The Hawks and RPM

Bo Churney —  April 9, 2014 — 2 Comments

Last week, ESPN released a new stat called Real Plus-Minus (or RPM) as a new perspective into gauging the impact a player has on the court. For ESPN’s intoduction of the stat, click here.

In a nutshell, adjusted plus-minus stats work by taking your regular plus-minus figures and attempting to set a value to each player’s situation based on their teammates, their opponents, and even coaching. It then tries to put those numbers together and assign a “real plus-minus” as a figure of a player’s overall value. RPM is measured in net-point differential per 100 possessions. (100 possessions is about the length of your average game)

As with all stats, I don’t think you can just take one and use it to end an argument. With that said, RPM should provide an interesting new tool to look at when trying to confirm the impact of a certain player(s). Continue Reading…

There was no local TV for this game. It was a make up for the January 29th game that was postponed due to one of the snowstorms that hit the Atlanta area this year. With baseball season now underway, neither team had its normal crew on site.

Let’s just say that nothing of value was lost.

Both teams played extremely sloppy games, with the two teams combining for 31 total turnovers. Neither team shot above 43% from the field and 56 total free throws were attempted. It was just everything you don’t want to see about a basketball game.

The Hawks’ losing effort was led by Paul Millsap, who was nursing a sore right thumb. Even with the injury forcing him to be more proactive with his off-hand, Millsap still managed to scored 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the field. Millsap also had 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block to round out his stat line. Continue Reading…

FINAL

IND(53-25) 88 – 107 (34-42) ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 17 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk
D. West (IND): 13 pts, 6 reb, 6 ast, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks started off the game on a 14-3 run before Pacers coach Frank Vogel cleaned house and brought out all five Indy starters. It was fairly smooth sailing from there as the Hawks never let the score get within 10 points again. The scoring settled down towards the end of the second quarter and it appeared the Pacers were making a legitimate comeback once the third quarter began. But, alas, the lead was just too much for Indiana to overcome and the Hawks “paced” themselves to a solid win (I’ll show myself out). In very exciting 8th seed playoff news, the Hawks stretched out their lead over the Knickerbockers to two games.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Pero Antic: Pero quietly had a fantastic game. I must’ve snoozed through his scoring output, because he somehow put up a career-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds and one assist. Antic shot 7-8 from the field, including 3-4 from beyond the three-point line. Props to the Big Macedonian (or Big Mac, if you will) for making it look easy tonight. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Jeffrey was nimble. Jeffrey was quick. Jeffrey made George Hill look like a melting candle stick. Excellent athletic performance from Teague as he put up 25 points, including some nifty hesitation moves in the lane. One thing I really enjoyed in the first half was a stretch where JT drew two fouls in the backcourt by stopping in front of snoozing Pacers players. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Another typical outing from Millsap. 17 points, 11 boards, three dimes, and two blocks. Essentially, Paul put up season averages in each statistical category (plus a few boards and minus a steal). Great effort from Trillsap, who just so happened to get karate kicked in the chest by a flying Lance Stephenson in the second half. 8.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Just picture the Energizer Bunny in a junk yard, but in pitbull form. Yep, that’s DeMarre. Nothing special from Carroll, just the usual energy and hustle (two steals!). He’s a joy to watch run up and down the floor. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle Korver, the stat-sheet-stuffer SUPREME, made 11 points, six boards, and five assists look routine. Does he ever miss an off-balance mid-range shot? (Judges??? They say no!) 8/10 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

CHI(43-32) 105 – 95 (32-42)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 22 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
D. Augustin (CHI): 23 pts, 5 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

This was actually a really fun game for about the first 18 minutes. Both teams were playing great offense, the Hawks were making their 3s… the game was just brimming with excitement. Then the offense stopped working, the Hawks started carelessly turning the ball over, and the Bulls were able to take advantage. DJ Augustin was on fire, making four back-breaking 3-pointers. Overall, the Bulls were 12-for-25 on 3-pointers, a consequence of the Hawks collapsing on defense a bit too much and subsequently losing open shooters. With the Knicks win, the Hawks are now tied for eighth spot in the East.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Another good game from Paul, who was tasked with guarding Joakim Noah for several portions of the game. Millsap just didn’t get enough help from his starting frontcourt mate Pero Antic, who…. I’ll get to that later. 9/10

Jeff Teague: Things the Hawks really should not do: waste good games from Jeff Teague. Jeff didn’t score in the fourth quarter, but for most of the game he was aggressive with his takes and he wasn’t too awful on defense. He was the only Hawk to post a positive plus-minus with plus-1. 8.5/10

Pero Antic: That was not great. In 10 minutes, he was 0-for-2 from the field (including a missed WIDE OPEN LAYUP) and he had only one rebound. He did make some creative passes, but he just awful during his time on the floor and he was benched for the second half in favor of Elton Brand and Mike Muscala. 1/10

DeMarre Carroll: Not much of a game from DeMarre. Chicago usually did well at keeping him from getting open looks on the perimeter. On a positive note, he did finish his only transition attempt on the night… he got the and-1, too! 6/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle was on fire early, hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter. After that, he was actually pretty awful. He only made one 3 after the first and he made some absolutely dreadful passes; you don’t why four turnovers out of a guy who is not one of your primary ball-handlers. 4/10 Continue Reading…

Hawks-Bulls Preview

Bo Churney —  April 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

At this point, with the way the season is gone, I have no preference on the Hawks making the playoffs. If they miss out and get a lotto pick, I think that is good for the team. If they happen to make the playoffs, I think it is good for the team.

