Archives For Al Horford

Despite a spirited effort from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Hawks walked off the court of Philips Arena with their 16th straight win by a score of 112-100.

The Hawks shot 61% in the first quarter, but Minnesota slowed the game down from the start and was creating good shots on offense. Despite the Atlanta’s shooting and only three turnovers, the Hawks led just 25-24 at the end of the first quarter.

“They executed,” said Mike Budenholzer on his opponents. “They were very good tonight… They are cutting off the ball and slashing and getting to the basket, and guys are finding them.”

The Hawks’ defense started to clamp down in the second quarter, however, as the Hawks used their activity and quickness to continuously deny the Timberwolves’ chances at getting open looks. The offense in the period was a group effort led by the frontcourt, where seven of the Hawks’ nine assists in the quarter came from a member of the frontcourt.

The 36-23 advantage that the Hawks had in the second quarter essentially sustained them for the rest of the game. The Wolves, led by Thaddeus Young and Mo Williams, were working the Hawks well enough to keep Minnesota hanging around for most of the second half. Young had 20 of his 26 points in the second half and finished the game with a filled box scored that included six rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks notched their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night, knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 103-93. The 15 straight wins in the best stretch in franchise history.

“I’m happy for our guys to have success,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars thanks to Atlanta’s record. “It’s a carry-over from the work on the court and work in the film room before practice and after practice. Our guys deserve to have an opportunity to do something. We just have to keep doing it.”

The Hawks started off extremely sloppy, allowing Oklahoma City to build a nine point lead early in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of good stars and tonight probably wasn’t one of them,” said Budenholzer. The Hawks kept turning the ball over, allowing the Thunder to get out and transition and get easy looks at the hoop. The Hawks also had some defensive breakdowns in the halfcourt that led to some open 3s for OKC.

After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Hawks started to clean it up in the second half with strong efforts from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Millsap scored 17 points in the half and was the main player closing in the fourth quarter, while Teague led the Hawks through the third quarter with nine points in the period. Continue Reading…

The 2007 NBA Draft ranks among the most hyped ever. Greg Oden was projected to be the most dominant big man since Shaquille O’Neal. There was this skinny kid from Texas who was supposed to be good, Kevin Durant. And Florida had just won back-to-back NCAA championships with the son of former Milwaukee Buck Tito Horford. Somehow, against all odds, the Atlanta Hawks landed the draft pick that would propel the franchise to the cusp of championship contention.

The Hawks suffered through a 30-52 season in 2006-07 and finished with the league’s fourth-worst record. On March 22, 2007, the NBA Draft Lottery was held in Secaucus, New Jersey. Things were not looking good for the Hawks as the Trail Blazers, owners of the seventh-worst record, won the right to move into the top three. The Seattle SuperSonics (fifth-worst) likewise moved up. The Hawks owed a protected first round pick to the Phoenix Suns from the trade for Joe Johnson, so if the Hawks were pushed out of the top three, the team would surrender the pick.

But then, for once, the ping pong balls landed exactly right for the Hawks. After Portland won the right to pick first and Seattle second, the Hawks moved up to the third pick. It was a crushing blow for the Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and Bucks, owners of the league’s three worst records. With those teams moving past them, they dropped out of the top three of a draft with potential All-Stars available with the first three picks. Continue Reading…

The Hawks looked to win their 14th game in a row Wednesday night as the Pacers came to town. Indiana has put Atlanta out of the playoffs each of the last two years, but this Pacers team is a much different animal without Paul George and Lance Stephenson patrolling the perimeter on defense. Atlanta took full advantage from the tip to the final whistle, quickly opening up an eight-point lead early in the first quarter and not relenting until it was time for John Jenkins and Mike Muscala to make their way into the game late in the fourth.

DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague led the way for Atlanta with 17 points apiece and six of the Hawks were in double figures, including an impressive 4-for-7 shooting performance from Pero Antic. The Hawks took an 11-point lead into the half, but came out on fire in the third quarter, scoring 36 points and ending all hope the Pacers had to stop Atlanta’s win streak. Carroll and Teague combined for 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the period, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, as the Hawks’ lead ballooned to 27.

For the game, Atlanta shot 50% from the field and 44.8% from 3, but it was the passing that caught Coach Budenholzer’s eye after the game; the Hawks had 30 assists on 39 made baskets. Atlanta has had six games with 30 or more assists in the last ten days, two more than the rest of the NBA combined over that stretch. As the Hawks get more and more acclimated to one another, the passing has become the trademark of their fantastic start to the season. Continue Reading…

The Korver Conundrum

Jeff Siegel —  January 20, 2015 — 3 Comments

Kyle Korver turns 34 in March, but is having his best season and perhaps one of the greatest shooting seasons in NBA history. Korver has always been a lethal shooter; he shot 53% on threes in 2009-10 in Utah and is a career 43% 3-point shooter, but this is his first season shooting better than 50% overall from the field and he is averaging 2.9 assists per game, matching his career high from a year ago. Coach Budenholzer and the Atlanta coaching staff are relying more and more on Korver to make decisions within the offense and it’s paying off.

Nobody has a chance at the first 50-50-90 season in NBA history without a lot of help from the rest of the team. Running Korver off multiple screens is one of Atlanta’s favorite ways to find him open shots. The Hawks will run a designed play on one side of the court and have Korver come from the weak side off of two or even three screens for a catch and shoot jumper.

