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Yahoo! NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Pacers shooting guards Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner got into a fist fight on Friday at a practice on the eve of the playoffs.

On the eve of this Eastern Conference series, the wobbling No. 1 seed punctuated its final playoff preparations in a most self-destructive way: Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.

HawksHoop explored the Pacers’ fractured chemistry in March. And although the Pacers won convincingly tonight to even the first round series 1-1, the television broadcast showed Stephenson standing behind the bench fuming in the first half after being taken out of the game. Stephenson started and played 25 minutes, scoring seven points with five assists, three rebounds and three turnovers. Turner played only 11 minutes and scored three points with two rebounds and two assists.

According to the Atlanta Hawks’ official Twitter account, Jeff Teague has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after leading the team to a 3-1 record, including wins over the playoff-bound Heat and Nets, and a conference-best 7th consecutive postseason appearance. Teague averaged 20 points, 6 assists and nearly two steals per game over that stretch, including 51% shooting from the floor and 92% from the free throw line, and has never missed the playoffs since entering the NBA.

For the week, according to the official Hawks press release, Teague “led all Eastern Conference point guards in +/- ratio (+37) and made field goals (tied with 27), while ranking second in total steals (seven) and tied for second in made free throws (22).” It is the first Player of the Week honor of Teague’s career.

In February I blasted Teague, writing that he, “looks like one of those guys who doesn’t have that much love for the game. It gets him paid so he shows up, but that’s about as far as it goes.” After watching Teague will his team into the postseason, that statement appears disproved. Teague is playing the best basketball of his career and I doubt either George Hill or Mario Chalmers is looking forward to facing him in the first round.

FINAL

BKN.gif(43-36) 88 – 93 (36-43)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 27 pts, 10 reb
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta’s magic number is now 1 after an impressive, albeit surprising victory over the Nets. Surprising in the context of this game, not in general (the Nets were without Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Andray Blatche,) as the Hawks went 1-18 from three point range and had three sub-twenty point quarters yet somehow pulled away by five. A narrow margin in favor of the Nets dissipated in the second quarter thanks to strong minutes by the bench squad, and Atlanta soon pulled ahead to go up by double-digits. The Hawks scored a whopping 39 points in that second quarter thanks to some crisp defense, a whole lot of Jeff Teague and transition basketball. After a third quarter where Atlanta cooled off and just barely clung on to their lead, the fourth quarter turned into a back-and-forth affair that favored the Hawks in the final minutes. Down three with 47 ticks to go, the Nets looked to Joe Johnson, who was suffocated by DeMarre Carroll, forcing the miss. Teague took it down the other end and dropped in a floater off a high screen and roll. Ball game.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: A perfect game from Paul Millsap tonight, coming up huge in a must-win. Having to guard smaller opponents all night, Millsap stood up to the task without fault, holding Paul Pierce to 5-14 shooting and still helping on the interior. On the offensive end, Millsap came up with some big buckets in the fourth and finished with a big 27-point night on 10-19 shooting from the field. He also collected 10 rebounds. 10/10

Elton Brand: Coach Bud elected to not overplay Elton Brand a whole lot tonight, but in his 22 minutes of action he was his usual effective self on both ends. Most impressively, he totaled four blocks and two steals over that stretch. He also put home a couple of baby jumpers in the early going. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague had a field day tonight, especially in the time where he was matched up with his younger brother, Marquis. Oh, poor Marquis. Jeff went to town with a slew of crossovers and takes to the rim, finishing with 22 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Um… Ouch. Korver didn’t put up a three until the third quarter, when he launched two ill-advised misses. He went on to go 1-8 from the field and 0-5 from deep on the night, never finding any sort of a rhythm. However, he came up with a big rebound and strip in the closing couple of minutes. 3/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll played a phenomenal game, absolutely shutting down the red hot Joe Johnson, holding him at 9 points on 4-15 shooting. Carroll was also major on the boards where the Hawks were a bit out-matched, grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points for the double-double. Huge performance. 10/10

Continue Reading…

FINAL

BOS(23-55) 97 – 105 (35-43)ATL

Key Performers:
R. Rondo (BOS): 19 pts, 12 ast, 3 stl
J. Teague (ATL): 19 pts, 8 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Say it with me guys. Playoffs, baby! Play-offs! Well, not yet, not for sure, but this win definitely got the Hawks one step closer. And what a win it was. Atlanta opened up an early double-digit lead thanks to a ridiculous shooting stretch – making 19 of their first 25 shot attempts. A late second-quarter comeback by Boston cut the Hawks lead to single-digits, only to take control of the game in the quarter following. Around the midway point of the fourth, Boston led by nine points, and things seemed bleak for the Hawks. That is, until they went on a 19-3 run. Nineteen to three. A couple of Korver treys and big plays by every other starter helped the Hawks pulled off an impressive victory when the game looked all but over. Oh, and the Hawks were without Pero Antic who was inactive with a sore ankle.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: Teague’s jumper was cooking tonight, the tip of the iceberg that was his terrific outing. Teague connected on three of his six tries from deep, including one huge long bomb to spark the Hawks’ insane comeback. Every other facet of Teague’s game was on point tonight, and he finished with 19 points, 8 assists and 2 steals on 6-12 shooting from the field. 9/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre fell victim to some outrageous Jeff Green shots in this one, yet still held him to just 5-15 shooting from the field! Strong all-around game from Carroll, which has become old news at this point. 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists on 6-13 shooting. 9/10

