The Hawks have plenty of talent, but can’t seem to consistently play smart basketball against the NBA‘s premier teams throughout all four quarters.
For example, Hawks big man Dwight Howard and point guard Dennis Schroder were too busy arguing during a sequence early in the third quarter in which Steph Curry — who is ONLY the best shooter in the world — was left wide open to drain a trey in their frustrated faces.
As Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard argue, Steph Curry runs down and drills a three pic.twitter.com/kHiNM5Pav2
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 7, 2017
According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Schroder was subsequently benched for also getting into it with Hawks head coach Mike Buldenhozer.
Story: Dennis Schroder benched after heated exchange with Dwight Howard leads to defensive breakdown.https://t.co/hl4O1bFfAu
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) March 7, 2017
In addition to the heated exchange between players, Schroder also had words with coach Mike Budenholzer followign the play. Budenholzer the benched Schroder, who played just 3:19 of the second half, in the 119-111 loss. Budenholzer called it a coach’s decision.
Schroder said he didn’t understand the discipline and wants a meeting to discuss. Howard said such a conversation would not a bad thing. Several other Hawks players wanted to put the incident behind them and move forward.
The slumping Hawks need no such distractions as they enter the stretch run of the regular season and playoffs still trying to get on the same page. Budenholzer made his example of Schroder despite the point guard’s 23 first-half points, including 19 in the first quarter, which had the Hawks up by as many as 15 points.
“Just us staying together is the bigger point,” Budenholzer said of his decision. “We’ve got to stay together and find a way to move on to the next play. Those things are important.”
Atlanta is now 34-29, which is currently good for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
However, if the Hawks can’t eliminate the plethora of boneheaded mistakes they make, a first-round exit is guaranteed to be their fate in the postseason.