Archives For February 2014

RECAP: Celtics 115, Hawks 104

Bo Churney —  February 27, 2014

FINAL

BOS(20-39) 115 – 104 (26-31)ATL

Key Performers:
R. Rondo (BOS): 22 pts, 11 ast, 3 stl
D. Carroll (ATL): 24 pts, 7 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Ah, another year, another time the Hawks hoodwink us into thinking they can win in Boston. Atlanta came out red-hot in the first quarter, sinking their first six shots from the field. At one point, the Hawks led the Celtics 23-8. However, Boston then used their own run to get back into the game, finishing the quarter 17-4 to only trail by two point by the end of the quarter. The game essentially stayed within a couple of possessions for the rest of the game until Jerryd Bayless and Rondo were finally able to sink enough shots to pull away. Bayless finished with 29 points, just two shy of his career high. He hit a couple of contested looks, but the Hawks just simply lost him on some screens where Bayless was the ball-handler and he just pulled up and knocked down open shots.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: This was very similar to Jeff’s game against the Bulls. He was able to get switched up against a Boston big-man and then used his speed and tricky dribble to get into the lane and score. Jeff finished with 26 points on 18 shots, which is great, but he couldn’t use his same dribbling tricks to create for his teammates. Boston did well at forcing Teague to put the ball up in several situations and because of it, Jeff wasn’t really looking to make plays as much. He also let Jerryd Bayless torch him. Jerryd Bayless!!!! 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre was carrying the team’s scoring load in the first half, where he had 17 points in just those two quarters. The Celtics did a better job at preventing him from getting open looks in the second half, but having DeMarre score 24 point should usually be a coup for the Atlanta offense. On defense, Carroll got most of his minutes at power forward and even played center for a stretch. That reminds me, have I talked about how injuries have decimated this team yet. THEY WERE FORCED TO PLAY DEMARRE CARROLL AT CENTER! 8/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is off to 126, as Kyle got that problem out of the way rather early. He hit four threes against the Celtics and finished with 17 points overall. He also had a weird, Dream Shake-ish looking up-and-under in the third quarter that I didn’t even know Kyle was capable of doing. 7/10

Elton Brand: No 40 minutes for Elton on this night. Nope, he only played 34 against Boston’s relatively small frontcourt… and it probably would have been better if he could play more. Without Brand, the Hawks were playing either Mike Scott or DeMarre (like seriously, they actually had to do this) at center and it just didn’t work; the Hawks were absolutely destroyed on the boards when Brand wasn’t in the game. Elton’s overall line of 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five blocks was pretty great, but the three turnovers are a bit too much and he really just looked exhausted at the end of the game and his defense finally started to yield points. 7.5/10

Shelvin Mack: With Teague getting mismatches for a bunch of the night, Shelvin was more in the role of the team’s primary playmaker and it didn’t work out that well. He did have eight assists, but the added responsibility also meant that Mack couldn’t be the more conservative guy that he wants to be; he had four of the Hawks’ 18 turnovers, which is way too many giveaways. Shelvin also had an off night from the floor, only going 1-for-5 from the field. 5.5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Bulls 107, Hawks 103

