Archives For Atlanta Hawks

Mike Budenholzer rested Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Pero Antic for tonight’s matchup with the Miami Heat. Add that to the previously injured Thabo Sefolosha and the Hawks were missing five key players for a division game.

Yeah, like that matters…

The Hawks used solid rotations and team defense to hold the Heat to 39.5% shooting from the field (27% from deep) and cruised on to win 93-91. Wait? Cruised on? But it was only a two point game! True, but the Heat never provided a serious threat to the lead that Atlanta held for the entire game.

With the Hawks missing two key big men, Elton Brand got the start along side Paul Millsap. First possession of the game and Elton Brand already floated up a short corner jumper. As it clanked off the rim, I wondered if resting so many guys was the right call. Coach Bud would shake his head at that sentence because the Hawks used four early Miami turnovers in the first four minutes – as well as poor shooting – to gain an early cushion.

That cushion never went away.

Hassan Whiteside of the Heat proved early that he was a man amongst boys on the glass. After snatching five rebounds (three offensive) in the first three minutes of action, he went on to tally 24 boards for the game. Twenty-four! He fell three short of matching DeAndre Jordan’s NBA season-high of 27, but made up for it with a few offensive put-backs over three or even four Hawks players. Stopping that guy was nearly impossible.

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At approximately 3:32PM, the Hawks were not scheduled to play a game on Wednesday night, according to this Shelvin Mack tweet.

Players later corroborated this story after the team did in fact play a game; Mike Scott was taking a nap and DeMarre Carroll was at the grocery store when the two were later alerted that the game was indeed on.

“They told me the game was off and I got my family and we went to the grocery store,” said Carroll, who finished with 13 points. “We thought we were going to get snowed in. Then I get a text message when I’m in aisle seven pushing the buggy and they tell me the game is on. I had to hurry up. There was a lot of chaos.”

The effect of the late notification showed early on in the game. The Hawks were sluggish out of the gate, shooting 40% in the first quarter while allowing the Mavericks to shoot 64% from the field. The arena suffered four game stoppages in the first period as well, three for clock issues and another when the roof of the arena appeared to be leaking onto the floor.

The short delay and a dunk from Kent Bazemore allowed the Hawks to regroup, as the team came out with a little more gusto to close the first quarter. By the end of the half, the Hawks — though still down by six points — were showing momentum and controlling the Mavericks on defense, even though Monta Ellis and J.J. Barea hit a couple of contested jumpers to keep Dallas ahead. Continue Reading…

It’s weird to say that the Atlanta Hawks sleepwalked their way through a double digit win, but that’s sure what it felt like during today’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks have been struggling ever since that huge win over the Warriors, and those struggles reached a head on Friday night against Toronto. Atlanta was completely thrashed by Toronto, and a lot of the same issues that led to said thrashing re-appeared in today’s win.

Atlanta started off the game not playing their typical style of constant ball movement. Constantly they allowed the ball to stick in one spot and let the Milwaukee defense set up against their offense. The Bucks have a fast, and athletic, group of wing defenders that can easily stay in front of the Hawks if they aren’t constantly moving the ball. Why Atlanta chose to let the ball stick so often throughout the game is a mystery in of itself, but the bigger question might be is do the Hawks have a problem?

A lot of the sluggishness early on can be explained away by this being a matinee game against a tough defense. Most NBA teams don’t look good in early afternoon games, and the Hawks are no exception, but throw a good defense on top of that and the basketball can get sloppy, and it can’t be stated enough that the Bucks have been a thorn in Atlanta’s side at times this season.

Of course, despite all of these complaints, the Hawks still won by double digits, and they still looked really good in the process. When the ball wasn’t sticking their offense was what fans have come accustomed to, and the defense remained top notch throughout the game. It’s not always easy to hold an opponent under 90 points, but the Hawks did that with relative ease. They might have held them to less had it not been for a scoring outburst by Milwaukee in the third quarter.

The Hawks came out of the half just as sluggish as they started the game, but this time their defense didn’t show up. The Bucks scored 29 points in the third quarter and brought the Atlanta lead all the way down to two points. After this, Atlanta stopped messing around and picked up their defense, but seeing the Hawks play so inconsistent like this was just really weird.

