Archives For February 2016

The Atlanta Hawks wrapped up their five game homestand with a 87-76 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in Sunday’s matinee matchup. Led by Al Horford’s 13 points and 16 rebounds (his 200th career double-double), the victory means the Hawks finish their five game homestand with a 2-3 record — pretty disappointing all things considered. Losses against the seriously shorthanded Miami Heat and the poor Milwaukee Bucks are losses that could prove costly when it’s all said and done after 82 games.

Wrapping up the homestand the right way — a huge win

If you’re going to lose three of your five games at home, it’s better to lose the first three than the last three. The Hawks finished off their homestand with two wins and that’s some important momentum to take into this five game road trip that the Hawks have coming up.

This is going to be a very tough road trip — three of those five games are against teams that have a .500 or above record. Although, one of the teams below .500 right now that the Hawks face are the Utah Jazz who are the best team that are (marginally) below .500 — so, really, four of those teams are .500 and above. So, to bring some sort of momentum in Golden State for Tuesday’s game against the Warriors is big.

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks snapped their three game losing skid last night, triumphing 103-88 over the Chicago Bulls at Philips Arena. Jeff Teague led the way with 19 points and nine assists, while strong performances from Paul Millsap (12 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks) and Al Horford (18 points, five rebounds, and four blocks) propelled the Hawks to a much needed win — their first victory since the All-Star break, when they also beat the Bulls.

Shorthanded Bulls

The Bulls came into Atlanta with only a segment of their regular rotations available to them. Jimmy Butler (knee strain), Derrick Rose (hamstring tendinitis), Nikola Mirotic (appendectomy), and Joakim Noah (shoulder) were all unavailable for selection last night. On the ESPN broadcast last night, it was noted that those four guys accounted for an average on 53.8 points per game — essentially 54 points a game that the Bulls did not have available to them.

Pau Gasol has also been under the weather of late, and his participation in this game was unclear prior to tip off. It seemed to translate into his game, as he could only manage 16 points on 6-of-22 shooting, but accepted that “it is what it is”:

Continue Reading…

After a couple days of much needed rest, the Hawks returned home to get their first win in 16 days against the Chicago Bulls. In the past three games, Atlanta has had no problem scoring the ball, but it has been their most reliable asset, defense, that hasn’t looked quiet the same.

Today, shooting just 42% from the field and 20% from 3, they buckled down and showed why they are currently the third ranked defense in the NBA.

“Before the All-Star break, I thought we were playing great defense,” said Kyle Korver after a 103-88 win over the Bulls. “If you look at all the analytics and rankings, I think we were number one in the NBA for a month and a half. We were playing great defense. We came out of the break and had a slippage. So it was good for that to end and get back tonight.”

The Bulls were under a constant barrage all night, as both units from the Hawks capitalized on the absence of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Aaron Brooks and E’twaun Moore attempted to hold the fort down, but never seemed comfortable and the lack of chemistry could not be more obvious. The two, who are viewed more as scorers than distributors, were accountable for nine of the teams 21 turnovers. Continue Reading…

The end of the All-Star break marks the beginning of a hugely significant time of the season — the stretch run. It’s crunch time across the NBA for many teams. You have teams gunning for the number one seed, teams gunning for home court advantage, teams gunning for the playoffs, and you have a few teams gunning for the lottery.

The Atlanta Hawks can be categorised into the second group mentioned — gunning for home court advantage. But they’ve ran into a wall. They’re currently on a three game losing streak and have lost five of their last six games. They currently occupy the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Charlotte Hornets (who have been hot of late) sitting just two games behind the Hawks having played two games less. It goes without saying that the Hawks have to string together W’s down the stretch if they want to obtain home court advantage. What are they key games/road trips/stretches that the Hawks face as the season winds down?

Continue Reading…

In the latest adventure of Atlanta Hawks basketball, the Hawks dropped their third consecutive game in an entertaining fixture against the defending NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, 102-92. The loss also means the Hawks have lost four straight at home for the first time since April 1st 2007.

A spirited display, but the dream comeback ultimately falls short

If there’s one positive to this three game losing streak, it’s that the Hawks have shown more heart and spirit in each game since the loss against the Miami Heat.

The Hawks were up against it early in this one, as the Warriors had built up a 15 point lead by the very early stages of the second quarter. The Hawks kept fighting, and kept themselves within striking distance as the half approached, but a 13-2 run in the final 2:16 put the Warriors in the driving seat, as they took a 19 point lead with them to the locker room.

The Warriors would extend the lead to 23 points (70-47) with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter, and it was beginning to look like the Warriors were going to blow out the Hawks. But the Hawks strung together a 28-6 run to close out the third quarter to cut the deficit to just one point, led by Dennis Schröder’s eight points in the period.

