Archives For April 2015

The Hawks started hot and staved off another Nets comeback in Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. Coach Budenholzer implied in the time leading up to the game that the players were raring to go, and they showed it. Atlanta led 33-16 after one quarter, but the Nets pulled within two with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jeff Teague had a hand in eight of the Hawks’ final ten points, assisting on an Al Horford jumper and scoring six straight to put the Nets away.

DeMarre Carroll led all players in scoring with 24 in a game that saw each of Atlanta’s starters play at least 34 minutes and virtually all of the fourth quarter. “Coach came to us each individually and told us we were probably going to pick up some more minutes,” Carroll said after the game. The shortened rotation is something that Budenholzer will use going forward, as most coaches do in the playoffs. Mike Scott has fallen out of favor recently and played just over two minutes in this game as Budenholzer opted for a three-man rotation at the power forward and center positions. Pero Antic played almost 18 minutes and provided some much needed defense and rebounding against Brook Lopez. Continue Reading…

The Hawks have officially announced the sale of the team to co-founder of Ares Managament, Tony Ressler.

“We are honored and thrilled to have been chosen to become the new stewards of the Hawks,” said Ressler in the Hawks’ press release. “We respect the NBA’s approval process and, accordingly, can say no more other than we are incredibly excited by the Hawks’ success and wish them luck in the playoffs.”

The sale will including operating rights to Philips Arena. The terms of the sale were not released, but Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski — who broke the news of the sale being in the finalizing stages earlier today — reported earlier in the day that the sale would be for between $700 million and $900 million.

The ownership groups includes former NBA All-Star and NBA TV anchor Grant Hill and co-founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely and her husband Jess Itzler. The sale still must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has won NBA Coach of the Year, winning the award with 67 first-place votes on his way to 513 points. Golden State’s Steve Kerr finished just behind Budenholzer with 56 first-place votes and 471 points. Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks finished a distant third with 1 first-place vote and 57 points.

The race between Budenholzer and Kerr has been too close to call all season, but the voters elected to go with Budenholzer after the Hawks’ franchise-record-breaking season that saw them win 60 games, including a perfect 17-0 in the month of January. The Hawks improved by 22 games over their 2013-14 record, the second largest jump in the league behind Kidd’s Bucks.

Coach Budenholzer has been with Atlanta for two seasons after 19 years under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Full voting results are below, courtesy of Hawks.com.

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In the past few years, the Hawks have often not had much in terms of expectations for the playoffs. In those years, a win in Game 1 would have usually been seen as a huge victory.

On Sunday, the Hawks’ 99-92 Game 1 win over the Brooklyn Nets left something to be desired.

The 1-seed Hawks — with 60 wins and the status as the overwhelming favorite — got off to a strong start, outscoring the Nets 32-20 in the first quarter. The Hawks took advantage of six Brooklyn turnovers and were using them to create open looks on offense. This continued into the beginning of the second quarter, as the Hawks increased their lead up to 16 points and appeared to be well on their way to blowing out their opponent.

However, the Nets stopped turning the ball over and ramped up their defensive effort to start putting pressure on the Hawks. “We had turnovers early, but we finally cut down on our turnovers and figured out how to execute and score,” said Nets head coach Lionel Hollins. “We got ourselves back close in the game.” Continue Reading…

Atlanta Hawks, 60-22, 1st in the East ATL

Wow, what an incredible year for the Atlanta Hawks. Anybody that had watched the Hawks last year knew how injured they were, and how much better they were going to be this season, but 60 wins? Not even the most optimistic of Hawks fans believed that this team had that in them. They set all kinds of franchise records, got the entire city of Atlanta behind them in support, and they even brought back the old school pac man logo. Now, everything shifts. It would be easy to say that no matter what happens Atlanta had a successful season, but Hawks fans will say otherwise. This is a franchise that has never once been to the conference finals their entire time in Atlanta, despite years and years of going to the playoffs. Hawks fans are tired of being the constant image of mediocrity. It’s conference finals, or failure, with this team.

