Indiana @ Hawks Preview/ Teague’s return
Friday night recap:
Hawks trail by as many as 25 at home to the defending champion Cleveland
Cavaliers before storming back with an array of shots by Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway made five of nine 3-pointers and led the Hawks with a career-high 36 points, including 11 in the final period. Millsap had 12 of his 27 points in the fourth period. The Hawks gave up another bizarre shooting night to the Cleveland Cavaliers, having them tie a career high 25 three pointers made. Atlanta fought back to bring it to within one point around the two minute mark, but ex-hawk Kyle Korver sinks in a clutch three to extend the lead and it was a wrap from there.
The Hawks will be without coach Mike Budenholzer Sunday against the Indiana, who was suspended without pay by the NBA for Sunday’s game after bumping a referee after a controversial call during Friday’s loss.
Jeff Teague will get a second chance at his former team on Sunday at 1 p.m. after his 7 tenure with the Hawks, when the Pacers visit Atlanta for the first time this year. Teague was drafted with the 19th pick in the 2009 draft and played his first seven years with them.
While in Atlanta, he played in one All-Star game and also led tbe Hawks to their best season in franchise history (60-22 in 2014-2015). The Indiana native is averaging 15.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 60 games. One thing Atlanta is known for is sending their players to good situations, such as Korver to a contender in Cleveland, Shelvin Mack to Utah when they desperately needed a starting point guard, and Teague when he was traded to his hometown team before the 2016 draft.
Atlanta and Indiana are coming off close losses to a couple of the league’s premier teams. Atlanta (34-27) lost 135-130 to Cleveland on Friday, and Indianapolis (31-30) lost 100-99 to San Antonio on Wednesday. Atlanta is fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks trail Toronto by 2½ games for the fourth playoff spot. Indiana is tied for sixth place, three games behind Atlanta and 5½ games out of fourth place.
The Hawks signed veteran Jose Calderon to a free-agent deal and could see minutes today. Calderon had obtained a buyout from the Lakers and planned to go to Golden State. He will provide a veteran presence and outside shooting for the second unit, diving into Malcolm Delaney’s minutes. Atlanta’s schedule moving forward is very strong, including opponents such as the Warriors on Monday, Memphis twice, Toronto and Washington. This last stretch of games will tell us whether they are for real or not.