Archives For Atlanta Hawks

With consecutive wins over Eastern Conference contenders Chicago and Cleveland and Western Conference powerhouse Houston, the Atlanta Hawks are starting to make an argument that the team’s hot start is not fool’s gold. As recently as Nov. 29, the Hawks were giving up 106.6 points per 100 possessions and ranked 25th in defensive efficiency. Since then, the Hawks have won 12 of 13 games (including five wins over teams currently in playoff position) and moved to 7th in defensive efficiency, giving up only 100.6 points per 100 possessions, an improvement of better than six points.

Although the Hawks’ strength of schedule remains the weakest in the NBA, the defensive improvement definitely represents a trend, rather than a blip. On Nov. 20 I wrote that the Hawks “look nothing like a contender.” But what about now? We typically associate contender status with teams that are top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency (the Hawks are ranked seventh in both) and have a substantial, positive point differential (the Hawks are outscoring opponents by 6.1 PPG, the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference).

So can the Hawks be considered contenders in the East? I maintain that we won’t know the answer until the Hawks complete the current stretch that includes 12 of 18 games on the road. NBA TV’s Rick Fox, who predicted that the Hawks would miss the playoffs, said after Saturday’s win over Houston, “I’ve seen enough. The Hawks are as real as it gets in the Eastern Conference.” I’m going to take a page out of Mike Budenholzer’s playbook: never get too high, never get too low, take it one day at a time. Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast, the Wizards are barely holding on to that spot at the top. Can they hold off the surging Hawks much longer? While those two continue their battle at the top, the Heat battle injuries and try to find themselves before they even consider challenging the ever expanding gap in the division. The Magic just finished a brutal start to their schedule with a lot of road games, will that really matter? Meanwhile the Hornets have won two straight but blew another 4th quarter lead, what’s with this team?

Washington Wizards, 19-6, 2nd in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

In a week where the Hawks looked primed and ready to take the number one spot in the division, the Wizards just wouldn’t let that happen. Washington went undefeated this week including a squeaker against Miami. Besides the Miami game, the Wizards took care of business the rest of the week defeating Minnesota and Utah by more than eight points, each

Atlanta Hawks, 19-7, 3rd in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

The poor Hawks are doing everything they can to catch up to Washington but they’re still a half game behind. Even though Atlanta doesn’t have the best record in the division they have nothing to be unhappy about. Atlanta has won 14 of their last 16 with their last three wins coming against Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston. There might not be a team in the Eastern conference playing better than the Hawks.

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This Week In The Southeast the Atlanta Hawks had the second place spot in the East, and then they didn’t. While hte Washington Wizards and Hawks create distance from the rest of the division everybody else just seems to be fumbling around. The Miami Heat don’t look like they’re going to get any better and that’s a problem this early in the year. Meanwhile the Orlando Magic continue to stay competitive while the Charlotte Hornets try to right the ship.

Washington Wizards, 16-6, 2nd in the East, 3-1 this week WAS

The Wizards could have gone 4-0 this week but they lost a sluggish afternoon road game to the Boston Celtics. While losing to the Celtics is not good it’s very difficult to fault sluggish play in an afternoon game. The Wizards responded by ripping off three straight wins, including their best win of the year over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Atlanta Hawks, 16-7, 3rd in the East, 4-1 this week ATL

The Hawks win streak finally came to an end Saturday night due to a Tobias Harris game winner in Orlando. The loss was on a back to back and Orlando has been a pain for a lot of teams this year so that’s not a bad loss. Before that the Hawks were on a nine game winning streak and at one point were second in the Eastern conference. While this week didn’t feature any big time wins, the Hawks were able to keep their streak going all the way up to the final seconds in Orlando. Also of note this week, the Hawks had quite a few blowouts which is surprising since this team isn’t known for blowing opponents out of the building. It’s safe to say at this point that Atlanta is a good team.
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The Atlanta Hawks were out-hustled, out-executed and out-coached over the final seven minutes as a Tobias Harris buzzer-beater sealed a 100-99 win for the host Orlando Magic. The loss brought the Hawks’ nine-game win streak to a humbling conclusion. Jeff Teague had a careless turnover, failed to convert multiple isolations resulting from broken plays and was a disaster on defense in the closing minutes.

Teague and Paul Millsap replaced Dennis Schröder and Mike Scott with the Hawks up 83-80 with seven minutes remaining. Kyle Korver followed up a pair of Harris free throws with an elbow jumper. Kent Bazemore, who had a season-high 10 points, missed a heat-check 3-pointer after an offensive rebound. Teague then drove the lane and threw the ball into the stands. He looked better on the next trip with a lob pass to Al Horford, whose layup put the Hawks ahead 87-82.

Harris responded with a tough pull-up in the lane over DeMarre Carroll. Teague missed a step-back three on a broken possession. Korver replaced Bazemore with four minutes to play. Teague got a blow-by layup and the Hawks led 89-84 with 3:47 on the clock. Nikola Vučević then hit a baseline turn-around before Harris fouled Korver on a 3-point attempt. Korver’s free throws put the Hawks up 92-86 with 2:57 remaining. Continue Reading…

There might be only one reason why Greg Monroe is not playing for the Atlanta Hawks. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported over the summer that the Hawks were one of three teams that discussed trade proposals involving Monroe with the Pistons. Monroe’s agent said two teams offered him a max contract as part of those discussions. Of the teams mentioned by Wojnarowski, the Hawks and Phoenix Suns had the most cap flexibility.

Shams Charania reported on Real GM that Van Gundy scuttled trade talks by demanding All-Star talent in return. Thus, the most likely reason Monroe isn’t a Hawk is because Van Gundy thought he could make the mismatched trio of Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and Monroe work. Van Gundy was wrong.

