Archives For Elfrid Payton

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks’ two game winning patch was scuppered by the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, the Hawks falling 131-120 (no, that’s not a misprint) to their division rivals. Serge Ibaka led the Magic with 29 points while Elfrid Payton recorded career highs in both points (26) and assists (14).

Understanding what on earth happened and why it happened

Heading into last night’s game, the Orlando Magic were averaging just 94.8 points per game, that ranks 29th in the league. Only the Dallas Mavericks — at 93.5 PPG — average less points per game than the Magic. Last night, the Magic scored 131 points, 36 points more than their average. 131 points… without, arguably, their best offensive in Nikola Vucevic who sat this one out. How did this happen? And why?

There’s a number of factors at play here. First of all, it’s an 82 game season. All teams will have at least one game like this where all their previous percentages just seem to fly out the window and they play an absolute stormer. This was that game for the Magic last night. It’s very, very unlikely they will have a better statistical night than they did last night, at least this season. I mean, take a look at their seasonal averages compared to their numbers from last night’s game.

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Atlanta Hawks, 60-22, 1st in the East ATL

Wow, what an incredible year for the Atlanta Hawks. Anybody that had watched the Hawks last year knew how injured they were, and how much better they were going to be this season, but 60 wins? Not even the most optimistic of Hawks fans believed that this team had that in them. They set all kinds of franchise records, got the entire city of Atlanta behind them in support, and they even brought back the old school pac man logo. Now, everything shifts. It would be easy to say that no matter what happens Atlanta had a successful season, but Hawks fans will say otherwise. This is a franchise that has never once been to the conference finals their entire time in Atlanta, despite years and years of going to the playoffs. Hawks fans are tired of being the constant image of mediocrity. It’s conference finals, or failure, with this team.

Washington Wizards, 46-36, 5th in the East WAS

Yeesh, the Washington Wizards had one heck of a weird season. They started off the year battling the Toronto Raptors for the number one seed in the entire conference, and had what felt like everybody on their bandwagon. Flash forward a few months and they’re in a nosedive towards the middle of the pack while teams like the Hawks, Bulls, and Cavs passed them. Now they enter the playoffs with the same seed as last year, arguably playing worse, and have to defeat those same Toronto Raptors. Bet both teams wish it was December again.
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This week in the southeast, Atlanta pulverizes Brooklyn, because they must REALLY want that lotto pick. Washington is rebounding nicely, because playing the East lets teams do that, Miami has fallen out of the playoff standings all together, Charlotte is somehow still alive, and Orlando is playing spoiler.

Atlanta Hawks, 57-19, 1st in the East, 2-1 this week ATL

Atlanta had a rough road trip, and they struggled a bit in their first couple games back home, but a few games against the East appears to have fixed any problems that were ailing the Hawks. They beat Milwaukee in very convincing fashion, and that’s a team that’s given them fits this year. More impressive than that was the complete beat down the Hawks gave Brooklyn on Saturday. A 32 point victory won’t give the Hawks that lotto pick they so desire, but it does make them look really scary.

Washington Wizards, 43-33, 5th in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

The Wizards had a pretty great week. Yes, two of their three wins came against the Sixers and Knicks, but they also beat a struggling Grizzlies team. That has to count for something right?…..RIGHT!? Well not really, but they have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are looking to be heading for a playoff matchup against Toronto, which happens to be the only upper tier Eastern conference team that’s been struggling as much as they have.
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