December 13, 2016: Magic vs. Hawks
The Hawks should be embarrassed by this performance against the Magic. The Hawks gave up 131 points, a season high for the Magic, a team that scores 94 points per game. The Magic, the lowest scoring team in the Eastern conference, scored 37 points above their season average. They also made 15 threes, another season best. Elfrid Peyton, the defensive minded point guard who shoots around 20% from three, made three 3-pointers on his way to a career high 26 points. It seems like teams always have their best games against the Hawks. Atlanta hasn’t held a team to under 100 points since November 15th, a game that they still lost. The Suns scored 109, the Pistons scored 121, and the Raptors scored 128. The interior defense has been fine, but the three-point defense has been atrocious. To give up 15 threes to the sorry Magic offense is truly incredible. It is hard to believe the Magic have ever made 15 threes in warm-ups, let alone a real game. The two positives would be Thabo and Dwight. Thabo Sefolosha had 17 points and a pair of steals, and Dwight had 20 points on 9-10 shooting, which begs the question: why didn’t he get more shots. Dwight Howard was dominating in the paint, but he wasn’t given the chances he needed to win the game.
Points: Dwight Howard, 20
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 16
Assists: Dennis Schröder, 13
December 16, 2016: Hawks vs. Raptors
This game is exactly how the Hawks want to play every night. Dwight Howard dominated down low with 27 points and 15 rebounds and Dennis Schröder had 24 points. Off the bench, Korver, Delaney, and Bazemore all made huge impacts on the game. Baze had 7 points, but it was his energy, not scoring, that helped the team. Delaney had 10 points, once again making a solid contribution from the bench. It was Korver, however, that stole the show. He hit six threes on his way to a season best 19 point game. It was great to see Korver getting back to his old ways of sharpshooting. There was so much to like about this game. The offense was flowing, the ball was moving and the shooters were getting open shots, and they were actually hitting them. Dwight Howard also got the opportunities that he needs, which hasn’t always been happening.
Points: Dwight Howard, 27
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 15
Assists: Dennis Schröder, 6
December 17, 2016: Hornets vs. Hawks
Another game with a double-digit halftime deficit, but as has been the case in the past few weeks, another ferocious comeback by the Hawks. They even captured the lead, but it slipped away. Yet again, a typically role-playing bench player singlehandedly dismantled the Hawks. This time, it was sharpshooting Marco Belinelli. He made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, all of them well covered and off balance shots that would ordinarily never go in. This has been the most frustrating trend of the season. Tim Frazier, Louis Williams, Jodie Meeks, Jon Leuer, Larry Nance Jr, and now Maro Belinelli. They all have two things in common. They are all having mediocre seasons, and they have all had their best games against the Atlanta Hawks. This is not because of coach Bud’s game plan, nor because of bad defense. Maybe Dennis Schröder texts them something mean before the game, or they just really like the warm Georgia weather. If anyone has any ideas, the Hawks would love to know.
Points: Tim Hardaway Jr, 21
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 23
Assists: Dennis Schröder, 6