Archives For November 2014

This week in the Southeast, the Washington Wizards are handling their easy schedule as they should, leading the division. They’re still missing Bradley Beal, so there’s no way to get a read on how good they are early. After the Wizards, we have the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Currently tied at second, Miami is trying to figure out how to make the best of their new roster, and the Hawks are just trying to earn a little respect. Meanwhile, Charlotte was the first team in the division to go west and lets just say it wasn’t ideal. Finally we have the Orlando Magic. A competitive team, but they can’t seem to stay healthy.

Washington Wizards, 7-2, 2nd in the East, 2-0 this week WAS

The Wizards only had two games this week, with neither team being very good, and both at home. Once again, it’s hard to get fully on board with this team until we see them get some quality wins against good teams. That said, it’s hard to knock on a team that’s 7-2. Not everybody wins the games they’re supposed to win, and the Wizards are doing that, without Bradley Beal no less.

Atlanta Hawks, 5-4, 5th in the East, 3-1 this week ATL

The Hawks responded to their slow start, by ripping off three straight wins in a row. One of those was against the Knicks, but they beat a decent Jazz team, and a legitimately good Miami Heat team. They did however take a pounding against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In their defense, it was a back to back on the road, but points get knocked off for getting dominated the way they did. Even so, Atlanta is starting to figure out how to play with Al Horford in the lineup. Now if they can just start getting some respect from the general public… Continue Reading…

In front of a sellout crowd of 20,562, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 127-94.

Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks came into the game with a better record than the Cavs, but it didn’t take long to see who the better team really was. The Cavs went on a 21-1 run in through the middle of the second quarter, which turned a 16-point lead into an insurmountable 35-point deficit.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with seven boards, four helpers, a steal and a block. Sadly for Atlanta, only he and Al Horford seemed like they were ready for the game. Horford scored 12 points on 6-10 shooting in 19 minutes. In a surprising twist, Kyle Korver — who is one of the best shooters in the NBA — only had one shot attempt and added one assist. It’s strange to see a Korver stat line full of zeros.

Hawks were out of the game so early that coach Budenholzer decided to sit Korver for the entire second half. “Korver is fine, the game was out of reach so we wanted to try some other guys out there,” said Budenholzer after the game.

Cavs hit their first 11 3-pointers, including a fadeaway 3 at the end of the first quarter by rookie Joe Harris. “There isn’t much you can do when a guy is hitting shots like that at end of the quarter,” said Jeff Teague, who scored five points and tallied three assists. “We got discouraged out there when they started hitting those shots, we started putting our heads down and it just got worse.” Continue Reading…

Al Horford had one of the worst games of his career on Wednesday night against the Jazz. He was missing shots and playing terrible defense; nothing was working for the two-time All Star. Horford quickly redeemed himself on Friday night, scoring the first seven points of the game to spark a wire-to-wire victory for the Hawks over the Miami Heat.

Horford opened up with two jumpers, including a corner 3 to get the game going. He then drew a foul on James Ennis — who was starting for the injured Dwyane Wade — and converted both free throws. The Hawks then followed with a Kyle Korver 3-pointer and a Thabo Sefolosha dunk, opening a 12-1 lead on the Heat and setting the tone for the entire game.

“We came out with a sense of urgency and played well in the first quarter,” said Jeff Teague, in what is probably the most generic Jeff Teague quote of all time.

The real story from the Hawks in this game was the superb balance that was exhibited on offense. Eight different players scored at least 10 points, including a 12-point, 5-for-5 performance from Shelvin Mack off the bench. This was a much needed performance from Mack, who had scored just 10 points on 3-for-15 shooting all season before his mini-explosion. Continue Reading…

Paul Millsap needs to undergo a name change.

