Archives For Bo Churney

The season is young, but the next four games represent a critical part of the Hawks’ schedule. The Hawks will face two assured playoff teams (Washington and Toronto), another playoff contender who happens to have the best player in basketball so far this season (New Orleans and Anthony Davis), and a divisional rival that the Hawks have already played this season and lost to on fluke circumstances. (Charlotte, a terrible offensive foul call, and a banked-in Lance Stephenson 30-footer)

Luckily for the Hawks, they will host three of these four games in Philips Arena. In short, they need to capitalize on that.

The Hawks have lost some close games this season and could easily be 8-3. But as Buddy Grizzard pointed out, that record wouldn’t really matter; the Hawks have played like a mediocre team so far this season. Has part of that been because of DeMarre Carroll’s injury at the hands of JR Smith? Sure, but if the Hawks want to prove that they are good and not just average, these next four games give them the chance to do that.

Here are some things that I want to see from the Hawks this week that I think will improve the team’s chances against a schedule that is about to toughen up.

  • MORE HORFORD (MOREFORD?)
    Horford has been solid in his return from his pectoral injury last season. However, his presence within the team’s offense and his minutes have been reflective of a player that suffered a season-ending injury the year before. But I think around now is when Coach Budenholzer and the Hawks should start to ramp up Horford’s involvement in the offense. As of now, 40% of Horford’s shots are long 2s. He is shooting an other-worldly 55% on those shots, but Horford has the ability to operate as a play-maker and scorer off the dribble and in the post. He can give more than what the Hawks’ offense is having him do at this point. Continue Reading…

After taking crippling losses to the Cavaliers and Lakers in the past week, the Hawks finally got back on the right track with a 99-89 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Jeff Teague was magnificent, particularly in the second half. Teague scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and absolutely dominated Brandon Jennings and DJ Augustin on both ends of the floor. “His defense on the other end of the court [was good],” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his starting point guard. “A lot of people talk about his points and his offense, but I thought his defense was very good on the ball. They run a ton of pick-and-rolls. I’m really please with Jeff’s effort, particularly on the defensive end of the court.”

In addition to the 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting, Teague also recorded four rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. It seems that Teague always gives extra effort against Brandon Jennings and the result was one of the best games of Teague’s career.

Although the Hawks had control for most of the game, they did run into some trouble at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth. The Piston completely wiped out a 19-point Atlanta lead to tie the game at 74 with eight minutes left. The Hawks then used a group effort to drive back into the lead, as each starter scored in the final eight minutes to get the lead back into double digits. Continue Reading…

Al Horford had one of the worst games of his career on Wednesday night against the Jazz. He was missing shots and playing terrible defense; nothing was working for the two-time All Star. Horford quickly redeemed himself on Friday night, scoring the first seven points of the game to spark a wire-to-wire victory for the Hawks over the Miami Heat.

Horford opened up with two jumpers, including a corner 3 to get the game going. He then drew a foul on James Ennis — who was starting for the injured Dwyane Wade — and converted both free throws. The Hawks then followed with a Kyle Korver 3-pointer and a Thabo Sefolosha dunk, opening a 12-1 lead on the Heat and setting the tone for the entire game.

“We came out with a sense of urgency and played well in the first quarter,” said Jeff Teague, in what is probably the most generic Jeff Teague quote of all time.

The real story from the Hawks in this game was the superb balance that was exhibited on offense. Eight different players scored at least 10 points, including a 12-point, 5-for-5 performance from Shelvin Mack off the bench. This was a much needed performance from Mack, who had scored just 10 points on 3-for-15 shooting all season before his mini-explosion. Continue Reading…

Paul Millsap needs to undergo a name change.

