The Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to three games against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, with a107-90 victory at Fed Ex Forum. In a wire-to-wire victory, Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 17 points while Dennis Schröder and Paul Millsap both added 16 points. For the Grizzlies, JaMychal Green led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Mike Conley added 16 points.
Perimeter shooting proves decisive
A summary of this game — why the Hawks won and the Grizz lost — in nine-ish words: The Hawks made their shots, the Grizzlies did not.
Memphis’ shot chart
ATL’s shot chart
It really was as simple as that. The Hawks shot 50% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc while the Grizzlies shot 38% from the the floor and 17% (5-of-29) from three-point range. The Hawks’ defense was good but Memphis’ offense was quite poor and they settled for a lot of jumpshots that didn’t go down. But give credit to the Hawks, whose man and ball movement was very good but perhaps there’s another reason why the Hawks’ offense was a little more fluid in terms of ball and man movement…
The Atlanta Hawks won a nail-biter against the New York Knicks on Martin Luther King Day, 108-107 the final score at MSG. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 30 points (including two end of quarter buzzer-beaters) while Derrick Rose added 18 points.
A close encounter
What a game this was. Both teams played decent games, missing key players (Kristaps Porzingis and Lance Thomas out for the Knicks, Dwight Howard and Mike Muscala out for the Hawks) on the second night of a back-to-back (New York in action yesterday against the Raptors on the road while the Hawks faced the Bucks yesterday in Atlanta) and it was a tight affair for pretty much the whole game. No team led by more than eight points at any stage in a game that saw the game 20 lead changes and 14 game ties.
It was looking a little hairy for the Hawks in the final quarter, the Knicks began the final period on a 10-0 run to take a five point lead. The two teams went back and forth and the Knicks found themselves up five with just over 3 minutes remaining, but Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a big three-pointer to cut the Knick lead to just two points. Following a nice runner from Derrick Rose, the Knicks led 107-105 with just 43 seconds left. The Hawks didn’t panic, ran their offense and it ended — with the shot clock and the game, for that matter (since the Hawks would’ve had to have fouled if this missed), winding down — with a three-pointer from Dennis Schröder to put the Hawks up 108-107 with 22 seconds remaining.
The Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to a season best seven games after blowing out the Brooklyn Nets 117-97 at Barclays Center. Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets with 20 points.
End of the road (trip)
I know I’ve used that line before, so I apologise. Not really. Anyways, last night’s game in Brooklyn capped off a very successful four game road trip for the Hawks in which they won all four games against Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas and Brooklyn.
Of course it’s worth noting all of those teams are below .500 but you still have to take care of business and the Hawks did so, something they didn’t do on their last lengthy road trip, losing to the Suns and the Lakers.
Last night was the first time the Hawks were matched against the Nets and Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant coach under Coach Bud before leaving last summer to fill the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach vacancy. There was nothing but love for Coach Atkinson both pregame — but most notably post game — where coaches and players alike greeted him with hugs.
For the second time this week the Atlanta Hawks stole another game on the road, this time against the Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City, triumphing 109-108. Dennis Schröder led the way to victory with 27 points while ‘The Rooster’, Danilo Gallinari, led the Nuggets with 21 points.
The run that won
The Hawks displayed fantastic energy in the Mile High City, recovering from a 10 point deficit that they faced in the third quarter, stuck with the Nuggets in the fourth quarter, trailing by just two points — 100-102 following a three from Mike Muscala — with just 2:50 remaining. But then the Nuggets reeled off a 6-0 run to take a 108-100 lead with 1:43 remaining. Uh-oh, here we go again… Right?
Wrong. The Hawks ended the game on a 9-0 run, entirely from the free throw line, to somehow steal this game 109-108.
“It’s crazy how it happened. You never know in this league how you can win a game.” — Paul Millsap
The Atlanta Hawks stretched their winning streak to four games with a 117-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, who were without Joel Embiid (rest). Dwight Howard recorded another double-double (guess we should just get used to that) with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 18 points.
Another great bench performance
For the second game in a row the Hawks’ bench put in a great performance — 54 points led by Tim Hardaway’s game high of 20.
“It was a good win. The bench continues to be very, very big for us. A lot of different guys played well. It’s good going into a big week next week.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
Speaking after the Hawks’ win over the Bulls, Thabo Sefolosha said “…Different nights, different guys step up” and that rung true again last night. THJ added 20 but perhaps the surprise of last night was Kris Humphries adding 13 off the bench. Malcolm Delaney added another nine points and six assists.
