Archives For Al Horford

The Hawks and RPM

Bo Churney —  April 9, 2014 — 2 Comments

Last week, ESPN released a new stat called Real Plus-Minus (or RPM) as a new perspective into gauging the impact a player has on the court. For ESPN’s intoduction of the stat, click here.

In a nutshell, adjusted plus-minus stats work by taking your regular plus-minus figures and attempting to set a value to each player’s situation based on their teammates, their opponents, and even coaching. It then tries to put those numbers together and assign a “real plus-minus” as a figure of a player’s overall value. RPM is measured in net-point differential per 100 possessions. (100 possessions is about the length of your average game)

As with all stats, I don’t think you can just take one and use it to end an argument. With that said, RPM should provide an interesting new tool to look at when trying to confirm the impact of a certain player(s). Continue Reading…

Hawks-Bulls Preview

Bo Churney —  April 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

At this point, with the way the season is gone, I have no preference on the Hawks making the playoffs. If they miss out and get a lotto pick, I think that is good for the team. If they happen to make the playoffs, I think it is good for the team.

However, if the team really does want to make the playoffs, they will want to put a competitive effort up against the visiting Chicago Bulls. The Hawks have usually had trouble with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and the Bulls, meaning that this game could quickly turn into a bloodbath.

So what are the keys for the Hawks to win this game?

First, the Hawks will want to try and get Joakim Noah out of the lane as much as possible. This means no more 1-for-8 performances from the field, Pero Antic. Of course, consistently pulling Noah out of the lane is harder than it sounds; Noah can move with great quickness and can easily recover back into the positions that Coach Thibodeau’s defense requires from him. It’s why the Bulls are second in the league in defensive efficiency. Continue Reading…

A bit of an aside from basketball, but Al Horford is appearing in a video campaign by NBA Cares and WildAid called “No Hype”, which is a new message to reduce demand for ivory and rhino horn.

The message includes five other NBA players as well: Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Serge Ibaka, and Thabo Sefolosha of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls. Throughout the message the players hold iconic images of elephants and rhinos from photographer Nick Brandt.

The message will air during TNT’s doubleheader today, March 13 beginning at 7 p.m. ET when the Houston Rockets take on the Chicago Bulls and again when the Los Angeles Lakers play the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Here is the video:

With Horford out for the season due to a pectoral tear, it is nice to see him doing something that seems to be productive and beneficial for the world.

After what has felt like an eternity, the Hawks appear to finally be returning to health. Hawks forward Paul Millsap will return to action tonight against the Warriors according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

Before his injury Millsap was averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds a game with a PER of 19.8. Millsap had a True Shooting percentage of 54% and was a huge part of keeping the Hawks afloat when Horford went down for the season. Millsap stepped into his new role as the #1 scoring option and played at an all star level. This was recognized by coaches earning him a spot in this year’s all star game.

This is fantastic news for a Hawks team that has been suffering with injuries to their front court throughout February. Hawks forward Pero Antic returned to action the other night against the Blazers and now the Hawks, while not at full strength are a little better off than they were previously. While there is sadly no hope of getting centers Al Horford and Gustavo Ayon back, no longer should we have to see Elton Brand playing 40 minute nights. This will also take a little pressure off of 10 day contract signings like Mike Muscala who has been asked to do a lot more than usually expected of a 10 day contract signing due to these injuries

The injured Hawks started their west coast road trip with a loss against the Phoenix Suns. While losing to the Suns is not a bad thing these days, it’s the overall picture that makes it a rough loss. The Hawks have lost 11 of their last 12 largely due to injuries and tired legs. February and March is a rough time for any NBA team. Throw in injuries and you’re gonna have some problems. That’s why this upcoming road trip is so huge for the Hawks. They don’t have to win every single game, but a single win over the next three could go a long way.

It won’t be an easy road with the Hawks playing in Portland tonight to take on the Blazers. While Portland has appeared to have fallen back down to earth a bit, they are still one of the better teams in the NBA using an arsenal of – point shooters. They use LaMarcus Aldridge and his mid-range shooting ability to space the floor for their 3-point shooters. The Blazers problem is their defense is far from good and their bench isn’t that great.

Were the Hawks at full strength I’d say they had a really good chance at winning and possibly even be the favorites. However, no Horford, Millsap likely out, no Antic, and no Ayon, leaves them in a tight spot. They finally have three big men on the roster, but they’ve gone from having two all stars, a serviceable vet in Elton Brand, and a serviceable rookie to playing the vet major minutes while trying to scrape by on big men that were at the end of the bench earlier in the season. That is not an ideal situation for any team. Continue Reading…

Tank? No Thanks

Cole Patty —  January 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

After the Al Horford injury, there was much speculation on what the Atlanta Hawks should do with this season. Nine game without Al and these questions still persist. The solution the front office appears to have come up with is to stay the course, but many of the team’s followers wonder if that decision is sound. The luxury of a top pick is tempting, and many see the postseason lost without Al Horford.

