Archives For Al Horford

The NBA sent a Joey Crawford crew to officiate Game 3 between the Hawks and the Nets in Brooklyn. It went exactly how you would expect it to. But let’s pause for a moment and give credit to the team that played for longer stretches of this game like they wanted it: The Brooklyn Nets. Brook Lopez annihilated the Hawks with 22 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a game-high plus-18 as the Net won at home 91-83 to reduce their series deficit to 2-1.

After shooting 1-for-7 and scoring only two points in Game 2, Thaddeus Young was a destroyer of worlds in this game, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal. Jarrett Jack scored only five points on three shots but added eight assists and five rebounds. His plus-17 tied Young for the second-best differential behind Lopez.

Despite how embarrassingly-bad the officiating was, the Hawks lost this game because the Nets made shots and they didn’t. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points on 3-for-7 shooting from 3-point range with three rebounds and three steals. Kyle Korver dominated his match-up with Bogdanovic in the first two games, but it was a different story in Brooklyn. Korver scored two points on 1-for-8 shooting, missed all five 3-point attempts and had two rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He was a game-worst minus-17. Continue Reading…

Deron Williams fell asleep at the wheel, cheating toward the 3-point line as DeMarre Carroll cut back door for an uncontested layup and a 92-89 Hawks lead with 55 seconds remaining. The Hawks closed out at the free throw line and defeated the Nets 96-91 at Phillips Arena to take a 2-0 series lead. The first-round series will now shift to Brooklyn for Game 3 Saturday at 3 PM and Game 4 Monday (time TBA).

The Hawks appeared to take control in the third quarter before Brooklyn staged a comeback in the fourth to make things a little too interesting. Pero Antić hit a 3-pointer with 4:39 to play in the third to restore a 63-61 lead to Atlanta as the Hawks closed the quarter on a 15-6 run. Kent Bazemore followed with a momentum-shifting block of a Brook Lopez layup attempt. The run included a thunderous dunk from Antić, a Paul Millsap 16-footer, a Mike Scott 3-pointer and an Al Horford layup as Atlanta led 75-67 through three quarters.

The fourth quarter opened with a Dennis Schröder blow-by of Jarrett Jack and a reverse layup for Bazemore set up by a beautiful pass from Horford. That extended the lead to 79-69. Millsap then hit his fourth 3-pointer on 4-for-4 shooting to put the Hawks in front 82-73 with 8:14 remaining. Horford then stuffed Deron Williams at the rim and nailed a 14-foot baseline jumper off a Schröder pass to put the Hawks up 84-73 with 7:37 left on the clock. Continue Reading…

In the past few years, the Hawks have often not had much in terms of expectations for the playoffs. In those years, a win in Game 1 would have usually been seen as a huge victory.

On Sunday, the Hawks’ 99-92 Game 1 win over the Brooklyn Nets left something to be desired.

The 1-seed Hawks — with 60 wins and the status as the overwhelming favorite — got off to a strong start, outscoring the Nets 32-20 in the first quarter. The Hawks took advantage of six Brooklyn turnovers and were using them to create open looks on offense. This continued into the beginning of the second quarter, as the Hawks increased their lead up to 16 points and appeared to be well on their way to blowing out their opponent.

However, the Nets stopped turning the ball over and ramped up their defensive effort to start putting pressure on the Hawks. “We had turnovers early, but we finally cut down on our turnovers and figured out how to execute and score,” said Nets head coach Lionel Hollins. “We got ourselves back close in the game.” Continue Reading…

Atlanta Hawks, 60-22, 1st in the East ATL

Wow, what an incredible year for the Atlanta Hawks. Anybody that had watched the Hawks last year knew how injured they were, and how much better they were going to be this season, but 60 wins? Not even the most optimistic of Hawks fans believed that this team had that in them. They set all kinds of franchise records, got the entire city of Atlanta behind them in support, and they even brought back the old school pac man logo. Now, everything shifts. It would be easy to say that no matter what happens Atlanta had a successful season, but Hawks fans will say otherwise. This is a franchise that has never once been to the conference finals their entire time in Atlanta, despite years and years of going to the playoffs. Hawks fans are tired of being the constant image of mediocrity. It’s conference finals, or failure, with this team.

Washington Wizards, 46-36, 5th in the East WAS

Yeesh, the Washington Wizards had one heck of a weird season. They started off the year battling the Toronto Raptors for the number one seed in the entire conference, and had what felt like everybody on their bandwagon. Flash forward a few months and they’re in a nosedive towards the middle of the pack while teams like the Hawks, Bulls, and Cavs passed them. Now they enter the playoffs with the same seed as last year, arguably playing worse, and have to defeat those same Toronto Raptors. Bet both teams wish it was December again.
Continue Reading…

The 2014-15 regular season is over.

Just last year, the Hawks were fighting until the end of the season to secure a playoff berth and sneak into the postseason as the 8-seed in the East.

How things have changed in 365 days. The Hawks — having already secured the 1-seed in the East with 60 wins — have been taking things lightly for a while now, prepping their stars for rest in hopes of a deep playoff run. That rest included Wednesday night’s game against the Bulls, even though all five regular Hawks starters played at least 20 minutes. But when the fourth quarter started and no Atlanta starter was to be found on the court, the message from the team was clear:

The Hawks have bigger battles to fight soon and a 91-85 loss to the Bulls at the end of the regular season will have very little meaning in May and June. Continue Reading…

It is amazing how times have changed.

