Archives For Paul George

FINAL
Series is tied, 1-1

IND(1-1) 101 – 85 (1-0) ATL   

Key Performers:
P. George (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb
P. Millsap (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…

RECAP: Hawks 97, Pacers 87

Bo Churney —  January 8, 2014 — 4 Comments

FINAL

   IND.gif(28-7) 87 – 97 (19-17)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Korver (ATL): 17 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast
P. George (IND): 28 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Sure, Indiana was on the second game of a back-to-back. Yes, Lance Stephenson didn’t play due to a right knee contusion. However, the Hawks — sans Horford — still looked pretty damn great against one of the best teams in the league. The Hawks opened the game on a 12-0 run, which included eight points from Pero Antic, and never looked back in the wire-to-wire victory. Antic and Elton Brand made Roy Hibbert an absolute non-factor, and DeMarre Carroll kept Paul George under wraps until the latter part of the second half. Every Hawk that entered the game scored at least five points and had at least one dime. Overall, it was a great team effort for the Hawks in a somewhat dominating victory.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Rough night shooting for Paul, who shot 1-for-10 from the floor. He contributed in other areas though, putting up five assists against zero turnovers and generally playing good defense on David West. Millsap has shot 13-for-54 (24%) in his last four games, so hopefully this 1-for-10 is a bottoming-out and he can return to his normal shooting percentages soon. 5.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Between Robby Kalland and I sitting on media row, we had at least 10 instances of us saying to each other, “Why is DeMarre dribbling?” It got so bad at one point that Coach Bud even called a timeout as soon as DeMarre tried dribbling against Paul George’s press defense. All of that aside, DeMarre had a great game, scoring well in transitioning, jumping the passing lanes correctly, and playing strong defense on Paul George, who took 25 shots to get his 28 points. Coach said of DeMarre, “On an individual basis, [DeMarre] really set the tone for us with his defense and activity.” 9/10

Pero Antic: As the Hawks official Twitter account tweeted earlier, is this the start of the Pero Antic “Rookie of the Month” campaign? Pero poured in another 16 points tonight, and his defense on Hibbert was especially strong. Pero also led the team with a plus-20 rating. 8.5/10

Jeff Teague: Sidenote on the “Why is DeMarre dribbling?” mention earlier: Jeff needs to have better awareness on going and getting the ball from his teammates when they are in a bit of trouble. Other than that, just an OK night from Jeff, who took a shot to head at the end of the game. Jeff said he was fine afterwards in the locker room, saying that he got hit on the cheek, which should relieve fans of possible concussion fears. 6.5/10

Kyle Korver: Korver extended his streak to 105 games, which he did on a four-point play in the third quarter. The Hawks rode Korver’s hot hand on the second half, as Kyle scored 15 points on just six shots in those 24 minutes of play. 8.5/10 Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Indiana Pacers

Cole Patty —  September 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

2012-13 Record: 49-32 (3rd in East)z-indiana

Playoff Result: Lost Eastern Conference Finals

Key Additions: Danny Granger (injury), Luis Scola (trade), C.J. Watson (free agent), Chris Copeland (free agent), Solomon Hill (draft), Rasual Butler (sent from heaven)

Key Losses: Tyler Hansbrough (free agent), D.J. Augustin (but that’s a good thing), Miles Plumlee (trade), Gerald Green (trade)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (2nd in East)*

What to Expect: The Pacers postseason last year is very reminiscent to when Robby Kalland and I were walking the strip together at Las Vegas Summer League. The way the building are built, in both shape and sheer size, you can really believe you are a 15 minute walk away when really there was still an hour worth of travel before you actually arrived at Treasure Island, Caeser’s Palace, or wherever your destination was for the night. Robby would look at me and go “The Venetian is right there Cole, just a little be longer.” Before too long, Robby, while exhausted from walking in the Vegas heat, would be wondering “why isn’t The Venetian getting any closer!” while I’m staring it down with hunger in my mind.

The fact is, the Pacers were really close to actually upsetting the Miami Heat. They took them to seven games, and were a LeBron buzzer beating layup away from taking game one. While they lost by the closest of margins and feel on the cusp, they actually are farther away than that margin would normally suggest. Continue Reading…

The Hawks had a chance. The series was tied at two games each and it looked like Larry Drew made an adjustment in the lineup that the Pacers might not be able to counter.

That chance was clanked away.

Losing game five was a blow to the Hawks, but one the team could have managed. The whole series had been determined by homecourt to that point, and it was thought that the Hawks would continue to hold serve and force a game seven. However, the Hawks didn’t get to seven; neither in number of games, nor in second quarter shooting percentage. (6.7%)

The Pacers, to their credit, played extremely strong defense. George Hill took the task of keeping the Atlanta ball handlers out of the paint, and even with they got through, Roy Hibbert and David West proved more than capable of cleaning up the mess. Indy’s offensive game was weak and Paul George was limited to four points, but the efforts of Hill (21 points on 14 shots) and Hibbert (17 points on 14 shots) were enough to help the Pacers climb into the second round of the playoffs.

This loss isn’t new ground for the Hawks; they’ve failed to win a game in the second round for the fifth time in the last six years, despite making the playoffs each season. However, this defeat is unique in that the future is now an unknown. Only three players (Horford, Williams, and Jenkins) have guaranteed contracts next season. Josh Smith appears to be heading out the door and not coming back, and Danny Ferry will have over $33 million in cap space to work with in creating a new team.

