Archives For Isaiah Thomas

The Atlanta Hawks shrugged off disappointing losses against the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets with a huge home win against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night in a game that held huge playoff implications for both teams. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 35 while Jae Crowder added 24 points. For the Hawks, they were led by Paul Millsap’s 26 points while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 points.

Standings watch

The Hawks moved back into the fifth seed following the Milwaukee Bucks’ loss against the Indiana Pacers. The Hawks hold the tiebreaker over the Bucks should the two teams finish with equal records. Behind the Hawks, the Bulls and the Pacers sit just 1.5 games back while the Miami Heat sit half a game behind them.

For the Hawks going forward, these next two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers could be make-or-break for their playoff seeding.

Offensive first half carries Hawks to huge win

The Hawks are not a good offensive team. You only need to watch a few of their games this season to figure that out and the numbers would support that belief. They rank 21st in points per game and 28th in offensive rating…you can put two-and-two together.

Last night, however, was one of the Hawks’ best offensive nights in a long time and their 71 point first half arguably one of the best halves the Hawks have put together this season: 71 points on 54% shooting from the field, 50% from behind the arc, 12-of-14 from the free throw line, 15 assists, four turnovers and an offensive rating of 144.4 on a true shooting percentage of 65%.

A pretty decent half, you might say.

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The Atlanta Hawks scored a solid defensive performance against the Boston Celtics winning 114-98 for their first win since the All-Star break. With the win, the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak and are now three games in the loss column behind the division-eading Washington Wizards.

Dennis Schroder finished with 21 points last night, corralling his 22nd game of scoring at least 20 points this season. How good is that? Schroder had 10 games of 20 points or more entering this season! Dwight Howard (more on him later) scored 17 points and grabbed a team high 12 rebounds. Paul Millsap, still in his All-Star form, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Atlanta’s losing streak was not the only streak that was snapped, another historical streak was snapped. It was one of my…

Three lessons…

Lesson number one… Isaiah Thomas’ 20 points in a game streak is OVER!

Boston Celtics All-Star guard, Isaiah Thomas saw his franchise-record streak of 43 games with 20 points or more go by the wayside Monday night. Thomas had a bad night shooting finishing with 19 points on an anemic 4-for-21 shooting in 31 minutes of action. Throw in seven turnovers, and let’s just say the Hawks had him basically on lock all night long. This marks only the second time all season long that Thomas didn’t tally 20 points in a game. Continue Reading…

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The Atlanta Hawks are now on the brink of a second round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they blew out the Celtics 110-83 in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. The Celtics were led by Evan Turner’s 15 points while the Hawks were led by Mike Scott’s — yes, Mike Scott’s Game 5 game high — 17 points. The scene now shifts to Boston for Game 6 where the Hawks will have the chance to close out the Celtics for good on Thursday night.

Limiting Isaiah Thomas

Heading into Game 5, Isaiah Thomas wasn’t just the top scorer of this series, but the top scorer of the entire playoffs, averaging 28 points. After he averaged 35 points between Games 3 and 4, the Hawks had an adjustment waiting for Thomas. A lot more trapping and double team action.

They basically forced Thomas to give up the ball and said to the other Celtics “Hey, you go make a play, you make this shot”.

And the Hawks set this tone very early in the game. Here, they try to trap Thomas by extending the double team near the halfway line. Thomas is forced to give the ball up, forcing Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson to try and make a play. In the end, Johnson gets tied up with Bazemore for a jump ball.

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The Atlanta Hawks drew first blood in their round one matchup against the Boston Celtics, 101-102, to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague and Al Horford, who both registered  double-doubles, while the Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas’ 27 points and eight assists.

Kent Bazemore also had a great game for the Hawks, scoring 23 points and was a constant menace to the Celtics’ defense with his cutting action.

