Archives For Bo Churney

The Hawks clinched the 1-seed in the East on Friday night after beating the Miami Heat and after the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Brooklyn Nets. On Saturday night with a back-to-back, Coach Budenholzer decided to rest a guy or two.

…Or three. Or four… or the entire starting lineup.

Dennis Schröder, John Jenkins, Kent Bazemore, Elton Brand, and Mike Muscala comprised the Hawks’ starting lineup on Saturday night as they fell to the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 115-100. Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams, and Mo Williams all scored at least 17 points to lead the Hornets to their 31th victory on the season.

The mindset among some Hawks fans while this game was taking place was questioning why the Hawks would essentially just throwaway a game like this by resting all five starters at once, even with the 1-seed clinched. However, there are plenty of reasons why this made sense, with the most subtle reason being that the Hornets are one of the teams behind the Brooklyn Nets in the standings. Since the Hawks have the right to swap picks with the Nets, it definitely did not hurt that the Hawks let this game go.

It also did not hurt to give guys like Mike Muscala some playing time. Muscala, who is held in high regard by members of the front office, capitalized on his extended playing time by notching his first career double double: 18 points and 10 rebounds with four assists and two blocks in 34 minutes. He also hit two 3-pointers to up his season total to 4-for-11 from behind the arc. Continue Reading…

The Hawks allowed the Magic to score 31 points in the opening quarter, showing signs that Atlanta’s prolonged defensive slump may still be alive and result in the team’s first four-game losing streak of the year.

Thankfully for the Atlanta fans, the Hawks’ defense finally showed up in the second half, as Orlando was held to just 31 points over the final 24 minutes of the game as Atlanta cruised to a 95-83 victory.

Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and four blocks in leading the Hawks to the win. Millsap’s play was extremely vital in the first half when the Hawks were struggling; the power forward had 18 points and eight rebounds in that half alone, which helped keep the Hawks within five points when the buzzer sounded to end the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Hawks’ defense really started getting the Magic’s offense out of rhythm by forcing bad shots. Orlando became so frustrated that they started taking almost any shot they could get, which resulted in 3-point attempts early in the shot clock by shooters who probably are not suited to take those attempts. However, thanks to some good defense of their own, the Magic maintained a three-point lead heading into the final period.

After Dennis Schroder hit a 3 to open the period and tie the game, Orlando went on a 7-0 run and things were looking bleak for the Hawks. However, the offense that the Hawks have been winning games off of all season finally showed up in the fourth quarter, as Atlanta got the ball moving, created open shots, and connected on those opportunities to open up a 24-3 run that finally buried the Magic. Continue Reading…

Hawks Collapse in OKC

Bo Churney —  March 21, 2015 — 3 Comments

It was the end of the west coast road trip. The Hawks were down three key rotation players with the absences of Mike Scott, Kyle Korver, and Thabo Sefolosha. And most importantly, individual regular season games are not that vital when you have clinched the division and are likely to take the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

But boy was this game a stinker.

Russell Westbrook and Anthony Morrow ran wild on the Hawks in the fourth quarter, scoring 27 of Oklahoma City’s 33 fourth quarter points on their way to completing a comeback over Atlanta to win 123-115. Westbrook coordinated a 23-6 run in the quarter that was a result of great execution by Oklahoma City and non-existent execution by the Hawks.

The first half started off extremely hot, as both teams were shooting a high percentage from the field. Even Pero Antic woke up from his shooting slump, tying a career-high 18 points before the half had even ended. Antic finished the game with 22 points, and overall, the Hawks shot 58% in the half and maintained a 68-61 lead into the intermission.

The Hawks started to show some cracks in the third quarter, but were able to keep their lead thanks to some great play from Paul Millsap. Millsap was 4-for-5 from the field in the quarter with nine points, which were enough to keep the Hawks afloat. Millsap finished the game with a line of 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two blocks.

Continue Reading…

Even with Kyle Korver out to injury and Al Horford out for rest purposes, the Atlanta Hawks hung on to Monday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings to get the 110-103 victory.

