Archives For Miami Heat

Mike Budenholzer rested Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Pero Antic for tonight’s matchup with the Miami Heat. Add that to the previously injured Thabo Sefolosha and the Hawks were missing five key players for a division game.

Yeah, like that matters…

The Hawks used solid rotations and team defense to hold the Heat to 39.5% shooting from the field (27% from deep) and cruised on to win 93-91. Wait? Cruised on? But it was only a two point game! True, but the Heat never provided a serious threat to the lead that Atlanta held for the entire game.

With the Hawks missing two key big men, Elton Brand got the start along side Paul Millsap. First possession of the game and Elton Brand already floated up a short corner jumper. As it clanked off the rim, I wondered if resting so many guys was the right call. Coach Bud would shake his head at that sentence because the Hawks used four early Miami turnovers in the first four minutes – as well as poor shooting – to gain an early cushion.

That cushion never went away.

Hassan Whiteside of the Heat proved early that he was a man amongst boys on the glass. After snatching five rebounds (three offensive) in the first three minutes of action, he went on to tally 24 boards for the game. Twenty-four! He fell three short of matching DeAndre Jordan’s NBA season-high of 27, but made up for it with a few offensive put-backs over three or even four Hawks players. Stopping that guy was nearly impossible.

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This Week In The Southeast, the All-Star break has come and gone and each team has reached the midway point of the season. Instead of recapping this week’s action we’ll be recapping how each team has looked for the season, how they project for the playoffs, and what trajectory they’re currently on.

Atlanta Hawks, 43-12, 1st in the East ATL

The Hawks started off the season a little slow, and a lot of us were wondering what their ceiling was, but then things started to get interesting. The offense was never a problem, but the defense started off the season struggling. This was likely due to Al Horford shaking off some rust and getting used to this season’s defensive scheme, but when it all came together oh man did it come together. The Hawks set a franchise record with 19 straight wins and some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen. They topped the NBA’s best time and time again, including a victory over the Golden State Warriors, and showed that they’re one of the top contenders in the NBA. However, they went into the All-Star break not playing like themselves, and recently were uncharacteristically blown out by the Raptors. It’s probably just boredom, or a random rough patch, but after all those wins early in the season it’s weird to see this group struggle at all.

Washington Wizards, 33-22, 5th in the East WAS

The Wizards started off the season as the best team in the East and got a lot of people jumping on to their bandwagon. John Wall was getting early season MVP consideration, Marcin Gortat was an All-Star, and that defense was just suffocating, but there was one problem that’s still showing up to this day. The Wizards started off the season with a very easy schedule, and they still can’t seem to beat a lot of the NBA’s best teams. They limped into the All-Star break falling all the way down to 5th in the East, and it feels like there’s just no chance of them catching the Hawks. Whatever Washington’s problems are they need to get it together, because the rest of the East is starting to put things together and the Wizards are looking outclassed by all of them.

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This Week In The Southeast, The Hawks finished the greatest month in NBA history despite some talk about them not being quite playoff ready. Washington has stumbled back down to third in the conference, and it might be time to be concerned about their inability to beat elite teams. Towards the bottom of the playoff standings are the Heat and Hornets fighting for the 7-seed. Both teams have been disappointing this year and want to have some success, and they’ll have a better time convincing themselves of that if they don’t finish 8th. Then at the very bottom is Orlando, but all of their headlines relate to off court issues rather than on court ones.

