Archives For Paul Pierce

For the fans, it seemed like this was going to end the most Atlanta-way possible.

Late in the fourth quarter with a four-point lead, all the Hawks had to do was get the ball inbounded and take the foul to go to the free throw line. The inbound pass found its way to Al Horford, the steady rock for the Hawks, the franchise cornerstone… but Horford panicked, causing a turnover.

The turnover led to two free throws for the Wizards and with with seven seconds left, the Hawks found themselves in the same spot: they just needed to get to the free throw line.

This time Horford held on to the ball and took the foul, and he headed to the free throw line. There, Horford missed the first, the ball bouncing off the rim four times before finally caroming out. Horford connected on the second free throw, putting the Hawks up three with seven seconds remaining.

And then Paul Pierce happened… or at least, so we thought. The Hawks’ defense on the Wizards was stifling for those seven seconds, forcing Pierce to take a heavily contested, fadeaway corner 3. Pierce, who has been a thorn for the Hawks ever since the 2008 first round series between the Hawks and Celtics, continued to torture the fans of Atlanta, sinking the improbable shot as the buzzer was sounding. Continue Reading…

Hawks game operations tried to conduct a post-game interview with Al Horford over the PA system after the game.

The crowd was so loud that it went on deaf ears.

Horford hit the game-winning layup after crashing the boards off of a missed Dennis Schröder drive to give the Hawks an 82-81 win and a 3-2 lead over the Washington Wizards in the Conference Semifinal. The shot was the bookend to a dominate game for Horford, who led the Hawks with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocked shots.

“Al has been the cornerstone for us — for the Hawks — for a bunch of years,” said Kyle Korver on Horford. “It wasn’t just that play, though. Al played an amazing game.”

Horford was the steady force for the Hawks over the final 5:31 of the fourth quarter, which started with the Hawks down 73-64. In that time period, Horford scored nine points off of two free throws, a corner 3-pointer, a 20-foot jumper, and the game-winner. For good measure, Horford also blocked a layup attempt by John Wall and assisted on a DeMarre Carroll layup in transition during the Hawks’ comeback.

“We didn’t quit after being down,” said Horford.

Horford was not the only one to lead the Hawks down the stretch, as Coach Budenholzer made a surprise move by going with Dennis Schröder at point guard to close the game.

“We’ve been trying to keep Jeff kinda fresh, where he doesn’t get fatigued playing long stretches, so we were giving him a minute or two there around the five minute mark. We had him at the table to go back in. We made several plays and Dennis made a couple of them himself, and Jeff took over coaching and said leave him in.” Continue Reading…

John Wall may be out, but the Wizards still had enough to hold off the Hawks on Saturday, beating the Hawks 103-101. The Hawks rallied back from 21 down to tie the game with 13 seconds left, but still fell victim to Washington. Here’s how it happened.

1. Paul Pierce still has it
Okay, he doesn’t always have it. He shot 5-for-12 from the field including 3-for-7 from 3, but in the deciding moment he scored the biggest two of his 13 points. Pierce in his 17th season saw that he would be guarded by Dennis Schroder and knew he would take the 21-foot game winning shot as the buzzer sounded. The veteran of many playoff battles also still has his quick wit, too. When Pierce told that Schroder called his bucket “lucky”, he game a wry smile and responded only as he can.

“He’s a little young, barely in his second year; of course he’s going to say that,” Pierce said. “He’s hasn’t been around long enough and probably missed with me in NBA 2K.”

Whenever Pierce decides to retire, he’ll be missed by the entire NBA community.

2. The wait for the Hawks to have a performance reminiscent to their regular season is becoming as long as the wait for Doctor Dre to drop Detox
Paul Millsap didn’t start the game due to flu-like symptoms, and it appeared the rest of the starting lineup caught whatever he had, because they all looked sluggish. Hawks got out to yet another lethargic start and didn’t seem like a very confident team after the game. DeMarre Carroll, who prior to the Game 3 defeat had been the Hawks best player in the playoffs, only saw the court for two seconds in the fourth quarter. That’s troubling enough, but his response was to why he wasn’t in on the last possession was even more puzzling: Continue Reading…

The Hawks may have lost their franchise-record 19-game winning streak on Monday in New Orleans, but they were right back on track when the Washington Wizards came to Atlanta on Wednesday night. As soon as the game tipped off, news broke that the Hawks had won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award for January. Not one player, but the entire starting lineup.

Any worries that the Hawks would be looking forward to Friday’s matchup against the Golden State Warriors were put to bed in the first quarter, in which Atlanta closed on a 16-3 run. The Hawks took a 13-point lead into halftime, but the Wizards were quick to bounce back, opening on a 20-10 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter and taking the lead late in the quarter.

Atlanta took a slim 77-74 lead into the fourth quarter but turned up the heat, culminating in the Hawks’ Dunk of the Year.

Continue Reading…

In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks destroyed the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon, winning by a final score of 120-89.

