Archives For Zaza Pachulia

FINAL

   MIL(13-52) 97 – 102 (28-35)ATL

Key Performers:
J. Teague (ATL): 22 pts, 3 reb, 8 ast, 2 blk
E. Ilyasova (MIL): 22 pts, 10 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Admittedly, having to rally in the fourth quarter to beat the team with the worst record in the league isn’t the most ideal thing for the Hawks, but as Kyle Korver said after the game, “We’ll take all the wins we can get right now.” It was Korver who mostly powered the Hawks during that late run, as Kyle scored 12 of his 15 points in the final period. Jeff Teague also started cooking in the fourth, as it was this dunk of his that really sealed the game.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was on fire early, scoring 12 points in the first quarter, including a couple of triples. After that, some foul trouble limited his overall effectiveness, but he still finished with a solid stat line of 17 points, eight boards, and four assists, which are essentially his season averages. 8/10

Jeff Teague: Teague’s first half was just a hot mess. He kept turning the ball over and he always seemed lost on defense. Thankfully, because the Bucks are terrible, Jeff being lost on defense didn’t always hurt. The second half is where he really started to come on, as he transformed from passive Teague to aggressive Teague. He still had seven turnovers for the game, but I think that dunk helps make up for that, right? 8/10

Pero Antic: Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much pump-faking from Pero in this game that we are used to seeing from him. His offense was actually sort of “meh”, but he did grab seven rebounds, which is a key stat against a team like Milwaukee that possesses a lot of length and size. 6/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre should take a page out of the Daryl Morey handbook and try to only shoot at the rim or from behind the arc. Why? Because DeMarre’s mid-range game is awful and usually results in him dribbling the ball to much. Criticism aside, DeMarre had four three-pointers on the night and that’s nothing to scoff at. He was also a team-high plus-15 for the game. 8/10

Kyle Korver: Thank goodness Kyle was able to start cooking in the fourth quarter, because I’m not quite sure how this team would have reacted to losing to the Bucks. Seriously, with all those hard fought losses out west, losing to the Bucks at home would have been a disaster. 7.5/10 Continue Reading…

In his first game back in Atlanta, the Hawks aired a tribute video for Zaza at the media timeout in the first quarter.

Zaza played for eight seasons with the Hawks before signing with Milwaukee in the offseason.

Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are not walking through that door. Although Howard will attend a presentation by the Hawks before he makes his final decision, the team is the longest of long shots with Houston and budding superstar James Harden in the lead. Meanwhile, the transaction that brought Doc Rivers to the Clippers was obviously brought about by Paul working behind the scenes, so we can close the book on that one as well.

The reason Houston has the advantage is because the team landed Harden, who subsequently proved that he can elevate a lottery team into the playoffs. Although Al Horford was ranked as one of the top 20 players in the league by ESPN’s #NBArank, doubts exist that the Hawks will be able to make the playoffs next season if Josh Smith departs in free agency. This really presents an opportunity for the Hawks and Horford. If the Hawks remain a playoff team with Horford as the centerpiece and no other star player added, it will elevate the profile of team and player ahead of 2014′s better free agent class. Continue Reading…

The Hawks have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. From choosing a new coach to attempting to lure Chris Paul or Dwight Howard, GM Danny Ferry has a lot of stuff on his desk to tackle.

However, what’s to become of the lesser free agents that are currently still on Atlanta’s roster? While many are focusing on the big names, the Hawks will still need a group of solid bench players to fill out next season’s roster.

So who should they keep?

It’s already well known that the team wants Kyle Korver, so I will skip over him. It’s also likely that the Hawks will let go of DeShawn Stevenson, as he showed severe signs of decline this year and has a non-guaranteed contract. Ivan Johnson can still be tendered with a qualifying offer. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack will be on Atlanta’s Summer League squad, and figure to be in the mix as cheap sign-ees over the summer.

The players I am most interested in are Devin Harris, Anthony Tolliver, and Zaza Pachulia. Not only are these guys still productive, but they are also likely to attract attention from other teams.

