The Hawks lose a game but may have found a spark

Washington Wizards players mob Paul Pierce on the floor after his game winning shot as time expired after Game 3 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 103-101. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

Washington Wizards players mob Paul Pierce on the floor after his game winning shot as time expired after Game 3 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 103-101. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

Washington Wizards players mob Paul Pierce on the floor after his game winning shot as time expired after Game 3 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 103-101. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

The thrill of victory. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

WASHINGTON

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Hawks-Wizards game column, which can be found here.

1. The subs who brought the Hawks back deserved their chance to win the game. Mike Budenzholzer said as much afterward, and he’ll get no disagreement from this correspondent. The Hawks’ starters were terrible. (Here we note that Paul Millsap didn’t start because of flu-like symptoms but worked nearly 23 minutes.) The starters had been given their chance to make this a game and punted it away. (Not-so-fun fact: Kyle Korver took three shots the first three quarters, two of those off offensive rebounds.) The only reason this blowout became a buzzer-beater was that the Hawks’ bench players showed more professional pride than the regulars. Korver was deployed late in the game and missed what would have been a tying trey; DeMarre Carroll was used, albeit briefly, for defense. Otherwise, the subs had the floor. Rightly so.

2. Budenholzer saw this game as a teaching tool, and he should. “The way the group that finished played, we’re going to have to play like that,” he said. There was no reason for the 60-win Hawks to be outclassed by Wizards, who were playing without the injured John Wall, but that’s what happened over 3 1/2 quarters. Said Budenholzer: “None of us in our locker room feel great about the way we competed in the first three quarters … We have a good idea of what we have to do.” Then this: “To have a visual of what it takes (to play well) is always a positive. The feeling that was there for the majority of the game is also there, too.”

3. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Paul Pierce is a gamer. If the Wall-less Wizards had landed in overtime after blowing a 21-point lead, they’d have lost this game and more than this game — they’d probably have lost this series in five. For Pierce to bank home the winner after holding the ball for what seemed like forever and allowing Kent Bazemore to join Dennis Schroder in defending the final shot … well, that’s big-time. Schroder called it “a lucky shot,” but can anything Pierce does be called lucky? (Afterward he said he works on that shot — bank and all — against the bigger Marcin Gortat in practice, and you kind of believed him.)

Reader Comments 0

134 comments
ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

The Hawks win 60 games and are the #1 seed, and they're supposed to feel good about a close loss to a 5 seed?  Give me a break.  The Hawks had a tough time against a horrific 8 seed Brooklyn team and now are behind to a team that was reeling the 2nd half of the season.  And that team is missing its best player.  This post-season is an embarrassment for Atlanta, and sort of validates those critics who questioned whether Atlanta was as good as its record.

TruthSpeaketh
TruthSpeaketh

You stink it up against a team with their best players getting splinters in is A$$!!!

Falcaints
Falcaints

Yawn, Atlanta fans have seen this before. 2nd round and done.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

of course you let the subs finish the game...they're the only reason it was a game...Pierce's shot was luck...2 defenders draped on him and a bank shot from the top of the key...go dogs

coops34
coops34

The Hawks didn't deserve to win this game.  Coach Bud has done a terrible job with his rotations and lost the game twice (starting/playing Pero, and subbing in Korver in the final minutes). The starters should be embarrassed.  They have been playing soft for the entire playoffs.  Hopefully this game will be used as a teaching tool for not only the players but for the coach as well.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@coops34

Good to see you adopt a more realistic view of the team--instead of sniping constantly at the realists you insist on labeling "Debbie Downers."

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

Would have been nice to have Sefalosha to defend Pierce's shot - but, oh well.

1peatfor7
1peatfor7

Why were we down 21 points to begin with, seeing how their best player is in a suit.  There is no excuse for this loss. How do you not take advantage of a Wall-less Bullets?

pride
pride

pride just now

Why did Demarre refuse to go in the game on the final play?  He says it was physical.  Why has he become the leading scorer?  I say there is something going on under the surface that our crack reporters have not uncovered.  Does it have anything to do with free agency for he and Millsap and selfishness rearing its ugly head?

coops34
coops34

Live by the Pero, die by the Pero.

tmc
tmc

I say the following with full respect for coach Bud...

The problem with the Hawks in the post season is because of the change in coaching philosphy by coach Bud. The entire regular season the Hawks team ran the other team to death. They substituted regularly and wore out the other team. The 4th qtr in most of the games was usually won by the Hawks because the other team was exausted and couldn't keep up.

Now, it's the Hawks who look exausted and can't keep up. Why? cause coach rested his team the last month. And when they got to the playoffs, he changed his substitution to very little and asked the starters to go mega minutes. You can't turn it off and then expect to turn it back on. It's been proven over the a long period of time in sports. 

Coach Bud abandoned his bench and stopped using what the strength of his team is. RUN & SUBSTITUTE and wear them out. by increasing the starters minutes has had the opposite effect on the teams play.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@tmc

Insightful post.

I never agreed with resting the starters at the cost of actually losing some games down the stretch of the season. Champions play to win--every game.

tmc
tmc

i don't want to get rid of coach Bud by any stretch of the imagination. He is the best thing to happen to the Hawks in a long time.

