Archives For Graham Chapple

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks came through in the clutch to pick up a huge victory against the OKC Thunder — in OKC — 110-108 on Monday night. The Thunder will be disappointed, falling short despite 46 points from Russell Westbrook. For the Hawks, they bounce back following their home loss to OKC on December 5th and, more recently, their home loss against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday evening.

More lineup changes and a Paul Millsap clinic

Dwight Howard was a late scratch from this game with a sore back and Bud went with a different lineup in his absence this time around. When Dwight sat out against the Bucks on November 16th with a calf injury, Coach Bud inserted Mike Muscala into the starting lineup alongside Paul Millsap. This time Bud went with a different lineup: he went with Paul Millsap at center and surrounded him with wing players. Even before the Dwight news broke, we knew that Kent Bazemore was returning to the starting lineup. So, Baze started alongside Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver with Paul Millsap starting at center.

Continue Reading…

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks missed their chance to return to the top of the Southwest division after falling 107-99 at home against the Charlotte Hornets on the second night of a back-to-back. Kemba Walker led the way for the Hornets with 18 points and 10 assists. Former Hawk Marvin Williams scored a team high 19 points. With this latest victory over the Hawks, the Hornets now own a 2-0 season series lead against the Hawks.

Decisive sequence in the fourth

Having trailed by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, the Hawks fought back and found themselves right in contention to win this game, twice taking the lead in the fourth quarter. People are pinpointing the Hawks’ so-and-so second quarter — where they were outscored 31-20 by the Hornets — as the reason they lost this game but, at least in my opinion, that reason went out the window once the Hawks took the lead again — it’s a new game at that point, everything else prior to that almost doesn’t matter. You’re back in front, momentum is on your side. However, the lead the Hawks enjoyed was brief, the Hornets seemingly held answers for every little run the Hawks made and they quickly bounced back with two Marco Belinelli three-pointers to put them back up again. In the end this game was decided in, roughly, 20 seconds of gameplay.

Continue Reading…

Ron Turenne/NBAE

Ron Turenne/NBAE

The Atlanta Hawks avenged their 44 point loss that they suffered against the Toronto Raptors — 13 days ago — with a 125-121 victory in Toronto. The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan’s 34 points while his running mate, Kyle Lowry, added another 27, including a 6-for-8 performance from three-point range. Impressive.

Avenging the loss

13 days can a long time in this league and the Hawks proved that last night with a full circle-like performance, bouncing back against the Raptors with a big road win following their 44 point loss at the Air Canada Centre 13 days ago. What was the difference this time around? Well, it’s pretty simple, the Hawks just played much, much better than they did last time out.

Let’s start with scoring, last time out, the Hawks only scored 84 points on just under 40% shooting while shooting 25% from three and attempting 14 free throws, making just seven. The starters combined for just 46 points on 41% shooting with only two starters scored in double-digits (Dennis Schröder scoring 15 points, Dwight Howard scoring 10). Last night the staters scored 83 points (one less than the total number of points the Hawks scored in their last meeting with the Raptors) on 52.7% shooting with four starters scoring in double digits.

Continue Reading…

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks’ two game winning patch was scuppered by the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, the Hawks falling 131-120 (no, that’s not a misprint) to their division rivals. Serge Ibaka led the Magic with 29 points while Elfrid Payton recorded career highs in both points (26) and assists (14).

Understanding what on earth happened and why it happened

Heading into last night’s game, the Orlando Magic were averaging just 94.8 points per game, that ranks 29th in the league. Only the Dallas Mavericks — at 93.5 PPG — average less points per game than the Magic. Last night, the Magic scored 131 points, 36 points more than their average. 131 points… without, arguably, their best offensive in Nikola Vucevic who sat this one out. How did this happen? And why?

There’s a number of factors at play here. First of all, it’s an 82 game season. All teams will have at least one game like this where all their previous percentages just seem to fly out the window and they play an absolute stormer. This was that game for the Magic last night. It’s very, very unlikely they will have a better statistical night than they did last night, at least this season. I mean, take a look at their seasonal averages compared to their numbers from last night’s game.

Continue Reading…

Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks notched their second straight victory after knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 at the BMO Bradley Harris Center on Friday night. Jabari Parker (who was fantastic last night) led the Bucks with 27 points on 11-of-24 shooting.

The comeback

The Hawks trailed by 20 (20!!) points at half time and seemingly looking down the barrel of another defeat. The Bucks shot 57% from the field and 61% (8-of-13) from behind the arc. The Hawks’ defense wasn’t awful, they Bucks were quite hot, especially from downtown. That said, the Hawks should’ve been an awful lot closer to the Bucks, they missed a lot of easy shots that they should’ve made.

The message at halftime? Professional pride.

“It was just about having some pride, going out there and trying to get it done.” — Paul Millsap

Post game, Tim Hardaway Jr. said that Kent Bazemore (who missed his second game in a row with a knee injury) had a different message at halftime.

“Bazemore said at halftime, this could be a turnaround for our season.” — Tim Hardaway Jr. 

The Hawks Twitter account (who had a great game last night) were also confident of a comeback.

Continue Reading…

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks knocked off division rivals, the Miami Heat, 103-95 at Philips Arena last night. The Heat were very shorthanded last night, playing without Dion Waiters, Luke Babbitt, Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Josh Richardson and Chris Bosh (as they have done all season) but got a significant contribution from Tyler Johnson, who scored a career high 27 points on the second night of a back-to-back.

Losing streak snapped

It’s over! The Hawks’ seven game losing streak is over, it’s only their second win in their last 12 games. How badly did they need this win?

