Archives For Thabo Sefolosha

The Atlanta Hawks suffered their sixth consecutive loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in a tight affair, 97-100, at BMO Bradley Harris Centre. The Hawks had three players who scored 20 or more points, Dennis Schröder (28), Tim Hardaway Jr. (25) and Dwight Howard (20 points to go along with 12 rebounds).

Standings watch

Following this loss, the Hawks and the Bucks are now tied at 37-35 for the fifth seed but, crucially, the Hawks do own the tiebreaker between the two teams thanks to taking care of business in the first three meetings with Bucks this season. The only problem is that Bucks have won 11 of their last 13 while the Hawks have lost six straight. Meanwhile, back in the seventh seed, the Indiana Pacers are just a game back of Atlanta, who can thank the Nuggets for defeating the Pacers in Indy.

Another close loss

When it rains, it pours. The Hawks lost a heartbreaker in a game that could cost them vital playoff position. It won’t count for much since they’ve lost, but the Hawks have played two very decent games against the Wizards and Bucks but have come up short. This time, there were a few plays that cost them. We’re going to look at two of them: the one that put the Bucks up by two and the Hawks’ final shot.

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The Atlanta Hawks dropped their fifth consecutive game in a tightly contested affair against the Washington Wizards in D.C. on Wednesday night. For the Wizards, they were led by Bradley Beal’s 28 points.

The Hawks had done a decent defensive job on John Wall, who was scoreless in the first half on 0-of-8 shooting but came to life in the second half, all 22 of Wall’s points coming in the second half. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with 29 points.

Standings watch

The Hawks retain the fifth seed in the East despite this loss after the Indiana Pacers lost in Boston on Wedneday night but there’s a new threat for the Hawks to worry about: The Milwaukee Bucks, winners of 10 games in their last 12. With the Bucks’ victory against the Kings, the Bucks move to just one game behind the Hawks and have wrestled the sixth seed away from the Pacers.

Atlanta’s next game? Yep. The Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee… What a huge game that will be.

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The Atlanta Hawks dropped their second straight home game, this time against the Portland Trail Blazers, 113-97. In what was a wire-to-wire win for the Blazers, Damian Lillard led the way with 27 points while his running mate, C.J. McCollum, added 22 points. For the Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova — probably the only Hawks who you could say had a good game — led the way with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc.

Standings watch

Following this loss, the Hawks are now three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the race for home court advantage. The Hawks are about to head on a three game road trip (@ Charlotte, @ Washington and @ Milwaukee) this week. If this road trip goes badly, you can kiss home court advantage goodbye.

No Millsap = problems

Paul Millsap was a late scratch from this game with left knee tightness. The Hawks are 0-3 in his absence and the average margin of defeat is 27 points (including a 44 point loss to the Toronto Raptors). With last night’s loss that number drops to 0-4.

I mean, where do I even start with the Hawks last night? The defense was awful, the offense was awful, there was no effort, no urgency and little respect given to a team who has now won 7 of their last 9 games. There was little/no respect given to Lillard or McCollum, who literally got to whatever spot they wanted and got any shot they wanted…etc.

Yea…pretty much, Kimi, pretty much. The Hawks playing very poorly in Millsap’s absence was no coincidence at 0-3 and is no coincidence now at 0-4.

Anyways, let’s try to break some of it down and see where the Hawks went wrong. It’s worth mentioning, before we get cracking here, that not all of this could’ve been avoided even if Millsap was in the lineup. The Hawks have a lot of issues with Paul in the lineup, let alone without.

However, the Hawks are going to have to get used to Millsap’s absence. Chris Vivlamore of the AJC reports that both Millsap and Bazemore — who suffered a knee contusion near the end of this game — will miss at least two games, Bazemore to be re-evaluated in 7-10 days.

Nightmare first quarter

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The Atlanta Hawks dropped their latest contest at Philips Arena against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night, 103-91. The Hawks were led by Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 18 points.

Standings watch

The Hawks are in a race with the Toronto Raptors for home court advantage but were unable to capitalise on the Raptors’ home loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. The gap between the Hawks and Raptors remains at 2 games.