The first quarter of this game helped signify that it would be a close affair all night. The Kings were shooting well and playing with pace on offense. DeMarcus Cousins was a load early on both offensively and defensively; at one point, he blocked shots on consecutive Atlanta possessions and simply made the Hawks look silly in their offensive attempts. Thankfully for the Hawks, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap were able to make shots and take advantage of some mismatches, leading to the two scoring eight points a piece in the quarter.

The Hawks started to pull away in the second quarter, largely thanks to the play of one Jeffrey DeMarco Teague. Teague’s agressive play, combined with the defensive intensity of Kent Bazemore, allowed the Hawks get an advantage, resulting in a 53-47 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was a repeat of the first… almost literally. The Kings won the first quarter 29-28 and they won the third quarter by the same score. Jason Thompson and Andre Miller started making their impacts in this period, as their play sparked a 16-7 mini-run by Sacramento that allowed the Kings to stay in the game. This run was despite DeMarcus Cousins nearly having a meltdown, as the former Kentucky product recorded four turnovers, four fouls, and one technical foul in the period. Continue Reading…

In the ever Popovichian-move, Coach Budenholzer decided to rest three starters against the Los Angeles Lakers. Little did he know is that he would soon be without a fourth.

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Lakers 91-86 on Sunday night despite Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, and Paul Millsap all sitting for rest purposes. The Hawks also played most of the game without Kyle Korver, who suffered a broken nose in the second quarter after hitting an Ed Davis screen. Korver, who was likely scheduled to be rested for Monday night’s game against the Kings, has officially been ruled out for that game.

Back to this game: it was all about Dennis Schröder. Schröder recorded a career-high 24 points and 10 assists in leading the shorthanded Hawks to the victory. This was Schröder’s third double-double for the season, all three of which have come on the road in games where Dennis got the start over an injured or rested Teague.

Even with the lack of active players, the Hawks still controlled this game for the first three quarters. The Lakers, who have dealt with injury issues the whole season, do not have a lot of talent that they can currently put out on the floor and the result Schröder and Al Horford dominating in spots where they were supposed to dominate. Continue Reading…

Hawks Destroyed in Denver

Bo Churney —  March 11, 2015 — 1 Comment

Well that was not exactly the way the team wanted to start off the road trip.

The Atlanta Hawks went into Denver on Wednesday night and were absolutely demolished by the Nuggets, losing by a score of 115-102. The Hawks were saved from an embarrassing score by the team’s garbage unit, who went on a 24-1 run in the fourth quarter to make the game a little interesting by cutting Denver’s huge lead to just single-digits with about a minute to go.

However, that one run was not indicative of what really happened in this contest. The game was similar to the Hawks win against Sacramento on Monday night, only in reverse and seemingly worse. The Hawks had problems making shots and executing on offense throughout most of the game while Denver was not missing from the field, regardless of the difficulty of the shot attempt.

The first quarter appeared to be a fluke, but it proved to be a sign of things to come. The Hawks committed silly turnovers like stepping out of bounds twice and missing a few open 3s. Atlanta was getting some decent looks inside the perimeter, however, shooting 9-for-14 on 2s during the quarter. This combined with Denver’s 60% shooting from the field seemed to show that the Hawks could rebound later in the game. Continue Reading…

The Hawks are definitely in for the long haul. And with Mike Budenholzer being a disciple of the Spurs organization, resting players on the second game of a back-to-back is not surprising.

Losing to the Philadelphia 76ers after having a 16-point lead, however, is not a great showing.

The Sixers rallied against the shorthanded Hawks in the second half, limiting Atlanta to just 31 points of offense over the final 24 minutes. The Hawks — sitting Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Paul Millsap — had absolutely nothing to give in the second half on offense, shooting just 11-for-40 (27.5%) from the field and only getting to the foul line six times.

The Hawks’ two remaining starters, Al Horford and Jeff Teague, were the big culprits in the collapse. Horford missed his final seven shots from the field, a few of the them badly hitting off the front of the rim and another that completely missed the rim altogether. Meanwhile, Teague was having problems with Philly’s quick and athletic defense, yielding four turnovers in the 17 minutes he played in the second half.

Horford was not the only one to have problems hitting the rim. John Jenkins, who started for Korver, opened with second half by missing the rim on two 3-point attempts. Mike Scott had similar “success” in the second half, as he also fell victim to an airball on a wide-open attempt. Continue Reading…

Josh Smith was an Atlanta guy.

