Archives For December 2014

After getting shellacked by the Bucks the previous night, the Hawks rebounded their way to a 90-85 win in Milwaukee.

“I think our energy and effort were good coming out of the gate,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on the team’s response to the 30-point loss on Friday. “I think our hands, our rotations… that’s how you get deflections and turnovers and hopefully you can turn those into points.”

Deflections and turnovers is how the Hawks dominated early, turning Milwaukee’s own success from Friday against them. Atlanta forced two turnovers in the first few minutes, which were pivotal in helping Atlanta start off with a 13-3 lead. The Bucks then engaged themselves on defense, which led to a very sloppy end of the first quarter that once saw the Hawks gain five offensive rebounds on one possession… only for Dennis Schröder to turn the ball over on a bad pass. The first quarter ended with a 21-10 Hawks lead.

The Bucks responded in the second quarter, outscoring Atlanta 27-18 in the period. Milwaukee hit four 3s in the quarter, including one from Jared Dudley, who actually happened to miss shots in this contest. The Bucks had taken a lead in this quarter, but the Hawks closed to the quarter strong to retake the lead into halftime. Continue Reading…

Hawks Shellacked by Bucks

Bo Churney —  December 26, 2014

The Hawks’ five-game winning streak came to an end on Friday night when Jason Kidd’s Bucks team came into Philips Arena and laid down a whoopin’, beating down Atlanta by a final score of 107-77.

The first quarter was a hotly contested quarter that saw Adreian Payne make his NBA debut. After a nice driving layup by Dennis Schröder, Jerryd Bayless responded with a 3-pointer to give Milwaukee a 24-22 lead after 12 minutes. The Bucks then came out with supreme defensive pressure in the second quarter, forcing a myriad of turnovers from the Hawks’ offense. Kidd and Milwaukee schemed well, as they used their length and athleticism to quickly double and make the Hawks panic with the ball. This led to forced passes by the Hawks, which often ended up going the other way for Milwaukee buckets.

“Turnovers and when we did get a shot, we didn’t shoot it well,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer of the factors behind the loss. “I think that’s a credit to their defense, particularly the turnovers, but I think the poor shooting percentage too, I thought their defense and their activity was good.”

The second quarter came to an end with a foolish 3-point attempt from Jeff Teague, where he shot a transition pull up with over six seconds left and with the Hawks possessing superior numbers, including an open Kyle Korver. The shot clanked badly and the Hawks trailed 58-42 at the halftime buzzer. Continue Reading…

The Hawks picked up their fifth straight victory over a playoff team on Tuesday night by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers by a score of 107-104. The Hawks have 14 of 15 games after a 7-6 start to the season.

“In these last couple of weeks, we’ve shown improvement on the defensive end of the floor,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer. “As far as the thing we point to the most, the fact that we have different guys who step up every night and make big plays throughout the game. We’ve got a good team.”

Atlanta took a quick lead in the first quarter behind 18 points in the paint and a balanced scoring effort from the starters. The Hawks then stretched their lead out to as many as 10 in the second quarter before the Clippers came roaring back, responding with a 17-0 run to give L.A. a 47-40 lead with four minutes to go in the half. The Clippers increased their lead to as many as 10 before Paul Millsap hit a couple of free throws to close the half with 57-50 ATL deficit.

Things looked extremely bleak to start the second half, as the Clippers opened with back-to-back 3-pointers from Chris Paul and a put-back dunk from DeAndre Jordan to extend their lead to 13 within a couple of minutes. The Hawks sustained the blows, however, as Al Horford hit a couple of jumpers and DeMarre Carroll exploded for 10 points in the quarter to revitalize the Atlanta crowd and help whittle the Clipper lead down to just two points by the end of the quarter. Continue Reading…

The Hawks played three playoff contenders in a row and managed to win all three games. Today, Al Horford was recognized as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for leading the Hawks to that 3-0 mark.

His rebounding still isn’t to his career average yet, but Horford still had a gaudy week stat wise: 18.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game for the week on 60.5% shooting. Horford also added over a block and a steal per game to that stat line.