Third quarter struggles

This game was decided in the third quarter, a quarter the Hawks were outscored by the Grizzlies 23-13. The Hawks shot 3-of-17 from the field while the Grizzlies shot 10-of-23.

“It just felt like one of those nights We couldn’t catch the ball. We couldn’t shoot it. We couldn’t pass it. We just have an off night with a lot of credit to Memphis. They are into us. They were physical. They got more 50-50 balls than we did. It wasn’t our night.”

— Coach Mike Budenholzer

You have to give a lot of credit to Memphis for Atlanta’s third quarter struggles. Their defense was dialled up a notch and they seemed to pack the paint a little more in the third quarter, forcing the Hawks into tougher jump shots rather than shots in the paint.

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The Atlanta Hawks couldn’t stop the San Antonio Spurs from moving atop of the Western Conference as the Spurs topped the Hawks 107-99 in San Antonio. The Spurs were led by Kawhi Leonard’s 31 points while Patty Mills — in place of the injured Tony Parker — scored 15 points and dished out nine assists. For the Hawks, they were led by Dennis Schröder’s double-double, 22 points and 10 assists.

The streak continues

February 15th 1997. That was the date the Hawks last beat the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio and last night that losing streak (now 19 games) continued.

Without LaMarcus Aldridge (get well soon) and Tony Parker, this was as good of a time as ever for the Hawks to, perhaps, emerge from San Antonio with a victory but, alas, it was not to be. Kawhi Leonard was just so good, a truly special talent and an MVP candidate. His contributions on both ends of the floor were a huge reason why the Spurs won this game, as is often the case.

Threes the key

You can look at this game in two different ways: The Hawks either lost this game because they couldn’t contain San Antonio’s three-pointers, or because they couldn’t hit their own threes. The Spurs hit a season-high 16-of-34 (47%) from behind the arc while the Hawks only hit 6-of-22 (27%) from behind the arc, San Antonio outscoring the Hawks 48-18 from three. Take your pick, either way, the three-pointer was the difference.

After, seemingly, taking steps forward when it came to defending the three — holding Memphis and Toronto to a combined nine threes — the Hawks appear to have taken a step back in San Antonio.

We’re going to take a look at some of San Antonio’s threes.

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks came up with a hugely important victory over the Toronto Raptors at Philips Arena on Friday night, 105-99, in a tightly contested affair that saw 17 game ties and 15 lead changes. The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan’s 28 points while Serge Ibaka added 18 points. For the Hawks, they had three players who scored 20 or more points in the form of Dennis Schröder (26 points), Paul Millsap (21 points) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (20 points).

Hawks win potentially vital tiebreaker 

With this victory concluded the season series between these two teams, just three meetings this year between the Hawks and Raptors. With this victory, the Hawks won the season series 2-1, giving the Hawks the tiebreaker in the event of these two teams ending the regular season with the same record. Why is this so important? The Hawks are just two games behind the Raptors for home court advantage and now own the tiebreaker.

“It’s big, it was the same scenario as the game against Indiana where they were behind us in the standings, but this time we closed it out.”

— Dennis Schröder

This was a huge win for the Hawks. If they had lost this game, they may as well have kissed away any hope of home court advantage as they would’ve trailed the Raptors by four games. But this…this win gives the Hawks a chance of home court advantage but there’s plenty of work to be done yet…

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The Atlanta Hawks finally captured a win against a top contending team in the second half of the season, defeating the Toronto Raptors 105-99 .

A week ago, they dropped three games in a row to Cleveland, Indiana and Golden State. Granted, they were competitive in those games, but that doesn’t show up in the win column. Struggling against the elite teams at this part of the season is alarming with the NBA Playoffs around the corner. A win like tonight, even with Kyle Lowry out of the lineup, is a reminder to themselves that they are capable of much more than they showed over that stretch of those games.

“In a way, it does remind us,” said Thabo Sefolosha.” “We had three tough losses at home during the home stretch. We definitely wanted to get this one.”

“We lost some tough games, close games, but you have to keep playing,” said Kent Bazemore. “This was a big game for us as far as playoff seeding, capturing home court, so we had to get this one.”

