Archives For Brooklyn Nets

The games in the Atlanta Hawks’ series against the Brooklyn Nets have all had a similar story. The Hawks would take an early lead with their starting unit, then Brooklyn would cut into that lead with their bench, make the game close by halftime, and then threaten to take the lead for the remainder of the game.

Game 6 of the series looked like it was going to continue following that formula. The Hawks jumped out to a massive early advantage, making 13 of their first 18 shots to create a 36-23 lead after 12 minutes of play. However, the Hawks’ shooting then went cold and Joe Johnson was able to pull the Nets back within six by the halftime buzzer, with the Hawks’ lead down to just 51-45.

However, in the third quarter, the 60-win Hawks finally arrived to the series.

The Hawks scored 41 points in the third quarter, with Paul Millsap leading the pack with 11. The ball movement was crisp and the shots were crisper, as Atlanta saw 16 (15 assisted) of their 24 shot attempts in the quarter go through the bottom of the net. The Hawks absolutely blew the doors off of the Nets with a 23-3 run to open the period and finally sealing the series by a count of four to two. Continue Reading…

With the Hawks at risk of losing at home, giving up home court advantage and returning to Brooklyn to face an elimination game, Mike Budenholzer turned to his starters. All five scored in double figures and posted a differential of plus-10 or better in Game 5. However, the starters nearly gave the game away in the fourth quarter with turnovers and poor defensive effort.

For the third consecutive game, Coach Bud reduced minutes for Dennis Schröder off the bench. He averaged 22 minutes the first three games, played 14 in Game 4 and 11 in Game 5. This time, the Hawks performed well with Schröder on the floor. He was minus-2, which means he kept the score within one possession. Bud will take that any day of the week. If the reserves can keep the score close, it gives the starters an opportunity to seal a win.

The Hawks opened the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead, but things went south in a hurry. After Joe Johnson hit a jumper over Al Horford, the Nets defended well, forcing Kyle Korver to heave a tough shot at the end of the shot clock. Horford lost the ball out of bounds after an offensive rebound, committing the first of a string of turnovers that would allow the Nets to quickly close the gap. Following are highlights from the fourth quarter prepared by Jake Martinsek, who also contributed to a piece on Pero Antić co-authored by HawksHoop editor Bo Churney and I for ESPN.com. Continue Reading…

The Hawks started hot and staved off another Nets comeback in Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. Coach Budenholzer implied in the time leading up to the game that the players were raring to go, and they showed it. Atlanta led 33-16 after one quarter, but the Nets pulled within two with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jeff Teague had a hand in eight of the Hawks’ final ten points, assisting on an Al Horford jumper and scoring six straight to put the Nets away.

DeMarre Carroll led all players in scoring with 24 in a game that saw each of Atlanta’s starters play at least 34 minutes and virtually all of the fourth quarter. “Coach came to us each individually and told us we were probably going to pick up some more minutes,” Carroll said after the game. The shortened rotation is something that Budenholzer will use going forward, as most coaches do in the playoffs. Mike Scott has fallen out of favor recently and played just over two minutes in this game as Budenholzer opted for a three-man rotation at the power forward and center positions. Pero Antic played almost 18 minutes and provided some much needed defense and rebounding against Brook Lopez. Continue Reading…

The Hawks have had the great and terrible fortune to have two young point guards emerge as rotation players at roughly the same time. During last year’s playoffs, while Lou Williams was turning the ball over twice for every assist he produced, Shelvin Mack was producing 17 points, almost eight assists and four rebounds per 36 minutes against the NBA’s top regular-season defense. His assist-to-turnover ratio against the Pacers was 4-to-1 and Mack had the best aggregate plus-minus for the series of any Hawks reserve.

I spent much of last season telling my pals on the AJC.com Hawks Blog that Dennis Schröder shouldn’t be given anything … that he shouldn’t get minutes until he proved that he deserved them. This season, Schröder proved it. The former 17th pick emerged as easily one of the top five players of the 2013 draft class. His per-minute numbers during the regular season were similar to Jeff Teague’s, meaning the Hawks didn’t lose much with Teague on the bench.

When Teague was injured mid-season while the Hawks faced a gauntlet of a Western Conference road swing, Schröder went on a national barnstorming tour that served notice to the NBA about the Hawks’ depth and ceiling. But along the way, the Hawks lost something. As Atlanta’s basketball club exploded into the national conversation with one All-Star point guard and another with All-Star potential, Shelvin Mack lost an opportunity to further his development. Continue Reading…

Kyle Korver helped in the lane and Bojan Bogdanovic hit a wide-open 3-pointer with 1:25 to play in overtime as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Atlanta Hawks 120-115 to knot their first round playoff series 2-2. Deron Williams tied a playoff career-high with 35 points as he also spent a lot of time wide open. But it was a highly-contested shot by Williams in the fourth quarter that made overtime and the eventual victory possible.

With 1:53 to play in regulation, Williams hit a deep, fall-away 3-pointer with Jeff Teague draped all over him to give the Nets a 102-101 lead in a game that saw more than a dozen lead changes. Brook Lopez would add a hook shot before Teague hit one of two free throws and Paul Millsap dunked with 16 seconds left as regulation ended in a 104-104 draw. Williams had 16 points in the fourth quarter, nearly what he totaled through the series’ first three games. Continue Reading…

One minute into the third quarter of Game 3, Deron Williams fouled Jeff Teague to prevent a layup. Teague reacted in frustration by shoving Williams away. Williams and the officials ignored it. “Teague showing a little passion,” I tweeted. “I’ll take it.”

