January 29th, 2017: Knicks vs. Hawks
The Hawks vs. Knicks season series has been a thrill ride, and this game was no different. In December, the Hawks won in OT by four points. Two weeks ago, Dennis Schröder hit the game winning three with 20 seconds left, and the Hawks prevailed by one points. Coming into this game, there were high expectations for a compelling battle, and it did not disappoint. The Knicks led for most of the game, but in the fourth quarter, the Hawks took control, and it looked like they were going to pull away. However, Melo tied the game with a layup to send it to OT. In OT, it took another clutch shot from Carmelo to tie up the game, so it continued into 2nd OT. Melo and Howard both fouled out, but neither team seemed to be effected. This time, Courtney Lee hit a ridiculous three pointer to tie the game up and send it to a third overtime! The third OT was the least eventful, but this time it was the Hawks, specifically Dennis Schröder, that hit the game tying shot to send it to this seasons first quadruple OT game. Neither team showed any signs of fatigue, knocking down 5 consecutive threes, both of the Hawks’ coming from Kent Bazemore. Finally, the Knicks could not make a last second three to tie the game and the marathon, which lasted longer than the Australian Open final, mercifully came to a close.
The starters for the Hawks all had some of the best games of their season. They all scored at least 19 points, and Millsap, Schröder, and Bazemore all had more than 20, with Millsap scoring a season high 37. There were many people who thought that Joel Embiid should have made the All-star game instead of Millsap, but Paul proved himself in this game. He played for more than an hour, including the entire 4th quarter and all four OT’s. He is one of the most dedicated and hardest working players in the game and it takes serious heart to do what he did in this game. Bazemore also had one of his best games. He went 4-5 from three with 24 points. January has been a great month for Bazemore who is starting to play like his big contract suggested he would. Mike Dunleavy had a very efficient game and the team outscored the Knicks by 21 when he was on the court. Dunleavy has been exceptionally better than Korver since acquiring him, because he has shown other abilities besides spot up shooting, which he can also do very well. It wasn’t long ago that the Hawks were a .500 team jockeying for a 7th or 8th seed. An awesome 11-4 record in January has gotten the Hawks back to 4th in the east and within reach of the 1st seed; just 4.5 games back after a dreadful January for the Cavaliers.
Points: Paul Millsap, 37
Rebounds: Paul Millsap, 19
Assists: Dennis Schröder, 15
February 1st, 2017: Hawks vs. Heat
There was never really a chance for the Hawks to win this game. Even though it had been a few days, the 4 OT thriller had to still be weighing on the players, and they ran into one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Heat are on a ten game win streak, in which they also beat the Warriors. There is not a whole lot to say about this game, the Heat did what they have been doing all month long, winning. The one notable detail would be that, for the first time this season; Hassan Whiteside won the matchup between him and Dwight Howard.
Points: Kent Bazemore, 14
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 11
Assists: Deandre Bembry, 3
February 2nd, 2017: Hawks vs. Rockets
This game was incredible. Earlier when I reviewed the Knicks game I talked about how the Hawks have been winning the close games this year, and it was no different against the Rockets. The Hawks were down by twenty points with just 8 minutes to go, and it looked like another blowout loss for Atlanta. Then, Tim Hardaway Jr. shocked the world. He put on a show in the fourth quarter, scoring twenty five of his career high 33 points in the final quarter to lead an incredible comeback against Dwight Howard’s old team. The resiliency of this Hawks team has been awesome to watch all year long. This is the second game in which the Hawks have been down by at least 20 points, and still have come back and won. The Hawks are 3-0 this season in OT games, versus a dismal 0-5 record in OT games last year. Hardaway and Millsap have both turned into clutch-shot-making machines, but Schröder and even Mike Dunleavy have also hit a few big shots. The ability to win the big games is a vital difference between this team and coach Bud’s team’s of the past, and it will be an important aspect if the Hawks want to make a deep playoff run.
Points: Tim Hardaway Jr. 33
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 23
Assists: Kent Bazemore, 6
February 4th, 2017: Magic vs. Hawks
The Hawks took the lead early and never let up, dominating this game from start to finish. With so many nail biters of late, it was nice to finally see the Hawks win by a large margin. Malcolm Delaney had a solid game, leading the bench in scoring with 12 points. Hardaway continued his hot shooting making three 3-pointers, and Dennis Schröder had a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists. The ball movement was great and the offense looked about as efficient as it has all year long. The Hawks have shown the ability to be an elite team in the league, and this game was one of those nights. If the team can become more consistent, games like this will become much more common.
Points: Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. 21
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 13
Assists: Dennis Schröder, 10
Featured Image: Peachtree Hoops