Archives For March 2014

FINAL/OT

TOR(37-29) 113 – 118 (31-35)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 34 pts, 3 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl
D. DeRozan (TOR): 29 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Now that was a close one; from the 5:52 mark in the second quarter until the end of the game, neither team led by more than five points in this overtime thriller. The Hawks used an aggressive night from Jeff Teague to take down the third-seeded Raptors in overtime, giving the Hawks their fifth win in a row. Teague tied a career-high with 34 points, with 15 of those points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both had great nights for the Raptors, but those two did not get enough help from the rest of their team after halftime to secure the win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: It seems odd that Millsap recorded his first career triple-double (19 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) and isn’t listed as the key performer for the game; that’s just how good Teague was. A couple of knocks on Millsap, however: he took 16 shots to get those 19 points, and he also bricked the potential game-winner at the end of regulation. I’m really not sure why the team looked for him in the isolation there when this team just isn’t built for iso-ball. 9.5/10

Jeff Teague: When Valanciunas was out of the game, Teague just flat-out attacked the basket like there was no tomorrow. Toronto coach Dwane Casey after the game said, “We blitzed him. We switched it. We tried to do everything. We have to do a better job in that situation.” 10/10

Pero Antic: Pero was 0-for-4 from deep in regulation, but he made a clutch three-pointer at the start of overtime to give the Hawks a 109-106 lead. Outside of that… he really didn’t do much and he really struggled when Valanciunas was playing. 5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Essentially the same thing as Pero about DeMarre: he didn’t do a lot, but he made a couple of timely cuts on offense and had a couple of big offensive rebounds. On defense, he did have a lot of trouble guarding DeRozan, and DeMarre was forced into a bit of foul trouble with how physical he was being. 5/10

Kyle Korver: Rarly will you see Korver go 5-for-14 from the field. He got a lot of open looks, including back-to-back wide-open shots in overtime that he missed. He did have 16 points, but that was from pure volume instead of efficiency. 6/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 97, Bobcats 83

Bo Churney —  March 18, 2014

FINAL

CHA(33-35) 83 – 97 (30-35)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 28 pts, 5 reb, 2 blk
K. Walker (CHA): 20 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I said before the game that the key to beating Charlotte was going to be hitting open three-pointers, which the Hawks did not do in the first quarter. Predictably, they were down by six points after one period as they opened the game shooting 4-for-13 from behind the arc. (4-for-12 in the first quarter, then they missed their first attempt in the second) However, the Hawks then hit six of their next nine from three-point land in a stretch over the second and third quarters, allowing Atlanta to take a decisive lead that they would not let go of. The team finished the game with 13 triples on 34 attempts (38.2%) from seven players as they moved four games ahead of the New York Knicks for the eight spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a man among boys on the night, scoring both inside and out with both power and grace. At one point between the second and third quarters, Millsap scored 13 points consecutive points for the Hawks. The big man ended with 28 points on 60% shooting in just 34 minutes, which is one of the more efficient offensive efforts that the Hawks have gotten from him in a while. 9/10

Jeff Teague: I thought that one of the Hawks’ biggest issues in the first half was Jeff Teague being passive and turning the ball over too much. (he had three turnovers at half) Jeff ended the game with just three turnovers. See why the Hawks did better on offense in the second half? Jeff didn’t do well shooting the ball, but he did have nine assists and was even active on the boards with six rebounds. 8/10

Pero Antic: Pero notched his second career double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds on the night. Antic was 3-for-7 from behind the arc, which just gives the Hawks a huge spacing advantage that very few teams can match. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Only 1-for-5 from behind the arc from DeMarre, but we did see an increase in cutting action from him on offense, which is always a lot of fun to watch when plays are executed correctly. Outside of that, it was a relatively quiet night for the Junkyard Dog. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: An off shooting night for Korver, but like DeMarre, he did a lot of little things to contribute. Only 10 points, for Kyle, but he had nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Good thing he’s actually more than just a shooter, right? 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

After the horrid stretch of losing 14 out of 15 games, the Hawks are on a three-game winning streak after defeating Utah, Milwaukee, and Denver.

Now here’s a real test to see what the team is made of; believe it or not, the Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors are playoff teams this season, with the Raptors actually being a legitimately good team.

