March 28th, 2017: Suns vs Hawks
The Hawks needed this win, and they did exactly what they had to do get it. With three starters: Bazemore, Sefolosha, and Millsap all out, there are no easy wins, even against the Suns. The Hawks got out to a big early lead, stretching it to as much as 18 at one point. In the fourth quarter, the Suns came all the way back and even took a seven point lead. Dennis Schroder was apparently sick of losing as he came down the court and hit two cold-blooded threes to cut the Suns lead to one. The Hawks then took control and a huge Dwight Howard put back dunk all but sealed the much needed win for Atlanta. The absence of the starters may actually pay dividends in the playoffs as the bench has seen a big increase in minutes, giving them a chance to gel and become a more dangerous group when the starters come back healthy. Dennis Schroder once again struggled with turnovers, coughing the ball up eight times, a problem that has become less of an issue as the season has gone on. Ersan Ilyasova and Dwight Howard both had double-doubles, and Taurean Prince scored at least 15 for the second straight game.
Points: Dennis Schroder, 27
Rebounds: Ersan Ilyasova, 12
Assists: Dennis Schroder, 9
March 29th, 2017: Hawks vs 76ers
With this win, the Hawks have a 10-5 record on the second game of a back to back, the best record in the Eastern Conference. In his first game back from injury, Kent Bazemore had one of his best performances of the season, scoring 19 points and going 4-5 from three-point range. It was great to see Baze knocking down shots that he has not been able to much of the season. This game was really all about Dwight Howard. He scored 22 points to go along with 20 rebounds to capture his 12th double-double of the month, second in the NBA. This was also his third 20-20 game this season. Howard’s scoring average of 13.5 per game is the lowest since his rookie season, but his 12.9 rebounds per game are his best since his days in Orlando. Some other players also had some nice performances. Ilyasova scored 14 points in the first half, no doubt putting in the extra effort to beat his former team. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points, a good sign after a few games where he has struggled to find the bottom of the net. Overall, this was a very solid win with Millsap and Sefolosha still injured.
April 1st, 2017: Hawks vs Bulls:
This was a tough loss as Dennis Schroder once again struggled with turnovers. He scored a team high 29 points, but a key turnover in the final seconds of the game cost the Hawks a chance to win. The Bulls are a team that the Hawks have to beat, especially as they get closer and closer to Atlanta’s playoff spot.
Points: Dennis Schroder, 29
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 12
Assists: Dennis Schroder, 6
April 2nd, 2017: Hawks vs Nets
I would say that losing to the Nets is unacceptable, as they do have the worst record in the NBA, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They are 5-5 in their last ten games, the same record as the Grizzlies, Jazz, and Cavaliers. Still, this is a bad loss. The Hawks are now 2-8 over their last ten games, the worst record in the Eastern conference. Just weeks away from the playoffs, this is not how you want your team to be playing. The offense has been mediocre all year but it has been really terrible lately. Over the last 11 games the Hawks have scored at least 100 points just twice, losing both games. There seems to be no fight, no energy left in this team, a stigma about Dwight Howard’s teams that Atlanta has refused to believe all year.
Turnovers were once again a big issue for Dennis Schroder, who had a game high five TO’s. He is still just 24, so giving him the reigns like coach Bud has will result in stretches like this where Schroder is turning it over at an alarmingly high rate. Kent Bazemore and Paul Millsap, both returning from injury in the last few games, were a combined 5-20 from the field and 1-7 from three. Those two have to shake off the rust and everyone else must step up have if the Hawks want to win a playoff game, let alone a whole series.
Points: Dennis Schroder, 16
Rebounds: Dwight Howard, 11
Assists: Dennis Schroder, 8