But please don't change your coaching style just because it's the playoffs! we've had those coaches here with zero success.

mic404
mic404

Start Schroder over Teague, sub Muscala over Antic, and bring Mike Scott back into the rotation. This would be the formula for success for the Hawks moving forward, but coach Bud would never do it. The Hawks are a train wreck waiting to happen, I'm embarrassed as a Hawks fan. The only starter with any heart is DeMarre Carroll, Horford and Milsap showed me when things get tough they just pack it in.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

Schroder is a great off the bench player. When he has a good game and scores over 12 or 14 pts. they usually win. They will need the whole team to play good from here on out. What happened to the team that went a whole month without losing? What a time to go into a slump!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BobbyDawg

What happened to them?

The postseason happened to them--that's what--as it has quite a few of the past 47 years.

David McCallum
David McCallum

Please stop with the moral victory concept. There's no moral victory in sports, especially in the playoffs. If we are to accept MB's premise, then I fully expect the Hawks to win game four, period!

David McCallum
David McCallum

Game four will let me know one or the other what the Hawks are about. I don't care about x and o's at this point, I care about whether this team has a will to win, or like previous Hawks teams, will they wilt under pressure. 

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@David McCallum Coach Bud doesn't care about X's and O's either so it all boils down to having a man or men emerge with the will to win.  It always comes down to "a guy" in the postseason. 

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

@David McCallum If they don't have the will to win, even when the Wiz don't have the Wall to win, then the Hawks are TOAST!

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

There is no way Antic should have gotten more playing time than Mike Scott during this series against the Wizards.

tmc
tmc

@Rhetoric Pero is killing this team. He can't shoot. He can't play defense. He can't rebound. 

He can fake and take shoots though, with the best of them. But they are not going in. It's almost like with Josh Smith. The other team is leaving him open for a reason. HEY PERO, THEY WANT YOU TO SHOOT!

gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

@tmc @Rhetoric  You are right. 5 on 4 defense. Washington just loves when " it was not my fault"  Antic gets the ball and shoots because the chances of it going in are almost 0. I think Mike Muscala deserves the chance to play because when Milsap was out he shot 70% from the field and played great. If the Hawks resign Mr. Its not my fault, please let the team know that Antic is a pathetic clown!

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

This team won by passing the basketball to the open man, they have stopped passing so much, our open jumpers aren't falling. (see korver).

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Shroeder is right it was a lucky shot. I was glad  to see the reserves had some heart. They came very close to pulling the game off. I know these guys are suppose to be professionals, but thus far Randy Whittman is out-coaching Budenholzer and he's having a hard time of getting his team motivated to play. The Hawks were under the radar in the regular season. Nobody thought the would win their division or be the number one seed in the east. Now that their in the playoffs-- teams can game plan day in an day out. The Hawks aren't consistent at anything and that's the problem. I don't see passion and mental toughness in every game. After the all-star break the Hawks start reading there own press clippings and in that process their game has decline. At some point you have to win back to back games. The way the Hawks are playing I'm not sure they can pull it off.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DarlaLewis

It actually started the game before the all-star break, when they gagged up a 14-pt lead with 7-plus minutes left on their way to blowing one to the mediocre Celtics.

Derek5000
Derek5000

@DarlaLewis The only lucky part for Schroder was that Pierce didn't swish it.  When the Hawks switched and Pierce saw that who he had on him, he yelled to Beal to clear out, so he could take DS, who has a rep as a weak defender. Anybody who watched PP play for the Celtics knows that jab right, go left and step-back jumper move, and that PP has a history of hitting buzzer-beaters. DC should have been the one guarding PP, but for some reason he decided to call it an early evening.


gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

@DarlaLewis  The Hawks read the part the with John Wall out, this was going to be a cakewalk. The problem each NBA team has 12-15 of the best basketball players in the world. My disappointment with Hawks in this postseason is the complete lack of intensity starting with our all-star point guard  Jeff Teague. I love Teague but he is showing me that he may need to be else where.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

I predicted it would be tied 2-2 after 4 games after w lost game 1.  Were still on track to do good things!  

WPL
WPL

@BravesFan79 The only good thing is the hawks have about one more week before they will be on vacation.

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

@WPL @BravesFan79 The other good thing about them going on vacation is they have millions of $$$ to spend on vacation............and you are stuck with your miserable a$$.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Ive felt the entire playoffs that coach needed to open up his subs more.. especially with Pero playing like crap and Millsap half injured, and Teagues ankle.
No reason last night should of been Macs first minutes, he has the potential to be a spark off the bench!  

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

Why isn't Schroder out there all the time?.............guy runs like Forrest Gump.

WPL
WPL

@Stingshuh? He should be the stating point guard for this team, because right now they don't have one.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

@Stingshuh?  He takes horrible shots and doesn't pass the ball.

That's why he isn't starting.

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

What a great comeback!...........wish the ending would have turned out differently?........more games to play and more beer and hotdogs to sell.

willardkovacs
willardkovacs

Millsap is playing with a bad shoulder and the flu can't help. He is a STUD

WPL
WPL

@willardkovacs Millsap is worthless, he hasn't done anything in the playoffs.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@willardkovacs  Everybody is hurt You've seen Michael Jordon with the flu will his team to a victory. Lately Chris Paul on one leg willed his team to a victory over the Houston Rockets. No excuses - no explanations...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Stingshuh?

Same reason you continue to watch them.

Why do you keep changing your blog handle?