However, if the team really does want to make the playoffs, they will want to put a competitive effort up against the visiting Chicago Bulls. The Hawks have usually had trouble with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and the Bulls, meaning that this game could quickly turn into a bloodbath.

So what are the keys for the Hawks to win this game?

First, the Hawks will want to try and get Joakim Noah out of the lane as much as possible. This means no more 1-for-8 performances from the field, Pero Antic. Of course, consistently pulling Noah out of the lane is harder than it sounds; Noah can move with great quickness and can easily recover back into the positions that Coach Thibodeau’s defense requires from him. It’s why the Bulls are second in the league in defensive efficiency. Continue Reading…

FINAL

PHI(16-58) 95 – 103 (32-41)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 28 pts, 17 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
T. Young (PHI): 23 pts, 3 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl, 3 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

For a moment it looked like the Hawks were about to encounter a disaster. They were down double-digits at the end of the first quarter and the first half, seemingly getting dominated by a Sixer team that is probably the worst team in the league as currently constructed. However, the rest of the Hawks finally decided to show up to complement Paul Millsap’s monster game and the Hawks were able to end their six-game losing streak. Lou Williams came alive in the second half, scoring 16 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter where Williams hit several clutch buckets to give the Hawks the edge over Philadelphia.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Like all of the Hawks, Millsap was better in the second half than in the first, but he was essentially the the Hawk player to have a good first half. Millsap finished the night with 28 points and 17 boards, but it was the 15 points and seven rebounds from the first two quarters that really kept the Hawks afloat in this game. 10/10

Jeff Teague: Shocking development: Teague was sleep walking for most of the game and only had small spurts where he picked up his effort and played like the he was worth the $32 million contract the team gave him over the summer. Teague had 12 points on 11 shots and five assists with four turnovers; it shouldn’t be a surprise that Lou and Dennis received a good chunk on minutes in this game. 3/10

Pero Antic: Not a good effort on either side of the floor from Pero. He was 1-for-8 from the field and made a couple of bad passes that really stuck out. (he made some good ones too, but the bad ones were ugly) 2/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre had a decent game with nine points, five boards, and four assists, but the best part of it is that his effort was pretty consistent throughout, as it always is. That is always good to see, especially when you consider that DeMarre is still dealing with a rather nasty illness that kept him out of Saturday’s game. How do I know it was a nasty illness? DeMarre showed no shame when talking about it post game in the locker room. Suffice to say… you probably don’t want to know. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Welcome back to the lineup, Kyle. He struggled in his first game back after missing six games dealing with back spasms. He started off 0-for-5 from the field, but he started to come alive a bit in the second half and showed a much more balanced effort on both offense and defense. 6/10 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…

ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Struass wrote yesterday that the NBA’s conference system needs to be abolished, since it currently awards playoff spots to teams well below .500. This season, for the first time since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams, a 50-win team could miss the playoffs.

Strauss makes reference to an incredibly important piece by TrueHoop writer Curtis Harris on how the current lottery system helps keep one conference stronger than the other (I made reference to this as well in my critique of the “wheel” draft proposal). I believe Strauss’ ideas deserve consideration because a change to the current playoff and lottery systems (perhaps something less radical than the “wheel”) is necessary to improve both the integrity of the game and its competitive balance. Continue Reading…

FINAL

POR(46-27) 100 – 85 (31-40)ATL

Key Performers:
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR): 25 pts, 16 reb
Jeff Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 3 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks fell behind early, pushing back with two runs in the latter half that eventually fell short as Atlanta drops their fifth in a row. For most of the night, the Hawks starting five was their best lineup, cutting into a colossal halftime lead for Atlanta’s first “comeback” of the night. After the Blazers responded, it was Lou Williams stepping up to keep the Hawks within striking distance, but to no avail. Once again the Hawks couldn’t connect from downtown with Korver and now Antic out with injury, shooting 4-22 on the evening.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap had another tough outing, unable to find his best looks with little spacing. Paul was forced to take a large amount of poor perimeter shots, leading to a horrid 3-15 shooting night. Another factor could have been exercising a majority of his effort on defense, where he guarded LaMarcus Aldridge for most of the contest. Millsap was solid in this regard, forcing Aldridge into tough mid-range looks. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was extremely aggressive tonight, constantly looking for seams into the lane and putting up every shot that looked appealing. He played with an extra shot of swagger, throwing one-handed bullet passes and at one point sizing up his defender with some streetball dribbles. The frivolous things aside, Teague finished 10-18 from the field and scored 22 points in 37 minutes. 9/10

Elton Brand: Budenholzer 3:17 says, “Amassing the plague of injuries in such dire times, God sent forth a descendant from the heavens, a savior for the troubled Hawks. The bearer of 42 great angel wings, his holiness, Elton Brand.” Amen. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll stuck to his script, scoring 11 and grabbing 4 boards shooting nearly perfectly from the field, 5-of-6. During the broadcast, ‘Nique noted DeMarre’s floater that’s been a recent addition to his game when he dropped one through in the first quarter. Atlanta’s swiss army knife keeps on getting better. 8/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack started alongside Jeff Teague tonight, his 3-9 shooting night skewed by a couple of last second flings. Impressively, the Blazers weren’t able to take advantage of the obvious mismatch with Mack having to guard Wes Matthews who loves posting up smaller guards. 7/10
Continue Reading…