Archives For January 2015

The Korver Conundrum

Jeff Siegel —  January 20, 2015

Kyle Korver turns 34 in March, but is having his best season and perhaps one of the greatest shooting seasons in NBA history. Korver has always been a lethal shooter; he shot 53% on threes in 2009-10 in Utah and is a career 43% 3-point shooter, but this is his first season shooting better than 50% overall from the field and he is averaging 2.9 assists per game, matching his career high from a year ago. Coach Budenholzer and the Atlanta coaching staff are relying more and more on Korver to make decisions within the offense and it’s paying off.

Nobody has a chance at the first 50-50-90 season in NBA history without a lot of help from the rest of the team. Running Korver off multiple screens is one of Atlanta’s favorite ways to find him open shots. The Hawks will run a designed play on one side of the court and have Korver come from the weak side off of two or even three screens for a catch and shoot jumper.

 

 

Korver leads the league on catch-and-shoot 3P% at 54% and shoots the fourth-most catch-and-shoot 3s per game, per NBA.com, so this sort of action is a large part of the Atlanta offense.

Korver has mentioned in interviews that he loves to set screens as a way to confuse his defender before running around another screen to get the ball, and he does this to great effect in many of Atlanta’s sets. Continue Reading…

For the second time this season, Al Horford has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Horford played in three of the Hawks’ four games in the week and averaged outstanding numbers: 21.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 84.4% shooting. Yes, you read that correctly: EIGHTY-FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT SHOOTING. Horford had one triple-double and a game where he was perfect (8-for-8) from the field in his three games.

Horford is one of two Hawks to have won the award this season, the other being Jeff Teague who took home the award a few weeks ago.

The Hawks are in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, which they are putting on the line against the Detroit Pistons this afternoon. The Hawks will be without Shelvin Mack, who suffered a calf strain on Saturday against the Bulls. Dennis Schröder will be available after sitting out on Saturday with a minor injury of his own.

Have you ever tried to prove something to your friends? Maybe you had an attractive boyfriend or girlfriend and your friends didn’t believe you, or you had a nice car that you were ready to show off. When you finally get in front of those people, you are usually eager to show off your success in that category.

The Atlanta Hawks are going through that right now.

To say that the Hawks have exceeded expectations would be putting it lightly. Currently, Atlanta sits atop the Eastern Conference at 33-8, and have a comfortable five game lead over second place Washington. Their play has been stellar on both ends of the court, and to say they are the best team in the NBA would not be a stretch.

Though it isn’t a huge gap, the Hawks have played more games on the road than at home. Through 41 games, Atlanta has played 22 on the road as opposed to 19 at home. Also, they hadn’t gained their national exposure until the majority of their games were played on the road.

Through those 22 road games, the Hawks are an astounding 17-5. Last season, they were only able to accumulate 14 wins on the road through 41 games away from Philps Arena. Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast, the Hawks’ winning streak is up to 12 games in a row, the Wizards have reclaimed the second spot in the East, and Charlotte is still surging. Meanwhile, the state of Florida is just confusing with the Heat bouncing back on a west coast road trip and apparently the Magic are still alive.

Atlanta Hawks, 33-8, 1st in the East, 5-0 this week ATL

Make it 12 straight for the Hawks. Are they currently the best team in the NBA? It’s definitely up for debate with how their defense has shaped up, and the way they beat all the top teams in the East this week. What’s been most impressive about their strong week is not only are the Hawks winning against other conference contenders, but they do so in such a convincing fashion. Atlanta throttled the Wizards by 31 points to start off the week, throttled the Raptors by 23 points, and then beat the Bulls by eight — in Chicago — on a back to back. The Hawks are scary good.

Washington Wizards, 28-13, 2nd in the East, 3-2 this week WAS

The Wizards had a solid week, but two bad losses kept it from being perfect. They had a bad loss at home to Brooklyn, but made up for it with the victory in Brooklyn on a back-to-back. Washington’s bigger problem right now is the Wizards are a tier below the Hawks right now, and there’s nothing to say they have the talent to join them at this moment. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have now won 12 straight and as usual they look unstoppable. On Saturday, the Hawks were in control from start to finish, and even though the Bulls were always within striking distance, the game never felt particularly close. Chicago was constantly down nine points, and struggled throughout the game to close that gap.

It was the usual Atlanta offensive strategy involving ball movement, screens, and a barrage of 3-pointers that the Hawks have mastered and tailored into their own style. They’ve s have become so famous for their offense, by this point of the season, that it’s assumed everybody knows about it by now. Well apparently the Bulls missed the memo, because their defensive collapses were very concerning for a team that prides itself on that side of the ball. Chicago just couldn’t keep up with the constant ball movement, and it showed with how often they were slow on rotations. There were multiple times tonight the Hawks found wide open players on the perimeter or in the corner, and frankly is that is inexcusable for a Tom Thibodeau defense.

The worst (best?) of it all was how the Bulls allowed Kyle Korver open look after open look. This is the best shooter in the NBA, currently shooting 52 percent from 3-point range, and he’s getting open looks? It doesn’t matter if the scheme doesn’t fit, after Korver has made his fourth 3-pointer there should be a man on him at all times, but the Bulls never adjusted allowing Atlanta to punish them to the tune of seven triples for Korver. Continue Reading…

The only team at the top of the East that the Hawks were yet to beat were the Toronto Raptors. That finally changed on Friday night.

