Archives For February 2016

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their second consecutive game against the Orlando Magic in a heartbreaker at Philips Arena — 116-110 in overtime. The loss ties up the season series between the two at 2-2, after the Hawks won the first two fixtures.

A 20 point lead blown

The Hawks started this game off so well — it was the kind of first quarter response you would expected from a team who were beaten the night before on a buzzer beating shot. The Hawks came roaring out of the gate and took the Magic by storm — building up a 20 point lead with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter. It felt like this was going to be a classic revenge game, but the Magic never gave up. Jason Smith checked into the game and kept the Magic in striking distance, as he knocked down five of his seven shots in the first half for 10 points.

After the Magic had trimmed the Hawks’ lead to 13 by half time, the Hawks quickly stretched the lead back to 18 in the third quarter. But the Magic, once again, refused to to go down without a fight. Nikola Vucevic (who only scored three points in the first half on 1-of-4 shooting) exploded in the third quarter for 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting, and the Hawks’ lead heading into the fourth quarter stood at 11 points.

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The Hawks suffered a heart-breaker on Super Bowl Sunday, losing 96-94 to the Magic on a buzzer-beater by Nikola Vucevic. Just a day later, the Hawks would get another shot at Orlando, but this time at home in a game that you would figure would favor the Hawks.

Well, it didn’t.

The Hawks opened the game looking like they were ready to run the Magic out of the building, starting up with a 26-8 run. 3-pointers were falling, the defense was swarming, and Atlanta simply looked like the team that won 60 games in the 2014-15 season. What happened after was a gradual and slow-burn collapse that saw the Magic finally take the lead in the final minutes of regulation, and eventually the victory in overtime.

“I think we’ve got to be better late in games,” said an exasperated Mike Budenholzer. “Myself, the players, everybody; we’ve got to be better.”

The collapse started on the defensive end in the second half, as the Hawks gave up 60 total points in the third and fourth quarters. The Magic particularly killed the Hawks on the inside, with a 12-for-18 shooting performance in the paint for the half. The inside game was compliment with outside shooting, as Vucevic knocked down the mid-range shots, and the rest of the team complemented with timely 3-pointers. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks (30-23) fell to the Orlando Magic (22-28) behind yet another buzzer beater. It was their tenth in a row in this situation, per Jaryd Wilson of the Atlanta Hawks. The last second shot from Nikola Vucevic quelled a furious comeback attempt for the Hawks in a game in which the team was fighting uphill almost the entire way.

The Magic came in reeling, having lost 15 of their last 17 games and 11 of their last 12. The Hawks were riding high off of three straight victories and have chance to go into the All-Star break with some confidence.

Tobias Harris and C.J. Watson sat out with a mild ankle sprain and a sore calf respectively. On the other side, Tiago Splitter missed his fourth straight game with a hip injury for the Hawks and has been ruled out until after the All-Star break. It left the team with one less big body to bang with Vucevic, the talented big man from Montenegro. As a result, Nikola finished with 22 points and eight rebounds to go along with the victory.

Jeff Teague powered the Hawks behind 24 big points on 17 shots in 34 minutes with five assists to boot. Kent Bazemore came alive late with 23 points and eight rebounds. Atlanta had to lean on its long range shooting, as the team shot a paltry 22-of-63 (34.9%) from two point land compared to 13-of-28 (46.4%) from beyond the arc.

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The Atlanta Hawks completed the series sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers with a 124-86 victory at Wells Fargo Center. The 38 point victory represents the largest Hawks win of the season — the lead reaching as far as 43 points. The win leaves the Hawks tied for the third seed with the Celtics, and seven games above .500 as they start the month of February 2-0 — looking to make up for their lacklustre January.

Combined effort and bench scoring

The Hawks had eight players who scored in double digits and received a fantastic contribution from their bench. Five players off of the bench scored in double digits — Mike Scott and Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way with 13 points each off the bench. Al Horford and Kyle Korver were the two starters who did not score in double figures, but only took a combined seven shots between them. It looked as though they made an effort to play more as facilitators, and they racked up a combined seven assists.

