Archives For February 2015

The two best teams in the NBA clashed on Friday night and the Atlanta Hawks emerged with a 124-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors behind seven players with double-digit scoring.

“We’re a confident bunch, but it’s still a long season,” said Jeff Teague. “We’ve got another big test coming up for us against Memphis, so we’ll celebrate this win tonight and get ready tomorrow for Memphis.”

Teague’s sentiment was popular throughout the locker room after the game. In front of a large congregation of media that was asking about things such as the playoffs and Finals potential, the Hawks continuously responded with how there are still a lot of games to play and that the team still has a lot to prove. Despite that, this game goes a long way towards proving the capabilities of the Hawks. The Warriors have held the best point differential in the NBA and have been the best team in the NBA all season.

To anyone that did not watch this game, you should find a replay of it somewhere; it was tremendous. The pace was fast and both teams were trading haymaker 3s and highlight reel plays. For the Warriors, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were providing a lot of offense, with the two combining for 55 points. Draymond Green was also fantastic, putting up a stat line of 12 points, 20 rebounds (10 offensive), and six assists.

But at the end, the day belonged to the Hawks, who are now 42-9 and reclaimed the best record in the league. As mentioned earlier, the Hawks did it with a team effort of seven guys in double-figures, with Dennis Schröder just missing out with the nine points he scored to complement his seven assists. Schröder had a great stretch in the fourth quarter, where he assisted on a lob to Al Horford, hit a 3, and hit another jumper that pushed the Atlanta lead to eight. 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 another addition to the Pac-and-Forth series! Sadly, Brandon Barnes and I have gathered you all here today because the Hawks lost their first game since the new year. However, it’s a new day! They still have the best record in the East and plenty to be thankful for!

Song of the Week:

CC: Fort Minor! M. Shinoda! The Hawks got knocked down after losing their first game since mid-December. It’s all about getting back up on their feet, and not letting this one game keep them down, which I don’t think will happen. They just need to continue to work hard, and they will get the attention and be remembered.

BB: For my song this week, I’m going with an English football classic. That’s right, it’s Liverpool’s fan anthem and mantra “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. As a new fan of Liverpool’s this year, I’ve found it extremely enjoyable to watch and experience because all of the key points of the franchise are similar to the New Hawks. A strong team, fanbase, and, most importantly, a community: all hungry for the next win. How about we get Sir Foster to jam this at the next game while everyone holds up Hawks scarves (or I guess the American equivalent: snapbacks…)? Maybe not, but it’s still a powerful song. Listen to the lyrics with an open heart and picture how well this fits in with this team. Continue Reading…

The Hawks may have lost their franchise-record 19-game winning streak on Monday in New Orleans, but they were right back on track when the Washington Wizards came to Atlanta on Wednesday night. As soon as the game tipped off, news broke that the Hawks had won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award for January. Not one player, but the entire starting lineup.

Any worries that the Hawks would be looking forward to Friday’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors were put to bed in the first quarter, in which Atlanta closed on a 16-3 run. The Hawks took a 13-point lead into halftime, but the Wizards were quick to bounce back, opening on a 20-10 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter and taking the lead late in the quarter.

Atlanta took a slim 77-74 lead into the fourth quarter but turned up the heat, culminating in the Hawks’ Dunk of the Year.

Continue Reading…

No, that title is not misleading. The NBA named the entire Hawks’ starting lineup as the Eastern Conference Player (players?) of the Month on Wednesday.

The Hawks’ undefeated record in January of 17-0 was an NBA record and the league responded by jointly naming Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford with the monthly award. This was only the second time the league has given multiple teammates this award, with Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Michael Finley accomplishing the same feat for the Dallas Mavericks in 2002.

“We appreciate the recognition of our starters’ play during this past month. It is reflective of all the work our entire team and organization has put in,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer. “We place a strong emphasis on having the right approach every day and making daily improvement. Collectively, we know that we have a lot more work to do this season and look forward to continue growing as a team.”

The Hawks currently sit at 41-9 — tops in the East by eight games — after beating the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

It was fun while it lasted, but the Hawks’ 19-game winning streak finally came to an end on Monday night as the New Orleans Pelicans were able to defeat Atlanta by a score of 115-100.