I, personally, thought Thabo Sefolosha put it best when describing the Hawks’ third quarter comeback:

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks’ five game home stand has not gotten off to the best start. After losing the first game of their five game home stand against the very shorthanded Miami Heat, the Hawks lost their second straight game in a double overtime affair with the Milwaukee Bucks — 117-109.

Better execution, but same end result

The difference between the Heat and the Hawks last time out was that the Heat executed down the stretch and the Hawks didn’t. While the Hawks ultimately ran out of gas in second overtime last night, when their backs were against the wall at the end of regulation and in the first overtime period, they had an answer, and they came out and executed.

We’re going to look at two plays where the Hawks were in a position where if they didn’t score the game was over.

The first comes at the end of regulation. It’s Atlanta ball with 5.5 seconds left in the game, and they trail by two points. A two point basket would surely send the game to overtime, a three would surely win the game. Let’s watch the film first and then break it down.

Continue Reading…

Similar to the first meeting back in January, the lowly Bucks gave the Hawks all they had and then some.

Atlanta weathered the storm, came back, took the lead, but eventually fell in double OT 117-109. It’s the third straight loss at home, which has not happened since 2004.

“Anytime the game goes two overtimes, there are opportunities for both teams. In the second overtime, they got a little separation, a couple baskets we were not able to score. Our execution could be better in some situations, including at the end of games.”

So much buzz surrounded the team over the break about the futures of Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder, back-to-back losses like these only bring on more questions and frustration. The offense is a little out of sync, piling up 21 turnovers versus Miami on Friday and shooting just 44% from the field against Milwaukee.

“It’s very disappointing,” Horford, who ended with 17 points and nine rebounds, said postgame. “We have nice homestand here. This is not the way we pictured it going. We are really in a hole right now.” Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks kicked off their stretch run with a 115-111 home loss against the Miami Heat — the extremely shorthanded Miami Heat. Oh, boy… Let’s just get stuck right into it.

 The worst loss of the year

I feel pretty comfortable saying that this was the worst loss that the Hawks have suffered this season. I mentioned that the Heat were shorthanded, maybe that was an understatement. They were without Chris Bosh (please get well soon, Chris Bosh. The NBA needs you on the court), Dwayne Wade, Tyler Johnson, and Hassan Whiteside. Bob Rathbun mentioned on the broadcast that 55% of the Heat’s offense was missing last night — and the Hawks still found a way to lose.

Sure, the Hawks were without Tiago Splitter (who is now done for the season), but everyone else was healthy and rested. You could argue that it’s just rust, since the Hawks haven’t played since Wednesday February 10th, but it was the exact same story for the Heat. In fact, the Heat haven’t played since last Tuesday and their lineup that day was completely different to the one that played the Hawks.

Those who suited up for the Heat played their heart out. Inspired, season high performances from Luol Deng (30 points, 11 rebounds) and Josh McRoberts (19 points, 10 assists) willed the Heat to victory. It also willed the Heat fans in attendance at Philips Arena — the “Let’s go Heat” chants as Goran Dragic was shooting free throws near the end were so loud. It was amazing how loud those Heat fans were, and they had every right to be. They deserved this victory An inexplicable loss for the Hawks.

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks’ 2014-15 season is a well documented season and one that is immortalised by Hawks fans. A franchise record 60 regular season wins, four players named to the All-Star team, an unbeaten January, a Coach of the Year award, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. While being swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t the note the Hawks would’ve liked to have finished their season on, it was still a hugely successful season that created the largest buzz surrounding the Atlanta Hawks (arguably) since the playing days of Hall of Famer, and Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins.

Turn the clock forward 9 months later and there are rumours floating around that the Hawks are considering trades for Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, and even franchise cornerstone Al Horford at the trade deadline. If you were to travel back this time last year, you would never think these rumours would arise so soon after such a successful season.

So, to start off, why have these rumours surfaced?

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from their disappointing overtime loss to the Orlando Magic with a blowout victory on the road against the Chicago Bulls, 113-90. The Hawks now head into the All-Star break with a 31-24 record, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Tiago Splitter once again sat out with a hip injury, while All-Star Jimmy Butler also missed out with a knee strain that will keep him from participating in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

Heading into the All-Star break on a positive note

It’s been a tough month and a bit for the Hawks. After heading into the new year with a 21-13 record, (prior to this game) the Hawks have gone 9-11 since. Heading into this game, the Hawks had lost five of their last eight games. It was, therefore, important that the Hawks head into the All-Star break on a positive note (with a win) and that’s exactly what they did — blowing out the Bulls in their own building.

In addition to all of this, you have the trade chatter going on (which has gotten very loud in Atlanta over the last few days), with Al Horford and Jeff Teague in the depths of trade rumours. Trade talk can distract, even derail, a team from playing their best basketball, but this was not the case at all for the Hawks last night. They didn’t look distracted, they looked together. That made this road win even more impressive.

Continue Reading…