Washington Wizards, 46-36, 5th in the East WAS

Yeesh, the Washington Wizards had one heck of a weird season. They started off the year battling the Toronto Raptors for the number one seed in the entire conference, and had what felt like everybody on their bandwagon. Flash forward a few months and they’re in a nosedive towards the middle of the pack while teams like the Hawks, Bulls, and Cavs passed them. Now they enter the playoffs with the same seed as last year, arguably playing worse, and have to defeat those same Toronto Raptors. Bet both teams wish it was December again.
Continue Reading…

The 2014-15 regular season is over.

Just last year, the Hawks were fighting until the end of the season to secure a playoff berth and sneak into the postseason as the 8-seed in the East.

How things have changed in 365 days. The Hawks — having already secured the 1-seed in the East with 60 wins — have been taking things lightly for a while now, prepping their stars for rest in hopes of a deep playoff run. That rest included Wednesday night’s game against the Bulls, even though all five regular Hawks starters played at least 20 minutes. But when the fourth quarter started and no Atlanta starter was to be found on the court, the message from the team was clear:

The Hawks have bigger battles to fight soon and a 91-85 loss to the Bulls at the end of the regular season will have very little meaning in May and June. Continue Reading…

It is amazing how times have changed.

On November 7, the Hawks fell to 1-3 on the season in a loss to the Hornets in overtime. You may remember that Lance Stephenson hit a banked, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win that game for Charlotte. That loss certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of many Hawks fans and left some wondering if this team’s playoff hopes were not as good as previously perceived

Fast-forward five months and the Hawks are the 1-seed in the East, raising banners for their Southeast Division title, and have 60 wins under their belt after controlling the Hornets in a 104-80 win on Friday night.

Once again, the star of the game for the Hawks was Mike Muscala filling in for the injured Paul Millsap. Muscala was 8-for-9 from the field with 17 points, good enough for the third game of 15 or more points over his last seven contests. The development of Muscala over the past several weeks has been a revelation for the Hawks, as Muscala gives Atlanta yet another capable rotation big to fall back on. Continue Reading…

Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha have been arrested for “trying to prevent police from setting up a crime scene”, according to reports from a stabbing incident early Wednesday morning in a New York City nightclub.

A man reportedly attacked Pacers’ forward Chris Copeland and his wife after an argument, and, according to sources, Antic and Sefolosha refused to move while the police were setting up a crime scene. A spokeswoman for the police department said that Sefolosha “charged at an officer” and Antic “physically grabbed another police officer”. Antic was charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and menacing, while Sefolosha was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Copeland suffered a broken elbow during the attack in addition to the stabbing to his abdomen, but his wounds are not life-threatening.

Zwerling is also now reporting what role Antic and Sefolosha had with the affair:

As of now, Antic and Sefolosha have been released on their own recognizance and will not play tonight against the Nets. The two players released this joint-statement through Hawks PR:

As members of the Atlanta Hawks, we hold ourselves to a high standard and take our roles as professionals very seriously. We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time. We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them. We are unable to provide further comment as this is an ongoing legal matter.

After a couple of days off, the Hawks wiped the court with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, winning 96-69 and clinching the best record in franchise history by notching their 58th win of the season.

“I’m very proud of our players and very proud of our organization,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer in his post game presser. “I’m very happy for our city. To have the most wins in franchise history, it’s important to take a moment and recognize the work of our players and the organization.”

The game started off with Al Horford missing an easy bunny at the rim, but the tides changed quickly as the Hawks responded with a 8-0 run to put a decent cushion between them and the Suns. The contest stayed relatively close for the remainder of the first half, which caused some chipiness between the two teams. Pero Antic, Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll, Budenholzer, and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris all received technical fouls, mostly over displeasure over how the game was being officiated. Continue Reading…

The Hawks revealed on Monday that Paul Millsap suffered a right shoulder sprain and contusion Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. X-rays were negative, but an MRI showed the injury to doctors. Millsap will miss at least the next two games on Tuesday against Phoenix and Wednesday at Brooklyn and will be reevaluated during that time.

Atlanta team doctors don’t expect that the injury will linger into the playoffs, which is great news for a Hawks team that relies on Millsap’s scoring and rebounding. Mike Scott has just come back from a toe injury, so Coach Budenholzer will have to be careful to not play him too many minutes as he is getting back into game shape. This should mean more minutes for reserve big men Elton Brand and Mike Muscala until Millsap is fit to return.