“Tim had an incredible game, but he wasn’t the only one. Kris Humphries as well. We’re rolling right now. We’ll try to keep it up. We wanted to play a little bit better from start to finished but we had some spurts where we really played well, played together and executed on defense and offense.” — Thabo Sefolosha
I had concerns about this bench at the start of the season but they’ve been great so far. And look, take this with a grain of salt, these are the Sixers and they still suck, but even still it’s good to see the bench getting things done.
“I just feel like we have a lot of guys who are playing well right now, a lot of guys playing with a lot of confidence. They are mixing and matching well. They are sharing the ball well. I think to have that, if you want to call it a wave, different guys making plays that’s what it takes for us to be good.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
The recent police killings of Keith Scott and Terrence Crutcher have rocked this nation once again giving credence to the actions of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s intentions are to challenge the sacred American flag that is supposed to represent equality and liberty. As an athlete he’s chosen not to take the easy route by counting his millions and staying silent like so many of his opposers would like for him to do. On one of the most exciting days in franchise history for basketball reasons, the Atlanta Hawks team chose not to remain silent on the current state of America.
“Hopefully we’ve started a conversation with our players, not just what’s going on with the national anthem but what’s happening in our country, said a thoughtful Coach Budenholzer Monday. We will be incredibly in support of our players. I think the more thoughtful– the more respectful we can be, if we are those two things our country can will be better.”
If anyone on the team ever needed to speak with a victim of police brutality face to face then Thabo Sefolosha would have plenty to talk about after his 2015 nightclub incident with the NYPD. Thabo was falsely accused, attacked (which led to a broken fibula and ligament damage to his ankle) and arrested outside 1 Oak’s nightclub where former Pacer Chris Copeland had been stabbed. So when Sefolosha saw the video footage of Terence Crtucher being gunned down, it immediately brought him back to that night in New York and caused him to feel fortunate.
“I think it’s been a problem and keeps happening and its sad to see. To be honest looking at some of the footage we see with the guy in Tulsa and charlotte I feel lucky to be here and be able to talk about what happened to me.”
Like Thabo, when veteran Jarrett jack first saw the shooting of Terrence Crutcher a sense of “oh not again” accompanied his other initial emotions.
“Man it’s a combination of things like confusion, anger and sadness Its hard to understand when you apply logic to the situation and try to understand where it causes for that type of force to be applied in these instances. You look at it and understand that it was wrong but then it becomes a constant situation where it’s becoming repetitive and we end up getting the same result. We get causality and someone that doesn’t seem to want to take the responsibility for the actions that were taken.
Those like Philando Castile, Alton Sterling,and the remaining 796 victims in 2016 unfortunately weren’t lucky enough to tell their story like Thabo. We will never hear their voices again, which prompts millions of Americans everywhere who feel silenced; to look to professional athletes like Kaepernick, to denounce injustice on a large platform. Three-point specialist Kyle Korver has embraced the responsibility to do just that whether people believe an athlete should or should not.
“It’s a great opportunity for athletes to have a voice in this. I guess some people say that we shouldn’t but there are a lot of people out there that have asked us to be role models. I think that there are problems in this country and that athletes can have a role in this conversation. Its up to us to continue to educate ourselves”
Not every athlete feels its necessary to speak about this particular issue. A stance Michael Jordan was greatly criticized for taking throughout his career until this summer when he ended his silence in a self written piece for ESPN’s undefeated. Charles Barkley’s “I am not a role model” commercial in 1993 sparked many debates around the country on whether or not athletes are unfairly burdened with pressures to always conform to the opinions of the people.
Hawks rookie Taurean Prince has chosen to take this route for the time being not solely because he may feel it’s not an athletes place, but more so a lack of personal experience.
“Man I worry about me and mines, I worry about what I can do to control the things that I can control in my life. Obviously that stuff has affected the people of my culture but at the same time it hasn’t affected me personally so I really don’t get into that stuff. I just shut my mouth and keep it moving until it directly affects me or my family then I’ll decide to speak on it”
Recent signee Will Bynum, a Chicago native, at 33 years old surely has plenty first hand experience of witnessing police conducting themselves inappropriately. But For Bynum he’s looking at all that factors that stricken his cities socioeconomic path towards peace. When your government officials fail the education system, when the culture of policing views you as a number instead of a human being, when family structures are fragile, you end up with a sense of loss hope that becomes contagious. In Bynum’s eyes those who are fortunate enough to leave, secure their families financially and reach a high level of success should make time to return to their neighborhood to instill belief.
