This Week In The Southeast, the Atlanta Hawks are resting and coasting their way to the finish line, the Washington Wizards go streaking, there’s a switch in division standings for the first time in quite awhile, and the Orlando Magic are doing Orlando things. No, not going to Disney World, but losing games…and okay well maybe going to Disney World too, but what does that have to do with basketball?

Atlanta Hawks, 52-14, 1st in the East, 3-1 this week ATL

It’s weird to be talking about how the Hawks haven’t been playing well, but…they haven’t been playing well. The Los Angles Lakers game doesn’t count cause they were resting players, but before that Atlanta received a throttling to a revived Denver Nuggets, and needed a 4th quarter come back to escape Phoenix with a victory. It makes sense that after clinching the playoffs, and at this point of the season, the Hawks would coast a little to the end, but it’s a little worrisome to see them play so horribly at times. If they ever go through a stretch like that in the playoffs it could cost them a game. However, if any of these problems they’re having are real, they can figure them out now with a month before the games really begin to matter again.

Washington Wizards, 38-28, 5th in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

The Wizards are going streaking! They’ve won three in a row with some quality wins against a Hornets team they had lost five times to going in to last season, and an even bigger win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Washington has struggled beating better teams for much of the season, but if they can get back to what made them great early in the year then they could become a threat in the East once more.

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The injury that Mike Scott suffered against Denver a few days ago was more than just a bother. The team announced that Scott has broken his left big toe and will likely miss 4-6 weeks as he recovers.

This is a tough blow for both the team and Scott, who was shooting a career-high 35.3% from the great beyond this season. The emoji-covered forward has provided serious spark off the bench and his quick-trigger shot will be missed during the remainder of the regular season.

My favorite part about watching Scott was his ability to catch fire at any given time. Definitely one of the most confident shooters out there, Scott has not been afraid to throw it up this season. From his hot 3rd quarter in Indianapolis during the playoffs last season to his highlight dunks he’s tallied up this year, Mike Scott has been a fun guy to watch.

The team also announced that they will be signing NBA vet Austin Daye to a 10-day contract. Daye, most recently a member of the Erie BayHawks in the D-League, appeared in 26 games for the San Antonio Spurs earlier this season.

I remember it like it was yesterday… Austin Daye scored 20 points on 9-of-11 against the Hawks back in 2013 when he was a bench player for the Detroit Pistons. His contributions late in the game helped the Pistons win by one point. He infuriated me with his hot shooting that night. I can only hope that now, years after ruining my January 3rd evening, he provides some of the same microwave-like spark normally held by Mike Scott off the bench.

A career 35% three-point shooter, Daye will wear number three for the Hawks.

In other news, the Hawks will not be bringing back Jarell Eddie after his 10-day contract expired this week. They signed him to a deal and he didn’t get any playing time. Huh? I’m a little surprised that Budenholzer didn’t test him out at least once, especially on nights where some starters were rested. The shooting-specialist Eddie will have to leave Atlanta without a bucket on his record.

In the ever Popovichian-move, Coach Budenholzer decided to rest three starters against the Los Angeles Lakers. Little did he know is that he would soon be without a fourth.

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Lakers 91-86 on Sunday night despite Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, and Paul Millsap all sitting for rest purposes. The Hawks also played most of the game without Kyle Korver, who suffered a broken nose in the second quarter after hitting an Ed Davis screen. Korver, who was likely scheduled to be rested for Monday night’s game against the Kings, has officially been ruled out for that game.

Back to this game: it was all about Dennis Schröder. Schröder recorded a career-high 24 points and 10 assists in leading the shorthanded Hawks to the victory. This was Schröder’s third double-double for the season, all three of which have come on the road in games where Dennis got the start over an injured or rested Teague.

Even with the lack of active players, the Hawks still controlled this game for the first three quarters. The Lakers, who have dealt with injury issues the whole season, do not have a lot of talent that they can currently put out on the floor and the result Schröder and Al Horford dominating in spots where they were supposed to dominate. Continue Reading…

Well they can’t all be easy. The Hawks needed a late game comeback, some clutch shooting, and Al Horford to pull out tonight’s very physical victory, but they prevailed defeating the Suns 96-87.

