The Hawks got a critical win by defeating the Knicks on Saturday night. Game recap aside, there are some other things from the game that I would like to address.

    Thabo Sefolosha has been really bad on offense to start the season. He is 5-for-23 from the field to start the season and that is not just because of a bad jump-shooting stretch; Sefolosha is blowing what should be easy layups, too. However, there is a bright side to Thabo’s play: his defense does not have the same off switch that his offense apparently does. This helps DeMarre Carroll more than any other player, as the Hawks can now afford to sit Carroll and give him some rest, or simply allow him to get some playing time where he does not have to matchup with the opposing team’s best wing player. Sefolosha’s offense will eventually get better and when it does, he will become an extremely valuable player to have on the bench.
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It’s been almost two weeks since the NBA season began, and the Southeast division already feels very different from last year. While a couple teams have run into some bad luck early on this year with slow starts, the rest have proven why winning the Southeast is no easy task.

Washington Wizards, 5-2, 2nd in the EastWAS

The Wizards currently lead the division, but it’s hard to argue that it’s been impressive. All five of their wins come against teams that are projected to miss the playoffs, two of them alone came against a ridiculously injured Indiana Pacers team. Of course, you can’t take too much away from a team that came in and did what they’re supposed to do, but lets not praise a team with conference finals hopes on doing what they’re supposed to do, especially when their two losses have both come against likely playoff teams.

Miami Heat, 4-2, 4th in the EastMIA

While many had the Heat taking a huge drop this year, after losing LeBron James, Miami has still looked like one of the tougher team in the East. Their losses have come against the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets, neither of those is a horrible loss to have on a resume. However, in their four wins, they have defeated both the Wizards and Raptors. Right now, they look like the best team in the division, but that could change when Washington gets Bradley Beal back. Until then, Miami has a chance to rack up some victories behind the incredible play of Chris Bosh. Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ double overtime loss on Friday night to the Hornets was a disaster. It would be easy to say that the Hawks would enter crisis mode had they lost to the Knicks the following night.

Crisis averted.

Kyle Korver scored a season-high 27 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range to propel the Hawks back from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 103-96. Korver also chipped in three blocked shots, which was part of a stronger defensive effort from the Hawks in the second half. After allowing 61 points in the first, the Hawks only allowed 35 points in the second, as the Knicks recorded more shot attempts than points over the final two periods. (13-for-38 shooting)

This game really was the tale of two halves, as the Hawks were absolutely dreadful on both ends of the court in the first half. Notable first half stats include 35% shooting, allowing 61 points and nine offensive rebounds, and recording only six assists. The defensive effort is what concerned Coach Budenholzer the most.

“We were more focused on our defense,” said Budenholzer on the difference between the two halves. “I didn’t realize we only had six [assists] in the first half or what we finished with. Defensively is where our focus was tonight. We have to continue to get better there. The offense will come.” Continue Reading…

The Hawks have to hope that the ownership situation gets resolved soon. It appears as if the Hawks may not win another close game as long as the current ownership group remains in possession of the franchise. After losing by a single basket in San Antonio, largely thanks to a 38-11 free throw differential favoring the Spurs, the Hawks finished off the current road trip in Charlotte by losing on a world-class flop by former Hawk Marvin Williams.

Mike Scott was 1-for-7 from the field until he hit a corner three off an inbounds play, poorly guarded by Kemba Walker, to tie the game at 110-110 with three seconds remaining in overtime. That forced a second overtime where Al Horford and Al Jefferson traded baskets like heavyweights exchanging body blows. A pair of Horford elbow jumpers kept the Hawks close before Pero Antic calmly sank a 3-pointer to tie it at 119-119 with 1:06 remaining in the second overtime.