Bo Churney —  February 26, 2014

FINAL

CHI(30-26) 107 – 103 (26-30)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Noah (CHI): 20 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
J. Teague (ATL): 26 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks have had a few heartbreaking losses this season and I definitely think this one fits the bill. Atlanta led by as many as 14 in the first quarter, but they allowed Chicago to score 34 points in the second, giving the Bulls a 54-51 lead at halftime. From there, it seemed that just enough would go Chicago’s way to keep the Hawks from winning. First was DeMarre Carroll fouling Kirk Hinrich on a three-pointer with 40 seconds left, then there was Jeff Teague stepping out of bounds with 12 seconds left, and finally, there was Mike Scott getting egregiously fouled on a three-pointer when the Hawks were down three, but that foul went uncalled, allowing the Bulls to secure a victory.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: It was one of those weird half-aggressive games from Teague. He did a lot of things well and was the power behind the Hawks scoring over 100 points against a Chicago team that they often struggle with, but Jeff also made mistakes at a couple of key points that resulted in the Hawks losing. Teague did have 11 points in the fourth, but he also had three turnovers, including the one outlined above. He also had some mismatches that he didn’t always take advantage of (i.e. with Noah) that could have resulted in even more points from him. Overall though, still a good game. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Yes, his foul with about 40 seconds left was his fault. Kirk may have jumped into DeMarre a bit to sell it, but the absolutely last thing you can do in the final minute of a basketball game where you have a lead is to foul a shooter while he’s attempting a three-pointer. Tonight just wasn’t DeMarre’s night, as he also struggled to finish in transition, which could have easily been prevented if he just slowed the ball down on a couple of possessions. That said, I will cut DeMarre some slack because he was clearly playing out of position for most of the night, as he spent a lot of it matched against Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. 5.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver started off red-hot, making three three-pointers in the first few minutes of the game. After that, however, there wasn’t a lot going for him. Korver and co. were able to create some great open looks for Kyle, but after those first three, Kyle had some trouble knocking those looks down. It could have been worse, as the Bulls did the same for Dunleavy, but he also missed some clean looks. 5/10

Elton Brand: Hopefully Elton Brand can play Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics, but I have no idea what the Hawks are going to do if he can’t play at least 35 minutes. (At least Dexter Pittman looks in great shape. No seriously, he looked alright.) E.B. did some great work on the rebounds, coming down with 13 of them for the game, many of which were contested rebounds where he was surrounded by several Bulls, but still managed to grab the board. He also had a couple of nice blocks and was a team-high plus-6 for the game. I guess the only consolation for Elton is that he doesn’t play for Thibodeau, right? 8/10

Shelvin Mack: For most of the night, Teague and Shelvin did a good job at limiting Hinrich and DJ Augustin. The Hawks guards really outplayed their counterparts by a wide margin, which I would have thought would have been enough for the Hawks to win if you told me that in the beginning. Shel was his usual conservative self when he was the primary ball-handler, turning the ball over zero times in his 27 minutes of play. He also had 17 points to round out a rather strong offensive effort. 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

Hawks to Add Mike Muscala

Bo Churney —  February 25, 2014

According to Peachtree Hoops and the website of Rio Natura Monbus, the Hawks have reached a buyout deal with Muscala’s Spanish club for Mike to join the Atlanta Hawks.

The move comes at a time where the Hawks have extreme injury issues in their frontcourt. Al Horford (pectoral) is out for the season, Pero Antic (right ankle) and Paul Millsap (knee contusion) are out for at least the next two games, and Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder) is listed as out for tonight’s game against Chicago, with his status being unknown for the team’s game in Boston on Wednesday. Because of these injuries, Elton Brand played 43 minutes against the Knicks on Saturday, with the other five minutes at center being occupied by Mike Scott.

The Hawks also signed Dexter Pittman to a 10-day contract, but Pittman would have to be waived in order for the Hawks to sign Muscala.

The 6’11” Muscala was averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game in the Spanish league, numbers that rate near the top of the league. Muscala was taken by the Hawks in the second round of the 2013 draft with the 44th pick.

For info to come as it is made available.

