Archives For Kyle Korver

The Hawks’ season likely came to an end with about a minute remaining in the second quarter.

Yes, the game remained close throughout and even needed overtime to be decided. Yes, there is still at least one more game that needs to be played in this series. And yes, these Hawks have shown that — more often than not — they will fight when presented with adversity.

But when Al Horford was ejected for what the officials deemed as an elbow to the head of Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova, Game 3 was essentially over for Atlanta. The Hawks had their chances late, but nearly every mistake that the Hawks made can be linked to the absence of Horford. Jeff Teague was the only Hawk willing to shoot, Mike Scott was on the floor too much, and the Hawks being short the best body they had to box out Tristan Thompson all led to their 114-111 downfall against the Cavaliers.

“I did think he went at me but I should have handled it better,” Horford said on the season-changing play. “Shouldn’t have gotten caught up in that and it’s something I’ll definitely learn from.” Continue Reading…

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore tweeted that starting shooting guard Kyle Korver will be out for the remainder of the season with a severely sprained ankle suffered in Friday’s Game 2 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena.

@CVivlamoreAJC: BREAKING: Kyle Korver is OUT for the remainder of the playoffs with ankle injury.

Vivalmore followed up that there is no word on who will start in Korver’s place in Game 3 in Cleveland on Sunday. The Hawks already lost Thabo Sefolosha for the season to a broken leg suffered during his arrest by NYPD. Kent Bazemore seems the most likely candidate to start in Korver’s place. Following is the text of an Atlanta Hawks press release:

Hawks guard/forward Kyle Korver suffered a right ankle injury with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. X-rays performed at Philips Arena last night were negative. A follow-up MRI and examination this morning at the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed a severe high right ankle sprain. Korver will see a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of treatment. He is out for the remainder of the postseason.

It’s no secret that the Atlanta Hawks have struggled shooting the ball in the post-season. Playoff teams generally rank above average defensively, and defenses are highly-motivated with the season on the line. But the Hawks’ shooting struggles can’t entirely be written off as the result of playoff defense. The Hawks are generating 20.6 wide-open shots (defined by NBA.com as a shot taken with no defender within six feet), by far the most of any playoff team, but have seen a drop in shooting percentage even on these shots.

During the regular season, Atlanta shot 46.1% from the field and 39.4% from 3-point range on wide-open shots. In the playoffs, those numbers have dropped to 41.7% from the field and 37.3% from three. As a result, while the Hawks generated 23.7 points per game via wide-open shots during the regular season, Atlanta is generating only 22 points per game in the playoffs.

Atlanta has seen a decrease of only about 1% in wide-open shot opportunities in the post-season. Thus, even when you account for decreased opportunities, Atlanta is still leaving about a point and a half per game on the table on wide-open attempts. When you consider how many close games the Hawks have played in the post-season, losing close to a full basket on open shots is significant. Continue Reading…

Hawks game operations tried to conduct a post-game interview with Al Horford over the PA system after the game.

The crowd was so loud that it went on deaf ears.

Horford hit the game-winning layup after crashing the boards off of a missed Dennis Schröder drive to give the Hawks an 82-81 win and a 3-2 lead over the Washington Wizards in the Conference Semifinal. The shot was the bookend to a dominate game for Horford, who led the Hawks with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocked shots.

“Al has been the cornerstone for us — for the Hawks — for a bunch of years,” said Kyle Korver on Horford. “It wasn’t just that play, though. Al played an amazing game.”

Horford was the steady force for the Hawks over the final 5:31 of the fourth quarter, which started with the Hawks down 73-64. In that time period, Horford scored nine points off of two free throws, a corner 3-pointer, a 20-foot jumper, and the game-winner. For good measure, Horford also blocked a layup attempt by John Wall and assisted on a DeMarre Carroll layup in transition during the Hawks’ comeback.

“We didn’t quit after being down,” said Horford.

Horford was not the only one to lead the Hawks down the stretch, as Coach Budenholzer made a surprise move by going with Dennis Schröder at point guard to close the game.

“We’ve been trying to keep Jeff kinda fresh, where he doesn’t get fatigued playing long stretches, so we were giving him a minute or two there around the five minute mark. We had him at the table to go back in. We made several plays and Dennis made a couple of them himself, and Jeff took over coaching and said leave him in.” Continue Reading…

The way the Hawks played at the end of Game 3 against the Wizards was a breath of fresh air. There was defensive activity, ball movement, and open shots that actually went it.