Atlanta Hawks, 40-8, 1st in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

Once again, the Hawks finish the week perfect, but that’s not even the most impressive thing they accomplished. The Hawks have finished the month of January undefeated with a 17-0 record. They are the only team to do that in NBA history and it’s not like they had a cake walk of a month. January has featured victories over Toronto, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Washington just to name a few. However, despite the fantastic month, they just had there are still concerns being brought up. Everybody agrees the Hawks are a great regular season team, but many experts question how a team like this can handle a seven game series. They reference the physicality and star factors of the playoffs could cause Atlanta to struggle. These are valid concerns, but it’s hard to bring them up at the moment with the Hawks on a 19-game winning streak. They also feel like a lot of speculation without much evidence to back it up, but that’s the way it’s going to be until the playoffs. Atlanta will have to prove they can win against the same opponent over and over again, and history has suggested that execution style teams like Atlanta can struggle in that kind of setting. However, on Atlanta’s side is what they are achieving as only been accomplished by previous NBA champions.

Washington Wizards, 31-17, 3rd in the East, 2-2 this week WAS

The Wizards are a very good basketball team, and they’ve shown that with their 31 wins this season. This week they managed to grab victories over the Lakers and Nuggets. The Lakers are bad, but the Nuggets are randomly good sometimes making that a nice win. Afterwards they lost the back to back to Phoenix, which is disappointing, but to be expected. However, the Wizards lost their most important game of the week and that was their Saturday game, at home, to Toronto. They let the Raptors go up big, but were able to force a comeback and go to overtime. They ended up losing in overtime and that continues this trend of Washington not being able to beat top NBA teams. This might not matter for a lot of people, but it’s something to take note of as the NBA shifts towards playoff races.

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This Week In The Southeast, because it’s January things are starting to get a little predictable. The Hawks extended their lead across the division, the Hornets are in the playoffs, and everything else stayed the same.

Atlanta Hawks, 36-8, 1st in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

Another perfect week for the dominating Atlanta Hawks. The Detroit Pistons exposed a weakness the Hawks have on MLK day with their gigantic and athletic front court, but Atlanta managed to pull out a victory and extend their winning streak. The Hawks then set a franchise record for most wins in a row with a victory over a healthy, but struggling, Oklahoma City squad. 15 straight wins, and a seven game lead for first place has everybody talking about the Hawks.

Washington Wizards, 29-15, 2nd in the East, 1-2 this week WAS

Washington’s struggles against upper tier NBA teams continues. This week their two losses came to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Portland Trailblazers. These losses are starting to become a concern, because they are losing games they should be winning. Yes, Portland was at home, but the Wizards were playing them while LaMarcus Aldridge was playing injured, Robin Lopez is out with an injury, and the Wizards did have the lead for a good portion of the game. So if Washington is supposed to be one of the top NBA teams, then why did they lose a game they need to win

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This Week In The Southeast, the Hawks’ winning streak is up to 12 games in a row, the Wizards have reclaimed the second spot in the East, and Charlotte is still surging. Meanwhile, the state of Florida is just confusing with the Heat bouncing back on a west coast road trip and apparently the Magic are still alive.

Atlanta Hawks, 33-8, 1st in the East, 5-0 this week ATL

Make it 12 straight for the Hawks. Are they currently the best team in the NBA? It’s definitely up for debate with how their defense has shaped up, and the way they beat all the top teams in the East this week. What’s been most impressive about their strong week is not only are the Hawks winning against other conference contenders, but they do so in such a convincing fashion. Atlanta throttled the Wizards by 31 points to start off the week, throttled the Raptors by 23 points, and then beat the Bulls by eight — in Chicago — on a back to back. The Hawks are scary good.

Washington Wizards, 28-13, 2nd in the East, 3-2 this week WAS

The Wizards had a solid week, but two bad losses kept it from being perfect. They had a bad loss at home to Brooklyn, but made up for it with the victory in Brooklyn on a back-to-back. Washington’s bigger problem right now is the Wizards are a tier below the Hawks right now, and there’s nothing to say they have the talent to join them at this moment. Continue Reading…

This Week in the Southeast, the Hawks dominate the Western conference to further prove how good they are. The Wizards rebound from their rough patch last week, but there are still questions about their validity as a top tier team in the East. The Miami Heat are imploding and it’s time to start asking questions about how long they can keep that 8th spot in the West. Meanwhile, Charlotte has won five straight and are showcasing Ewing theory to it’s maximum potential, and Orlando….we don’t speak about Orlando around these parts.

