Archives For Al Horford

The Atlanta Hawks kicked off the month of February the right way, as they took care of business on their home floor with a 112-97 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. After their poor display in Miami, the Hawks showed great energy on the second night of this back-to-back, and came out on top with a victory that they desperately needed, after losing five of their last six games.

The Jeff Teague show

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. Most of you know this quote from the timeless classic that is Forrest Gump, but we’re going to repurpose this quote for our needs. Let’s replace the word “Life” with “The 2015-16 Jeff Teague”, and now you have an accurate representation of Jeff Teague’s season, in quote form. Last night Jeff Teague was the star of the show, pouring out a season-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting (including a career high five three-pointers made), eight assists, and five rebounds.

Teague came out of the gates strong, and made an effort to attack in the opening stages — firing a shot (one of his few missed shots) just 19 seconds into the game, and drawing a foul while attempting a layup after a solid drive to the basket following a Millsap screen on D-Will just a few minutes.

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Atlanta’s January nightmare is finally over — but the ending wasn’t pretty. A 105-85 loss against the Miami Heat last night capped off a 6-9 January — a complete contrast to their January of 2015 when they went undefeated, going 17-0. Their latest defeat is their third in a row and their fifth in their last six games.

Offensive struggles continue

Prior to this game the Hawks were averaging just 95 points per game in their last five games — shooting 42.3% from the field and 32.1% from downtown. In the build up to this game Mike Budenholzer stated that is has been Atlanta’s offense that has been the issue of late, but has been happy with the defense:

“Defensively we are playing a lot better. We are doing a lot of things well defensively. I think offensively, I don’t think any of us feel great about how we are playing. It’s a lot of little things. It’s not any one big, glaring thing.”

Despite identifying one culprit of the the Hawks’ recent struggles (the offense), the Hawks’ offensive woes continued last night — scoring just 87 points on 38.6% shooting from the field, and 22.7% from behind the arc. The Hawks were finding themselves in great positions with great shot opportunities — from mid-range shots, open three-point shots, to easy layups, but just couldn’t finish them. This would be one encouragement to takeaway from this game — the Hawks got themselves in good situations but just couldn’t convert their chances on this particular night.

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The Atlanta Hawks won their second straight game, defeating the Chicago Bulls 120-105 and ending the Bulls’ 6-game win streak. Al Horford did it all in this one, recording his 10th double-double of the season and finishing with a season-high 33 points and adding 10 rebounds, six assists, a steal and four blocked shots.

The Hawks never trailed throughout the game as they seemed to have an answer whenever Chicago made a run. The Hawks’ biggest lead was 19 as they focused on using speed to disrupt the flow of the Bulls’ up-tempo offense. The ball moved well, resulting in six players scoring in double digits and totaling 33 assists as a team.

Horford talked about how the team wanted to get off to a good start, especially against a top-tier Eastern Conference team.

“We understand this was a good measuring stick game for us,” said Horford. “They’re a really good team. They just won six straight. We knew we needed to come out and the effort needed to be there. We’ve been playing hard but we needed to play harder. We put an emphasis on that and, from the beginning of the game, we did it. They’re a good team. They kept making runs at us, but we were able to hold them off.” Continue Reading…

On a night in which the Atlanta Hawks asserted themselves in the fourth quarter for a 109-101 victory over Boston, HawksHoop will critique each Atlanta player’s all-around performance.

For Hawks fans, the final twelve minutes of Friday’s evenly-matched meeting was a beautiful thing. The Hawks entered the final frame trailing by two but exited winners by eight.

As a collective unit, Atlanta performed well defensively. The Hawks’ stifling and sticky perimeter defense forced the Celtics into a season-high 21 turnovers. Three Hawks registered two or more steals in the victorious outing. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks (10-7) traveled to Minnesota (7-8) looking to build upon a strong win against Boston and exorcise demons from their earlier loss to the Timberwolves. They failed to do so in a 99-95 loss in Target Arena.

The T’Wolves bench accounted for 58 of their 99 point total. Minnesota was led by 13 points on just five shots from Damjan Rudez and Zach LaVine’s 18 points, six assist and five rebound night.

Reigning rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins was kept in check most of the night with an inefficient line of 15 points on 17 shots, but muscled up a bucket in the lane after taking body contact from Paul Millsap to put the Timberwolves up 98-94 with 1:24 left to go. The Hawks only netted one point in the final two minutes amid turnovers and bad shots, sealing the game for the home team.

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After three and a half tightly contested quarters in which neither the Hawks nor the short-handed Pelicans were able to pull away, Mike Muscala assisted Paul Millsap on a cutting layup that began a 6-0 run for Atlanta. Alvin Gentry called a timeout for New Orleans after Jeff Teague’s driving floater with 5:10 left to play. But the 93-85 cushion was enough for the Hawks to withstand Eric Gordon’s heroics as they improved to 8-2 with the 106-98 victory at Philips Arena.

Atlanta got off to a slow start, something that has been an unsettling trend in this young season. The injury-plagued Pelicans (who have already been without Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans, and Quincy Pondexter all season) entered tonight’s game without Anthony Davis after he bruised his hip the night before against Dallas. They were still able to outplay the Hawks for most of the half. There were eight lead changes and seven ties in the first quarter and New Orleans went up 26-24 on a goal-tending call against Thabo Sefolosha (Ish Smith was credited with the basket). Atlanta wouldn’t take the lead again until midway through the third quarter.