The reason the Hawks struggled really felt like the same old story just told in a different setting with a different opponent. The team has been coasting for much of the last month and it’s quite obvious on night’s like tonight where it just doesn’t feel like the team is all the way there. The offense would randomly sputter for long stretches of time throughout the night, and far too often were the Suns allowed to get out on the break and run. Atlanta did a good job of getting back in transition, but the Suns managed to use the chaos to get off a quick set and score some easy buckets. The Hawks still played great when they had to, but it felt very inconsistent and unlike what their expectations are at right now.

Of course, this might have had to do with the physicality of the game and less to do with the Hawks themselves. The refs were letting both sides play for most of the night and Phoenix took advantage of it first. They played physical with Atlanta and used that physicality to force them out of their comfort zone, and break up a lot of their sets. It was a sloppy game, especially in the second half, that involved a lot of players having to create their own offense. This is an enviorment that a player like Eric Bledsoe can thrive in as he scored 21 points and was generally causing havoc for the Hawks defense all night.

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Hawks Destroyed in Denver

Bo Churney —  March 11, 2015 — 1 Comment

Well that was not exactly the way the team wanted to start off the road trip.

The Atlanta Hawks went into Denver on Wednesday night and were absolutely demolished by the Nuggets, losing by a score of 115-102. The Hawks were saved from an embarrassing score by the team’s garbage unit, who went on a 24-1 run in the fourth quarter to make the game a little interesting by cutting Denver’s huge lead to just single-digits with about a minute to go.

However, that one run was not indicative of what really happened in this contest. The game was similar to the Hawks win against Sacramento on Monday night, only in reverse and seemingly worse. The Hawks had problems making shots and executing on offense throughout most of the game while Denver was not missing from the field, regardless of the difficulty of the shot attempt.

The first quarter appeared to be a fluke, but it proved to be a sign of things to come. The Hawks committed silly turnovers like stepping out of bounds twice and missing a few open 3s. Atlanta was getting some decent looks inside the perimeter, however, shooting 9-for-14 on 2s during the quarter. This combined with Denver’s 60% shooting from the field seemed to show that the Hawks could rebound later in the game. Continue Reading…

Since 1999 (the post-Jordan era), Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade have been part of 13 of 16 NBA champions. These players, as well as key members of the ’04 Pistons, ’08 Celtics and ’11 Mavericks, the other champions during this era, are well past their primes. As a result, the Hawks find themselves at the dawn of an era with few obvious candidates to win multiple future championships.

The Hawks could usher in a new era of egalitarian basketball or might simply find themselves in a league-wide lull in superstar talent. Either way, in addition to the wide-open nature of today’s NBA, numerous factors point toward a sustained period of excellence for the Hawks.

The most important factor is organizational continuity. With the impending sale, the Hawks have a chance to transition from an ownership group infamous for infighting to an organization with top-to-bottom continuity. Continue Reading…

The Hawks opened the game with two straight DeMarre Carroll threes and didn’t stop shooting until the final buzzer, running up a season-high 130 points against the Sacramento Kings Monday night at Philips Arena. Each of the five starters shot at least 50% as the Hawks rang up 42 assists, tied for the fourth-highest total in Atlanta’s history. Atlanta hit 20 3s, a franchise-record for a single game, and notched their 50th win of the season, marking the first time since the team moved to Atlanta that the Hawks were the first team in the league to reach 50 wins.

The Hawks came out firing in the first quarter, assisting on 12 of their 13 field goals and shooting 57% in the quarter, including five 3s from Carroll and Kyle Korver. Korver had been struggling since the All-Star Break, shooting just 31% from 3 and 32% overall since the extended time off. Korver finished 6-for-8 from 3 as the Kings lost him numerous times in transition and in the half court offense. Korver has recently said that his shooting troubles date back to before the break, so this big game should do wonders for any issues through which he’s been working.

