RECAP: Hawks 127, Cavs 125

Cole Patty —  December 26, 2013


CLE(10-18) 125 – 127 (16-13) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 34 pts, 3 reb, 14 ast, 3 stl
K. Irving (CLE): 40 pts, 2 reb, 9 ast, 4 stl

The main complaint with the Hawks this season was their inconsistent tendencies. When the team won games, like their last meeting with the Cavaliers, they looked like a team that could and should be the third team in the East. When they lost, Atlanta looked more apart of the group with the other borderline playoff squads. Their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies were frustrating, and left viewers puzzled as to what this team could actually achieved.

Tonight was different however. The shots weren’t falling, and they lost Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll to — hopefully non-serious — injury. Playing funky lineups and making scrappy plays wasn’t in the game plan, and this season Atlanta has lost most of the games that have gone this way. Yet, they kept finding a way tonight. Whether it was forcing the kinds of turnovers that didn’t show up as steals, throwing the ball off Cavaliers players to gain possession, or making a simple defensive rebound difficult, this team made the kinds of plays that will go unnoticed. This might not be the teams best win, but if things go in a positive direction for the next 53 games it could very well be their most telling win. The shots didn’t fall their way for a long stretch — the Hawks didn’t lead from 8:03 left in the fourth until 1:06, and only lead for a total of 10 seconds in overtime — but they found a way to get that win.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Up until the injury, Al was the best player on the floor. He hit hook shot after hook shot, added a three, and came away with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and two blocks. He shot 11-17 too, which is hyper efficient for the big man. Hard to ask more out of Al, hopefully the center’s injuries aren’t extensive.  9/10

Jeff Teague: Teague made every important play he possible could have.They tying three to end regulation, a few strips on Kyrie to force turnovers, and the shot that sealed it. He had six turnovers, but it’s extended time helped force a couple of those and he responded well. The latter is huge. Many times Jeff is question because of an apparent lack of focus, but tonight he always had the answers to every tough possible moment. Including when Al Horford went out. 34 points and 14 assists help too.  10/10

Paul Millsap: Paul had some good moments, and he had some bad moments. When Horford went out, it was a little disheartening how the offense struggled when it was ran through him at first. However, when Teague took it over he made some important plays as well. Disrupting Tristan Thompson on a seemingly easy defensive rebound to snag the Hawks an extra possession was the biggest play of the game, until Teague’s shot went later. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll struggled on the fast break early, but wasn’t a really net positive or negative in his 26 minutes. 3-7 from the field for 8 points, with zero turnovers is as unspectacular as it looks. The biggest concern is that he is okay after injuring his thumb in regulation. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Korver had so many attempts hit the rim early, and it was frustrating because they were quality looks too. All those misses early came in handy however, as they started falling when they needed to much. 4-12 from three looks like a bad stat-line, but Korver’s four pointer in the second overtime was one of the biggest plays in a game that was filled with them. He even found a way to work in six rebounds and five assists, both crucial in Horford’s absence. 7/10

Shelvin Mack: Mack was thrown into the fire when Carroll went out, to mixed results. The numbers weren’t great, and his play came off as forgettable. He wasn’t really a negative either, and as an injury filler that is what was truly important. Scoring the ball he was erratic, but zero turnovers in 36 minutes was important. Also vital was his seven rebounds. In the fourth, Cleveland had four offensive rebounds while the Hawks had none. Mack and Korver’s effort to get on the defensive glass late helped snag a victory. 6/10

Lou Williams: Williams went 3-9 from the field, and the teams struggled in his 22 minutes. It’s hard to get mad though. He’s shooting 40% from the floor this season, but recovery from ACL surgery is tough and Williams got on the floor a lot faster than I expected. His ability to dribble the basketball always adds a different dimension to Atlanta’s offense as well, but tonight nothing really worked well for LouWillVille. 3/10

Elton Brand: He had a few defensive moments. Other than that, he played 10 minutes and the Hawks record is now 11-3 in games where he plays 10 minutes or more. 5/10

Pero Antic: The Pero Antic three also stands out as one of the biggest plays of the game. He also was tentative, but effective as an inbounder even if he took over six seconds to get one of the passes in. 8/10

Gustavo Ayon: When Ayon was on the floor with Horford, the offense was stagnate but there wasn’t enough of a sample to get a real feel for how he played. He also played 12 seconds in overtime after Al’s injury before Atlanta chose to deploy a small lineup. INC/10

Mike Scott: Mike Scott played 8 minutes in the first half. INC/10

Coach Budenholzer: Bud spent over a month tinkering the rotation for just the right mix, but we are seeing it pay off now. Now that players seem to know what is expected of them when they are on the floor, and seem in rhythm once they come off the bench, Atlanta seems to be firing on all cylinders the last few games. He also got his players to keep battling tonight, which got them to the promise land. 10/10

The opposition: I really thought this was a good test game for Cleveland, and despite the loss they passed. Kyrie looked good, Dion looked good, Andy sucked in 17 rebounds. This was about as good as a team could play without getting the win. Sure there were a couple key mistakes in key moments, but the Hawks kept hanging around when the Cavs continued to throw hay-makers. They got rope-a-doped, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t look good in the process. 8/10


Next: Atlanta vs Charlotte, Saturday, December 28th

Cole Patty


One response to RECAP: Hawks 127, Cavs 125

  1. Hawks made the big plays yet again, this time the refs weren’t there to bail out the opposition at the slightest opportunity. The thing that worries me is, “apparent shoulder injury”. That’s what was said when Horford tore his pectoral 2 years ago. Turned out it was a lot more serious. Didn’t get to watch much except the end, so I don’t know which side the injury occured on, but hopefully isn’t a re-injury.