Archives For Paul George

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
Pacers win series, 4-3

IND(4-3) 95 – 80 (3-4) ATL

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 30 pts, 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 15 pts, 17 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

So that’s that.

The Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday after a lid seemed to form over their basket in Indiana. The Pacer defense was good, but the Hawks continued to get open look after open look. Unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans, those shots just would not fall.

The Hawks and Pacers were essentially even through the first quarter, but the second quarter is what set this game apart. Paul George got hot, scoring 10 points in the quarter, and the Hawks became icy cold, shooting 4-for-20 from the field in the period, including a 1-for-15 stretch to close out the half. The second half was like the first quarter: essentially a tie. However, the disastrous second quarter cost the Hawks the game and effectively ended their season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: This wasn’t exactly a banner game from Jeff: 5-for-16 shooting, five turnovers, and five fouls. Like all of the Hawks, he just couldn’t get his shot to fall, and that affected Jeff more than any other Hawk, as the defense is able to close down and focus more on Teague when the shots aren’t falling. 5/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was 6-for-21 from the field, but he did maintain his other strengths by continuously getting rebounds and jumping passing lanes. Just one note I want to take away from this game: after the way this series went, I find it odd that Millsap couldn’t get a foul call to save his life here. Not a conspiracy theory or anything, just officiating needs to be more consistent across games. 7/10

Kyle Korver: Korver was one of the only Hawks that was actually able to find the bottom of the net during the game. He finished with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting, the best shooting by percentage of any Hawk during the game. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: It wasn’t DeMarre’s game, either. Paul George was hitting some extremely tough looks over DeMarre, a matchup disadvantage that was further compounded by DeMarre going 1-for-7 from the field. 5/10

Pero Antic: Pero was 0-for-5 from the floor… yet he posted the highest plus-minus of any Hawks with a plus-2 rating. Plus-minus isn’t everything, but it does seem to be an accurate reflection of Pero’s defensive abilities when compared to Mike Scott. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series tied, 3-3

IND(3-3) 88 – 95 (3-3) ATL

Key Performers:
D. West (IND): 24 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast, 2 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 18 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well it’s not like the Hawks lost in the most heartbreaking way imaginable, right? Oh wait…

For the second time in the series, the Hawks blew a late fourth quarter lead which a chance to either take a strangle-hold on the series, or in this game, to completely ice it altogether. Instead, we have the Hawks giving up what was once a double-digit lead, and then to make matters worse, they fouled with 33 seconds left after throwing the ball away while down only two points. (both mistakes courtesy of Lou Williams) Overall, it was just another postseason spectacle that people have become accustomed to seeing from Atlanta sports.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Teague may have missed a couple of opportunities last in the game, but it shouldn’t take away from his awesome offensive performance that he had. He scored 29 points — 18 in the second half — and was truly entertaining to watch as he dribbled, drove, and spun his way into the teeth of the Indiana defense. He also only had one turnover in 40 minutes of play. 9/10

Paul Millsap: He wasn’t exactly efficient from the field with his 4-for-13 shooting, but he was usually the steady force on both ends of the floor throughout the entire game. I’m going to repeat his stat line from the key performer listing because it’s worth repeating: 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. He might not have always been successful with his shooting, but he gave his maximum effort in this game. 9/10

Kyle Korver: Wasn’t exactly a banner night for Korver. First off, he couldn’t really hit anything. Then, he got into foul trouble, which makes things worse because even if Kyle can’t hit his open shots, the attention he draws from the defense is always worth the spacing. And of course, he got a technical because Joey Crawford and Bennett Salvatore were officiating this game. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: It was one of DeMarre’s better defensive performances of the series, as he forced Paul George into 7-for-18 shooting. George was able to get to the FT line 10 times, but none of those attempts were due to a foul on DeMarre. 7.5/10

Pero Antic: Here’s where I’m conflicted: Pero played awful offensive basketball. He was 1-for-7 from the field with three turnovers… yet the Hawks were plus-11 when he was on the floor. The Pacers are still guarding him even though he isn’t hitting his shots, so I really don’t know what to make of his contributions. At least he’s good defensively. 5/10 Continue Reading…