Smith was born and raised in Atlanta. He played nine seasons within the city limits and was very active within the community during that time. On Smith’s arms, he possesses two very visible tattoos: one of the state of Georgia and another of the Hawks’ Pac-man logo.

However, on Tuesday night, Smith finally turned on the city he loved for so long.

The night started rather uneventfully for Smith. He entered the game in the first quarter to a smattering of boos mixed with some light cheers, but the reception was hardly made an impact on the decibel meter. The Atlanta faithful — who had already seen Smith in an opponent’s uniform before — seemed apathetic to Smith… for a while.

With James Harden and Dwight Howard sitting out for the Rockets, there were plenty of shots to go around for Houston’s role players. As a man used to running an offense and being a volume shooter, Smith felt perfectly in place, taking control of the ball often in his time on the court. The more Smith shot, the more involved became the crowd, as the Atlanta fans had seen Smith hijack an offense before and were hopeful that Smith could wreck the lead the Rockets possessed.

In Smith’s final years with the Hawks, the crowd had grown restless waiting for his development. As a result, Hawks’ fans often started crying out when Smith took jumpers that he continually missed on, either by loudly groaning or even by shouting “nooooo!” While it was clear Smith’s emotions were being toyed with, he often remained calm and showed little expression about the outbursts in his time with the Hawks.

But that did not happen on Tuesday night, as finally Smith took physical exception to the crowd mocking his play on the court. After sinking a 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Smith raised one finger to his mouth and sent his other hand in the air, intimating his wish for the crowd to finally hush. Continue Reading…

The Rockets were without James Harden and Dwight Howard, but were still deadly enough to nearly take out the Hawks with a barrage of shots in the first three quarters. However, the Hawks rallied behind a hot crowd in the fourth quarter and completed a 18-point comeback to win 104-96.

“Seems like we were constantly trying to dig ourselves out of a hole,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his players. “The last one I think we went down 15 with nine or ten minutes left in the quarter and they found a way to make one more run to get over the hump.”

The Hawks came out of the gates extremely sluggish, as Jeff Teague’s lack of attention on the opening tip led to an easy layup for the Rockets instead of the Hawks taking possession. This sloppy play persisted throughout the first quarter, punctuated by nine Atlanta turnovers, which resulted in a 31-22 Rockets lead after 12 minutes of play.

“I didn’t like our focus coming out,” said Budenholzer, who was assessed a technical foul in the first quarter.

The Rockets continued to pile on in the second quarter, with Jason Terry and Terrence Jones combining for 21 points in the period. The Hawks interior defense on Jones was non-existent and Terry kept punishing the out-of-position Hawks by nailing open 3-pointers.

“They were doing a lot of great things offensively,” said Al Horford, who scored 18 points in the game. “It kept us guessing a lot of the time. We prepared for playing against, you know, like James Harden and everything and it kind of changes how you’re going to approach the game.” Continue Reading…

Hawks Outlast the Magic

Bo Churney —  February 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

This looked like it was going to be a blowout and quite honestly, this game should have been a blowout.

The Hawks were leading 21-5 early in the first quarter and were firing on on cylinders. Paul Millsap had 11 quick points, hitting three 3-pointers in about a one minute span in the opening minutes. Everyone was passing well and flying around on defense. Even as the Magic started to pick up their own pace, the Hawks still maintained a double-digit lead into the second quarter.

And that is where the wheels nearly fell off the wagon.

The Hawks’ second quarter can best be defined as a disaster, as the Magic outscored Atlanta 29-14 over the 12-minute frame. The Hawks shot 5-for-19 from the field in the quarter and turned the ball over 11 times. 11! The Magic, to their credit, were doing a good job at forcing the sloppiness and they capitalized off of Atlanta woes by shooting 50% for the quarter, including hitting four 3-pointers.

Whatever Coach Budenholzer said at halftime worked, as the Hawks only turned the ball over one time in the third quarter as they regained control of the game. The ball movement was crisp and the team countered the 11 turnovers from the previous quarter with 11 assists in the third. Jeff Teague, who was 0-for-6 from the field in the first half, also finally got his motor running, going 4-for-4 from the field for nine points as he was finally able to capitalize on opportunities in the lane. Continue Reading…