The Hawks currently sit at second in the East with a record of 19-7. They have won 12 of their last 13 games and Horford’s surging performance has been a big reason for that. Horford’s conditioning was still trying to catch up to the NBA level at the beginning of the season, but the past few weeks have shown that he has acclimated to the pace of the game, leading to Horford looking more and more like his old self.

Horford and the Hawks will have another tough week to prove themselves against, starting tonight in Dallas against the Mavericks. The Hawks will then head home and take on the Clippers on Tuesday before finishing the week with a home-and-home set with the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday and Saturday.

This Week In The Southeast, the Wizards are barely holding on to that spot at the top. Can they hold off the surging Hawks much longer? While those two continue their battle at the top, the Heat battle injuries and try to find themselves before they even consider challenging the ever expanding gap in the division. The Magic just finished a brutal start to their schedule with a lot of road games, will that really matter? Meanwhile the Hornets have won two straight but blew another 4th quarter lead, what’s with this team?

Washington Wizards, 19-6, 2nd in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

In a week where the Hawks looked primed and ready to take the number one spot in the division, the Wizards just wouldn’t let that happen. Washington went undefeated this week including a squeaker against Miami. Besides the Miami game, the Wizards took care of business the rest of the week defeating Minnesota and Utah by more than eight points, each

Atlanta Hawks, 19-7, 3rd in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

The poor Hawks are doing everything they can to catch up to Washington but they’re still a half game behind. Even though Atlanta doesn’t have the best record in the division they have nothing to be unhappy about. Atlanta has won 14 of their last 16 with their last three wins coming against Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston. There might not be a team in the Eastern conference playing better than the Hawks.

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With how good the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs often are, it is hard for road teams from the East to come into Texas and expect any success. The Hawks are not an exception to that, but Atlanta grinded out a rare victory in the Lone Star state, beating the Rockets 104-97. The Hawks now sit at 19-7 and have now won 14 of their last 16 games.

Atlanta managed to pull it out in the end thanks to some nice passing and solid execution. It also helped that Jason Terry completely forgot to cover Kyle Korver during one of the game’s most crucial moments.

While the game started off close, it wasn’t like that until midway through the third quarter. The Hawks had a decently-sized lead through most of the first half thanks to crisp ball movement getting them a lot of open looks. For the majority of the game, the best the Rockets could do was go on a small run occasionally, but the Hawks would withstand it and get right back to business and build up their lead once more. That was until the Rockets adjusted.

During halftime, the Rockets made some tweaks that managed to get them back into the game, tying the game up by the end of the quarter. Part of it was the Hawks just not hitting shots, but the Rockets rotations were much more organized in the second half; when the Hawks started to move the ball, the Rockets were right there to contest the shot. Continue Reading…

Shelvin Mack had sat out the past two games because of the Hawks’ superb depth at point guard with Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder. With Teague on the sidelines due to a hamstring strain, Mack had an opportunity to make an impact on Wednesday night against LeBron and the Cavaliers.

And boy did he do just that.

Mack scored a career-high 24 points off the bench, including 17 points and a 5-for-5 performance from 3 in the second quarter that swung the game in the Hawks’ favor. After trailing by 12 in the second, the Hawks rallied to take a 65-60 lead into halftime. Mack’s play translated to the rest of the Hawks in the second half, as Atlanta outscored Cleveland 62-38 in the final 24 minutes to give the Hawks a 127-98 victory.

The Hawks took control in the third quarter by continuously running plays targeting Kevin Love on defense. Paul Millsap and Al Horford accounted for seven straight Atlanta field goals in a span where the Hawks expanded their lead to double-digits. Horford finished with 20 points and four assists, while Millsap tallied 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Continue Reading…

Hawks Outlast Bulls for 17th Win

Bo Churney —  December 15, 2014

After having their nine-game win streak broken in Orlando, the Hawks were able to rebound (figuratively, not literally; the were outrebounded 57-40) against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls with a scrappy 93-86 win.

The Hawks were led by Al Horford, who had one of his best all-around games of the season. Horford tallied 21 points on 10-for-19 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It was Horford’s second 20-point/10-rebound game of the season. The six assists were a season-high for Horford, who appeared to take extra effort in trying to control the offense in the fourth quarter in order to try and keep Chicago’s defense on its heels.