The Hawks started chipping away at Brooklyn’s 47-40 halftime lead as Teague assisted on dunks from Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, sank a pair of free throws and converted a 3-point play. Moments later, with under five to play in the third, Carroll hit a layup to draw the Hawks within 58-56 as the Hawks outscored the Nets 16-11 to open the quarter. Teague was having one of his best stretches of the series.

Then, with 4:35 to play in the third, coach Mike Budenholzer replaced Teague with Dennis Schröder. Having brought the Hawks to the brink of seizing the lead, Teague stalked to the bench, clearly unhappy about being removed.

When Budenholzer won NBA Coach of the year, Kyle Korver said he was the best coach he had seen at any level at the combination of tactics and personality management. Budenholzer and his staff also deserve a lot of credit for helping Schröder develop into a rotation player this season. However, there are two players who are clearly hurting the Hawks in this series. Continue Reading…

The NBA sent a Joey Crawford crew to officiate Game 3 between the Hawks and the Nets in Brooklyn. It went exactly how you would expect it to. But let’s pause for a moment and give credit to the team that played for longer stretches of this game like they wanted it: The Brooklyn Nets. Brook Lopez annihilated the Hawks with 22 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a game-high plus-18 as the Nets won at home 91-83 to reduce their series deficit to 2-1.

After shooting 1-for-7 and scoring only two points in Game 2, Thaddeus Young was a destroyer of worlds in this game, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal. Jarrett Jack scored only five points on three shots but added eight assists and five rebounds. His plus-17 tied Young for the second-best differential behind Lopez.

Despite how embarrassingly-bad the officiating was, the Hawks lost this game because the Nets made shots and they didn’t. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points on 3-for-7 shooting from 3-point range with three rebounds and three steals. Kyle Korver dominated his match-up with Bogdanovic in the first two games, but it was a different story in Brooklyn. Korver scored two points on 1-for-8 shooting, missed all five 3-point attempts and had two rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He was a game-worst minus-17. Continue Reading…

Before I preview Game 3, I’d like to say I believe people are missing the full story on the great incoming ownership group that has been selected for the Hawks. Presuming the group fronted by Tony Ressler is approved by the NBA, the days of running the franchise “on the cheap” could be over. Ressler isn’t the only billionaire in the group.

The NBA is set to score a major coup by bringing Sara Blakely and Jesse Itzler into the ownership family. Blakely moved to Atlanta and founded the Spanx shapewear empire, becoming the youngest female self-made billionaire. Although she and husband Itzler are Atlanta transplants, they are true Hawks fans whom I suspect are committed to keeping the franchise in Atlanta permanently. The NBA is adding a female owner with Oprah Winfrey levels of success and credibility.

Itzler is a co-founder of Marquis Jet and formerly rapped under the moniker Jesse Jaymes. You can see the video for Shake It Like A White Girl on YouTube. Hopefully he doesn’t disavow his hip hop career like Mark Wahlberg. I’m still down with the Funky Bunch. Anyways, on to basketball. Continue Reading…

Deron Williams fell asleep at the wheel, cheating toward the 3-point line as DeMarre Carroll cut back door for an uncontested layup and a 92-89 Hawks lead with 55 seconds remaining. The Hawks closed out at the free throw line and defeated the Nets 96-91 at Phillips Arena to take a 2-0 series lead. The first-round series will now shift to Brooklyn for Game 3 Saturday at 3 PM and Game 4 Monday (time TBA).

The Hawks appeared to take control in the third quarter before Brooklyn staged a comeback in the fourth to make things a little too interesting. Pero Antić hit a 3-pointer with 4:39 to play in the third to restore a 63-61 lead to Atlanta as the Hawks closed the quarter on a 15-6 run. Kent Bazemore followed with a momentum-shifting block of a Brook Lopez layup attempt. The run included a thunderous dunk from Antić, a Paul Millsap 16-footer, a Mike Scott 3-pointer and an Al Horford layup as Atlanta led 75-67 through three quarters.

The fourth quarter opened with a Dennis Schröder blow-by of Jarrett Jack and a reverse layup for Bazemore set up by a beautiful pass from Horford. That extended the lead to 79-69. Millsap then hit his fourth 3-pointer on 4-for-4 shooting to put the Hawks in front 82-73 with 8:14 remaining. Horford then stuffed Deron Williams at the rim and nailed a 14-foot baseline jumper off a Schröder pass to put the Hawks up 84-73 with 7:37 left on the clock. Continue Reading…

Earlier in the season I wrote about the numbers versus perception of Jeff Teague’s defense. While the numbers show that Teague has taken a dramatic step forward this season, the eye test still betrays lapses where Teague doesn’t give full effort.

The disconnect between perception and metrics is also startling for Dennis Schröder. While Teague often appears to be going through the motions, Schröder is always down in his stance with active hands. He’s quick, has an enormous wingspan and a reputation as an excellent defender. And yet, somehow Teague is ranked as the 9th-best defensive point guard in the NBA by ESPN.com’s Real Plus-Minus while Schröder is ranked 64th of 84 point guards rated.

At the bottom of this post you will find a continuation of a tradition I started during last year’s playoffs. I have compiled the “Enhanced Play-by-Play” for Game 1 and, at the end, listed the individual “defensive miscues” by play. These are instances where an advantage is created for an offensive player because a defender is out of position. Defensive miscues are not necessarily mistakes. Defensive scheme may call for a player to double team or guard a different area of the floor. Teams play the averages with their defensive schemes, but a defensive miscue happens when a defensive player makes a mistake or plays the averages and loses. Continue Reading…