Archives For Dirk Nowitzki

Paul Pierce has already paid his last visit to Philips arena during his farewell tour this season, while his two 1998 draft mates — Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki —  have yet to make a decision on their respective futures. Dirk has the option to return for one last go-around next season, but if not, then tonight’s 100-95 loss to the Hawks was his Philips Arena encore. He shares ties with Coach Budenholzer, stemming from their 57 highly entertaining Texas showdowns between San Antonio and Dallas, when Budenholzer served as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich. Dirk has also been taking on a pseudo-mentor role in Dennis Schroder’s career, as they are just two of three German players currently in the NBA.

Here’s what some members of the Hawks had to say about Dirk’s legacy and what it was like facing him:

“I joke with my coaching staff often that I still have nightmares about Dirk,”Coach Budenholzer said. “I may have watched more film on him than any other player in the NBA. He’s a special player — so unique what he does at his size as far as shooting. He creates so many problems whether you put big guys on him, small guys on him, he gets to the free throw line. And I thought he improved defensively and as a rebounder. He is one of the special players this league has ever had and I have so much respect for him.”

“My rookie year I was at Golden State and I didn’t get to see him play much,” Kent Bazemore said. “I would just see him workout before games and he is so undoubtedly good at what he does. He is a true professional and I’ve always heard a lot of good things about him and his approach to the game. About how much he loves shooting.That’s why he is one of the greatest shooters of all time. There are things you learn from guys like that being able to sit out there and watch him — Kobe, Ray Allen — in their pregame workouts. You take certain things from it and just see how focus and locked in he is.”

“The memory I have of Dirk is him giving me 40 in Utah,” said a laughing Paul Millsap. “He’s a good guy and he plays the game the right way. When I was in Utah I played him four times a year and always had to match up against him. He has always been a tough guard for me. I see that Ersan does the one legged jumper and that may be something I need to add to my repertoire.”

“I think that he is a credible legend,” Dennis Schroder said. “He’s had an amazing career, then for him to be German and play against him again is a great feeling. He is a role model for every German player and he’s done a great job. He is amazing and I think he will get his 30,000 points soon.”

Whether he decides to return or not, it is easy to see the impact Nowitzki has had around the league.

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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…

The Western Conference All-Stars defeated the Eastern Conference All-Stars 163-158 on Sunday night in Madison Square Garden behind game-MVP Russell Westbrook’s 41-point performance. LeBron James led the East squad with 30 points.

Of course, this is a Hawks blog, so the focus here is going to be how Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Korver performed over anything else. Despite the loss, it’s safe to say that those four represented Atlanta well and gave the city something to be proud of.

Horford was the first Hawk to enter the game, as he did so with Kyrie Irving about seven minutes into the first quarter. This felt like a surprise, because the general thought was before the game that Budenholzer might insert all four Hawks at once. However, it did not take long for the rest of the Hawks to see the floor, as Teague, Millsap, and Korver joined Horford and Irving on the floor about a minute of game time later. Those four played the remainder of the quarter and we did not see four Hawks on the floor again until the third quarter when they took the floor with LeBron James.

Korver had the most notable performance of any Hawks player, as quick-paced nature of the All-Star game suits his style perfectly. Korver scored 21 points in 16 minutes and was 7-for-12 from 3-point land for the game. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Mavs 118, Hawks 109

Bo Churney —  October 31, 2013

FINAL

DAL(1-0) 118 – 109 (0-1)ATL

Key Performers:
M. Ellis (DAL): 32 pts, 4 reb, 8 ast
J. Teague (ATL): 24 pts, 2 reb, 8 ast, 4 stls
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Going into the season, I would have thought the Hawks would have a harder time acclimating to the new offense than the new defense. Well, the offense looked fine, and the defense wasn’t bad… except for the Mavs nailing every jumper they could take. Noted Hawks killer Vince Carter was hitting circus shots, and Monta Ellis shot 9-for-13 on jumpers outside of the paint. The Hawks defense could still use some adjustments, but it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: If Al’s going to be the leader of this team, he’s going to have to be more assertive offensively. He only took 12 shots on the night and on a couple of possessions, he passed up open jumpers. Defensively, he was a stud (five steals, four blocks), and most of the Hawks’ defensive problems weren’t related to his play. 6/10

