Archives For Game Recap

The 2014-15 regular season is over.

Just last year, the Hawks were fighting until the end of the season to secure a playoff berth and sneak into the postseason as the 8-seed in the East.

How things have changed in 365 days. The Hawks — having already secured the 1-seed in the East with 60 wins — have been taking things lightly for a while now, prepping their stars for rest in hopes of a deep playoff run. That rest included Wednesday night’s game against the Bulls, even though all five regular Hawks starters played at least 20 minutes. But when the fourth quarter started and no Atlanta starter was to be found on the court, the message from the team was clear:

The Hawks have bigger battles to fight soon and a 91-85 loss to the Bulls at the end of the regular season will have very little meaning in May and June. Continue Reading…

After trailing the Knicks at home by as much as 17, the Hawks tied the score at 87-87 on a Shelvin Mack 3-pointer with 9:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Hawks’ shaky perimeter defense then allowed the Knicks to hit three straight 3-pointers, including a pair by rookie Langston Galloway (6-for-6 on the night) and another by Lance Thomas, as the Knicks held on for a 112-108 victory in Atlanta. Overall, the Hawks allowed the Knicks to shoot 13-for-25 (52%) from 3-point range.

Galloway finished with 26 points, a career high, prompting Hawks radio voice Steve Holman to say he would include him on his Rookie of the Year ballot (media voters must include 10 names on their ballot).

“He’s definitely in my top 10 right now,” said Holman on the Hawks broadcast on 92.9 The Game. Continue Reading…

The Washington Wizards outscored the Hawks 38-22 in the first quarter en route to a 108-99 victory in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as Atlanta rested all of its starters. Of far greater importance, the Nets lost to the Bucks and the Pacers defeated the Thunder to draw even with Brooklyn in the standings with a 37-43 record. The Nets own a tie break with the Pacers, which must end with a better record than Brooklyn to finish ahead of them in the standings.

The Hawks trailed 66-45 at halftime but outscored the Wizards 54-42 in the second half, closing the gap to single digits. Mike Scott led the Hawks with 19 points off the bench. He added three rebounds and an assist and was the only Hawk to finish the game without a negative plus-minus. John Jenkins led the starters with 17 points, including 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range, three rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Dennis Schröder started at point guard, scored 14 points and added six rebounds and three assists. Shelvin Mack was the only other double-digit scorer, adding 14 points, four rebounds and six assists off the bench. Pero Antić had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench. Continue Reading…

It is amazing how times have changed.

On November 7, the Hawks fell to 1-3 on the season in a loss to the Hornets in overtime. You may remember that Lance Stephenson hit a banked, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win that game for Charlotte. That loss certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of many Hawks fans and left some wondering if this team’s playoff hopes were not as good as previously perceived

Fast-forward five months and the Hawks are the 1-seed in the East, raising banners for their Southeast Division title, and have 60 wins under their belt after controlling the Hornets in a 104-80 win on Friday night.

Once again, the star of the game for the Hawks was Mike Muscala filling in for the injured Paul Millsap. Muscala was 8-for-9 from the field with 17 points, good enough for the third game of 15 or more points over his last seven contests. The development of Muscala over the past several weeks has been a revelation for the Hawks, as Muscala gives Atlanta yet another capable rotation big to fall back on. Continue Reading…

The gravitational force of Kyle Korver sucked in a pair of defenders, setting up Al Horford for a dunk and a 112-111 Hawks lead with 19 seconds to play in a back-and-forth game with the Nets in Brooklyn. After missed threes by Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanović, Jeff Teague added a pair of free throws for the final 114-111 margin as the Hawks completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Nets. The win extended Atlanta’s franchise record for victories in a season to 59, a record that was set with last night’s win over the Phoenix Suns.

The game was an understated masterpiece for Korver, who finished with only nine points on six shots (3-for-4 from 3-point range) but added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. Korver was a game-high plus-25. The only other player with a double-digit positive plus-minus was Horford (plus-12). In July, Grantland’s Zach Lowe revealed that only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George had a higher “gravity score” than Korver last season, a player tracking metric that measures how closely a player is guarded away from the ball. On the winning play, Brook Lopez cheated toward Korver as he received the ball, even though Deron Williams had him closely guarded. That left Horford alone under the basket for the winning dunk.

In the first half, the Hawks led 46-38 on a pair of Jeff Teague free throws with 5:45 to play in the second quarter. Brooklyn responded with a Lopez jumper, a three by Joe Johnson and a Bogdanović layup to draw within 47-45 with 4:41 remaining in the second quarter. From there, Mike Scott had a putback and a dunk to help Atlanta ignite an 18-10 run to close the half. Teague added a pair of layups and a 5-footer and Horford a pair of baskets as the Hawks led 65-56 at halftime. Horford had a game-high 15 points with two rebounds at the half and Scott added 14 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Continue Reading…

After a couple of days off, the Hawks wiped the court with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, winning 96-69 and clinching the best record in franchise history by notching their 58th win of the season.

