Archives For Cole Patty

Another Chance for Al Horford

Cole Patty —  October 31, 2014

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law or at least the current version of “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” Commonly said in situations by the Average Joe on one of the days where the bad luck comes in bunches; it’s almost as if the forces of the universe just won’t let something nice happen to them, no matter how much good karma they may have built up.

Al Horford may be a two-time All-Star, but his career also feels like the embodiment of this law. Every time Horford gets a bit of momentum going towards finally becoming the superstar he plays like, something bad seems to happen. On top of that, he is mostly overlooked in the “best center in the East” discussions, he wasn’t named an All-Star during a great 2012-13 campaign, and was constantly overshadowed during his career by the more bombastic Josh Smith. In fact, most of the mainstream media coverage on Horford is about why he should be playing power forward instead of mentioning that he is a matchup nightmare for his larger stone footed counterparts.

As for Murphy’s Law, Horford’s injuries have stifled his growth towards becoming a superstar. When Atlanta powered on to the 5-seed in the strike shortened 2011-12 seasons, Continue Reading…

RECAP: Pistons 115, Hawks 107

Cole Patty —  February 22, 2014

FINAL

DET(23-32) 115 – 107 (25-29)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Monroe (DET): 22 pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Both the Hawks and Pistons came into Friday night struggling to find themselves. Atlanta, battling through a myriad of injuries, had lost seven straight games heading into the Palace of Auburn Hills. While Detroit, under interim head coach John Loyer, had a three game losing streak of their own after winning their first game without summer hire Maurice Cheeks.

Something had to give, and it looked like it would be the Hawks’ streak in the first half. Powered behind an eight minute stretch where they team hit all thirteen shots they attempted, Atlanta pushed to an 11 point lead at halftime. Unfortunately for all the strengths the team showed through two quarters, it all fell apart in the third. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe ate up all the potential rebounds on their offensive glass, and Detroit had a 34 point third quarter. While Atlanta, who went into halftime shooting almost 60 percent, went 11-36 from the field in the second half. By the time Kyle Singler hit his second corner three in the last two minutes, it was over. And the Hawks losing streak was extended to eight.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap had a great game tonight in spite of the team falling short in the end. 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists is nothing to sneeze at, especially when he hit three out of his four shots from deep and found his way to the line enough times to gather 8 free throw attempts. He did what he could to put the team in good position to get the win. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll’s impact on the game was small compared to his fellow starters, and it wasn’t special in anyway either. He was 2-7 from the field, was non-existent on the glass — in a game where he guards Josh Smith, that’s a priority —  and didn’t wreak any havoc defensively. 3/10

Kyle Korver: It wasn’t the best shooting night Korver has had this season, but it was also one of his better nights outside of scoring the basketball. He found a way to get three steals in the first quarter, supplied four assists, and helped clean the glass with 7 rebounds. He wasn’t a protruding positive with his play, but did all the little things to avoid being a minus. 5/10

Elton Brand: Brand did his best against an ultra big Pistons squad. He hustled, grabbed almost half of Atlanta’s offensive rebounds, and tried to defend well. Drummond and Monroe just weren’t having any of it. Despite two blocks from Elton, the Detroit duo went 20-28 from the field. That’s an issue. Brand might not have been the problem, but he didn’t look like the solution either. 4/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack’s statline is a lot prettier than his actual impact on this game. He scored the ball well on Brandon Jennings, which isn’t a surprise. His 21 points were actually a career high. However, as a facilitator, he was bland. Korver and Carroll combined for 5 turnovers, and both players are the kinds of guys you don’t want to see the ball in their hands outside of shooting the basketball. Shelvin scored well, but didn’t command the offense in a confident manner and that held weight in this contest. He also came away with a few turnover though, and had some really nice hustling rebounds in a spot start for Teague. 7/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 112, Bucks 87

