The Atlanta Hawks returned to winning ways with a 109-104 overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Moda Center. The Blazers, as they so often have been, were led by Damian Lillard’s and C.J. McCollum’s 21 and 26 points respectively. The Hawks were led by Tim Hardaway Jr.’s team high 25 points while Paul Millsap added 21 points and Dennis Schröder added 22 points.
Paul “Clutch” Millsap takes the Hawks to overtime and beyond
This was not the prettiest offensive game for the Hawks but they managed to slow down the Blazers’ offense and recovered from a double digit deficit to give themselves a chance to win this game. Some great defense, after a few agonising offensive rebounds for the Blazers, by Tim Hardaway Jr. on C.J. McCollum — followed by a defensive rebound by Prince — gave the Hawks the opportunity to possibly win the game or take the game to overtime.
People give THJ a lot of stick for his defense (sometimes it’s warranted) but give him credit here.
However, Atlanta still found themselves trailing by two points with just 2.2 seconds remaining, in need of a bucket to save this game. Enter, Paul Millsap.
The Atlanta Hawks dropped the first game of their three game road trip against Sacramento Kings on Friday night, 108-107. The Kings had three players who scored 22 points: Darren Collison, Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins. For the Hawks, they also had three players who scored 20 or more points in the form of Dennis Schröder (20), Paul Millsap (25) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (28).
Hawks on the other side of a 20 point comeback
The Hawks, twice this season, have recovered from a 20 point deficit and emerge with a victory, but last night they got a taste of their own medicine. The Hawks were seemingly in full control of this game as they stood tall with a 22 point lead (71-49) with 7:02 remaining in the third. The Kings looked defeated and their star man, DeMarcus Cousins, looked a man out of sorts. The Hawks should’ve absolutely closed this game out. So, how did the Kings do it?
Happy Friday! Episode 8 of This Week in the Hawks is now available for your listening pleasure, if you can call it that.
In the final push before the All-Star break, I talk about:
Lamar Patterson being signed to a second 10 day contract and why I’m worried for him
The Hawks “changing course” with Thabo Sefolosha’s rehab
Game recaps from the week
Stats from the last five games and where the Hawks rank in relation
Twitter questions including Tiago Splitter, the Hawks’ position in the East and how ticket sales/arena renovations may have forced ownership to step in
A look ahead to the Hawks’ three game Western Conference road trip that will carry the Hawks into the All-Star break
Thanks for listening, if you have any questions for the show feel free to leave them either in a comment here or to my Twitter (@Graham_Chapple). If you enjoyed, consider perhaps sharing on Twitter or Facebook, helps get the word around.
The Hawks got back to winning ways on Wednesday night with a 117-106 victory against the Denver Nuggets at Philips Arena. In the absence of Emmanuel Mudiay and Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 24 points while Nikola Jokić added 18 points and 15 rebounds. For the Hawks, they were led by Paul Millsap’s 23 points while Dennis Schröder added a double-double of his own, 24 points and 10 assists.
Finishing the right way
The Hawks had built a 20 point lead over the Nuggets in the third quarter but the Nuggets would comeback and make things a little interesting for the Hawks. Their fourth quarter high 12 point lead had been whittled down to just four points (105-109) with 2:56 remaining in the game and in possession of the ball. Gary Harris missed a three-pointer that would’ve cut the lead down to just one point and that’s when Paul Millsap took matters into his own (“f***ing amazing”) hands scoring on the following trip plus the foul.
(stats courtesy of NBA.com and are correct as of February 7th/prior to fixtures on February 8th)
On Wednesday February 8th, Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reported that Thabo Sefolosha would miss his sixth straight gameagainst the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday evening with a left groin strain that he aggravated in the blowout loss to the Washington Wizards on January 27th. No matter what injury you carry, missing six straight games is no joke and we’ve officially moved into the “O.K., now I’m actually worried” phase with Thabo here with coach Bud telling reporters, prior to Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz, that the Hawks were looking to “change course” when it came to Sefolosha, and again on Wednesday (via Chris Vivlamore).
“Every game or every day we were ramping him up and seeing if he could get ready and if he would be available. I think we are backing off how much we ramp him up and maybe say let’s take a few days and a few games and see if the less workload and less ramp up can that get him to where he is ready to go here shortly.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
When you have to “change course” when it comes to rehabilitation…that’s never a good thing.
The Hawks have dearly missed what Sefolosha brings to the table and, while Tim Hardaway Jr. has done a very admirable job in place of Sefolosha, the Hawks have been worse off without Thabo.
The most obvious thing the Hawks have missed in Thabo’s absence is his defense. The Hawks rank in the top five in defensive rating (103.3) for a reason and Thabo is a huge reason why. If you look at the stats for all the different lineups defensively, you’ll see Thabo at the top of pretty much all of them. Let’s go through some.