Al Horford scored a team-best 22 points, scoring on all eight of his field goal attempts, to lead the Hawks past Toronto by a score of 110-89. Paul Millsap also had a big night stuffing the box score, putting up 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in just 33 minutes. The win extended the Hawks’ overall winning streak to 11 and the team’s winning streak on the road to 11, the latter of which continues to be a franchise best run.

Unlike the first two games on this roadtrip, the Hawks got out to a good start and were able to establish an advantage in the first quarter. After taking a 22-14 lead, the Hawks got a little turnover happy, resulting in a small Raptors run that led to a 24-19 Atlanta lead at the end of the first.

The second quarter is where the Hawks started to show signs that they would pull away with this game. They started off with seven straight points, including a 3 from Thabo Sefolosha, to open up a 12-point lead on Toronto. The Raptors were able to again fight back and make it just a five-point game, but the Hawks closed the half with their super active defense, forcing three turnovers in the final three minutes and hitting five shots from the field in that time to finish the second quarter with a 52-38 lead. Continue Reading…

The Hawks were in Boston for the second half of a back-to-back and the second game in a four games in five nights road trip, and it showed early in this game. Coach Budenholzer once again shuffled the starting lineup and gave some rest to Al Horford and 33-year-old Kyle Korver against a struggling Celtics team, inserting Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap back into the team after their game off in Philadelphia last night. Boston used their youthful energy to grab four offensive rebounds in the first half and the game was tied at 34 midway through the second quarter before the Hawks turned up the defense and pulled away from the turnover-happy Celtics. Millsap and company were perfectly happy to take those turnovers the other way and ended up with 13 steals and 19 fast-break points.

When the Hawks were forced to slow it down in their half-court offense, it wasn’t much harder for them. Without Kyle Korver for the first time all season, there was some worry pregame whether or not the Hawks could execute their offense without his gravity, especially against a scrappy Boston Celtics team featuring some of the better young defensive guards in the league in Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.

Those fears subsided quickly as the ball continued to whip around the court with the same ferocity it does every night; Atlanta had 23 assists on 36 made field goals, led by Teague’s six. Overall, Atlanta shot 49% from the field, made 10 3s, and thoroughly dominated the Celtics from the second quarter until the end of the game, never letting the Celtics within nine points after halftime. Continue Reading…

Note: This is a season-long series in which Caleb Cottrell and Brandon Barnes will discuss what they notice from the Atlanta Hawks.

Caleb Cottrell: Welcome to the second edition of PAC-and-Forth, everyone! I’m joined by esteemed HawksHoop colleague Brandon Barnes. The Hawks are doing their thing, winning nine straight games to improve to a smooth record of 30-8. Not only are the Hawks winning, but they have been talked about more and more lately.

Song of the Week: 

CC: This one is pretty obvious for me, and a bit of a throwback. DJ KHALED. All I Do Is Win is pretty self explanatory. This song is basically the Hawks theme song since, well, all they’ve been doing is winning lately. Continue Reading…

Head coach Mike Budenholzer pulled a very Spurs-like move before this game against the 76ers, electing to sit Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and DeMarre Carroll for the sake of rest. And like the Spurs, the Hawks had no problems with their absences.

Al Horford notched his first career triple-double, finishing with 21 points (8-for-10 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 105-87 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The Hawks’ offense just ran through Horford all night and he delivered by putting on one of the best performances of his career.

In spite of Horford fine play throughout the game, this contest was pretty difficult to watch early on; both teams had problems hanging onto the ball, creating for a sloppy and oddly paced game. It was not until Michael Carter-Williams hit an and-one to tie the game at 33 that the Hawks finally turned in on, closing out the half on a 16-4 run that included 3s from Kyle Korver and Mike Scott.

The second half was essentially a continuation of that run, as the 76ers simply could not keep up with the Hawks’ superior ball movement. Even at the end of the game — when they were playing Mike Scott at SG with Adreian Payne, Mike Muscala, and Elton Brand in — the Hawks were still moving the ball and scoring.

With Teague out, Dennis Schröder and Shelvin Mack performed admirably at the point guard position. Schröder had 13 points (2-for-3 on 3s) and six assists and Mack recorded his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Mack’s previous double-double came last season against the Knicks and was also in an effort from off of the bench. Continue Reading…

In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks destroyed the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon, winning by a final score of 120-89.

The Hawks had eight players in double-figure scoring, led by Kyle Korver’s 19 points. The Hawks made 16 3-pointers, had 34 assists on 42 made field goals, and only turned the ball over eight times. “We were clicking tonight,” said Kyle Korver. “At this point, I don’t think we’ve played a better game.”

The Hawks’ offense was great, but the defense is where they really beat Washington. The Wizards had 20 total turnovers, 14 of which came via Atlanta steals. The Hawks were constantly swarming and disrupting Washington’s offense, using the energy off of the turnovers to create easy points in transition. The Hawks finished with 31 points off of the 20 Wizard turnovers, 21 of which came off of the fastbreak.

“The turnovers and activity fueled our offense,” said coach Mike Budenholzer. “The ball was moving, the guys were attacking and playing with a lot of confidence.” Continue Reading…