Archives For Jeff Siegel

The Hawks got their first win of the season on Thursday night, beating the Knicks 112-101 in Madison Square Garden. New York was able to keep the game close early on, but the Hawks guards took over the game against the defensively deficient Knicks backcourt, wrecking havoc in coach Mike Budenholzer’s constant-motion offense. Jeff Teague attacked the Knicks’ Jose Calderon at every opportunity, opening up the offense for his teammates and getting everyone involved early. Kyle Korver and Al Horford each had two three-pointers in the first period as the Hawks opened up a ten-point lead.

The Knicks clawed back early in the second quarter, opening up on a 13-2 run with an impressive showing from their bench, including Jerian Grant, whom the Knicks picked up in the trade with the Hawks on draft night. The Hawks quickly countered with their four All-Stars from a season ago and had a 16-point lead at halftime.

Lamar Patterson and Justin Holiday were the wing substitutes in this game with Thabo Sefolosha inactive. Patterson notched 21 minutes, up from 18 against Detroit on Tuesday, and even got some fourth-quarter minutes with Teague, Korver, Millsap, and Horford. Noticeable in his absence from the court was Tim Hardaway Jr., who spent his first two years with the Knicks before being traded to the Hawks this offseason. Hardaway Jr. has yet to make his debut for Atlanta and will have to prove to the Atlanta coaching staff that he deserves to play over the improving Patterson. Patterson’s immediate impact has been a massive surprise for the Hawks, given that he barely made the roster as the 15th man in preseason.

The Hawks also ran out the Millsap-Horford-Splitter frontcourt trio against the larger Knicks lineups with Millsap guarding Carmelo Anthony on the wing. Millsap didn’t have a great game offensively, finishing just 3-for-11 from the field, but he was the Hawks’ leading rebounder and pitched in five assists and five steals, guarding everyone from Anthony to the 7’3” Latvian rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Millsap’s defensive versatility will come in handy for the Hawks this year; his ability to guard a multitude of positions and players will allow Budenholzer to run out a lot of different lineups early in the season and experiment with lineups, which can be valuable in case somebody gets hurt.

The Knicks went on a short-lived run late in the third quarter to cut the Hawks lead to 11, but that was as close as they would get in the second half as Atlanta ran away with the game. Teague and Schröder continued to attack the Knicks’ guards and find open shots for themselves and their teammates. Teague finished with 23 points on 12 shots to go along with eight assists and four rebounds and Schröder converted six of his 11 shots for 13 points. As a team, the Hawks shot 10-for-24 from behind the three-point line, far better than the 8-for-27 showing against the Pistons.

The Hawks go back to Atlanta for the beginning of a home-and-home series on Friday and Sunday with the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hawks were praised for their depth throughout the regular season, with Coach Budenholzer having the personnel to run his offense almost no matter which players were on the court. The combination of size and outside shooting off the Hawks’ bench allowed Budenholzer flexibility in his lineups, something that he’s clearly rolled over into the playoffs. Budenholzer mostly stuck with a nine-man rotation in the second-round series against the Wizards, but some of the lineups have infuriated fans of the team. As the Hawks move on to the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s going to become time for Budenholzer to cash in on all the rest he’s afforded his starters over the regular season and early rounds of the playoffs.

Budenholzer has regularly rolled out lineups with three of the Dennis Schröder, Kent Bazemore, Mike Muscala, and Pero Antic bench brigade in these playoffs, and they have regularly gotten killed while out there. The three-man combination of Schröder, Bazemore, and Antic has played 75 minutes in the postseason, posting a ghastly -10.2 net rating, per nbawowy.com, and lineups featuring Schröder, Bazemore, and Muscala have fared even worse with a -11.1 net rating in 25 minutes. It’s understandable that Budenholzer wants to spell his starters, but he needs to avoid these lineups that takes too many of them off the court at a time.

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The Hawks took care of business at home 106-90 against the Washington Wizards to even up their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at a game apiece. Washington’s John Wall was a late scratch just 60 minutes before tipoff, providing a good opportunity for Atlanta to get a vital win before the series shifts to Washington. Both Coach Budenholzer and DeMarre Carroll said after the game that the defensive plan did not change as a result of Wall’s absence, but it’s hard to believe that Jeff Teague ends up with a playoff-career-high seven rebounds if he has to contend with the taller and more athletic John Wall.

Ramon Sessions stepped up for the Wizards in Wall’s absence and played a fine game, shooting 8-for-14 for 21 points. Teague had a difficult time shooting against Washington, but contributed well in other areas of the game with the seven rebounds and eight assists. As a team, the Hawks totaled 30 assists on 37 made baskets, a byproduct of the perimeter players being able to get in the paint and find open shooters spacing the floor. Atlanta’s aggressiveness paid off in other ways; the Hawks got to the free throw line 25 times and forced Washington’s Marcin Gortat out of the game with six fouls in the fourth quarter. “We were attacking the goal this game; I think that was big for us,” Carroll said after the game. Continue Reading…

The Hawks started hot and staved off another Nets comeback in Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. Coach Budenholzer implied in the time leading up to the game that the players were raring to go, and they showed it. Atlanta led 33-16 after one quarter, but the Nets pulled within two with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jeff Teague had a hand in eight of the Hawks’ final ten points, assisting on an Al Horford jumper and scoring six straight to put the Nets away.