Atlanta Hawks, 28-8, 1st in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

Remember that loss to Milwaukee that was ending all of Atlanta’s positive momentum and “oh god that’s so typical Hawks”? Ha, me neither. This team is fun to watch and they’re really good to boot. They finished off their Western Conference road trip with a solid win against the Clippers, going undefeated on that trip, came home and beat a very good Memphis Grizzlies team on Tinder night, and survived a comeback effort by the smoking hot Pistons. Two wins against the Western Conference in one week is something not many East teams have the ability to do. Conferences are no problem for this fantastic team.

Washington Wizards, 25-11, 3rd in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

The Wizards had a nice rebound to last week’s rough patch by going undefeated this week. They had a solid win against an inconsistent Pelicans team and then beat the pants off the Bulls. The Wizards can handle the Bulls and anybody below them, but it’s teams like Atlanta, Toronto and the Western Conference that make me question how good the Wizards are. Is Washington in the same tier as Atlanta and Toronto right now? Continue Reading…

This Week In The Southeast, it’s a New Year and how does 2015 begin? With the Hawks in first place of course! Atlanta was finally able to pass the Wizards in their two way race to the top, but while these two fight everybody else fumbles around at the bottom. The Hornets are the same as they’ve always been but the two Florida teams are really starting to fall apart, it’s getting ugly.

Atlanta Hawks, 25-8, 1st in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

The Hawks look damn near unstoppable right now. They started a West coast road trip this week and after a struggling win, over a feisty Jazz squad, the Hawks had to play the Blazers, in Portland, on a back to back. A rested Blazers team at home is usually a schedule loss but the Hawks won anyways, in fairly convincing fashion. Portland made it a game late but Atlanta held on to extend their latest win streak to four. Is there a team in the NBA hotter than the Hawks right now?

Washington Wizards, 22-11, 4th in the East, 1-4 this week WAS

The Holiday season was not kind to the Wizards. Washington started their own West Coast road trip this week and it’s been rough. They managed to scrape by a win against a struggling Houston squad, but a blowout to Dallas with two more losses to San Antonio and Oklahoma City does not bode well for Washington. Admittedly, the Wizards were on a back to back when playing the Spurs and Thunder, but this raises questions about Washington’s ability to beat elite teams. Lucky for them they don’t have to worry about another trip west until late January.

Miami Heat, 14-20, 8th in the East, 0-3 this week MIA

The Heat are imploding. First they lost Chris Bosh, then they got back Chris Bosh and the losses continued to pile up. Miami has some real talent on their team but they lack depth and LeBron James isn’t around to make up for the lesser end players at the end of the rotation. It also doesn’t help that Miami has had a lot of injuries to key players throughout the season. Despite going 0-3 this week with a loss to a horrible Magic team, Miami is still in possession of the East’s final playoff spot. The East overall isn’t as bad as people say but oh man is the bottom as bad as people say.

Orlando Magic, 10-19, 11th in the East, 1-4 this week ORL

The Magic started off the season as a team that could steal wins and compete every night. They have regressed into a squad that frequently plays like one of the worst teams in the NBA. There’s no organization on offense, the defense is easy to exploit, and players have mentally checked out. After Orlando’s first win against Miami since March 2012, the Magic almost stole a game against Brooklyn in a wild comeback effort. They tried to do the same against Charlotte but the deficit was too big to overcome. Things are not right in Orlando and there’s no way to tell what is going to fix it.

Charlotte Hornets, 11-24, 12th in the East, 1-3 this week CHA_Hornets

The Hornets seem to have found a nice fluctuation with how bad they are. They’re not as bad as the worst teams in the NBA but they’re not good enough to be mediocre. No lead is safe with the Hornets and to make matters worse Al Jefferson is going to be out for a minimum of four weeks. It’s time to bury Charlotte and focus on positives they can bring in to next season.

