Archives For November 2013

RECAP: Hawks 110, Knicks 90

Cole Patty —  November 16, 2013

FINAL

  NYK(3-6) 90 – 110 (6-4)ATL

Key Performers:
S. Mack (ATL): 12 pts, 12 ast (Yes, Shelvin Mack was the Key Performer)
C.Anthony (NYK): 23 pts, 12 reb, 2 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

This was one of the best full games Atlanta has put together all season. New York has loved to chuck their threes the past few years, but the Hawks were ready for it.  Watching the opponent go 10-30 from deep is improved for an Atlanta team that has been one of the bottom teams in the league from downtown. Offensively, seemingly everyone on the Hawks hit an extra gear scoring tonight. There were eight Hawks in double digit-points, and they all did it efficiently. 56.4% from the field and 40.9% from three are marks that are enviable by every other team in the league, and the ball movement was just as crisp.

There was only one real glaring negative. The Knicks had 19 offensive rebounds. On most nights you can’t allow for the opponent to have that many second chances and still expect a victory. The Knicks had twelve more field goal attempts with only one more free throw, but it ended up not being too important to the game with how Atlanta dominate offensively and defensively.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al’s statline doesn’t come off as strong, but there are some contextual things behind that. Andrea Bargnani is to blame for the poor defensive rebounding numbers. Al was pulled away from the hoop more often than he would be against many other teams, and the Hawks effort on the glass as a whole suffered. Scoring wise, the points total isn’t high, but the team really didn’t need him to shoot more. With how everyone scored the ball, Al picked his spots and remained efficient. It was actually a sneaking good night from Al when considering he went 6-10 from the field and some solid defensive moments. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague looks pretty comfortable scoring the ball lately, huh? 5-9 from the field and 10 free throw attempts is the perfect recipe for an efficient night from the point guard. Defensively, Jeff was pretty good. The backdoor cut by Felton stands out as a moment that Teague was caught sleeping, but he kept moments like that to a minimum. Also, I wouldn’t worry about the assist numbers tonight. Some early feeds to Korver that normally go in didn’t and Jeff moved off the ball when he was playing with Shelvin. 7/10

Paul Millsap: Thirteen rebounds doesn’t tell the whole story of Millsap’s night on the glass. He looked amiss with Al Horford away from the hoop, and Carmelo had 5 of the Knicks 19 offensive rebounds. For every ball Millsap secured, there seemed to be a time where he should have really hit a guy with a box-out to prevent a fresh 24 seconds for the Knicks. Long-term this shouldn’t be much of a concern however, as the Knicks are one of the few teams that will isolate Paul down low by stretching the spacing from the five. Scoring the ball, Paul was just as efficient as Jeff and Al. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: Even on a night that he shot 50% from the field the box score doesn’t give the full effect of DeMarre Carroll’s game tonight. The big thing here is he guarded J.R. Smith on a night Smith went 3-18 from the field. J.R. had four shots in the paint. Carroll lulling Smith into shooting 14 jumpers was instrumental in the Hawks getting the win tonight. 8/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is now 83. One of the biggest storylines for this Hawks team — to me — is how awesome some of Korver’s misses have been early. There were two sets that Kyle had so much space to operate, and he just missed an easy shot. This isn’t a critique, as much as a feeling there could be a night where Korver — despite his more consistent approach — goes crazy with the kinds of attempts he is seeing. Outside of this tangent, another solid scoring night, a few rebounds, and a good effort defensively means another strong game from Kyle. 7/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 113, 76ers 103

Bo Churney —  November 16, 2013

FINAL

PHI(5-5) 103 – 113 (5-4)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 33 pts, 4 reb, 10 ast
E. Turner (PHI): 27 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks were all over the place — but not in a bad way — before this game. We found out that Gustavo Ayon would be starting in place of Paul Millsap, which sent me into a, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH PAUL?!?” frenzy, but Coach Bud was just testing with lineups. And, of course, we found out that Lou Williams would be active for this game, which should have been the highlight of the day. However, Jeff Teague stole that spotlight with his play on the court.

“He got going a little bit, so we stuck with him,” said Coach Mike Budenholzer. “I think the message throughout preseason and training camp was that when he’s aggressive, usually something good is going to happen.”

