Archives For Brooklyn Nets

The gravitational force of Kyle Korver sucked in a pair of defenders, setting up Al Horford for a dunk and a 112-111 Hawks lead with 19 seconds to play in a back-and-forth game with the Nets in Brooklyn. After missed threes by Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanović, Jeff Teague added a pair of free throws for the final 114-111 margin as the Hawks completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Nets. The win extended Atlanta’s franchise record for victories in a season to 59, a record that was set with last night’s win over the Phoenix Suns.

The game was an understated masterpiece for Korver, who finished with only nine points on six shots (3-for-4 from 3-point range) but added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. Korver was a game-high plus-25. The only other player with a double-digit positive plus-minus was Horford (plus-12). In July, Grantland’s Zach Lowe revealed that only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George had a higher “gravity score” than Korver last season, a player tracking metric that measures how closely a player is guarded away from the ball. On the winning play, Brook Lopez cheated toward Korver as he received the ball, even though Deron Williams had him closely guarded. That left Horford alone under the basket for the winning dunk.

In the first half, the Hawks led 46-38 on a pair of Jeff Teague free throws with 5:45 to play in the second quarter. Brooklyn responded with a Lopez jumper, a three by Joe Johnson and a Bogdanović layup to draw within 47-45 with 4:41 remaining in the second quarter. From there, Mike Scott had a putback and a dunk to help Atlanta ignite an 18-10 run to close the half. Teague added a pair of layups and a 5-footer and Horford a pair of baskets as the Hawks led 65-56 at halftime. Horford had a game-high 15 points with two rebounds at the half and Scott added 14 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Continue Reading…

The Hawks won big in the box score by beating the Nets 131-99, but they could have lost big time with an injury to Paul Millsap.

Millsap was injured in the second quarter on a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark. Clark rammed into Millsap’s shoulder on a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in Millsap coming out of the game for good. Millsap will be re-evaluated on Sunday and Monday, but this is definitely poor timing for the Hawks’ leading scorer to sustain an injury.

Back to the game, the Hawks absolutely dominated the Nets in every fashion, maintaining a lead of 39 points at one point in the third quarter. “We played great tonight as a team, moving the ball,” said Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and eight assists in 24 minutes. “We trust one another on the floor. We know guys can make shots and tonight we made a lot of them.”

Indeed they did make a lot of shots, as the Hawks were 49-for-82 (59.8%) from the field and 17-for-33 (51.5%) from 3. The accurate shooting resulted in 40 assists for the Hawks, two shy of the team’s season-high set against the Sacramento Kings a few weeks ago. Continue Reading…

The Hawks destroyed the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night with a final score of 98-75.

The game started slow, with the scoreboard showing 18-16 in Brooklyn’s favor after the first quarter. That changed in the second quarter, as DeMarre Carroll got hot and hit four 3-pointers in the period, including a buzzer-beater to close the half. Carroll outscored the Nets on his own in the quarter, tallying 14 points to Brooklyn’s 13. The 13 points were a season-low in a quarter for the Nets.

The third quarter played a little tighter, but the Hawks had already built up a 20-plus point lead. By the time the fourth quarter started, the Hawks were again firing on all cylinders and the Atlanta led grew to as many as 32. Dennis Schröder was the main guy leading the Hawks at this point, as he scored 11 points and grabbed three steals in the quarter before being taken out of the game. Schröder’s totals for the game were 13 points, five assists, and four steals.

By the end of the game, the Hawks had taken all of the regulars off of the floor and had a lineup of Shelvin Mack, Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, Elton Brand, and Mike Muscala on the floor. Can’t say we’ve seen a lot of that lineup this year, although if more situations like this arise, I think the Atlanta faithful will gladly enjoy that lineup. Continue Reading…

In Mike Budenholzer’s first year as Hawks coach, he installed an offense based on passing, tempo, and spacing, very similar to the one he ran as the head assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. A lot was expected of this system, as Budenholzer had been Gregg Popovich’s right hand man for over a decade.

A catastrophe of injuries derailed what was expected to be a successful offensive display. Al Horford missed 53 games. His primary backup, Pero Antic, missed 21 games after Horford’s pectoral tear. Antic’s backup, Gustavo Ayon, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury not long after Antic’s injury. The most important sharpshooter in the league, Kyle Korver, missed 11 games, over which the Hawks amassed a record of one win and ten losses. DeMarre Carroll, the team’s most important defender on the wing, missed nine games after Horford’s injury, of which the Hawks lost eight.

