Archives For Kyle Korver

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their second consecutive game against the Orlando Magic in a heartbreaker at Philips Arena — 116-110 in overtime. The loss ties up the season series between the two at 2-2, after the Hawks won the first two fixtures.

A 20 point lead blown

The Hawks started this game off so well — it was the kind of first quarter response you would expected from a team who were beaten the night before on a buzzer beating shot. The Hawks came roaring out of the gate and took the Magic by storm — building up a 20 point lead with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter. It felt like this was going to be a classic revenge game, but the Magic never gave up. Jason Smith checked into the game and kept the Magic in striking distance, as he knocked down five of his seven shots in the first half for 10 points.

After the Magic had trimmed the Hawks’ lead to 13 by half time, the Hawks quickly stretched the lead back to 18 in the third quarter. But the Magic, once again, refused to to go down without a fight. Nikola Vucevic (who only scored three points in the first half on 1-of-4 shooting) exploded in the third quarter for 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting, and the Hawks’ lead heading into the fourth quarter stood at 11 points.

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The Hawks suffered a heart-breaker on Super Bowl Sunday, losing 96-94 to the Magic on a buzzer-beater by Nikola Vucevic. Just a day later, the Hawks would get another shot at Orlando, but this time at home in a game that you would figure would favor the Hawks.

Well, it didn’t.

The Hawks opened the game looking like they were ready to run the Magic out of the building, starting up with a 26-8 run. 3-pointers were falling, the defense was swarming, and Atlanta simply looked like the team that won 60 games in the 2014-15 season. What happened after was a gradual and slow-burn collapse that saw the Magic finally take the lead in the final minutes of regulation, and eventually the victory in overtime.

“I think we’ve got to be better late in games,” said an exasperated Mike Budenholzer. “Myself, the players, everybody; we’ve got to be better.”

The collapse started on the defensive end in the second half, as the Hawks gave up 60 total points in the third and fourth quarters. The Magic particularly killed the Hawks on the inside, with a 12-for-18 shooting performance in the paint for the half. The inside game was compliment with outside shooting, as Vucevic knocked down the mid-range shots, and the rest of the team complemented with timely 3-pointers. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks kicked off the month of February the right way, as they took care of business on their home floor with a 112-97 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. After their poor display in Miami, the Hawks showed great energy on the second night of this back-to-back, and came out on top with a victory that they desperately needed, after losing five of their last six games.

The Jeff Teague show

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. Most of you know this quote from the timeless classic that is Forrest Gump, but we’re going to repurpose this quote for our needs. Let’s replace the word “Life” with “The 2015-16 Jeff Teague”, and now you have an accurate representation of Jeff Teague’s season, in quote form. Last night Jeff Teague was the star of the show, pouring out a season-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting (including a career high five three-pointers made), eight assists, and five rebounds.

Teague came out of the gates strong, and made an effort to attack in the opening stages — firing a shot (one of his few missed shots) just 19 seconds into the game, and drawing a foul while attempting a layup after a solid drive to the basket following a Millsap screen on D-Will just a few minutes.

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Atlanta’s January nightmare is finally over — but the ending wasn’t pretty. A 105-85 loss against the Miami Heat last night capped off a 6-9 January — a complete contrast to their January of 2015 when they went undefeated, going 17-0. Their latest defeat is their third in a row and their fifth in their last six games.

Offensive struggles continue

Prior to this game the Hawks were averaging just 95 points per game in their last five games — shooting 42.3% from the field and 32.1% from downtown. In the build up to this game Mike Budenholzer stated that is has been Atlanta’s offense that has been the issue of late, but has been happy with the defense:

“Defensively we are playing a lot better. We are doing a lot of things well defensively. I think offensively, I don’t think any of us feel great about how we are playing. It’s a lot of little things. It’s not any one big, glaring thing.”

