Archives For LeBron James

In front of a sellout crowd of 20,562, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 127-94.

Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks came into the game with a better record than the Cavs, but it didn’t take long to see who the better team really was. The Cavs went on a 21-1 run in through the middle of the second quarter, which turned a 16-point lead into an insurmountable 35-point deficit.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with seven boards, four helpers, a steal and a block. Sadly for Atlanta, only he and Al Horford seemed like they were ready for the game. Horford scored 12 points on 6-10 shooting in 19 minutes. In a surprising twist, Kyle Korver — who is one of the best shooters in the NBA — only had one shot attempt and added one assist. It’s strange to see a Korver stat line full of zeros.

Hawks were out of the game so early that coach Budenholzer decided to sit Korver for the entire second half. “Korver is fine, the game was out of reach so we wanted to try some other guys out there,” said Budenholzer after the game.

Cavs hit their first 11 3-pointers, including a fadeaway 3 at the end of the first quarter by rookie Joe Harris. “There isn’t much you can do when a guy is hitting shots like that at end of the quarter,” said Jeff Teague, who scored five points and tallied three assists. “We got discouraged out there when they started hitting those shots, we started putting our heads down and it just got worse.” Continue Reading…

Another Chance for Al Horford

Cole Patty —  October 31, 2014 — 3 Comments

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law or at least the current version of “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” Commonly said in situations by the Average Joe on one of the days where the bad luck comes in bunches; it’s almost as if the forces of the universe just won’t let something nice happen to them, no matter how much good karma they may have built up.

Al Horford may be a two-time All-Star, but his career also feels like the embodiment of this law. Every time Horford gets a bit of momentum going towards finally becoming the superstar he plays like, something bad seems to happen. On top of that, he is mostly overlooked in the “best center in the East” discussions, he wasn’t named an All-Star during a great 2012-13 campaign, and was constantly overshadowed during his career by the more bombastic Josh Smith. In fact, most of the mainstream media coverage on Horford is about why he should be playing power forward instead of mentioning that he is a matchup nightmare for his larger stone footed counterparts.

As for Murphy’s Law, Horford’s injuries have stifled his growth towards becoming a superstar. When Atlanta powered on to the 5-seed in the strike shortened 2011-12 seasons, 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…

FINAL

MIA(54-26) 85 – 98 (37-43)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 25 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast, 4 stl
L. James (MIA): 27 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks won their third straight game, with this victory over the Heat clinching the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The win is thanks to Jeff Teague, who was extremely aggressive in attacking the basket nearly the whole night. He wasn’t really attacking in the fourth quarter, but that’s because Lou “Chicken Man” Williams was cooking up something extra crispy. Williams had 23 points on the night, 18 of which were scored in the game’s final period. Lou actually completely closed the game for the Hawks, scoring the team’s final 12 points after the 2:54 mark to thwart any chance of a Miami comeback.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was rather quiet on the night, only putting up 11 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, which broke his streak of seven consecutive double-doubles. One thing of concern: Millsap appeared to twist his ankle in the fourth quarter, but he remained in the game. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks decide to rest him over the final two games. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was attacking the basket with AUTHORITY on several occasions, putting up a couple of highlight and-one finishes that got the Hawks contingent of the crowd to make some noise. “He always sets the tone when get gets out there and is aggressive and he pushes the tempo,” said Paul Millsap of his starting point guard. “He attack and he attacks. It’s good for us. It’s what we need from him.” So… how about some of that same aggressive stuff in the playoffs, Jeffrey? 9.5/10

Elton Brand: With Pero Antic sitting out, Elton Brand had to start for a second consecutive game. He played 27 minutes and made his defensive presence known when he had a highlight reel block on a LeBron James layup attempt in the first quarter. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: LeBron turned it up a bit at the end of the game, but for most of the game, DeMarre played great defense on the league’s best player. DeMarre made LeBron work for each and every bucket when he was on the floor. On offense, DeMarre had five turnovers, but he also hit three 3-pointers and was an overall plus on that end, too. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Really quiet night from Korver; only four points and three rebounds. Wade was scoring early, but that was more a factor of Wade hitting jumpers than of poor defensive play by Korver. 3/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 121, Heat 114

Bo Churney —  January 20, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL

MIA(29-12) 114 – 121 (21-19)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 26 pts, 7 reb, 4 ast
L. James (MIA): 30 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks broke their nine game losing streak against the Heat on Monday, defeating Miami 121-114. The Hawks were bolstered by strong bench play, as the quartet of Elton Brand, Mike Scott, Lou Williams, and Shelvin Mack combined for 45 points and 14 assists. Mack’s play was especially strong, as he eventually replaced an ineffective Jeff Teague and ran the Hawks’s offense for most of the second half.

