Archives For October 2015

In their first of four meetings with this season the Hawks defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-94 without the services of Kyle Korver. Atlanta fended off the Hornets late run in a game that was tied on seven occasions along with 17 lead changes. Kent Bazemore may not be the sharpshooter Kyle is, but looked pretty close shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point land tying his career high in field goals made. Kent Finished with 19 points (seven coming in the fourth quarter) and nine rebounds. Coach Mike Budenholzer spoke about his confidence.

“You could just feel his confidence from the very beginning of the game, the way he was rising up and shooting with no hesitation. The ball was coming off his hand just really easily and nice. He got a couple of drives and finishes. The drive and the put back late, Kent on his drive forces the help which allows Paul to get the put back.”

This tough defensive matchup is something both became accustomed to last season and again tonight as they struggled to ever find a rhythm. The hornets held the hawks to just 42% from the field and six turnovers in the first half. In the second half the Hawks turned up the pressure in their rotations ,particularly in the third quarter, forcing seven turnovers leading to 10 points and a seven point lead heading into the fourth.

Dennis Schröder got an early Christmas wish and was inserted in the lineup alongside Jeff Teague for the first time in their careers. Schröder and Teague combined to score 28 points along with six assist and showing great effort defensively forcing Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin into three turnovers apiece. Many probably wondered how their styles would mesh offensively, but Coach Bud was more focused on the other side of the floor.

“The key is if we can guard and we can get stops on the other end and we can rebound on the other end, then I think offensively we won’t have too much trouble. For more of the game I thought our defense was pretty good, and that included when Jeff and Dennis were in there. I think overall it was good to see them play so much together.”

Horford and Millsap always play well together and did so again tonight as Horford scored 18 points (seven in the fourth quarter) with six of those points coming from beyond the arc for the second straight game and a RPM of +12. Paul Millsap posted his second double of the season with 19 points, 10 rebounds and also showed his range going 2-for-4 from three.

These two teams have a quick turn around and meet each other again Sunday in Charlotte, tip off at 2:00pm

 

The Hawks got their first win of the season on Thursday night, beating the Knicks 112-101 in Madison Square Garden. New York was able to keep the game close early on, but the Hawks guards took over the game against the defensively deficient Knicks backcourt, wrecking havoc in coach Mike Budenholzer’s constant-motion offense. Jeff Teague attacked the Knicks’ Jose Calderon at every opportunity, opening up the offense for his teammates and getting everyone involved early. Kyle Korver and Al Horford each had two three-pointers in the first period as the Hawks opened up a ten-point lead.

The Knicks clawed back early in the second quarter, opening up on a 13-2 run with an impressive showing from their bench, including Jerian Grant, whom the Knicks picked up in the trade with the Hawks on draft night. The Hawks quickly countered with their four All-Stars from a season ago and had a 16-point lead at halftime.

Lamar Patterson and Justin Holiday were the wing substitutes in this game with Thabo Sefolosha inactive. Patterson notched 21 minutes, up from 18 against Detroit on Tuesday, and even got some fourth-quarter minutes with Teague, Korver, Millsap, and Horford. Noticeable in his absence from the court was Tim Hardaway Jr., who spent his first two years with the Knicks before being traded to the Hawks this offseason. Hardaway Jr. has yet to make his debut for Atlanta and will have to prove to the Atlanta coaching staff that he deserves to play over the improving Patterson. Patterson’s immediate impact has been a massive surprise for the Hawks, given that he barely made the roster as the 15th man in preseason.

The Hawks also ran out the Millsap-Horford-Splitter frontcourt trio against the larger Knicks lineups with Millsap guarding Carmelo Anthony on the wing. Millsap didn’t have a great game offensively, finishing just 3-for-11 from the field, but he was the Hawks’ leading rebounder and pitched in five assists and five steals, guarding everyone from Anthony to the 7’3” Latvian rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Millsap’s defensive versatility will come in handy for the Hawks this year; his ability to guard a multitude of positions and players will allow Budenholzer to run out a lot of different lineups early in the season and experiment with lineups, which can be valuable in case somebody gets hurt.

The Knicks went on a short-lived run late in the third quarter to cut the Hawks lead to 11, but that was as close as they would get in the second half as Atlanta ran away with the game. Teague and Schröder continued to attack the Knicks’ guards and find open shots for themselves and their teammates. Teague finished with 23 points on 12 shots to go along with eight assists and four rebounds and Schröder converted six of his 11 shots for 13 points. As a team, the Hawks shot 10-for-24 from behind the three-point line, far better than the 8-for-27 showing against the Pistons.

The Hawks go back to Atlanta for the beginning of a home-and-home series on Friday and Sunday with the Charlotte Hornets.

After the Hawks took their only lead of the fourth quarter on a Paul Millsap 3-pointer, Mike Conley responded with a three of his own with 53 seconds to play to retake the lead for the Grizzlies. Atlanta’s final home game of the preseason was a hard-fought 82-81 loss against Memphis that felt like a mid-season match-up. Unlike Sunday’s loss to Miami, tonight’s game gave Hawks fans their first legitimate look at how this team is likely to operate during the rapidly-approaching regular season as all five starters played at least 30 minutes.

Atlanta started the game strong as Kyle Korver scored as many in the first quarter as Memphis’ entire roster (seven points on 3-for-3 shooting). The Grizzlies were able to chip away at the resulting 24-7 deficit in the second quarter with seven points by Courtney Lee and 14 from the bench. The Hawks went to the locker room at halftime with a tenuous 37-33 lead.