Kyle Korver: SAUZ! Korver was all over the place tonight, connecting on colossally important threes, making superb passes and hit the boards well to top it off. Somehow the Celtics left Korver WIDE OPEN on two possessions, coming off of made buckets. One of them were during Atlanta’s 19-3 run, so thanks for that Boston. Korver was 4-6 from deep, scoring 17, grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 4 dimes with a team-high +17. 10/10

Elton Brand:

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33 minutes, 13 points and 13 rebounds, 300% shooting from the field. Okay, I made up the last stat. But he was terrific on all fronts. 10/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap had far from the greatest of games, but came up big on the glass and in the final minutes with a score inside and game-sealing block on Avery Bradley. 5.5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

CLE(31-46) 98 – 117 (33-42) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 20 pts, 2 reb, 12 ast
D. Waiters (CLE): 23 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

This one was over halfway through the 1st quarter. The Hawks went up big, they went up early, and they dominated all night long. The Cavs never even got close to a comeback in a horrible showing. The Hawks did a great job of running their offense perfectly and playing some even better defense. Everybody on the Hawks shot well and it was a big win for the Hawks playoff hopes with New York losing.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Pero Antic: Antic didn’t do too much tonight. He only shot 5 shots, made 2 of them, and was just kind of out there. He didn’t hurt the team with his play though so no complaints.  6/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was the driving force behind this blowout. He ran the offense perfectly, showed the perfect aggression and created tons of open looks. 20 points and 12 assists for Teague, Kyrie Irving stood no chance. 10/10

Paul Millsap: Not to be outdone, Millsap had one hell of a game himself. Dominating the Cavaliers front line of Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson. 16 points, 11 rebounds, and he even tacked on a nice passing display with 6 assists. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll was fantastic on defense and he even shot the ball well to go with it. 10/10

Kyle Korver: I’m starting to wonder if Korver is still a little hurt, he just hasn’t looked consistent ever since returning from injury. Not a good night for him with only 8 points and three makes, two from long range. 7/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

WAS(38-35) 101 – 97 (31-41)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Wall (WAS): 25 pts, 7 reb, 6 ast
P. Antic (ATL): 13 pts, 12 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Ugh.

Bad luck continues to strike as the Hawks visited Washington without their best perimeter defender, DeMarre Carroll, and their lord and savior Elton Brand. Still, the starters played a helluva game and were backed by some strong nights by Lou Williams and Dennis Schröder, but Atlanta couldn’t pull through as they drop their sixth straight and now stand at 31-41 on the year. A last-ditch effort by the Hawks to come back from eight down with just over a minute left gave Atlanta the ball down two with under 20 ticks to go. Jeff Teague missed a well-defended reverse lay-up and Drew Gooden iced the clinching free throws.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap played a whopping 40 minutes on the night, but continues to struggle with his offense. He shot 5/13 from the field, but was orchestrating the offense really well with 5 dimes. His getting Trevor Booker into foul trouble early and often turned around to bite Atlanta in the behind, since Drew Gooden hopped off the bench and spread the floor, finishing with 16 points on 5/5 shooting. 4/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier started for the sidelined DeMarre Carroll and filled in quite well. Martin drained a couple of threes en route to 13 points and 4 rebounds. He was by no means a minus on defense, closing out well and not losing his man on cuts. The kind of performance to warrant more minutes, if he weren’t getting them out of dire need. 9/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack did an exceptional job on Bradley Beal tonight, harassing him over screens and forcing a poor 5/15 shooting night. Although Mack was just 2/6 from the field, he did a little bit of everything, grabbing 6 rebounds and assisting on 6 buckets while committing just a single turnover. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff Teague did plenty to give the Hawks a real chance at this game. Well, he missed the game-tying lay-up in the final seconds, but besides that! Teague was aggressive, showing off his speed against one of the most polarizing speed demons in the NBA. Wild finishes inside were dropping and we saw zero hesitance on his jumper. Jeff finished with 19 points on 8/17 shooting from the field, including two threes. 8/10

Pero Antic: Oh yes, way to return with a statement Pero! Antic did a lot of everything, setting hard screens, work on the glass, knocking it down from deep… Antic finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds – leading the team in +/- with a +24 thanks to some active defense. 9/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

