Archives For 2013-14 Season

If they had a most surprising rookie award, it would be very difficult to find a player less deserving of it than Hawks big man Pero Antic. This is not to say Antic being a good player was surprising; the Macedonian big man was very successful before joining the Hawks when he played over in Europe. He won a few individual awards and was a part of the Olympiacos back to back championships in 2012 and 2013.

While successful in Europe, the expectations for Antic weren’t massive. He was expected to mainly play defense and utilize his above average shooting ability on offense. However, he was clearly not expected to be a large part of a big man rotation that already featured Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Gustavo Ayon and Elton Brand. This is evident during November and December when Antic averaged 10-13 minutes a game.

During this stretch of time Antic played some solid ball. During December, Antic had an effective Field Goal percentage of 51% and was good enough on defense to when players like Horford would come out there wasn’t too much of a drop. Antic actually had a Net rating of +20 showing his effectiveness on the court when he did play during the early part of the season.

Continue Reading…

2014 Review: Jeff Teague

Bo Churney —  May 30, 2014

I have a love/hate relationship with Jeff Teague.

After Dennis Schröder’s performance at Las Vegas Summer League, there were several questions about how long Jeff Teague would be in an Atlanta uniform. Teague’s contract that he just signed — $8 million per year for four years — appeared to be a bit of a bargain, making Jeff a soon-to-be “trade asset” in the minds of many. I was one of those people, thinking that Jeff probably had two more years in Atlanta before the reins would be handed over to Schröder.

Now I’m not so sure about that and my thought process leans more towards Teague being the point guard for the future of this Atlanta franchise.

Early in the season, I was singing high praises of Jeff. Teague looked invigorated and was playing like an All-Star point guard. He was undergoing a bit of a shooting slump at the time, but his play looked well improved from the previous season. Continue Reading…

Next level of flight

Bo Churney —  May 28, 2014

When the Hawks’ season ended, I did not want to write a “review piece” immediately. The way the team ended the season — blowing a very good opportunity to upset the 1-seed in the playoffs — sort of left a bad taste in the mouths of Hawks fans.

Now, almost three weeks later, I think I can give an appropriate view of what this season (on and off the court) meant and what to expect from future versions of the Hawks.

The Hawks were the 8-seed and they lost in the first round of the playoffs, but I see this season as a success. Despite a new head coach and a myriad of injuries that nearly sank the team, what the Hawks showed this season is that they really have an identity and a positive one at that. GM Danny Ferry started forging this identity last season, but with what is now mostly “his personnel”, the fans started to notice more of a team forming instead of just the “collection of individuals” that past squads resembled. Continue Reading…

Marc Stein recently reported that there were some “rumbles” that the Hawks could lob themselves into the bidding for restricted free agent Greg Monroe.

“There have been some recent rumbles on the personnel grapevine that the Hawks will lob themselves into the bidding for Detroit Pistons restricted free agent Greg Monroe. The close ties between Monroe’s agent, David Falk, and Falk’s former star client Ferry make such rumbles inevitable. Whether that chatter morphs into full-fledged courtship remains to be seen.”

Possible agent based talk that has a positive influence on a client? Well I have never seen that happen before!

There are two sides to this: on one hand, you have a report from Marc Stein, who is one of the most connected journalists in the business. On the other hand, I will always be skeptical of reports involving agents because an agent’s job is to make their client look as desirable as possible.

The way I see this is that Monroe is a very good power forward/center, but the Hawks already have Paul Millsap and Al Horford under contract. Unless the Hawks trade away Millsap — which does not seem likely right now — for a non-big, what would be the point of tendering an offer to Monroe? He’s a good player, but unless there’s an opening at the starting PF or C position, I just cannot see Atlanta making an offer.

FINAL
Pacers win series, 4-3

IND(4-3) 95 – 80 (3-4) ATL

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 30 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 15 pts, 17 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

So that’s that.

The Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday after a lid seemed to form over their basket in Indiana. The Pacer defense was good, but the Hawks continued to get open look after open look. Unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans, those shots just would not fall.

The Hawks and Pacers were essentially even through the first quarter, but the second quarter is what set this game apart. Paul George got hot, scoring 10 points in the quarter, and the Hawks became icy cold, shooting 4-for-20 from the field in the period, including a 1-for-15 stretch to close out the half. The second half was like the first quarter: essentially a tie. However, the disastrous second quarter cost the Hawks the game and effectively ended their season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: This wasn’t exactly a banner game from Jeff: 5-for-16 shooting, five turnovers, and five fouls. Like all of the Hawks, he just couldn’t get his shot to fall, and that affected Jeff more than any other Hawk, as the defense is able to close down and focus more on Teague when the shots aren’t falling. 5/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was 6-for-21 from the field, but he did maintain his other strengths by continuously getting rebounds and jumping passing lanes. Just one note I want to take away from this game: after the way this series went, I find it odd that Millsap couldn’t get a foul call to save his life here. Not a conspiracy theory or anything, just officiating needs to be more consistent across games. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was one of the only Hawks that was actually able to find the bottom of the net during the game. He finished with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting, the best shooting by percentage of any Hawk during the game. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: It wasn’t DeMarre’s game, either. Paul George was hitting some extremely tough looks over DeMarre, a matchup disadvantage that was further compounded by DeMarre going 1-for-7 from the field. 5/10