Starting with Harris, I think he’s still got a lot left in him if he can stay relatively healthy. (i.e. 60+ games a season) Despite battling injuries this year, he was still able to put up 10 points and three assists a game on good enough shooting percentages. He’s also a plus-defender and was one of the most important players on the Hawks in terms of on/off efficiency. With this class of free agents and the importance of having a serviceable back up point guard, Devin is likely in the market for a decent chuck of cash, around $5 million per season. 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…

With the series against Indiana starting at 1:00PM on Sunday, we decided to go 5-on-5 to preview the matchup, and of course, to give our predictions.

1. Which player on the Hawks is the most vital to winning this series?

Chris Barnewall: It will probably come down to Al Horford. At first I thought it might be Josh Smith, then I thought it might be Jeff Teague, but if the Hawks want any chance at beating the Pacers, Horford is going to have to be incredible. Horford will not only need to score on the best front line defense in the NBA, anchored by Roy Hibbert, but he will need to anchor the defense the way Hibbert does. Smith will have his hands full with David West shooting mid range jumpers, posting up, and attacking the basket. This will leave Horford to cover the spots that David West will spread.

Daniel Christian: Josh Smith. People love to talk about his erraticism and dub him an enigma, but the fact is he’s a relatively consistent and reliable player outside of shot selection and field goal percentage. He gives you great defense on the wing and help side every night, he creates for others in transition and in the half court, and is more often than not rebounding at a pretty high clip. Critics gloss over those facts en route to what seemingly is the bigger picture– a negligence to execute in the flow of the offense or a penchant for jacking mid-range jumpers. So long as Smith isn’t a detriment to the Hawks’ offensive movement (which he usually isn’t) and so long as he’s not killing possessions, the Hawks should be in every game. Smith can be incredible when he focuses on his strengths (i.e. scoring off cuts, drives (lefty hooks), and in transition) and is often a match-up problem for the opposing defense.

Bo Churney: Devin Harris. Being the playoffs, I believe the Hawks are going to get consistent efforts from Teague, Smith, and Horford. What the Hawks need, however, is a player that can do damage when these guys are sitting on the bench. If Devin can lead the Atlanta second unit to at least a draw against Indiana’s second unit, I really like the Hawks’ chances in this series.

Raj Prashad: Jeff Teague. Al Horford playing at a high level is almost a given. Josh Smith obviously needs to match up against David West and the tough Indiana Pacers defense. But we’ve seen thus far this year that even when Horford and Smith are tuned in, the Hawks offense can sputter if their point guard isn’t controlling the floor. Devin Harris can be sporadic at times, so Teague will need to be aggressive from the opening tip.

David Vertsberger: Jeff Teague. The Hawks offense can never stagnate in this series, and it’s primarily the point guard’s duty to keep an offense flowing. Enter a maturing Teague, who needs to be both the vocal and physical leader of this Hawks offense with one of the worst defenders of the Pacers’ starting five guarding him, George Hill.

 

2. Which player on the Pacers gives the Hawks the biggest matchup issue?

Barnewall: David West. I’m afraid of what David West is going to do to the Hawks. West is great at spreading the floor and attacking the basket. I imagine the player that will be covering West a lot will be Ivan Johnson. It’s not that Johnson isn’t a good defender; it’s that West is crafty enough on offense to really give Ivan problems. West is a player that if the Hawks can find a way to stop him, the chances of winning go up.

Christian: This is an interesting question because the Pacers’ greatest offensive strengths (front court and wing) are positions the Hawks can defend well with their starters. Obviously, without Pachulia, Hibbert becomes an incredibly difficult match up. So I’ll go with the Hibbert-Horford match up, mainly because I think Smith will be able to slow Paul George (he’s excellent at defending threes). Just another match up to consider is Jeff Teague guarding pretty much any point guard in a pick-n-roll, because that will end in either lazy defense or an attempted steal from behind as the opposition slips into the paint at will, causing a myriad of breakdowns throughout the remainder of the possession.

Churney: With Pachulia out, conventional wisdom would point to Roy Hibbert. However, looking back at the past games from this season, Al Horford absolutely destroyed Hibbert when he was matched up with him. In a pinch, I believe that Ivan Johnson’s strength could also match up with Hibbert. However, David West has absolutely killed the Hawks this season with his combination of skill and toughness, which are the sort of things that can get Josh Smith frustrated on both ends of the floor. If Larry Drew decides to put Johan Petro in the rotation, though, I would go for Hibbert. (DON’T DO IT, LARRY)

Prashad: Paul George. He’s a stifling defender who leads his team in scoring. With Horford and Smith tied up with their own match ups, Atlanta will most likely be relying on the likes of Kyle Korver and Dahntay Jones to keep the forward in check.

