After a 108-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers last night, the Atlanta Hawks are now on a six-game losing streak. There’s no question that injuries have played their part in the defeats, but as the losses continue to pile up, it’s becoming more apparent that the starters are failing to get the job done.
Usually when a team gets an extended period of time to rest their legs, you would expect them to be ready to go right from the get-go. Well, this wasn’t the case for the Hawks as they looked lackluster and slow in the first quarter against the Pacers. Indiana jumped out to a 22-5 lead because of Atlanta’s lack of execution on the offensive and defensive end of the court.
Going into the contest, the Hawks knew that stopping Paul George would be the highest priority, yet still they failed to make any attempt to slow down the All-Star. Kyle Korver and Cartier Martin were worked by the more athletic forward right from the start as George went off for 14 of his 26 points in the first quarter alone. He wasn’t the only one for Indiana who got off to hot start either.
David West and Lance Stephenson imposed their will on the poor defense of the Hawks as well in order to stretch the lead to 22 points in the opening period. With a 22-point lead and the best defense in the NBA, Atlanta dug themselves in way too big of a hole which would be impossible to climb out of.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they have no one to blame but themselves. The starters, who were dependable up until the Hawks’ recent six-game skid, were not good enough in order to help the team come out victorious on the road.
Even Atlanta’s All-Star and leader Paul Millsap failed to give a great performance which is something he’s done all year. He finished with only seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field. His teammate, Jeff Teague, also failed to make an impact in the game. Teague scored a mere eight points and dished out only two assists in the defeat. Any time your two most important players in the starting lineup fail to provide big games, you’re not going to win many games.
Especially against the Pacers, who have the best record in the league for a reason. In order to beat them, the Hawks needed one of their best performances of the season from both the starters and the bench.
However, last night only the bench held up their end of the bargain to keep the game even close because the starters failed to show up. Everyone in the starting lineup, besides Korver, looked like they were unprepared and lacked the energy needed to pull out a huge road victory.