The credit for the Hawks win may lie with Atlanta’s improved defensive effort after the 71-70 lightning storm of a first half. “Two 22-point quarters,” said Coach Budenholzer about his team’s defensive effort, “is a real positive for our group, to be able to find a way to get some stops against a very talent, well-coached team.” The Hawks forced 12 turnovers in the half and limited the Heat to 4-for-16 three-point shooting, which is a large change from five turnovers and 11-for-17 three-point shooting in the first half.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap continues to play well against the Miami Heat. In this game, Millsap had 26 points, seven rebounds, and four dimes. Much of his work came down low, where he was awarded with 11 free throws, of which he made 10. Eventually, his effort in the paint caused Miami to direct more attention to the ATL big man, something that resulted in Kyle Korver getting open for the dagger three-pointer in the fourth quarter. 9.5/10

Pero Antic: Foul trouble limited Pero’s minutes, but he played fantastic offensively. He started out strong, scoring 10 of the team’s first 15 points. He finished with 17 points overall, which is a career-high. However, he struggled defensively, as Chris Bosh presented a very unique challenge for the Macedonian center. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: LeBron may have scored 30 points, but it was a pretty great overall game from DeMarre; LeBron had a couple of makes that were not DeMarre’s fault. Possibly the key in the ATL victory from the Junkyard Dog was that he hit his open looks, going 8-for-13 from the field for 19 points. 8/10

Jeff Teague: This might be the worst game of basketball we’ve seen from Jeff Teague this year. He was just 1-for-7 from the field — but with six assists — before he was benched in favor of Shelvin Mack in the second half. The Hawks really need Teague to find his shot if they want to be as successful as possible. 2/10

Kyle Korver: The Heat gave a lot of attention to Korver in this game and it opened up the floor a lot for the Hawks. Korver ended up with six assists, and the team had a plus-15 rating when he was on the floor. He also extended his three-point streak to 109 games. 8/10 Continue Reading…

This is not a good time for the Hawks to be facing the two-time defending champions.

Atlanta did recently slay the Pacers and Rockets at home, but those two games are the Hawks’ only wins in their past seven games. The Hawks are currently on a two-game losing streak after a loss in Memphis and a beatdown in London from the Brooklyn Nets. A loss against the Heat would send Atlanta back to .500 and possibly down to fifth in the East if Washington wins against the 76ers this afternoon.

So what can the Hawks do to pull off an upset against Miami? Well for one, the home team will have DeMarre Carroll back, as he missed Thursday’s game in London because of the birth of his daughter. Carroll should help bolster the Atlanta defense that had huge troubles with Joe Johnson in London and would have had enormous problems with LeBron James without Carroll in the lineup.

The Hawks will also hope to take advantage of a Miami defense that is slightly down this year. Of course, the Heat are still top 10 in defensive efficiency (10th per Basketball-Reference), but Miami is giving up a full point more per 100 possessions than last season, and four points more than two seasons ago. One of Miami’s big holes has been three-point defense, where they rank in the bottom 10 of the league by allowing opponents to shoot 36.8% from behind the arc. While this may point to a big night for Kyle Korver, that’s not necessarily what the Hawks need; the Hawks will need their secondary three-point shooters — Jeff Teague, Pero Antic, and Carroll — to hit the open looks that they get. Teague, who is in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, is currently shooting just 25% from three-point land this season, with his problem seemingly being a proclivity to come up short on above-the-break threes. Continue Reading…

In this week’s recap, the Heat are on a losing streak!? Is this Miami slump just a bump in the road or is there more to it? The Hawks just knocked off the Rockets and despite missing Al Horford seem to be chugging along. Pero Antic is breaking out as a legitimate rotation player and we say goodbye to Cartier Martin. The Wizards can’t seem to get themselves over .500 and just got stomped by the Pacers. The Bobcats are entering a free fall, it might be the injuries but I think it’s effort. The Magic…they are awful.