Of course, this was not from the Hawks’ starters. This was Mike Muscala, Mike Scott, Dennis Schröder, and Shelvin Mack finally playing the way that the fans were accustomed to in the regular season. These players fought back from 20 points down to tie the game. Of course, the Hawks wound up with a loss, but the effort and revitalization of the bench was a welcome sight for Atlanta fans.

On Monday night, it’s time for the fans to see that effort from the starting unit.

In the first-round series against Brooklyn, the problem with the Hawks is that the bench unit was awful, save for Pero Antic. This somewhat carried over in the start of the series against the Wizards, forcing Mike Budenholzer to shorten his bench rotation as much as possible. However, the Hawks’ starters — except for DeMarre Carroll — have also had a problem for the nine games they have played so far in the playoffs: they have not made shots.

Jeff Teague’s true-shooting percentage in the playoffs? 46.0%, down from 56.6% in the regular season, a difference of 10.6%. Kyle Korver? 58.9%, which is still good, but it is down from 69.9% in the regular season. Paul Millsap? 50.4% in the playoffs, 56.5% in the regular season. And Al Horford? 49.2% in the postseason compared to 56.3% in the regular season. Continue Reading…

The Hawks took care of business at home 106-90 against the Washington Wizards to even up their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at a game apiece. Washington’s John Wall was a late scratch just 60 minutes before tipoff, providing a good opportunity for Atlanta to get a vital win before the series shifts to Washington. Both Coach Budenholzer and DeMarre Carroll said after the game that the defensive plan did not change as a result of Wall’s absence, but it’s hard to believe that Jeff Teague ends up with a playoff-career-high seven rebounds if he has to contend with the taller and more athletic John Wall.

Ramon Sessions stepped up for the Wizards in Wall’s absence and played a fine game, shooting 8-for-14 for 21 points. Teague had a difficult time shooting against Washington, but contributed well in other areas of the game with the seven rebounds and eight assists. As a team, the Hawks totaled 30 assists on 37 made baskets, a byproduct of the perimeter players being able to get in the paint and find open shooters spacing the floor. Atlanta’s aggressiveness paid off in other ways; the Hawks got to the free throw line 25 times and forced Washington’s Marcin Gortat out of the game with six fouls in the fourth quarter. “We were attacking the goal this game; I think that was big for us,” Carroll said after the game. 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…

Earlier in the season I wrote about the numbers versus perception of Jeff Teague’s defense. While the numbers show that Teague has taken a dramatic step forward this season, the eye test still betrays lapses where Teague doesn’t give full effort.

The disconnect between perception and metrics is also startling for Dennis Schröder. While Teague often appears to be going through the motions, Schröder is always down in his stance with active hands. He’s quick, has an enormous wingspan and a reputation as an excellent defender. And yet, somehow Teague is ranked as the 9th-best defensive point guard in the NBA by ESPN.com’s Real Plus-Minus while Schröder is ranked 64th of 84 point guards rated.

At the bottom of this post you will find a continuation of a tradition I started during last year’s playoffs. I have compiled the “Enhanced Play-by-Play” for Game 1 and, at the end, listed the individual “defensive miscues” by play. These are instances where an advantage is created for an offensive player because a defender is out of position. Defensive miscues are not necessarily mistakes. Defensive scheme may call for a player to double team or guard a different area of the floor. Teams play the averages with their defensive schemes, but a defensive miscue happens when a defensive player makes a mistake or plays the averages and loses. 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…

The Hawks won big in the box score by beating the Nets 131-99, but they could have lost big time with an injury to Paul Millsap.

Millsap was injured in the second quarter on a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark. Clark rammed into Millsap’s shoulder on a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in Millsap coming out of the game for good. Millsap will be re-evaluated on Sunday and Monday, but this is definitely poor timing for the Hawks’ leading scorer to sustain an injury.

Back to the game, the Hawks absolutely dominated the Nets in every fashion, maintaining a lead of 39 points at one point in the third quarter. “We played great tonight as a team, moving the ball,” said Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and eight assists in 24 minutes. “We trust one another on the floor. We know guys can make shots and tonight we made a lot of them.”

Indeed they did make a lot of shots, as the Hawks were 49-for-82 (59.8%) from the field and 17-for-33 (51.5%) from 3. The accurate shooting resulted in 40 assists for the Hawks, two shy of the team’s season-high set against the Sacramento Kings a few weeks ago. Continue Reading…