Atlanta Hawks Struggle When DeMarre Carroll Doesn't Play

By Andrew Shaw
DeMarre Carroll
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarre Carroll rightfully did not travel with the Atlanta Hawks to witness the recent birth of his daughter, and the team sure did miss him in the game against the Brooklyn Nets as the Hawks suffered a brutal defeat without their premier defender in the lineup.

He doesn’t miss many games, but the impact of Carroll on the outcome of games is becoming more apparent with every game he misses. This season, he has missed a total of three games, which is not that much at all. However, the results in the games he’s missed shows just how important he is to the Hawks’ success.

In the three games that Carroll has missed, Atlanta has only manged one surprising road win against the Boston Celtics. The losses, on the other hand, have been pretty ugly. In their most recent game against the Nets, the Hawks were run off the floor at the O2 Arena in London as Brooklyn lit up the scoreboard for 127 points in one of the worst performances I’ve ever witnessed defensively.

Joe Johnson, the player Carroll would have guarded if he played, went off for 29 points in a dominating performance that propelled his team to victory. I guarantee that if Carroll were to have played in this game, Johnson wouldn’t get 29 points and the Nets would get nowhere close to reaching 127 points.

In fact, in the game on the road against Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago, Atlanta only allowed the Nets to score 91 points with Carroll in the lineup. That’s a huge difference and clearly shows just how much he impacts the game with his defense.

The other game Atlanta struggled defensively was against the Orlando Magic when Carroll had to sit out with a sprained right thumb. The Hawks ended up losing to one of the worst teams in the NBA by a score of 109-102. Allowing 109 points is unacceptable no matter who plays, but especially when Orlando only averages 96 points per game for the year, which ranks 24th in the league.

The starters Carroll would have guarded, Tobias Harris and Aaron Affalo, also managed to score 17 and 21 points in the game. Want to know what the bench players did? Victor Oladipo and Maurice Harkless scored 15 and 11 points off the bench.

At some point in time, Carroll would have guarded all four players, and I know for a fact that all four would not have reached double-digit points if he played. He’s way too good of a defender with great size to allow a lot of players to beat him, but especially a weaker Magic roster.

As the season goes on, the Hawks will need Carroll to miss as few games as possible because with him in the lineup, Atlanta is a whole lot better on both ends of the floor. Nobody on the roster can match the intensity and effort he brings to the court every night, which is why he’s such a vital piece to the Hawks’ success.

Andrew Shaw is an Atlanta Hawks writer for Follow Him on Twitter @AShaw003, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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