Anthony Davis was the controlling force for New Orleans, constantly grabbing offensive rebounds and putting them back for easy 2s. Davis scored 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds (eight offensive), and was his usual fantastic self on defense. One memorable play involved Jeff Teague in an isolation where he tried to crossover Davis and stepback for a 3-pointer… but Davis stayed in position and used his length to block the shot anyways.

Davis was not alone, as he got some great help from Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. Gordon was a thorn in the Hawks’ side all night, hitting a bevvy of open jumpers as Evans was continuously getting the Hawks’ offense to collapse. Evans had a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists and Gordon finished the night with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field.

Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer has been often preaching that one of the biggest driving forces behind this streak from the Hawks is that they kept playing “Hawks basketball.” They moved with and without the ball on offense, flied around on defense, and maintained a composure where they always exuded the confidence of being the better team. Continue Reading…

In news that is not exactly shocking to anyone following the NBA, Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in January. This is the second time Budenholzer has won the award this season, with the head coach also taking home the award from December.

In January, the Hawks were an NBA-record 17-0 and improved their current winning streak to 19 games, which is a franchise best and tied for the fifth best streak in NBA history. The winning streak has propelled Atlanta to the league’s best record at 40-8 and is a big reason there will be three Hawks — Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford — playing in New York for the All Star Game on February 15.

Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, won the award for the Western Conference.

Tonight, the Hawks will look to take the streak to 20 games in New Orleans against the Pelicans and Anthony Davis. The Hawks will be without both Shelvin Mack (indefinite) and Thabo Sefolosha (6-8 weeks) due to calf strains, but DeMarre Carroll, who has been dealing with an Achilles strain, has been upgraded to questionable. If Carroll cannot go, Kent Bazemore will likely get another start in his place.

This Week In The Southeast, The Hawks finished the greatest month in NBA history despite some talk about them not being quite playoff ready. Washington has stumbled back down to third in the conference, and it might be time to be concerned about their inability to beat elite teams. Towards the bottom of the playoff standings are the Heat and Hornets fighting for the 7-seed. Both teams have been disappointing this year and want to have some success, and they’ll have a better time convincing themselves of that if they don’t finish 8th. Then at the very bottom is Orlando, but all of their headlines relate to off court issues rather than on court ones.

Atlanta Hawks, 40-8, 1st in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

Once again, the Hawks finish the week perfect, but that’s not even the most impressive thing they accomplished. The Hawks have finished the month of January undefeated with a 17-0 record. They are the only team to do that in NBA history and it’s not like they had a cake walk of a month. January has featured victories over Toronto, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Washington just to name a few. However, despite the fantastic month, they just had there are still concerns being brought up. Everybody agrees the Hawks are a great regular season team, but many experts question how a team like this can handle a seven game series. They reference the physicality and star factors of the playoffs could cause Atlanta to struggle. These are valid concerns, but it’s hard to bring them up at the moment with the Hawks on a 19-game winning streak. They also feel like a lot of speculation without much evidence to back it up, but that’s the way it’s going to be until the playoffs. Atlanta will have to prove they can win against the same opponent over and over again, and history has suggested that execution style teams like Atlanta can struggle in that kind of setting. However, on Atlanta’s side is what they are achieving as only been accomplished by previous NBA champions.

Washington Wizards, 31-17, 3rd in the East, 2-2 this week WAS

The Wizards are a very good basketball team, and they’ve shown that with their 31 wins this season. This week they managed to grab victories over the Lakers and Nuggets. The Lakers are bad, but the Nuggets are randomly good sometimes making that a nice win. Afterwards they lost the back to back to Phoenix, which is disappointing, but to be expected. However, the Wizards lost their most important game of the week and that was their Saturday game, at home, to Toronto. They let the Raptors go up big, but were able to force a comeback and go to overtime. They ended up losing in overtime and that continues this trend of Washington not being able to beat top NBA teams. This might not matter for a lot of people, but it’s something to take note of as the NBA shifts towards playoff races.

Continue Reading…