Archives For Washington Wizards

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…

Another season comes to a close. I’d like to say this division was a thrilling race the entire season, but no, we can’t have nice things when the Magic and Bobcats are in a division. To end the season we have the Heat’s dominance, the Hawks injuries, what could have been with the Wizards, the Bobcats “fail?” at tanking, and the Magic’s success of tanking.

 

Miami Heat, 1st, 66-16, 3-0 for the week, 1st seed in the EastMIA

What a season for the Heat. The Heat came off their title season with no sight of a championship hangover, as they dominated everybody the entire season. The scary part was how the entire season the Heat have never once looked like they were giving 100% effort. There wasn’t a single game that I can think of where I said, “Yeah, they really gave a full effort out there.” Constantly, they were playing with a relaxed attitude and they were STILL blowing everybody away. I think the perfect three stats to show the Heat’s dominance this season is that they shot 55% eFG%, 58% TS%, and they had a net rating of plus-9.9. I’ll be shocked if the Heat don’t end this season with another championship.

 

Atlanta Hawks, 2nd, 44-38, 0-2 for the week, 6th seed in the EastATL

The Hawks started off the season playing better than most people expected. They were third in the East and looked like they might be able to make a little bit of noise in the Eastern Conference. Then the injuries started; the Hawks haven’t been fully healthy since the first two months of the season and that has largely weighed down on the team. The biggest losses of the season were definitely Lou Williams and Zaza Pachulia. Pachulia and Williams were such huge parts of the eight-man rotation and without them I don’t see how the Hawks can possibly get past the first round. Continue Reading…

Welcome to our new segment here at HawksHoop. These weekly posts will be looking into the Southeastern Division and go over each team’s record, position in the standings, record for the week, and anything special about them from the week.

 

MIAMiami Heat, 1st, 54-14, 4-0 this week
The Miami Heat are the best looking team in basketball right now as they end the week with a win against the Detroit Pistons to extend their win streak to 25 games (second longest in NBA history). The Heat look unstoppable right now and I’m not sure if anybody has the ability to beat them.

 

ATLAtlanta Hawks, 2nd, 38-31, 2-2 this week
The Atlanta Hawks are currently sitting 2nd in the division that the Heat have ran away with. They’ve had a fairly successful season as far as expectations go, but injuries have derailed what could have been a better season. The Hawks continue to miss Zaza Pachulia and Lou Williams, as their two losses on the week (Dallas and Portland) showed their bench and defensive weaknesses that have formed with those players being sidelined.

  Continue Reading…

The NBA– more thani anything– is a league of relationships. It is predicated on the idea that players, coaches, and fans will respond to one another– that they’ll know each other and vice versa. These relationships, this communication, is what drives the story lines of the NBA, and those story lines are what make a meaningless game in December interesting.

The Hawks beat the Wizards on Tuesday night, and no one really cares all that much. The Wizards are the worst team in the NBA and the Hawks, while solid this year, have a history of being largely erratic. People don’t want to watch that combination– at least based solely on those qualifications. But beyond an outer lining of what seems like a useless mid-winter game, inside of that shell, there is meaning. Maybe not significantly to the standings, maybe not significantly to half of a fan base, but in everything and every game, these inter-connected relationships produce meaning.

Continue Reading…

FINAL

WAS(3-19) 95 – 100 (15-7) ATL

Key Performers:

L. Williams (ATL): 24 pts, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk
J. Crawford (WAS): 27 pts, 11 rebs, 11 asts
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks were able to overcome a Jordan Crawford triple double and a strong night from Nene thanks to their again stellar defense. There were a few moments when it looked like the game might be slipping away, but someone, whether it was Teague, Smoove, or Lou, was always ready to pull Atlanta back, settle things down, and make a play.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Smith had an absolutely miserable airball in overtime that gave the Wizards life when they should have already been dead, but I say that first because everything else was great. He rebounded well, played strong defense most of the night, and with all things considered, stood by decent shot selection. 8/10

Al Horford: Horford had one of his worst games of the season in terms of scoring tonight, but he made up for it with activity in other areas. He pulled down 11 rebounds, had 6 assists, and was huge on defense down the stretch. It clearly wasn’t a night to remember for Al, because 5 points on 2-11 shooting just isn’t going to cut it, but he found ways to contribute when there was a lid on the basket. 6/10

Kyle Korver: If there is a cardinal rule of not leaving shooters open, then there’s even a more important rule, and that’s don’t leave Kyle Korver open. And if he’s coming around a screen then you better hurry because his release is quicker than a mongoose and all he needs is 2 seconds and he’s shooting it whether you like it or not and it’s going to go in so nanny nanny boo boo. So, anyway, yeah. 16 points on 5-6 shooting with 7 rebounds. I like it. 8/10

Devin Harris: In what looked like another great start, Harris poured in 8 points before tweaking his ankle. He was 3-6 from the field and was connecting from long range. He’s really been turning a corner recently, so lets just hope that ankle is okay. INC/10

Jeff Teague: After the game, Teague told me that he didn’t think it was a charge on the last Hawks possession of regulation. I don’t know if he’s right, but that mistake was enough to earn him a seat on the bench for all of overtime. There’s no problem with that either, because Lou Williams was playing incredibly well and Korver was automatic. Before that, though, Teague was looking good. He found himself in some foul trouble, but he had 6 assists and scored 13 points. He was jawing with ex-teammate Jordan Crawford for a little bit in the third quarter, which prompted somewhat of a back-and-forth. Teague held his own in that stretch, despite what the final statistics of the game say. 6/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

WAS(2-14) 95 – 104 (11-5) ATL

Key Performers:

J. Smith (ATL): 23 pts, 15 rebs, 4 asts
K. Seraphin (WAS): 19 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blks
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Atlanta let Washington get into the game late, but they answered the Wizards’ run with one of their own, eventually retaking a double-digit lead in the win. For the 2nd straight game, the Hawks lead an impressive effort on the boards, with Smoove, Horford, and Zaza outrebounding the Wizards by themselves. (38-32) Of course, they still need to work on the free throws, because 63% from the stripe as a team just isn’t good. Atlanta has now won eight of their last nine games.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: Have I used the word “enigmatic” to describe Josh before? Oh, I have? Well then, let me tell you about this specific instance: Smoove was 4-9 on jumpers, which considering that one was a three, is actually efficient. However, he was 5-11 in the paint, as his touch on some of his post moves was just a little off. He gave a great effort on the boards (6 offensive rebounds) and his passing was on point. Overall great game from Josh. 9/10

Al Horford: Was a little slow to start, but got it going in the fourth quarter, when he and Kevin Seraphin were going back and forth. Only criticism I continue to have with him is that he continues to be a bit timid on offense; he’s more hesitant on the open 18-footer than Josh is, which can be very frustrating. 8/10

Zaza Pachulia: The Washington announcers were just raving about Zaza’s prowess for tipping out boards on offense. He had five offensive rebounds, which is really about the only thing the Hawks needed from him on O. On defense, however, he did get a little lost guarding Seraphin at times, which lead to Seraphin knocking down several open jumpers. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff was getting into the paint whenever he wanted, but he just had trouble finishing. His at the rim numbers are significantly down this year, which I hope is just a blip in his game and not a weakness of being relied upon more. 5/10

Lou Williams: Shot well when he was on the floor, but also turned it over a bit too much. I love Lou’s game, but the team does go into iso-Lou too much on consecutive possessions when he’s on the floor, which can easily cause the team to go stagnant. 6/10 Continue Reading…