Archives For Atlanta Hawks

DeMarre Carroll scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half to help stake the Hawks to a 55-37 lead on the way to a 99-86 win over the visiting Miami Heat. The victory, combined with Cleveland’s loss in Brooklyn, clinched the regular-season Eastern Conference championship for the Hawks for the first time since 1994 and assured Atlanta of home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It’s a great accomplishment but I think we’ve got bigger goals,” said Carroll with a shrug after he was informed by Fox Sports South’s Olivia Harlan that the Hawks had clinched the East. “We’ve just got to keep playing the right way and keep playing Hawks basketball.”

The victory moved the Hawks to 55-17 for the season, ensuring Atlanta will finish with no worse than the fifth-highest win total in franchise history. Paul Millsap added 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half on the way to 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and two blocks. Dennis Schröder started in place of Jeff Teague, who sat out after rolling his ankle in Orlando. Schröder finished with 12 points, 11 assists, one steal and just two turnovers. He continued a month-long tear. He entered the game averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 assists, 2.2 turnovers and 36.6% shooting from 3-point range in March. Continue Reading…

This week in the southeast, Atlanta is resting, Washington’s coach is walking off, Miami has life, Charlotte is stinking, and the Magic are showing some promise.

Atlanta Hawks, 55-18, 1st in the East, 2-2 this week ATL

Atlanta’s week got off to a really bad start when they got smacked around by the San Antonio Spurs. It was the kind of game that’s starting to cause some concern among fans, and experts, about the Hawks post all-star break struggles. Is it just coasting or is there more to it? The following games didn’t say much as Atlanta beat both Florida teams before resting all their starters in a loss against Charlotte.

Washington Wizards, 41-33, 5th in the East, 1-4 this week WAS

The Wizards went out west this week and everything went to the pits for them. They went on a three game losing streak, pulled out a win against a Hornets team that can’t stay out of their way, and then immediately lost to the Houston Rockets. The “highlight” of their week is when Randy Wittman walked off the court before the game was over when his team was attempting to win the game on a halfcourt heave. Not a great look coach.
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With the Atlanta Hawks trailing 68-43 with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, coach Mike Budenholzer received his second technical foul and first ejection as a head coach for arguing a non-call on an Al Horford layup attempt. The Hawks were briefly energized, closing the quarter on a 22-14 run, but it wasn’t enough. Boris Diaw trolled the Hawks with 15 fourth-quarter points as the Spurs held off Atlanta for a 114-95 win at Philips Arena.

Diaw was drafted by the Hawks with the 21st pick in the 2003 NBA draft and became an enigma in Atlanta. Coach Mike Woodson implored Diaw to focus on scoring, but his nature was to play point-forward. The Hawks later packaged Diaw with a pair of first round draft picks in the trade that landed Joe Johnson from the Suns. Diaw eventually found a home in San Antonio, where his ball distribution was welcomed and he helped the Spurs re-emerge as champions. Today he seemed to send a message to Hawks fans by looking for his own shot in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 17 points on eight shots in the period to stamp out the Hawks’ rally.

After the game, Kyle Korver had this to say:

“I think at this point in the season, it’s not about little things anymore, it’s bigger picture stuff. I think we’re at a point in the season where we have a good lead in the standings and we know the playoffs are coming. We’ve had this long roadtrip and it’s easy to kind of relax a little bit, but the good teams are able to keep their foot on the pedal.”

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Joe Johnson’s last few seasons in Atlanta have been stained by poor playoff performances, his “untradeable contract” (thanks Danny Ferry), and his seemingly emotionless persona. The guy frustrated many with his Iso-Joe offense that Mike Woodson was so willing to let happen.

I was never a huge fan of Johnson, partly because the dull possessions irritated me, no matter what the result was. Bret LaGree, the man who got me interested in putting my Hawks thoughts to words as he entertained me with his recaps/analysis while I was in middle school, once wrote a lovely piece about Joe Johnson after Game 5 of the 2012 playoff series versus the Celtics:

Joe Johnson’s touches, a word picture by Bret LaGree

Remain stationary
Receive the ball
(beat)
Dribble laterally to or away from the basket
(second Boston defender arrives)
Take contested jump shot or pass to teammate Boston purposely leaves open

Perfectly sums up the part of Joe Johnson’s Atlanta tenure that had fans so disgusted at the lucrative deal he signed.

