Archives For Washington Wizards

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…

This Week In The Southeast, the Wizards just keep on winning, and here comes Bradley Beal. The Miami Heat had another up and down week, while their cross town rival, the Orlando Magic, look like they might be the true dark horse threat to cause problems in the Southeast. Meanwhile, the Hornets continue to struggle out of the gate, are they bad, or is it adjusting to a new roster.

Washington Wizards, 9-3, 2nd in the East, 2-1 this week WAS

Wizards fan have to be happy with the way they’re rocketing out of the gate this year. Washington is beating up on teams they’re supposed to beat, and that’s a good thing. The problem? They’ve yet to beat a single playoff team, with this week’s loss coming to the Mavericks. Beating up on bad teams is all fine and dandy, but the Wizards have had the easiest early schedule in the entire division.

Miami Heat, 8-6, 4th in the East, 3-2 this week MIA

The Heat were very up and down this week. They had a good win against Brooklyn, and a surprisingly tough Orlando Magic team, but they had a bad loss at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. While the Bucks aren’t an easy win anymore, a team of Miami’s caliber shouldn’t be losing to them.

Atlanta Hawks, 6-5, 5th in the East, 1-1 this week ATL

So….the Hawks. While falling out of second place had more to do with their lack of games this week, there is really no excuse for a loss at home to the Lakers. They managed to stay above .500 however, winning a home game against Detroit. Their next game is on Tuesday, lets see if the extra rest and practice time helps them figure out some of their early season problems. If not, a difficult four-in-five night schedule against four playoff contender could prove to be costly for Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks. Continue Reading…

This week in the Southeast, the Washington Wizards are handling their easy schedule as they should, leading the division. They’re still missing Bradley Beal, so there’s no way to get a read on how good they are early. After the Wizards, we have the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Currently tied at second, Miami is trying to figure out how to make the best of their new roster, and the Hawks are just trying to earn a little respect. Meanwhile, Charlotte was the first team in the division to go west and lets just say it wasn’t ideal. Finally we have the Orlando Magic. A competitive team, but they can’t seem to stay healthy.

Washington Wizards, 7-2, 2nd in the East, 2-0 this week WAS

The Wizards only had two games this week, with neither team being very good, and both at home. Once again, it’s hard to get fully on board with this team until we see them get some quality wins against good teams. That said, it’s hard to knock on a team that’s 7-2. Not everybody wins the games they’re supposed to win, and the Wizards are doing that, without Bradley Beal no less.

Atlanta Hawks, 5-4, 5th in the East, 3-1 this week ATL

The Hawks responded to their slow start, by ripping off three straight wins in a row. One of those was against the Knicks, but they beat a decent Jazz team, and a legitimately good Miami Heat team. They did however take a pounding against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In their defense, it was a back to back on the road, but points get knocked off for getting dominated the way they did. Even so, Atlanta is starting to figure out how to play with Al Horford in the lineup. Now if they can just start getting some respect from the general public… Continue Reading…

It’s been almost two weeks since the NBA season began, and the Southeast division already feels very different from last year. While a couple teams have run into some bad luck early on this year with slow starts, the rest have proven why winning the Southeast is no easy task.

Washington Wizards, 5-2, 2nd in the EastWAS

The Wizards currently lead the division, but it’s hard to argue that it’s been impressive. All five of their wins come against teams that are projected to miss the playoffs, two of them alone came against a ridiculously injured Indiana Pacers team. Of course, you can’t take too much away from a team that came in and did what they’re supposed to do, but lets not praise a team with conference finals hopes on doing what they’re supposed to do, especially when their two losses have both come against likely playoff teams.

Miami Heat, 4-2, 4th in the EastMIA

While many had the Heat taking a huge drop this year, after losing LeBron James, Miami has still looked like one of the tougher team in the East. Their losses have come against the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets, neither of those is a horrible loss to have on a resume. However, in their four wins, they have defeated both the Wizards and Raptors. Right now, they look like the best team in the division, but that could change when Washington gets Bradley Beal back. Until then, Miami has a chance to rack up some victories behind the incredible play of Chris Bosh. Continue Reading…

Unlike years past, this year the Southeast Division looks wide open. Not only that, it’s the most powerful it’s been in years. The defending division champion Miami Heat may have lost LeBron James, but they still have one of the five best coaches in the NBA, and two to three all star level talents. The Wizards are coming off a year where they advanced to the second round, and some think they should have gone as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. There’s some swagger going on in DC with John Wall claiming to have the best backcourt in the NBA. To help their quest for the conference finals and beyond, the Wizards went out and signed Paul Pierce; another year older, but he’s still as crafty as ever.