In February, they did secure a win facing the rival Celtics and later against Houston, but in the same month they looked inept facing the Jazz allowing 120 points, and couldn’t buy a shot against the clippers shooting 40-percent from the field. As we draw closer to the Playoffs, there is no denying the importance of a win like tonight and what it does for a team still in search for an identity.

Nobody can’t deny the importance of heading into the postseason feeling like you belong and have a legitimate shot to make some noise. Your ranking has some involvement in that, but how you fared against the those elite ball clubs goes an even longer way.

Think of the 2006-2007 Golden state Warriors that upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. In the final 20 games of the season, they defeated the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons —  all 50 plus winning teams that year — and there is no denying that those wins contributed to shocking MVP Dirk Nowitzki and the 1-seed Mavericks.

Yes, ranking does hold some sort of weight when it comes to a player’s psyche heading into postseason, but confidence goes a long way as well.

“I think a little bit of both matters,” said Sefolosha. “But we can only control what we can control. Confidence in everybody, feeling good and ready to go is the one thing we can control.”

The Hawks will not be the 8-seed going into the Playoffs, but at one point this season they were and have looked as such at times. Wins against team like tonight will factor into their psyche come late April and May as well as all that they’ve been through as a team. Strong character develops when you face the type of adversity they have and is immeasurable when the lights shine the brightest.

“We can compete with anybody if everybody is on the same page,” said Dennis Schroder. “If everybody is playing together and playing defense together. We have to keep getting better each game until the playoffs start.”

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their third straight game (and the sixth of their last eight) as they were topped by the Golden State Warriors at Philips Arena. Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala led the Warriors with 24 points each. For the Hawks, Dennis Schröder scored a team-high 23 points while Paul Millsap also added 20 points. 

More Dennis drama

Dennis Schroder has made plenty of Atlanta Hawks headlines since the All-Star break and — once again — he was the talk of the town last night, benched for pretty much all of the second half, having ignited Philips Arena in the first quarter with 19 points and 23 first half points. 

There was an incident early in the third quarter where Dwight Howard and Dennis had an on-court disagreement (and that’s what it was, a disagreement, come on now. It was a disagreement not an argument, there’s a difference) after a poor outlet pass from Dwight sailed out of bounds. Dennis, I can only imagine, was unhappy that he didn’t receive the ball while Dwight made his case for attempting to pass to the open Thabo Sefolosha. Meanwhile, while the two bickered, Steph Curry was allowed to shoot an open three-pointer (not a good basketball shot to give up) prompting Coach Budenholzer to immediately call for a timeout.

Dennis was reinserted following the timeout but proceeded to take this poor shot shortly afterwards:

As highlighted, Kent Bazemore clearly had the better shot here and shortly after this, Dennis was quickly yanked and did not return.

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Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks dropped another game in their six game home stand, this time a last second winner from Glen Robinson III pushing the Pacers over the finish line 97-96 on Sunday afternoon. Paul George led the Pacers with a game-high 34 points. For the Hawks, they were led by Paul Millsap’s 23 points and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 24 points.

Keys plays down the stretch cost Atlanta

Let’s get this straight…the Hawks did not deserve to win this game. They were very poor in the second and third quarters and, really, had no business winning this game. The Hawks also conceded another 15 three-pointers and allowed Paul George to go for 34 points in the first three quarters. They played that poorly. That being said…they should have won this game.

The last minute and what transpired in it proved to be decisive but, first, some backstory…

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Happy Friday!

A new edition of This Week in the Hawks podcast has dropped. Today’s topics include:

  • The Hawks and Lamar Patterson parting ways
  • What the Hawks plan to do with the extra roster spot and who the Hawks might sign
  • Game recaps from the past week, including Atlanta’s huge win in Boston
  • Some stats from the last five days
  • A look ahead to next week’s fixtures, including Kyle Korver’s return to Atlanta

Thanks, as always, for listening. If you enjoyed the pod, you can always give it an ‘aul ReTweet. That’d be cool.

Have a good weekend!