The Hawks had eight players in double-figure scoring, led by Kyle Korver’s 19 points. The Hawks made 16 3-pointers, had 34 assists on 42 made field goals, and only turned the ball over eight times. “We were clicking tonight,” said Kyle Korver. “At this point, I don’t think we’ve played a better game.”

The Hawks’ offense was great, but the defense is where they really beat Washington. The Wizards had 20 total turnovers, 14 of which came via Atlanta steals. The Hawks were constantly swarming and disrupting Washington’s offense, using the energy off of the turnovers to create easy points in transition. The Hawks finished with 31 points off of the 20 Wizard turnovers, 21 of which came off of the fastbreak.

“The turnovers and activity fueled our offense,” said coach Mike Budenholzer. “The ball was moving, the guys were attacking and playing with a lot of confidence.” Continue Reading…

The Hawks were in Washington on Tuesday night for the first game of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch and walked away with the win, 106-102. Jeff Teague led the way with 28 points and Mike Scott came up big off the bench with 17 points and seven rebounds, with 12 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks took a 41-39 lead into the break, but it was an uglier first half than the scoreline indicates. The referees were prominently involved on both ends, and when the teams weren’t being fouled, they were turning it over. There were 18 fouls called in the first half, split evenly between the two teams, and the teams combined to turn the ball over 23 times. Both teams shot under 40% in the first half, including a disastrous 1-for-7 performance from DeMarre Carroll and a combined 2-for-14 from the Wizards’ Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal. The two point guards led the way for their respective teams; Teague had 10 points and John Wall had 13 at the half.

Atlanta cleaned up their offense in the second half and continued to force turnovers from the sloppy Wizards guards. Wall and Beal accounted for 13 of the 25 Wizards turnovers and the Hawks took full advantage, scoring 32 points off of those 25 turnovers. Atlanta finished with 13 steals and 6 blocks, including a season-high four steals for Carroll. Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(16-22) 91 – 86 (20-19)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Johnson (BKN): 29 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
S. Mack (ATL): 17 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Joe Johnson burned his old team in this one. Johnson had 26 points in the 1st half on 10-for-13 (76%) shooting. He then followed that up by making one shot the entire second half to give himself 29 points for the game. The Hawks didn’t play the worst defense in the world. It wasn’t good, but we’ve seen worse. The Nets were just making a stupid amount of shots. They shot 59% from three for goodness sakes! The Hawks are okay by forcing a team to shoot mid-range jump shots, but when that happens, the opponent doesn’t usually go and shoot 60% from mid range.

The offense was really hard to judge because the Hawks were constantly losing. At first the Hawks were trying to get to the rim as much as possible, after they went down they changed up their offense a little to work more on the perimeter and get some three-point shots. Both of these were decently effective, but it wasn’t effective enough to keep them in the game when the Nets were hitting everything they took.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap’s had better days. Without Horford a lot of the focus has now been shifted on Millsap. While he’s been able to step up, we’re going to get some stinkers every once in awhile. Today was one of those games with a 5-for-13 performance from the field. Millsap could never get anything going on offense. 5/10

Pero Antic: Antic continued his recent string of solid play. Antic is still a rotation player starting in place of an injured star, but he’s had some great moments. His rotations today at the rim were causing the Nets some difficulties and on another day we might have been talking about how his at rim defense was a game-changer. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Oh Teague… you really miss your favorite pick-and-roll partner don’t you? Teague went 4-for-13 from the field and couldn’t get any flow going in the offense. He was able to find other methods of offense, getting to the line four times and going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. 4/10

Kyle Korver: The streak lives on. Sadly Korver had to gun at the end to get it. He had a highlight block. That’s about all the good things he did.2/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

BKN.gif(13-21) 91 – 86 (18-17)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Johnson (BKN): 23 pts, 4 ast
P. Millsap (ATL): 16 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks had a severe lack of Al Horford tonight en route to a 91-86 loss on the road to the Brooklyn Nets. While there were some bright spots, the Hawks being unable to Al Horford in this game truly cost them. Although the score ended up being close, Atlanta was never really in reach because of Al Horford-less basketball, a factor they’ve desperately needed in their past six games.

Alright, enough of that. The Nets came out small but lanky with Pierce at the 4, Garnett at the 5 and Shaun Livingston starting in place of the injured Deron Williams. Their defense was surprisingly energetic and effective thanks to a hard-hedging and trapping strategy that I’ve yet to see them play with for 48 full minutes like they did on this night. It worked, as the Hawks struggled making the extra pass and scoring one-on-one, finishing with just 86 points on 38.6% shooting from the field and 18 turnovers – a lot of them unforced and rather dumbfounding. Despite all this it was a tight game most of the way – thanks to Brooklyn being pretty bad – but a 14-0 start to the second half by the Nets gave them the lead and Joe Johnson doing Joe Johnson things in the fourth quarter the game.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: On paper, Millsap had far from a good game. As many turnovers as collected rebounds, 16 points on 4-12 shooting and a team-worst -12 to top it off. Unpleasant to say the least, but this game was a product of a game-long mismatch issue. Millsap was stuck having to guard Paul Pierce or Joe Johnson practically all night thanks to Brooklyn’s small scheme, possibly wearing him out on the other end. Signs seem to point to fatigue as this is Millsap’s third straight putrid shooting night, likely an effect of having to man the offense all to himself. 3.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll had a usual Carroll night, guarding the opponent’s best wing scorer and cutting all over the place. He did a decent enough job on Joe Johnson in some stretches, less than so in others, but overall a solid game. He finished with 10 points and 7 boards on 4-9 shooting from the field. 7/10