Then there’s the Charlotte Bobcats Hornets. To go with their rebrand, they’ve upgraded the roster, signing Lance Stephenson. Charlotte surprised many last year, grabbing the 7th seed in the East and finishing with 43 wins. They will be looking to have a repeat of last year. Not far behind Charlotte is Atlanta. The Hawks are fully healthy this year, and with Al Horford’s return, they’re looking to make a playoff run of their own. Then there’s…well the Orlando Magic are a team and they play basketball. With a wide open division, it’s anybody’s for the taking. Except the Magic, they are awful.

Miami Heat

MIA

The Heat are coming off the roughest offseason in the division. They lost LeBron James, and no matter how you spin it, they’ve downgraded. Miami has gone from surefire contender, to being predicted as low as 7th in the East. They have a lot to prove this year if they’re going to earn back some of the respect they’ve lost.

Continue Reading…

FINAL

WAS(26-28) 114 – 97 (25-28)ATL  

Key Performers:
J. Wall (WAS): 21 pts, 5 reb, 12 ast
P. Millsap (ATL): 21 pts, 11 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

This was essentially a repeat of the Indiana game on Tuesday, and as you know, that’s not a good thing. The Hawks allowed the Wizards to lead by as many as 20 in the first half, most of which was because of the open shots the Wizards were getting. Washington did a good job at forcing the Atlanta defense to collapse, meaning that Brad Beal, Trevor Ariza, and Martell Webster got a plethora of open looks. John Wall hit a few threes, too, which might as well signal that you’re not going to win. (Wall is a career 29% three-point shooter) At the end of the third quarter, Ariza hit a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer to give the Wizards an eight-point lead that really killed the Hawks’ comeback effort. The Hawks had the Wizards lead down to one near the end of the third, but that Ariza shot just zapped the team of any momentum. The Hawks have now lost seven in a row and remain in massive injury trouble before the 3PM trade deadline.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: Millsap wasn’t as good as the stat line above may indicate. He didn’t play bad, but he missed a lot of open looks that definitely could have changed the tide of this game. The and-one finishes were nice and everything, but sometimes Paul needs to knock down the easy ones, too. 7.5/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier started again for the injured DeMarre Carroll and he didn’t have much of an impact against the Wizards. With Ariza guarding him, Cartier really had trouble finding open looks and really couldn’t do much to dribble out of the situation. Credit the Wizards for the strong defensive effort here. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Sort of ditto for Korver on the good Washington defense. Of course, Korver is a lot better than Cartier at getting shots up, so Kyle was able to knock down a couple of threes and extend his three-point streak to 122 games. Other than that, he wasn’t really too effective. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Teague had a stretch in both the second and third quarters that reminded us why the Hawks gave him $32 million. He was aggressive with trying to get into the lane and was willing to put a shot up. Outside of those stretches, however, he was fairly awful. He finished with 16 points on 16 shots and only five assists. He did leave the game late with an ankle injury, but he appeared to be fine after the game. 4/10

Elton Brand: If you had told me before the game that both Millsap and Brand would have 20-10 games, I didn’t think there would be a chance the Hawks would lose. Of course, they did, wasting a very strong effort from the 34 year old. The Hawks did a great job of giving the ball in good spots for Elton, and he was either able to finish or draw contact and go to the line. He even had a nice driving layup that was sort of reminiscent of his days with the Clippers when he was an automatic 20-10 guy. 9/10 Continue Reading…

In this week’s recap, the Heat are on a losing streak!? Is this Miami slump just a bump in the road or is there more to it? The Hawks just knocked off the Rockets and despite missing Al Horford seem to be chugging along. Pero Antic is breaking out as a legitimate rotation player and we say goodbye to Cartier Martin. The Wizards can’t seem to get themselves over .500 and just got stomped by the Pacers. The Bobcats are entering a free fall, it might be the injuries but I think it’s effort. The Magic…they are awful.