The Hawks starting forward had a slight wardrobe malfunction on Wednesday night, which saw his jersey initially misspell his last name as “Milsap”. His jersey was replaced with a correct one before the first quarter ended, but the damage had been done and this would forever be the night that Paul was known as “Milsap”. He made sure that the fans would not forget it either, as Millsap had recorded a double-double by halftime, recorded a huge dunk that ended up on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays, and finished with a monster stat line of 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks to lead the Hawks to a 100-97 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The first half saw little to no effective defense being played, as both the Hawks and Jazz were getting whatever they wanted on offense. The Hawks were more dependent on jumpshots, while the Jazz were being extremely effective at clearing out Millsap and Al Horford from under the basket to get easy shots at the rim. Halftime saw Mike Budenholzer adjust against his former assistant Quin Snyder, as the Hawks were able to more effectively shut off the lane and force the Jazz out into long 2s, of which the Jazz still made relatively often.

The two teams continued to go back and forth all the way until the final minute, where Kyle Korver hit a deep 3 out of isolation to give Atlanta a 98-97 lead. The remaining three Jazz possessions ended with a blocked shot attempt, a turnover, and a horribly missed 3-pointer thanks to great defense from Korver, and the result was an Atlanta Hawks win that put them over the .500 mark at 4-3. Continue Reading…

Dennis Schröder’s play so far in the 2014-15 season has been a revelation.

Schröder scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as Jeff Teague sat on the bench to lead the Hawks to a 91-85 victory over the Knicks. Schröder also chipped in four dimes and four rebounds in 28 minutes of play, the most playing time he has received all season.

Paul Millsap finally snapped out of his offensive woes, scoring 19 points on 3-for-4 shooting from 3. Millsap’s play was particularly strong in the the third quarter, where he scored 12 of the Hawks’ 26 points to help give the Hawks a 64-59 lead.

The Knicks out-shot the Hawks from the field, but the Hawks continously attacked New York’s interior, resulting in a 28-12 free throw advantage for Atlanta. More impressive was that the Hawks made 27 of their 28 attempts from the charity stripe, which has been a spot where the team has struggled over the last several seasons. The Knicks, on the other hand, compounded their lack of attempts by only making seven of their 12 attempts.

Kyle Korver survived an 0-for-8 shooting stretch to tally 17 points on the night. Continue Reading…

The Hawks got a critical win by defeating the Knicks on Saturday night. Game recap aside, there are some other things from the game that I would like to address.

  • THABO SEFOLOSHA
    Thabo Sefolosha has been really bad on offense to start the season. He is 5-for-23 from the field to start the season and that is not just because of a bad jump-shooting stretch; Sefolosha is blowing what should be easy layups, too. However, there is a bright side to Thabo’s play: his defense does not have the same off switch that his offense apparently does. This helps DeMarre Carroll more than any other player, as the Hawks can now afford to sit Carroll and give him some rest, or simply allow him to get some playing time where he does not have to matchup with the opposing team’s best wing player. Sefolosha’s offense will eventually get better and when it does, he will become an extremely valuable player to have on the bench.
  • Continue Reading…

It’s been almost two weeks since the NBA season began, and the Southeast division already feels very different from last year. While a couple teams have run into some bad luck early on this year with slow starts, the rest have proven why winning the Southeast is no easy task.

Washington Wizards, 5-2, 2nd in the EastWAS

The Wizards currently lead the division, but it’s hard to argue that it’s been impressive. All five of their wins come against teams that are projected to miss the playoffs, two of them alone came against a ridiculously injured Indiana Pacers team. Of course, you can’t take too much away from a team that came in and did what they’re supposed to do, but lets not praise a team with conference finals hopes on doing what they’re supposed to do, especially when their two losses have both come against likely playoff teams.

Miami Heat, 4-2, 4th in the EastMIA

While many had the Heat taking a huge drop this year, after losing LeBron James, Miami has still looked like one of the tougher team in the East. Their losses have come against the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets, neither of those is a horrible loss to have on a resume. However, in their four wins, they have defeated both the Wizards and Raptors. Right now, they look like the best team in the division, but that could change when Washington gets Bradley Beal back. Until then, Miami has a chance to rack up some victories behind the incredible play of Chris Bosh. Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ double overtime loss on Friday night to the Hornets was a disaster. It would be easy to say that the Hawks would enter crisis mode had they lost to the Knicks the following night.