However, sometimes we forget that the Armadillo Cowboy (yes, this is an actual nickname for Joe Johnson, according to Basketball Reference) was actually a great player that had some great all-around performances as a member of the Hawks. Allow me to go all 30-for-30 on you for a moment…

What if I told you that Atlanta has a new, big-man version of Joe Johnson? What if I told you that this version of Joe Johnson was far less frustrating to watch? What if I told you that this new version of Joe Johnson could score in a variety of ways and lead the team to one of the NBA’s best records?

What if I told you that this version of Joe Johnson was named Paul Millsap? Continue Reading…

A Festus Ezeli dunk with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter was part of a 13-3 run to close the quarter, leaving Golden State up 83-64 en route to a 114-95 victory over the Hawks in Oakland, Ca. Prior to Ezeli’s dunk, Draymond Green dropped off a pass before bowling over a stationary Pero Antic. The absense of a whistle would be a theme throughout the night.

Throughout the first half, the Hawks were plagued by defensive miscues. Golden State’s first basket came on a Justin Holiday layup. Kent Bazemore worked a give-and-go with Al Horford for a layup and nobody picked up Bazemore’s man, Holiday, in transition. With the Warriors up 5-4 with 8:45 remaining in the first, the Hawks were confused about assignments on an inbounds play. DeMarre Carroll left Harrison Barnes to pick up Steph Curry, who was completely unguarded at the 3-point line. Curry got it to Barnes for a corner three and an 8-4 Warriors lead.

With 6:15 remaining in the first, Jeff Teague made zero effort to get around a Bogut pick, and Curry hit the resulting wide-open three to put the Warriors in front 17-13. Then, with 2:53 left in the first, Barnes got a dunk off an inbounds play as Paul Millsap was caught unaware by a back screen. That put Golden State up 22-18. On the very next Warriors possession, Carroll picked up Andre Iguodala in transition. Millsap stood around guarding nobody as Barnes cut down the lane for another dunk and a 24-18 GSW lead with 2:30 remaining in the first. Moments later, Antic cheated toward the three point line as Curry came off a Marreese Speights pindown screen and Iguodala instead passed it to Speights for an uncontested dunk and a 26-22 Golden State lead with 1:15 to play in the first. Continue Reading…

It was announced last weekend that Mike Scott will miss 4-6 weeks (the remainder of the regular season, possibly into the beginning of the NBA playoffs) with a broken toe on his left foot. Thabo Sefolosha is close to returning from a calf strain that he suffered January 30th against Portland. The Hawks don’t plan on bringing back 10-day contract signee Jarell Eddie and instead have signed Austin Daye to the same short-term deal.

Coach Mike Budenholzer has been resting starters on a game-by-game basis, preparing for a run deep into the playoffs. They seem content on using the players they have and not any major outside help, as shown with the silent trade deadline last month.

But with all of this talk of injuries and sitting starters, don’t you still feel good about these Hawks?

Compared to last season, the Hawks are a completely different squad – except for the fact that they really aren’t. Sure, they signed Kent Bazemore and the aforementioned Sefolosha. Yeah, they’ve had time to gel and find more of a rhythm in Coach Bud’s offense. Sure, they are winning games at a much higher clip this season. But, the biggest change this season – something that seemed so great earlier on in the year – was the health.

Here they are, sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference on the ides of March and they have had only had one major injury to this Mike Scott announcement. Look at the rest of the conference – the rest of the league, for that matter – and you see key players going down.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were without LeBron for eight games at the turn of the new calendar year. Kevin Love has been in and out of the lineup with back issues. The Raptors missed DeMar DeRozan during the month of December. The Pistons lost Brandon Jennings for the season to an Achilles injury. Blake Griffin was out of the Clippers’ lineup for a little over a month. Wesley Matthews is no longer a factor for the Trail Blazers due to a season-ending torn Achilles. Paul George hasn’t played for the Pacers this season due to the gruesome leg injury suffered while playing for Team USA last summer.

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This Week In The Southeast, the Atlanta Hawks are resting and coasting their way to the finish line, the Washington Wizards go streaking, there’s a switch in division standings for the first time in quite awhile, and the Orlando Magic are doing Orlando things. No, not going to Disney World, but losing games…and okay well maybe going to Disney World too, but what does that have to do with basketball?

Atlanta Hawks, 52-14, 1st in the East, 3-1 this week ATL

It’s weird to be talking about how the Hawks haven’t been playing well, but…they haven’t been playing well. The Los Angles Lakers game doesn’t count cause they were resting players, but before that Atlanta received a throttling to a revived Denver Nuggets, and needed a 4th quarter come back to escape Phoenix with a victory. It makes sense that after clinching the playoffs, and at this point of the season, the Hawks would coast a little to the end, but it’s a little worrisome to see them play so horribly at times. If they ever go through a stretch like that in the playoffs it could cost them a game. However, if any of these problems they’re having are real, they can figure them out now with a month before the games really begin to matter again.