A tale of two halves

The Celtics were pretty poor on the offensive end in the first half — 12-of-52 (23.1%) shooting and 2-of-16 (12.5%) from behind the arc made for a very disappointing first half for the Celtics. Bad shots, settling for jump shots, and some great defense displayed by the Hawks limited the Celtics to 34 first half points. However, sometimes words simply aren’t enough, and with that I present you the Celtics’ first half shot chart.

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The Atlanta Hawks will begin their playoff quest on Saturday night, at Philips Arena, against the Boston Celtics. The two teams share quite a few similarities: both share a 48-33 record, both teams have players who are under appreciated throughout the league in Paul Millsap and Jae Crowder (who, in my personal opinion, should’ve been Boston’s All-Star representative), and both teams have excellent coaches in Brad Stevens and Mike Budenholzer who play similar styles of basketball.

The Hawks won the season series 3-1, their only loss coming on November 13th — the one game Mike Budenholzer was not with the team, due to personal reasons. Let’s have a look at the season series stats between the two teams.

hawks-c's stats

A couple of interesting things here.

The Hawks have had no problem scoring against the Celtics. An average of 110.3 points against the Celtics in four games is a concern for the Celtics in their preparation. The Hawks shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three is also a problem, the Celtics will have to make things more difficult for the Hawks if they want to stick around in these games.

I didn’t add the offensive rebounding numbers for the Celtics (10.8 per game against the Hawks, by the way), but it’ll be interesting to see how Atlanta deals with Johnson, Sullinger, and Crowder on the glass. The Hawks only average 1.5 less second chance points than the Celtics in the season series, so I didn’t see that aspect of the series being that important.

So, there are the season series stats for your viewing pleasure. But what about everything else? What are the keys to this series?

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The Atlanta Hawks took one giant step forward in realising their goal of home court advantage following a 118-107 home victory against the Boston Celtics, in what was the Hawks’ final home game of the regular season. The Celtics were led by Marcus Smart’s 19 points off of the Boston bench, while the Hawks were led by a monster effort from Paul Millsap — 31 points and 16 rebounds.

Standings watch…

The night before this game, the Miami Heat dropped a game in Orlando against the Magic, relinquishing Miami’s control of the third seed as they own the tie breaker over the Hawks. That loss, and this Hawks win, effectively means that the third seed in the East is now, officially, Atlanta’s to lose. The Hawks now have a one game advantage over the Celtics and the Heat with just two games remaining, meaning the magic number for the Hawks to clinch home court advantage is just one.

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RECAP: Hawks 124, Kings 107

Cole Patty —  December 18, 2013

FINAL

  SAC(7-17) 100 – 124 (14-12)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 25 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast, 4 blk
D. Cousins (SAC): 28 pts, 7 reb, 6 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The first quarterof this game was a nice sample tasting of Atlanta’s season. Coming out of the gates with a roaring start, the Hawks were outpacing the Kings handily for the beginning nine minutes of the initial period. This lead to an 26-12 lead, and Mike Malone burning a second timeout fast. After that timeout however, things started to unravel. Isaiah Thomas got loose, and Atlanta’s offense stagnated behind three turnovers in the last two-and-a-half minutes in the quarter. At the end of the first, the Hawks fourteen point lead was reduced swiftly down to two.

For the second and third quarters, the game went back-and-forth. Atlanta pushed away every Sacramento attempt to overtake the lead in the second, until finally relinquishing it at the very end to be down 54-53 at halftime. As for the third, the ball-movement for the Hawks stagnated and they found themselves down 74-69 before closing down the gap to 87-85 at the end of the third.

The last period was all about Mike Scott hitting the two threes early and never looking back. The Kings were playing the second game of a back-to-back, and the Scott deep balls seemed to be the backbreaker. Atlanta didn’t surrender the lead the rest of the way, putting them two game over .500.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Early on, Al didn’t have his mid-range jumper going. It wasn’t too much of a detriment however, as his 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks statline lead the way for the team. He got all five of his assists in the first half, showing a resolve to help the team when he wasn’t making shots himself. He had a couple non-statsheet hustle plays to take note of too. A few rebounds he tapped back allowed for a couple extra possessions. Boogie certainly played a strong game and got some offensive rebounds himself, but that isn’t all on Horford. 8/10.