Pero Antic: The Nets gave Pero plenty of space on the perimeter, and he made them pay by canning 2-5 threes from long range. Every other aspect of his game was thoroughly underwhelming however. He didn’t seem to have a lot of energy, only grabbing 3 boards and moving slower than an Atlantic Ave. traffic jam. He managed to pick up 5 fouls in just 18 minutes with some rotations that were far from crisp, and really struggled to find the seams that Horford did in his position. Comparing the two wouldn’t be fair to Antic, but nonetheless a bad game by his standards. 2/10

Jeff Teague: Shaun Livingston’s length and the Nets’ P&R traps stifled the air out of Teague’s lungs, making for a performance to forget for Jeff. He shot 5-15 from the floor and committed 7 turnovers to 5 assists, most of the giveaways just at the fault of horrible IQ. As much as he’s improved this season, Teague has a ways to go before solidifying his place as an All-Star point guard. This isn’t the first game where he’s looked lost and out of control this season, but hopefully it will be the last. Sheesh/10

Kyle Korver: Not only did Korver hit number 104 tonight, but he was Atlanta’s renaissance man. His scoring output was shy but he collected 7 rebounds and dished out 6 dimes, putting his entire repertoire on display. In response, he ended up playing a team-high 37 minutes – all of which valuable to the team’s efforts, even when he struggled to find his shots. 8/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 49-33 (4th in East) z-brooklyn

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Paul Pierce (trade), Kevin Garnett (trade), Jason Terry (trade), Andrei Kirilenko (signed), Andray Blatche (re-signed)

Key Losses: Gerald Wallace (trade), C.J. Watson (free agency), financial flexibility

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (3rd in East)

What to Expect: The Nets are a collection of superb on-paper talent with a first-time head coach who trumped this team on the court last year. Alongside newly-appointed head coach Jason Kidd is enough assistant coaches to split between 3 teams, and it’ll be their job collectively to take Brooklyn’s post-prime superstars to the promised land – or at the very least past the first few rounds of the Playoffs.

GM Billy King left the NBA world dazed for a good amount of time when he traded for Boston’s Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for Gerald Wallace, who regressed rather drastically this past season, Kris Humphries, who underwhelmed as well, Kris Joseph and a trio of draft picks. On top of this blockbuster, King also managed to somehow sign Andrei Kirilenko for just a measly $3 million a year when a $10 million per offer was on the table in Minnesota. Continue Reading…

RECAP: Celtics 89, Hawks 81

Bo Churney —  January 6, 2013

FINAL

BOS(16-17) 89 – 81 (20-12) ATL

Key Performers:

L. Williams (ATL): 28 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast
P. Pierce (BOS): 26 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well, that was pretty pathetic, Hawks. After leading 53-38 at halftime, Atlanta only managed to score 28 points in the 2nd half, as the Celtics just crashed the boards and forced turnovers. Eventually, Pierce started to get whatever he wanted, and Bass and KG hit their open shots. The Hawks, meanwhile, couldn’t hit anything, even when they got the ball into the paint. The effort when to hell (with which Larry Drew was extremely unhappy with postgame), and, well… you get the point.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: This might have been the worst game of Josh’s career. He was 4-18 shooting with six turnovers, and he was clearly angry after the game, and he may have had a bit of a right to be. We know he going to take a lot of jumpers at this point, but he was 2-8 in the paint in this one. That just doesn’t happen, and you could tell Josh was not happy at all with the officiating. Still, FOUR OF EIGHTEEN SHOOTING AND SIX TURNOVERS! 1/10

Al Horford: As bad as Josh was, Al wasn’t much better. He missed all five of his jumpers, most of which were pretty open looks. But hey, at least he actually hit some free throws in this one! (even though those two barely went in) 4/10

Lou Williams: Lou was absolutely great in the first half, going 8-9 from the field, hitting four threes, and finishing the half with 21 points. Boston did a great job at keying in on him in the 2nd half, only allowing Lou to get off three shots, and forcing several turnovers. His 28 total points were one of the few bright spots in this one, though. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Another “meh” shooting night from Kyle, and his defense on Pierce at times was a little shaky, even though it was as bad as it looks in the box score; Pierce was just hitting everything, and there wasn’t much Korver (and then DeShawn) could do about it. (it probably didn’t help that they weren’t allowed to touch Paul… 3/10

Jeff Teague: Like Lou, Jeff had a great first half, and was continuously getting into the lane. Of course, that ceased to happen in the 2nd half, and JT couldn’t get anything going for him. Eventually, he just kind of became non-existent on offense once he realized he couldn’t get into the painted area. 6/10 Continue Reading…