Archives For Al Jefferson

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.
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This Week In The Southeast, the All-Star break has come and gone and each team has reached the midway point of the season. Instead of recapping this week’s action we’ll be recapping how each team has looked for the season, how they project for the playoffs, and what trajectory they’re currently on.

Atlanta Hawks, 43-12, 1st in the East ATL

The Hawks started off the season a little slow, and a lot of us were wondering what their ceiling was, but then things started to get interesting. The offense was never a problem, but the defense started off the season struggling. This was likely due to Al Horford shaking off some rust and getting used to this season’s defensive scheme, but when it all came together oh man did it come together. The Hawks set a franchise record with 19 straight wins and some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen. They topped the NBA’s best time and time again, including a victory over the Golden State Warriors, and showed that they’re one of the top contenders in the NBA. However, they went into the All-Star break not playing like themselves, and recently were uncharacteristically blown out by the Raptors. It’s probably just boredom, or a random rough patch, but after all those wins early in the season it’s weird to see this group struggle at all.

Washington Wizards, 33-22, 5th in the East WAS

The Wizards started off the season as the best team in the East and got a lot of people jumping on to their bandwagon. John Wall was getting early season MVP consideration, Marcin Gortat was an All-Star, and that defense was just suffocating, but there was one problem that’s still showing up to this day. The Wizards started off the season with a very easy schedule, and they still can’t seem to beat a lot of the NBA’s best teams. They limped into the All-Star break falling all the way down to 5th in the East, and it feels like there’s just no chance of them catching the Hawks. Whatever Washington’s problems are they need to get it together, because the rest of the East is starting to put things together and the Wizards are looking outclassed by all of them.

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This Week In The Southeast, because it’s January things are starting to get a little predictable. The Hawks extended their lead across the division, the Hornets are in the playoffs, and everything else stayed the same.

Atlanta Hawks, 36-8, 1st in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

Another perfect week for the dominating Atlanta Hawks. The Detroit Pistons exposed a weakness the Hawks have on MLK day with their gigantic and athletic front court, but Atlanta managed to pull out a victory and extend their winning streak. The Hawks then set a franchise record for most wins in a row with a victory over a healthy, but struggling, Oklahoma City squad. 15 straight wins, and a seven game lead for first place has everybody talking about the Hawks.

Washington Wizards, 29-15, 2nd in the East, 1-2 this week WAS

Washington’s struggles against upper tier NBA teams continues. This week their two losses came to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Portland Trailblazers. These losses are starting to become a concern, because they are losing games they should be winning. Yes, Portland was at home, but the Wizards were playing them while LaMarcus Aldridge was playing injured, Robin Lopez is out with an injury, and the Wizards did have the lead for a good portion of the game. So if Washington is supposed to be one of the top NBA teams, then why did they lose a game they need to win

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This Week In The Southeast, it’s a New Year and how does 2015 begin? With the Hawks in first place of course! Atlanta was finally able to pass the Wizards in their two way race to the top, but while these two fight everybody else fumbles around at the bottom. The Hornets are the same as they’ve always been but the two Florida teams are really starting to fall apart, it’s getting ugly.

Atlanta Hawks, 25-8, 1st in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

The Hawks look damn near unstoppable right now. They started a West coast road trip this week and after a struggling win, over a feisty Jazz squad, the Hawks had to play the Blazers, in Portland, on a back to back. A rested Blazers team at home is usually a schedule loss but the Hawks won anyways, in fairly convincing fashion. Portland made it a game late but Atlanta held on to extend their latest win streak to four. Is there a team in the NBA hotter than the Hawks right now?

Washington Wizards, 22-11, 4th in the East, 1-4 this week WAS

The Holiday season was not kind to the Wizards. Washington started their own West Coast road trip this week and it’s been rough. They managed to scrape by a win against a struggling Houston squad, but a blowout to Dallas with two more losses to San Antonio and Oklahoma City does not bode well for Washington. Admittedly, the Wizards were on a back to back when playing the Spurs and Thunder, but this raises questions about Washington’s ability to beat elite teams. Lucky for them they don’t have to worry about another trip west until late January.

Miami Heat, 14-20, 8th in the East, 0-3 this week MIA

The Heat are imploding. First they lost Chris Bosh, then they got back Chris Bosh and the losses continued to pile up. Miami has some real talent on their team but they lack depth and LeBron James isn’t around to make up for the lesser end players at the end of the rotation. It also doesn’t help that Miami has had a lot of injuries to key players throughout the season. Despite going 0-3 this week with a loss to a horrible Magic team, Miami is still in possession of the East’s final playoff spot. The East overall isn’t as bad as people say but oh man is the bottom as bad as people say.

Orlando Magic, 10-19, 11th in the East, 1-4 this week ORL

The Magic started off the season as a team that could steal wins and compete every night. They have regressed into a squad that frequently plays like one of the worst teams in the NBA. There’s no organization on offense, the defense is easy to exploit, and players have mentally checked out. After Orlando’s first win against Miami since March 2012, the Magic almost stole a game against Brooklyn in a wild comeback effort. They tried to do the same against Charlotte but the deficit was too big to overcome. Things are not right in Orlando and there’s no way to tell what is going to fix it.

