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.
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 managed — somehow — to escape the United Center with a comeback victory against the Chicago Bulls, 119-114. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 40 points while Dwyane Wade scored 33 points. Only one other Bull scored in double digits outside of Wade and Butler: Doug McDermot with 10 points.
A basic summary of this game prior to this comeback: The Bulls led this game the whole way and the Hawks had done a decent job sticking within a run of the Bulls, but couldn’t mount that run to pull ahead/away from the Bulls because they had trouble slowing down Butler and Wade/getting stops. Summary over.
Dwyane Wade sunk a jump shot that put the Bulls up 110-100 with 3:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, leaving the Hawks staring down the barrel of a second consecutive defeat. Coach Bud called for a timeout at this juncture.
In what was an astonishing minute and 19 seconds the Hawks clawed their way back within a point of the Bulls, 110-109. The Hawks eventually won the game 119-114 behind a 19-4 run over the final three minutes having trailed by 10 points with just three minutes left.
The Bulls should’ve closed out this game. Why didn’t they? How did this happen? Let’s break it down.
The Atlanta Hawks moved to a season best eight games above .500 after they took care of the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, 110-93. The Sixers — who were without Joel Embiid — were led by Ersan Ilyasova’s 21 points while (Sir) Robert Covington added 15 points to the Philly cause. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 22 points.
We’re going to keep this brief enough today, with the Falcons game on and all…
Atlanta’s big second quarter sets up win
The Sixers were doing a decent job sticking with — and in front of — the Hawks in the early stages of this game but the Hawks used a very good second quarter to put the little bit of distance they needed by half time, capped by a buzzer-beater by Paul Millsap.