Teague was extremely aggressive, getting to the line 13 times and sinking 12 of those opportunities. Teague is now fifth in the league in free throw attempts, and first and seventh in the league in assists per game and points per game. So far, he’s been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al got the start at power forward tonight against the smaller Thaddeus Young, and he started out of the gate strong with eight of the team’s first 15 points. Coach Budenholzer said that it likely wasn’t because of Al’s PF positioning that helped this, but I think it could have contributed a bit. Also, I’m really close to starting an #AlHorfordTravelWatch, because his only two turnovers in this game, again, were travels. On the positive side, at least those are very correctable mistakes. 9/10

Jeff Teague: I already gushed enough about Jeff in the opening section, but here’s some more; he’s really found a groove at getting into the lane and being able to either take it to the basket or to find a teammate. Hopefully this type of aggression can continue. 10/10

Gustavo Ayon: He did well in his surprise start, which also happened to be his first playing time of the season. He had six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes, which he made the most of by getting five fouls in. I don’t know how often we should expect him to start, but I foresee a return to Horford/Millsap for the Knicks. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: Forgotten in all the Jeff/Lou news was that DeMarre had a career night. He was 5-for-8 on three pointers, including one late in the fourth that gave Jeff Teague his 10th assist. His 21 points on the night were a career high. 9/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is 82 now, which Kyle decided to get out of the way in the first quarter. He didn’t have any steals in this game, but he did have a block, which actually brought down his average of two steals and/or blocks per game. 8/10 Continue Reading…

Lou Williams Active vs Sixers

Bo Churney —  November 15, 2013

Per the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore, Lou Williams will be active tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers and will have a 16 minute cap on his play tonight, if he plays at all.

Williams has been out since he tore his ACL in January against Brooklyn. Lou was averaging 14.1 points per game last season before the injury ended his season. The Hawks will be relieved to have Williams back, as they currently lack a true scoring option off the bench. (The current scoring leader off the bench is Cartier Martin)

As a celebration, I present this:

RECAP: Knicks 95, Hawks 91

Bo Churney —  November 14, 2013

FINAL

NYK(3-4) 95 – 91 (4-4)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Bargnani (NYK): 20 pts, 11 reb, 2 ast
J. Teague (ATL): 25 pts, 5 reb, 8 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

If you’re a Hawks fan, this game was just depressing. With the Knicks missing their best defensive player in Tyson Chandler, the Hawks weren’t able to capitalize, only scoring 91 points on the night against New York. Atlanta’s offense was marred by bad three-point shooting and costly turnovers, which led to 23 points on the other end for the Knicks. To make matters worse, Andrea Bargnani had a huge night, as the Italian big man racked up his first 20-10 game in nearly two years.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Part of Bargnani going off is on Horford. Beyond that, though, he had some nice defensive possessions on Carmelo, and he and Jeff were a great pair on offense in the pick-and-roll. I felt he could have done more on offense against Bargnani in the one-on-one game, but alas, it didn’t happen. Also notably, he didn’t get called for a travel after getting called for it three times against Charlotte. 8/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap had to start regressing to the mean at some point. He’s had two consecutive off nights offensively now, part of which is just because he can’t get as involved as he would probably want. Going up against Carmelo, Paul had to expend a lot of energy on that end, and for the most part, he did a good job. When it came to putting the ball through the hoop, though, he just didn’t have it. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: I know this is probably more on coaching than on DeMarre, but I’m rapidly losing faith in Carroll’s jump shot. He pulled up in semi-transition on one play and… like, why? I’d much rather see more of his shot attempts coming off of cuts to the basket. 5/10

Jeff Teague: Teague didn’t have the greatest night from the field (7-for-17), but at least he was attacking. His strong play netted him 14 free throw attempts, and there is really no reason for the Hawks to be losing when they get a strong 25-5-8 from their starting point guard. More on Teague in Schröder’s section. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Iman Shumpert and the Knicks generally did a good job chasing Kyle around off of screens, although Kyle was able to get away a couple of time, allowing him to extend his three-point streak to 81 games in a row. Defensively, he did swat the hell out of Bargnani on one play, so at least we’ll always have that as a memory. 6.5/10 Continue Reading…

The Leap of Teague

Bo Churney —  November 13, 2013

Last year, I postulated that those expecting Jeff Teague to make “the leap” in the 2012-13 season needed to back down. It wasn’t that Teague wasn’t capable of improving as a point guard; it was that Jeff, in only his second year as a starter, still needed more time under his belt to be able to get to that point.

In the post linked above, I said the proper time to expect Teague to take that leap would be the 2013-14 season, his third season as a team’s starting point guard. This was going off data that suggested that many of the league’s top guards (Paul, Williams, Westbrook) all underwent that improvement in their third years at the helm of a team’s offense.

What do we have out of Jeff so far in his third season as a starter? Well, you have the Eastern Conference’s leader in assists per game at 10.1 per contest. He’s kicking in almost 18 points per 36 minutes as well and is turning the ball over — 17.6 TO% last season, 15.4% this season — at a significantly lower rate.