“As far as the successful guys that come from the city, they have to come back. A lot of guys get out of it and then they don’t come back, but its what we should do, said a passionate Bynum. We come from there and only we can articulate what’s really going on, because nobody really understands us. Like they are saying we can shut down every single public school, but they do not understand these kids in the radius of five blocks are crossing 5 different gangs so they are not going to go to school. Especially if your mother is working 9-5 everyday, she cant make you be there, so its critical we provide more opportunities for the city and guys like myself come back and give the knowledge that it took to make it out”
Full interview with Will Bynum here
In a city with one of the highest African-American population in the country, in the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, a community that never hesitates to protest when they sense inequality; this Hawks team has already taken this issue head on a month before the season begins. Media day for Atlanta could of easily been consumed by the acquisition of Dwight, Kent Bazemore deciding to return, Dennis Schroder becoming a starter; but more importantly these players looked eager and prepared to discuss a topic that’s very emotional to those susceptible to it every single day of their lives. Athletes who are socially and outspoken used to be taboo throughout American history,now its imperative.
“As athletes we stand for equality and treating everyone fairly. Thats what this hawks organization is about”, said a confident Kris Humphries
The Atlanta Hawks’ season now hangs by a very fine thread, as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter to take Game 3 (121-108) and, with it, take the commanding 3-0 series lead.
After the Hawks lost Game 2, I shared the stat that LeBron has never — in 16 playoff series — lost a playoff series after going up 2-0. History wasn’t kind to the Hawks then, and it’s not looking good for them now. No team in NBA history has ever recovered from a 3-0 hole and comeback to win the series 4-3. The Cavs will have the opportunity to complete their second consecutive sweep over the Hawks on Sunday afternoon. For the Hawks, Game 4 is do-or-die, even though the ultimately fatal blow was dealt last night.
Fourth quarter of doom
The Hawks entered the fourth quarter with a five point lead and a Kyle Korver three-pointer put the Hawks up 94-85 with 11:14 left. After the two teams traded punches for a couple minutes, the Hawks still led 101-93 with 9:14 remaining. Obviously, this was plenty enough time for the Cavs to mount a run, and mount a run they did. From that point, the Cavs finished the game on a 28-7 run, shot 56% from the field (9-of-16), shot 55.6% (5-of-9) from behind the arc, and made 5-of-6 from the free throw line. The Hawks, meanwhile, shot 21.4% (3-of-14) from the field, missed all four of their three-point attempts, and only shot two free throws making one (again, from the 9:14 mark).
Huge fourth quarter efforts from LeBron James (10 points, three assists), Kyrie Irving (12 points, two three-pointers), and Channing Frye (11 points, three three-pointers) led the Cavs to a 36 point fourth quarter, outscoring the Hawks by 19 points in the final period. Frye’s 11 point fourth quarter points were part of a 27 point display, while shooting 7-of-9 from behind the arc.
It was such a disappointing result for the Hawks, not only because the loss means that the Hawks are now 0-3 down, but because Hawks played a good playoff game. Think about how mad this is:
The Atlanta Hawks triumphed over the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers last night (106-77) on the first night of their L.A. back-to-back. The Lakers were without their three top scorers — Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, and Lou Williams all sat this one out.
The Hawks were led by Dennis Schöder’s 16 points off the bench while the Lakers were led by Julius Randle’s 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Kris Humphries’ debut
Coach Mike Budenholzer wasted no time in sending out Kris Humphries (signed on Tuesday) for his Atlanta Hawks debut. It says a lot that Bud would send out the fresh faced Humphries right into the fold rather than Mike Muscala, a guy much more familiar with how the Atlanta offense runs. Bud has been clearly desiring an established big for his rotation in the wake of Tiago Splitter’s season ending hip surgery if he was willing to send him out straight away.
Humphries had himself a great debut — scoring 14 points and securing eight rebounds. Based on the his showing last night, Humphries is going to be a great addition for the Hawks bench, and his strenghts are things that the Hawks really need — rebounding and versatility: