Atlanta Hawks’ Top 5 Performers of the Week
Atlanta Hawks' Top 5 Performers
This was an interesting week for the Atlanta Hawks in their four games. On their home court at Philips Arena, the Hawks played like a team that can beat anybody in the league as evidenced by their two huge wins over the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets. However, on the road Atlanta is a totally different story. This week the Hawks could not manage to pull out one win on the road despite playing two teams with losing records, the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies. Atlanta challenged their opponents in every game and had multiple chances to pull out at least one win on the road this week, but failed to deliver clutch baskets at crucial times late in the game away from home.
Even though the Hawks managed to only go 2-2 on the week, it seems that the team is starting to find their identity without Al Horford in the lineup. In the four games during this stretch, Atlanta did not rely on their offensive abilities to outscore opponents, but instead focused their attention on the defensive side of the ball. There were mixed results in terms of wins and losses, but the focus on defense really paid off for the Hawks as they competed in every game this week.
You can tell that all of the players are really starting to trust one another on the defensive end and the results may not show now. However, down the road, the attention to detail on defense should pay huge dividends come playoff time. In the four games this week, Atlanta only allowed one team to reach the 100 point mark and kept two teams from even reaching 90 points. The most impressive performance on defense came against the Rockets as the Hawks stopped a team that averaged 105.8 points going into the game to only 80 points in a big win at Philips Arena. However, despite two outstanding games at home, their defensive intensity on the road must improve after the effort tonight against the Grizzlies. Eventually, I believe the Hawks will get there, but this will come with time as they all continue to learn to play together as one unit.
While the starters were a big reason for the difference in effort on the defensive end; I would say the bench played an even greater role as multiple players stepped up to provide the Hawks with a much needed spark on both ends of the floor. Defensively, a couple of big men really elevated their games in order to give Atlanta the rebounding and shot-blocking presence needed to be a good team defensively. On offense, only one guy took his game to the next level, but that one guy impacted the game so much that my list of the top five performers may surprise you with who’s at the top this week. So without further ado, check out my latest rankings for the Hawks' top five performers of the week.
5. Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver had an up-and-down week for the Hawks, but he still managed to extend his NBA record for at least one three-pointer in consecutive games to 107. His best performance came against the Rockets as he recorded 20 points, five rebounds and three steals in the huge victory at home. Korver also played well against the Pacers by scoring 17 points in the game. But on the road this week, he failed to even reach 10 points in both games which is why he finds himself at No. 5 on my list.
4. Elton Brand
The veteran Elton Brand had a huge week for the Hawks. He seems to be finding his role on the team as one of the first guys off the bench for coach Mike Budenholzer. When Brand enters the game, he provides Atlanta with the defensive rebounding and shot-blocking presence that the team needs due to the loss of Horford's production down low. Against the Rockets, he matched Dwight Howard in rebounds with 11 in less minutes and really was a major reason for the impressive win over the Rockets at home.
3. Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague has hit a bit of rough patch lately, but still continues to be the driving force to the Hawks' success on the season. This week, Teague was not the best distributor of the basketball as his highest assist total during these four games was six assists. However, he picked up his scoring production and scored 15 points or more in three out of the four games which is why he earned a spot at No. 3 on the list.
2. Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap continues to step up his game in order to fill the void left by Horford's injury with another slate of impressive games this week. If Millsap played a little better against the Pacers, he would be first on my list. However, a weak four-point, six-rebound and five-assist performance caused a fall from the top for the power forward. In the other three games, he was his usual self as he recorded 16, 20 and 21 points to lead the Hawks to a 2-2 record for the week.
1. Mike Scott
Mike Scott earned the No.1 spot on my list because of his unbelievable play off the bench for Atlanta this week. Especially, his effort against the Rockets which really set him apart from the rest of the players on the list. Scott came off the bench and provided the team with the necessary spark to get the momentum going in favor of the Hawks by scoring eight of Atlanta's ten points in the first quarter. He hit a couple more crucial buckets later in the game to finish with 14 points, but his effort in the first really was the difference between winning and losing this game. The rest of the week, Scott did much of the same recording two 15-point performances off the bench which is amazing for a bench player, and the reason why he earned the top spot on my list.