The Hawks starting forward had a slight wardrobe malfunction on Wednesday night, which saw his jersey initially misspell his last name as “Milsap”. His jersey was replaced with a correct one before the first quarter ended, but the damage had been done and this would forever be the night that Paul was known as “Milsap”. He made sure that the fans would not forget it either, as Millsap had recorded a double-double by halftime, recorded a huge dunk that ended up on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays, and finished with a monster stat line of 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks to lead the Hawks to a 100-97 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The first half saw little to no effective defense being played, as both the Hawks and Jazz were getting whatever they wanted on offense. The Hawks were more dependent on jumpshots, while the Jazz were being extremely effective at clearing out Millsap and Al Horford from under the basket to get easy shots at the rim. Halftime saw Mike Budenholzer adjust against his former assistant Quin Snyder, as the Hawks were able to more effectively shut off the lane and force the Jazz out into long 2s, of which the Jazz still made relatively often.

The two teams continued to go back and forth all the way until the final minute, where Kyle Korver hit a deep 3 out of isolation to give Atlanta a 98-97 lead. The remaining three Jazz possessions ended with a blocked shot attempt, a turnover, and a horribly missed 3-pointer thanks to great defense from Korver, and the result was an Atlanta Hawks win that put them over the .500 mark at 4-3. Continue Reading…

Dennis Schröder’s play so far in the 2014-15 season has been a revelation.

Schröder scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as Jeff Teague sat on the bench to lead the Hawks to a 91-85 victory over the Knicks. Schröder also chipped in four dimes and four rebounds in 28 minutes of play, the most playing time he has received all season.

Paul Millsap finally snapped out of his offensive woes, scoring 19 points on 3-for-4 shooting from 3. Millsap’s play was particularly strong in the the third quarter, where he scored 12 of the Hawks’ 26 points to help give the Hawks a 64-59 lead.

The Knicks out-shot the Hawks from the field, but the Hawks continously attacked New York’s interior, resulting in a 28-12 free throw advantage for Atlanta. More impressive was that the Hawks made 27 of their 28 attempts from the charity stripe, which has been a spot where the team has struggled over the last several seasons. The Knicks, on the other hand, compounded their lack of attempts by only making seven of their 12 attempts.

Kyle Korver survived an 0-for-8 shooting stretch to tally 17 points on the night. Continue Reading…

The Hawks got a critical win by defeating the Knicks on Saturday night. Game recap aside, there are some other things from the game that I would like to address.

  • THABO SEFOLOSHA
    Thabo Sefolosha has been really bad on offense to start the season. He is 5-for-23 from the field to start the season and that is not just because of a bad jump-shooting stretch; Sefolosha is blowing what should be easy layups, too. However, there is a bright side to Thabo’s play: his defense does not have the same off switch that his offense apparently does. This helps DeMarre Carroll more than any other player, as the Hawks can now afford to sit Carroll and give him some rest, or simply allow him to get some playing time where he does not have to matchup with the opposing team’s best wing player. Sefolosha’s offense will eventually get better and when it does, he will become an extremely valuable player to have on the bench.
  • Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ double overtime loss on Friday night to the Hornets was a disaster. It would be easy to say that the Hawks would enter crisis mode had they lost to the Knicks the following night.

Crisis averted.

Kyle Korver scored a season-high 27 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range to propel the Hawks back from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 103-96. Korver also chipped in three blocked shots, which was part of a stronger defensive effort from the Hawks in the second half. After allowing 61 points in the first, the Hawks only allowed 35 points in the second, as the Knicks recorded more shot attempts than points over the final two periods. (13-for-38 shooting)

This game really was the tale of two halves, as the Hawks were absolutely dreadful on both ends of the court in the first half. Notable first half stats include 35% shooting, allowing 61 points and nine offensive rebounds, and recording only six assists. The defensive effort is what concerned Coach Budenholzer the most.

“We were more focused on our defense,” said Budenholzer on the difference between the two halves. “I didn’t realize we only had six [assists] in the first half or what we finished with. Defensively is where our focus was tonight. We have to continue to get better there. The offense will come.” Continue Reading…

A bit under five minutes remained in the first quarter of the Hawks’ season opener in Toronto. Waiting at the scorer’s table was Mike Budenholzer’s first perimeter player substitute.

