It was ugly, it was boring and horrible to watch but the Atlanta Hawks snapped their three game losing streak, defeating the Brooklyn Nets 110-105 at Philips Arena. Sean Kilpatrick led the Nets with 27 points (13 coming in the third quarter) while Brook Lopez added 18 points. For the Hawks, Dennis Schröder scored a game-high 31 points while Paul Millsap added another 24 points.
“It was a little bit ugly at times, but we needed to win. I’m proud of guys for finding a way to get it done. A lot of different guys contributed.”
— Coach Mike Budenholzer
Dennis’ bounce back game
After being benched for most of the second half against the Warriors, Dennis has been the talk of Hawks town and he produced a quality bounce back game in the face of adversity scoring a game-high 31 points on 10-of-21 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Dennis also came up with a game-saving steal. After he missed a shot at the rim, the Nets held possession of the ball trailing by just two points with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. But Dennis sneaks around Sean Kilpatrick (who’s handling the ball) and pries the ball away and takes possession, forcing the Nets to foul. The Hawks would seal the game with free throws.
“No (didn’t know Schröder was there). I mean, but that’s what he does. He’s one of the sneakiest guys in the league. At the end of the day, he made a great play.”
— Sean Kilpatrick
After an hour long conversation on the phone with Schröder on Tuesday and this bounce back game, Paul Millsap was proud of Schröder:
“Personally, I’ve seen some growth. I’ve seen some maturity. I’ve seen a guy who didn’t let what happened the last game get to him. The guy came out and busted his butt, regardless of what happened, disciplined or not. He didn’t play (the second half) of the last game but he came out with a good attitude and helped us win. I see a lot of maturity and a lot of growth in that.
“We are brothers. We go to war every night. I’m there for him always. He knows that. When he calls, I answer. When I call, he answers. We had a good talk (Tuesday) night. I’m glad he’s receptive to what was said and came today and busted his butt.”
— Paul Millsap
Reportedly, Millsap had “harsh words” for Dennis after the loss on Monday night, but you can see that Paul has the team’s best interest at heart as well as Dennis’. As does coach Bud, who was also happy with Dennis’ bounce back performance:
“I thought he was great. The way he attacks the basket. The way he gets inside. The way he’s shooting the three-ball with so much confidence. He’s just going to keep getting better.”
— Coach Mike Budenholzer
The Hawks really needed this win and, as such, needed a good game from Dennis and he delivered. And, regardless if you like him or not, you have to give him a lot of credit for that and for focusing on the task at hand when it would be easy to have Monday’s game in your head.
“Last game happened. It’s best that when Coach says something, you have to accept it. And you move forward. We responded well as a team. Now we’re just going to try to keep going forward.”
— Dennis Schröder
Poor night shooting the three
The Hawks tied a season worst four made three-pointer on Wednesday night as they shot 20% from three-point range. Dennis Schröder shot 1-of-4, Kent Bazemore 0-of-3, Paul Millsap shot 0-of-4 and Jose Calderon shot 0-of-2. That’s not a glamouring stat and the Hawks were lucky they weren’t punished for this poor perimeter shooting.
On the plus side, the Hawks only conceded 11 threes last night having conceded 60 in their previous three games. That’s…something, right?
José Calderón’s debut
Since the Brooklyn Nets aren’t exactly the greatest team in the world, Wednesday night seemed like a good time for the Hawks to give José Calderón his Hawks debut.
It wasn’t a glittering debut, zero points on 0-of-2 shooting in 11 minutes but I liked how he looked to pass the ball rather than shoot or create for himself.
His head is always up, searching for the right pass.
Schröder and Malcolm Delaney are sometimes prone to look for their own shot rather than create, and with José you have something a little different in a pass first point guard. You forget that he’s the Toronto Raptors’ franchise leader in assists with 3,771. For reference, Kyle Lowry is second in All-Time Raptors assists with 2,374 (as of March 9th).
He could’ve easily forced up a shot if he wanted to here but made the right play and found a teammate.
Malcolm didn’t feature in last night’s game but you shouldn’t assume that Calderón is now the backup point guard. This is just coach Bud seeing what he has in José, which you may as well do when you’re playing the Nets at home.
“We want to see what we have on our roster. See what we have available to us. He (Calderón) has only been here a few days so it’s a tough spot to throw him into but at the end of the day you have to test your guys. … I think we are fortunate now we have three solid point guards.”
— Coach Mike Budenholzer
I’d be surprised if José ever sees rotation minutes in the playoffs but by all accounts he’s a wonderful, fantastic teammate and the cushion of having a third point guard will be nice.
The Hawks (35-29) wrap up their six game home stand on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors in what could be match that basically decides whether the Hawks have an opportunity of home court advantage or not.