“I’m very proud of our players and very proud of our organization,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer in his post game presser. “I’m very happy for our city. To have the most wins in franchise history, it’s important to take a moment and recognize the work of our players and the organization.”

The game started off with Al Horford missing an easy bunny at the rim, but the tides changed quickly as the Hawks responded with a 8-0 run to put a decent cushion between them and the Suns. The contest stayed relatively close for the remainder of the first half, which caused some chipiness between the two teams. Pero Antic, Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll, Budenholzer, and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris all received technical fouls, mostly over displeasure over how the game was being officiated. Continue Reading…

The Hawks won big in the box score by beating the Nets 131-99, but they could have lost big time with an injury to Paul Millsap.

Millsap was injured in the second quarter on a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark. Clark rammed into Millsap’s shoulder on a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in Millsap coming out of the game for good. Millsap will be re-evaluated on Sunday and Monday, but this is definitely poor timing for the Hawks’ leading scorer to sustain an injury.

Back to the game, the Hawks absolutely dominated the Nets in every fashion, maintaining a lead of 39 points at one point in the third quarter. “We played great tonight as a team, moving the ball,” said Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and eight assists in 24 minutes. “We trust one another on the floor. We know guys can make shots and tonight we made a lot of them.”

Indeed they did make a lot of shots, as the Hawks were 49-for-82 (59.8%) from the field and 17-for-33 (51.5%) from 3. The accurate shooting resulted in 40 assists for the Hawks, two shy of the team’s season-high set against the Sacramento Kings a few weeks ago. Continue Reading…

Sometimes Mike Budenholzer comes up with clever ways of punting.

The Hawks lost to the Pistons on Tuesday night by a score of 105-95 and all five Hawks starters played… but not in the way that we are used to seeing.

About midway through the first quarter — with the Hawks’ starters struggling majorly defensively against Detroit — Budenholzer pulled all five starters in favor of the bench unit. The bench guys were actually able to fight back and make the game reasonably close again by the end of the first quarter.

And then Budenholzer did it again; he subbed all five starters back in to start the second quarter, followed by another five-man platoon sub later in the quarter. Budenholzer continued this strategy throughout the game, until pretty much everyone played a nice, even number of minutes. hawks-minutes Continue Reading…

Not only did Kyle Korver have a non-spectacular first half, but the Milwaukee Bucks were sticking around and giving the Atlanta Hawks a close game to worry about on their home floor. That all changed when Korver went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter.

The run by Korver took little more than a minute and consistent of four long jumpers, each drawing a bigger ovation from the crowd than the previous. When the dust settled, a five-point game was turned into a 16-point breakaway, which gave the Hawks enough of a buffer to hold off the Bucks and get the 101-88 win.

Those 11 points were the only ones that Korver scored all night, as the sharpshooter was 0-for-6 from the field outside of that 65-second period in the middle of the third. Korver also had five assists in his 34 minutes of play.

Outside of Korver’s run, DeMarre Carroll was the most important Hawks player on the court on Monday night. Carroll scored over 20 points for his second consecutive game, notching an impressive stat-line of 23 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high five assists. Carroll’s offensive game showed his underrated diversity of skill, as he hit two 3-pointers, scored off a variety of cuts, and he even hit a few floaters in the lane. Obviously Carroll is not a guy who is going to carry you offensively, but he is often the guy that scores a difficult bucket when the Hawks need it. Continue Reading…

The Hawks clinched the 1-seed in the East on Friday night after beating the Miami Heat and after the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Brooklyn Nets. On Saturday night with a back-to-back, Coach Budenholzer decided to rest a guy or two.

…Or three. Or four… or the entire starting lineup.

Dennis Schröder, John Jenkins, Kent Bazemore, Elton Brand, and Mike Muscala comprised the Hawks’ starting lineup on Saturday night as they fell to the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 115-100. Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams, and Mo Williams all scored at least 17 points to lead the Hornets to their 31th victory on the season.

The mindset among some Hawks fans while this game was taking place was questioning why the Hawks would essentially just throwaway a game like this by resting all five starters at once, even with the 1-seed clinched. However, there are plenty of reasons why this made sense, with the most subtle reason being that the Hornets are one of the teams behind the Brooklyn Nets in the standings. Since the Hawks have the right to swap picks with the Nets, it definitely did not hurt that the Hawks let this game go.

It also did not hurt to give guys like Mike Muscala some playing time. Muscala, who is held in high regard by members of the front office, capitalized on his extended playing time by notching his first career double double: 18 points and 10 rebounds with four assists and two blocks in 34 minutes. He also hit two 3-pointers to up his season total to 4-for-11 from behind the arc. Continue Reading…