While some seasons this is sound logic, the 2014 Eastern Conference is a very different beast. With only four teams over .500, and every non-playoff team bolstering a record below the .400 mark, it’s going to be more competitive to land in the bottom seven than the top eight. Even without Horford, Atlanta has a projected 3.2% chance to miss the playoffs by ESPN’s Hollinger’s Playoff Odds. That’s only to miss the playoffs; even if that was actually achieved, there is a strong chance the pick would still be in the double-digits with Western teams struggling such as the Lakers, Kings, and Jazz.

That’s not the only way to chop up the extremely low odds for Atlanta either. The team has 14 games left against the more difficult Western conference, while having 30 games against the East. At the current projections, the Hawks would only need to finish with thirty-three wins — assuming that Detroit, Boston, or Charlotte wouldn’t be specifically be influenced by Atlanta underachieving — to get the eighth seed.  Five games are against Indiana and Miami, but they also still have three games against Milwaukee, another western game against the Jazz, two more against Philadelphia, and one more against Orlando. The chances that this team could find a way to only win 12 of their last 44 games — and lose the tiebreaker against Detroit — are low, and that is just to get a draft pick around 10. Continue Reading…

Division recap’s back. Tell a friend.

2013 came and went and as we start 2014 the SouthEast division is currently… exactly how we left it. That said, while the teams may be the same (oh god, are the Magic the same) there is definitely a difference between where they were last season and where they are this season. Unlike past installations of the division recap, instead of going over the last week, this will go over how the season has gone for the teams so far.

Miami Heat, 1st, 26-8, 2nd in the EastMIA

Right where we left them, the defending champs are powering through yet another regular season for them. Like past repeat champions. the Heat look bored with the regular season. Unlike past regular season champions, the Heat don’t look as flawed as we’ve seen bored teams in the past. They still absolutely obliterate teams as need be, but there is an issue with them flipping the switch and losing games they shouldn’t: the Kings loss should have never happened. Miami is ranked 2nd in the East behind the Pacers, but have beaten the Pacers in one of their two regular season matchups so far. The Heat look like the best team in the NBA once again.

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 18-16, 3rd in the EastATL

If I had told you that the Hawks were going to be second in the Southeast division by the end of December you would have believed me. Had I told you that Al Horford was going to get injured for the season before the end of December you would have yelled at me for wishing that on the Hawks. Had I told you that the Hawks were going to be third in the East despite all of these things, you would have laughed at me. Now it’s January and all that stuff happened. The Hawks ball movement is better and Paul Millsap is a more than qualified replacement for Josh Smith, making up the loss of defense with his ever expanding arsenal on offense. Millsap can shoot 3′s, Teague is playing at an all star level, and Kyle Korver had over 100 straight games with at least one 3 pointer. It’s a real shame Horford is hurt, because I was excited to see what they could bring towards the end of the season. Now I don’t know if the Hawks will even finish this high in the division, let alone the conference. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Bulls 91, Hawks 84

Bo Churney —  January 5, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL

CHI(14-18) 91 – 84 (18-16)ATL

Key Performers:
M. Dunleavy (CHI): 20 pts, 3 reb
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 12 reb, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

It is really becoming evident just how much the Hawks miss Al Horford. The Hawks had 17 offensive rebounds in this game… and lost because the Bulls had 20 offensive rebounds. Mike Dunleavy had a big night with 20 points, as Chicago continued to run him off of screens late in the game as their primary source of offense. The Hawks offense, however, really did not have a primary option, as the Chicago defense did a great job of keeping the Hawks’ shooters under wraps.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Another bad night from the field from Millsap, as he couldn’t get anything to go around the basket. He did do some nice work on the boards, grabbing six offensive rebounds, but his offense was just… ugh. Sure, there was a lot of contact on some of his plays, but the officiating was like that for both sides. 5/10

Jeff Teague: Like Millsap, Teague couldn’t get anything to go on offense. Jeff committed four turnovers and simply had trouble running the offense with only Millsap as a pick-and-roll option. What was surprising, however, is that Teague did a good job on the Chicago guards on defense. 5/10

Pero Antic:At the end of the game when the Hawks were having trouble getting stops and controlling the boards, I was confused as to why Pero Antic wasn’t on the floor. Pero nine points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes and the Hawks could have really used his spacing and defense for the stretch in the fourth quarter where the Bulls were doing whatever they wanted. Hard to imagine that “The Hawks needed more Pero Antic to win” would have been a thing before the season started, isn’t it? 8.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: A solid 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals from DeMarre. That’s exactly the kind of nights the Hawks need from the small forward. Also, as with every game, DeMarre had a dumb play in transition that was very facepalm worthy. Regardless, still a good overall night from the Junkyard Dog. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Horford’s absence is seemingly having a strong effect on Kyle’s offense. Teams have been able to keep him locked down since Al went down, and that doesn’t really come as a surprise. Without Horford, it’s going to be a lot harder for Korver to continue to find ways to get open on a consistent basis. 6/10 Continue Reading…

Former Pistons draft pick and current French League pro baller Kim English tweeted this the other day:

When Florida-based fan David Collins replied to ask, “when did Teague break out like this?” Doug Gottlieb with CBSSports replied, “this year.” Then Collins asked, “did anyone see it coming?”

Why yes, yes we did, David.

Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 127, Cavs 125

Cole Patty —  December 26, 2013 — 1 Comment

FINAL

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
[FULL BOX SCORE]

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 Continue Reading…