s no problem with that either, because Lou Williams was playing incredibly well and Korver was automatic. Before that, though, Teague was looking good. He found himself in some foul trouble, but he had 6 assists and scored 13 points. He was jawing with ex-teammate Jordan Crawford for a little bit in the third quarter, which prompted somewhat of a back-and-forth. Teague held his own in that stretch, despite what the final statistics of the game say. 6/10 Continue Reading…

Blazers’ Batum records 5-by-5

Bo Churney —  December 17, 2012

If you missed it last night, Portland’s Nicolas Batum had a 5×5 (at least five points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals) game last night, which is one of my favorite statistical quirks. It’s a sign of an all-around dominate game, and is something that is rarely seen in the NBA. In fact, it has only happened 15 times since 1985, which is mostly thanks to Hakeem Olajuwon, who did it six times.

The reason I bring this up is because Josh Smith, who has never actually had a 5-by-5, is usually one of the few singled out to have a chance at this achievement. He’s one of the all-time leaders in “4-by-4s”, only behind Hakeem, The Admiral, and Kirilenko, and tied with some dude named Jordan. Not a bad list to be a part of.

Some of those 4×4 games are extremely impressive. Here’s a game against Philly where he was 18-6-9-4-9. Like, who else does that? And, of course, there was last season’s game against the Bulls where he dropped at 25-5-5-4-6. Extremely impressive when you consider that he only played 34 minutes that game.

Josh also had a game earlier this season (against the Bobcats) that saw him flirt with a 5×5; he was only two steals away, which really doesn’t emphasize how close he was. He had those three steals in the first half, and then didn’t get one at all for the rest of the game.

So, hopefully Josh take more of a cue from this list of games than from his most previous. I don’t know if I can deal with another 1-12 night. I might laugh myself to death.

 

 

RECAP: Warriors 115, Hawks 93

Bo Churney —  December 15, 2012

FINAL

GSW(16-8) 115 – 93 (14-7) ATL

Key Performers:

D. Lee (GSW): 20 pts, 11 rebs, 4 asts, 3 stls
A. Horford (ATL): 17 pts, 9 rebs, 2 asts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I cannot come up with enough superlatives to describe how badly the Hawks played tonight. They gave a good run in the first quarter, but it was all down hill from there. They fell in love with the jumper, they didn’t rotate and close out on defense, and the team wound up shooting 5-26 from behind the arc. I would like to say that this is one of those “live by the jumper, die by the jumper” games, but it wasn’t; they really did nothing else out there tonight to convince me that they could have won this game if the shots had fallen.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: He took a few jumpers, but even that wasn’t his problem tonight. Josh did get looks in the paint, but he kept forcing it too much and wasn’t being patient at all. He was 1-10 in the first half and ended up 1-12 on the night, with his only basket being a dunk in transition. This was probably his worst game of the season, which is saying something. 2/10

Al Horford: Al was one of the few players that actually gave a damn tonight, which was nice to see. He came out aggressive early, and paced the Hawks in the first quarter with seven efficient shots. His 17 and 9 came in only 29 minutes, meaning that Horford keeps killing the Warriors. Shame the Hawks couldn’t use it to full effect. 8/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza only played three minutes. Considering how much LD preached about energy in the postgame presser, he probably could have used one of the better energy guys in the league a bit more. 3/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff, Jeff, Jeff… he had eight assists and no giveaways, which is fantastic, but he’s got to learn to finish at the rim. It’s fun to watch him when he’s being aggressive, but painful to see when his touch is a bit off. He wasn’t really bad on the defensive end, though, as almost all of Curry’s makes came in transition. 6/10

Lou Williams: Lou mostly got run in after the blowout was already in effect, so his stats are a little skewed, but he could have played better. I would of liked to have seen him get into the paint more, but like the rest of the Hawks, that just wasn’t happening. 6/10 Continue Reading…