Even a look at the box score is a trip down the strange for Atlanta. Nobody played particularly well except for Al Horford, and even he needed 21 shots to get his 23 points. The Hawks shot a mere 40% from the field, and only connected on nine of their 30 3-point shot attempts. Korver made four of that nine, but he struggled yet again in a 4-for-11 shooting effort. Really, had the Bucks manged to knock down more than four 3-pointer, we might be talking about a much closer game.

So do the Hawks have a problem? At the moment it’s safe to say that no they don’t have a problem, but the lackluster play of late is worth concern. Today was a matinee game against a team that has given the Hawks fits before this season, and for them to struggle against the Bucks should have been expected. It’s just coincidence that it happened to come off a blowout loss to the Raptors, and a not so great finish entering the All-Star break. There’s no need to panic, or start comparing the Hawks to last year’s Pacers team, but it might be worth keeping an eye on how the Hawks finish out their February.

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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The Atlanta Hawks have a big man problem. Nobody wants to admit it or discuss it, but they do. In fact, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told AJC columnist Jeff Shultz that the problem is he doesn’t have enough minutes to go around for the big men currently on the roster:

“I can’t find a way to play all of our bigs now,” he said. “I know some perceive we don’t have rim protection or a 7-footer. I’m either naive or stubborn or both, but I’ll go to war with these guys.”

We have no doubt that Bud is willing to go to war with his guys. Last year at this time the Hawks’ front office sat on its hands at the trade deadline. Cleveland was able to obtain Spencer Hawes from the 76ers for a pair of second-round draft picks. He went on to average 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in 27 games for the Cavs. Continue Reading…

Evan Turner Strikes Back

Buddy Grizzard —  February 12, 2015 — 3 Comments

Evan Turner took an inbounds pass, crossed over DeMarre Carroll and hit a beautiful runner in the lane with two tenths of a second remaining to give the Boston Celtics an 89-88 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks picked the wrong opponent to take a game off against. You may recall after the Hawks beat the Celtics 109-105 Dec. 2, Turner had some choice words about Kyle Korver’s defense. This game had an eerie resemblance to the Dec. 13 loss in Orlando in which the Hawks let off the gas. There was plenty of blame to go around as the Hawks let a 14-point fourth quarter lead slip away. The Hawks limp into the All-Star break losers of three of their last six after a record-breaking 19-game win streak.

Kent Bazemore hit a 3-pointer with 9:38 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Hawks up 77-63. After a Tayshaun Prince layup, Mike Scott restored the 14 point lead with a thunderous alley-opp dunk set up by Korver. It was all downhill from there. Continue Reading…

According to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, the Atlanta Hawks have traded the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Adreian Payne, to Minnesota for a first-round pick:

Payne, who played four seasons at Michigan State, only got on the floor for 19 total minutes this season in three games. He averaged 1.7 points while on the floor for the Hawks, and spent most of this season in the D-League. In the D-League, he averaged 13 points, eight rebounds, and two assists per game playing with Austin and Fort Worth.

With Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, and Elton Brand on the roster, there was really no chance for Payne to get meaningful playing time. He is a versatile power forward that fit the system, but Atlanta felt getting a future pick for him was the best option.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the first-round pick will come in 2017:

The Hawks now have an open roster spot, and according to Woj it could be used on Ray Allen or Gary Neal if Neal is bought out in Minnesota. Stay tuned as more details start to emerge.

Tony Allen tipped in a Zach Randolph miss with 2:26 to play to ignite an 8-2 closing run as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the visiting Hawks 94-88. After Paul Millsap missed a runner in the lane, the Hawks appeared to catch a break as Allen was called for offensive basket interference. Allen redeemed himself on the next defensive possession by knocking the ball off Kyle Korver’s knee, forcing a backcourt violation and Hawks turnover.