The Pistons have been an unmitigated disaster. A quarter of the way through the season, Detroit is tied with the league-worst 76ers in the loss column. Monroe took a huge financial risk by signing the qualifying offer. If Monroe gets injured, he doesn’t have the security of a long-term deal and it could reduce his career earnings. Even if Monroe hasn’t “checked out” on the Pistons, how could it fail to impact the team’s chemistry, knowing that he’s gone at season’s end?

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The Atlanta Hawks and Phillips Arena today announced the hiring of Nzinga Shaw as the organization’s new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. The decision to create this role within the organization was made in the wake of racially-charged comments by Hawks part-owner Bruce Levenson and GM Danny Ferry that came to light over the summer. The Hawks are the first NBA organization to hire a CDIO.

Shaw, a Spelman College graduate with a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, previously worked in a similar role with Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, and has worked for the NFL and Yankees Entertainment.

“My goal as the CDIO is to help our organization rebuild trust and partnership in the Atlanta community, emphasizing civility, sportsmanship, and human decency in an effort to ensure that everyone can be a fan of the team, attend home games, and so that we can serve as a model for inclusion in the NBA,” said Shaw in the press release announcing her new role. Continue Reading…

Jeff Teague has always been one of the more underrated players in the league. In a league full of athletic and talented point guards, Teague quietly puts up solid numbers on a perennial playoff team and the majority of causal NBA fans have no idea.

Much like Atlanta sports teams, Teague shows flashes of greatness, but at times has struggled with consistency. Last season, he started off strong and it had many wondering if this was his all-star year. Through the month of December last season, Teague was averaging over 19 points and eight assists per game, prompting Hawks’ fans and writers to believe in the point guard.

A bomb went off in December though, as Al Horford went down with a torn pectoral, and Teague had a tough test ahead of him. Through the month of January, he averaged just 13.6 points and 4.6 assists on 37 percent shooting from the field. He also posted an ugly 16 percent clip from three-point range.

So where did the All-Star Jeff Teague go?

Though he rebounded from a terrible month of January, Teague never got back to the level he showed in the early months of the season. That is, until the playoffs rolled around. Continue Reading…

As the Atlanta Hawks continue their romp through the NBA’s easiest early-season schedule, the team has now assembled its first 7-game win streak since 2009. The Hawks won the first quarter 28-18 and never looked back, finishing off the Pacers 108-92 behind 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks from Al Horford, along with 21 points, seven assists, three rebounds and three steals from Jeff Teague.

In the first half, it looked like the Hawks were going to blow open another one. The Hawks led 47-29 on a layup and free throw by Kyle Korver with 5:15 to play in the half. The Pacers responded with 3-pointers from Damjan Rudez and Rodney Stuckey and baskets from Luis Scola and Solomon Hill to close the gap to 49-39 before Mike Budenholzer called a timeout with 3:15 remaining in the first half.

Out of the timeout, Teague scored eight of his 10 points in the half, including a pair of layups in the last 30 seconds as the Hawks closed on an 11-4 run to take a 60-43 lead at halftime. Teague was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, had two assists, one rebound and a steal and was plus-11, best among the Hawks’ starters. Carroll shot 3-for-5 from 3-point range to finish the first half with 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Horford scored a team-high 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting with six rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. Continue Reading…

With the Hawks sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference after Sunday’s win over the visiting Denver Nuggets, those who predicted a strong season for Atlanta might be tempted to pat themselves on the back. However, in light of the fact that the Hawks have played by far the easiest schedule to this point, it might be time to pump the brakes. While the Hawks are having an amazing season offensively, the team is among the league’s worst in rebounding and opponents’ at-rim FG%.

What follows is an overview of what the Hawks are doing well and what areas need improvement. First, the good news. If you go through NBA.com’s player tracking data, you will see that the Hawks are at or near the top in almost every offensive category. The Hawks lead the NBA in catch-and-shoot effective FG% (57.2) and points per game (34.3), are eighth in PPG off drives (31.4), are second only to the Warriors in PPG created via assist (59.8) and are fourth in the league in overall effective FG% (53.1).

Interestingly, the Hawks are ranked eighth in effective FG% on pull-up shots (43.7) despite the fact that the Hawks attempt the second-fewest pull up shots per game. This indicates that the Hawks are shooting well from the perimeter regardless of shot type, but have made a systemic decision to eschew pull-up attempts in favor of shots created via assist. That the Hawks are effectively 13.5% better on catch-and-shoot attempts (compared to pull-ups) illustrates why this decision was a good one. Continue Reading…

This week in the southeast, the Wizards look like a pretty damn good basketball team, but the Hawks are right on their tail. These are not only two of the best teams in the division; they might be two of the best teams in the conference. Meanwhile, the division is starting to get a little top heavy, with Miami falling to below .500, there are now three teams below .500 in a division many thought was going to be very good this year.

Washington Wizards, 13-5, 2nd in the East, 4-0 this week WAS

Does it really matter that the Wizards haven’t beaten any great teams this year if they keep beating up on everybody else, cause that’s what they’re doing. They won a game against Miami that, at the time, looked like a good win but Miami’s recent slide has put that wins validity into doubt. Their best win of the week was an 83-80 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans. Overcoming a low scoring game like that can be difficult for a lot of teams but the Wizards handled it well, using it to send them on a four game winning streak.

Atlanta Hawks, 12-6, 3rd in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

The Hawks have entered that Wizards range where they’re beating the teams they should beat, which is a good thing. There were some concerns after Atlanta lost to teams like Los Angeles and Charlotte, but it appears they’ve started to figure things out after extending their win streak to five with a thrashing of Brooklyn. Continue Reading…