If all of that was not bad enough, Paul Millsap — an All-Star of the 2013-14 season — also missed some time. Millsap’s absence was amplified by occurring during the stretch where Horford, Antic, and Ayon were also out. Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(16-22) 91 – 86 (20-19)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Johnson (BKN): 29 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
S. Mack (ATL): 17 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Joe Johnson burned his old team in this one. Johnson had 26 points in the 1st half on 10-for-13 (76%) shooting. He then followed that up by making one shot the entire second half to give himself 29 points for the game. The Hawks didn’t play the worst defense in the world. It wasn’t good, but we’ve seen worse. The Nets were just making a stupid amount of shots. They shot 59% from three for goodness sakes! The Hawks are okay by forcing a team to shoot mid-range jump shots, but when that happens, the opponent doesn’t usually go and shoot 60% from mid range.

The offense was really hard to judge because the Hawks were constantly losing. At first the Hawks were trying to get to the rim as much as possible, after they went down they changed up their offense a little to work more on the perimeter and get some three-point shots. Both of these were decently effective, but it wasn’t effective enough to keep them in the game when the Nets were hitting everything they took.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap’s had better days. Without Horford a lot of the focus has now been shifted on Millsap. While he’s been able to step up, we’re going to get some stinkers every once in awhile. Today was one of those games with a 5-for-13 performance from the field. Millsap could never get anything going on offense. 5/10

Pero Antic: Antic continued his recent string of solid play. Antic is still a rotation player starting in place of an injured star, but he’s had some great moments. His rotations today at the rim were causing the Nets some difficulties and on another day we might have been talking about how his at rim defense was a game-changer. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Oh Teague… you really miss your favorite pick-and-roll partner don’t you? Teague went 4-for-13 from the field and couldn’t get any flow going in the offense. He was able to find other methods of offense, getting to the line four times and going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. 4/10

Kyle Korver: The streak lives on. Sadly Korver had to gun at the end to get it. He had a highlight block. That’s about all the good things he did.2/10 Continue Reading…

Tank? No Thanks

Cole Patty —  January 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

After the Al Horford injury, there was much speculation on what the Atlanta Hawks should do with this season. Nine game without Al and these questions still persist. The solution the front office appears to have come up with is to stay the course, but many of the team’s followers wonder if that decision is sound. The luxury of a top pick is tempting, and many see the postseason lost without Al Horford.

While some seasons this is sound logic, the 2014 Eastern Conference is a very different beast. With only four teams over .500, and every non-playoff team bolstering a record below the .400 mark, it’s going to be more competitive to land in the bottom seven than the top eight. Even without Horford, Atlanta has a projected 3.2% chance to miss the playoffs by ESPN’s Hollinger’s Playoff Odds. That’s only to miss the playoffs; even if that was actually achieved, there is a strong chance the pick would still be in the double-digits with Western teams struggling such as the Lakers, Kings, and Jazz.

That’s not the only way to chop up the extremely low odds for Atlanta either. The team has 14 games left against the more difficult Western conference, while having 30 games against the East. At the current projections, the Hawks would only need to finish with thirty-three wins — assuming that Detroit, Boston, or Charlotte wouldn’t be specifically be influenced by Atlanta underachieving — to get the eighth seed.  Five games are against Indiana and Miami, but they also still have three games against Milwaukee, another western game against the Jazz, two more against Philadelphia, and one more against Orlando. The chances that this team could find a way to only win 12 of their last 44 games — and lose the tiebreaker against Detroit — are low, and that is just to get a draft pick around 10. Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(13-21) 91 – 86 (18-17)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Johnson (BKN): 23 pts, 4 ast
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks had a severe lack of Al Horford tonight en route to a 91-86 loss on the road to the Brooklyn Nets. While there were some bright spots, the Hawks being unable to Al Horford in this game truly cost them. Although the score ended up being close, Atlanta was never really in reach because of Al Horford-less basketball, a factor they’ve desperately needed in their past six games.