Battling against a defensive powerhouse caused the Hawks to lose some of their finesse. Several fouls early in the third put both Al Horford (13 points, game-high 14 rebounds) and Millsap (17 points, nine rebounds) in trouble and forced coach Mike Budenholzer’s hand in giving his starters some much-needed rest. Unfortunately, this was the turning point Memphis needed to finally pull away, and they took the lead for the first time with 3:19 left in the third on a layup by Jeff Green. Zach Randolph’s 11 third quarter points (4-for-5) sent the Grizzlies on a 24-6 run that stretched well into the fourth and put them ahead 70-57. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks defeated two Texas teams within the same week with a 100-86 win over the Spurs on Wednesday and an ugly 91-84 win over the Mavericks on Friday. Jeff Teague (ankle) and Paul Milsap both sat out this game, which thrust Dennis Schröder and Tiago Splitter into the starting lineup. Schröder finished with 11 points (nine coming in the second half) and four assist, while Splitter finished with just two points and four rebounds. Al Horford led all Hawks with 16 points, shooting 50% from the field with five rebounds and a plus-8 rating.

The Mavericks were led by former Hawk John Jenkins as he totaled 16 points while shooting 67% from the field. Both teams struggled from the field shooting 36%, and that corresponded with 11 lead changes. The Hawks’ advantage in this one was not only their 83% free throw shooting (compared to Dallas’ 76%), but also a positive showing from several bench players like: Thabo Sefolosha (nine points, 2-for-2 FGs) Mike Muscala (seven points, 3-for-6 FGs), Lamar Patterson (10 points and two steals) and Shelvin Mack (13 points and four assists).

Mack started the game 0-for-3 but heated up, hitting several jumpers in a row to help the Hawks erase a deficit. Holiday continues to struggle from the field, shooting just 1-for-6 for six points, but also continues to look sharp defensively. Rookie Justin Anderson showed to be somewhat of a bright spot for the Mavs off the bench, scoring 12 points and dishing out four assist, but he was forced into four turnovers as well. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks trailed the New Orleans Pelicans for most of the night, but took control of the game in the fourth quarter en route to a 103-93 preseason victory. Without the service of a TV broadcast and spotty radio coverage, the game seemed to take place in complete anonymity. Dennis Schröder led the Hawks with 11 points off the bench and Kent Bazemore added 10 behind a 6-for-7 night at the line. He also had four steals, but his overall defense was lacking along with most of the first team. The Pelicans jumped out to double digits leads by the second quarter as the Hawks starters looked a step slow on the two ends of the court.

Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague both struggled to find a rhythm. Teague attacked the basket too recklessly, drawing the attention of multiple defenders who would swallow him under the rim, and Korver couldn’t find enough open space to shoot. Still, both were able to draw enough fouls with their aggression to finish with a combined 14 points on 11 shots, seven of those points coming from the stripe.

For the Pelicans, Anthony Davis is looking to put together an MVP season in 2015-16 and did nothing tonight to assuage those illusions. He had 20 points on 15 shots, showing great range in nailing two 3 pointers, as well as five rebounds and three blocks. Over and over, Tyreke Evans was a step faster than the Hawks defense in compiling 17 points on 15 shots, but only had two assists versus four turnovers. Continue Reading…

Last year the Atlanta Hawks took the NBA by surprise as they finished 60-22 and 12-4 in divisional play. This year poses a different challenge for Coach Bud and the team with expectations much higher than in recent seasons. Additionally, not only did the Eastern Conference get a much-needed face-lift, but the Southeast Division will also pose a much tougher challenge to these Hawks. Here’s a preview of what to expect from Atlanta’s division opponents in 2015-16:

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets fan base came into last season with high hopes coming off a 7th seed finish two years ago and the acquisition of Lance Stephenson in the offseason. So last year’s 33-49 record along with Stephenson’s 39% field goal percentage seemed like a bad joke Michael Jordan played on everyone.

In his third season, coach Steve Clifford will need to take the next step by placing more emphasis on improving the offensive scheme that ranked 28th in offensive efficiency last year. The addition of Nicholas Batum adds to an already stout defensive unit as well as a small forward that can stretch the floor. His presence on defense will be much needed with the loss of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a torn labrum and seperated shoulder, suffered in last weekend’s preseason game against Orlando, that will sideline him for 6 months. Continue Reading…

The Hawks entered the offseason with a problem almost any team would gladly accept: too many players outperformed expectations. By virtue of signing Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll each to contracts two summers ago that were swiftly proved as club-favorable, the Hawks had a salary cap crunch in trying to re-sign them both.

The duo’s two year deals had both expired, removing the team’s use of Bird Rights that requires three years with the same team to shoot past the salary cap to re-sign free agents. Market value deals in free agency ballooned with the rising cap, as teams were suddenly flush with cap space to match their deep pockets as the result of an upcoming luxurious national TV deal for the league.

Given that DeMarre was both recovering from a knee injury and wholly justified in looking to cash in off his rapid ascent from fringe rotation player just two seasons prior, a team-friendly discount was out of the question. Carroll would quickly ink a 4 year, $60 million deal with the Toronto Raptors soon after the calendar turned to the 2015-16 NBA season on the heels of postseason averages of 14.6 points per game and 40.3 percent from three. This was all despite a sagging Hawks offense around him from March onward. Continue Reading…