Archives For Kevin Durant

The Atlanta Hawks notched their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night, knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 103-93. The 15 straight wins in the best stretch in franchise history.

“I’m happy for our guys to have success,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars thanks to Atlanta’s record. “It’s a carry-over from the work on the court and work in the film room before practice and after practice. Our guys deserve to have an opportunity to do something. We just have to keep doing it.”

The Hawks started off extremely sloppy, allowing Oklahoma City to build a nine point lead early in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of good stars and tonight probably wasn’t one of them,” said Budenholzer. The Hawks kept turning the ball over, allowing the Thunder to get out and transition and get easy looks at the hoop. The Hawks also had some defensive breakdowns in the halfcourt that led to some open 3s for OKC.

After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Hawks started to clean it up in the second half with strong efforts from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Millsap scored 17 points in the half and was the main player closing in the fourth quarter, while Teague led the Hawks through the third quarter with nine points in the period. Continue Reading…

The 2007 NBA Draft ranks among the most hyped ever. Greg Oden was projected to be the most dominant big man since Shaquille O’Neal. There was this skinny kid from Texas who was supposed to be good, Kevin Durant. And Florida had just won back-to-back NCAA championships with the son of former Milwaukee Buck Tito Horford. Somehow, against all odds, the Atlanta Hawks landed the draft pick that would propel the franchise to the cusp of championship contention.

The Hawks suffered through a 30-52 season in 2006-07 and finished with the league’s fourth-worst record. On March 22, 2007, the NBA Draft Lottery was held in Secaucus, New Jersey. Things were not looking good for the Hawks as the Trail Blazers, owners of the seventh-worst record, won the right to move into the top three. The Seattle SuperSonics (fifth-worst) likewise moved up. The Hawks owed a protected first round pick to the Phoenix Suns from the trade for Joe Johnson, so if the Hawks were pushed out of the top three, the team would surrender the pick.

But then, for once, the ping pong balls landed exactly right for the Hawks. After Portland won the right to pick first and Seattle second, the Hawks moved up to the third pick. It was a crushing blow for the Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and Bucks, owners of the league’s three worst records. With those teams moving past them, they dropped out of the top three of a draft with potential All-Stars available with the first three picks. Continue Reading…

On July 27th, Paul Millsap was added to Team USA’s provisional roster due to players like Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge deciding to forgo participation in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

Little more than a week later, Millsap was announced as one of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first round of cuts, along with Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal. Among those selected over Millsap were Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee.

At the time, there was not too much of a problem with this. Even with Paul George’s gruesome injury, the lynchpin for Team USA seemed to be one thing: they still had Kevin Durant. The problem with this thinking today is that the team no longer has Durant to rely on.

It was announced on Thursday that Durant would withdraw from Team USA participation, citing mental and physical exhaustion. While there is some speculation that this might have something to do with Durant being offered a $300+ million endorsement deal with Under Armour, there is plenty of merit for Durant needing some time off. Continue Reading…


OKC(36-10) 109 – 111 (23-21)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Durant (OKC): 41 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast

So… Kevin Durant just isn’t fair. The Hawks had a double-digit lead in this game, but as you may have heard, KD is NOT nice. Durant scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner, to give his Thunder a two-point win at home. The Hawks defended Durant well throughout the game, but the MVP-frontrunner was still able to connect with the bucket and light up the Hawks for 41 points. Still, a great effort from the Hawks — who were without Horford, Teague, and Pero Antic — against one of the best teams in the league.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: With about 35 seconds left or so, Millsap was called for a travel on a drive that probably would have resulted in a go-ahead bucket. Now the travel was a close call, but the bigger issues is that Millsap is getting called for this type of travel (moving his pivot before dribbling) about two times per game. Overall, he had a good game, but this play is becoming an issue for him and it can be argued that it cost the Hawks a victory. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre’s defense was great the whole night and he still got burned by Durant. *repeats unfair statement from opener* He could have been slightly more efficient, as his 7-for-14 performance from the field was littered with easy looks that didn’t go in. My advice to DeMarre is that maybe he should flop next time against Durant when he receives a two-armed push… maybe he’ll get a call then. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Strong 14 points, three-board, four-dime night from Kyle, as he extended his three-point streak to 113 games. I would have like to see him shoot the ball more late in the game, but the Thunder did a good job and keeping him from getting open looks when the game was on the line. 7/10