Cole Patty —  January 26, 2014

FINAL

      MIL(8-35) 87 – 112 (23-20)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 20 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
B. Knight (MIL): 27 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks faced a myriad of injuries coming into their contest against the Milwaukee Bucks, with Jeff Teague being the latest addition to the list. The good news is they played the lowly Bucks, a squad whose 8-35 record ranked last in the NBA. Atlanta took full advantage of the weaker competition and paced out to a 60-45 halftime score behind an impressive two turnovers and 8-16 shooting from beyond the arc. The third quarter was where the Hawks really shined however, tallying up 36 points to push the lead to 32. This resulted in the fourth quarter mainly being garbage time, which included Jared Cunningham’s first points as a member of the Hawks and James Nunnally making his third appearance for the team.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap was named ESPN’s key performer for the game, and with good cause. He was the easily the best bigman on the floor for both squads, with his efficient 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Millsap struggled to begin January, valleying with his 1-10 night against Indiana, but he’s putting together the types of nights that are expected of him. Making a strong case for an All-Star bid with Thursday being the coach selection day. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll was a surprise start for the Hawks tonight, and he stepped up in Teague’s absence. He went 4-for-5 from the field (3-for-3 from three) for 12 points while adding six rebounds. He also added in four assists in the first half, which matched his season high. Carroll has missed two shots total over his last two games and has averaged 14.5 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists in that time frame. Hopefully that will carry over into Monday’s game against the Thunder. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle clanked his first two attempts, and worry filled the air of whether or not he was going to have an off night. Almost immediately he extended his streak to 112 straight game with a three pointer, and quickly after he banged home a four point play. He ended the night 3-for-7, but more importantly 3-for-4 from deep. He wasn’t anything special tonight, but he didn’t really have to be in such a blowout. 6/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack’s numbers weren’t eye-popping, but he was rock solid in his first start of the season. In 24 minutes, his nine points and four assists were close to his per-36 marks for the season. Which is more than enough from a spot-starting backup in injury relief. 7/10

Gustavo Ayon: Inarguably Ayon’s best game of the season. He finished well at the rim, didn’t look completely lost defending down low, grabbed a few rebounds, and even threw in two steals. The five fouls and three turnovers looked bad, but this is a much better effort from Ayon, who has had a down year. Maybe this is the game that turns it around for the third year pro. 10/10

Continue Reading…

Tank? No Thanks

Cole Patty —  January 14, 2014

After the Al Horford injury, there was much speculation on what the Atlanta Hawks should do with this season. Nine game without Al and these questions still persist. The solution the front office appears to have come up with is to stay the course, but many of the team’s followers wonder if that decision is sound. The luxury of a top pick is tempting, and many see the postseason lost without Al Horford.

While some seasons this is sound logic, the 2014 Eastern Conference is a very different beast. With only four teams over .500, and every non-playoff team bolstering a record below the .400 mark, it’s going to be more competitive to land in the bottom seven than the top eight. Even without Horford, Atlanta has a projected 3.2% chance to miss the playoffs by ESPN’s Hollinger’s Playoff Odds. That’s only to miss the playoffs; even if that was actually achieved, there is a strong chance the pick would still be in the double-digits with Western teams struggling such as the Lakers, Kings, and Jazz.

That’s not the only way to chop up the extremely low odds for Atlanta either. The team has 14 games left against the more difficult Western conference, while having 30 games against the East. At the current projections, the Hawks would only need to finish with thirty-three wins — assuming that Detroit, Boston, or Charlotte wouldn’t be specifically be influenced by Atlanta underachieving — to get the eighth seed.  Five games are against Indiana and Miami, but they also still have three games against Milwaukee, another western game against the Jazz, two more against Philadelphia, and one more against Orlando. The chances that this team could find a way to only win 12 of their last 44 games — and lose the tiebreaker against Detroit — are low, and that is just to get a draft pick around 10. Continue Reading…

There has been been a ton of speculation surrounding the Hawks and Rockets center Omer Asik, even after the Rockets rescinded their self-imposed trade deadline. Knowing that, HawksHoop has brought some coverage between Buddy Grizzard monitoring the situation regularly and Bo posting this on Elton Brand. So I figured I would throw my hat in the ring.

To sum up the long version, Millsap is simply a better and more vital player to team success. Sure, everything is contextualized, but Atlanta already has the ninth best defense in the league. Stopping the opponent from scoring hasn’t been an issue. Some nights the team lapses, sure, but over the course of 82 games that happens. There will be nights where the defense fails Atlanta, and that’s okay. So far, they are better on that side of the ball and replacing Millsap with Asik is going to make that more imbalanced.