Can we all take a moment to sit back and admire the unbelievable job the Atlanta Hawks have done in dismantling the best defense in the NBA? For the regular season, the Pacers allowed 96.7 points per 100 possessions, the best defensive efficiency rating in the league. The Hawks were mid-pack, allowing 104.1 per 100 to rank 14th. In these playoffs, the Pacers are ranked 6th out of 16 playoff teams, allowing 101.9 points per 100 possessions, more than five points more per 100 than the team allowed in the regular season.

Incredibly, the Hawks presently rank 5th in playoff defensive efficiency, allowing 101.5 points per 100, a decrease of almost three points. That is… stupefying? Dumbfounding? I’m struggling for words to convey how stupendous the Hawks have been on both ends of the floor in this series. Can I buy a vowel?

Let’s take a look at some individual performers who have stepped up for the Hawks and contributed to the stellar collective effort. Go get some coffee and come back, this could take a while. First of all, when did Paul Millsap change his name to Godzilla and decide to take a stroll through Indianapolis? He’s averaging 21 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on 45/44/81 shooting from the floor/3-point line/free throw line. Although he is playing three more minutes per game (still four fewer than the overworked Paul George), he has increased his scoring average vs. the regular season by three points. He has maintained his average of two blocks per game but it seems like he’s altering more shots than that. Are there any questions from the floor about Millsap deserving his All-Star nod this season? Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series tied, 2-2

IND(2-2) 91 – 88 (2-2) ATL

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 29 pts, 7 reb, 3 blk
P. George (IND): 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

A win today would have been gigantic for the Hawks. Going up 3-1, winning both games at home, and sending Indiana back home in an even bigger mental mess than they’re already in would have given Atlanta a lot of momentum going into Game 5. However, that wasn’t the case.

The Pacers they played a lot more like themselves. The body language issues that appeared to be plaguing them the entire series were for the most part non existent. The defense returned to form, minus a poor performance in the 2nd quarter, and of course, since they were playing an Atlanta sports team, something that made no sense had to happen. That something was a David West clutch three pointer. Then just as the Hawks thought they had hope with a chance to tie the game at the end, they couldn’t convert. The Pacers missed free throws to ice the game, giving the Hawks one last shot. The Pacers played excellent defense, blew up any semblance of a play, and left the Hawks with a Pero Antic contested 3 that didn’t go in.

Despite the Hawks loss, this series is far from over. The Hawks showed in Game 1 they can win in Indiana. Game 5 is a huge game however. With today’s win, the Pacers have won 3 games in Atlanta since 2006. Winning game 5 would give the Hawks an advantage and put history on their side. Should they lose however, they have to win two straight games. Something they haven’t shown the ability to do.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: While Teague never had any consistency scoring, shooting 5-for-15 for 14 points, he more than made up for it in the rest of his game. 7 assists, 6 rebounds and a solid defensive effort. However, he did have 4 turnovers. Not his best game in the world but very far from bad as there were moments he looked completely unstoppable. 7/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a monster. 10-for-18 from the field for 29 points, 7 rebounds, and he even swatted himself 3 blocks. Millsap again stretched the floor for the Hawks in a big way hitting three of his six three point attempts. When Millsap wasn’t stretching the floor he was dominating everywhere else. Post ups, face ups, spot ups, pull ups, isolations it didn’t matter. Millsap was scoring. On defense he made Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinimi, and David West’s lives a living hell constantly harassing them. Millsap was the main reason the Hawks had a chance to win at the end. 10/10

Kyle Korver: Good news and bad news. Good news, Korver was able to let it loose from long range and find shots that he wanted to take. Bad news, while Korver let it fly from deep with eight attempts, he only managed to make three of them. He did however play some decent defense and pull down 9 rebounds. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll on offense was not pretty. Was almost a non factor. On defense he shined. It would be easy to look at Paul George’s stat line and blame Carroll for that but he contested a lot of shots. Also got to give Carroll some iron man props. He played 40 minutes, more than any other player besides Paul George. Still, it’s very difficult to look past how ineffective Carroll was on offense. 6/10

Pero Antic: I’m not sure if the Pacers are starting to figure Antic out but he had a dreadful game. Defense was alright but other than he contributed nothing. 1/10 Continue Reading…

Welcome to Must Win: Game 4 Edition. The Hawks kept home court advantage alive with a Game 3 win, but a loss in Game 4 would give home court plus all the momentum back to the Pacers heading back to Indianapolis. Atlanta benefited from two factors that might not help in Game 4. The Hawks were helped by an abnormal amount of luck (including a circus 3-pointer by Jeff Teague where he may have stepped out of bounds) and some correctable errors by Frank Vogel.

Kyle Korver was not having a great series but he came up huge in Game 3 with 20 points on six shots, including 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range and six rebounds. One of the biggest turning points in the game happened with 7:18 to play in the 4th. After a series of disastrous defensive possessions for the Hawks, the Pacers drew within four on an open corner three by Lance Stephenson.

On the next play, Teague drove into the lane and attempted a shovel pass to Mike Scott that didn’t connect. Stephenson sprawled on the ground to gather the loose ball and was ruled out of bounds. On the ensuing possession, Korver hit a pull-up three and was fouled by C.J. Watson, late fighting through a Pero Antic screen. Had Stephenson secured possession, the Pacers might have drawn within one or two rather than see the Hawks’ lead (79-71) stretch back out to eight. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Hawks 98, Pacers 85

Bo Churney —  April 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL
Hawks lead series, 2-1

IND(1-2) 85 – 98 (2-1) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 2 reb, 10 ast
L. Stephenson (IND): 21 pts, 13 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

It was a must-win situation for the Hawks; losing meant relinquishing home-court advantage back to the Pacers. They needed a strong performance in their home building and what happened?

Jeff Teague shrugged.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a sold-out and raucous crowd, the Hawks used a 59-point second half to take a 2-1 series lead on Indiana. Jeff Teague, despite the 7-for-20 shooting night, was tremendous, as he was constantly attacking the Pacer defense. Helping out Teague were Korver and DeMarre Carroll, who combined to shoot 12-for-17 from the floor and 6-for-11 from 3-point range. They were rewarded with a trip to the podium after the game.

demarre

The Hawks now have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Saturday.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: I’m just going to let Jeff’s highlights speak here:

Like I said in the intro, I don’t care if Jeff was 7-for-20 from the field. He was extremely aggressive and produced a lot of open looks for himself and his teammates. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a bit sloppy on the night (six turnovers), but he still managed to put up 14 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists. One of his biggest contributions was a clutch 3-pointer that he banked in as the shot clock expired. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle finally got his shots to start going in, going 6-for-9 from the field for 20 points. He was responsible for one of the daggers in the fourth quarter, sinking an open corner 3 to give the Hawks a 12-point lead with not much time remaining. 9/10

DeMarre Carroll: In addition to scoring 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting, DeMarre held Paul George to just 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. He had no turnovers and had a plus-16 rating for the game. It’s probably a good thing that the Hawks didn’t trade him “and more!” for Jeff Green. 10/10

Pero Antic: In 23 minutes, Pero was 0-for-5, scored on one point and only had three rebounds… yet he probably still outplayed Roy Hibbert. Hopefully Pero can get his shooting touch back soon, because he might have a couple of huge shots come his way during the rest of the series. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL
Series is tied, 1-1

IND(1-1) 101 – 85 (1-1) ATL   

Key Performers:
P. Millsap (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb
P. George (IND): 27 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

That was about the worst-case scenario for the Atlanta Hawks, injury-free category. Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap were balling again in the first half, again putting the Pacers on their heels by holding the lead after both of the first two quarters. However, that all changed in the third quarter as Paul George and Indiana finally gave a glimpse of the team that we saw in the first half of the season. George’s buzzer-beating 30-foot 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter was a symbolic nail in the coffin for the Hawks, giving the Pacers a 14-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

Why was this the worst case scenario? It isn’t just the Pacers winning this game; it’s the way they did it. The Hawks had the lead for half of the game. To allow the Pacers to storm back and rout them could prove to be critical as the series shifts to the ATL.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Jeff Teague: Take note, Jeff Teague: the best defensive team in the league figured that its best strategy for limiting the Hawks was to stick one of the best perimeter defenders in the game in your path. Take that as a huge compliment. How did Teague respond? In the first half — and the first quarter in particular — Teague did exactly as he did in Game 1. He let his teammates open up lanes with their spacing, then he broke down the defense by getting into the lane. In the second half, Teague had less success, going 1-for-5 from the field as Indiana’s defensive unit clamped down and the Hawks started to miss their open shots. Overall, I still think Teague played well. 8/10

Paul Millsap: Like Teague, Millsap continued his great work from Game 1 into the first half of this game. He hit two 3-pointers, he had a couple of great takes to the basket, and he was getting to the line, all three of which are things that he is going to need to do for the Hawks to win this season. Unfortunately, also like Teague, Millsap could not get the mojo going in the second half, resulting in the Hawks losing the third quarter 31-13. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver went 1-for-5 in this game, which is something that the Hawks absolutely cannot afford for him to do. The Pacers did a good job as a whole of keeping Korver from getting open, so when Korver actually is able to get free, he’s got to connect. Hopefully the 1-for-5 night (and 3-for-12 start from 3 so far this postseason) proves to be an aberration. 5/10

DeMarre Carroll: With Paul George guarding Teague for most of the game, I thought DeMarre might be able to take advantage of having a combination of Lance Stephenson and George Hill on him. He and the team really couldn’t take advantage of this, however, and at least two of his five shot attempts on the night were extremely forced. I would be interested to see if the Hawks are able to adjust and try to open up for cutting space for DeMarre in Game 3. 9/10

Pero Antic: With how many open looks Pero is likely to get in this series, they are going to need him to do better than 2-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-5 from 3. He did good defensively, but this series quite literally depends on Pero’s ability to stretch the floor. 5/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Pacers 108, Hawks 98

Bo Churney —  February 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

FINAL

IND(41-12) 108 – 98 (25-27)ATL    

Key Performers:
P. George (IND): 26 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
K. Korver (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

I guess there is some solace to be taken in that the Hawks were even in this game in the fourth quarter? The Pacers started off red-hot from the field, making 13 of their first 14 shot attempts. At one point in the first quarter, Indiana led the Hawks 31-9. The Hawks battled back to make it a 56-49 game at half, however, largely behind the efforts of Shelvin Mack and Lou Williams off of the bench. Coach Bud’s squad was essentially able to keep it in single-digits until the fourth quarter, when the massive amount of turnovers (22) finally allowed the Pacers to take a substantial lead with very little time remaining. The Pacers scored 35 points off of those 22 ATL turnovers. The Hawks are now on a six game losing streak and this game against Indiana was the first of a four-game/five-night set for Atlanta.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: At one point, I thought things couldn’t get worse for Millsap in this game… but then Gustavo Ayon got injured, leaving Elton Brand as the team’s only healthy center. This meant that Millsap was often matched up against Roy Hibbert, who is just simply to big for Millsap to cover without expending all of his energy. Paul finished with just seven points on 10 shots and simply looked overwhelmed. 3/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier got the start for the injured DeMarre Carroll and he actually had a decent night. He didn’t score that much until the fourth quarter, but his major weakness (defense) really wasn’t exposed too much by Paul George and the Pacer attack. Yes, George had 26 points, but a few of those makes were on rather tough shots that George managed to knock down. We also got to see Cartier finish the game at power forward because the Hawks were simply that parched for big men after Ayon’s injury. 6/10

Kyle Korver: Korver had three turnovers, which was partially because Jeff Teague didn’t really feel like playing point guard tonight. Off of that, Korver hit 5-for-7 from three-point range and was a large reason why the Hawks were able to turn the 22 point Indiana lead into just a single-digit deficit. 7.5/10