Paul Millsap: If Josh Smith had the mind of Paul Millsap… anyways, Paul had a strong offensive showing (20 points), playing a strong brand of basketball in the paint. He had some trouble guarding Dirk Nowitzki, but then again, who doesn’t have problems doing that? 7.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre had 14 points on the night, mostly from cuts to the basket that resulted in either a bucket or a chance at the foul line. Carroll’s sudden and quick movements off the ball are going to be a huge asset for the Hawks this season, even if that brand of basketball results in some bruises. 7.5/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was money for the first two-and-a-half quarters, where he had 20 points, eight assists, and only three turnovers. After that, he was a disaster, committing three more turnovers and constantly getting lost in Dallas’s pick-and-rolls. (he finished with a team worst +/- of minus-24) Teague kept trying to be aggressive, but it just stopped working for him. He showed some promise in the first half on defending the pick-and-roll, but he has to be able to do that for a full game. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Korver didn’t extend his three-point streak until late in the game, but he finally got to 74 straight after hitting a three to make it 102-92 in the fourth. Dallas did a good job of containing Kyle off the ball, as he didn’t have too many good looks on shots. 4/10 Continue Reading…

Hawks Finish Preseason 1-6

Bo Churney —  October 24, 2013

The Hawks’ entire starting lineup (Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap, and Horford) sat out last night for the Hawks’ final preseason game against the Mavericks.

We should have expected a blowout against Dirk and company, right?

Dallas won 98-88, but the ATL reserves were able to keep it closer than one might expect. Dennis Schröder finally flashed some scoring ability and was the game’s leading scorer with 21 points. He did it in a multitude of ways, hitting catch-and-shoot jumpers, off the dribble jumpers, and finishing in the lane through traffic. He committed seven turnovers, but that’s not too surprising for a 20 year old making his first start. Defensively, he had two steals and four fouls, but he still disrupted Ellis and Calderon a lot. He’s gonna be tons of fun this year for the Hawks off the bench.

Mike Scott was flashing all of his offensive skills again, scoring 19 points and only committing one turnover. He even looked capable on defense at times, keeping Dirk in-check for some possessions. There were also some possessions where he didn’t keep his opponent in-check; it’s still a work in progress. Scott finishes the preseason with an average of 12 points in just 18.9 minutes per game. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 41-41 (10th in West)z-mavericks

Playoff Results: N/A

Key Additions: Monta Ellis (free agent), Jose Calderon (free agent), Samuel Dalembert (free agent), Devin Harris (free agent), Shane Larkin (draft), Ricky Ledo (#25DollarsOfFaith)

Key Losses: O.J. Mayo (free agent), Elton Brand (free agent), Chris Kaman (free agent), Darren Collison (free agent)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 34-48 (12th in West)*

What to Expect: Mark Cuban’s courage is noble; his cigar blowing plane rides, late-night trophy showcasing endeavors, his championship urinal trips are imperial. His eccentricity is what sets him apart from other owners: you know who Mark Cuban is. His honesty – for good or bad – is refreshing. His confidence is unparalleled. The world was shocked when the Mavericks – behind a number of heroic playoff performances from a number of players – snatched the throne from the hands of King James.

But Mark Cuban – in the midst of his vibrant celebrations – was already planning his next move. He is a natural business, after all. He let free agents Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler – both major defensive components of the 2011 championship run – walk away for nothing. He signed a plethora of players to one year deals and began eyeing the 2013 summer. Continue Reading…

FINAL

DAL(22-29) 101 – 105 (28-22) ATL

Key Performers:

J. Smith (ATL): 26 pts, 13 reb, 6 asts
D. Nowitzki (DAL): 24 pts, 7 reb, 2 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Some games are filled with anomalies, filled with the abnormal and ridiculousness of chance. This was one of those games. I’ll get more into it when I specifically assess his play in the reaction grades, but Josh Smith was money from everywhere tonight. He was 4-5 from beyond the arc and was connecting on jumpers all over the floor. What? Yeah. That sentence is a real thing. It seems like this happens maybe 3 or 4 times a season. It seems like Smith is destined to shush the “haters” for a lone night, which of course only emboldens his quest to launch jumpers from a myriad of different locations across the hardwood. But does it matter? Should we really care?