Then with two seconds remaining in the game, Walker was called for a shot clock violation. After a Hawks timeout, Kyle Korver wrestled in the lane with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist while Paul Millsap flashed across the lane. Korver was stood up by Kidd-Gilchrist and stationary when Williams ran into him, then flopped on the deck like a fresh-caught fish. An offensive foul was charged to Korver and the Hornets had enough time to get it in to Lance Stephenson, who banked in a three at the buzzer to send the Hawks to 1-3 on the season with a 122-119 defeat. Continue Reading…

The Hawks lost a nail-biter in San Antonio on Wednesday night, coming up short on the final possession of the game in a 92-90 loss. The loss marks Atlanta’s eighth consecutive loss to the Spurs, who rode their huge rebounding and free throw disparities to the win. The Spurs shot 38 free throws to the Hawks’ 11, though San Antonio left a lot of points at the stripe with 11 misses. The Hawks were down as many as 17 in the first half and fought back to take a late lead, but couldn’t find the winning touch despite a great night from DeMarre Carroll, who had 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with five rebounds.

The first half went about as poorly as the Coach Bud and the Hawks could have hoped, yet they went into the break down just 10 points after a late run in which all five starters put the ball in the basket in the last 2:31 of the second quarter. The Hawks shot 16-for-45 in the first half, including just 2-for-8 from 3. Kent Bazemore gave the Hawks six minutes off the bench in the first half and provided some good defense on Tony Parker, who had his way otherwise with 13 points in the first half.

Atlanta cut the San Antonio lead to six at the end of the third quarter behind strong play from the bench. Dennis Schröder hit his first field goal of the season off a nice feed from Thabo Sefolosha, and the addition of Sefolosha and Bazemore in the latter half of the quarter really turned up the heat on the defensive side of the ball. Continue Reading…

Note: This is the first post in a season-long series in which Caleb Cottrell and I will go over what we notice during Hawks games.

Brandon Barnes: It’s basketball season again folks! We’re two games in and the Hawks are sitting at an even 1-1 record after a win at home versus the Pacers and a struggle on opening night in Toronto. It’s a small sample size sure, but I think there are some meaningful things we can take away from those games. I’m joined by HawksHoop newcomer Caleb Cottrell. Caleb, tell the people at home a little bit about yourself!

Caleb Cottrell: Well Brandon, I am a student at —–

BB: Oooh sorry Caleb, but that’s all the words we’ve been allotted for that segment! Moving on!

Song of the Week


BB: This is the time when we turn to the world of music for a metaphorical sing-a-long that describes recent Hawks action. The song of the week is “Intro”, the opening track off of Logic’s recently released debut album entitled “Under Pressure”. If you listen close, he shares many similarities to the Hawks. Example: “Maybe if I go platinum they’ll remember me then” refers to how many people only look at album sales when analyzing the success of a musician. But there’s more to a musician than just album sales. This strikes me as very similar to the Hawks’ own situation. The Hawks have been written off as “pretenders” for years. With the deepest roster in recent memory and a returning star in Al Horford, maybe this is the year the Hawks go platinum and get featured among the league’s elite. #Eventhehawks are similar to music. Not to mention this is the first song in just a fantastic album. Give it a listen if you’re into that kind of stuff. Continue Reading…

A bit under five minutes remained in the first quarter of the Hawks’ season opener in Toronto. Waiting at the scorer’s table was Mike Budenholzer’s first perimeter player substitute.

It wasn’t Shelvin Mack, who had been revitalized the season before and is a stout backup point guard with a new three-year contract. It wasn’t Dennis Schröder, a young German prospect who is still trying to translate his sneaky athleticism and unique body type into the NBA game. Nor was it Thabo Sefolosha, the veteran defensive presence who had been a major part of Oklahoma City’s rotation during a run of major success for the Thunder.

No, none of those players were waiting to check into the game at the scorer’s table. Instead, coming in to replace one of the best shooters in NBA history in Kyle Korver was former Old Dominion product Kent Bazemore.

In the eyes of some, Bazemore wasn’t supposed to be here. Undrafted out of Old Dominion, Bazemore eventually signed with the Golden State Warriors in July of 2012 and essentially became a team mascot. Bazemore played in 62 games in his rookie season, but at a comically low 4.4 minutes per game. Because his playing time was left to garbage time when no one was watching, Bazemore gained notoriety as the league’s favorite benchwarmer, catching the viewers’ eyes with his celebrations of Golden State’s highlight plays.