Paul Millsap: Millsap’s three ball was instrumental in the Hawks getting out to a hot start. He hit two threes at the end of that initial run, and he made one more in the second quarter. His three offensive rebounds were also key in neutralizing the strong effort the Kings made on their own offensive glass. Outside of that, it wasn’t his best game. There were a lot of moments where he tried to do too much with the ball either forcing a bad shot, a risky pass, or turning it over with a charge. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Risky passes defined Teague’s game. He tied his regular season career high with 15 assists, but with that also came six turnovers. What really stood out was his effort on the glass. Jeff being able to track down loose balls to secure possessions is what kept him valuable when he had some rough stretches. He also was nice defensively in the first quarter, and shot the ball extremely well early. A really solid night for Teague, here’s to hoping he keeps finding the 50/50 balls on long rebounds. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre guarded Rudy Gay tonight, to mixed results. Rudy went 8-13, but it isn’t all on Carroll. When in more halfcourt one-on-one situations, Gay was 4-8 outside the restricted area. Offensively, Carroll posted a strong 6-9 from the field. A pretty average game for the Junkyard Dog. 5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle was fantastic tonight. His 8-10 mark from deep was influential on the win. A few off-ball lapses on McLemore defensively, but it was not a glaring issue tonight. 9/10. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 105, Kings 100

Bo Churney —  November 6, 2013

FINAL

SAC(1-3) 100 – 105 (2-2)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 25 pts, 10 reb, 4 ast, 4 stls
I. Thomas (SAC): 26 pts, 2 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

There are a lot of good things to take away from the Hawks game, even if the Kings managed to make it a game late in the fourth. In the second and third quarters, we witnessed the Hawks playing what I believe is called “defense”. The Hawks only gave up 33 points between these two quarters, which in large part was thanks to proper rotations and good interior defense on Cousins. Of course, they’re is still plenty of room for improvement (68 in the first and fourth quarters), but at least they showed SOMETHING positive on that end of the floor.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Easily his best game of the season. Al had 27 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and a dime on the night on 11-for-19 shooting. On the defensive side of the floor, he stymied Demarcus Cousins, causing plenty of visible frustrations for the Sacramento big man. He also hit a corner three and there is no way this link goes to my piece talking about Horford and threes. (spoiler alert: it does go to that) 10/10

Paul Millsap: Speaking of ATL big men hitting threes, Paul had two of those tonight, including a step-back in the corner with the shot clock running down in the fourth. Millsap’s night was also his best of the season, as he had 25 points to go with 11 boards, four assists, and four steals. Heck, he even hit most of his free throws!! 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: In the preseason, I was encouraged by DeMarre’s shooting touch and the appearance of a new form. It’s not working out too much lately, as he went 3-for-11 from the field in Sacramento, including an 0-for-4 effort from three. He definitely should be cutting to the basket more; he doesn’t need to be shooting four threes a game like he’s averaging so far. 3/10

Jeff Teague: Another double-double for Jeff, but this was definitely an erratic effort from him. After three quarters, he had 17 points, 10 assists, and only two turnovers. At the end of the game, he had 18 points, 10 assists, four turnovers. The Hawks probably could have used Dennis over Jeff at some points late in the fourth, as Jeff just looked completely gassed from chasing Isaiah Thomas around. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Whenever Kyle is dribbling… I’m not a huge fan. He had three turnovers in this game, largely a result of situations where he was dribbling. Otherwise, he had an average night with nine points on four shots, plus “meh” defense. 6/10 Continue Reading…

HawksHoop Hangout: Win vs. Kings

Bo Churney —  February 23, 2013