Archives For December 2014

Jeff Teague has always been one of the more underrated players in the league. In a league full of athletic and talented point guards, Teague quietly puts up solid numbers on a perennial playoff team and the majority of causal NBA fans have no idea.

Much like Atlanta sports teams, Teague shows flashes of greatness, but at times has struggled with consistency. Last season, he started off strong and it had many wondering if this was his all-star year. Through the month of December last season, Teague was averaging over 19 points and eight assists per game, prompting Hawks’ fans and writers to believe in the point guard.

A bomb went off in December though, as Al Horford went down with a torn pectoral, and Teague had a tough test ahead of him. Through the month of January, he averaged just 13.6 points and 4.6 assists on 37 percent shooting from the field. He also posted an ugly 16 percent clip from three-point range.

So where did the All-Star Jeff Teague go?

Though he rebounded from a terrible month of January, Teague never got back to the level he showed in the early months of the season. That is, until the playoffs rolled around. Continue Reading…

Hosting the lowly 76ers after winning seven games in a row sure seemed like a classic trap game for the Hawks. However, the Hawks saw no such let up, controlling a mostly slow-tempo game on Wednesday night between them and Philadelphia, notching their eighth consecutive victory with a final score of 95-79.

Mike Scott missed this game due to flu-like symptoms, paving the way for Mike Muscala to make an impact off of the bench. In 19 minutes, Muscala recorded 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists after spending some time in the D-League due to the Hawks’ superb depth at the power forward and center positions.

“His length is something that always stands out every time Mike gets to play,” said Coach Budenholzer. “He affects the game at the defensive end, at the rim. He alters shots, blocks shots… on the boards, offensively and defensively, he has a presence.”

Muscala has now scratched playing time in seven games this year and he is starting to become an interesting factor off of the bench. He is not as good of a shooter as Scott, but Muscala still has a decent jumper and he impacts the game on rebounding and defense in a way that Scott does not. It’s a small sample size, but it might be worth investigating and rewarding Muscala with some more consistent playing time. The late first quarter/early second quarter line up of the bench players plus Horford? Put Muscala in there with Horford and see what happens.

Elsewhere on the roster, both Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver led the team with 17 points in Wednesday night’s game. Korver did his on 6-for-11 shooting and added two rebounds, two assists, three steals, and a block to his line. Millsap was only slightly less efficient, scoring his points on 7-for-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds and three assists. Continue Reading…

The Hawks hosted the Denver Nuggets in a 3:30 matinee affair and walked out of Philips Arena with a 96-84 victory, the team’s sixth win in a row. The win also moves the Hawks to second in the East and first in the Southeast division by virtue of a tiebreaker over the Washington Wizards.

Paul Millsap led the way, scoring 23 points on 13 shots. Millsap kept the Hawks alive in the third quarter, where the Hawks were on the brink of blowing a 20-point lead. The forward had 14 of Atlanta’s 20 points in the quarter, going 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point line.

“He’s a unique player in that he can score and impact the game in a lot of ways on the offensive end,” said Coach Budenholzer on Millsap. “He can play in the post, he can play off the dribble, off the elbows, and is also able to spread the floor and shoot 3s.”

As the Hawks have done for most of this six-game win streak, they started off well in the first quarter, taking a 32-21 lead after 12 minutes. “We came out and got a little bit of a cushion with our defense,” said Budenholzer. “I thought a lot of different guys contributed… I thought we finished the quarter well.” This great play in the first quarter was not there for the Hawks at the start of the season, where Atlanta was often falling behind early and forcing themselves to dig out of a hole. Continue Reading…

This week in the southeast, the Wizards look like a pretty damn good basketball team, but the Hawks are right on their tail. These are not only two of the best teams in the division; they might be two of the best teams in the conference. Meanwhile, the division is starting to get a little top heavy, with Miami falling to below .500, there are now three teams below .500 in a division many thought was going to be very good this year.

Washington Wizards, 13-5, 2nd in the East, 4-0 this week WAS

Does it really matter that the Wizards haven’t beaten any great teams this year if they keep beating up on everybody else, cause that’s what they’re doing. They won a game against Miami that, at the time, looked like a good win but Miami’s recent slide has put that wins validity into doubt. Their best win of the week was an 83-80 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans. Overcoming a low scoring game like that can be difficult for a lot of teams but the Wizards handled it well, using it to send them on a four game winning streak.