Miami Heat, 1st, 27-10, 2nd in the East, 1-2 during weekMIA

After smacking around New Orleans and Toronto it looked like Miami was going to continue on their war path by putting a beat down on the dysfunctional and struggling Knicks. The game was on national TV and was the perfect stage for Miami to obliterate somebody. Then, as if it was a perfect storm, the Knicks played probably their best basketball for the entire season and had possibly a season changing win over the Heat. The next night on a back to back Miami traveled across New York over to Brooklyn to take on the also struggling Nets. The Heat lost that one in double overtime. The Heat had Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Dwyane Wade all resting and didn’t look incredibly concerned with winning. The game was bizarre in that we saw a rare moment where LeBron James lost his composure. After a foul on a fastbreak LeBron went nuts and tried to get in the face of the player who fouled him. I’ve never seen that before. I don’t think it means much in the grand scheme of the season but it was still a rare sight.

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 20-17, 3rd in the East, 2-1 during weekATL

The Hawks did exactly what we expected them to do after they lost Al Horford. They went on a losing streak and looked nothing like the above average team that could compete with anybody in the league on any given night. Then they had a HUGE victory over the number one team in the East, the Indiana Pacers. Two days later Dwight Howard and Houston came to town and the Rockets couldn’t establish anything. The Hawks delivered Dwight Howard his sixth straight loss in Philips Arena and the Hawks were back to playing at their old level of play. Had the Hawks beaten the Pacers on a random night, I would have put that towards a fluke, but beating the Rockets the way they did means the Hawks may have found a way to sustain without Horford. The team is better with Horford, but players are stepping up without him, more specifically Pero Antic is. Early in the season I wasn’t sure if Antic was an NBA player, let alone a rotation player. He has shown through this Horford-less stretch that he has the ability to definitely be a eighth or ninth man rotation player in this league. We also say goodbye to Cartier Martin this week. Martin was waived from the team before his contract became guaranteed, while slightly surprising, this wasn’t entirely shocking. Continue Reading…

Division recap’s back. Tell a friend.

2013 came and went and as we start 2014 the SouthEast division is currently… exactly how we left it. That said, while the teams may be the same (oh god, are the Magic the same) there is definitely a difference between where they were last season and where they are this season. Unlike past installations of the division recap, instead of going over the last week, this will go over how the season has gone for the teams so far.

Miami Heat, 1st, 26-8, 2nd in the EastMIA

Right where we left them, the defending champs are powering through yet another regular season for them. Like past repeat champions. the Heat look bored with the regular season. Unlike past regular season champions, the Heat don’t look as flawed as we’ve seen bored teams in the past. They still absolutely obliterate teams as need be, but there is an issue with them flipping the switch and losing games they shouldn’t: the Kings loss should have never happened. Miami is ranked 2nd in the East behind the Pacers, but have beaten the Pacers in one of their two regular season matchups so far. The Heat look like the best team in the NBA once again.

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 18-16, 3rd in the EastATL

If I had told you that the Hawks were going to be second in the Southeast division by the end of December you would have believed me. Had I told you that Al Horford was going to get injured for the season before the end of December you would have yelled at me for wishing that on the Hawks. Had I told you that the Hawks were going to be third in the East despite all of these things, you would have laughed at me. Now it’s January and all that stuff happened. The Hawks ball movement is better and Paul Millsap is a more than qualified replacement for Josh Smith, making up the loss of defense with his ever expanding arsenal on offense. Millsap can shoot 3’s, Teague is playing at an all star level, and Kyle Korver had over 100 straight games with at least one 3 pointer. It’s a real shame Horford is hurt, because I was excited to see what they could bring towards the end of the season. Now I don’t know if the Hawks will even finish this high in the division, let alone the conference. Continue Reading…

Over at Truth About It, the TrueHoop blog for the Washington Wizards, Kyle Weidie and I preview tonight’s Hawks-Wizards match-up at Phillips Arena. We did this prior to the previous contest between these two teams, and in that piece I downplayed Shelvin Mack’s strong early season, referring to his “one good game” against the Knicks.

Welp, early indications are that Mr. Mack Attack is a Truth About It reader and didn’t like what I had to say, because he’s been shutting me up ever since. Including the previous loss to the Wizards, in which Mack scored 11 points and added six assists, Mack has been on the best 5-game stretch of his career, averaging 10.6 PPG and 4.8 APG on 22-for-42 (52%) shooting from the field and 4-for-11 (36%) shooting from 3-point distance in 22 MPG.