Alright, enough of that. The Nets came out small but lanky with Pierce at the 4, Garnett at the 5 and Shaun Livingston starting in place of the injured Deron Williams. Their defense was surprisingly energetic and effective thanks to a hard-hedging and trapping strategy that I’ve yet to see them play with for 48 full minutes like they did on this night. It worked, as the Hawks struggled making the extra pass and scoring one-on-one, finishing with just 86 points on 38.6% shooting from the field and 18 turnovers – a lot of them unforced and rather dumbfounding. Despite all this it was a tight game most of the way – thanks to Brooklyn being pretty bad – but a 14-0 start to the second half by the Nets gave them the lead and Joe Johnson doing Joe Johnson things in the fourth quarter the game.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: On paper, Millsap had far from a good game. As many turnovers as collected rebounds, 16 points on 4-12 shooting and a team-worst -12 to top it off. Unpleasant to say the least, but this game was a product of a game-long mismatch issue. Millsap was stuck having to guard Paul Pierce or Joe Johnson practically all night thanks to Brooklyn’s small scheme, possibly wearing him out on the other end. Signs seem to point to fatigue as this is Millsap’s third straight putrid shooting night, likely an effect of having to man the offense all to himself. 3.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll had a usual Carroll night, guarding the opponent’s best wing scorer and cutting all over the place. He did a decent enough job on Joe Johnson in some stretches, less than so in others, but overall a solid game. He finished with 10 points and 7 boards on 4-9 shooting from the field. 7/10

Pero Antic: The Nets gave Pero plenty of space on the perimeter, and he made them pay by canning 2-5 threes from long range. Every other aspect of his game was thoroughly underwhelming however. He didn’t seem to have a lot of energy, only grabbing 3 boards and moving slower than an Atlantic Ave. traffic jam. He managed to pick up 5 fouls in just 18 minutes with some rotations that were far from crisp, and really struggled to find the seams that Horford did in his position. Comparing the two wouldn’t be fair to Antic, but nonetheless a bad game by his standards. 2/10

Jeff Teague: Shaun Livingston’s length and the Nets’ P&R traps stifled the air out of Teague’s lungs, making for a performance to forget for Jeff. He shot 5-15 from the floor and committed 7 turnovers to 5 assists, most of the giveaways just at the fault of horrible IQ. As much as he’s improved this season, Teague has a ways to go before solidifying his place as an All-Star point guard. This isn’t the first game where he’s looked lost and out of control this season, but hopefully it will be the last. Sheesh/10

Kyle Korver: Not only did Korver hit number 104 tonight, but he was Atlanta’s renaissance man. His scoring output was shy but he collected 7 rebounds and dished out 6 dimes, putting his entire repertoire on display. In response, he ended up playing a team-high 37 minutes – all of which valuable to the team’s efforts, even when he struggled to find his shots. 8/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 49-33 (4th in East) z-brooklyn

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Paul Pierce (trade), Kevin Garnett (trade), Jason Terry (trade), Andrei Kirilenko (signed), Andray Blatche (re-signed)

Key Losses: Gerald Wallace (trade), C.J. Watson (free agency), financial flexibility

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (3rd in East)

What to Expect: The Nets are a collection of superb on-paper talent with a first-time head coach who trumped this team on the court last year. Alongside newly-appointed head coach Jason Kidd is enough assistant coaches to split between 3 teams, and it’ll be their job collectively to take Brooklyn’s post-prime superstars to the promised land – or at the very least past the first few rounds of the Playoffs.

GM Billy King left the NBA world dazed for a good amount of time when he traded for Boston’s Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for Gerald Wallace, who regressed rather drastically this past season, Kris Humphries, who underwhelmed as well, Kris Joseph and a trio of draft picks. On top of this blockbuster, King also managed to somehow sign Andrei Kirilenko for just a measly $3 million a year when a $10 million per offer was on the table in Minnesota. Continue Reading…

With the NBA Playoffs just over a week away, I went ahead and took a look at every (realistic) potential matchup the Atlanta Hawks may face in the postseason, and discussed how to go about coming away the victor, as well as giving my prediction.