DeMarre Carroll led all players in scoring with 24 in a game that saw each of Atlanta’s starters play at least 34 minutes and virtually all of the fourth quarter. “Coach came to us each individually and told us we were probably going to pick up some more minutes,” Carroll said after the game. The shortened rotation is something that Budenholzer will use going forward, as most coaches do in the playoffs. Mike Scott has fallen out of favor recently and played just over two minutes in this game as Budenholzer opted for a three-man rotation at the power forward and center positions. Pero Antic played almost 18 minutes and provided some much needed defense and rebounding against Brook Lopez. Continue Reading…

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has won NBA Coach of the Year, winning the award with 67 first-place votes on his way to 513 points. Golden State’s Steve Kerr finished just behind Budenholzer with 56 first-place votes and 471 points. Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks finished a distant third with 1 first-place vote and 57 points.

The race between Budenholzer and Kerr has been too close to call all season, but the voters elected to go with Budenholzer after the Hawks’ franchise-record-breaking season that saw them win 60 games, including a perfect 17-0 in the month of January. The Hawks improved by 22 games over their 2013-14 record, the second largest jump in the league behind Kidd’s Bucks.

Coach Budenholzer has been with Atlanta for two seasons after 19 years under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Full voting results are below, courtesy of Hawks.com.

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Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha have been arrested for “trying to prevent police from setting up a crime scene”, according to reports from a stabbing incident early Wednesday morning in a New York City nightclub.

A man reportedly attacked Pacers’ forward Chris Copeland and his wife after an argument, and, according to sources, Antic and Sefolosha refused to move while the police were setting up a crime scene. A spokeswoman for the police department said that Sefolosha “charged at an officer” and Antic “physically grabbed another police officer”. Antic was charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and menacing, while Sefolosha was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

Copeland suffered a broken elbow during the attack in addition to the stabbing to his abdomen, but his wounds are not life-threatening.

Zwerling is also now reporting what role Antic and Sefolosha had with the affair:

As of now, Antic and Sefolosha have been released on their own recognizance and will not play tonight against the Nets. The two players released this joint-statement through Hawks PR:

As members of the Atlanta Hawks, we hold ourselves to a high standard and take our roles as professionals very seriously. We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time. We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them. We are unable to provide further comment as this is an ongoing legal matter.

The Hawks revealed on Monday that Paul Millsap suffered a right shoulder sprain and contusion Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. X-rays were negative, but an MRI showed the injury to doctors. Millsap will miss at least the next two games on Tuesday against Phoenix and Wednesday at Brooklyn and will be reevaluated during that time.

Atlanta team doctors don’t expect that the injury will linger into the playoffs, which is great news for a Hawks team that relies on Millsap’s scoring and rebounding. Mike Scott has just come back from a toe injury, so Coach Budenholzer will have to be careful to not play him too many minutes as he is getting back into game shape. This should mean more minutes for reserve big men Elton Brand and Mike Muscala until Millsap is fit to return.

The Hawks opened the game with two straight DeMarre Carroll threes and didn’t stop shooting until the final buzzer, running up a season-high 130 points against the Sacramento Kings Monday night at Philips Arena. Each of the five starters shot at least 50% as the Hawks rang up 42 assists, tied for the fourth-highest total in Atlanta’s history. Atlanta hit 20 3s, a franchise-record for a single game, and notched their 50th win of the season, marking the first time since the team moved to Atlanta that the Hawks were the first team in the league to reach 50 wins.

The Hawks came out firing in the first quarter, assisting on 12 of their 13 field goals and shooting 57% in the quarter, including five 3s from Carroll and Kyle Korver. Korver had been struggling since the All-Star Break, shooting just 31% from 3 and 32% overall since the extended time off. Korver finished 6-for-8 from 3 as the Kings lost him numerous times in transition and in the half court offense. Korver has recently said that his shooting troubles date back to before the break, so this big game should do wonders for any issues through which he’s been working.

Atlanta scored 76 points in the first half, their highest total in a half all season, racking up 25 assists along the way. The Hawks shot 62.5% from the field in the first half, including 12-for-19 on 3s, as the ball continued to find open shooters while the Kings scrambled on defensive rotations. Continue Reading…

The Hawks may have lost their franchise-record 19-game winning streak on Monday in New Orleans, but they were right back on track when the Washington Wizards came to Atlanta on Wednesday night. As soon as the game tipped off, news broke that the Hawks had won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award for January. Not one player, but the entire starting lineup.

Any worries that the Hawks would be looking forward to Friday’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors were put to bed in the first quarter, in which Atlanta closed on a 16-3 run. The Hawks took a 13-point lead into halftime, but the Wizards were quick to bounce back, opening on a 20-10 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter and taking the lead late in the quarter.

Atlanta took a slim 77-74 lead into the fourth quarter but turned up the heat, culminating in the Hawks’ Dunk of the Year.

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The Hawks dispatched the Philadelphia 76ers 91-85 for their 19th win in a row Saturday night at Philips Arena. Atlanta built a 21-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Sixers pushed back in the third quarter, cutting the lead to just five points entering the fourth. The fourth quarter got tense as Philadelphia took a lead late in the game before the Hawks turned it on and finished the game on a 10-2 run.

DeMarre Carroll was out for the second straight game, but the news of the day came pregame, when Coach Budenholzer and the Atlanta training staff confirmed that Thabo Sefolosha will be out 6-8 weeks with an injury to his calf, suffered early in Friday’s win over the Trail Blazers. Kent Bazemore played 40 minutes against the Trail Blazers on Friday after Sefolosha went down and got the start against the Sixers, marking his first start of the season. Bazemore had a poor game offensively, shooting just 1-for-6, culminating in two badly missed free throws with 4:07 left in the game, when the Hawks were up 81-79.

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