“We talked about wanting to have great pace coming out tonight,” said Coach Budenholzer. “The first quarter, scoring 28 points against a really good defensive team… we got some baskets in transition. The one Al got sticks out. Paul’s sticks out to me. It probably ended up being the little bit of cushion that we needed, that allowed us to get the win.”

The Hawks received two solid performances off of the bench tonight, one being from Elton Brand. Brand only played 13 minutes, but he made his presence known, scoring eight points and loudly stuffing a shot attempt by Pau Gasol. Brand followed up that block with a jumper less than a minute later, which gave the Hawks a nine-point lead early in the game. Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast the Atlanta Hawks had the second place spot in the East, and then they didn’t. While hte Washington Wizards and Hawks create distance from the rest of the division everybody else just seems to be fumbling around. The Miami Heat don’t look like they’re going to get any better and that’s a problem this early in the year. Meanwhile the Orlando Magic continue to stay competitive while the Charlotte Hornets try to right the ship.

Washington Wizards, 16-6, 2nd in the East, 3-1 this week WAS

The Wizards could have gone 4-0 this week but they lost a sluggish afternoon road game to the Boston Celtics. While losing to the Celtics is not good it’s very difficult to fault sluggish play in an afternoon game. The Wizards responded by ripping off three straight wins, including their best win of the year over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Atlanta Hawks, 16-7, 3rd in the East, 4-1 this week ATL

The Hawks win streak finally came to an end Saturday night due to a Tobias Harris game winner in Orlando. The loss was on a back to back and Orlando has been a pain for a lot of teams this year so that’s not a bad loss. Before that the Hawks were on a nine game winning streak and at one point were second in the Eastern conference. While this week didn’t feature any big time wins, the Hawks were able to keep their streak going all the way up to the final seconds in Orlando. Also of note this week, the Hawks had quite a few blowouts which is surprising since this team isn’t known for blowing opponents out of the building. It’s safe to say at this point that Atlanta is a good team.
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The Hawks won their ninth game in a row on Friday at Philips Arena, prevailing 87-81 over the Orlando Magic. The Hawks shot just 37.2% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc on 29 attempts, and the Magic weren’t much better, shooting 39% from the field and 34.6% from three. Coach Budenholzer mentioned in his postgame press conference that he would have liked to see the Hawks drive to the basket more often; the Hawks finished with just 24 points in the paint. Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll particularly struggled to hit from range; the pair hit just two of their thirteen shots from three.

The second quarter and early part of the third quarter were particularly ugly for both teams. Atlanta scored just 11 points in the second quarter and the Magic opened on a 17-5 run in the first six minutes of the third. The Hawks came roaring back in the final 18 minutes of the game, outscoring Orlando by 42-24 down the stretch, including a key 11-0 run to close the third quarter and tie the game at 64. Al Horford and Paul Millsap combined for 33 points on 13-for-25 shooting through three quarters, with Horford making a big three-pointer that tied the game with 39.5 left in the quarter.

Pero Antic did not play in the game due to flu-like symptoms and Coach Budenholzer said pregame that he would not travel with the team for Saturday’s game, opening up minutes from Elton Brand and Mike Muscala. Brand responded with one of the better one point, two rebound performances you’ll ever see and was the talk of the locker room after the game. Carroll praised Brand’s defensive toughness: “He came in there and just told us to be aggressive … Everybody started playing as hard as he did.” Horford echoed Carroll’s statement, saying, “His aggressiveness on defense and toughness really got us over the top.” Muscala didn’t see the floor in Antic’s absence due to Brand’s play.

Dennis Schröder had a terrible shooting night but changed the game with his defensive intensity. He even forced a five-second violation after a Hawks turnover and consistently picked up Magic guards as soon as they got the ball, hounding them all the way up the court. Coach Budenholzer had good things to say about the young guard after the game: “He was 1-for-7, but I was more interested and more encouraged by how active he was, his pace, and everything he did to help us turn the momentum.”

The Hawks may have played an ugly offensive game, but those games are going to happen in a long season and they did well to fight on the defensive end to close out a scrappy Orlando Magic team. The Hawks see the Magic again on Saturday in the second game of their home-and-home series in Orlando, where they will go for their tenth win in a row, something they haven’t done since January 1997.