Miami Heat, 1st, 27-10, 2nd in the East, 1-2 during weekMIA

After smacking around New Orleans and Toronto it looked like Miami was going to continue on their war path by putting a beat down on the dysfunctional and struggling Knicks. The game was on national TV and was the perfect stage for Miami to obliterate somebody. Then, as if it was a perfect storm, the Knicks played probably their best basketball for the entire season and had possibly a season changing win over the Heat. The next night on a back to back Miami traveled across New York over to Brooklyn to take on the also struggling Nets. The Heat lost that one in double overtime. The Heat had Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Dwyane Wade all resting and didn’t look incredibly concerned with winning. The game was bizarre in that we saw a rare moment where LeBron James lost his composure. After a foul on a fastbreak LeBron went nuts and tried to get in the face of the player who fouled him. I’ve never seen that before. I don’t think it means much in the grand scheme of the season but it was still a rare sight.

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 20-17, 3rd in the East, 2-1 during weekATL

The Hawks did exactly what we expected them to do after they lost Al Horford. They went on a losing streak and looked nothing like the above average team that could compete with anybody in the league on any given night. Then they had a HUGE victory over the number one team in the East, the Indiana Pacers. Two days later Dwight Howard and Houston came to town and the Rockets couldn’t establish anything. The Hawks delivered Dwight Howard his sixth straight loss in Philips Arena and the Hawks were back to playing at their old level of play. Had the Hawks beaten the Pacers on a random night, I would have put that towards a fluke, but beating the Rockets the way they did means the Hawks may have found a way to sustain without Horford. The team is better with Horford, but players are stepping up without him, more specifically Pero Antic is. Early in the season I wasn’t sure if Antic was an NBA player, let alone a rotation player. He has shown through this Horford-less stretch that he has the ability to definitely be a eighth or ninth man rotation player in this league. We also say goodbye to Cartier Martin this week. Martin was waived from the team before his contract became guaranteed, while slightly surprising, this wasn’t entirely shocking. Continue Reading…

Division recap’s back. Tell a friend.

2013 came and went and as we start 2014 the SouthEast division is currently… exactly how we left it. That said, while the teams may be the same (oh god, are the Magic the same) there is definitely a difference between where they were last season and where they are this season. Unlike past installations of the division recap, instead of going over the last week, this will go over how the season has gone for the teams so far.

Miami Heat, 1st, 26-8, 2nd in the EastMIA

Right where we left them, the defending champs are powering through yet another regular season for them. Like past repeat champions. the Heat look bored with the regular season. Unlike past regular season champions, the Heat don’t look as flawed as we’ve seen bored teams in the past. They still absolutely obliterate teams as need be, but there is an issue with them flipping the switch and losing games they shouldn’t: the Kings loss should have never happened. Miami is ranked 2nd in the East behind the Pacers, but have beaten the Pacers in one of their two regular season matchups so far. The Heat look like the best team in the NBA once again.

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 18-16, 3rd in the EastATL

If I had told you that the Hawks were going to be second in the Southeast division by the end of December you would have believed me. Had I told you that Al Horford was going to get injured for the season before the end of December you would have yelled at me for wishing that on the Hawks. Had I told you that the Hawks were going to be third in the East despite all of these things, you would have laughed at me. Now it’s January and all that stuff happened. The Hawks ball movement is better and Paul Millsap is a more than qualified replacement for Josh Smith, making up the loss of defense with his ever expanding arsenal on offense. Millsap can shoot 3’s, Teague is playing at an all star level, and Kyle Korver had over 100 straight games with at least one 3 pointer. It’s a real shame Horford is hurt, because I was excited to see what they could bring towards the end of the season. Now I don’t know if the Hawks will even finish this high in the division, let alone the conference. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Heat 121, Hawks 119

Bo Churney —  December 24, 2013 — 3 Comments

FINAL

 MIA(21-6) 121 – 119 (15-13)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 21 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast
L. James (MIA): 38 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

After falling down quickly in the first quarter due to turnovers, the Hawks rallied back behind a barrage of threes in the second and third quarters and had a double-digit lead at one point. Miami remained unbroken, however, as LeBron and company managed to keep the game within reach and eventually forced overtime. The Hawks had chances at both the end of regulation and the end of overtime to get a victory, but they were denied on both tries.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al had a few problem handling the ball in the early going, but he rebounded in the second quarter, scoring nine points to lead the Hawks’ charge. (he had a corner three, too!) After that quarter, he was relatively quiet on offense. On defense, he found himself on LeBron a couple of time and actually did quite well. I was impressed. 9/10.

