Archives For Bo Churney

Despite a spirited effort from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Hawks walked off the court of Philips Arena with their 16th straight win by a score of 112-100.

The Hawks shot 61% in the first quarter, but Minnesota slowed the game down from the start and was creating good shots on offense. Despite the Atlanta’s shooting and only three turnovers, the Hawks led just 25-24 at the end of the first quarter.

“They executed,” said Mike Budenholzer on his opponents. “They were very good tonight… They are cutting off the ball and slashing and getting to the basket, and guys are finding them.”

The Hawks’ defense started to clamp down in the second quarter, however, as the Hawks used their activity and quickness to continuously deny the Timberwolves’ chances at getting open looks. The offense in the period was a group effort led by the frontcourt, where seven of the Hawks’ nine assists in the quarter came from a member of the frontcourt.

The 36-23 advantage that the Hawks had in the second quarter essentially sustained them for the rest of the game. The Wolves, led by Thaddeus Young and Mo Williams, were working the Hawks well enough to keep Minnesota hanging around for most of the second half. Young had 20 of his 26 points in the second half and finished the game with a filled box scored that included six rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks notched their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night, knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 103-93. The 15 straight wins in the best stretch in franchise history.

“I’m happy for our guys to have success,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars thanks to Atlanta’s record. “It’s a carry-over from the work on the court and work in the film room before practice and after practice. Our guys deserve to have an opportunity to do something. We just have to keep doing it.”

The Hawks started off extremely sloppy, allowing Oklahoma City to build a nine point lead early in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of good stars and tonight probably wasn’t one of them,” said Budenholzer. The Hawks kept turning the ball over, allowing the Thunder to get out and transition and get easy looks at the hoop. The Hawks also had some defensive breakdowns in the halfcourt that led to some open 3s for OKC.

After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Hawks started to clean it up in the second half with strong efforts from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Millsap scored 17 points in the half and was the main player closing in the fourth quarter, while Teague led the Hawks through the third quarter with nine points in the period. Continue Reading…

The Hawks are off to a franchise best start at 34-8 and are currently on a 13-game winning streak with six games to go on the current homestand. The HawksHoop staff takes a stab at assessing just how good the Hawks are.

1) Who has been the most surprising player on the Hawks so far?

Bo Churney: I have to say Jeff Teague. He’s being more efficient on offense and just looks more comfortable in Mike Budenholzer’s offensive system. He’s seventh in assists per game, 10th in steals per game, 11th in PER, and eighth in win shares per 48 minutes. He is really being a great player on offense, plus he is actually giving an effort on defense, which has made a big difference for the Hawks. He could legitimately be an MVP candidate if he keeps this up.

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Chris Barnewall: It’s probably Kyle Korver. We’ve always known he can shoot, and run off screens, that’s what he does and he’s really good at it. I don’t think anybody expected him to have the potential to be the first 50/50/90 player EVER. Reggie Miller didn’t do it, Ray Allen couldn’t do it, and Steph Curry was always the player we thought could do it first. Instead that might be Korver and that’s pretty surprising.

Nubyjas Wilborn: Kyle Korver’s improvement has been amazing to watch. He’s become such a super efficient player. Korver spreads the floor and allows the Hawks offense to create even when he is not shooting. If he goes 50-50-90, it’ll be one of the top shooting seasons in NBA history. He’s become way more than a role player shooter. Continue Reading…

For the second time this season, Al Horford has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Horford played in three of the Hawks’ four games in the week and averaged outstanding numbers: 21.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 84.4% shooting. Yes, you read that correctly: EIGHTY-FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT SHOOTING. Horford had one triple-double and a game where he was perfect (8-for-8) from the field in his three games.

Horford is one of two Hawks to have won the award this season, the other being Jeff Teague who took home the award a few weeks ago.

The Hawks are in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, which they are putting on the line against the Detroit Pistons this afternoon. The Hawks will be without Shelvin Mack, who suffered a calf strain on Saturday against the Bulls. Dennis Schröder will be available after sitting out on Saturday with a minor injury of his own.

The only team at the top of the East that the Hawks were yet to beat were the Toronto Raptors. That finally changed on Friday night.

Al Horford scored a team-best 22 points, scoring on all eight of his field goal attempts, to lead the Hawks past Toronto by a score of 110-89. Paul Millsap also had a big night stuffing the box score, putting up 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in just 33 minutes. The win extended the Hawks’ overall winning streak to 11 and the team’s winning streak on the road to 11, the latter of which continues to be a franchise best run.

Unlike the first two games on this roadtrip, the Hawks got out to a good start and were able to establish an advantage in the first quarter. After taking a 22-14 lead, the Hawks got a little turnover happy, resulting in a small Raptors run that led to a 24-19 Atlanta lead at the end of the first.

The second quarter is where the Hawks started to show signs that they would pull away with this game. They started off with seven straight points, including a 3 from Thabo Sefolosha, to open up a 12-point lead on Toronto. The Raptors were able to again fight back and make it just a five-point game, but the Hawks closed the half with their super active defense, forcing three turnovers in the final three minutes and hitting five shots from the field in that time to finish the second quarter with a 52-38 lead. Continue Reading…

Head coach Mike Budenholzer pulled a very Spurs-like move before this game against the 76ers, electing to sit Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and DeMarre Carroll for the sake of rest. And like the Spurs, the Hawks had no problems with their absences.

