Archives For Kevin Durant

Philips Arena has rightfully earned the nickname “The Highlight Factory” from all the spectacular plays that have echoed from the arena, all the way down Peachtree Street. I remember, when I was a younger man, watching Dikembe Mutombo deny more potential highlights than I could count. However, recently, it dawned on me just how many Hawks have completed a jaw-dropping, otherworldly poster.

So I decided to come up with the list you see below. Enjoy.

10. Jeff Teague over Kevin Durant

Scene: November 5, 2012, at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Two minutes left in the second quarter.

Jeff Teague: “Easy lane to the basket.”

Kevin Durant: “Oh, its just Jeff Teague. I’m blocking this with ease. This finna be a breeze!”

Jeff Teague:

9. Josh Smith mimics Kobe Bryant and Ricky Davis by flushing one on Steve Nash.

Nash has dished out plenty of L’s in his Hall of Fame career, but we shouldn’t forget his blunders. He meant well, but that doesn’t mean it always ended well. Three posters that I can recall and every one of them ended with a Nash receiving a blocking foul. Good Lord.

 

8. Al Horford skies over Kevin Love (Round 2, Game 3 of the 2016 Playoffs).

Al Horford literally sat on Love’s shoulder; take note of how Love’s teammates didn’t even venture near the crime scene. When you get boomed on you are on your own–that’s the code.

 

7. Paul Millsap over John Henson

Trillsap sent Henson back to UNC with this banger. Made the kid re-enroll with a double major and a full-time job just to forget his past life. What a shame.

 

6.  Bradley Beal meet Mike Scott–Mike Scott meet Bradley Beal.

Dominique said it best here: “What are you doing?” And to Beal’s credit, he did the right thing—just at the wrong time.

5. More Mike Scott, this time on Ian Mahinmi’s head.

 

4. Dominique Wilkins over everybody

 

3. Not a poster, but Spud Webb’s dunk against Magic & the Lakers deserves praise. Truly astonishing.

 

2.  Josh Smith dunks on Serge Ibaka

 

1. Dominique double clutched off two feet, while contorting his body mid air and finished with authority. Greatness.

 

 

Defeating the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers and competing step for step with Steph Curry and company seems like a far cry compared to the Hawks’ performances this season against sub .500 ball clubs. Just last Wednesday, they struggled to put away a Heat team that was missing several of its key contributors, then traveled to Milwaukee and barely gritted out a win after trailing by 20 points at halftime. Tonight, they continued their woes against sub .500 teams by trailing as much as 12 in the first half in a 131-120 loss to the 11-16 Orlando Magic.

“We have to find a way,” Tim Hardaway said. “This is not the first loss we’ve had to an under 500 team. It’s the NBA though — everybody at this level is a pro. Anybody can get 20 or 30 on any given night. We can’t look at the record, you have to instead look at the personnel. They are competing just as much as you are.”

When you trail the New Orleans Pelicans by 35 midway through an eventual 112-94 blowout , there is cause for pause. They’ve struggled against some of the worst defenses — scoring just 94 points against a 24th ranked Knicks defense — and allowing otherwise inadequate offenses to look unstoppable — Orlando averages 95 points a game despite scoring 131 on Atlanta’s defense.

You can point to several reasons as to why this has become an issue, whether it’s the 16.6 turnovers per game, 32 percent three point shooting or Coach Budenholzer’s constant lineup switch in search for reliable offensive production.

Tonight’s 15 turnovers  —resulting in 26 points for the Magic — was the biggest difference in the game and has been in several of their losses to bottom ranked teams. In the Hawks’ loss against the Suns they accumulated 20, they had 18 against the Lakers in Los Angeles and had 15 versus the Pelicans. Every team in the league loves facing a turnover prone bunch like these Hawks, because it buffers their own strengths and hides their weaknesses. Additionally, turnovers will tarnish a team’s best asset — the Hawks defense — by putting it in some tough spots in transition as a result of a lazy pass or a weak dribble-drive..

“Defense is our calling card, but we put so much pressure on our defense when we don’t get a good shot or we turn the ball over,” Kent Bazemore said. “Teams have gotten so much better in transition and it’s underrated how much that can really hurt you, because you have guys then able to get in rhythm, get mismatches, lobs at the rim and it really gets things going. So taking care of the ball is really pivotal.”

The high turnover count was present in Cleveland and the Bay; but it didn’t matter because both units were productive offensively and the defense contested the three-point line better than they have facing teams like the Magic. So who exactly are the Atlanta Hawks? 25 games into the season,Coach Budenholzer and company have yet to figure that out — no team really has frankly — but you would like to start at least begin a building process.

“The turnovers gave them confidence early on, they had some open shots and transition points,” Thabo Sefolosha said. “It definitely affects the way we play and the way they played throughout the whole game.”

For this team, it has been tough to find a balance when the offense is there one night and gone the next, which then places far too much pressure on getting defensive stops. The bench began the year playing as good as any in the league, while the starters were still finding their way. Now that has flipped, and here you have a Hawks group teetering in and out of playoff contention — unfamiliar territory given the past two years.

“This is a very deep team and we have a lot of guys who can play so it’s all about finding that rhythm as a unit”, Bazemore said. “We’ve had glimpses of both units doing well. The bench started off the season doing well, then the starters got going, so it’s a lot going on and not enough consistency. But we are not going to get it back all at once and we are still trying to figure out who we are.”

Hawks Score 15th Straight Win

Bo Churney —  January 23, 2015

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…

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…

RECAP: Thunder 111, Hawks 109

Bo Churney —  January 28, 2014

FINAL

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
[FULL BOX SCORE]

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

FINAL

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
[FULL BOX SCORE]

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

smoove2

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…