Archives For Kacy Sager

Kyle Lowry made a floating jump shot with 4:49 left in Wednesday’s game between the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena, capping off a personal 8-0 run and putting his team ahead 82-75 after they had trailed by 17 midway through the third quarter. The flu-like symptoms that sent Lowry to the locker room during the first half didn’t keep him from putting up a season-high 31 points (9-of-17, five rebounds, five assists), 22 of which came in the fourth quarter, and Toronto walked away with a 96-86 victory over the struggling Hawks.

“He played very well in the fourth quarter,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Lowry’s efforts. “That’s part of the problem. He did a little bit of everything. He got to the basket, he made a three, he made free throws.”

The Hawks put together an impressive first half defensively, taking a 46-32 lead to the locker room. Al Horford talked about the contrast of defensive effort in the two halves.

“I felt like we probably can’t play better defense than that,” said Horford of limiting the Raptors to 32 first-half points. “I felt like we relaxed in the second half as a team, especially in the fourth quarter. It’s just unacceptable.”

After the Raptors fell behind 58-41 with 6:46 remaining in the third, DeMar DeRozan (17 points, 7-for-16) and Terrence Ross (eight points, 3-for-7) contributed nine and six points respectively to an impressive Toronto run that cut their deficit to single digits heading into the final period. The fourth quarter was all Lowry as Atlanta struggled on both ends of the court. Continue Reading…

Paul Millsap sank a one-handed running shot with 15.7 seconds remaining to put the Hawks up 101-97 and Atlanta (9-5) was able to hang onto the lead against the Sacramento Kings (4-8) in what felt like a must-win game for both teams. Millsap’s 23 points (9-for-19), 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks were just enough to stop the bleeding for his shorthanded team, which had lost three straight, in a 103-97 win at Philips Arena.

“Paul really stood out,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer during the postgame media availability. “I think our focus, our attention to detail was closer to where we need it to be. It’s good to get a win. I think we obviously needed that.”

Sacramento has been facing issues of their own, evident during several moments of on-court bickering in the third quarter between DeMarcus Cousins (24 points, 12 rebounds), Rudy Gay (14 points, six rebounds) and Rajon Rondo, who recorded a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. The Kings still managed to outscore Atlanta 27-19 during that period and entered the final quarter down only 81-79. Continue Reading…

After three and a half tightly contested quarters in which neither the Hawks nor the short-handed Pelicans were able to pull away, Mike Muscala assisted Paul Millsap on a cutting layup that began a 6-0 run for Atlanta. Alvin Gentry called a timeout for New Orleans after Jeff Teague’s driving floater with 5:10 left to play. But the 93-85 cushion was enough for the Hawks to withstand Eric Gordon’s heroics as they improved to 8-2 with the 106-98 victory at Philips Arena.

Atlanta got off to a slow start, something that has been an unsettling trend in this young season. The injury-plagued Pelicans (who have already been without Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans, and Quincy Pondexter all season) entered tonight’s game without Anthony Davis after he bruised his hip the night before against Dallas. They were still able to outplay the Hawks for most of the half. There were eight lead changes and seven ties in the first quarter and New Orleans went up 26-24 on a goal-tending call against Thabo Sefolosha (Ish Smith was credited with the basket). Atlanta wouldn’t take the lead again until midway through the third quarter.

The Pelicans’ 56-47 advantage at halftime was largely due to outstanding shooting from behind the arc. Three of their starters were 2-for-3 (Luke Babbitt, Gordon and Smith; Ryan Anderson made two of his four attempts) and the team as a whole shot 61% (11-for-18). Al Horford kept the Hawks in the game with 20 first-half points and Millsap had 9 rebounds during that span. Coach Bud made a point of addressing his team’s inability to match the Pelicans’ early intensity during his postgame press conference:

A lot of credit [goes] to New Orleans coming in on a back-to-back without Anthony Davis and all the injuries they’re dealing with. They had us definitely on our heels. I think we’ve got to play a lot better coming out to start games and not put ourselves in that kind of hole.

Continue Reading…

The Hawks erased a 34 point deficit to take a 107-106 lead over the Timberwolves with 3:33 to play on a Paul Millsap driving layup, but failed to score again in Monday night’s 117-107 loss at Philips Arena. Andrew Wiggins scored seven straight (on a career-high tying 33 point night) and Minnesota ended the game on an 11-0 run, dashing Atlanta’s hopes of pulling off the third-largest comeback in NBA history. The Hawks dropped to 7-2 and fell to second in the Eastern Conference behind the 6-1 Cavaliers, while Minnesota improved to 4-2.

The first half was about as ugly as it gets, with Tiago Splitter’s minus-3 a team best. Minnesota absolutely dismantled Atlanta’s defense, shooting 64% from the field (50% on 3-pointers) and doubling the Hawks’ 11 boards. The Timberwolves outscored Atlanta in the paint 36-20, 10-0 on second chance points and 21-2 on fast break points and the Hawks went to the locker room down 72-42.

Coach Mike Budenholzer let the starters begin the third quarter in hopes of chipping away at the 30 point deficit. Asked if he gave a big speech at halftime, Coach Bud said he simply made the decision to give the starting unit an opportunity to make a game of it in the third quarter.

“I told the guys lets give it five or eight minutes,” said Budenholzer. “Let’s see what happens. Different things happen in our league.” Continue Reading…

Tiago Splitter dunked off an Al Horford assist as the third quarter expired for the 14th (and final) lead change and a 72-70 advantage for the Hawks over the visiting Brooklyn Nets. Atlanta seized control of what had been a tightly-contested game in the fourth quarter and the 101-87 victory was their 5th straight win.

The Hawks outscored the Nets 29-17 in the final quarter and Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer cited a strong defensive effort as a key to victory.

“It was good to see a fourth quarter where I think we closed better and managed to get some separation,” said Budenholzer.

Coach Bud singled out the efforts of Kent Bazemore and Justin Holiday in keying Atlanta’s defense.

“We were able to turn up the defense and get some stops in the fourth quarter. Kent tracking down blocked shots in transition and Justin with multiple efforts and multiple contests, that’s part of who we are and that’s what we’re going to have to continue to do.” Continue Reading…

After the Hawks took their only lead of the fourth quarter on a Paul Millsap 3-pointer, Mike Conley responded with a three of his own with 53 seconds to play to retake the lead for the Grizzlies. Atlanta’s final home game of the preseason was a hard-fought 82-81 loss against Memphis that felt like a mid-season match-up. Unlike Sunday’s loss to Miami, tonight’s game gave Hawks fans their first legitimate look at how this team is likely to operate during the rapidly-approaching regular season as all five starters played at least 30 minutes.

Atlanta started the game strong as Kyle Korver scored as many in the first quarter as Memphis’ entire roster (seven points on 3-for-3 shooting). The Grizzlies were able to chip away at the resulting 24-7 deficit in the second quarter with seven points by Courtney Lee and 14 from the bench. The Hawks went to the locker room at halftime with a tenuous 37-33 lead.

Battling against a defensive powerhouse caused the Hawks to lose some of their finesse. Several fouls early in the third put both Al Horford (13 points, game-high 14 rebounds) and Millsap (17 points, nine rebounds) in trouble and forced coach Mike Budenholzer’s hand in giving his starters some much-needed rest. Unfortunately, this was the turning point Memphis needed to finally pull away, and they took the lead for the first time with 3:19 left in the third on a layup by Jeff Green. Zach Randolph’s 11 third quarter points (4-for-5) sent the Grizzlies on a 24-6 run that stretched well into the fourth and put them ahead 70-57. Continue Reading…