The Atlanta bench amassed a season high 80 points — 12 coming from Mike Muscala, Thabo Sefolosha, and Dennis Schröder, 13 from Mike Scott and Tim Hardaway Jr., Shelvin Mack scored nine, Lamar Patterson added five, and Edy Tavares rounded off the Hawks bench scoring with four points. The eight players who came off the bench also shot the ball very well — 60%. Only Dennis Schröder shot under 50% off the bench.

Coach Mike Budenholzer praised the bench after the game:

“The bench, more often than not, has been really good for us,” Budenholzer said. “They tend to do it with their defense. They have a real disruptive way about them and it leads to good offense, and our whole team feeds off of that.”

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Hawks Dominate 76ers 124-86

 —  February 4, 2016

Atlanta stormed out to a 27-17 first quarter lead in Philadelphia and won every subsequent quarter by at least six points as the Hawks beat the 76ers 124-86 at Wells Fargo Center. Three starters scored in double figures and five players off Atlanta’s bench scored 12 or more in an incredibly-balanced scoring attack.

Kent Bazemore led the starters with 12 points and added three rebounds. Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague scored 10 each, Millsap with four rebounds and three assists and Teague with three rebounds, assists and steals. Mike Scott and Tim Hardaway Jr. shared the team scoring lead off the bench with 13. Hardaway added seven rebounds and four assists while Scott recorded a game-high nine rebounds. The remaining double-digit scorers for the Hawks were Dennis Schröder, Thabo Sefolosha and Mike Muscala who each scored 12. Sefolosha was a game-high plus-27 while adding six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Schröder added five rebounds and two assists.

With the win, the Hawks (29-22) climbed back into third in the East. The 76ers (7-42) were led by 17 points from Nick Stauskas, who added four rebounds. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor rounded out the double-digit scorers for Philadelphia’s starting unit with 10 each. Noel added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Okafor had five rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Canaan added 11 points off the bench.

The Hawks return home to face the Indiana Pacers with an earlier-than-usual tip off time of 7 PM EST. The 76ers travel to face the Washington Wizards Friday. It was only the second double-digit scoring game since coming to the Hawks for Hardaway, who has averaged just under 11 points per game over the last three contests.

The Atlanta Hawks kicked off the month of February the right way, as they took care of business on their home floor with a 112-97 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. After their poor display in Miami, the Hawks showed great energy on the second night of this back-to-back, and came out on top with a victory that they desperately needed, after losing five of their last six games.

The Jeff Teague show

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. Most of you know this quote from the timeless classic that is Forrest Gump, but we’re going to repurpose this quote for our needs. Let’s replace the word “Life” with “The 2015-16 Jeff Teague”, and now you have an accurate representation of Jeff Teague’s season, in quote form. Last night Jeff Teague was the star of the show, pouring out a season-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting (including a career high five three-pointers made), eight assists, and five rebounds.

Teague came out of the gates strong, and made an effort to attack in the opening stages — firing a shot (one of his few missed shots) just 19 seconds into the game, and drawing a foul while attempting a layup after a solid drive to the basket following a Millsap screen on D-Will just a few minutes.

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Atlanta’s January nightmare is finally over — but the ending wasn’t pretty. A 105-85 loss against the Miami Heat last night capped off a 6-9 January — a complete contrast to their January of 2015 when they went undefeated, going 17-0. Their latest defeat is their third in a row and their fifth in their last six games.

Offensive struggles continue

Prior to this game the Hawks were averaging just 95 points per game in their last five games — shooting 42.3% from the field and 32.1% from downtown. In the build up to this game Mike Budenholzer stated that is has been Atlanta’s offense that has been the issue of late, but has been happy with the defense:

“Defensively we are playing a lot better. We are doing a lot of things well defensively. I think offensively, I don’t think any of us feel great about how we are playing. It’s a lot of little things. It’s not any one big, glaring thing.”

Despite identifying one culprit of the the Hawks’ recent struggles (the offense), the Hawks’ offensive woes continued last night — scoring just 87 points on 38.6% shooting from the field, and 22.7% from behind the arc. The Hawks were finding themselves in great positions with great shot opportunities — from mid-range shots, open three-point shots, to easy layups, but just couldn’t finish them. This would be one encouragement to takeaway from this game — the Hawks got themselves in good situations but just couldn’t convert their chances on this particular night.

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