Vertsberger: Roy Hibbert. With Zaza Pachulia out, size is a key issue, and as capable of a defender Horford is, there’s always the possibility of getting called for a couple of early fouls and having him sent off the floor. Leaving no viable option to guard the imposing Hibbert, who after a bad start has played terrific ball later in the year. Continue Reading…

Earlier, the Hawks posted their top ten plays for the 2012-13 season on their website. Here is the link.

I do have a criticism about this. As you can see from the number ten play, they were willing to include plays that did not count. (even though that dunk probably should have counted)

Essentially, if they are putting up things that didn’t count, where was this?

I mean… it’s Zaza making a 65-footer. How did that NOT make this list?

Missing You…

Bo Churney —  April 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

miss10

After the loss to Philadelphia, Coach Larry Drew did not have kind words for his team.

“Here we are 77 games into the season, and we don’t know who we are. When we go all the way back to training camp, with all of the changes that we made, one of the things that I made a point for our guys to understand who we had to be. We had to be a team that would be gritty, we’d have to be a team that would bring a blue-collar mentality every night we step out on the floor, particularly on the defensive end. And somewhere along the line, we have forgotten who we have to be.”

That wasn’t it, either. When asked what led to the breakdowns against the Sixers, Coach Drew called his team’s effort soft, and then harped again about the team’s loss of identity.

To top it all off, Josh Smith vehemently agreed with his head coach.

“I think it’s too late in the season to still be trying to find what our identity is; we have to figure it out right now, as of yesterday… Yeah, I would agree [with Coach Drew].”

The next day against San Antonio, the team responded… well, sort of; with Smith, Horford, Korver, and Stevenson all sitting out, the Hawks only had eight guys available to play. However, they took the punches from one of the best teams in the league, and had a shot to win the game before losing 99-97.

The effort was there. The heart was there. Despite being undersized, Ivan Johnson was doing everything he could to try and contain the venerable Tim Duncan. Mike Scott and John Jenkins looked like seasoned veterans, not rookies that weren’t exactly flashy draft picks. And hell, even Johan Petro played out of his mind by grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds.

Where has this effort been? This is not because the usual Atlanta starters are not effective; this was because the Hawks actually got production from the bench guys. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks announced Saturday that Zaza Pachulia is out for the season after electing to have surgery on his sore right Achilles.

Pachulia will have surgery Wednesday, April 3rd, in Charlotte at Mercy Hospital, according to a release from the team.

“After thoroughly reviewing the possible options with Zaza, we all felt this was the best decision to insure Zaza’s complete recovery so that he can be at 100 percent going forward. Zaza is a professional with a strong work ethic. The Hawks will continue to be completely supportive as he tackles the return to play process,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry.

In Pachulia’s place, the Hawks have elected to play Johan Petro and Ivan Johnson significant minutes. The fan-favorite has missed the previous 15 consecutive games.

The expected recovery time following surgery is approximately six months. Pachulia is a free agent after this season.

Zaza Pachulia’s high motor, energy off the bench and nasty altercations with some of the league’s elite players have made him a fan-favorite with the Atlanta Hawks, but more importantly a key player in it’s playoff rotation.

This season, Pachulia has been hampered with a nasty Achilles injury that won’t seem to go away. Originally diagnosed as tendinitis in the Achilles around January 22, reports have now surfaced that the veteran center is concerned about tearing the tendon, which has led to his increasing absence from the floor.

“Right now, I can just say that I’m out indefinitely,” Pachulia told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday. “We are in the process of different treatments. There is no timeframe. All I can say is it is indefinite. There is no report from the doctors yet. Basically, every day matters. We are expecting it to get better. We don’t know when or how soon. Hopefully the treatments will help.”

During his extended absence, Ivan Johnson was expected to garner more minutes and a larger role. With a thin roster as it is, head coach Larry Drew was forced to shift around the roster, essentially pushing Johan Petro into Pachulia’s role as occasional starter and big off the bench. Continue Reading…