The large losing stretch for the Hawks was largely scarred by the team’s injuries; Al Horford was already out for the season, but the additional injuries to Pero Antic, Paul Millsap, and Gustavo Ayon left the team scrambling to fill holes in the frontcourt. Now, with Antic and Millsap back in tow, the Hawks are looking like a much better team. But how good are they?

The Hawks have won 10 straight games against Charlotte, but this is a different Charlotte team from most years. Al Jefferson is a good number one offensive option, plus the Bobcats are a top 10 defense. For the Hawks to win this game, they are going to need an aggressive Jeff Teague, as a passive effort from the starting point guard will just play right into Charlotte’s strengths on defense. If Teague can attack, breakdown the defense, and kick to open three-point shooters (where Charlotte is allowing opponents to shoot 37.3%, bottom five in the league) then the Hawks will have a good chance to win. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 97, Nuggets 92

Bo Churney —  March 16, 2014

FINAL

DEN(29-37) 92 – 97 (29-35)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 24 pts, 11 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk
K. Faried (DEN): 25 pts, 7 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

*ESPN’s 30 for 30 music plays* What if I told you that the Hawks were playing a game and had a big lead… then almost threw it away because of an awful third quarter. Wait, what’s that? You’ve heard this story before? Multiple times? Well then, you now know the script for how this one went down. Atlanta led 53-37 at halftime and even pulled away by as many as 21 early in the third quarter. However, the offense stopped working and the Nuggets were able to capitalize in transition and off of threes, pulling the game to just 77-71 by the end of the third. However, the Hawks were able to overcome Denver taking the lead for a few moments in the fourth to win the game, which was their third straight victory.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: An absolutely dominant overall stat line from Paul Millsap, though he could have been more efficient from the field. Millsap was 6-for-17 shooting, but he got to the free throw line 16 times, making 11 of those attempts. The 16 free throw attempts are the most by a Hawk in over three years, surpassed by Joe Johnson’s 17 attempts in a game against the Clippers in January 2011. 9/10

Jeff Teague: I usually harp on how awful Jeff’s defense is, so I will say this: he did a very good job against Ty Lawson. Lawson was 0-for-12 from the field, and while some of that was Lawson looking lethargic, a large part of it was Teague making things difficult for him. Teague also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, and he also had the game clinching rebound after he missed a free throw late in the game. (he really needs to work on the late-game free throws thing) 9/10

Pero Antic: 41 seconds left and Pero did it again. With the shot clock winding down, Pero took an off-balanced shot from the corner that was more of a prayer than a confident stroke. Didn’t matter, the shot went down and gave the Hawks a 93-92 lead at the time. Pero also got a hand on that rebound that Jeff Teague came down with after the aforementioned missed free throw. Strong night from Pero, who had 16 points. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Three Hawks players had double-doubles in this game: Millsap, Teague, and DeMarre Carroll, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Now, I’m generally not a fan of DeMarre taking 13 shots in a game, but part of that was a team failure as DeMarre was forced to put up a shot late in the shot clock on multiple occasions. 8.5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle has made 14 of his last 16 three-point attempts, including a 4-for-4 effort against Denver. He’s currently up to a league-high 49% from three and is also the league-leader in true-shooting percentage. Simply put: Kyle is currently having one of the best shooting seasons of all time. 8.5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 102, Bucks 97

Bo Churney —  March 14, 2014

FINAL

   MIL(13-52) 97 – 102 (28-35)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 3 reb, 8 ast, 2 blk
E. Ilyasova (MIL): 22 pts, 10 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Admittedly, having to rally in the fourth quarter to beat the team with the worst record in the league isn’t the most ideal thing for the Hawks, but as Kyle Korver said after the game, “We’ll take all the wins we can get right now.” It was Korver who mostly powered the Hawks during that late run, as Kyle scored 12 of his 15 points in the final period. Jeff Teague also started cooking in the fourth, as it was this dunk of his that really sealed the game.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was on fire early, scoring 12 points in the first quarter, including a couple of triples. After that, some foul trouble limited his overall effectiveness, but he still finished with a solid stat line of 17 points, eight boards, and four assists, which are essentially his season averages. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Teague’s first half was just a hot mess. He kept turning the ball over and he always seemed lost on defense. Thankfully, because the Bucks are terrible, Jeff being lost on defense didn’t always hurt. The second half is where he really started to come on, as he transformed from passive Teague to aggressive Teague. He still had seven turnovers for the game, but I think that dunk helps make up for that, right? 8/10