Charlotte Hornets, 11-24, 12th in the East, 1-3 this week CHA_Hornets

The Hornets seem to have found a nice fluctuation with how bad they are. They’re not as bad as the worst teams in the NBA but they’re not good enough to be mediocre. No lead is safe with the Hornets and to make matters worse Al Jefferson is going to be out for a minimum of four weeks. It’s time to bury Charlotte and focus on positives they can bring in to next season.

This week in the Southeast, the Washington Wizards are handling their easy schedule as they should, leading the division. They’re still missing Bradley Beal, so there’s no way to get a read on how good they are early. After the Wizards, we have the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Currently tied at second, Miami is trying to figure out how to make the best of their new roster, and the Hawks are just trying to earn a little respect. Meanwhile, Charlotte was the first team in the division to go west and lets just say it wasn’t ideal. Finally we have the Orlando Magic. A competitive team, but they can’t seem to stay healthy.

Washington Wizards, 7-2, 2nd in the East, 2-0 this week WAS

The Wizards only had two games this week, with neither team being very good, and both at home. Once again, it’s hard to get fully on board with this team until we see them get some quality wins against good teams. That said, it’s hard to knock on a team that’s 7-2. Not everybody wins the games they’re supposed to win, and the Wizards are doing that, without Bradley Beal no less.

Atlanta Hawks, 5-4, 5th in the East, 3-1 this week ATL

The Hawks responded to their slow start, by ripping off three straight wins in a row. One of those was against the Knicks, but they beat a decent Jazz team, and a legitimately good Miami Heat team. They did however take a pounding against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In their defense, it was a back to back on the road, but points get knocked off for getting dominated the way they did. Even so, Atlanta is starting to figure out how to play with Al Horford in the lineup. Now if they can just start getting some respect from the general public… Continue Reading…

Unlike years past, this year the Southeast Division looks wide open. Not only that, it’s the most powerful it’s been in years. The defending division champion Miami Heat may have lost LeBron James, but they still have one of the five best coaches in the NBA, and two to three all star level talents. The Wizards are coming off a year where they advanced to the second round, and some think they should have gone as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. There’s some swagger going on in DC with John Wall claiming to have the best backcourt in the NBA. To help their quest for the conference finals and beyond, the Wizards went out and signed Paul Pierce; another year older, but he’s still as crafty as ever.

Then there’s the Charlotte Bobcats Hornets. To go with their rebrand, they’ve upgraded the roster, signing Lance Stephenson. Charlotte surprised many last year, grabbing the 7th seed in the East and finishing with 43 wins. They will be looking to have a repeat of last year. Not far behind Charlotte is Atlanta. The Hawks are fully healthy this year, and with Al Horford’s return, they’re looking to make a playoff run of their own. Then there’s…well the Orlando Magic are a team and they play basketball. With a wide open division, it’s anybody’s for the taking. Except the Magic, they are awful.

Miami Heat

MIA

The Heat are coming off the roughest offseason in the division. They lost LeBron James, and no matter how you spin it, they’ve downgraded. Miami has gone from surefire contender, to being predicted as low as 7th in the East. They have a lot to prove this year if they’re going to earn back some of the respect they’ve lost.

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RECAP: Hawks 97, Bobcats 83

Bo Churney —  March 18, 2014

FINAL

CHA(33-35) 83 – 97 (30-35)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 28 pts, 5 reb, 2 blk
K. Walker (CHA): 20 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I said before the game that the key to beating Charlotte was going to be hitting open three-pointers, which the Hawks did not do in the first quarter. Predictably, they were down by six points after one period as they opened the game shooting 4-for-13 from behind the arc. (4-for-12 in the first quarter, then they missed their first attempt in the second) However, the Hawks then hit six of their next nine from three-point land in a stretch over the second and third quarters, allowing Atlanta to take a decisive lead that they would not let go of. The team finished the game with 13 triples on 34 attempts (38.2%) from seven players as they moved four games ahead of the New York Knicks for the eight spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a man among boys on the night, scoring both inside and out with both power and grace. At one point between the second and third quarters, Millsap scored 13 points consecutive points for the Hawks. The big man ended with 28 points on 60% shooting in just 34 minutes, which is one of the more efficient offensive efforts that the Hawks have gotten from him in a while. 9/10

Jeff Teague: I thought that one of the Hawks’ biggest issues in the first half was Jeff Teague being passive and turning the ball over too much. (he had three turnovers at half) Jeff ended the game with just three turnovers. See why the Hawks did better on offense in the second half? Jeff didn’t do well shooting the ball, but he did have nine assists and was even active on the boards with six rebounds. 8/10

Pero Antic: Pero notched his second career double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds on the night. Antic was 3-for-7 from behind the arc, which just gives the Hawks a huge spacing advantage that very few teams can match. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: Only 1-for-5 from behind the arc from DeMarre, but we did see an increase in cutting action from him on offense, which is always a lot of fun to watch when plays are executed correctly. Outside of that, it was a relatively quiet night for the Junkyard Dog. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: An off shooting night for Korver, but like DeMarre, he did a lot of little things to contribute. Only 10 points, for Kyle, but he had nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Good thing he’s actually more than just a shooter, right? 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

After the horrid stretch of losing 14 out of 15 games, the Hawks are on a three-game winning streak after defeating Utah, Milwaukee, and Denver.