“It’s just being comfortable,” Teague said when asked about his higher assist totals this year. “I know a lot of people like to score, I like to make assists. I like to see other people’s names on the scoreboard and getting points.” Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 103, Bobcats 94

Bo Churney —  November 11, 2013

FINAL

CHA(3-4) 94 – 103 (4-3)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 24 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast
J. McRoberts (CHA): 19 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder both picked up two early fouls in the first quarter. No problem for the Hawks, as the bench unit, led by Brand, Scott, and Mack, was able to keep it close enough in the first for the Hawks to be able to take over in the third quarter, a period that they won 34-16. Horford had 13 points in that quarter alone, and Cartier Martin hit a few big threes off the bench to help propel Atlanta its ninth straight win over the Bobcats.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: He had a great night shooting, getting 24 points on 15 shots, but he appears to be having problems with the new emphasis on traveling. Al had four turnovers, three of them on traveling calls. I’m not sure if this will continue, but it is a bit discouraging to see your star player get called for traveling multiple times. 8.5/10

Paul Millsap: Paul finally had a non-amazing game. Only nine points and five rebounds in this one, part of which was from a lack of minutes; he only had 26 minutes, which seemed to just be prolonged periods of rest, and weren’t a foul or injury issue. Millsap will likely be seeing a higher workload in Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 5/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre was actually the team’s leading rebounder tonight with 10 boards. He also had five points, including a three-pointer. Still not sure how much I like his jumper. It looks improved from his Utah days, but I don’t know if I want Al Horford passing up an open 17-footer on the baseline for DeMarre to take an open three; just not sure he’s there yet. 6/10

Jeff Teague: In terms of scoring, Teague had another rough game. He was 4-for-14 from the field and 5-for-8 on free throws. However, he continued his passing exploits, racking up 12 dimes against the Bobcats. At this point, I don’t even think Jeff is having his best nights passing, so it seems like there could still be room for improvement for Jeff, which is extremely exciting. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: So the streak is up to 80 now, which puts Kyle’s streak second all-time. Kyle had another all-around decent line, finishing with 11-3-2-2. on 4-for-9 shooting. He probably could have had more points, though, as the team did a good job of getting Kyle open off of screens. 7/10 Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have opened up this season near the bottom of the league in defensive rating, a disappointing mark for a team hoping to make the playoffs. However, this fact should be taken with a grain of salt. The process is far more important than the result at this point in the new NBA year, with many more games left to play. After all, the Hawks are still growing accustomed to a system replicating one perfected by this generation’s basketball dynasty.

Despite the sheer amount of points the Hawks have given up, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to worry. Note that this system being installed is six regular season games old to his team, not nearly enough time for Atlanta’s revamped roster to have it down without flaw. How long this will take can only be guessed, and it might not even happen this season. This is a strategy coach Budenholzer has carried over from his days a Spurs assistant, to a roster lacking the talent San Antonio has had over it’s decade-long dominance. The real question isn’t when, but will; will this Hawks roster be able to run such a sophisticated system decently?

Looking at how Atlanta’s defensive strategy and execution, we can deduce where the problems lie. First thing you’ll notice is that they’re giving up long twos and not allowing teams to attempt corner threes. Continue Reading…

There are a lot of pains on both ends of the game by adding a new coach with a completely new system. Terminology, roles, sets, and various other things can be so vastly different that even the most intelligent players can look out of sorts. For Atlanta’s offense, the transition has been much smoother than we expected. Usually that is the first place that people like to look for stuggles with a new coach, as typically it is assumed offense is more complex than defense. However, when you have bell-cows down low such as Paul Millsap and Al Horford who can consistently score the ball at the high level that they are, the growing pains are dramatically lessened.

The defensive cramps that come from change have been much more than cramps though. Atlanta’s defensive rating through six games is 103.7, which is poor enough to be tied for the 7th worst mark in the league. The main cause of this low mark has been opponents shooting the ball from deep often and effectively. The Hawks are giving up 9.8 threes a game, which is second most in the league, and they are also giving up a 40.7% 3PT% to the other team, which is the fourth worst mark. This combination is extremely deadly and is accentuated by teams like the Denver Nuggets going 14-for-25 this past Thursday night. Denver isn’t known as a team that is trying to beat their competition by shooting threes and shouldn’t have that kind of mark against anyone.