MIN(35-35) 107 – 83 (31-39)ATL

Key Performers:
Gorgui Dieng (MIN): 15 pts, 15 reb
Mike Scott (ATL): 15 pts, 7 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks struggled with turnovers and spacing issues all night with Kyle Korver out of the lineup, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road 107-83. Atlanta shot 7-28 from downtown for a measly 25% clip from deep, and committed a whopping 25 turnovers – their second worst display of ball control on the season. The T-Wolves scored just under a quarter of their points in transition, mostly through leak outs that were bound to be on the scouting report. The Hawks kept it relatively close through two and a half quarters, until a slew of giveaways helped widen the gap in favor of Minnesota. With Atlanta squaring off against Portland tomorrow, coach Budenholzer emptied the bench about three minutes into the fourth to give his starters much-needed rest.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap couldn’t get anything going tonight, often settling for jumpers or being crowded down low. A 4-13 shooting performance from Paul will rarely lead to a W, but on the bight side he was excellent just about everywhere else. Millsap showed a lot of activity defensively and collected 10 boards in just 27 minutes. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague didn’t score a single point. Not one. An 0-5 night was partly in thanks to Ricky Rubio’s excellent defense, but at the end of the day is still unacceptable. Teague did find his teammates with some rather impressive dimes, finishing with 6 assists, and properly defended Rubio for most of the night. Teague went under every screen and didn’t allow any easy looks. 4/10

Pero Antic: Antic had an abysmal night, never forcing Gorgui Dieng – Minny’s only true defensive presence inside – to come out of the paint. With Kyle Korver out, Antic was Atlanta’s best threat from three-point land tonight but couldn’t connect. Antic was 1-5 from the field, 1-4 from downtown, making him 4 for his last 22 three-point tries. And it should go without saying he didn’t really stand a chance against Kevin Love. 2/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre had a strong outing, hitting his jumper with regularity and hounding Kevin Martin on the opposite end. Carroll was 4-9 from the field, scoring 11 points, grabbing 6 boards and coming away with 3 steals. On nights like these when the team is a bit of a mess, it’s always nice to see DeMarre providing stability with his defense and highly efficient shot attempts. 8/10

Mike Scott: Scott replaced Korver in the starting five, but scrapped down low for boards and only got into his offensive flow until he shifted over to the four. Scott was not a great Kyle Korver, but he was a solid Mike Scott tonight. 15 points and 7 boards on 6-11 shooting, and his usual lapses on the defensive end. 8/10
Continue Reading…

In what has become the rule, rather than the exception, yesterday’s NBA trade deadline was yet another snooze fest. The only GM who made a significant move was Larry Bird, who traded the expiring Danny Granger, whom the Pacers were unlikely to retain, for Evan Turner, who is averaging over 17 points, six rebounds and almost four assists per game.

One team that did NOT make a significant move was the Atlanta Hawks. Danny Ferry traded the rights to Cenk Akyol, a former 2nd round pick who will never play in the NBA, for Antawn Jamison, who may never play for the Hawks. With Real GM reporting that Cartier Martin has been signed for the balance of the season and Micah Hart reporting that Jared Cunningham has been recalled from the D-League, it’s possible the Hawks have already waived Jamison.

There was a lot of confusion on Twitter and message boards last night about the purpose of the trade, since Adrian Wojnarowski with Yahoo! Sports tweeted immediately after that a buyout was possible. The purpose, from the Hawks’ perspective, was explained by Brad Turner, the L.A. Times beat writer for the Clippers: Continue Reading…

Shams Charania with Real GM tweeted that the Hawks have signed Cartier Martin for the remainder of the season:

The Hawks yesterday waived Martin ahead of the conclusion of his last 10-day contract to create an open roster spot to complete the trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for Antawn Jamison.

There is no word yet as to which player the Hawks have waived to open a roster spot for Martin. According to Micah Hart, it’s not Jared Cunningham, since he has been recalled from the NBA Development League:

As announced by the NBA, Paul Millsap has been awarded the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday January 20th to Sunday January 26th.

During said stretch Millsap played in four contests and averaged 21.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 steals and 2 blocks on 50.8% shooting from the field in just 31 minutes a game. The Hawks won 3 of their 4 games, with Millsap dominating in the wins over Miami, Orlando and Milwaukee. Atlanta’s lone loss was to San Antonio, who trumped the Hawks by 26.

This is Millsap’s first Player of the Week award, and the first award given to a Hawks player this season. He was able to beat out the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 37.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this week (including a 62-point outing) and the Heat’s LeBron James, who averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 54.3% shooting from the field.

This award could hopefully mean that Millsap’s play in Horford’s absence is gaining recognition – which in theory could help in his All-Star bid. The Hawks haven’t sent a player to the All-Star game since the 2011-2012 season when Joe Johnson was on the team.