Hawks Weekly Flight: Week 14

Hawks Season Preview
Dennis Schroder (Getty Images)

Don’t look now but the Hawks aren’t the worst team in the NBA anymore.

 

This week featured back to back impressive wins where the Hawks did something that they have struggled to do all season; close out a close game. In fact, coming in to Saturday’s matchup with the Bulls, the Hawks had won 6 of their previous 7 home games. This was making the “tank” portion of the fanbase nervous. After having a solid hold on last place in the NBA for most of the season, Atlanta has caught (more like Orlando and Sacramento have free-fallen) Orlando and Sacramento in the standings.

Here is an updated look at the standings via ESPN.com as of Saturday Evening at 9:00 PM.

NBA Standings
NBA Standings (ESPN.com)

As you can see, despite being tied for last in the league, the team’s record isn’t “too bad”. In previous seasons, the worst team in the NBA typically wins around 15 games. Atlanta is currently on track to win around 25.

Don’t worry tankers, our schedule to finish the season is brutal.

Despite the early week success vs the Spurs and Pelicans, the Hawks fell flat Saturday evening against the Bulls. This coming week, Atlanta closes up the homestand and makes a quick jog up to Charlotte to visit Dwight Howard. But first, let’s take a look back at this week’s 3 games.

1/15/18 Vs San Antonio W 102-99

Hawks’ defense clamps down late for second win over the Spurs in almost two decades. Despite a horrible start to the game (SA led 18-4 early) the Hawks dug down to take the lead before the 1st quarter was even over. From there it was a back and forth affair. Effort wise it was one of the best performances of the year, even though San Antonio was without Kawhi Leonard. Hawks showed poise and composure down the stretch, something that has been a huge issue this year and were able to close out the tight game. However, up 3 points with 7 seconds to go Ersan Ilyasova nearly fouled a Spur before the ball was inbounded which would’ve awarded San Antonio the ball back after a free throw. Thankfully, replay determined that it was just a common foul. Dennis Schroder was spectacular in what was one of the most entertaining games of the year. He finished with 26 Points, 5 Rebounds and 6 Assists as well as the game sealing layup. Ersan added 20 while Collins and Dedmon chipped in 12 Points. Lamarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 25. Attendance: 15,806 (Sellout)

1/17/18 Vs New Orleans W 94-93

Kent Bazemore sends New Orleans to another loss after leading with 10 seconds. The Hawks found themselves on the good side of a tale of two halves. Down by as many as 19 points and 15 at the half, the Hawks came storming back in the 3rd quarter. Atlanta did it with an increase in defensive pressure. New Orleans was able to score 60 in the first half but was only able to muster up 33 second half points. After Anthony Davis’ pair of Free Throws put the Pelicans up by 5 with 2:37 remaining, it looked like the Hawks were headed toward defeat but as Atlanta has shown all season, there was no giving up. Kent Bazemore’s step back jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining gave the Hawks the 94-93 lead. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Baze also tipped the pass causing a whole precious second to wind off the clock. Boogie Cousins claimed to be fouled on the potential game winner but the L2M report deemed that was not the case (he in fact, fouled Ersan Ilyasova). After scoring 45 in the back to back previous games, Davis only scored 8 while Cousins scored 19. Kent Bazemore led the way with 20 Points and the game winner and John Collins had 18 on 7/8 shooting. Dennis Schroder dished out 15 Assists which was a career high for a non OT game. Here is Phil’s postgame video recap. Attendance: 10,894

 

1/20/18 Vs Chicago L 113-97

The weather outside warmed up Saturday but the Hawks did not. During an 82 game NBA season, there are going to be some nights where you just don’t have it. This was one of those nights. Atlanta seemed to lack any sort of rhythm, falling short on many jumpshots as well as giving up way too many dunks and layups. This game was actually more of a blowout than the score indicates. Chicago led by 22 just 2 minutes into the 4th quarter. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 18 Points and 5 Assists. The only other Hawk in double figures was Dewayne Dedmon with 11. As a team, Atlanta shot 11/48 from three and at one point were 4/37. Robin Lopez led the Bulls with 20 points. Here is Ryan’s postgame video recap. Attendance: 15,597

What’s Up Next

1/22/18 Vs Utah

Atlanta will look to get back on track vs the struggling Jazz. Look for the Hawks to have a more concerted effort at taking “good” shots after the poor shooting performance Saturday. Prediction: Hawks 102 Jazz 95 Attendance Prediction: 12,104

1/24/18 Vs Toronto

After the Raptor’s front line demolished the Hawks in the 34 point November loss, Atlanta put up a much better effort a few weeks ago in Toronto. Look for the Hawks to put up another good fight but Toronto’s bigs and depth will simply be too much. Prediction: Raptors 111 Hawks 95 Attendance Prediction: 13,422

1/26/18 @ Charlotte

Our old buddy Dwight had his way with us back in October, but Charlotte has been a mess the past month or so. Atlanta’s pace and space will force Dwight out the paint on defense which will spell disaster for Charlotte. Prediction: Hawks 109 Hornets 101

News and Notes

  • Josh Magette is back in Atlanta from the G-League
  • DeAndre’ Bembry, Tyler Cavanaugh and Isaiah Taylor have been sent to the G-League
  • DeAndre’ faces a minute restriction in Erie as he continues to nurse his Groin Injury
  • Bud appears to be tinkering with the rotation as we’ve seen some different looks this week
  • Look for the Hawks to make a couple of trades by the Feb. 8 Deadline. Read more about that here
  • Hawks remain 30th in Attendance
  • Hawks new Two-Way Contract Signee, Andrew White is currently with Erie
  • Taurean Prince is really struggling since hurting his finger in LA a couple of weeks ago

Here is a look at how our Hawks players have performed on the floor via Hawks.com

Hawks stats
Hawks stats (Hawks.com)

A few things of note

  • Dennis can be the first Hawk player to average 20 PPG since Joe Johnson nearly a decade ago
  • Dennis’ 3 Point % has dipped down to 30%
  • Taurean’s recent slump has decreased his 3 Point % below 40%
  • John Collins is still shooting a blistering 56% from the field despite taking more jumpshots since returning from injury
  • Dennis is only averaging 2.6 Turnovers Per Game which is great for a Point Guard who handles the ball that much

Record Last Week: 2-1

Total Season Record: 13-32. 14th East (Tie). 28th NBA (Tie).

Predicted Record This Week: 2-1

Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil

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Phil Veasley
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil

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