Archives For Joe Johnson

The games in the Atlanta Hawks’ series against the Brooklyn Nets have all had a similar story. The Hawks would take an early lead with their starting unit, then Brooklyn would cut into that lead with their bench, make the game close by halftime, and then threaten to take the lead for the remainder of the game.

Game 6 of the series looked like it was going to continue following that formula. The Hawks jumped out to a massive early advantage, making 13 of their first 18 shots to create a 36-23 lead after 12 minutes of play. However, the Hawks’ shooting then went cold and Joe Johnson was able to pull the Nets back within six by the halftime buzzer, with the Hawks’ lead down to just 51-45.

However, in the third quarter, the 60-win Hawks finally arrived to the series.

The Hawks scored 41 points in the third quarter, with Paul Millsap leading the pack with 11. The ball movement was crisp and the shots were crisper, as Atlanta saw 16 (15 assisted) of their 24 shot attempts in the quarter go through the bottom of the net. The Hawks absolutely blew the doors off of the Nets with a 23-3 run to open the period and finally sealing the series by a count of four to two. Continue Reading…

The Hawks started hot and staved off another Nets comeback in Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. Coach Budenholzer implied in the time leading up to the game that the players were raring to go, and they showed it. Atlanta led 33-16 after one quarter, but the Nets pulled within two with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jeff Teague had a hand in eight of the Hawks’ final ten points, assisting on an Al Horford jumper and scoring six straight to put the Nets away.

DeMarre Carroll led all players in scoring with 24 in a game that saw each of Atlanta’s starters play at least 34 minutes and virtually all of the fourth quarter. “Coach came to us each individually and told us we were probably going to pick up some more minutes,” Carroll said after the game. The shortened rotation is something that Budenholzer will use going forward, as most coaches do in the playoffs. Mike Scott has fallen out of favor recently and played just over two minutes in this game as Budenholzer opted for a three-man rotation at the power forward and center positions. Pero Antic played almost 18 minutes and provided some much needed defense and rebounding against Brook Lopez. Continue Reading…

In the past few years, the Hawks have often not had much in terms of expectations for the playoffs. In those years, a win in Game 1 would have usually been seen as a huge victory.

On Sunday, the Hawks’ 99-92 Game 1 win over the Brooklyn Nets left something to be desired.

The 1-seed Hawks — with 60 wins and the status as the overwhelming favorite — got off to a strong start, outscoring the Nets 32-20 in the first quarter. The Hawks took advantage of six Brooklyn turnovers and were using them to create open looks on offense. This continued into the beginning of the second quarter, as the Hawks increased their lead up to 16 points and appeared to be well on their way to blowing out their opponent.

However, the Nets stopped turning the ball over and ramped up their defensive effort to start putting pressure on the Hawks. “We had turnovers early, but we finally cut down on our turnovers and figured out how to execute and score,” said Nets head coach Lionel Hollins. “We got ourselves back close in the game.” Continue Reading…

Paul Millsap led the way for the Hawks with 28 points and 15 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks won their 17th game in a row over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. The Hawks’ 38th win of the season matches their regular season total from 2013-14. Millsap got his 28 points on just nine shots, going 15-for-16 from the free throw line; Millsap’s 15 made free throws matched the Nets’ team total for the game. Six Hawks scored in double digits, including a 5-for-8, 13-point performance off the bench from Dennis Schröder.

The first quarter was less than ideal for the Hawks defensively, as the Nets put up 27 points in the first twelve minutes. After the game, Coach Budenholzer said, “We need to play better defensively than we did tonight, but that’s what practice will be for tomorrow.” The Hawks were able to match the Nets shot for shot in the first quarter, closing with three 3-pointers in the last minute and a half to take a 30-27 lead going into the second quarter. 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…

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

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…

The Ferry Transition

Bo Churney —  August 12, 2013

Not all sixth-seeds are created equal.

As has become commonplace recently, the Atlanta Hawks appear to be a middle-of-the-pack playoff team heading in the 2013-14 season. This is a place they frequented over the past several seasons of the Josh Smith and Joe Johnson era.

In the past, a playoff berth in the East was Atlanta’s floor. As long as they had Joe, Josh, and Al Horford, the Hawks were a safe bet to play postseason basketball. This construction was passed off as a blueprint for success and, in a sense, the team was as competitive as anything that had ever been put out on the court in the ATL. The Joe Johnson era Hawks were capable of the occasional burst of inspiration, but were largely an upper-middle class squad designed for an annual first- or second-round exit each spring.

Though it might be hard to distinguish between past seasons and the Hawks’ current course, Danny Ferry is following a radically different path. Continue Reading…