Jeff Green then drew a foul on DeMarre Carroll and hit two free throws with 1:29 to play to put Memphis ahead 90-86. Jeff Teague missed a runner in the lane, then got caught leaning to his left, allowing Mike Conley to drive and hit a runner to put the Grizzlies ahead 92-86. Millsap missed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds to play and airballed another three with 13 seconds remaining as Atlanta failed to respond. Prior to Allen’s tip-in, the Grizzlies were 1-for-8 on their previous nine shots.

The Hawks endured brutal 2-for-12 shooting in the first half from the combination of starters Al Horford, Korver and Carroll. The team scored only seven points in the game’s first eight minutes. Dennis Schröder and Mike Scott replaced Teague and Millsap with 3:56 to play in the first quarter and immediately raised the team’s energy. Schröder had a layup, a 3-pointer and an assist on a Scott layup as the Hawks closed the quarter on a 9-4 run to draw within 20-16. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks are on pace for the best regular season in franchise history. However, the team will ultimately be judged on its performance in the postseason. In 1988, the Hawks lost an epic Game 7 in the second round to Larry Bird and the Celtics, the closest the team has come to advancing to the conference finals since moving to Atlanta. To surpass the Dominique Wilkins-era Hawks as the greatest Atlanta team ever, the current version must win a second round playoff series.

In May of 2012, in my first in-depth analysis of the Hawks for TrueHoop Network, I wrote a piece titled “Comparing the Twilight of Two Hawks Eras.” After pushing the Bulls to six games in the second round in 2011, the Hawks flamed out in 2012 in the first round against the Celtics. It seemed the Hawks had gone as far as they could with the core of Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford.

After falling short in ’88, the Hawks lost to Milwaukee in the first round the following year, then missed the playoffs in 1990. The relationship soured between Wilkins and Mike Fratello, the coach with the most playoff wins in Atlanta Hawks history. Fratello resigned and the Hawks hired Bob Weiss, known as a “player’s coach,” who was less demanding of defensive effort. Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast, The Hawks finished the greatest month in NBA history despite some talk about them not being quite playoff ready. Washington has stumbled back down to third in the conference, and it might be time to be concerned about their inability to beat elite teams. Towards the bottom of the playoff standings are the Heat and Hornets fighting for the 7-seed. Both teams have been disappointing this year and want to have some success, and they’ll have a better time convincing themselves of that if they don’t finish 8th. Then at the very bottom is Orlando, but all of their headlines relate to off court issues rather than on court ones.

Atlanta Hawks, 40-8, 1st in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

Once again, the Hawks finish the week perfect, but that’s not even the most impressive thing they accomplished. The Hawks have finished the month of January undefeated with a 17-0 record. They are the only team to do that in NBA history and it’s not like they had a cake walk of a month. January has featured victories over Toronto, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Washington just to name a few. However, despite the fantastic month, they just had there are still concerns being brought up. Everybody agrees the Hawks are a great regular season team, but many experts question how a team like this can handle a seven game series. They reference the physicality and star factors of the playoffs could cause Atlanta to struggle. These are valid concerns, but it’s hard to bring them up at the moment with the Hawks on a 19-game winning streak. They also feel like a lot of speculation without much evidence to back it up, but that’s the way it’s going to be until the playoffs. Atlanta will have to prove they can win against the same opponent over and over again, and history has suggested that execution style teams like Atlanta can struggle in that kind of setting. However, on Atlanta’s side is what they are achieving as only been accomplished by previous NBA champions.

Washington Wizards, 31-17, 3rd in the East, 2-2 this week WAS

The Wizards are a very good basketball team, and they’ve shown that with their 31 wins this season. This week they managed to grab victories over the Lakers and Nuggets. The Lakers are bad, but the Nuggets are randomly good sometimes making that a nice win. Afterwards they lost the back to back to Phoenix, which is disappointing, but to be expected. However, the Wizards lost their most important game of the week and that was their Saturday game, at home, to Toronto. They let the Raptors go up big, but were able to force a comeback and go to overtime. They ended up losing in overtime and that continues this trend of Washington not being able to beat top NBA teams. This might not matter for a lot of people, but it’s something to take note of as the NBA shifts towards playoff races.

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