Crisis averted.

Kyle Korver scored a season-high 27 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range to propel the Hawks back from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 103-96. Korver also chipped in three blocked shots, which was part of a stronger defensive effort from the Hawks in the second half. After allowing 61 points in the first, the Hawks only allowed 35 points in the second, as the Knicks recorded more shot attempts than points over the final two periods. (13-for-38 shooting)

This game really was the tale of two halves, as the Hawks were absolutely dreadful on both ends of the court in the first half. Notable first half stats include 35% shooting, allowing 61 points and nine offensive rebounds, and recording only six assists. The defensive effort is what concerned Coach Budenholzer the most.

“We were more focused on our defense,” said Budenholzer on the difference between the two halves. “I didn’t realize we only had six [assists] in the first half or what we finished with. Defensively is where our focus was tonight. We have to continue to get better there. The offense will come.” Continue Reading…

The Hawks lost a nail-biter in San Antonio on Wednesday night, coming up short on the final possession of the game in a 92-90 loss. The loss marks Atlanta’s eighth consecutive loss to the Spurs, who rode their huge rebounding and free throw disparities to the win. The Spurs shot 38 free throws to the Hawks’ 11, though San Antonio left a lot of points at the stripe with 11 misses. The Hawks were down as many as 17 in the first half and fought back to take a late lead, but couldn’t find the winning touch despite a great night from DeMarre Carroll, who had 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with five rebounds.

The first half went about as poorly as the Coach Bud and the Hawks could have hoped, yet they went into the break down just 10 points after a late run in which all five starters put the ball in the basket in the last 2:31 of the second quarter. The Hawks shot 16-for-45 in the first half, including just 2-for-8 from 3. Kent Bazemore gave the Hawks six minutes off the bench in the first half and provided some good defense on Tony Parker, who had his way otherwise with 13 points in the first half.

Atlanta cut the San Antonio lead to six at the end of the third quarter behind strong play from the bench. Dennis Schröder hit his first field goal of the season off a nice feed from Thabo Sefolosha, and the addition of Sefolosha and Bazemore in the latter half of the quarter really turned up the heat on the defensive side of the ball. Continue Reading…

Note: This is the first post in a season-long series in which Caleb Cottrell and I will go over what we notice during Hawks games.

Brandon Barnes: It’s basketball season again folks! We’re two games in and the Hawks are sitting at an even 1-1 record after a win at home versus the Pacers and a struggle on opening night in Toronto. It’s a small sample size sure, but I think there are some meaningful things we can take away from those games. I’m joined by HawksHoop newcomer Caleb Cottrell. Caleb, tell the people at home a little bit about yourself!

Caleb Cottrell: Well Brandon, I am a student at —–

BB: Oooh sorry Caleb, but that’s all the words we’ve been allotted for that segment! Moving on!

Song of the Week

 

BB: This is the time when we turn to the world of music for a metaphorical sing-a-long that describes recent Hawks action. The song of the week is “Intro”, the opening track off of Logic’s recently released debut album entitled “Under Pressure”. If you listen close, he shares many similarities to the Hawks. Example: “Maybe if I go platinum they’ll remember me then” refers to how many people only look at album sales when analyzing the success of a musician. But there’s more to a musician than just album sales. This strikes me as very similar to the Hawks’ own situation. The Hawks have been written off as “pretenders” for years. With the deepest roster in recent memory and a returning star in Al Horford, maybe this is the year the Hawks go platinum and get featured among the league’s elite. #Eventhehawks are similar to music. Not to mention this is the first song in just a fantastic album. Give it a listen if you’re into that kind of stuff. Continue Reading…