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Happy weekend!

A new edition of This Week in the Hawks is here. It’s been a rough week and a bit for the Hawks and today’s topics kinda centre around that. Mostly, about how the schedule is looking for the Hawks and their playoff rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers.

After that, a brief recap of the Wizards and Bucks games before a lookahead to the upcoming schedule.

Thanks for listening, if you enjoyed, share the love it’s always appreciated.

The Atlanta Hawks took another step back in their six game home stand losing to the Indiana Pacers 97-96 on a last second shot by Glen Robinson III. For more information on this game and total analysis, please check out Graham Chapple’s article on HawksHoop.com. It is as always a detailed and informative read.

Going into this game, it seemed the Atlanta Hawks was already stuck behind the eight ball. The Hawks were without the services of their Head Coach Mike Budenholzer against the Pacers after getting hit with a one game suspension for making contact with official Brian Forte during Friday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Assistant coach Darvin Ham assumed the coaching duties in Budenholzer’s absence.

The situation occurred around the 2:42 mark of the third quarter when the officials missed (or ignored based on how Budenholzer reacted) a LeBron James push off to get space to shoot a 3-pointer. Budenholzer lost his cool and made slight contact with an official and was assessed a technical foul.

Here’s what Mike Budenholzer had to say when he found out about the suspension courtesy of ESPN and the Associated Press…

“I fully understand and respect the decision of the NBA. I plan to reach out to Brian as soon as possible and intend to apologize for the contact that I made during last night’s game. The referees have the most difficult job on the court and do an outstanding job of managing the needs of the game, players and coaches. I accept the suspension, will learn from it and lok forward to getting beyond this.”

This is a classy move Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. I mean can you expect anything less? The guy comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree in San Antonio. But the call was missed by the officials. In the NBA most every player uses their off arm to create space to get their shots off. The problem in this situation was that LeBron James allowed his off arm to get away from him which for the most part gets an easy call.

There is no excuse for what happened and Budenholzer probably deserved the suspension. However, the technical foul did light a spark under the Hawks. Atlanta came out listless and without energy early and the defense was a joke. It seemed that the Cavs got everything they wanted and more. A lot more. Cleveland set a NBA record hitting 25 3-pointers in the game. What was worse, a lot of the shots were considered “comfortable”, meaning that the Cavs were getting clean looks at the basket. Giving up 77 points in the first half is not where you need to be defensively when you are fighting for playoff position with about a month and half left in the season. Before the technical foul, it looked like a Cavaliers blowout. After the incident, the Hawks mounted a furious comeback behind the strong play of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Paul Millsap.

Hopefully, for the Hawks sake, the players notice that Mike Budenholzer is trying to show a sense of urgency going forward into a tough schedule ahead. With this loss the Indiana Pacers pick up a full game on the Hawks in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. Right now every game is critical, Budenholzer knows this, the Atlanta Hawk players better know it as well.

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks dropped another game in their six game home stand, this time a last second winner from Glen Robinson III pushing the Pacers over the finish line 97-96 on Sunday afternoon. Paul George led the Pacers with a game-high 34 points. For the Hawks, they were led by Paul Millsap’s 23 points and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 24 points.

Keys plays down the stretch cost Atlanta

Let’s get this straight…the Hawks did not deserve to win this game. They were very poor in the second and third quarters and, really, had no business winning this game. The Hawks also conceded another 15 three-pointers and allowed Paul George to go for 34 points in the first three quarters. They played that poorly. That being said…they should have won this game.

The last minute and what transpired in it proved to be decisive but, first, some backstory…

Continue Reading…

Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks snapped their three game skid — and began their five game road trip — by knocking off the Indiana Pacers 96-85 in Indiana. We’ll get to Dwight Howard’s line in a bit, but Paul Millsap also had a significant impact in this game, scoring 18 points, collecting 11 rebounds, dished out five assists, came up with four steals and blocked three shots.

Reacquainting with an old friend

Jeff Teague spent seven years in Atlanta before requesting a trade this summer. This request was granted with Teague heading to Indiana in the deal that sent George Hill to Utah and the 12th overall selection in the 2016 draft heading to Atlanta.