RECAP: Hawks 107, Knicks 98

Bo Churney —  February 22, 2014

FINAL

   NYK(21-35) 98 – 107 (26-29)ATL

Key Performers:
M. Scott (ATL): 30 pts, 8 reb
C. Anthony (NYK): 35 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Defining moment of this game is easy to find. After a Carmelo Anthony three-pointer with 5:56 left in the third quarter, Melo and DeMarre started jawing at each other, resulting in technical fouls for each of them, plus Mike Woodson. The game was 63-48 at the time. After that, DeMarre closed the quarter with 10 points, helping the Hawks to cut the deficit to just 73-68 when the quarter ended. From there, it became the Jeff Teague show, as Teague scored a career-high 16 fourth quarter points to propel the Hawks into the lead. The Knicks simply didn’t have an answer for Teague, as neither Felton nor JR Smith could contain the aggressive version of the Hawks’ point guard. And as Elton Brand said, “We got off that slide, that’s the most important thing.” The Hawks’ eight-game losing streak is now history.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: Raymond Felton and JR Smith make a great remedy for a long slump. Jeff appeared to re-injure his ankle in the first quarter, but he fought through it to put up one of his best efforts of the season. Teague was consistently able to get into the paint and draw contact, resulting in 15 trips to the foul line, where he made 13. Teague’s final line on the night was 28 points (16 in the fourth quarter), three rebounds, six assists, and only one turnover. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll guarded Carmelo about as well as anyone can, but Melo was just making extremely tough shots at a high rate. Still, scoring 24 points is a great way to cut into Carmelo’s 35. As the intro says, it was DeMarre’s stretch in the third quarter that allowed them to get back into the game. DeMarre said after the game: “I’m trying to develop into a leader, because I think that’s what we’re really missing on this team.” If he keeps acting like this, the Hawks might have found a good one in Al Horford’s absence. 10/10

Kyle Korver: Not much going for Korver in this game. He only had seven points on eight shots, but did connect on two threes to extend the streak to 124 games. He wasn’t a part of the Hawks’ big run late in the game, which is weird, because most runs by this team are usually sparked by a couple of Korver makes. 4/10

Elton Brand: Elton Brand played 43 minutes tonight. ELTON BRAND PLAYED 43 MINUTES!!! The box score doesn’t really show his impact beyond his three blocked shots, but Coach Budenholzer commended Elton’s overall defensive effort and communication on the floor. Huge 43 minutes considering Elton is currently the team’s only healthy center. (Dexter Pittman doesn’t count) 8/10

Mike Scott: Usually I only have the starters in the first five, but Mike Scott’s game warrants getting bumped up here. Let me make this clear: Mike Scott scored 30 points on 14 shots. THIRTY! Teague and Williams did a great job of running pick-and-rolls that freed up Mike for open jumpers and Mike was hitting all of them. The 30 points are a career-high, surpassing his old high of 23, which came against the Knicks last season. 10/10 Continue Reading…

The Hawks have waived Jared Cunningham, per a press released from the team.

Cunningham only appeared in five games and scored two total points this season. He had a PER of -1.8 in 22 minutes of play.

The move opens up a roster spot for the Hawks, which they have used to sign Dexter Pittman to a 10-day contract, according to the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore. Pittman will be available tonight against the Knicks, also per Vivlamore. Pittman last played with Miami and Memphis.

RECAP: Pistons 115, Hawks 107

Cole Patty —  February 22, 2014

FINAL

DET(23-32) 115 – 107 (25-29)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Monroe (DET): 22 pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Both the Hawks and Pistons came into Friday night struggling to find themselves. Atlanta, battling through a myriad of injuries, had lost seven straight games heading into the Palace of Auburn Hills. While Detroit, under interim head coach John Loyer, had a three game losing streak of their own after winning their first game without summer hire Maurice Cheeks.

Something had to give, and it looked like it would be the Hawks’ streak in the first half. Powered behind an eight minute stretch where they team hit all thirteen shots they attempted, Atlanta pushed to an 11 point lead at halftime. Unfortunately for all the strengths the team showed through two quarters, it all fell apart in the third. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe ate up all the potential rebounds on their offensive glass, and Detroit had a 34 point third quarter. While Atlanta, who went into halftime shooting almost 60 percent, went 11-36 from the field in the second half. By the time Kyle Singler hit his second corner three in the last two minutes, it was over. And the Hawks losing streak was extended to eight.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap had a great game tonight in spite of the team falling short in the end. 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists is nothing to sneeze at, especially when he hit three out of his four shots from deep and found his way to the line enough times to gather 8 free throw attempts. He did what he could to put the team in good position to get the win. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll’s impact on the game was small compared to his fellow starters, and it wasn’t special in anyway either. He was 2-7 from the field, was non-existent on the glass — in a game where he guards Josh Smith, that’s a priority —  and didn’t wreak any havoc defensively. 3/10