Pero Antic: Pero was 0-for-5 from the floor… yet he posted the highest plus-minus of any Hawks with a plus-2 rating. Plus-minus isn’t everything, but it does seem to be an accurate reflection of Pero’s defensive abilities when compared to Mike Scott. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series tied, 3-3

IND(3-3) 88 – 95 (3-3) ATL

Key Performers:
D. West (IND): 24 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 18 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well it’s not like the Hawks lost in the most heartbreaking way imaginable, right? Oh wait…

For the second time in the series, the Hawks blew a late fourth quarter lead which a chance to either take a strangle-hold on the series, or in this game, to completely ice it altogether. Instead, we have the Hawks giving up what was once a double-digit lead, and then to make matters worse, they fouled with 33 seconds left after throwing the ball away while down only two points. (both mistakes courtesy of Lou Williams) Overall, it was just another postseason spectacle that people have become accustomed to seeing from Atlanta sports.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Teague may have missed a couple of opportunities last in the game, but it shouldn’t take away from his awesome offensive performance that he had. He scored 29 points — 18 in the second half — and was truly entertaining to watch as he dribbled, drove, and spun his way into the teeth of the Indiana defense. He also only had one turnover in 40 minutes of play. 9/10

Paul Millsap: He wasn’t exactly efficient from the field with his 4-for-13 shooting, but he was usually the steady force on both ends of the floor throughout the entire game. I’m going to repeat his stat line from the key performer listing because it’s worth repeating: 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He might not have always been successful with his shooting, but he gave his maximum effort in this game. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Wasn’t exactly a banner night for Korver. First off, he couldn’t really hit anything. Then, he got into foul trouble, which makes things worse because even if Kyle can’t hit his open shots, the attention he draws from the defense is always worth the spacing. And of course, he got a technical because Joey Crawford and Bennett Salvatore were officiating this game. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: It was one of DeMarre’s better defensive performances of the series, as he forced Paul George into 7-for-18 shooting. George was able to get to the FT line 10 times, but none of those attempts were due to a foul on DeMarre. 7.5/10

Pero Antic: Here’s where I’m conflicted: Pero played awful offensive basketball. He was 1-for-7 from the field with three turnovers… yet the Hawks were plus-11 when he was on the floor. The Pacers are still guarding him even though he isn’t hitting his shots, so I really don’t know what to make of his contributions. At least he’s good defensively. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Hawks lead the series, 3-2

IND(2-3) 97 – 107 (3-2) ATL

Key Performers:

M. Scott (ATL): 17 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast

P. George (IND): 26 pts, 12 reb, 6 Ast, 6 stl

[FULL BOX SCORE]

At home, the bench thrives. Or that’s at least how the narrative goes.

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t worried about any stinking narratives Monday night when Mike Scott dropped 17 second-quarter points and the road team took a commanding 3-2 series. lead. This game was much less about Indiana staying close to Atlanta and more about the Hawks squandering opportunity after opportunity. They couldn’t execute much on offense and when they did, the shot simply wouldn’t fall. Well that was the case for three of the four quarters, not including the second.

As a team, the Hawks scored 41 points to Indy’s 19 in the second. Shelvin Mack scored 13 off the bench in that frame alone and Atlanta built a 61-40 lead at the break. The Pacers stormed back in the second half, but couldn’t fight back from the 20-point deficit.

Now, the Hawks have a chance to win their first playoff series since 2010-11, when Atlanta stifled Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: When the Hawks offense was falling apart, Teague kept it above water. Atlanta couldn’t get anything going to start the contest, but the point guard knocked down a few shots early to keep up with the Pacers start. He was one of the Hawks’ six players to finish the night in double-digits points-wise. 7/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap is still the engine pushing this Hawks machine forward. He’s gotten the better of the likes of Roy Hibbert and David West and continued to do the same Monday. Another great all-around game for the forward. 10/10

Kyle Korver: Korver got the 3-ball working Monday and pushed the Hawks with a team-high +21. He hit five triples and nearly recorded a double-double. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll chipped in 15 points, but struggled a bit defensively as Paul George exploded for 26 points. 6/10

Pero Antic: Yet another really bad night for Antic. Couldn’t figure out anything on offense, but had a few solid defensive possessions. 1/10

Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series tied, 2-2

IND(2-2) 91 – 88 (2-2) ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 29 pts, 7 reb, 3 blk
P. George (IND): 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

A win today would have been gigantic for the Hawks. Going up 3-1, winning both games at home, and sending Indiana back home in an even bigger mental mess than they’re already in would have given Atlanta a lot of momentum going into Game 5. However, that wasn’t the case.