It wasn’t Shelvin Mack, who had been revitalized the season before and is a stout backup point guard with a new three-year contract. It wasn’t Dennis Schröder, a young German prospect who is still trying to translate his sneaky athleticism and unique body type into the NBA game. Nor was it Thabo Sefolosha, the veteran defensive presence who had been a major part of Oklahoma City’s rotation during a run of major success for the Thunder.

No, none of those players were waiting to check into the game at the scorer’s table. Instead, coming in to replace one of the best shooters in NBA history in Kyle Korver was former Old Dominion product Kent Bazemore.

In the eyes of some, Bazemore wasn’t supposed to be here. Undrafted out of Old Dominion, Bazemore eventually signed with the Golden State Warriors in July of 2012 and essentially became a team mascot. Bazemore played in 62 games in his rookie season, but at a comically low 4.4 minutes per game. Because his playing time was left to garbage time when no one was watching, Bazemore gained notoriety as the league’s favorite benchwarmer, catching the viewers’ eyes with his celebrations of Golden State’s highlight plays.

Of course, Bazemore was in the NBA to be a basketball player, not a comedy act. Unfortunately for Bazemore, that is all the Warriors and then head coach Mark Jackson were going to let him be. The 2013-14 season rolled around and Bazemore was still playing an embarrassing low (6.1) amount of minutes per contest. Again, when Bazemore did get in the game, it was rarely ever in a meaningful spot.

Eventually, Bazemore’s salvation came in a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. He and teammate MarShon Brooks were sent to Los Angeles for point guard Steve Blake. The Lakers, reeling after the departure of Dwight Howard to Houston and injuries to Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, finally gave Bazemore a place where he could find consistent minutes. More importantly, then coach Mike D’Antoni gave Bazemore a system.

An offensive system can be extremely important to a player. In Golden State, Bazemore — like many other Warriors — was left to figure things out in isolation inside of having specific plays ran for his benefit. That changed for Bazemore when he arrived in Los Angeles, as Mark D’Antoni gave him a simple offensive system that complemented Bazemore’s talents and allowed him to shine. Continue Reading…

According to Mark Deeks of ShamSports and later confirmed by Jason Walker of Peachtree Hoops, the Hawks have picked up Dennis Schröder’s third year on his rookie contract, but declined to pick up a fourth year on John Jenkins.

This is not too surprising. Schröder is just 21 and still has a lot of potential with his combination of athleticism and body type. Jenkins, who will turn 24 this season, has not been impressive recently. Part of that is due to a back injury he suffered last season, but he still has not recovered to the form he showed in his rookie season. The fourth year of a rookie contract usually containing a significant raise did not help Jenkins’ cause.

What this means is that the Hawks have a lot more faith in Kent Bazemore than they do in John Jenkins. While Bazemore still has a lot of refining to do with his offensive game, he is at least able to make an effect on defense when he’s not scoring, something that Jenkins cannot do.

First reported by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore and later announced by the team, the Hawks have agreed to a new TV deal with FOX Sports that starts with the 2015-16 season.

From the team’s press release:

FOX Sports South and SportSouth senior vice president and general manager Jeff Genthner, and Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, today announced a new long-term television rights agreement. The new agreement goes into effect with the 2015-16 NBA season. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the new agreement, SportSouth – a FOX Sports regional network – will remain the exclusive regional television partner of the Atlanta Hawks and will produce all locally-available regular season games not exclusively selected by a national network. The regional network will also televise three preseason games, select Hawks Playoff games and produce 10 hours of Hawks-themed original programming each season.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with SportSouth and build off the record-setting ratings that we established during our thrilling playoff series last season,” Koonin said. “The broadcast of live sports is crucial to our business and we are fortunate to have a great partner with such a large footprint to grow our fan base.”

This is exciting news for the team and solves a problem that the HawksHoop team has been rather adamant about. The best way to reach your fans is to televise as many games as you can and the Hawks had not been doing that the past several seasons. Shout out to Hawks CEO Steve Koonin for trying to do as much as possible to engage the Atlanta fan base.