Well Hawks fans, stop me if you’ve heard this one since the All-Star break: Dennis Schroder has run afoul of head coach Mike Budenholzer and the Atlanta Hawks… again.
First it was Schroder getting back to the team late after the All-Star break citing visa issues, which garnered him a one-game suspension.
Then a couple of days later, Schroder misses the team bus in Orlando. He gets benched for the first quarter.
Going into the game last night against the two-time NBA Finalists and the greatest show on court Golden State Warriors, the story of the night was supposed to be a measuring stick of how much of a contender the Hawks are going into the playoffs.
Umm, to quote that old Blue Magic song…
“Let the side show begin…HURRY HURRRY!…step right on innnnn”.
By the end of the night, the Atlanta Hawks were handed their third consecutive loss, getting beat by Golden State 119-111 and Schroder doing his best version of being “Dennis the Menace”.
Anybody missing Jeff Teague yet? The way things are going, you will by playoff time. Trust me.
The Atlanta Hawks capitalized on the same issues that the Warriors have had since Kevin Durant injured his knee. They come out a little slow and sluggish; meanwhile the Hawks used an early 10-0 run to grab an early 14-7 lead. The Hawks extended the lead in the first quarter riding the outstanding play from Dennis Schroder, keeping the Warriors at bay for the rest of the first quarter.
How good was Schroder? Dennis dropped 19 points in the first quarter on the strength of knocking down seven of nine shots including four of five from the land of 3. Atlanta rode that wave to an early 42-35 lead at the end of the first quarter. He went on to finish the game on the bench after playing about three minutes in the second half.
Was he injured? No.
But this scenario had a little bit to do with it.
Dwight Howard tossed an outlet pass out of bounds. Seems harmless, happens all the time in an NBA game. For some reason, it seemed to tick off Schroder. It ticked Schroder off so much that he forgot to cover Steph Curry and Curry knocked down a three pointer.
Yeah, that Steph Curry. The two-time MVP. There’s a nasty rumor going around that this guy can shoot…
His brother Seth can shoot.
His father Dell can shoot.
I bet his wife Ayesha can shoot.
I could believe his kids can knock down ten footers… like now.
Get the point? Well Schroder apparently didn’t get the point and Budenholzer made his by showing Schroder the bench for the rest of the night.
Let’s get Dennis Schroder’s insight after the game courtesy of ESPN.com:
” I don’t understand Coach’s decision,” he said. “Maybe I’m too competitive, trying to win games. But I don’t get that one.”
Okay let me help shine the light a little bit in that regard. Since the All-Star break, Dennis Schroder has forgotten the number one rule in being a point guard…
You have to be a leader on the floor and off.
This is a microcosm of what is wrong with the Atlanta Hawks and why they have dropped six of their last eight games. Leadership. Cleveland have leaders in LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and a ton of veterans in the locker room. Boston has Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford (Remember him Hawks fans?) and Avery Bradley. Toronto has Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan. Notice every team that was mentioned had a point guard listed above.
I’m not getting in the mind of Howard, but I can’t blame the guy for being slightly irritated for being yelled at by a guy that seems to struggle reading a calendar and a time clock. Throw in the fact that Howard dominated the backboard grabbing 19 rebounds, it’s not a good idea to get on a guy that is working hard down low. Furthermore as a point guard and a leader, Schroder needs to learn that you deal with player’s personalities differently. ESPECIALLY DWIGHT HOWARD!
To Howard’s credit, he downplayed the incident (for now)…his take courtesy of ESPN…
“It happens during the course of the game,” he said. “It just cost us a 3. We’ve got to make sure we nip it in the bud quick and move on to the next play.”
If history teaches us anything Hawks fans, this team is in serious peril. Dwight Howard is notoriously sensitive and he tends to get frustrated with ball dominant guards. Don’t believe me? Go have a long chat with James Harden and Kobe Bryant and see what they say. Sure, what he said above sounded real dandy and sweet. But in Los Angeles and Houston, even Orlando when Howard gets unappreciated in his own mind, he can shut down like your power bill for lack of payment. Remember the infamous Stan Van Gundy press conference before he got fired? They looked like “Goodfellas”, didn’t they? With Howard smiling?
Only Van Gundy knew it was fake. Pray that quote isn’t fake either.
I’ve already shined the light on Budenholzer and the classy way he does things in Atlanta. He showed no less last night not throwing his point guard under the bus courtesy of ESPN.com…
“Just a coach’s decision,” Budenholzer said. “We need to learn to play together and stay together for 48 minutes.”
This is a critical time in the season and Mike Budenholzer knows it. With about 20 games left in the season, it is plainly clear that the Hawks are in disarray and problems behind the scenes are leaking out on the court. Hopefully, the Hawks will discuss it behind the scenes and right the ship.
At least that’s the intention of Dennis Schroder as he stated again from of ESPN.com.
“We got to figure it out me and Coach,” Schroder said. ” I want to talk about it. Dwight’s got to be in there too. Get on the same page. Then we’ll be all right.”
Stay tuned Hawks fans, we’re all in for a wild ride.