Paul Millsap: Millsap had so many things going for him early on in this game. Obviously, there was his assault from the three-point line, where he hit a career-high seven threes. Outside of that, though… he wasn’t about to convert on two-pointers, although he probably did have some grievances with the officials on some of those plays. Like Horford, Millsap also had some decent defensive plays on LeBron… until he tried to take a charge and was ferociously dunked on. Stop trying to take charges on LeBron, people; just foul him if you’re going to try that. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Even one of Jeff Teague’s best efforts of the season wasn’t enough for the Hawks to overcome Miami. Teague finished the night with 26 points, six rebounds, and eights assists, with his only blemish being his five turnovers and his four misses from the foul line. That said, Jeff was attacking for much of the night, constantly getting to the rim against Mario Chalmers and the swarming Miami defense. 8.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: LeBron is a tough cover, but DeMarre seemed to be doing alright when he was guarding the 4-time NBA MVP. He wasn’t an offense liability either, except for this one turnover he had where he tried to go behind the back and he dribbled off of the back of his foot. That said — and this is speaking for the entire group — limiting LeBron to 38 points on 26 shots (those numbers actually decreased LeBron’s shooting percentages on the year) is not too bad. 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was 5-for-8 from behind the line, including a 30-footer late in the fourth quarter that had the Hawks up seven. He also missed the potential game-winning shot in overtime, which was actually a pretty clever lob play that Kyle could quite get a hold of. Overall, Korver’s spacing was extremely important for the Hawks and that was shown when the Heat had LeBron checking Korver a couple of time late in the game. 8/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Heat 104, Hawks 88

Chris Barnewall —  November 20, 2013 — 2 Comments

FINAL

MIA(8-3) 104 – 88 (6-5)ATL   

Key Performers:
C. Bosh (MIA): 19 pts, 5 reb
M. Scott (ATL): 15 pts, 10 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks kept it close for awhile and gave the Heat a run for their money but they couldn’t hold on forever. A huge game out of Chris Bosh, some momentum changing 3’s by Mario Chalmers, and turnovers is what did the Hawks in tonight.

For most of the game the Hawks were keeping the game close. They were running up and down the court, keeping pace with a Heat team that has one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA. There was one player they couldn’t keep up with however and that was Chris Bosh. Bosh torched the team with 19 points and 5 rebounds. He was all over the court, topping it off with a highlight dive into the stands as he chased a loose ball.

Midway through the 3rd quarter there was a stretch in the game where the ball was bouncing all over the place, the Hawks couldn’t hold on to the ball. The Hawks let the Heat get out into transition and that will almost certainly destroy any hopes a team has at winning against them. The player to make the Hawks pay? None other than Mario Chalmers. Chalmers scored nine straight points and from that point on, the Heat never looked back.

The reason this stretch was allowed to happen was because the Heat covered the ball in butter. Okay actually it was cause the Hawks were rushing and looked completely out of synch. The ball was flying everywhere except to teammates. By the time they stopped themselves it was too late, the Heat were comfortably ahead. The Hawks could have survived Bosh’s monster game and Chalmers 3’s; they couldn’t survive the turnovers.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Horford started at the power forward position tonight next to Ayon. He had an okay game on offense going 5/9 with 12 points. He didn’t get to the free throw line very often but I’ll give credit to the Heat where it’s due. They did a good job of not fouling him. My main complaint with Horford was the turnovers. He had 7 of them, 6 in the 1st half. A usually low turnover guy it was really weird seeing him turn the ball over as much as he did. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague had a rough game shooting wise going 4-for-13 and looking very uncomfortable when trying to score. He had a moment early in the game where he drove straight to the basket with a Heat defender just waiting for him, his shot was rejected. His defense was also very shaky tonight with some bad fouls and confusion. He managed to keep the offense into a system at least as he had 7 assists and kept the ball moving. 5/10

Gustavo Ayon: Starting in place of the injured Paul Millsap, Ayon didn’t have too bad a game. He had some defensive issues whenever he ended up on Bosh and that cost the Hawks plenty of times. Besides that though he had an okay game. Didn’t make a huge impact, but didn’t hurt the team outside of when he was guarding Bosh. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: Another solid game for Carroll. His 3 point shooting is becoming more of a threat as he shot 2-for-3 from three point land tonight. His defense was solid as always. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Every shot Korver took was a 3 as he did his best to try and exploit the Heat’s perimeter defense. Unfortunately for him, the Heat did a pretty good job of making him work for every shot. He had two steals and had his usual solid help D. The streak is 84 now, which Korver got out of the way early having it be the Hawks first points of the game. 8/10 Continue Reading…