 

Miami Heat (1st)MIA

Season series: Heat 4-0

3 Keys:

  • If there’s one thing you can take away from the abundance of Miami Heat highlight clips on YouTube is that they can run the fast break like no other team can. Turning the ball over against this squad is the equivalent of a death sentence, you may as well surrender two points and avoid having LeBron James fly over the top of you. This means trouble for Atlanta, who’s 22nd in the league in turnover percentage. The Heat will double the handler on every pick-and-roll, meaning point guard Jeff Teague, who’s matured a great amount since last year will need to be extra careful when controlling the offense. 
  • Miami finds themselves crushed on the boards often, ranking 26th and 24th in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage respectively. They rank 25th in total rebounding percentage, yet are still ahead of the Hawks who rank 27th in the league. It’s quite the head-scratcher considering Atlanta boasts a frontcourt of excellent rebounders in Al Horford and Josh Smith, plus their defensive rebounding percentage is 12th best in the NBA. Anyway, rebounding is Miami’s most glaring weakness and that’s where the Hawks need to take advantage. Now I’m not saying send all five guys to the offensive glass because that would be counterintuitive to the first key, so the load is basically on Smith and Horford, since Zaza Pachulia won’t be returning to the Hawks this season.
  • The Heat’s offense surrounds the skillful endeavors of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, their trio of superstars. However, a great deal of it comes from their role players nailing wide open long bombs off of a kick out from James, Wade, or Bosh. As effective and monumental as help defense is in today’s game, it must be used in a very limited fashion if you’re going to beat Miami, as all three stars are extremely proficient passers and will find the open shooter when doubled. Thus, individual defense is huge. The Hawks may not have a farm of talented one-on-one defenders, but Horford can check Bosh, Deshawn Stevenson defended Dwyane Wade in a Finals series two years ago, (which he won) and Josh Smith is athletic enough to somewhat stick with James.

Prediction: Heat 4-0

 

New York Knicks (2nd)NYK

Season series: Knicks 2-0 (one game remaining)

3 Keys:

  • The New York Knicks have been abysmal at guarding opposing point guards, When your best option is 35-year old rookie Pablo Prigioni, that’s probably what happens. What does this mean for the Hawks? It means they don’t Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(37-26) 93 – 80 (34-28) ATL

Key Performers:

A. Blatche (BKN): 18 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast, 4 stl
A. Horford (ATL): 15 pts, 12 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Sometimes you just want to write up losses like this to the schedule, but… that doesn’t make it any more fun to watch. Every team is going to struggle after a loss where they get back home at 4am, and then have to be back up at the arena by 10am for shootaround. Larry Drew said postgame that it looked like his team had hit a wall and that they are going to have to fight through it, just like every other team in the league would have to do. In this game, the Hawks clearly hit that wall in the 2nd quarter, only scoring 14 points on 7-23 shooting. As for the rest of the game, I’m really not sure what you are supposed to do when Andray Blatche is hitting stepback 20-footers with a defender right on him; it’s just not your night, sometimes.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: I will probably say this a lot over this recap, but Josh simply looked tired. A couple of times he tried to post up and attack the basket, but he just looked too slow to get where he wanted. But hey, he only took three three-pointers in this one, so that’s an improvement, right? 4/10

Al Horford: Al really looked like the only player that had anything left in the tank in this game. However, you could see a little fatigue was setting in once his jumpers started going short. He did do some major fighting under the basket, though, coming up with seven offensive rebounds that led to him getting some easy tip ins. And even though the game was still tied after the first quarter, I feel like Al having to sit the final six minutes of that quarter because of foul trouble made a huge difference in this game. 8/10

Devin Harris: Harris was the high-assist man for the game with nine, plus he had zero turnovers. Like the other guys, though, there were points were it looked like he may have been struggling a bit with fatigue. His four fouls did stand out a bit though, including a rip-through attempt by Deron that he got called on. (of course, Jeff Teague didn’t get that same call earlier, but whatever) 5.5/10

Jeff Teague: Teague had zero assists for the entire game (he only played 22 minutes), and only registered seven points. In the first quarter, the only statistic he recorded was a missed shots. Considering that Larry Drew considers Jeff the spark that gets this team going, these aren’t exactly good things. 4/10

Johan Petro: Johan Petro scored 10 points in the first quarter. He was the Hawks leading scorer until Al Horford overtook him in the fourth quarter. He wound up only playing 14 minutes, but he still grabbed six rebounds and defended Lopez somewhat well. I’m not sure if he should have gotten more minutes, but he’s certainly making a case to stay in the rotation until Zaza comes back. 7/10

Continue Reading…