Washington Wizards, 38-28, 5th in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

The Wizards are going streaking! They’ve won three in a row with some quality wins against a Hornets team they had lost five times to going in to last season, and an even bigger win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Washington has struggled beating better teams for much of the season, but if they can get back to what made them great early in the year then they could become a threat in the East once more.

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The injury that Mike Scott suffered against Denver a few days ago was more than just a bother. The team announced that Scott has broken his left big toe and will likely miss 4-6 weeks as he recovers.

This is a tough blow for both the team and Scott, who was shooting a career-high 35.3% from the great beyond this season. The emoji-covered forward has provided serious spark off the bench and his quick-trigger shot will be missed during the remainder of the regular season.

My favorite part about watching Scott was his ability to catch fire at any given time. Definitely one of the most confident shooters out there, Scott has not been afraid to throw it up this season. From his hot 3rd quarter in Indianapolis during the playoffs last season to his highlight dunks he’s tallied up this year, Mike Scott has been a fun guy to watch.

The team also announced that they will be signing NBA vet Austin Daye to a 10-day contract. Daye, most recently a member of the Erie BayHawks in the D-League, appeared in 26 games for the San Antonio Spurs earlier this season.

I remember it like it was yesterday… Austin Daye scored 20 points on 9-of-11 against the Hawks back in 2013 when he was a bench player for the Detroit Pistons. His contributions late in the game helped the Pistons win by one point. He infuriated me with his hot shooting that night. I can only hope that now, years after ruining my January 3rd evening, he provides some of the same microwave-like spark normally held by Mike Scott off the bench.

A career 35% three-point shooter, Daye will wear number three for the Hawks.

In other news, the Hawks will not be bringing back Jarell Eddie after his 10-day contract expired this week. They signed him to a deal and he didn’t get any playing time. Huh? I’m a little surprised that Budenholzer didn’t test him out at least once, especially on nights where some starters were rested. The shooting-specialist Eddie will have to leave Atlanta without a bucket on his record.

In the ever Popovichian-move, Coach Budenholzer decided to rest three starters against the Los Angeles Lakers. Little did he know is that he would soon be without a fourth.

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Lakers 91-86 on Sunday night despite Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, and Paul Millsap all sitting for rest purposes. The Hawks also played most of the game without Kyle Korver, who suffered a broken nose in the second quarter after hitting an Ed Davis screen. Korver, who was likely scheduled to be rested for Monday night’s game against the Kings, has officially been ruled out for that game.

Back to this game: it was all about Dennis Schröder. Schröder recorded a career-high 24 points and 10 assists in leading the shorthanded Hawks to the victory. This was Schröder’s third double-double for the season, all three of which have come on the road in games where Dennis got the start over an injured or rested Teague.

Even with the lack of active players, the Hawks still controlled this game for the first three quarters. The Lakers, who have dealt with injury issues the whole season, do not have a lot of talent that they can currently put out on the floor and the result Schröder and Al Horford dominating in spots where they were supposed to dominate. Continue Reading…

Well they can’t all be easy. The Hawks needed a late game comeback, some clutch shooting, and Al Horford to pull out tonight’s very physical victory, but they prevailed defeating the Suns 96-87.

The reason the Hawks struggled really felt like the same old story just told in a different setting with a different opponent. The team has been coasting for much of the last month and it’s quite obvious on night’s like tonight where it just doesn’t feel like the team is all the way there. The offense would randomly sputter for long stretches of time throughout the night, and far too often were the Suns allowed to get out on the break and run. Atlanta did a good job of getting back in transition, but the Suns managed to use the chaos to get off a quick set and score some easy buckets. The Hawks still played great when they had to, but it felt very inconsistent and unlike what their expectations are at right now.

Of course, this might have had to do with the physicality of the game and less to do with the Hawks themselves. The refs were letting both sides play for most of the night and Phoenix took advantage of it first. They played physical with Atlanta and used that physicality to force them out of their comfort zone, and break up a lot of their sets. It was a sloppy game, especially in the second half, that involved a lot of players having to create their own offense. This is an enviorment that a player like Eric Bledsoe can thrive in as he scored 21 points and was generally causing havoc for the Hawks defense all night.

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