Now here’s a real test to see what the team is made of; believe it or not, the Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors are playoff teams this season, with the Raptors actually being a legitimately good team.

The large losing stretch for the Hawks was largely scarred by the team’s injuries; Al Horford was already out for the season, but the additional injuries to Pero Antic, Paul Millsap, and Gustavo Ayon left the team scrambling to fill holes in the frontcourt. Now, with Antic and Millsap back in tow, the Hawks are looking like a much better team. But how good are they?

The Hawks have won 10 straight games against Charlotte, but this is a different Charlotte team from most years. Al Jefferson is a good number one offensive option, plus the Bobcats are a top 10 defense. For the Hawks to win this game, they are going to need an aggressive Jeff Teague, as a passive effort from the starting point guard will just play right into Charlotte’s strengths on defense. If Teague can attack, breakdown the defense, and kick to open three-point shooters (where Charlotte is allowing opponents to shoot 37.3%, bottom five in the league) then the Hawks will have a good chance to win. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 118, Bobcats 116

Bo Churney —  December 29, 2013

FINAL

CHA(14-16) 116 – 118 (17-13) ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 33 pts, 13 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk
A. Jefferson (CHA): 24 pts, 23 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

In their first game without Horford, it looked like the Hawks were going to fall short. The offense was starting to go no where and the defense was easily allowing buckets at the rim.

But then things got going late in the third quarter. The Hawks took a couple of three-pointers from Teague and Lou Williams to keep things close after the third, then relied on the same three-point antics in the fourth quarter. Speaking of antics…

Pero Antic hit a game-tying, one-legged three to send the game into overtime, which was the Hawks’ third consecutive game with extra periods. In the OT, the Hawks got 10 points from Lou Williams, all at the foul line, to close the deal.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was an absolutely monster on the night, scoring 33 points — 12 of which came off of appearances at the foul line — and grabbing 13 rebounds. Millsap did a lot of his damage against his former teammate Al Jefferson, as the two were engaged in battle for the entirety of the game. Jefferson did have the 20-20 game to his credit, but Millsap and co. got the victory. 9.5/10

Jeff Teague: Usually a 20 points, nine assist efforts sticks out at you; not really from the Jeff Teague game. He was quietly efficient, distributed the ball well, and he hit a couple of key shots in the second half to keep the Hawks within striking distance. He played well, just seemed really under the radar the whole time. 9/10

Elton Brand: Elton got the start tonight with Horford’s injury, but I don’t know who much we can expect that in the future. He didn’t do a bad job and was effective on Jefferson when he was in, but he also fouled a lot, which was a limit on his playing time. By the end of the game, the Hawks had gone small and were playing Millsap defensively at center. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: Not much of a night from DeMarre, but his presence was valuable. He only played 20 minutes, but at least it left the Hawks with a serviceable wing rotation. Like Elton, DeMarre found himself out of the rotation by the end of the game in favor of a smaller lineup. 4.5/10

Kyle Korver: Prop to Anthony Tolliver, who is on the Bobcats now, for keeping Korver under lock-and-key for the majority of the game. Korver was still able to get up a couple of threes and extend his streak to 99 games, but Tolliver forced him into a 3-for-11 shooting night and really defended Korver about as well as anyone I’ve seen since Kyle joined the Hawks last season. 7/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 21-61 (14th in East)z-bobcats

Playoff Result: N/A

Key Additions: Al Jefferson (free Agent), Cody Zeller (draft),

Key Losses: Byron Mullens (free agent), Desagna Diop (free agent), Tyrus Thomas (amnesty), which were all good things for Charlotte

Projected 2013-14 Record: 28-54 (12th in East)*

What to expect: The Bobcats are a weird team this season because you aren’t exactly sure what to expect from them. Most out there will say you can expect a lot of losses and bottom 3 in the NBA again and that could very well be the case once again. However, what if Cody Zeller is a great rookie? What if Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all make the gigantic jumps that some are expecting them to make? They could very well jump all the way up to 30-34 wins. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not so much.

I feel the 28 win prediction mark is the perfect over-under for this team because it can go either way and it solely depends on the team’s young guys. If their young players they’ve been building around make that jump we’ll see over 28 wins. If none of them make a jump, or worse, some of the young players regress, then the kitties could find themselves plummeting all the way down (up?) to the most ping pong balls. Continue Reading…