Of course, Bazemore was in the NBA to be a basketball player, not a comedy act. Unfortunately for Bazemore, that is all the Warriors and then head coach Mark Jackson were going to let him be. The 2013-14 season rolled around and Bazemore was still playing an embarrassing low (6.1) amount of minutes per contest. Again, when Bazemore did get in the game, it was rarely ever in a meaningful spot.

Eventually, Bazemore’s salvation came in a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. He and teammate MarShon Brooks were sent to Los Angeles for point guard Steve Blake. The Lakers, reeling after the departure of Dwight Howard to Houston and injuries to Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, finally gave Bazemore a place where he could find consistent minutes. More importantly, then coach Mike D’Antoni gave Bazemore a system.

An offensive system can be extremely important to a player. In Golden State, Bazemore — like many other Warriors — was left to figure things out in isolation inside of having specific plays ran for his benefit. That changed for Bazemore when he arrived in Los Angeles, as Mark D’Antoni gave him a simple offensive system that complemented Bazemore’s talents and allowed him to shine. Continue Reading…

With 2:42 to play in the fourth quarter and a pesky, undermanned Pacers team hanging around, trailing only 91-83, DeMarre Carroll dove out of bounds to save a loose ball. The ball went to center court where Kyle Korver dove to touch it ahead to Al Horford. The latter passed to Carroll, got it back, was blocked by Roy Hibbert, then gathered the loose ball and put it back over Luis Scola.

And with that, Al Horford is back. The Hawks had to work much too hard to grind out a 102-92 win against a Pacers team that had only one starter available (Hibbert) from the unit that started against the Hawks in last season’s playoffs. The Pacers got 21 points off the bench from Chris Copeland, who shot 6-for-11 from 3-point range. Indiana’s starters provided balanced offense, all five scoring in double figures. But it wasn’t enough as the Hawks got 25 points, six assists, three steals, two blocks and just one turnover from Jeff Teague.

Horford scored 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Meanwhile Paul Millsap continued his slow offensive start to the season, scoring 13 points with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block after opening against Toronto with 13 points. Continue Reading…

Another Chance for Al Horford

Cole Patty —  October 31, 2014 — 3 Comments

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law or at least the current version of “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” Commonly said in situations by the Average Joe on one of the days where the bad luck comes in bunches; it’s almost as if the forces of the universe just won’t let something nice happen to them, no matter how much good karma they may have built up.

Al Horford may be a two-time All-Star, but his career also feels like the embodiment of this law. Every time Horford gets a bit of momentum going towards finally becoming the superstar he plays like, something bad seems to happen. On top of that, he is mostly overlooked in the “best center in the East” discussions, he wasn’t named an All-Star during a great 2012-13 campaign, and was constantly overshadowed during his career by the more bombastic Josh Smith. In fact, most of the mainstream media coverage on Horford is about why he should be playing power forward instead of mentioning that he is a matchup nightmare for his larger stone footed counterparts.

As for Murphy’s Law, Horford’s injuries have stifled his growth towards becoming a superstar. When Atlanta powered on to the 5-seed in the strike shortened 2011-12 seasons, Continue Reading…

According to Mark Deeks of ShamSports and later confirmed by Jason Walker of Peachtree Hoops, the Hawks have picked up Dennis Schröder’s third year on his rookie contract, but declined to pick up a fourth year on John Jenkins.

This is not too surprising. Schröder is just 21 and still has a lot of potential with his combination of athleticism and body type. Jenkins, who will turn 24 this season, has not been impressive recently. Part of that is due to a back injury he suffered last season, but he still has not recovered to the form he showed in his rookie season. The fourth year of a rookie contract usually containing a significant raise did not help Jenkins’ cause.

What this means is that the Hawks have a lot more faith in Kent Bazemore than they do in John Jenkins. While Bazemore still has a lot of refining to do with his offensive game, he is at least able to make an effect on defense when he’s not scoring, something that Jenkins cannot do.