Even with how poorly this game played out, we still have a positive thought to take from this 2012-13 season. With the odds against them all season, these Hawks never quit. After losing Zaza Pachulia and Lou Williams to season-ending injuries, the Hawks still managed to grab the sixth seed. Despite falling 2-0 in the series, they fought back to even it up and give themselves an opportunity. And even after being down 17 points in the fourth quarter facing elimination, the crowd was electric, cheering on their team, who managed to cut the Pacer lead to three.

Yes, the Hawks lost, but as Al Horford noted in his postgame presser, the team didn’t quit like they have in the past. Moral victories aren’t always the greatest, but at least we know that Larry Drew left the players of this team with an attitude that they will always have a chance to win.

With Horford likely playing the role of franchise player for the next three, hopefully that persona continues to exist in Philips Arena atmosphere for the coming seasons.

Prior to Game 2, I took issue with Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Wells’ characterization of the Hawks as fragile and easily-shaken. I argued that, “if [Larry] Drew plays his best players the most minutes, the national perception of the Hawks could change.”

It took three games for Drew to reach the same conclusion, but now the whole complexion of the series has changed. And there seems to be some confusion now within the Star’s staff about which team is the fragile, shaky one. Yesterday, in previewing tonight’s Game 4, Star columnist Bob Kravitz had this to say:

A mature, focused team wins Game 4 and closes it out Wednesday back in Indianapolis. That’s the call here, anyway.

A fragile, shaky team loses tonight and lets the Hawks right back into this series.

Continue Reading…

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. That’s the fate that faces the Atlanta Hawks if they lose this game.

The Indiana Pacers come to Atlanta having won the previous two games with offensive dominance. Paul George has been spectacular, scoring 20 plus in each game, while playing 83 of a possible 96 minutes. Indiana’s usually great defense, however, has not been as strong so far; Atlanta is shooting almost 50% from the field and 40% from the line, both better marks than the Pacers.

Indiana, however, has been marching through the lane and getting to the free throw line, something the Hawks have not been able to do. For Atlanta to win this game three, they will have to change that.

How? Well, the Hawks have tried multiple defenders on Paul George already. Kyle Korver didn’t exactly work. Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson did better, but George was still able to tear the Hawks about.

It is time for Josh Smith’s turn.

Larry Drew has elected to go big for game three, starting Johan Petro at center, moving Smith to the small forward position. Smoove may be hobbled a bit by an ankle injury, but he’s still the best overall defender Atlanta has. According to mySynergySports, Smith is giving up only 0.67 points per possession in isolation, good enough for 43rd in the league. (which is extremely good, by the way) Considering that Smith has already had turns guarding LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, and Monta Ellis, I don’t think Josh will balk at the challenges that Paul George will bring.

Other keys for the Hawks? Running the offense through Al Horford. Now matched up against David West, Horford should be able to work more down low than he was able to against Roy Hibbert. He should still have a good speed advantage, but Coach Drew should attempt to get his star big man established down low early.

One final key: please Larry, sub Ivan in for Petro as soon as you can. Please…

After a brutal 113-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers in game 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks must look to latch on to whatever has worked in this series and ride it to some much-needed victories at Phillips Arena in Games 3 and 4. Problem being, Atlanta’s biggest issue is the defense and there’s no clear-cut reason as to why it’s been struggling as much as it has been in this first round Playoffs matchup. Looking into the Hawks’ lineups played in the first two games against Indiana, I came up with some findings that can help decipher what approach should best be taken.

Before I begin, I must note two things:
1. The absence of Zaza Pachulia is absolutely hammering the Hawks, things are significantly different he was healthy and playing.
2. The statistics that are about to be used are based off of the two Playoff games the Hawks have played the Pacers in. Just two, so keep caution when jumping to conclusions as it’s a minuscule sample size.

First, the lineup most used by the Hawks has been their starting lineup obviously, totaling 29 minutes in the series. They have been ghastly on the defensive end, worse so than the five most-played lineups before them. Although their ORTG (Offensive rating: points scored per 100 possessions) is a whopping 113.1, their DRTG (Defensive rating: points allowed per 100 possessions) is a putrid 137.1. This starting lineup leads the next most-used lineup by 21 minutes over two games, nothing out of the ordinary, yet appalling considering how much they’ve had trouble defending.

The most noticeable reasoning behind these defensive woes by this lineup has to be Kyle Korver guarding Paul George, who’s now averaging 21.5 points per game Continue Reading…

The Hawks can’t get out of their own way.

Every run seems punctuated with defensive ineptitude, every quarter seems closed with a sluggish submission, every game seems lost by the fourth quarter– the Hawks just can’t stop themselves from tripping over their own feet.

Game 2 against Indiana was more of the same.

The issue is not the ability to score points, it is getting stops. In the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game, the Hawks starters returned (with the abysmal bench lineup returning to their seats), and the offense was a buzz saw. Indiana could not contain Teague in transition or stop Smith from making plays in the halfcourt. Smith’s foul trouble quickly turned the tables on Atlanta, but the Hawks were and have been successful against the NBA’s top defense, an accomplishment worth noting. But, something you’d rather go unnoticed is the fact that Atlanta’s depth and inability to field a respectable lineup for 48 minutes has harpooned their chances of stealing home court advantage.

Continue Reading…