Next comes the rumor that the Hawks need more of a rim protector in order to thrive. While there is very good reason why rim protector has become a buzzword in NBA circles, Atlanta is already a strong defensive team in the paint. Al Horford’s opponent field goal percentage at the rim is currently 47.2 percent at 6.5 attempts a game. There are only twelve players who contest more shots at a better percentage in the whole league. Most of those players are consistent defensive player of the year candidates such as Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, Tim Duncan, and Roy Hibbert. Maybe Horford isn’t elite in the skill, but he’s no Al Jefferson who is allowing 56.3% of his contested attempts to go in. Paul Millsap chips in at times as well. His percentage isn’t the best at 54.9%, but the fact he reaches 9.1 attempts at the rim at their pace is important. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 127, Cavs 125

Cole Patty —  December 26, 2013

FINAL

CLE(10-18) 125 – 127 (16-13) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 34 pts, 3 reb, 14 ast, 3 stl
K. Irving (CLE): 40 pts, 2 reb, 9 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The main complaint with the Hawks this season was their inconsistent tendencies. When the team won games, like their last meeting with the Cavaliers, they looked like a team that could and should be the third team in the East. When they lost, Atlanta looked more apart of the group with the other borderline playoff squads. Their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies were frustrating, and left viewers puzzled as to what this team could actually achieved.

Tonight was different however. The shots weren’t falling, and they lost Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll to — hopefully non-serious — injury. Playing funky lineups and making scrappy plays wasn’t in the game plan, and this season Atlanta has lost most of the games that have gone this way. Yet, they kept finding a way tonight. Whether it was forcing the kinds of turnovers that didn’t show up as steals, throwing the ball off Cavaliers players to gain possession, or making a simple defensive rebound difficult, this team made the kinds of plays that will go unnoticed. This might not be the teams best win, but if things go in a positive direction for the next 53 games it could very well be their most telling win. The shots didn’t fall their way for a long stretch — the Hawks didn’t lead from 8:03 left in the fourth until 1:06, and only lead for a total of 10 seconds in overtime — but they found a way to get that win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Up until the injury, Al was the best player on the floor. He hit hook shot after hook shot, added a three, and came away with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and two blocks. He shot 11-17 too, which is hyper efficient for the big man. Hard to ask more out of Al, hopefully the center’s injuries aren’t extensive.  9/10

Jeff Teague: Teague made every important play he possible could have.They tying three to end regulation, a few strips on Kyrie to force turnovers, and the shot that sealed it. He had six turnovers, but it’s extended time helped force a couple of those and he responded well. The latter is huge. Many times Jeff is question because of an apparent lack of focus, but tonight he always had the answers to every tough possible moment. Including when Al Horford went out. 34 points and 14 assists help too.  10/10

Paul Millsap: Paul had some good moments, and he had some bad moments. When Horford went out, it was a little disheartening how the offense struggled when it was ran through him at first. However, when Teague took it over he made some important plays as well. Disrupting Tristan Thompson on a seemingly easy defensive rebound to snag the Hawks an extra possession was the biggest play of the game, until Teague’s shot went later. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll struggled on the fast break early, but wasn’t a really net positive or negative in his 26 minutes. 3-7 from the field for 8 points, with zero turnovers is as unspectacular as it looks. The biggest concern is that he is okay after injuring his thumb in regulation. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Korver had so many attempts hit the rim early, and it was frustrating because they were quality looks too. All those misses early came in handy however, as they started falling when they needed to much. 4-12 from three looks like a bad stat-line, but Korver’s four pointer in the second overtime was one of the biggest plays in a game that was filled with them. He even found a way to work in six rebounds and five assists, both crucial in Horford’s absence. 7/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 124, Kings 107

Cole Patty —  December 18, 2013

FINAL

  SAC(7-17) 100 – 124 (14-12)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 25 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast, 4 blk
D. Cousins (SAC): 28 pts, 7 reb, 6 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The first quarterof this game was a nice sample tasting of Atlanta’s season. Coming out of the gates with a roaring start, the Hawks were outpacing the Kings handily for the beginning nine minutes of the initial period. This lead to an 26-12 lead, and Mike Malone burning a second timeout fast. After that timeout however, things started to unravel. Isaiah Thomas got loose, and Atlanta’s offense stagnated behind three turnovers in the last two-and-a-half minutes in the quarter. At the end of the first, the Hawks fourteen point lead was reduced swiftly down to two.

For the second and third quarters, the game went back-and-forth. Atlanta pushed away every Sacramento attempt to overtake the lead in the second, until finally relinquishing it at the very end to be down 54-53 at halftime. As for the third, the ball-movement for the Hawks stagnated and they found themselves down 74-69 before closing down the gap to 87-85 at the end of the third.