 

 

Korver leads the league on catch-and-shoot 3P% at 54% and shoots the fourth-most catch-and-shoot 3s per game, per NBA.com, so this sort of action is a large part of the Atlanta offense.

Korver has mentioned in interviews that he loves to set screens as a way to confuse his defender before running around another screen to get the ball, and he does this to great effect in many of Atlanta’s sets. Continue Reading…

Mike Scott scored on consecutive dives to the basket to put the Hawks ahead 78-72 with 7:50 to play in the fourth quarter after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer drew the Pistons within two. Scott’s baskets ignited a 17-6 run capped by Jeff Teague’s 3-point play with 2:28 remaining as Atlanta defeated Detroit 93-82 to run its win streak to 13 games.

Scott opened the fourth with a jumper and a layup as he scored eight consecutive points for Atlanta and eight of the team’s 10 points to open the quarter. Paul Millsap followed Scott’s offensive outburst with a pair of layups and a 17-footer to equal him with a game-high 20 points, adding seven rebounds and two assists. Scott also contributed five rebounds and two steals.

Al Horford added 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block and was a game-best plus-19. Horford was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 21.6 points, eight rebounds and 6.3 assists last week. Continue Reading…

For the second time this season, Al Horford has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Horford played in three of the Hawks’ four games in the week and averaged outstanding numbers: 21.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 84.4% shooting. Yes, you read that correctly: EIGHTY-FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT SHOOTING. Horford had one triple-double and a game where he was perfect (8-for-8) from the field in his three games.

Horford is one of two Hawks to have won the award this season, the other being Jeff Teague who took home the award a few weeks ago.

The Hawks are in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, which they are putting on the line against the Detroit Pistons this afternoon. The Hawks will be without Shelvin Mack, who suffered a calf strain on Saturday against the Bulls. Dennis Schröder will be available after sitting out on Saturday with a minor injury of his own.

This Week In The Southeast, the Hawks’ winning streak is up to 12 games in a row, the Wizards have reclaimed the second spot in the East, and Charlotte is still surging. Meanwhile, the state of Florida is just confusing with the Heat bouncing back on a west coast road trip and apparently the Magic are still alive.

Atlanta Hawks, 33-8, 1st in the East, 5-0 this week ATL

Make it 12 straight for the Hawks. Are they currently the best team in the NBA? It’s definitely up for debate with how their defense has shaped up, and the way they beat all the top teams in the East this week. What’s been most impressive about their strong week is not only are the Hawks winning against other conference contenders, but they do so in such a convincing fashion. Atlanta throttled the Wizards by 31 points to start off the week, throttled the Raptors by 23 points, and then beat the Bulls by eight — in Chicago — on a back to back. The Hawks are scary good.

Washington Wizards, 28-13, 2nd in the East, 3-2 this week WAS

The Wizards had a solid week, but two bad losses kept it from being perfect. They had a bad loss at home to Brooklyn, but made up for it with the victory in Brooklyn on a back-to-back. Washington’s bigger problem right now is the Wizards are a tier below the Hawks right now, and there’s nothing to say they have the talent to join them at this moment. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have now won 12 straight and as usual they look unstoppable. On Saturday, the Hawks were in control from start to finish, and even though the Bulls were always within striking distance, the game never felt particularly close. Chicago was constantly down nine points, and struggled throughout the game to close that gap.

It was the usual Atlanta offensive strategy involving ball movement, screens, and a barrage of 3-pointers that the Hawks have mastered and tailored into their own style. They’ve s have become so famous for their offense, by this point of the season, that it’s assumed everybody knows about it by now. Well apparently the Bulls missed the memo, because their defensive collapses were very concerning for a team that prides itself on that side of the ball. Chicago just couldn’t keep up with the constant ball movement, and it showed with how often they were slow on rotations. There were multiple times tonight the Hawks found wide open players on the perimeter or in the corner, and frankly is that is inexcusable for a Tom Thibodeau defense.

The worst (best?) of it all was how the Bulls allowed Kyle Korver open look after open look. This is the best shooter in the NBA, currently shooting 52 percent from 3-point range, and he’s getting open looks? It doesn’t matter if the scheme doesn’t fit, after Korver has made his fourth 3-pointer there should be a man on him at all times, but the Bulls never adjusted allowing Atlanta to punish them to the tune of seven triples for Korver. Continue Reading…

The only team at the top of the East that the Hawks were yet to beat were the Toronto Raptors. That finally changed on Friday night.

Al Horford scored a team-best 22 points, scoring on all eight of his field goal attempts, to lead the Hawks past Toronto by a score of 110-89. Paul Millsap also had a big night stuffing the box score, putting up 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks in just 33 minutes. The win extended the Hawks’ overall winning streak to 11 and the team’s winning streak on the road to 11, the latter of which continues to be a franchise best run.

Unlike the first two games on this roadtrip, the Hawks got out to a good start and were able to establish an advantage in the first quarter. After taking a 22-14 lead, the Hawks got a little turnover happy, resulting in a small Raptors run that led to a 24-19 Atlanta lead at the end of the first.

The second quarter is where the Hawks started to show signs that they would pull away with this game. They started off with seven straight points, including a 3 from Thabo Sefolosha, to open up a 12-point lead on Toronto. The Raptors were able to again fight back and make it just a five-point game, but the Hawks closed the half with their super active defense, forcing three turnovers in the final three minutes and hitting five shots from the field in that time to finish the second quarter with a 52-38 lead. Continue Reading…