Atlanta Hawks’ Top 5 Performers From Jan. 27 to Feb. 1
Atlanta Hawks' Top 5 Performers
This was an interesting week for the Atlanta Hawks. They were slated to play four games this week, but Mother Nature had different plans for the city of Atlanta. A winter storm shut down the city, which forced the Hawks to postpone their game with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Turns out the break may have been a blessing in disguise for a team looking to get healthy.
In their opening game this week, Atlanta faced the Oklahoma City Thunder led by their superstar Kevin Durant. The Hawks led most of the game while playing without some of their best players on the court such as Jeff Teague. However, in the end Durant was too much down the stretch as the Thunder pulled out a 111-109 win over Atlanta.
The week didn’t start off the way the Hawks wanted, but they caught a break when the game against the Pistons was canceled due to the snow and ice that hit the Atlanta area. Teague wouldn’t have been available to play against Detroit and got a much-needed day off to recover from his ankle injury he suffered not too long ago. However, he wasn’t the only one that benefited from the unexpected time off. The whole team got to rest their legs and get ready for their next two contests.
After an unexpected break, the Hawks responded in a big way to get over the loss to Oklahoma City. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, the offense lit up the NBA’s worst defense for 125 points in a blowout win on the road. Philadelphia couldn’t handle the balanced attack of the Hawks as seven players managed to score in double figures.
Their next game against the Minnesota Timberwolves posed a harder challenge than the 76ers, but once again Atlanta used another offensive explosion to get the win at Philips Arena. Kevin Love tried his hardest to pull out the win for his team, but in the end his 43 points and 19 rebounds were not enough to overcome the offensive juggernaut that coach Mike Budenholzer has created here in Atlanta.
The amount of offense this week for the Hawks made my choices for the top five performers of the week a lot harder. A number of starters contributed great efforts in every game, but so did a couple of bench players in order to help lead Atlanta to a 2-1 record this week. However, there can only be five, so without further ado, here is my list of the top five performers of the week for the Hawks.
5. Jeff Teague
Teague only played in two games this week, but in those two games Atlanta won both with their starting point guard back in the lineup. In his first game back since the ankle injury, he made an immediate impact against the 76ers by dishing out eight assists and scoring 12 points in limited action to secure the win. However, Teague's performance against the Timberwolves is what earned him the No. 5 spot on the list. He scored 19 points to go along with eight assists to prevent Minnesota from stealing a win from the Hawks at Philips Arena.
4. DeMarre Carroll
DeMarre Carroll is having an amazing season with Atlanta and this week was no different for the energetic small forward. Carroll didn't have his best defensive performance against Durant, but it's impossible to stop the best player in the league right now so he gets a pass. He still finished with 15 points and five steals in the game, but his play the rest of the week was a big reason why the Hawks won their next two. Against Philadelphia, he scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists in a great effort on the road. Carroll then followed up that performance with another impressive stat line in the win over Minnesota. He provided 19 points, five rebounds, three steals and four assists in order to stave off the Love-led Timberwolves at home and earned himself a spot at No. 4 on my list after his effort last night.
3. Mike Scott
I don't think the play of Mike Scott is going to stop any time soon. Scott is on a tear with the Hawks since the injury to Al Horford and this may just be the beginning for the young power forward. This week, he really made an impact in every game off the bench for the Hawks. Especially his performance against Philadelphia, which earned him the No. 3 spot on my list of the top performers. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the second quarter alone, the most by any player for Atlanta this season, to take the lead away from the 76ers at that point and the Hawks never looked back following his spark off the bench. He also played well against the Timberwolves, extending his streak to 11 consecutive games scoring in double figures as he finished with 14 points and six rebounds to help his team get a great win at home.
2. Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver makes the list at No. 2 over Scott, but for only one reason. His great night shooting the basketball against the Timberwolves was the difference between winning or losing. He didn't record a single three in the first half, but in the third quarter he went off at a crucial time in the game. He scored 12 of his 24 points in the third alone, which included a trio of three-pointers to push the game in favor of the Hawks and pull out a close win over Minnesota.
1. Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap will be going to the NBA All-Star game for the first time in his career and deservedly so after what he's done with Atlanta this season. Since the injury to Horford, Millsap took it upon himself to carry the team on his shoulders and keep them in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. His selection was justified after another great slate of games for the physical power forward this week. Despite fouling out against the Timberwolves, he still contributed 20 points, 13 rebounds and three steals in order to secure the win. He also had a big game against the Thunder and almost helped Atlanta get a huge win on the road against the Western Conference's best team. However, his 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists were not enough to overcome Durant's late game heroics.