The Atlanta Hawks dropped Game 4 in Boston in OT, 95-104, on Sunday evening. The loss means that the series is now tied 2-2 heading back to Atlanta for Game 5 on Tuesday. The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas’s 28 points, and… we’ll get to the Hawks’ leading scorer right now, in greater detail
Millsap’s career night marred by others not making shots
After struggling in the first three games of this series, Paul Millsap turned in the greatest scoring night of his career, scoring 45 points on 19-31 shooting — the most points scored by any Hawk in the playoffs since Dominique Wilkins back in the late 80’s. That’s just incredible, and Millsap was just incredible.
“Just put an emphasis on being aggressive, I felt like I wasn’t aggressive in the first three games and especially on the road, your backs against the wall you got to be aggressive. So, I just wanted to do that tonight and set a tone that way.” — Paul Millsap
“He was our offense. … His performance was amazing. That Paul Millsap right there was pretty awesome. He was in a funk the first couple of games. We knew that he was due to explode. It was good to see. That was the only positive out of this game.” — Al Horford
Normally when your squad is fully healthy, a 45 point game from anyone on your team would — nine times out of ten — win you a playoff game. The one exception, perhaps, is when Larry Bird goes off for 34 points (scoring 12 or so in the fourth quarter) in Game 7, ironically against the Hawks. Or, alternatively, you have a 45 point game and lose because your entire team can’t hit shots, as the Hawks did last night. Either or.
The Hawks shot 37% from the field and 28% from the three-point line, but the more telling stat is this one: Paul Millsap shot 19-31 while the rest of the Hawks shot 18-69. Hardwood Paroxysm put words to the situation in a way I could not, and it describes the situation perfectly.
I really don’t know what adjustments Atlanta should make.
“Be better at making shots you have made your entire careers!”
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 25, 2016
“Be better at making shots you have your entire careers”. I mean, that could not be more true and this theme was seen all across the board for the Hawks last night.
Al Horford was unable to cash in on his mid-range shots and near the basket.
Kyle Korver was unable to connect from outside.
Jeff Teague was had difficulty finishing around the rim.
Kent Bazemore unable to convert shots from the outside or near the rim.
And Dennis Schröder simply settling for mid-range shots, when his best attribute is his pace and ability to get to the rim.
The sad thing for the Hawks is if any of these guys had made just one shot in their field, the Hawks would’ve left Boston with a 3-1 series lead.
Coach Bud said that Millsap needed help, and challenged his team to respond in Game 5 at home.
“…Paul Millsap had a monster game and his force and the way he played was great. I just think we needed a little bit more with him, collectively from all of us, a little more to help Paul tonight. But, its 2-2, they responded to being down 2-0 and now we got to go home and respond.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
Horrible last possession to end regulation
After Isaiah Thomas tied the game at 92 apiece, just after Teague buried CLUTCH back-to-back threes to put the Hawks up by two, Atlanta held possession of the ball for the last possession of regulation. With that very thing in their control (as in the ball), they had the opportunity to take the last shot of the game/take the lead with very little time left on the clock. And this is what they came up with.
Hawks' Jeff Teague makes an absolute mess of final possesion in Game 4 vs. Celtics pic.twitter.com/KESiayyO53
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 25, 2016
Wow. I mean, what is there to say about this. I’m going to hazard a guess as to what this play was. Judging by the movement, or there lack of, from the rest of the Hawks, it would appear this play was meant for Teague.
By the time the floor is spread for Teague, the shot clock is at, like, three seconds. Teague is quick, but maybe not that quick. I mean, look at all that space to work with. Teague has ripped Thomas off of the dribble in the first two games. If the play was designed for Teague to drive to the rim, Korver makes his move way too late.
So, this makes me believe that the play was for Teague to shoot over Thomas for three, perhaps riding the three-point rhythm he just got into. But it just makes so much more sense for Teague to drive to the rim.
And that brings me to another point — why haven’t the Hawks attacked Thomas off of the dribble/pick and roll in these last two games?
Teague can get past Thomas with ease when he wants to, which is why it makes more sense for that last play to be drawn up for such a move.
What might be the saddest thing about this last possession is this isn’t the first time the Hawks have bombed on a final play of the game. Against the Cavs this season, Teague seemed to be unaware how much time he actually had to make a move, and started to make it way too late.
This stat, which Jaryd has kept a longstanding record of each time it has changed, says it all.
That means Hawks fall to 0-13 since start of last season when a game-winning shot is attempted in the final second of regulation or OT.
— Jaryd Wilson (@JarydWilson) April 25, 2016
Brad Steven’ mid-game adjustment on Millsap
Brad Stevens and the Celtics were having all sorts of trouble guarding Paul Millsap, as he exploded for 45 points last night. However, he found success in slowing down Millsap by assigning guard Marcus Smart on him.
“We were going to try everyone until we got stops”
“…Obviously you’re throwing darts a little bit with a guy that’s rolling like that. But one thing about that is, when you’ve scored 45 through three quarters you probably are a little winded. So he probably got to guard him at a good time, but he still fought quite well.” — Brad Stevens
Millsap shot 1-of-5 when Smart guarded him, and the Hawks offense was taken out of rhythm as they tried to exploit the mismatch.
“…They put Marcus Smart on Paul (Millsap) and we just tried to force it to him and at times took us out of what we had been doing. ..” — Kyle Korver
It’ll be interesting to see if the Celtics will throw Smart on Millsap again should he find a rhythm.
Hey, Jae Crowder…
Stay away from that area, man. That’s a low blow.