Archives For Al Horford

Al Horford scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hawks pull away in a tight game in Memphis with the Grizzlies. The final score of 116-101 belies how tense this game was, and every point from Horford was needed.

Horford got a layup off a gorgeous pick-and-roll with Jeff Teague and followed with a corner three to put the Hawks in front 94-87 with 8:10 to play. Horford’s second three of the quarter (he was 2-for-3 on the night) stretched the lead to 103-95 with 4:26 to play. The Hawks set a season-high in 3-point attempts with 39, shooting 36% for the game. Horford added four rebounds and two assists as coach Mike Budenholzer shuffled him in and out of the lineup throughout the fourth due to foul trouble.

Mike Muscala shuttled in for defensive possessions as Bud saved the hot Horford for the offensive end. During one shift, Paul Millsap collected an offensive rebound and got it to Muscala who found Teague open for a straight-away three and a 108-97 Hawks lead with 3:36 to play. Teague then faked another three, got a step on Mike Conley and hit a runner to put the Hawks up 110-99. 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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Thaddeus Young was fouled by Kyle Korver with 1.4 seconds to play and hit a pair of free throws to lift the host Brooklyn Nets to a 90-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks called timeout to advance the ball to half court but were unable to get a shot off on the game’s final play.

Brook Lopez led the Nets, which won only its second game of the season, with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Young added 11 rebounds and five steals. Jarrett Jack had 14 points and eight assists while Joe Johnson scored 13 points on 14 shots and added seven rebounds and nine assists with no turnovers. Shane Larkin shot 4-for-6 from 3-point range off the bench and scored 14 points with two steals.

As a team, the Nets shot 9-for-20 (45%) from 3-point range compared to 12-for-29 (41%) for the Hawks. Rebounds (44) and assists (22) were even but the Hawks committed 20 turnovers compared to only 11 for the hosts.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 18 points but collected only five rebounds while adding a pair of blocks. Paul Millsap had 17 points and six rebounds but committed five turnovers and was a game-worst minus-16. Dennis Schröder scored eight points with 10 assists while Korver scored 13 with five rebounds.

The Hawks have now lost four of their last five games. The losses have come to teams with a combined 15-20 record. Atlanta returns home tonight for the second of a back-to-back as they host the 4-7 Sacramento Kings.

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…

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer announced at Media Day on Monday at Phillips Arena that Kyle Korver, Thabo Sefolosha and Shelvin Mack have been cleared for all basketball activities, including 5-on-5. New HawksHoop contributor Kacy Sager joined me for Media Day and we got further details from the players. Thabo Sefolosha talked about his desire to put the events of last season, when he suffered a broken leg while being arrested by NYPD, behind him.

“It changed my summer a lot,” said Sefolosha. “I’m looking forward. I don’t want to look back and think of what could have happend. I’m here today and I’m feeling good, and that’s what’s most important.”

Sefolosha said that, although he’s cleared for full basketball activity he will proceed through training camp with caution.

“I’ve only played once or twice 5-on-5 so it’s an exciting time,” said Sefolosha. “As you come back and you start playing 5-on-5, you don’t know how much your body can take. I think it’s going to be somewhat of a process now between working hard enough to come back and at the same time being diligent with taking care of the leg.” Continue Reading…

This is how bad of a slow news summer it’s been for the NBA: yesterday posted a blurb concerning a rumor that the Boston Celtics are pursuing Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford. The rumor apparently originates from, a website covering Korean pop music which tags itself as the “#1 source for K-pop news.” Lol?

There’s one slight problem with this rumor. attributes the rumor of Boston’s pursuit of Horford to CBS Sports. However, in the linked piece concerning the Celtics’ offseason plans, there’s zero mention of Horford. The piece then pulls a quote from Danny Ainge, saying “we are going to go after anybody and everybody that we think is a significant player to upgrade our talent” from an April 30 Boston Globe piece. To which I say both, “duh” and, is this what passes for hot rumors these days? A throw-away quote from last April, the equivalent of the Neolithic era in the NBA news cycle? Of course Ainge is going after players that can help his team! STOP THE PRESSES!

Apparently what led KpopStarz to the conclusion that the Celtics are on the cusp of obtaining Horford is that, a website covering the education industry, linked a piece from Chinese news site, which in turn made the leap via a piece on New England Sports Net, a site owned by the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins. published a purely-speculative piece by Pat Bradley, who assembled a slide show of players he guessed Danny Ainge might pursue. Smh. 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…