After winning wire-to-wire against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks lost wire-to-wire against the Utah Jazz on Monday. Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 30 points while Georgia native Derrick Favors scored a season high 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting. The Hawks were led by Dennis Schröder’s 21 points.
Utah’s third quarter
The Hawks did a decent job recovering from a 17 point deficit in the second quarter, cutting the lead to just two points at one stage before heading into the locker room trailing by four points. The Hawks trailed by just three points (65-62) with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter but a 20-4 run by the Jazz really set the two teams apart as the Jazz shot 80% (nope, not a misprint 80%) in the third quarter for 37 points. The Jazz eventually hung 120 points on the Hawks on 61% shooting. As you could imagine, this left coach Bud most displeased.
“The offensive execution, the ball movement, everything Utah did was very good. A lot of credit to them. We give up 61-percent, 120 points. It’s just not the defense we were expecting, the defense that put us in a position to have a decent stretch of games. It starts and stops with 120 and 61-percent. It’s not good enough.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
It seemed as though the Hawks were due for a letdown loss and this was it. Half of the roster were in Houston for Super Bowl 51 on Sunday night and that seemed to be a factor in this game, the Hawks were a little sluggish out of the gate. However, according to Bud, that wasn’t an issue the morning of the game:
The Atlanta Hawks brushed aside the Orlando Magic, 113-86, on Saturday evening at Philips Arena in a wire-to-wire victory. The Magic were led by Aaron Gordon’s 16 points while both Jeff Green and Elfrid Payton added 12 points. For the Hawks, five players scored in double digits, Paul Millsap leading the way with 21 points in three quarters.
Dennis Schröder registered a double-double, 17 points and 10 assists, one of which was an absolute beauty.
Hawks’ heavy lifting in first half leads them to victory
How long have folks wanted to see the Hawks actually start a game with energy? Well, fans got their wish last night, the Hawks flew out the traps, making 13 of their first 15 shots. The Hawks quickly ran out to a 13-4 lead forcing Magic coach Frank Vogel into a timeout, one of the many timeouts he would call in the first half. The Hawks would finish the first quarter with 35 points on 68% shooting while assisting on 12 of their 15 made baskets. For reference, the Hawks registered just 13 total assists last Wednesday against the Miami Heat, so it was good to see the ball moving as it was.
The Hawks built upon their 11 point lead in the second quarter, stretching it to 17 points by the 5:30 mark before making a 20 point game and then, just to cap off a great half for the Hawks on both sides of the floor, the Hawks ended the quarter on a 9-0 run behind a Tim Hardaway Jr. three-pointer to take a 26 point lead into the locker room at the half.
The Atlanta Hawks won a comeback thriller in Houston on Thursday night in their second meeting of the season against the Houston Rockets, 113-108. James Harden led the Rockets with 41 points while Clint Capella added another 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with nine rebounds.
THJ’s Q4 explosion helps Hawks recover from 20 point deficit
Things were beginning to look a little dicey in the fourth quarter for the Hawks. Having survived the Rockets’ initial surge in the third quarter, the Rockets took a 13 point lead into the final period before extending that lead — behind an 11-4 run — to a game-high 20 points with 8:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. Time for the Hawks to empty the bench, right? Wrong. Enter Tim Hardaway Jr. Timmy exploded for 23 points in the final period on his way to career high 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting and 4-of-9 from behind the arc, lifting the Hawks — behind a 40 point fourth quarter — to an unlikely victory.
“Obviously Tim Hardaway was special on offense.” — Coach Mike Budenholzer
That he sure was… THJ capped off his 23 point quarter with an incredible dunk with Ryan Anderson and Clint Capella both near the rim:
The Atlanta Hawks dropped the first game of their back-to-back road trip against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, falling 93-116. Goran Dragić scored 27 points while Dion Waiters added 20 points as the Heat stretched their win streak to nine games.
Hawks outplayed, outhustled
After playing a gruelling 4OT game on Sunday, the Hawks gave their players both Monday and Tuesday off in order to recover. Despite that, the Hawks showed poor energy and effort compared to their division rivals, the Heat seemingly winning all of the 50-50 balls and just outhustled the Hawks. James Johnson in particular was running riot and no Hawk could match his energy and tenacity. James Johnson. When James Johnson is outhustling your entire team, I’m going to say that’s a problem.
The Hawks had started this game off O.K. but three consecutive threes for the Heat forced Bud into a timeout. The Heat took a seven point lead into the second quarter and continued to outhustle and outplay the Hawks in the second quarter behind an 11-0 run. The Heat would take a 15 point lead into the locker room at the half before stretching their lead to 20 points in the third and, with a game against the Rockets looming in the very near future, Bud decided to wave the white flag before the third quarter was even over. And that was, pretty much, all she wrote. There was some interesting drama in garbage time but we’ll get to that soon.