Archives For Malcolm Delaney

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their second straight home game, this time against the Portland Trail Blazers, 113-97. In what was a wire-to-wire win for the Blazers, Damian Lillard led the way with 27 points while his running mate, C.J. McCollum, added 22 points. For the Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova — probably the only Hawks who you could say had a good game — led the way with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc.

Standings watch

Following this loss, the Hawks are now three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the race for home court advantage. The Hawks are about to head on a three game road trip (@ Charlotte, @ Washington and @ Milwaukee) this week. If this road trip goes badly, you can kiss home court advantage goodbye.

No Millsap = problems

Paul Millsap was a late scratch from this game with left knee tightness. The Hawks are 0-3 in his absence and the average margin of defeat is 27 points (including a 44 point loss to the Toronto Raptors). With last night’s loss that number drops to 0-4.

I mean, where do I even start with the Hawks last night? The defense was awful, the offense was awful, there was no effort, no urgency and little respect given to a team who has now won 7 of their last 9 games. There was little/no respect given to Lillard or McCollum, who literally got to whatever spot they wanted and got any shot they wanted…etc.

Yea…pretty much, Kimi, pretty much. The Hawks playing very poorly in Millsap’s absence was no coincidence at 0-3 and is no coincidence now at 0-4.

Anyways, let’s try to break some of it down and see where the Hawks went wrong. It’s worth mentioning, before we get cracking here, that not all of this could’ve been avoided even if Millsap was in the lineup. The Hawks have a lot of issues with Paul in the lineup, let alone without.

However, the Hawks are going to have to get used to Millsap’s absence. Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reports that both Millsap and Bazemore — who suffered a knee contusion near the end of this game — will miss at least two games, Bazemore to be re-evaluated in 7-10 days.

Nightmare first quarter

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Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

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…

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John Amis AP

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their first game after the All-Star break in spectacular fashion, falling to a 108-90 home defeat against the Miami Heat. Tyler Johnson led the way for the Heat with 23 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting while Goran Dragić added 17 points. Paul Millsap, probably the only Hawks who actually played well, scored 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 19 of those coming in the first half. Were it not for these 19 points in the first half, the Hawks would’ve easily been trailing by 25 points at least…

New faces, same old Hawks…

New Hawk Ersan Ilyasova couldn’t help the Hawks overcome their Achilles heel last night: defending the three-point line.

The Heat became the sixth team this season to set a season-high in three-point makes with 17 as the Heat shot 17-of-37 from behind the arc, 46%. It was truly something else watching the Heat shoot open three after open three. In fact, just over 30% of the Heat’s three-point shots were open, 14% — as classified by NBA.com — were open (the closest defender is 4-6 feet away from the shooter) and 16% of the Heat’s three-pointers were wide open — again, classified by NBA.com — (closest defender, 6-10 feet).

This is just not acceptable for what the Hawks are trying to achieve and where they’re trying to go. Time after time after time they’ve let teams ignite from three. Hey, guess what? Professional basketball players can make wide open three-pointers.

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Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks bounced back from their disappointing loss against Al Horford and the Boston Celtics on Friday night with a 111-98 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday evening. Giannis Antentokounmpo led the Bucks with 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting. Greg Monroe added 13 points off of the bench.

Welcome back, Baze

The Hawks are just so much more fun when Kent Bazemore has it going and he had his best game in a long time this evening. Baze scored 24 points (the most he has scored in a game since November 8th when he scored 25 points against the Cavaliers) on 8-of-13 shooting and 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

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Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks’ seven game winning streak came to an end on Friday night as they dropped an entertaining game against the Boston Celtics, 103-101. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 28 points — including the game winner — while Kelly Olynyk poured out 26 points off the bench.

Look who’s back

We had to wait until January but last night the Hawks finally got to see Al Horford return to Atlanta for the first time as a Celtic. When he was introduced, and again throughout the game, there were quite a number of boos for Horford, something that took him by surprise.

“They were unexpected. I don’t want to say anything, but it is what it is. I know there’s a lot of fans out there that appreciated my time here, and I appreciate them.” — Al Horford

The Hawks did have a video tribute lined up and it was shown at the end of the first quarter. Horford was given a standing ovation.

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Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

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.

Old friends…

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.

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Glenn James/Getty Images/NBAE

The Atlanta Hawks increased their winning streak to six following their 97-82 triumph against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night. Harrison Barnes led the way for the Mavericks with 21 points while Devin Harris and Dirk Nowitzki both added 11 points each.

Taking care of business

The Hawks are now six games unbeaten, however, the counter-argument to that would be their last three wins have comes against teams below .500. And that’s a fair point, but the Hawks are still taking care of business as they should be.

“We did what we set out to do. We got three out of three. We are pleased with it. We are pleased with our play. We still can get better in some areas but we are happy with where we are now.” — Paul Millsap

The Mavs are probably the worst team out of the bunch that the Hawks have played of late, sat at the bottom of the Western Conference with an 11-26 record. The Mavs played the Hawks well for three quarters, recovering from a nine point deficit in the third quarter with a 9-0 run to tie the game, but a 10-0 Hawks run the fourth quarter left the Mavericks in a difficult position: a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. The Hawks outscored the Mavs 31-23 in the final period, winning by 15 in the end.

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Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks keep on rolling. The Hawks dialled up their fifth consecutive victory after topping the New Orleans Pelicans 99-94 at the Smoothie King Arena on Thursday night. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 20 points and 19 rebounds while Jrue Holiday added another 18 points.

The Hawks traded who??

Ah… Not to spend too long on this subject, this isn’t exactly the place/article to do that (since it’s a game recap) but reports came flooding in last night — as the Hawks were warming up for this game — that a deal was being finalised to send Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyle was quickly told of the trade.

As a result, Korver did not play in this game but it was great to see him still involved on the bench, cheering for his teammates. DeAndre’ Bembry played Korver’s minutes yesterday and he did well, scoring six points on 3-of-4 shooting in 14 minutes.

Per Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, the locker room wasn’t a happy place to be postgame, despite the Hawks picking up their fifth straight win.

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Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks racked up their fourth consecutive victory on Wednesday night, defeating the Orlando Magic 111-92 at the Amway Center. The Magic were led by Jeff Green’s and Aaron Gordon’s 15 points apiece while Evan Fournier made his return — following a five game absence — with 14 points off the bench.

Revenge game and defense

They say elephants never forget. I have no idea who said that and why they said that but the Atlanta Hawks certainly didn’t forget December 13th, the day the Orlando Magic came into Atlanta and hung 131 points on the Hawks in a 131-120 loss for the Hawks. It certainly gave the Hawks motivation heading into Orlando on Wednesday night:

“For sure, we were a little (ticked) off.” — Dennis Schröder

Over the last three games prior to this game the Hawks’ defense has been pretty good, allowing 99.3 points per 100 possession. Last night the defense efficiency was 94.5 points per 100 possessions. The Hawks forced the Magic into some tough shots and their defensive intensity has certainly improved since these two teams last met.

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