Kyle Korver: It wasn’t the best shooting night Korver has had this season, but it was also one of his better nights outside of scoring the basketball. He found a way to get three steals in the first quarter, supplied four assists, and helped clean the glass with 7 rebounds. He wasn’t a protruding positive with his play, but did all the little things to avoid being a minus. 5/10

Elton Brand: Brand did his best against an ultra big Pistons squad. He hustled, grabbed almost half of Atlanta’s offensive rebounds, and tried to defend well. Drummond and Monroe just weren’t having any of it. Despite two blocks from Elton, the Detroit duo went 20-28 from the field. That’s an issue. Brand might not have been the problem, but he didn’t look like the solution either. 4/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack’s statline is a lot prettier than his actual impact on this game. He scored the ball well on Brandon Jennings, which isn’t a surprise. His 21 points were actually a career high. However, as a facilitator, he was bland. Korver and Carroll combined for 5 turnovers, and both players are the kinds of guys you don’t want to see the ball in their hands outside of shooting the basketball. Shelvin scored well, but didn’t command the offense in a confident manner and that held weight in this contest. He also came away with a few turnover though, and had some really nice hustling rebounds in a spot start for Teague. 7/10 Continue Reading…

Hawks trade for Antawn Jamison

Bo Churney —  February 20, 2014

The Hawks have traded for Antawn Jamison, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. According to LA Times writer Brad Turner, the Hawks sent the draft rights of Cenk Akyol to the Clippers, as the Hawks can just absorb Jamison’s contract in their cap space.

Antawn Jamison hasn’t played much for the Clippers at all this season and it is likely that he won’t play for the Hawks either. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted out that Jamison and the Hawks are likely to agree to a buyout.

More information to come as it is made available.

RECAP: Wizards 114, Hawks 97

Bo Churney —  February 20, 2014

FINAL

WAS(26-28) 114 – 97 (25-28)ATL  

Key Performers:
J. Wall (WAS): 21 pts, 5 reb, 12 ast
P. Millsap (ATL): 21 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

This was essentially a repeat of the Indiana game on Tuesday, and as you know, that’s not a good thing. The Hawks allowed the Wizards to lead by as many as 20 in the first half, most of which was because of the open shots the Wizards were getting. Washington did a good job at forcing the Atlanta defense to collapse, meaning that Brad Beal, Trevor Ariza, and Martell Webster got a plethora of open looks. John Wall hit a few threes, too, which might as well signal that you’re not going to win. (Wall is a career 29% three-point shooter) At the end of the third quarter, Ariza hit a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer to give the Wizards an eight-point lead that really killed the Hawks’ comeback effort. The Hawks had the Wizards lead down to one near the end of the third, but that Ariza shot just zapped the team of any momentum. The Hawks have now lost seven in a row and remain in massive injury trouble before the 3PM trade deadline.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap wasn’t as good as the stat line above may indicate. He didn’t play bad, but he missed a lot of open looks that definitely could have changed the tide of this game. The and-one finishes were nice and everything, but sometimes Paul needs to knock down the easy ones, too. 7.5/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier started again for the injured DeMarre Carroll and he didn’t have much of an impact against the Wizards. With Ariza guarding him, Cartier really had trouble finding open looks and really couldn’t do much to dribble out of the situation. Credit the Wizards for the strong defensive effort here. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Sort of ditto for Korver on the good Washington defense. Of course, Korver is a lot better than Cartier at getting shots up, so Kyle was able to knock down a couple of threes and extend his three-point streak to 122 games. Other than that, he wasn’t really too effective. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Teague had a stretch in both the second and third quarters that reminded us why the Hawks gave him $32 million. He was aggressive with trying to get into the lane and was willing to put a shot up. Outside of those stretches, however, he was fairly awful. He finished with 16 points on 16 shots and only five assists. He did leave the game late with an ankle injury, but he appeared to be fine after the game. 4/10