Pero Antic: Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much pump-faking from Pero in this game that we are used to seeing from him. His offense was actually sort of “meh”, but he did grab seven rebounds, which is a key stat against a team like Milwaukee that possesses a lot of length and size. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre should take a page out of the Daryl Morey handbook and try to only shoot at the rim or from behind the arc. Why? Because DeMarre’s mid-range game is awful and usually results in him dribbling the ball to much. Criticism aside, DeMarre had four three-pointers on the night and that’s nothing to scoff at. He was also a team-high plus-15 for the game. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Thank goodness Kyle was able to start cooking in the fourth quarter, because I’m not quite sure how this team would have reacted to losing to the Bucks. Seriously, with all those hard fought losses out west, losing to the Bucks at home would have been a disaster. 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

Zaza Pachulia Tribute Video

Bo Churney —  March 13, 2014

In his first game back in Atlanta, the Hawks aired a tribute video for Zaza at the media timeout in the first quarter.

Zaza played for eight seasons with the Hawks before signing with Milwaukee in the offseason.

A bit of an aside from basketball, but Al Horford is appearing in a video campaign by NBA Cares and WildAid called “No Hype”, which is a new message to reduce demand for ivory and rhino horn.

The message includes five other NBA players as well: Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Serge Ibaka, and Thabo Sefolosha of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls. Throughout the message the players hold iconic images of elephants and rhinos from photographer Nick Brandt.

The message will air during TNT’s doubleheader today, March 13 beginning at 7 p.m. ET when the Houston Rockets take on the Chicago Bulls and again when the Los Angeles Lakers play the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Here is the video:

With Horford out for the season due to a pectoral tear, it is nice to see him doing something that seems to be productive and beneficial for the world.

FINAL

UTA(22-44) 110 – 112 (27-35)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Korver (ATL): 26 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl
T. Burke (UTA): 23 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

First half was great. The Hawks led 59-44 at halftime and they were clicking in every aspect of the game. However, the Jazz rallied and scored 36 points in the third quarter to take the lead, exposing what has been the worst defense in the league since the All-Star break. Luckily, the Hawks were able to make a rally of their own behind the efforts of Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll, and Kyle Korver, who has hit his last seven three-point attempts, including a 30-footer in the third quarter off this game that helped stop some of the bleeding by the team at that time. And yes, the Hawks won! This break their six-game losing streak, though they have still lost 14 of their last 16. That said, it will be good for the team to return home from the roadtrip off of a win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: In his first game back in Utah, Millsap played extremely well, putting up 23 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Paul had spent his first seven seasons in Utah, so this was definitely a game that he likely had circled on his calendar from day one. Another thing of note: the Hawks’ defense when Paul Millsap isn’t on the floor… not so great. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff’s stats are a little misleading; yes, he did get to the line nine times, making seven of them, but six of those attempts came in the fourth quarter when Utah was playing the foul game. And for good measure, Jeff even missed two of those six to give Utah a little hope at the end. For the record, Trey Burke made a three as time expired, so the game was really 112-107, but it still shouldn’t have been this close. Jeff needs to be more aggressive on both sides of the floor, as the defensive troubles that have been giving the Hawks fits lately all start with him. 5/10

Pero Antic: Add Derrick Favors to the list of players that Pero has tricked with his pump-fake, as Pero took advantage of Favors at least three or four times. Pero did have 12 points on eight shots, but he was also a bit of a problem on the defensive side of the ball; Pero can play well in one-on-one situations, but he can also get lost a lot when the opposing team has the momentum and is forcing a lot of rotations from the defense. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Like Paul, this was also DeMarre’s first trip back to his former stomping grounds. He hit three triples for the game, showing off his improved shooting stroke to his old team. DeMarre’s night was pretty much in line with his season averages: 11 points and six boards, but he added four dimes for good measure. 8/10

Kyle Korver: And finally, the last former Jazz player that is now on the Hawks. Korver had a game-high 26 points, with that number coming off of only 12 shot attempts. Simply put, Korver was the team’s offense for the night; whenever the team needed a bucket, Korver went and got it, which is somewhat strange, as Korver isn’t usually the game that actually GOES to get buckets. 9/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