Chris Vivlamore of the AJC posted a story about Jeff Teague, it’s worth worth checking out. Jeff talks about Atlanta’s ceiling with himself and Al Horford, Dennis Schröder and more. Here’s an excerpt from the piece, the day Teague found out he was headed home:

“When Bud calls you it’s either really good or really bad,” Teague recalled Wednesday morning before his new and former teams met for the first time since the trade. “I said most likely it’s really bad because it’s the summer time and he’s calling me.”

Teague said Budenholzer’s voice cracked. That’s when he knew there had been a trade. The first thing Teague wanted to know was where he was headed.

“I kept reading that I was going to Philly,” Teague said. “I was like he’s going to send me to Philly. Nothing wrong with Philly, great place, great organization. I was like ‘C’mon. C’mon.’ I didn’t even think this (Indiana) was happening. I thought it was Utah, Dallas or Philly. He said, ‘I sent you home.’ I said, ‘Indiana?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I might regret this, but I’m thankful for what you did, and I appreciate you.’”

Ha-ha, “I might regret this”. Considering the Pacers are now 7-9, it’s pretty unlikely (even though it’s still early) that the Hawks and Pacers are going to meet in the playoffs, I don’t think he’ll be regretting it too much now.

Anyways, last night was the first time the two parties met since that trade, in a matchup that Teague called “awkward”.

“It was awkward but it was fun to compete. I wish we could have won.” — Jeff Teague

It was cool to see Teague smiling and catching up with his old teammates pre-game and fun to see him head over to Bob Rathbun and Dominique, as they were live, and pretend to stroke Bob’s hair.

I was excited to see him and Dennis Schröder get after each other, but the matchup was underwhelming in the end. The two didn’t really get after each other and the two didn’t have the greatest games, Teague scoring 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting while Dennis put up nine points on 3-of-11 shooting. That was disappointing, and now we have to wait until March to see Jeff Teague again when the Pacers come to Atlanta.

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks produced one of their most impressive performances of the season as (behind a 37 point third quarter) they rolled to a 104-74 home victory against the Indiana Pacers. The Hawks were led by Paul Millsap’s 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals, and three blocks in just 29 minutes of play. Al Horford also chipped in with 18 points, while Kyle Korver shot 4-for-9 behind the arc as he contributed 14 points to the Hawks’ cause. The Pacers were led by Myles Turner’s 19 points.

The Hawks now improve to 38-29, a season high nine games above .500.

Atlanta’s monster third quarter

Heading into the third quarter, the Hawks held a 52-38 advantage over the Indiana Pacers and were looking pretty comfortable. But a 13-7 Pacers run meant that they were within eight points — 51-59 in favour of the Hawks. But that would be as close as Indy would ever come after that point. The Hawks produced a 20-0 run as they tore the Pacers apart, eventually outscoring the Pacers 37-18 in the quarter — from which point the game was over.

Continue Reading…

Monta Eliis scored a season-high 26 as the home-standing Indiana Pacers snapped the Atlanta Hawks’ winning streak at six games. Atlanta turned the ball over 20 times en route to dropping a 93-87 loss to Indiana.

On an off-night for Paul George, the Pacers rode the hot hand of Solomon Hill down the stretch to hold off a late surge by Atlanta. The Hawks’ last stand came when game officials determined Paul Millsap’s missed free-throw went out of bounds off Indiana with 1:05 remaining. Down three, this set the stage for Atlanta to potentially tie the game in the waning moments of regulation. However, Jeff Teague’s sixth, and most costly turnover of the night, came as Ian Mahinimi provided the Pacers with a clutch steal to seal the game in the home team’s favor.

In addition to his game-saving heroics, Mahinmi added 13 points and nine rebounds. Chase Budinger notched four of his 10 points in the fourth to join Solomon Hill and Ellis in twin-figures.

The Indiana bench outscored the Hawks’ 35-25 on the evening. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks look to extend an NBA best six-game winning streak while visiting the Indiana Pacers tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana comes into the contest struggling of late, having lost three-of-four.

One of the main catalysts for the Pacers’ recent 1-3 skid has been the slumping performance of All-NBA performer Paul George. This season, the 25 year-old star has averaged an impressive 24.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.6 steals per contest. However, George’s numbers have fallen off considerably in his past four outings. This precipitous drop off includes declined averages of 16.5 points, 5.3 turnovers and 29 percent shooting from the field.

