Tim Hardaway’s recent strong performances earned him a third straight start Saturday night in a comfortable win against the Orlando Magic 113-86. Hardaway has had confidence in his abilities since his days in New York, but this year seems different.
Things haven’t always been great for him, just last year he struggled to see playing time and battled a nagging groin injury. Hardaway’s dedication and will to get better and block distractions could point to why he’s performing so well this season.
Let’s start from January 1st where Tim Hardaway and Paul Millsap led a fierce overtime comeback against one of the best teams, the San Antonio Spurs. He matched his career-high with 29 points, including six 3-pointers. His long-range shot with 3.3 seconds left, tied the game and forced overtime.
As of Saturday, he currently has the best offensive rating on the team for anyone who receives regular playing time. Atlanta has also outscored its opposition by 143 points with Hardaway on the court this season and has been outscored by 171 points with him on the bench. Who would have guessed this?
Thursday night would be a test for the Hawks facing Dwight Howard’s former team the Houston Rockets. The Hawks were outplayed on both ends from the first quarter up until the final 8 minutes down 20 points. Then Hardaway bursts for 23 points, outscoring the entire Rocket team in the fourth to take the 113-108 win, in which he scored a career high 33 points.
Hardaway has been a instant scoring option whenever he’s on the court and Coach Budenholzer makes sure to leave him in when he gets hot. It is apparent that having faith from his coaching staff and teammates boosts his confidence to take and hit tough shots when desperately needed.
Being that he will become a restricted free agent this summer, there will be a list of offers the Hawks will have to decide to match. Having a starting role or not, we should expect that he can continue to perform this often and be a vital part in the Hawks’ long term plans.
Hawks are currently sitting at the fifth seed, a half game behind Washington and Toronto for a close race for third seed.