Despite identifying one culprit of the the Hawks’ recent struggles (the offense), the Hawks’ offensive woes continued last night — scoring just 87 points on 38.6% shooting from the field, and 22.7% from behind the arc. The Hawks were finding themselves in great positions with great shot opportunities — from mid-range shots, open three-point shots, to easy layups, but just couldn’t finish them. This would be one encouragement to takeaway from this game — the Hawks got themselves in good situations but just couldn’t convert their chances on this particular night.

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The Atlanta Hawks dropped their first game home after their four game road trip in what can only be described as an ugly, 85-83 affair with the L.A. Clippers. It’s a normal occurrence in the NBA for teams who have been on a lengthy road trip to have a let down game in their home return and this was no exception. In this tough loss, what were the takeaways from the first meeting of the season between the Clippers and the Hawks?

Jeff Teague’s haircut

“Handsome young man” – Bob Rathbun.

teague

 

And moving swiftly on…

Lack of bench scoring

The Hawks’ bench made life very difficult for the starters, who essentially had to carry the entire offensive load. The bench scored just 12 points and were outscored by Jamal Crawford by himself, let alone the Clippers’ bench who outscored the Atlanta bench 39-12. Though, it wasn’t that the Hawks bench were outscored by Jamal Crawford by nine points that was concerning — the Hawks bench didn’t register a single point in the second half nor did they register a single free throw attempt in the second half. That’s incredible. Continue Reading…

With the Hawks crossing the halfway point of their 82 game regular season, it is time to look back at some of the successes and failures of the team.

The team’s record sits at 24-17 prior to Monday’s match against the Orlando Magic, on pace for 48 wins for you math majors. This would be a 12-win drop off from last year despite only a couple of roster changes during the offseason. It was common thought that the Hawks wouldn’t be able to match their performance from a season ago given natural regression. The first half of the season has only proved that line of thinking correct. Still, the team has a real shot at a top two seed in the Eastern Conference and will look to enter the playoffs in better shape this time around.

Let’s dive right into what has gone right early in the 2015-16 season.

The Positives:

Kent Bazemore

By now you’ve heard Baze’s story. A four year player at Old Dominion, Kent went undrafted in 2012 and has had to fight for playing time in the Association. James Herbert of CBS Sports recently detailed his early struggles and his improvement since becoming a Hawk in 2014. 

Kent shot 32.7% from three in sporadic time over his first two seasons in the NBA with the Warriors and Lakers. Last season, he shot 36.4% from long range. This year? A brilliant 41.9%. Kent credits a revamped shooting stroke and it has showed in his results. But he has also elevated his game in other ways.

Kent is playing the most minutes of his career at over 28 a game and has responded with double digit scoring for the first time as well. He is fourth on the team in points per game (12.8) and third in True Shooting Percentage (59.2%). In addition, he has turned into a real pesky defender with a 0.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DPM) and over a steal per game.

Long regarded as just a slasher with monster hops, the man from Kelford, North Carolina has refined his game into a well-rounder contributor. Baze was once only known for his bench celebrations, but now his electrifying play between the baselines is causing others to go wild from the sideline. It was only a few months ago when questions surfaced about the team’s ability to replace DeMarre Carroll. Well, I’d say the Hawks have found their replacement plus some.

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The surging Atlanta Hawks meet the slumping New York Knicks this afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Atlanta enters Sunday’s showdown with a 2-0 mark against New York this season.

The last time these teams met, the Hawks used a dominant second-half performance to prevail, 117-98. Paul Millsap was the high man for Atlanta with 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. The Hawks outscored the Knicks 27-12 in the third period — and 57-35 in the final 24 minutes — for the team’s 20th win.

Mired in a 1-5 skid, New York dropped its last outing in embarrassing fashion to the streaking Chicago Bulls. Down big early, New York came storming back to make things competitive. However, the Knicks faltered in the fourth-quarter, shooting just 17-of-19 from the field overall whilst being outscored 31-8. Ultimately, Chicago handed New York its 19th loss on the season.