He’s an aggregate plus-27 over that stretch, and Weidie assured me at the start that Wizards fans would much rather have Mack as John Wall’s backup than Eric Maynor. If Mack can keep that production up, he will start to enter the conversation as one of the best backup point guards in the NBA.

Jeff Teague was badly outplayed by Wall in that previous match-up, scoring 15 with 5 assists on 5-for-18 shooting compared to 26-and-12 for Wall on 9-for-18 shooting. It appeared that Teague’s production had slipped since his hot start that led to speculation about his All-Star prospects.

But has Teague’s season really slipped? In the four games since the loss to the Wizards, Teague has matched up against Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, who range from All-Star locks (Parker, Paul and Westbrook) to good candidates (Irving). During that stretch, Teague has averaged 13.75 PPG and 6.25 APG on 19-for-47 (40%) shooting from the field and 5-for-11 (45%) shooting from three. Over the same stretch, the opposing team’s starting point guard has averaged 12 PPG and 8.25 APG on 20-for-49 (41%) shooting from the field and 2-for-13 (15%) shooting from 3-point distance.

Admittedly, those numbers are skewed slightly by the 0-for-9 goose egg by Irving, who has been described as “sulking” since a confrontation with Dion Waiters in a players-only meeting. Nonetheless, that’s an impressive run for Teague that included games against multiple future Hall of Famers.

FINAL

WAS(8-9) 108 – 101 (9-9) ATL

Key Performers:
J. Wall (WAS): 26 pts, 6 reb, 12 ast, 5 stl
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 10 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks once again found themselves in a second-half rut, but this time they couldn’t come back to take the victory as they did last game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Bradley Beal-less Washington Wizards, now at 8-9, built an 18-point lead in the third that was cut down to a one-possession gap multiple times in the final period, but the Hawks fell short. Turnovers, poor transition defense and another outstanding performance by the rising John Wall ultimately gave Atlanta their ninth loss of the season, now standing at 9-9.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Horford had yet another strong outing, once again coming up big late with a slew of fourth-quarter buckets to keep the Hawks in the contest. His usual brand of defense and scoring was on display against the Wizards, finishing with 16 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 2 blocks. Strangely enough, he totaled zero assists – only the third time all season he’s gone a game without recording one. Both of those previous contests were also losses. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was a major disappointment tonight, being totally outplayed by fellow potential first-time All-Star John Wall. Jeff looked nothing like the point guard who seemingly made his leap in prior games this season, looking shaky on the offensive end and being a non-factor on defense. Wall blew by Teague like a human turnstile in transition at every opportunity, not that Teague could do much of anything about it. But maybe one foul? Or try not to gamble for a steal? Offensively, Teague struggled with decision making above all else. He looked tentative and the results resonated with the eye test. 15 points on 18 shots, 5 turnovers to 5 assists. I’m being hard on him of course, but this was his worst game of the season by far and it was pretty gruesome. 2/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a man-child on this night, leading the Hawks offense with a stupendous 4-5 shooting from downtown and 23 points. His interior presence was also felt on the offensive end, with Washington being unable to guard him as a roll man. His rotations were on point tonight, making fewer defensive errors then we’ve seen from him in the past. This is a great sign, which hopefully foreshadows a completely understanding of the system in place and more consistent outputs on that end. He too finished with 2 blocks alongside Horford. Paul also took on the rebounding load, collecting 10 of Atlanta’s 40 boards. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll was a major piece of Atlanta’s comeback, with big transition attacks and a steady defensive night as well. He was only 3-9 from the field, but his 4 free throws, 8 rebounds and 2 steals tell another tale. Coach Bud relied on Carroll tonight with Kyle Korver and Lou Williams both out, playing him a team-high 37 minutes as a swingman doing most of the dirty work. Carroll stepped up to the plate.7.5/10

Cartier Martin: Cartier’s hot shooting streak continued on this night, making 2-4 long bombs taking the seat of the starting two guard slot. Martin finished with 12 points but a team low -13. This was due to his spotty defense, with the worst of it coming at the wrong time. Martin continues to shine as a preseason tryout turned rotation player, however I can’t help but wish a speedy recovery for both Kyle and Lou. Cartier is just much better suited for an off-the-bench sparkplug role. 6/10 Continue Reading…