Shelvin Mack: Strong first half for Shelvin… not as strong of a second half. Still a good game overall, as he only turned the ball over one time, but he had a lot of trouble initiating offense in the fourth quarter against a swarming, Ibaka-led defense. 7/10

Gustavo Ayon: Great game from Ayon, who played an almost season-high 26 minutes. Goose had six points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in a strong effort, and it is possible that the Hawks could have used a little more of Ayon late in the game when the Thunder where making their fourth quarter run. 9/10

Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 60-22 (1st in West) z-thunder

Playoff Result: Lost in Second Round

Key Additions: Steven Adams (draft), Andre Roberson (draft)

Key Losses: Kevin Martin (free agency)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 57-25 (2nd in West)*

What to Expect: The Thunder have swiftly undergone a change in identity. At this point a year and a half ago, they were a dynasty in the making. Now? There are people who would be somewhat surprised if this team wins the NBA championship this year.

What’s changed revolves around Oklahoma City’s loss of James Harden and what they’ve gotten back for him. Kevin Martin filled a third-scorer role last year with precision shooting but is now in Minnesota. Jeremy Lamb could be primed for a breakout year, but for the most part the magnitude of his impending contributions are clouded. And finally, using the draft pick they picked up in the Harden trade, OKC selected Steven Adams with the 12th overall pick. Otherwise this team is just about the same as it’s previous few installments. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 104, Thunder 95

Bo Churney —  November 4, 2012 — 2 Comments


OKC(1-2) 95   –  104 (1-1)ATL

Key Performers:

A. Horford (ATL): 23 pts, 12 rebs, 3 asts
K. Durant (OKC): 22 pts, 12 rebs, 8 asts, 3 stls

Despite Josh Smith staying in Atlanta due to a sprained ankle, the Hawks were able to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder thanks to the strong play of Al Horford, Lou Williams, and Jeff Teague. This is the Hawks’ second straight win over the Thunder.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: This is why Horford needs to get more touches on offense. Al had 23 points on 11-19 shooting, and improved on his rebounding performance from the first game, grabbing 12 boards this time around. He also had three assists and no turnovers. 9/10

Lou Williams: For the second game in a row, Lou didn’t do much early, but took over in the fourth with 14 points in the final quarter. His shooting efficiency could use a boost, but he’s getting to the line, which is something Atlanta couldn’t accomplish at all last season. 7/10

Zaza Pachulia: Zaza had six assists, which is hilarious. He was a little sloppy at times, but kept on the glass and even had a nice fadeaway jumper when the shot clock was running down on him in the 2nd quarter. (well, it wasn’t pretty, but it went in) 7/10

Jeff Teague: He only played 26 minutes, but was practically flawless in those 26. He has 16 points on 7-12 shooting, five assists, and three steals. He also completely posterized Kevin Durant, which you’ll probably be able to catch on Top 10 plays if you missed it. 9/10 Continue Reading…

Josh Smith Out vs. OKC

Bo Churney —  November 3, 2012 — 1 Comment


Well, this is unfortunate for the Hawks.

The Hawks are set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, something they will now have to do without Josh Smith. The forward sprained his ankle in the the 109-102 loss to Houston, and did not make the trip to OKC earlier today.

The injury means that Zaza Pachulia will enter the starting lineup, moving Al Horford to the power forward position. With Johan Petro out, this leaves Ivan Johnson as the only other player on the bench capable of playing the center spot. 2nd round pick Mike Scott could also see his first action of the season.

The most damning part of this injury will likely be on the defensive end. Everyone knows about Smith’s defensive capabilities, but the Hawks were also most effective against Houston when playing Smith at the SF spot. Josh matching up against Durant might not have ideal, but certainly would have been a better option than Kyle Korver or Anthony Tolliver. Of course, some of the Continue Reading…