The last period was all about Mike Scott hitting the two threes early and never looking back. The Kings were playing the second game of a back-to-back, and the Scott deep balls seemed to be the backbreaker. Atlanta didn’t surrender the lead the rest of the way, putting them two game over .500.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Early on, Al didn’t have his mid-range jumper going. It wasn’t too much of a detriment however, as his 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks statline lead the way for the team. He got all five of his assists in the first half, showing a resolve to help the team when he wasn’t making shots himself. He had a couple non-statsheet hustle plays to take note of too. A few rebounds he tapped back allowed for a couple extra possessions. Boogie certainly played a strong game and got some offensive rebounds himself, but that isn’t all on Horford. 8/10.

Paul Millsap: Millsap’s three ball was instrumental in the Hawks getting out to a hot start. He hit two threes at the end of that initial run, and he made one more in the second quarter. His three offensive rebounds were also key in neutralizing the strong effort the Kings made on their own offensive glass. Outside of that, it wasn’t his best game. There were a lot of moments where he tried to do too much with the ball either forcing a bad shot, a risky pass, or turning it over with a charge. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Risky passes defined Teague’s game. He tied his regular season career high with 15 assists, but with that also came six turnovers. What really stood out was his effort on the glass. Jeff being able to track down loose balls to secure possessions is what kept him valuable when he had some rough stretches. He also was nice defensively in the first quarter, and shot the ball extremely well early. A really solid night for Teague, here’s to hoping he keeps finding the 50/50 balls on long rebounds. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre guarded Rudy Gay tonight, to mixed results. Rudy went 8-13, but it isn’t all on Carroll. When in more halfcourt one-on-one situations, Gay was 4-8 outside the restricted area. Offensively, Carroll posted a strong 6-9 from the field. A pretty average game for the Junkyard Dog. 5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle was fantastic tonight. His 8-10 mark from deep was influential on the win. A few off-ball lapses on McLemore defensively, but it was not a glaring issue tonight. 9/10. Continue Reading…

The Hawks recalled 2013 first-round pick Dennis Schröder from the Bakersfield Jam today, ending his six game stint with the Hawks’ D-League affiliate. During his six game run in Bakersfield, Dennis averaged 17 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. He will be available Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Meanwhile, Jared Cunningham will be sent down to make room on Atlanta’s roster. Cunningham played about four-and-a-half minutes since his first recall from the D-League, as the Hawks rotate between Dennis, Jared, and John Jenkins for who gains experience sitting on the end of the Hawks bench in games. Jared has played some point guard with Bakersfield, averaging 15 points and 4.6 assists in the five games he played with them. Either way, it seems that the the last two roster spots on the Hawks will be a different mix of the three young guards all season.

Early in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Korver broke the record for most consecutive game with at leas on three-point fieldgoal. Dana Barros was the previous holder with 89, and now that Korver has 90 he can now focus on how far he can take the streak. Yesterday Bloomberg Sports predicted that he had a 50% chance to reach 100 straight games, but there is no telling how far consistent Kyle can take it. If you want to watch history being made, the video from NBA.com can be found here: http://www.nba.com/video/games/hawks/2013/12/07/0021300282-cle-atl-korver-record.nba/?cid=nba_12_twitter_L.

Budding Sets: Wheel Variation

Cole Patty —  November 29, 2013

The Spurs run a set they call Loop, where Tony Parker runs around two screens on the baseline. He curls around the second, and receives the ball with position to drive. The Hawks actually ran this exact set in last night’s game with Teague, but Jeff isn’t always the player on the baseline looking to get freed up. A variation of the Loop is a set the Rockets ran successfully last year called Wheel. In this set, a less able dribble — but bigger spot-up threat — goes baseline around the two screens but steps out beyond the three point line. If executed right, the team gets an open three for one of there biggest threats from downtown.

But, Budenholzer knows his players well already. He knows that he can tinker with these sets to accentuate the nontraditional bigs of the Hawks. In Houston, both the baseline screeners were bigmen. In Atlanta, there is only one screen Kyle gets around, as the second baseline player is DeMarre Carroll. Carroll instead of screening, cuts the opposite way. Instead of the defender having to choose to get out on the three point line or stop an immobile screener, it becomes a matter of knowing they could get beat by a matter of seconds in two opposite directions. As long as Horford’s screen is executed right, it becomes a matter of pick your poison.

Both these clips end in a miss unfortunately, but any team in the league would have Kyle Korver shoot open threes all day. He’s shooting 51,6% on threes total, and surely some of his misses have came on covered looks. Everyone knows this guy is deadly, so process takes a little precedence over result. Continue Reading…