“As bad as we need air.” — Paul Millsap

“He’s right. That’s all we’ve been thinking about since the last game, how we could come in and get this game. I thought our effort and our energy were in the right place and we got a good win.” — Dwight Howard

The Hawks are still below .500 with an 11-12 record, but it’s a start, something to build on. They actually played a very decent game against the shorthanded Heat, playing well on both sides of the floor. Of course, Coach Bud never settles and knows the Hawks can play much better.

“It’s good. I think we can play a lot better. We can get better. The work the guys put in the last couple days….the ball movement, the 27 assists is better. I think we need to keep building and keep getting better, but it’s good to get a win.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

Bud briefly mentioned the 27 assists the Hawks registered, some of the ball movement last night was exquisite and the Hawks, having struggled with their ball movement of late, have now dished out 53 assists in their last two games. A very positive trend.

Continue Reading…

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their latest contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 102-99 at Philips Arena. Russell Westbrook notched his sixth straight triple-double with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Anthony Morrow added another 15 points off of the bench.

Not an awful loss

Depending what way you look at it, of course Sure, it’s the Hawks’ seventh straight loss and their tenth in their last 11 games and that’s obviously not fantastic. If you looked at the result, but not the game, you’d be disappointed. But having watched the game, the Hawks did everything they needed to do — over the course of a 48 minute game — to win this game. Unfortunately, there exists a man named Russell Westbrook, who we’ll get to later.

What was most encouraging (to me) from this game was the return of Atlanta Hawks basketball: ball movement. The Hawks were moving the ball as we’re accustomed to seeing and they finished the game with 26 assists, the most they’ve registered in a game since they dished out 29 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 16th. Stuff like this has been missing of late, it was good to see it return.

(Great ball movement here even though it didn’t result in a bucket)

Continue Reading…

Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images

Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images

Oh boy… The Hawks somehow managed to follow up their 36 point loss against the Detroit Pistons with a 44 point loss against the Toronto Raptors — 128-84 — at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday evening. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 21 points, one of eight players who scored double digits for the Raptors. The Raptors outscored the Hawks 42-14 in the fourth quarter.

Tailspinning out of control

This was the Hawks’ ninth loss in the last ten games and their sixth in a row. I’m reluctant to call this a crisis as long as Paul Millsap (who missed his third consecutive game last night) is out, but Paul Millsap — while he’s very good — is not worth 44 points. So, what’s going on? Let’s look at some of the issues from last night.

Ball movement

Subheadings? Oh man, that’s when you know things are bad. The Hawks aren’t moving the ball like they used to. Now, this isn’t to say the ball movement has died. Even last night there was some very nice ball movement, but the ball is sticking more now than it did in the past. Guys are either keeping hold of the ball too long or shooting it when they should be looking to pass. Here are a few examples from last night.

Take this possession, even though Dennis Schröder scores on this possession, he’s just holding the ball for way too long, it’s stuck with him. For this entire possession no one else touches the ball.

Continue Reading…

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks (without Paul Millsap) dropped their fourth game in succession — and their seventh in eight games — after losing out to the Phoenix Suns at Talking S(h)tick Resort Arena, 107-109. Brandon Knight led the Suns in scoring with 23 points while receiving other significant contributions from P.J. Tucker and Jared Dudley, who scored 17 points each.

End of the road (trip)

Atlanta’s five game road trip is finally over. It’s been a rough week and a bit for the Hawks, five games in seven nights and only a 1-4 record to show for all their efforts. It’s safe to say everyone is looking forward to putting this road trip behind them and getting back home to Atlanta.

“…it’ll be good to get back home, sleep in your own bed and get ready to get back at it.” — Kent Bazemore

“You never feel good when you have a tough road trip and you’ve lost a few in a row. But I think we are looking forward to going home…” — Coach Mike Budenholzer

It was a weird game for the Hawks to drop. Not so much of the opposition (although the Suns were 5-13 heading into last night’s game) but listen to these stats from last night’s game:

The Hawks shot 50% from the field, shot 36% from behind the arc, scored over 100 points, scored 21 second chance points, scored 20 fastbreak points, scored 29 points off of the Suns’ turnovers and had three players who scored 20 or more points… And still lost. Kent Bazemore had an… interesting, shall we say, way of describing how the Hawks have been playing of late.

Continue Reading…

 Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks suffered their sixth loss in seven games as they dropped a tightly contested fixture against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, 105-100. The Warriors had three players who scored 20 or more points, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry both scored 25 points while Klay Thompson added 20 points to the Warriors’ cause.

A valiant effort, reason for optimism going forward

Although the Hawks did lose their sixth game in their last seven games, they can be proud of how they played competed against arguably the best team in the NBA, the Warriors now winners of 12 straight games. This was not a bad loss. The Hawks played some good defense — holding the team with the highest offense efficiency in the Warriors (115 points per 100 possessions heading into this game) to 101 points per 100 possessions — and played some good offense, much better than we’ve seen it of late and they cracked 100 points for the first time in six games.

“Definitely better than what it (the Hawks’ offense) has been. We still have to get better. It’s a loss. It goes on to the record. It’s tough but we’ll take and build on it.” — Paul Millsap

The Hawks seemed to run out of gas a little bit in the fourth quarter, where the Warriors outscored the Hawks 25-19. The Hawks missed some decent looks and when the Warriors’ defense clamped down, you just weren’t sure who was going to step up for the Hawks offensively.

A period of the game that, I thought, proved costly for the Hawks was that period of the game where end of the third quarter ends and the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. Tim Hardaway Jr. misses a three-point attempt in the dying embers of the third quarter, and from the resulting stop Ian Clarke drains the buzzer-beating three to cut the Hawks lead from four to one heading into the fourth quarter. The Warriors, with the crowd now energised, reeled a quick 6-0 run that gave the Warriors a five point lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

Continue Reading…