The Pacers they played a lot more like themselves. The body language issues that appeared to be plaguing them the entire series were for the most part non existent. The defense returned to form, minus a poor performance in the 2nd quarter, and of course, since they were playing an Atlanta sports team, something that made no sense had to happen. That something was a David West clutch three pointer. Then just as the Hawks thought they had hope with a chance to tie the game at the end, they couldn’t convert. The Pacers missed free throws to ice the game, giving the Hawks one last shot. The Pacers played excellent defense, blew up any semblance of a play, and left the Hawks with a Pero Antic contested 3 that didn’t go in.

Despite the Hawks loss, this series is far from over. The Hawks showed in Game 1 they can win in Indiana. Game 5 is a huge game however. With today’s win, the Pacers have won 3 games in Atlanta since 2006. Winning game 5 would give the Hawks an advantage and put history on their side. Should they lose however, they have to win two straight games. Something they haven’t shown the ability to do.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: While Teague never had any consistency scoring, shooting 5-for-15 for 14 points, he more than made up for it in the rest of his game. 7 assists, 6 rebounds and a solid defensive effort. However, he did have 4 turnovers. Not his best game in the world but very far from bad as there were moments he looked completely unstoppable. 7/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a monster. 10-for-18 from the field for 29 points, 7 rebounds, and he even swatted himself 3 blocks. Millsap again stretched the floor for the Hawks in a big way hitting three of his six three point attempts. When Millsap wasn’t stretching the floor he was dominating everywhere else. Post ups, face ups, spot ups, pull ups, isolations it didn’t matter. Millsap was scoring. On defense he made Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinimi, and David West’s lives a living hell constantly harassing them. Millsap was the main reason the Hawks had a chance to win at the end. 10/10

Kyle Korver: Good news and bad news. Good news, Korver was able to let it loose from long range and find shots that he wanted to take. Bad news, while Korver let it fly from deep with eight attempts, he only managed to make three of them. He did however play some decent defense and pull down 9 rebounds. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll on offense was not pretty. Was almost a non factor. On defense he shined. It would be easy to look at Paul George’s stat line and blame Carroll for that but he contested a lot of shots. Also got to give Carroll some iron man props. He played 40 minutes, more than any other player besides Paul George. Still, it’s very difficult to look past how ineffective Carroll was on offense. 6/10

Pero Antic: I’m not sure if the Pacers are starting to figure Antic out but he had a dreadful game. Defense was alright but other than he contributed nothing. 1/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 98, Pacers 85

Bo Churney —  April 25, 2014

FINAL
Hawks lead series, 2-1

IND(1-2) 85 – 98 (2-1) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 2 reb, 10 ast
L. Stephenson (IND): 21 pts, 13 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

It was a must-win situation for the Hawks; losing meant relinquishing home-court advantage back to the Pacers. They needed a strong performance in their home building and what happened?

Jeff Teague shrugged.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a sold-out and raucous crowd, the Hawks used a 59-point second half to take a 2-1 series lead on Indiana. Jeff Teague, despite the 7-for-20 shooting night, was tremendous, as he was constantly attacking the Pacer defense. Helping out Teague were Korver and DeMarre Carroll, who combined to shoot 12-for-17 from the floor and 6-for-11 from 3-point range. They were rewarded with a trip to the podium after the game.

demarre

The Hawks now have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Saturday.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: I’m just going to let Jeff’s highlights speak here:

Like I said in the intro, I don’t care if Jeff was 7-for-20 from the field. He was extremely aggressive and produced a lot of open looks for himself and his teammates. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a bit sloppy on the night (six turnovers), but he still managed to put up 14 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists. One of his biggest contributions was a clutch 3-pointer that he banked in as the shot clock expired. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle finally got his shots to start going in, going 6-for-9 from the field for 20 points. He was responsible for one of the daggers in the fourth quarter, sinking an open corner 3 to give the Hawks a 12-point lead with not much time remaining. 9/10

DeMarre Carroll: In addition to scoring 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting, DeMarre held Paul George to just 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. He had no turnovers and had a plus-16 rating for the game. It’s probably a good thing that the Hawks didn’t trade him “and more!” for Jeff Green. 10/10

Pero Antic: In 23 minutes, Pero was 0-for-5, scored on one point and only had three rebounds… yet he probably still outplayed Roy Hibbert. Hopefully Pero can get his shooting touch back soon, because he might have a couple of huge shots come his way during the rest of the series. 5/10 Continue Reading…