Hawks Blitzed In Road Trip Opener

Sunday, March 2, 2014
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns

A few thoughts after tonight’s 129-120 loss to the Suns:

Hawks vs. Suns
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– Once again the Hawks had no answer for their opponent defensively.  They’ve now allowed 100 or more points in their last eight losses, and once again rotations were the issue.  As has been the case during the rough patch, the Hawks didn’t defend the ball well.  The Suns’ ball handlers consistently beat Hawks defenders off the dribble, causing defenders to have to help, which led to open shooters.  The Suns finished 15-23 from three, and most of those makes were uncontested.

– For the fourth straight game, the aggressive Jeff Teague was back.  He scored 25 points, his fourth straight game with at least 25, and handed out seven assists.  As he goes, so does the Hawks offense, and the offense has been good the past four games with Teague in attack mode.

Mike Muscala made his NBA debut, playing 20 minutes.  He looked good at times, and there are certainly things he needs to work on.  Overall, a good first outing from him with four points and five rebounds.

Kyle Korver was one of only two Hawks players with a positive +/- rating, finishing +22.  Things certainly were working offensively with him in the game, as he went 6-7 from deep to extend his streak of consecutive games with a three to 127.  Defensively, he was very active, and his on-ball and help defense gave the Hawks a chance to close the gap in the second half.

– The Hawks had seven players reach double figures.  Only Muscala and Dennis Schröder, who played fewer than two minutes, didn’t reach the double figure plateau, so the guys did a good job finding shots for themselves and others.

– Defense was obviously a concern, but in particular, Phoenix’s ability to move the ball.  The Suns came in with a league-worst 19 assists per game but dished out 29 tonight.  That again goes back to the ball movement caused by poor Hawks rotations.

All in all, it was not Atlanta’s finest hour.  The offense was good, but Coach Bud certainly couldn’t have been pleased with the transition D, and the scorching Suns, sixth in the NBA in scoring, lit it up from deep.  Atlanta will need to find a way to slow down another hot offense Wednesday when it visits Portland.

Tweet of the Night

Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

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