Atlanta Hawks, 12-6, 3rd in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

The Hawks have entered that Wizards range where they’re beating the teams they should beat, which is a good thing. There were some concerns after Atlanta lost to teams like Los Angeles and Charlotte, but it appears they’ve started to figure things out after extending their win streak to five with a thrashing of Brooklyn. Continue Reading…

The Hawks destroyed the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night with a final score of 98-75.

The game started slow, with the scoreboard showing 18-16 in Brooklyn’s favor after the first quarter. That changed in the second quarter, as DeMarre Carroll got hot and hit four 3-pointers in the period, including a buzzer-beater to close the half. Carroll outscored the Nets on his own in the quarter, tallying 14 points to Brooklyn’s 13. The 13 points were a season-low in a quarter for the Nets.

The third quarter played a little tighter, but the Hawks had already built up a 20-plus point lead. By the time the fourth quarter started, the Hawks were again firing on all cylinders and the Atlanta led grew to as many as 32. Dennis Schröder was the main guy leading the Hawks at this point, as he scored 11 points and grabbed three steals in the quarter before being taken out of the game. Schröder’s totals for the game were 13 points, five assists, and four steals.

By the end of the game, the Hawks had taken all of the regulars off of the floor and had a lineup of Shelvin Mack, Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, Elton Brand, and Mike Muscala on the floor. Can’t say we’ve seen a lot of that lineup this year, although if more situations like this arise, I think the Atlanta faithful will gladly enjoy that lineup. Continue Reading…

Hawks Blast the Heat in Miami

Bo Churney —  December 4, 2014

The Hawks went down to Miami on Wednesday and defeated the Miami Heat 112-102 for the Hawks’ fourth straight win.

Atlanta controlled the game nearly wire-to-wire, opening up double-digit leads in as early as the first quarter. Sharing was caring to open the game, as the Hawks assisted on all 11 of their field goals in the quarter.

The second quarter saw Miami surge back, mostly behind the scoring of a healthy Dwyane Wade, who missed the first meeting between the two teams in November. Wade scored 10 in the quarter, cutting the Atlanta lead to one until the Hawks rallied behind Dennis Schröder, who closed the half with a wicked layup attempt in traffic, giving the Hawks a 55-47 lead.

The second half is where the Hawks really blew the doors off of the Heat, powered by Jeff Teague’s 22 second half points. Although the Heat were able to close the margin some, the Hawks were leading by as many as 18 in the fourth quarter after Teague hit a step-back 3-pointer. Teague finished the night with 27 points, five rebounds, and six assists, which was quite the performance after sitting on the bench for the entire fourth quarter the night before.

For the second straight night, Dennis Schröder set a new career-high in points, this time with 16. Schröder continues to be highly efficient with either scoring or passing on drives to the basket, and he augmented his scoring by hitting two 3-pointers against Miami. The young German is currently averaging 19.3 points and six assists per 36 minutes. Continue Reading…

The Hawks won on Tuesday night by defeating the Boston Celtics by a score of 109-105. The Hawks won despite trailing by 23 points at one point, and Kyle Korver was a big reason why the Hawks were able to comeback. However, Boston’s Evan Turner lobbed some unkind words in Korver’s direction after the game.

Strong words from a player whose team just gave up 109 points in a loss.

Let’s just make this clear. Continue Reading…

The Hawks fell behind early to a hot-shooting Boston Celtics team, allowing 42 points on 17-for-22 (77%) in the first quarter. The lead ballooned to 23 early in the second quarter as Rajon Rondo continued to dish to open men, who promptly sank their uncontested jumpshots.

The Hawks battled back in the second half, mostly behind the hot shooting of Kyle Korver and superb play of Dennis Schröder. Korver scored 10 points in the third quarter to help cut into the large Boston lead, and then Schröder took over in the fourth, scoring 10 points and failing to turn the ball over despite the intense defensive pressure applied by Avery Bradley. Schröder also gathered the final defensive rebound in a scramble with 14.9 seconds left, leading to a Kent Bazemore run out layup to secure the game for the Hawks with a score of 109-105.

“Our aggressiveness and activity wasn’t where it needed to be for a half,” commented Budenholzer on the team’s poor defensive start. “I give our guys a lot of credit for finding a way to bounce back and giving ourselves a chance to win a tough game.”

One part of the Hawks’ renewed defensive effort in the second half was Korver matching up on Rondo. “[Rondo] was kind of picking us apart like a quarterback with 14 assists at halftime,” said Budenholzer. “We just wanted to try a different look.” After 14 assists in the first half, Rondo was limited to five assists, three turnovers, and zero points in the second half and a lot of that had to do with Korver’s length and intelligent footwork on defense. Continue Reading…