This Week In The Southeast, the Wizards are barely holding on to that spot at the top. Can they hold off the surging Hawks much longer? While those two continue their battle at the top, the Heat battle injuries and try to find themselves before they even consider challenging the ever expanding gap in the division. The Magic just finished a brutal start to their schedule with a lot of road games, will that really matter? Meanwhile the Hornets have won two straight but blew another 4th quarter lead, what’s with this team?

Washington Wizards, 19-6, 2nd in the East, 3-0 this week WAS

In a week where the Hawks looked primed and ready to take the number one spot in the division, the Wizards just wouldn’t let that happen. Washington went undefeated this week including a squeaker against Miami. Besides the Miami game, the Wizards took care of business the rest of the week defeating Minnesota and Utah by more than eight points, each

Atlanta Hawks, 19-7, 3rd in the East, 3-0 this week ATL

The poor Hawks are doing everything they can to catch up to Washington but they’re still a half game behind. Even though Atlanta doesn’t have the best record in the division they have nothing to be unhappy about. Atlanta has won 14 of their last 16 with their last three wins coming against Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston. There might not be a team in the Eastern conference playing better than the Hawks.

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This Week In The Southeast the Atlanta Hawks had the second place spot in the East, and then they didn’t. While hte Washington Wizards and Hawks create distance from the rest of the division everybody else just seems to be fumbling around. The Miami Heat don’t look like they’re going to get any better and that’s a problem this early in the year. Meanwhile the Orlando Magic continue to stay competitive while the Charlotte Hornets try to right the ship.

Washington Wizards, 16-6, 2nd in the East, 3-1 this week WAS

The Wizards could have gone 4-0 this week but they lost a sluggish afternoon road game to the Boston Celtics. While losing to the Celtics is not good it’s very difficult to fault sluggish play in an afternoon game. The Wizards responded by ripping off three straight wins, including their best win of the year over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Atlanta Hawks, 16-7, 3rd in the East, 4-1 this week ATL

The Hawks win streak finally came to an end Saturday night due to a Tobias Harris game winner in Orlando. The loss was on a back to back and Orlando has been a pain for a lot of teams this year so that’s not a bad loss. Before that the Hawks were on a nine game winning streak and at one point were second in the Eastern conference. While this week didn’t feature any big time wins, the Hawks were able to keep their streak going all the way up to the final seconds in Orlando. Also of note this week, the Hawks had quite a few blowouts which is surprising since this team isn’t known for blowing opponents out of the building. It’s safe to say at this point that Atlanta is a good team.
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This week in the southeast, the Wizards look like a pretty damn good basketball team, but the Hawks are right on their tail. These are not only two of the best teams in the division; they might be two of the best teams in the conference. Meanwhile, the division is starting to get a little top heavy, with Miami falling to below .500, there are now three teams below .500 in a division many thought was going to be very good this year.

Washington Wizards, 13-5, 2nd in the East, 4-0 this week WAS

Does it really matter that the Wizards haven’t beaten any great teams this year if they keep beating up on everybody else, cause that’s what they’re doing. They won a game against Miami that, at the time, looked like a good win but Miami’s recent slide has put that wins validity into doubt. Their best win of the week was an 83-80 defeat of the New Orleans Pelicans. Overcoming a low scoring game like that can be difficult for a lot of teams but the Wizards handled it well, using it to send them on a four game winning streak.

Atlanta Hawks, 12-6, 3rd in the East, 4-0 this week ATL

The Hawks have entered that Wizards range where they’re beating the teams they should beat, which is a good thing. There were some concerns after Atlanta lost to teams like Los Angeles and Charlotte, but it appears they’ve started to figure things out after extending their win streak to five with a thrashing of Brooklyn. Continue Reading…