During this 1-3 stretch, Indiana’s team averages have taken a nosedive as well. Overall, the Pacers rank sixth in the NBA in points allowed at 98.7 per contest. The team is seventh in points scored per outing at 102.7. But over their past four, those numbers have declined to 96 points scored and 99.5 yielded.

It’s fair to state that Indiana is struggling as a unit heading into Monday night’s tilt. Continue Reading…

The Hawks looked to win their 14th game in a row Wednesday night as the Pacers came to town. Indiana has put Atlanta out of the playoffs each of the last two years, but this Pacers team is a much different animal without Paul George and Lance Stephenson patrolling the perimeter on defense. Atlanta took full advantage from the tip to the final whistle, quickly opening up an eight-point lead early in the first quarter and not relenting until it was time for John Jenkins and Mike Muscala to make their way into the game late in the fourth.

DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague led the way for Atlanta with 17 points apiece and six of the Hawks were in double figures, including an impressive 4-for-7 shooting performance from Pero Antic. The Hawks took an 11-point lead into the half, but came out on fire in the third quarter, scoring 36 points and ending all hope the Pacers had to stop Atlanta’s win streak. Carroll and Teague combined for 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the period, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, as the Hawks’ lead ballooned to 27.

For the game, Atlanta shot 50% from the field and 44.8% from 3, but it was the passing that caught Coach Budenholzer’s eye after the game; the Hawks had 30 assists on 39 made baskets. Atlanta has had six games with 30 or more assists in the last ten days, two more than the rest of the NBA combined over that stretch. As the Hawks get more and more acclimated to one another, the passing has become the trademark of their fantastic start to the season. Continue Reading…

The Hawks are off to a franchise best start at 34-8 and are currently on a 13-game winning streak with six games to go on the current homestand. The HawksHoop staff takes a stab at assessing just how good the Hawks are.

1) Who has been the most surprising player on the Hawks so far?

Bo Churney: I have to say Jeff Teague. He’s being more efficient on offense and just looks more comfortable in Mike Budenholzer’s offensive system. He’s seventh in assists per game, 10th in steals per game, 11th in PER, and eighth in win shares per 48 minutes. He is really being a great player on offense, plus he is actually giving an effort on defense, which has made a big difference for the Hawks. He could legitimately be an MVP candidate if he keeps this up.

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Chris Barnewall: It’s probably Kyle Korver. We’ve always known he can shoot, and run off screens, that’s what he does and he’s really good at it. I don’t think anybody expected him to have the potential to be the first 50/50/90 player EVER. Reggie Miller didn’t do it, Ray Allen couldn’t do it, and Steph Curry was always the player we thought could do it first. Instead that might be Korver and that’s pretty surprising.

Nubyjas Wilborn: Kyle Korver’s improvement has been amazing to watch. He’s become such a super efficient player. Korver spreads the floor and allows the Hawks offense to create even when he is not shooting. If he goes 50-50-90, it’ll be one of the top shooting seasons in NBA history. He’s become way more than a role player shooter. Continue Reading…

Another Chance for Al Horford

Cole Patty —  October 31, 2014

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law or at least the current version of “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” Commonly said in situations by the Average Joe on one of the days where the bad luck comes in bunches; it’s almost as if the forces of the universe just won’t let something nice happen to them, no matter how much good karma they may have built up.

Al Horford may be a two-time All-Star, but his career also feels like the embodiment of this law. Every time Horford gets a bit of momentum going towards finally becoming the superstar he plays like, something bad seems to happen. On top of that, he is mostly overlooked in the “best center in the East” discussions, he wasn’t named an All-Star during a great 2012-13 campaign, and was constantly overshadowed during his career by the more bombastic Josh Smith. In fact, most of the mainstream media coverage on Horford is about why he should be playing power forward instead of mentioning that he is a matchup nightmare for his larger stone footed counterparts.

As for Murphy’s Law, Horford’s injuries have stifled his growth towards becoming a superstar. When Atlanta powered on to the 5-seed in the strike shortened 2011-12 seasons, Continue Reading…