Al Horford notched his first career triple-double, finishing with 21 points (8-for-10 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 105-87 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The Hawks’ offense just ran through Horford all night and he delivered by putting on one of the best performances of his career.

In spite of Horford fine play throughout the game, this contest was pretty difficult to watch early on; both teams had problems hanging onto the ball, creating for a sloppy and oddly paced game. It was not until Michael Carter-Williams hit an and-one to tie the game at 33 that the Hawks finally turned in on, closing out the half on a 16-4 run that included 3s from Kyle Korver and Mike Scott.

The second half was essentially a continuation of that run, as the 76ers simply could not keep up with the Hawks’ superior ball movement. Even at the end of the game — when they were playing Mike Scott at SG with Adreian Payne, Mike Muscala, and Elton Brand in — the Hawks were still moving the ball and scoring.

With Teague out, Dennis Schröder and Shelvin Mack performed admirably at the point guard position. Schröder had 13 points (2-for-3 on 3s) and six assists and Mack recorded his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Mack’s previous double-double came last season against the Knicks and was also in an effort from off of the bench. Continue Reading…

In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks destroyed the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon, winning by a final score of 120-89.

The Hawks had eight players in double-figure scoring, led by Kyle Korver’s 19 points. The Hawks made 16 3-pointers, had 34 assists on 42 made field goals, and only turned the ball over eight times. “We were clicking tonight,” said Kyle Korver. “At this point, I don’t think we’ve played a better game.”

The Hawks’ offense was great, but the defense is where they really beat Washington. The Wizards had 20 total turnovers, 14 of which came via Atlanta steals. The Hawks were constantly swarming and disrupting Washington’s offense, using the energy off of the turnovers to create easy points in transition. The Hawks finished with 31 points off of the 20 Wizard turnovers, 21 of which came off of the fastbreak.

“The turnovers and activity fueled our offense,” said coach Mike Budenholzer. “The ball was moving, the guys were attacking and playing with a lot of confidence.” Continue Reading…

The Hawks took their talents to Detroit on Friday night to face the red-hot Pistons, who had won seven straight since releasing the enigmatic Josh Smith. Despite a late rally from Detroit, the Hawks were able to withstand by a score of 106-103, ending the Pistons’ win streak and pushing the Hawks’ win streak to seven.

Atlanta was firing on all cylinders in the first half, leading by as many as 23, shooting 56%, and hitting eight 3-pointers. Paul Millsap led the way with 12 points in the half, but the scoring was done by one of the most balanced ATL efforts that we have seen all season; of the 10 Hawks that played in the first half, eight of them scored at least five points.

Former Hawk Anthony Tolliver is what really kept Detroit alive in the first half. Tolliver scored 10 points in the half, all of which came in the latter portion of the second quarter. Without Tolliver, it is likely that the Pistons could have been down by a lot more, as Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined to shoot 3-for-18 in the first half.

The Pistons started to claw their way back in the third quarter, scoring 30 points in the quarter. Kyle Singler and Brandon Jennings started to get hot from the field and the two combined to score 19 of Detroit’s 30 in the third. While the Hawks still managed to scored 26 points in the period, you could see Detroit’s defense start to clamp down and slow down the Hawks’ ball movement. Al Horford scored 11 in the quarter, but it came on 10 shot attempts. Continue Reading…

The Hawks continued their winning ways on Wednesday night, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 96-86 in the NBA’s first ever Tinder “Swipe Right Night”.

Atlanta was again led by starting point guard Jeff Teague, who cracked 20 points for a career-high sixth straight game. Teague took it upon himself to be the closer late in the game when the Hawks needed it, scoring 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including a late 3 where he was wide open in semi-transition.

“We were just playing,” Teague said on both his and Kyle Korver’s late 3-pointers. “It was the flow of the game — early offense. Coach always says if we see something out there that we can do and we have the confidence, we can do it. I felt confident in that shot.”

The whole team seems confident lately and the shot Korver hit showed it best. After getting open in transition, the Hawks’ bench was already celebrating before the shot even went up.

The celebration capped off what had been a hardly fought game between the two teams. While the Hawks were usually the ones holding the lead, the grit and grind play of Memphis allowed them to muck up the game and slowly let the Grizz creep back into it after a few successful possessions. As usual, both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley anchored the team on both ends of the floor, creating the opportunities that Memphis needs in order to win. Continue Reading…

The Hawks are 18-2 over their last 20 games, which included a franchise-best 14 wins and the NBA’s best defense in the month of December. They sit on top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 1.5 game lead on Chicago and Toronto. On Monday, the media recognition started rolling in.

Mike Budenholzer was awarded with the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. Budenholzer guided the Hawks to the aforementioned achievements, including a five-game win streak over likely playoff teams Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, and the L.A. Clippers that started the team’s more difficult portion of the schedule.

Jeff Teague was awarded as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, becoming the second Hawk (Al Horford) to earn that distinction this season. For the week, Teague averaged 23.7 points, 8.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 steals in three Atlanta wins. While Teague’s play was great, the more surprising part is that his play is becoming more consistent and numbers like those above are not too abnormal for the Hawks’ starting point guard. Teague is currently 10th in the league in assists per game, 11th in steals, 11th in win shares per 48, and 13th in player efficiency rating (PER). Overall, his play this season has been superb.

While not technically an award, the Hawks also found themselves number one in Marc Stein’s weekly power rankings on ESPN. The Hawks are currently in uncharted territory with how successful they have been recently and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their success as the media coverage starts to shine a little bit more on Atlanta.