Elton Brand: If you had told me before the game that both Millsap and Brand would have 20-10 games, I didn’t think there would be a chance the Hawks would lose. Of course, they did, wasting a very strong effort from the 34 year old. The Hawks did a great job of giving the ball in good spots for Elton, and he was either able to finish or draw contact and go to the line. He even had a nice driving layup that was sort of reminiscent of his days with the Clippers when he was an automatic 20-10 guy. 9/10 Continue Reading…

With the trade deadline fast approaching and the Hawks dealing with more injury troubles, Lou Williams could potentially be a name worth shopping. He’s struggled, teams could look at him as a buy-low option and Atlanta is very desperate for some help because of injury troubles that have aided in the Hawks losing six straight games. But in reality, if Atlanta were to trade Williams now they’d be doing themselves more harm than good.

What the Hawks desperately need at the moment is not a major shake-up of any means, but some more depth with players dropping like fruit flies in bug spray. Williams’s contract is by no means a very destructive one. It expires at the conclusion of the 2015 season, with Williams earning about $5.3 million per year. Even in this down season, players of similar (or worse) production are earning even more than Williams – names such as J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson, Caron Butler and Derrick Williams.

The bench help doesn’t necessarily have to arrive through a trade either, as exemplified by Cartier Martin’s signing this season. There are viable options still on the market if need be, as well the option to turn to the D-League. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Pacers 108, Hawks 98

Bo Churney —  February 19, 2014

FINAL

IND(41-12) 108 – 98 (25-27)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 26 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
K. Korver (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I guess there is some solace to be taken in that the Hawks were even in this game in the fourth quarter? The Pacers started off red-hot from the field, making 13 of their first 14 shot attempts. At one point in the first quarter, Indiana led the Hawks 31-9. The Hawks battled back to make it a 56-49 game at half, however, largely behind the efforts of Shelvin Mack and Lou Williams off of the bench. Coach Bud’s squad was essentially able to keep it in single-digits until the fourth quarter, when the massive amount of turnovers (22) finally allowed the Pacers to take a substantial lead with very little time remaining. The Pacers scored 35 points off of those 22 ATL turnovers. The Hawks are now on a six game losing streak and this game against Indiana was the first of a four-game/five-night set for Atlanta.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: At one point, I thought things couldn’t get worse for Millsap in this game… but then Gustavo Ayon got injured, leaving Elton Brand as the team’s only healthy center. This meant that Millsap was often matched up against Roy Hibbert, who is just simply to big for Millsap to cover without expending all of his energy. Paul finished with just seven points on 10 shots and simply looked overwhelmed. 3/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier got the start for the injured DeMarre Carroll and he actually had a decent night. He didn’t score that much until the fourth quarter, but his major weakness (defense) really wasn’t exposed too much by Paul George and the Pacer attack. Yes, George had 26 points, but a few of those makes were on rather tough shots that George managed to knock down. We also got to see Cartier finish the game at power forward because the Hawks were simply that parched for big men after Ayon’s injury. 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver had three turnovers, which was partially because Jeff Teague didn’t really feel like playing point guard tonight. Off of that, Korver hit 5-for-7 from three-point range and was a large reason why the Hawks were able to turn the 22 point Indiana lead into just a single-digit deficit. 7.5/10

Jeff Teague: Usually players are excited to be playing back in their hometown. Teague takes on the opposite persona. Jeff looked extremely passive all night and the result was that the Hawks played a lot better when either Shelvin Mack or Lou Williams were running the point. I know part of Teague’s struggles are related to the absence of Al Horford, but he’s been consistently outplayed by Shelvin for the better part of two months now. This is probably why, as Zach Lowe commented the other day, Danny Ferry isn’t exactly in love with Jeff Teague’s contract anymore. 1/10

Gustavo Ayon: Can the Hawks get a center that can consistently make a layup? Both Ayon and Brand had trouble finishing near the rim in this one. Gustavo’s night was cut short, however, as a rather impressive block that he made on Roy Hibbert caused him to injure his shoulder. His status is currently unknown. 3/10 Continue Reading…