The Pelicans’ 56-47 advantage at halftime was largely due to outstanding shooting from behind the arc. Three of their starters were 2-for-3 (Luke Babbitt, Gordon and Smith; Ryan Anderson made two of his four attempts) and the team as a whole shot 61% (11-for-18). Al Horford kept the Hawks in the game with 20 first-half points and Millsap had 9 rebounds during that span. Coach Bud made a point of addressing his team’s inability to match the Pelicans’ early intensity during his postgame press conference:

A lot of credit [goes] to New Orleans coming in on a back-to-back without Anthony Davis and all the injuries they’re dealing with. They had us definitely on our heels. I think we’ve got to play a lot better coming out to start games and not put ourselves in that kind of hole.

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The Atlanta Hawks trailed the New Orleans Pelicans for most of the night, but took control of the game in the fourth quarter en route to a 103-93 preseason victory. Without the service of a TV broadcast and spotty radio coverage, the game seemed to take place in complete anonymity. Dennis Schröder led the Hawks with 11 points off the bench and Kent Bazemore added 10 behind a 6-for-7 night at the line. He also had four steals, but his overall defense was lacking along with most of the first team. The Pelicans jumped out to double digits leads by the second quarter as the Hawks starters looked a step slow on the two ends of the court.

Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague both struggled to find a rhythm. Teague attacked the basket too recklessly, drawing the attention of multiple defenders who would swallow him under the rim, and Korver couldn’t find enough open space to shoot. Still, both were able to draw enough fouls with their aggression to finish with a combined 14 points on 11 shots, seven of those points coming from the stripe.

For the Pelicans, Anthony Davis is looking to put together an MVP season in 2015-16 and did nothing tonight to assuage those illusions. He had 20 points on 15 shots, showing great range in nailing two 3 pointers, as well as five rebounds and three blocks. Over and over, Tyreke Evans was a step faster than the Hawks defense in compiling 17 points on 15 shots, but only had two assists versus four turnovers. Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ season likely came to an end with about a minute remaining in the second quarter.

Yes, the game remained close throughout and even needed overtime to be decided. Yes, there is still at least one more game that needs to be played in this series. And yes, these Hawks have shown that — more often than not — they will fight when presented with adversity.

But when Al Horford was ejected for what the officials deemed as an elbow to the head of Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova, Game 3 was essentially over for Atlanta. The Hawks had their chances late, but nearly every mistake that the Hawks made can be linked to the absence of Horford. Jeff Teague was the only Hawk willing to shoot, Mike Scott was on the floor too much, and the Hawks being short the best body they had to box out Tristan Thompson all led to their 114-111 downfall against the Cavaliers.

“I did think he went at me but I should have handled it better,” Horford said on the season-changing play. “Shouldn’t have gotten caught up in that and it’s something I’ll definitely learn from.” Continue Reading…

Kyrie Irving was ruled out just before the start of Game 2 due to knee tendonitis. Not long afterwards, DeMarre Carroll was ruled a go to start Game 2 against the Cavs.

It didn’t matter.

Without Irving, LeBron James steamrolled through the Hawks’ defense, making the Hawks look helpless as the four-time MVP carved through Atlanta with his passing and scoring to lead Cleveland to a 94-82 victory. Without Irving and Kevin Love — who is absent from the series with a shoulder injury — James put the team on his healthy shoulders and delivered with 30 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists.

“I’ve got a good vocabulary, but I’m sort of running out of superlatives for that guy,” said Coach David Blatt on LeBron. “He’s just a great basketball player.”

James was particularly masterful at adjusting throughout the game, as his scoring early was soon replaced with precision passing as the Hawks’ defense collapsed around him. Eight of James’ first nine assists were on 3-pointers, as James expertly delivered the ball to the likes of Iman Shumpert, James Jones, and Matthew Dellavedova around the perimeter.

“I’m able to make adjustments through the game, just knowing how the defense read and react,” said James on the fluctuations in the way he attacked throughout the game. “Obviously, when you’ve got guys like [Shumpert], who shot the ball extremely well tonight, the defense start to go further and further way from the paint and I’m about to see creases. When they react to me, I’m going to find my guys.”

For the Hawks, the offense became an atrocity in the second half. Jeff Teague led the Hawks in Game 1 with 27 points, but he laid an egg in Game 2 when matched up against Dellavedova. Coach Blatt and the Cavs schemed well, as they went under screens to force the Atlanta guards into shooting jump shots that they are not comfortable with. Teague was 1-for-7 from the field in the second half and did not show the same effort in trying to get to the rim that he did in the first half of the game, nor in Game 1.

“At the end of the day, we went out there, and we didn’t have a lot of energy,” said Carroll. “I think that was the biggest thing.”

Despite his injury, Carroll led the team in minutes in Friday night with 34. Carroll was clearly hampered, however, as he had little to no lift when he attempted to jump. The most athleticism Carroll showed all night was on a run out in transition, where Teague was pushing the ball and Carroll was sprinting at his side, waiting for the drop off pass for an easy bucket. Continue Reading…

Game 1 of the Hawks and Cavaliers series looked like a disaster for Atlanta when DeMarre Carroll went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

The arena was deadly silent. Carroll was rolling in pain on the court as players and coaches from both teams looked on with grave concern. As Carroll was helped off the court, everyone in Atlanta had one thought: it’s over. Without DeMarre Carroll, the team’s best perimeter defender and the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs, the Hawks had no chance against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But alas, a beam of hope has struck the ATL.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the MRI on Carroll’s knee showed no structural damage beyond confirming a knee sprain. Carroll’s status was updated on Wednesday by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore:

With Kyrie Irving also being questionable for Game 2, the Hawks have ample opportunity to recover from the near disaster that was Game 1. With or without Carroll, here are the keys that the Hawks need to follow to improve in Game 2.

Go under on LeBron James initiated pick-and-rolls

LeBron James had success against the Hawks in Game 1 by getting into the paint, whether it be via post up or drive into the lane with the help of a screen. James often collapsed the Hawks’ defense and would kick out to an open Continue Reading…