Jeff Teague: Usually players are excited to be playing back in their hometown. Teague takes on the opposite persona. Jeff looked extremely passive all night and the result was that the Hawks played a lot better when either Shelvin Mack or Lou Williams were running the point. I know part of Teague’s struggles are related to the absence of Al Horford, but he’s been consistently outplayed by Shelvin for the better part of two months now. This is probably why, as Zach Lowe commented the other day, Danny Ferry isn’t exactly in love with Jeff Teague’s contract anymore. 1/10

Gustavo Ayon: Can the Hawks get a center that can consistently make a layup? Both Ayon and Brand had trouble finishing near the rim in this one. Gustavo’s night was cut short, however, as a rather impressive block that he made on Roy Hibbert caused him to injure his shoulder. His status is currently unknown. 3/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

IND(38-10) 89 – 85 (25-22)ATL

Key Performers:
D. West (IND): 22 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
M. Scott (ATL): 15 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks had plenty of chances they could have just rolled over and died tonight. It was nice to see that they never did. The Pacers would go up big and the Hawks would come roaring big. After a solid 1st half it looked like the Hawks might be able to hang around the entire game. Then the seconnd half happened… it was ugly. The ball movement and defense that had kept the Pacers off balance was no longer effective. The Pacers locked the Hawks down and midway through the fourth it looked over. Then the Hawks came right back.

With the game within four the Pacers called a timeout. They came out of the timeout with a David West jump shot and a Paul George fastbreak slam dunk. Once again, the game looked over. But again, the Hawks came right back. With Atlanta within two, CJ Watson was going to the line to shoot free throws for the Pacers. He made the first and missed the second. Atlanta grabbed the rebound and made a curious decision. The Hawks, fans, and hell, even the Pacers all expected Coach Mike Budenholzer to call a timeout. Coach Bud opted to not call a timeout. The only reason I can think of is that he wanted to catch the Pacers defense off guard; this didn’t work, the Hawks look confused and unprepared. The Pacers fouled the Hawks before they could shoot a three.

While the late game execution was not good, it was nice to see the Hawks show a special kind of mental toughness tonight. Yes, mental toughness can be a lame narrative, but it has merit when you see a team not get discouraged despite constant deficits throughout the game against the best team in the league.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap has had better days. Tasked with the job of guarding Roy Hibbert at times, and David West most of the night, Millsap was clearly over matched. West took advantage of whomever was defending him all night going 10-for-19 with 22 points and a lot of that was with Millsap guarding him. While Millsap did spend time guarding both players, he can’t let his matchup torch him like that. He didn’t do anything on the offensive end to make up for it going 2-for-11 from the field for seven points. 2/10

DeMarre Carroll: Bad news, Carroll 3-for-8 from the field and was not very useful on offense. Good news, Paul George went 6-for-18 from the field and had to work hard for most of his 18 points. A lot of that had to do with Carroll playing solid defense on him all night. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver got to game number 116 in his three-point streak early in the game. Unfortunately, that was the only three pointer he made all night. Korver didn’t do much to hurt the Hawks, but he didn’t do much to help them either. He was just kind of out there for most of the night, which is probably part of the reason Budenholzer decided not to re-insert him late in the game. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Teague had a really strong start and the Pacers clearly noticed. Teague went 4-for-6 from the field to start the game and was doing some real damage to the Pacers with his penetration. The Pacers knew that Teague was the source of the Hawks strong 1st half so in the 2nd half they smothered him. Teague struggled penetrating the rest of the night and went 0-for-2 from the field with zero points in the second half. 6/10

Gustavo Ayon: Goose got the start tonight and had a fantastic 1st half. Going 3-for-5 from the field (it would have been 4-for-5 had he made a wide open jumpshot) and making some nice passes. His defense was solid and he fit in with the offense well. I have no idea why he rarely played in the second half after such a strong 1st half. He played 17 minutes total and 14 of them came in the 1st half. 7/10 Continue Reading…