LAC(44-20) 109 – 108 (26-35)ATL

Key Performers:
B. Griffin (LAC): 27 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast
K. Korver (ATL): 17 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Another depressing loss for the Hawks, who just can’t seem to catch a lucky break over this stretch of 14 losses in 15 games. The Hawks were doing well in the first half — forcing turnovers and making the extra pass — but definitely left the Clippers open far too often. In the second half, it was more of the Blake Griffin show, as Griffin bullied his way to a game-high 27 points against whoever the Hawks threw at him. The Hawks still had a chance to win or tie late, however, but Jeff Teague missed a free throw with 1.2 seconds left that doomed the Hawks.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Once again, Millsap’s defensive presence was welcomed back as he was forcing a lot of turnovers (five steals), but in the man-to-man concept, he could not contain Blake Griffin; Blake is just too big and too athletic for Millsap, who boasts decent size and ability himself. On the other end, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan also did a good job at keeping Millsap away from the rim. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff… Jeffrey… just… how? Jeff had a nice floater to tie the game at 107, but with the chance to tie the game and likely head into overtime, Teague choked on the first free throw by missing, then again on the second by inadvertently making it. (he actually banked it in!) For his entire game, there wasn’t much to be impressed with, as to put it simply, Jeff Teague is not as good as Chris Paul. 4/10

Pero Antic: Pero was re-inserted back into the starting lineup, finally giving the Hawks their regular post-Horford injury lineup for the first time since January. Pero was a key offensive player, as he scored 16 points and made three three-pointers, forcing the Clippers to extend out to the arc to cover him. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre actually did extremely well, scoring 19 points on 14 shots. However, even with that efficient performance, I’m still not sold on DeMarre Carroll being the team’s leading shot taker. Sure, it almost worked here, but the point is that the team shouldn’t be at a point to where it is looking at DeMarre to make things happen off of the dribble. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Believe it or not, the Clippers did a good job and keeping Korver contained for most of the game. Kyle did have 17 points, but he only took seven shots, making six. Some may see this as a failure, but keeping Korver to just seven shots when he’s hitting like that is actually better than you might thing. Kyle was also making a lot of the right passes, coming up with six assists against only two turnovers. 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

GSW(39-24) 111 – 97 (26-34)ATL   

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 7 reb
D. Lee (GSW): 18 pts, 6 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Would you believe me if I told you the score is actually closer than the game made it appear? Cause this was a Warriors dominated game and the score doesn’t do justice to how much the Warriors dominated. It started off not too bad for the Hawks. They kept it close and even managed to grab the lead a couple times. They were clearly improved thanks to having Millsap out there. However, at the end of the 2nd quarter the Warriors went on a 15-4 run and never looked back. Their lead only got bigger as the game went on, by the end of the 3rd quarter they led by 20 points. It was clearly over by the start of the 4th, they just had to go through the motions. Rough loss for Millsap’s return but the Hawks at least looked better with him than they did without him.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap clearly made the Hawks better. Funny, you add an all star back into the lineup and the team improves a lot, who knew. Even then, Millsap had his struggles. You could see a little bit of rust on him from his 6 turnovers. Millsap struggled on defense being forced to guard David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Lee’s speed and Bogut’s size caused problems for Millsap throughout the night. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Teague struggled all night and I can’t really explain way. He just didn’t play well. The Warriors have a good defense but I was still surprised to see him struggle like this. He couldn’t find his way to the line or make much damage with his jumpshot. Was a complete non factor. 3/10

Pero Antic:Solid game shooting wise from Antic. He went 4-for-8 from the field and scored 10 points. However I gotta dock him for only grabbing 2 rebounds. 5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll went 5-for-7 from the field, didn’t turn the ball over at all, grabbed 5 rebounds, and played strong defense most of the night. Iguodala is a handful and he did what he could on him. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Korver’s rough stretch of games continues. Even with Millsap back to take some of the pressure off Korver, he still couldn’t find very many open shots. Was hounded all night long and looked frustrated. Took him 7 shots to get 7 points, not good. On the plus side, the streak starts again! He’s at 1, only 126 to go. 2/10 Continue Reading…