Let’s take a look at the shot chart on opponent’s three-pointers against the Hawks. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 104, Magic 94

Bo Churney —  November 10, 2013

FINAL

  ORL(3-4) 94 – 104 (3-3)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 18 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast, 4 stls, 2 blk
A. Afflalo (ORL): 21 pts, 3 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks get back to .500 and, hopefully, they just needed a game on their home floor to get things back on track. Even if the Magic aren’t a juggernaut of an opponent, there were a few good things to take out of this game, like the Hawks decisively winning a first quarter. The Hawks also won this game when they went 6-for-19 from three, and they only got to the foul line a total of 17 times. In all, it was a great team victory, which is something we will likely see a lot of this season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Played very strong defense Vucevic, limiting the Magic center to just seven points and six rebounds. Al also had four blocks on the night, so of which just came out of pure patience of waiting for the right move. On the offensive side, Horford had a great all around night, picking up 15 points and seven dimes on zero turnovers. His scoring probably could have been better (14 shots), but his passing was excellent. 9/10

Paul Millsap: This is Paul’s third straight 10 performance, which I think only Al has done before in the HawksHoop grades. Seriously, Millsap keeps doing everything and is even doing better on defense than I originally thought he would. He’s going to regress eventually, but with the way he looks, that regressions might not be too strong. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Weird night from DeMarre. He made all five of his shots and scored 12 points… but then he turned the ball over five times. Considering he’s not handling the ball THAT much, that isn’t very good. One thing to be excited about, though, is that he only took two three-pointers in the game instead of four. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was having a “meh” game scoring… and he still wound up with 19 points, part of which was thanks to the Magic fouling at the end of the game, but still impressive nonetheless. His running of the offense in this game was great, as he was passing at the right times in the pick-and-roll/pop to Al and Paul. Teague is second in the league in APG after his 13 dimes in this game. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle keeps putting up numbers in the non-shooting categories, which really makes me want to go around to people and say, “I told you he can do more than just shoot.” Of course, he’s a great shooter, but he can do other things, and I think that was evidenced in his 14 point, eight rebound, five assist performance. Oh, and he extended his three-point streak to 79 games. 8/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Nuggets 109, Hawks 107

Cole Patty —  November 8, 2013

FINAL

DEN(1-3) 109 – 107 (2-3)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 29 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast, 2 stls
T. Lawson (DEN): 23 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Even though it is still in early November, this is a game that hurts. The Nuggets are a struggling team going under a coaching change of their own, and shouldn’t really be fighting for a playoff spot this season. In order to alleviate some of the growing pains that Atlanta is suffering with figuring out the new system and the rotations, these are the teams that they will be required to beat. It didn’t happen however, and poor perimeter defense is a huge part of it. Denver shot 14-for-25 from three, and Ty Lawson was devastating in the second half. This has seemed to be a recurring issue with the team, and hopefully they will figure things out on the outside on that end soon.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al took advantage of the nice matchup he got with the Nuggets’ frontcourt. He finished with a line of 21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. Was it a little disheartening that it took him 21 shots to get to those 21 points? Sure, but he also only shot one free throw despite playing inside a decent amount. His last shot of the game also could have been kicked out to Korver, but he was still solid on both ends despite those two critiques. 8/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap also took advantage of Denver’s frontcourt and he did so in a big, big way. Paul’s statline is above, but he was also 10-for-15 from the field and a solid 2-for-3 from deep. Everything that Millsap seemingly shot for a long period of the game was finding net, and he seemed to always grab his rebounds through traffic. Interesting to note that he missed split his late free throw and missed a late shot after going down with some sort of knee pain. One has to wonder if that affected how he finished, but regardless, he was stellar all night. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre had another tough night from deep, but finally found the bottom of the net with a right corner three in the third quarter. Still, he took another four tonight after taking four against the Kings, and if he can’t make more than one out of eight he probably should cool it on the deep ball. His cuts, however, were solid, and he gave Denver’s defense problems with his off-ball movement. Defensively, Carroll wasn’t the issue. He also wasn’t really a solution either, and needs to take a step up on that side of the court. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Offensively, Jeff keeps putting in strong nights as a play-maker. He had another 11 assists tonight, and seems to like what Bud has been giving him as a passer. Scoring wise, Jeff had more downs than ups. He was avoiding contact with JaVale McGee tonight, and kept trying to float the ball over the top ineffectively. He also got completely torched defensively by Lawson, and really needs to play to higher level when the guy across from him is so good. He also can’t be slow up and down the court like he was tonight, Denver air or not. 2/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle was the best perimeter player on the Hawks at both ends. He was efficient scoring, going 6-10 and 2-4 from deep. He also was clearly the best defensive perimeter player, as he didn’t look as lost off the ball as others did tonight. Adding in two steals and two blocks helps too. 7/10 Continue Reading…