The body without a head. The Atlanta Hawks attempted to destabilize the power structure of an NBA team, so what do they have in common with a religious group that made silverware?
A weekly wrap up of who did what this week and how good or bad they did it.
Grade Oooh, Kill Em
Starting on Sunday January 11th, the Hawks blew out every team by a wide margin. Atlanta defeated the Wizards 120-89, The Sixers 105-87, the Celtics 105-91, the Drakes 110-89 with the closest defeat being the 107-99 defeat of the Bulls.
The Hawks have won 12 straight and really, what’s going to stop them at this point from running the table? Just put their season on CPU simulate and let them go right to the finals.
Grade A Bunch of People on Twitter Saying “Some Em if You Got Em”
Uncle Jeff took up his new residency in Memphis and the Grizzlies picked up the pace after having a rough time during the holidays. Yes Zach Randolph is back and healthy, but the Grizz needed an offensive punch that wasn’t being picked up by Courtney Lee/Vince Carter.
Memphis has a way of revitalizing a career (see last year, C Lee & James Johnson) and Green might be another one who gets the Fountain of Youth treatment. In his first game his shot was a little off, but in the last two he settled and scored 21 points against Orlando on 44.4% shooting and 17 points on 42% shooting against the Trail Blazers. Stability on scoring might be the key to help the Grizzlies in the long run and although fans are really anxious about his presence, so far, so good.
Portland Trail Blazers
Grade A Call to Robin Lopez asking him to stop watching Batman and check on his rehab
The Blazers lost three in a row for the first time all season. Drops against the Clippers, Spurs and Grizzlies are nothing too embarrassing, but Wesley Matthews was awful in two of those losses and the Blazers are relying on Chris Kamen and Meyers Leonard too much for comfort. The Blazers got out rebounded by the Grizzlies and the Spurs.
Robin’s return would help them greatly in the middle, but an injury like that always takes its time.
Grade You Dropped Something There
Back to back night wins against the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls shows how far this years Wizards have come from last season. The Spurs game was helped by Kevin Seraphin coming off the bench for 17 points and 8 rebounds. And they kept Tim Duncan to 11 points & 12 rebounds.
The next night against new rival Chicago, saw Paul Pierce score 22 points on 12 attempts, the team outrebound the Bulls by 10 and John Wall with 21 points and 9 assists. This was the fifth straight win for the Wizards in the United Center.
Then the had another back to back with the Brooklyn Nets and all of the sudden they’re playing so bad, fans were tuning out in droves. Wizards lost 102-80 behind the 26 points of Jarrett Jack. That night was the second highest scoring night for Jack this season and the Wizards had no answer for him or Brook Lopez coming off the bench. They met again the next night and steadied the ship, winning 99-90 with Nene knocking down 20 points and Marcin Gortat got the double double on 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Anthony took #KnicksTape to a new level this week by being caught in a solicitation sting in Washington DC when he was in town to call the Michigan State-Maryland game. He has since been suspended indefinitely by CBS and Turner Sports for the rest of the year.
Trip Metal is the nebulous growing force, littering the underground with implied confusion. But if you follow the TM on twitter one diversion tactic is the invention of new micro-genres. And what better way to understand every NBA team than a specific genre for them? First I go in on the Eastern Conferece from worst to first.
New York Knicks
Ambient Vacuum Cleaner
They’re expensive and they suck.
It’s like pinstripes, but different.
Venture Capitalist Core
Stock Pile Assets! (chugga breakdown)
Smoove Free Zone
Circa Christmas 2014 till present
Vaping in a Parking Lot Waiting to Leave This Town Core
Larry Bird ain’t walking into that parking lot
90’s Starter Jacket
The Pride is Back
This even goes meta once Prokorov said he was gonna sell.
This Bosh Town!
4th Wave Beach Boys
Sea Captain Hats are not optional
Greek Paul Stretch
He’s European? You probably haven’t heard of him.
Windy City Endurance
40 Minutes A Night Or Die
Started From the Bottom of the Division
Wall of John
Linked Arms. True Hearts. Can’t Lose.
Bring the Swagger back
This was the Brandon Jennings game ya’ll. 34 points in 34 minutes with 50 percent shooting from the field, 50% from three point line and only one missed free throw.
Jennings also robbed Kyle Lowry in the final seconds to secure the win and oh hey, the Pistons are two games out of the 8th spot in the east. They have won 9 of the last 10 and that lone loss was a three point loss to the Atlanta Hawks who are basically just toying with the rest of the NBA at this point.
Greg Monroe had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jodie Meeks is continuing his 6th Man campaign with 13 points and 3 rebounds and the Pistons only had 8 turnovers all game.
Ride with Stan Van for the rest of the years or else.
The Wizards outside shooting is struggling with Bradley Beal going 2 for 5 and Rasual Butler going 2 for 6 behind the arc. While the Hawks as a team shot 51.6% from three with Kyle Korver, Pero Antic and Dennis Schroder all shooting 40% or better.
The Wizards kept the Hawks starters in check, but the bench fell apart in what’s becoming a regular trend for the Wizards. Because the Hawks got out to such a fast start, Andre Miller only played seven minutes and no Wizards bench player scored above single-digits except Kevin Seraphin.
Jeff. Freaking. Teague. Shot 64.3% from the field, 75% from three points and lead the Hawks on their “West Who?” contests for a 96-86 win over the Grizzlies.
Teague finished with 25 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. The Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph again and Mike Conley was a worthy foe for Teague, but couldn’t contain him. Conley finished with 17 points on 46% shooting, but the Hawks are on a roll that cannot seem to be stopped.
For example, here’s a shot chart of the field goal percentage from December 2nd to last night-
The midrange game has some weakness, but that post and three point line game is too strong. Caw Caw, Indeed.
As the first week of January comes to a close, the Atlanta Hawks are in first place of the East for the first time since 1997. The Joe Johnson-Josh Smith heyday is now replaced with Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford.
Not only are the Hawks on top of the east, but are running circles around their opponents in the stronger Western Conference.
The two losses include a two-point, early season loss to the San Antonio Spurs where Tim Duncan had a double-double. Jeff Teague went 2 for 8 in the field and Kyle Korver went 3 for 10 and 1 of 5 from the three point line. And they still only lost by two points.
The Other loss was a fluky 114-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant had 28 points and Carlos Boozer had 20 and again, Kyle Korver’s shooting was off and he ended with 8 points.
Three of those eight wins came in a pre-Christmas flurry where they had three games in four days and defeated (in order) the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. All three of those games featured a different high scoring Hawk. Against the Rockets, Korver regained his shot for 22 points. Dennis Schroder took it to the Mavericks for 22 points and DeMare Carroll bested the Clippers for 25 points.
Those three wins came after a trip where they also defeated the Chicago Bulls(holding them to 86 points) and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Hawks ability to share the ball helps them confound the stronger Western opponents. Early wins had Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague sharing the top spot for scoring, but the fact that teams have seen Shelvin Mack put up 24 against the Cavs or DeMarre Carroll carve up the defensive minded Clippers. The weapons are too strong for opponents and although the health of that squad leaves fans breathless, the Hawks are as real as it gets.