On November 7, the Hawks fell to 1-3 on the season in a loss to the Hornets in overtime. You may remember that Lance Stephenson hit a banked, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win that game for Charlotte. That loss certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of many Hawks fans and left some wondering if this team’s playoff hopes were not as good as previously perceived

Fast-forward five months and the Hawks are the 1-seed in the East, raising banners for their Southeast Division title, and have 60 wins under their belt after controlling the Hornets in a 104-80 win on Friday night.

Once again, the star of the game for the Hawks was Mike Muscala filling in for the injured Paul Millsap. Muscala was 8-for-9 from the field with 17 points, good enough for the third game of 15 or more points over his last seven contests. The development of Muscala over the past several weeks has been a revelation for the Hawks, as Muscala gives Atlanta yet another capable rotation big to fall back on. Continue Reading…

The gravitational force of Kyle Korver sucked in a pair of defenders, setting up Al Horford for a dunk and a 112-111 Hawks lead with 19 seconds to play in a back-and-forth game with the Nets in Brooklyn. After missed threes by Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanović, Jeff Teague added a pair of free throws for the final 114-111 margin as the Hawks completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Nets. The win extended Atlanta’s franchise record for victories in a season to 59, a record that was set with last night’s win over the Phoenix Suns.

The game was an understated masterpiece for Korver, who finished with only nine points on six shots (3-for-4 from 3-point range) but added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. Korver was a game-high plus-25. The only other player with a double-digit positive plus-minus was Horford (plus-12). In July, Grantland’s Zach Lowe revealed that only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George had a higher “gravity score” than Korver last season, a player tracking metric that measures how closely a player is guarded away from the ball. On the winning play, Brook Lopez cheated toward Korver as he received the ball, even though Deron Williams had him closely guarded. That left Horford alone under the basket for the winning dunk.

In the first half, the Hawks led 46-38 on a pair of Jeff Teague free throws with 5:45 to play in the second quarter. Brooklyn responded with a Lopez jumper, a three by Joe Johnson and a Bogdanović layup to draw within 47-45 with 4:41 remaining in the second quarter. From there, Mike Scott had a putback and a dunk to help Atlanta ignite an 18-10 run to close the half. Teague added a pair of layups and a 5-footer and Horford a pair of baskets as the Hawks led 65-56 at halftime. Horford had a game-high 15 points with two rebounds at the half and Scott added 14 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Continue Reading…

After a couple of days off, the Hawks wiped the court with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, winning 96-69 and clinching the best record in franchise history by notching their 58th win of the season.

“I’m very proud of our players and very proud of our organization,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer in his post game presser. “I’m very happy for our city. To have the most wins in franchise history, it’s important to take a moment and recognize the work of our players and the organization.”

The game started off with Al Horford missing an easy bunny at the rim, but the tides changed quickly as the Hawks responded with a 8-0 run to put a decent cushion between them and the Suns. The contest stayed relatively close for the remainder of the first half, which caused some chipiness between the two teams. Pero Antic, Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll, Budenholzer, and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris all received technical fouls, mostly over displeasure over how the game was being officiated. Continue Reading…

This week in the southeast, Atlanta pulverizes Brooklyn, because they must REALLY want that lotto pick. Washington is rebounding nicely, because playing the East lets teams do that, Miami has fallen out of the playoff standings all together, Charlotte is somehow still alive, and Orlando is playing spoiler.

Atlanta Hawks, 57-19, 1st in the East, 2-1 this week ATL

Atlanta had a rough road trip, and they struggled a bit in their first couple games back home, but a few games against the East appears to have fixed any problems that were ailing the Hawks. They beat Milwaukee in very convincing fashion, and that’s a team that’s given them fits this year. More impressive than that was the complete beat down the Hawks gave Brooklyn on Saturday. A 32 point victory won’t give the Hawks that lotto pick they so desire, but it does make them look really scary.

Washington Wizards, 43-33, 5th in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

The Wizards had a pretty great week. Yes, two of their three wins came against the Sixers and Knicks, but they also beat a struggling Grizzlies team. That has to count for something right?…..RIGHT!? Well not really, but they have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are looking to be heading for a playoff matchup against Toronto, which happens to be the only upper tier Eastern conference team that’s been struggling as much as they have.
Continue Reading…

The Hawks won big in the box score by beating the Nets 131-99, but they could have lost big time with an injury to Paul Millsap.

Millsap was injured in the second quarter on a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark. Clark rammed into Millsap’s shoulder on a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in Millsap coming out of the game for good. Millsap will be re-evaluated on Sunday and Monday, but this is definitely poor timing for the Hawks’ leading scorer to sustain an injury.

Back to the game, the Hawks absolutely dominated the Nets in every fashion, maintaining a lead of 39 points at one point in the third quarter. “We played great tonight as a team, moving the ball,” said Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and eight assists in 24 minutes. “We trust one another on the floor. We know guys can make shots and tonight we made a lot of them.”

Indeed they did make a lot of shots, as the Hawks were 49-for-82 (59.8%) from the field and 17-for-33 (51.5%) from 3. The accurate shooting resulted in 40 assists for the Hawks, two shy of the team’s season-high set against the Sacramento Kings a few weeks ago. Continue Reading…