Atlanta scored 76 points in the first half, their highest total in a half all season, racking up 25 assists along the way. The Hawks shot 62.5% from the field in the first half, including 12-for-19 on 3s, as the ball continued to find open shooters while the Kings scrambled on defensive rotations. Continue Reading…

The Hawks are definitely in for the long haul. And with Mike Budenholzer being a disciple of the Spurs organization, resting players on the second game of a back-to-back is not surprising.

Losing to the Philadelphia 76ers after having a 16-point lead, however, is not a great showing.

The Sixers rallied against the shorthanded Hawks in the second half, limiting Atlanta to just 31 points of offense over the final 24 minutes. The Hawks — sitting Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Paul Millsap — had absolutely nothing to give in the second half on offense, shooting just 11-for-40 (27.5%) from the field and only getting to the foul line six times.

The Hawks’ two remaining starters, Al Horford and Jeff Teague, were the big culprits in the collapse. Horford missed his final seven shots from the field, a few of the them badly hitting off the front of the rim and another that completely missed the rim altogether. Meanwhile, Teague was having problems with Philly’s quick and athletic defense, yielding four turnovers in the 17 minutes he played in the second half.

Horford was not the only one to have problems hitting the rim. John Jenkins, who started for Korver, opened with second half by missing the rim on two 3-point attempts. Mike Scott had similar “success” in the second half, as he also fell victim to an airball on a wide-open attempt. Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast, the Atlanta Hawks have clinched their way to the playoffs and that means they’re ready to coast the rest of the regular season, the Wizards have finally finished their regression to the mean, and the Heat and Hornets race for the playoffs is starting to heat up. The Magic? Well…they’re a team that plays basketball.

Atlanta Hawks, 49-13, 1st in the East, 2-1 this week ATL

Two big things for the Hawks happened this week. To start things off they clinched the playoffs already and it’s March. They also unveiled a statue of Atlanta Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins, and had one of the greatest throwback nights in recent memory. They took on the Cleveland Cavaliers that night and managed to look pretty good against a team many people believe should have the advantage over Atlanta come playoff time. Of course, Atlanta couldn’t finish the week undefeated when they decided to rest starters to the Philadelphia 76ers and lose. Hey, the 95-96 Bulls lost to the expansion Raptors and who’s not to say that this Hawks team are the 95-96 Bulls?

Washington Wizards, 35-28, 5th in the East, 1-2 this week WAS

It’s hard to believe the Wizards were at one point the number one team in the Eastern conference, and a favorite to win the the Southeast Division. Their slide appears to have found a happy medium and Washington has regressed to a mean that fits around what they were last season. Just good enough to maybe make some noise in the playoffs, but just mediocre enough to not give you any real hope. This week the Wizards beat the playoff hopeful Miami Heat, and then they lost to the Bucks and Bulls.

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After missing his first five shots, all 3-point attempts, Kyle Korver hit a pair of threes early in the fourth quarter as the Atlanta Hawks opened up a 91-81 lead en route to a 106-97 win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. Al Horford led the Hawks with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting with a game-high nine rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 20 points with four assists in the losing effort and LeBron James added 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists with nine turnovers.

The Hawks started out smoking hot, leading 36-19 behind nine points on 4-for-5 shooting and four rebounds in the first quarter from Horford. Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague added eight points each. Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with seven points and two rebounds in the quarter while LeBron James started off shooting just 1-for-5. The Hawks recorded ten assists and only two turnovers in the period while the Cavaliers did not record an assist. The Hawks shot 71% from the field in the quarter and 50% from 3-point range. The Cavs shot just 40% from the field and 2-for-8 (25%) from three.

The Hawks appeared to be closing the half strong as a 6-0 run culminated with a 19-footer from Horford to put Atlanta ahead 53-38 with 2:05 remaining. Then referee Tony Brothers made a questionable goaltending call on a Timofey Mozgov layup and Iman Shumpert hit a three to pull the Cavs within 53-43 at halftime. The Hawks shot 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the second period as the Cavaliers heated up, shooting 5-for-8 as they trimmed Atlanta’s lead. Continue Reading…