Conversely, Atlanta overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets 121-115 on Dec. 29. The Hawks were a second-half team in that performance as well, outscoring Houston 36-23 in the deciding fourth quarter to snap Houston’s modest 3-game winning streak. Four Atlanta Hawks starters scored 20-plus points in that contest with Al Horford registering a season-high 30. Continue Reading…

hh-logo-DRAFTThe next prospect up for HawksHoop’s draft profiles is one of Kentucky’s heralded freshmen: Devin Booker.

Bio:

Shooting Guard, 6’5.75, 206 lbs. Freshman, University of Kentucky, 18 years old

2014-15 college stats:

21.5 minutes, 10.0 points, 47 FG%, 41.1 3P%, 82.8 FT%, 1.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 19.4 PER.

Strengths:

Devin Booker has two really great advantages going for him at this point. The first one is his age. At just 18 years old, Booker can brag about being the youngest prospect in the entire draft class. He doesn’t turn 19 until October 30th. Being that young can be a disadvantage at times, but having the opportunity to learn from the best at such a young age can really help his game. He’s still raw, so his game can be molded into what coaches and himself think are the best. Also, because he is so young, he is going to still be able to add some strength, which would help him become a better defender at the next level since he isn’t incredibly athletic. Continue Reading…

The Hawks’ season just ended yesterday, meaning that the team has officially entered the offseason. That begs one question: what do the Hawks need to do to rebound for the 2015-16 season? What are the team’s weaknesses? Who is available for the Hawks to sign?

The way to answer those first two questions is with a status report of where the Hawks are right now. The following Hawks will be free agents this offseason:

Paul Millsap
DeMarre Carroll
Pero Antic (restricted)
John Jenkins
Elton Brand

Jenkins is likely gone and it appears as if Brand is preparing for retirement. Judging by his status in the Hawks’ rotation in games 3 and 4 of the series against the Cavs, Antic could be on his way out as well. Other factors to consider here are the recovery times for Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha, the play of Mike Scott in the playoffs, and Millsap’s own potential surgery in the offseason.

With all of that in mind, the Hawks will have money that needs to be spent addressing the wing and big positions. One thing that became abundantly clear in the playoffs is that there is no such thing as having too many shooters on the roster. Korver’s cold streak and subsequent absence was a major blow for the Hawks, and while Kent Bazemore made an admirable effort to step in, it was soon clear that the Hawks could use more shooting from the bench. Dennis Schröder is not a shooter (more shots than points in the playoffs) and Mike Scott became too streaky — in addition to his bad defense — to be a reliable option.

The other obvious weakness for the Hawks in the postseason was rebounding. Horford and a less-than-100% Millsap usually held their own, but the bench options of Antic and Scott were not the kind of guys that could remedy rebounding issues whenever the Hawks were in a rut. This issue was amplified upon Sefolosha’s injury, as he provided a rebounding boost from the small forward position when he was on the court. (8.2 rebounds per 36 minutes)

Of course, an important concept to remember here is how the Hawks play. Coach Mike Budenholzer preaches pace and space on offense, and activity, quick hands, and awareness on defense. The best fits for the Hawks are going to be players that exhibit most or all of these attributes.

Finally, something that sticks out heavily, is the salary cap. I will not go into all of the Hawks’ salary cap specifics here, but suffice to say, the Hawks will have money to spend in the offseason. Also important is the NBA’s new TV deal that will start with the 2016-17 season, which will likely send the salary cap soaring to at least $85 million. Because of these, teams may be willing to overpay for free agents this year, as they know those contracts will not be as large of a hit to their cap in the future. Combating that will be whether or not players desire long-term contracts, as they may opt for shorter contracts to take advantage of the future cap spike.

Taking all of that into consideration, I present my free agent targets for the Atlanta Hawks.

YOU PROBABLY WANT THESE GUYS BACK

Paul Millsap, F, Atlanta Hawks
Millsap averaged 16.7 points on 56.5% true-shooting, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on the season. He was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season and was one of the most important defenders on a team that finished sixth in defensive efficiency. Continue Reading…

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…