By now we should know to take the good with the bad, to appreciate Smith’s incredible play despite some glaring faults. On nights when those faults are washed away, his game seems almost complete, almost THERE, wherever that is. And on nights when Smith is as in sync with his outside game as he was tonight, all the other good he does, all the other positives he brings every night only seem magnified (but of course any uncommon or prevalent outlier in another statistical category can stand out in a negative light). It wasn’t just Smith, though. Sure, he was the one who was draining clutch three PUJITs (for those of you who don’t know: Pull Up Jumper In Transition), but everyone was more or less on their offensive game tonight. Defensively, there were some lapses, and those will be covered, but on nights when Smith isn’t slogging his way through a sub .500 field goal percentage, it’s nice to enjoy. So I enjoyed it. And I’m sure Josh did too, which is just what I’m worried about.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: I already said most of what I had to say in the intro, but while I took that time to appraise the validity and awesomeness of his game, I’ll take this time to extrapolate on some of the more negative aspects. He had 5 turnovers, one of which was absolutely ridiculous– literally it was like he forgot that he was supposed to dribble. He also picked up 5 fouls, three of which I believe came in the fourth quarter. And I point these things out, and I still can’t shake the befuddled excitement I felt when he swished that three to put the Hawks 99-94. You knew it was going in, and you knew it made no sense. You saw him trailing on the break, and everything was telegraphed perfectly. Josh was going to catch it. Josh was going to swish it. Rick Carlisle would throw his hands in the air. We’d all laugh and celebrate and high five and tweet stupid things. There’s also the six assists and 13 rebounds thing, too, which was certainly helpful. 9/10

Al Horford: Horford is always a stabilizing force, a beacon of consistency within a single game. On the whole, he can be, at least while recovering from injury, a tad bit inconsistent. But within single games, and now more and more frequently as he seems to be completely in the swing of things, we are reminded of how calming and how talented and how good Horford really is. He was 10-14 from the field tonight (Smith was 10-15), he grabbed 10 rebounds, and was tied for the best +/- of any player in the game (I know single game +/- is pretty “meh,” but it’s just another indication that Atlanta benefits from his presence). He scored in the post, he hit a runner, he made his jumpers, and he was the recipient of ANOTHER beautiful high-low pass from Josh Smith. 8/10

Anthony Tolliver: Larry Drew loves his Anthony Tolliver, and so do I, only in smaller doses. Tolliver can be an effective spark-plug, but he’s not an effective full time rotation guy. He played 24 minutes today, missed all four of his shots, and split his free throws. His defense is generally suspect and sometimes I’m confused why he’s in when he’s in. But that’s not meant to be an insult. I get the Tolliver appeal. He can occasionally give this team a huge lift, a huge energy boost. But he didn’t tonight. 2/10

Kyle Korver: The streak continues! Korver has now made a three-pointer in 44 consecutive games, which is really quite an incredible accomplishment if you think about it. He was solid tonight, and helpful defensively (although for a stretch Vince Carter did experience limited success on him), but what I love about him so much, aside from his brilliant perimeter shooting, is his ability to be a decoy. On these high-low plays with Josh and Al, so much of its success relies on an opposing big waiting to hedge Korver off of an off-ball screen so that Korver’s man can recover. When the opposing big hedges: BOOM. Our guy is open. Anyway, more on that in a later post. 10 points, 2-4 on threes– seems like just another day at the office for Korver. 5/10

Jeff Teague: And to think I went through a phase of doubt. This was about a month ago, when the Hawks were in the midst of their more serious struggles. I doubted Jeff Teague. I was, as I always am in my head however much I try to hide it, super reactionary and went to ESPN’s Chad Ford’s draft board and looked at potential point guards to draft. Why would I do that? I feel silly. Because Teague is awesome, he’s incredible. He’s relentless in transition, had several great drives in which he finished with a scoop, and he is finding his teammates more than he ever has (9 assists tonight). Now, defensively, there are still some issues. Tonight he really struggled fighting through picks, even  when he went under the screens he allowed a lane for Collison. He also gambles far too much, allowing his man to pull out in front of him in hopes that he can swipe the ball from behind. He has his faults, and they were on display tonight, but they’re fixable. And Teague is great. He’s fun to watch and he’s ever-improving. He finished the night with 20 points on 7-14 shooting, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and just(?) three turnovers. He’s strung together quite a few impressive games in a row now. 8/10 Continue Reading…