Short takes: The Hawks’ famous offense lies broken

Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore sits on the bench during the final minutes of the Hawks’ 94-82 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Atlanta Hawks' Kent Bazemore sits on the bench during the final minutes of the Hawks' 94-82 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Kent Bazemore contemplates the future, which looks … well, not rosy. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Hawks-Cavs Game 2 column, which can be found here. The Atlanta Hawks lost 94-82. They were awful.

1. The pace-and-space offense has thrown a shoe, as we say around the racetrack. If the Hawks did nothing else Friday — and they came very close to doing nothing at all — they got Kyle Korver going, if slightly. He scored 10 points in the game’s first 10 minutes, marking the first time he’d cracked double figures since Game 2 against Washington. But the emphasis on Korver threw everything else off-key. Al Horford didn’t take a first-quarter shot; Paul Millsap missed four of five first-quarter shots. The Hawks would finish with only 15 assists, even worse than the 19 of Game 1, which represented a previous playoff low. They missed 20 of 26 3-point shots. They’d scored 38 second-half points on Wednesday; they managed only 33 this time.

2. The team that sailed through the regular season looking as if it had all the answers appears not to have understood the questions that accompany postseason play. DeMarre Carroll, who played on a bad knee, said afterward that the Hawks lacked “energy.” How in the name of Arnold (Red) Auerbach does that happen? A No. 1 seed is playing at home, already down a game, knowing the Cavs are without not just Kevin Love but without Kyrie Irving this night … and it doesn’t play hard? How is that possible? “I don’t know, man,” Carroll said. “We just came out flat.”

3. The series isn’t over, but it kind of feels that way. LeBron James toyed with the East’s No. 1 seed Friday, scoring 30 points, taking nine rebounds and making 11 assists. Eight of those first nine assists resulted in 3-pointers. J.R. Smith, who made eight treys in Game 1, had only one in Game 2, but Iman Shumpert sank four, James Jones three and Matthew Dellevadova two. Minus two of their Big Three, the Cavs still managed to undress the team with four All-Stars. They still have to win twice more, but the Hawks will have to win twice in Quicken Loans Arena to win the series. Good luck with that.

Reader Comments 0

77 comments
Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Been a great season.  I have never seen a pro team get so much out of good but not great talent.  Everyone should chill, grab a couple of cold beers, and see what happens tonight.  It has been obvious through the playoffs that Teague and Korver are worn down.


Maybe Charlie Criss (fast Eddie is serving some prison time I think) and Antoine Carr can suit up-

RogerBurke
RogerBurke

They let lebron bounce around like a big old kangaroo and run all over the place I done watching his big butt fixed


odoggQ
odoggQ

The Hawks need an athletic big and they traded away the Payne. Yes a rookie, who they should have gotten ready for the playoffs. Millsap always struggle against taller teams when the game becomes a half-court game. He doesn't like getting his shot blocked and hesitates a lot. He is an undersized 4 and needs space to operate. The Hawks have to run with Korver trailing to space the floor. Unfortunately Korver is out for the rest of the playoffs.


Horford doesn't like contact. Yes, he got the put back against Washington but he plays soft as most guys in today's NBA. The problem is Tristian Thompson plays old school. So does Mozgov. 13 rebounds in two games, not going to cut it. 


And Jeff, hot and cold, he has the green light to flash to the basket, yet he dribbles over the half-court line, stops at the 3 point line to pass the ball when no one is picking him up... 

BCC0224
BCC0224

Not gonna give up hope - wearing one of my new Hawks shirts today. Still proud of the team, and loved the throwbacks from last night, about the only thing I loved about Game 2. 15 assists in the game is not Hawks basketball - that's Joe Johnson/Josh Smith era Hawks basketball. If anything, I have more room, thanks to the bandwagon fans jumping off... 
While highly unlikely, I remember the 1996 World Series - the Atlanta Braves had stomped a mud hole in the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Games 1 and 2, coming back to Fulton-County Stadium. However, the Yanks wound up sweeping the Braves at Fulton-County, and won Game 6 to win the World Series. But with Korver out, JYD Carroll not at 100%, don't believe Milsap is 100% either, and the NBA wanting LeBron and the Cavs in the Finals, it is very highly unlikely to happen. But then again, it would make for a great story. 

GTBee
GTBee

It's not broken. Cleveland just has an awesome defense. I love Atlanta and the Braves but as an Ohioan, we never ever give up on the Browns or the Cavs. Let's go Cavs! True 2 Cleveland!!

moboman
moboman

@GTBee we are getting killed by Cavs three point shooting, and we ARENT making ours.  Hawks getting open looks and not knocking em down.

kmarcel3
kmarcel3

There is no one on the Atlanta Hawks squad that can shut down LeBron. If the Hawks try to defend LBJ with Horford, the results will be at least the same or worse as when they tried Milsap on him. He's too quick for big men.

huffyman
huffyman

Remember when we had to beat Washington and Horford & Muscala were on the floor and flying all over the rim blocking shots? 

We have to have them both on the floor again - so Sap gets the smaller PF and Teague & Shro are on the floor at the same time also and can drive, create havoc on defense and Horford must be told its his job to shut down Lebron.

That's our only chance - and Bud has to coach with fire and get into players faces.

forexbomb
forexbomb

NBA basketball...  Season games mean NOTHING... Real teams show up at playoff time...  Same crappy product.. No defense, no offense... Millionaires running up and down the court shooting a basketball...  Pathetic!

patriotdog
patriotdog

I know you don't want to hear it, but they are learning how to deal with pressure of the playoff variety. It's gorgeous outside, get off of the couch and go play!

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

So far they are making James and others look like a superstars. It's not over, but it does not look good. Unfortunately, they were hot early in the season, and would have beaten most anyone at that time, but they got flat late in the season and it has carried into the playoffs. Neither of these teams has a history of much playoff success so something had to give and so far the Hawks have given graciously.

dawgfan4ever
dawgfan4ever

@GWJ0525  It's a golden opportunity for all the teams. There are no " Celtics, Lakers or Spurs " history in these playoffs. I guess Team LeBron is the most successful team in the playoffs.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

You are playing too soft Hawks, get tough If you are going to be called by for the foul make it worth it. Maybe then we can get Mack, Scott and Moose a little more. Plus Antic has been worthless in the playoff, Moose has out played him with lesser minutes.

Okeetee
Okeetee

What I have seen is the Hawks missing a ton of wide open shots, and the Cav's are not!  This will not happen in the Finals when the Warriors get those same open shots the Hawks are missing!  The Hawks now have no chance of advancing and it would be a moral victory if they can even extend this series to 5 games.  Our defense has broken down, our offense is in shambles and our coach is clueless on how to fix any of this in a short period of time!

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@Okeetee Wrong… Cavs did the same-thing to Golden State in Cleveland. Shut them down.

Pistol66
Pistol66

The biggest nightmare the league and TV has is a Houston/Atlanta final. The refs have swallowed their whistles and the games have deteriorated into half court wrestling matches and Cleveland has the beef! Yes, they have shot well, but the Hawks are playing Lebron with two guys and leaving the others with uncontested shots. They have failed to realize he can't shoot outside anymore (13% in the playoffs)! Play off him and let him shoot and defend the other guys and they can turn this around!

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

The HAWKS in the 2nd year of learning new offensive and defensive schemes and playing in the finals of the Eastern Conference and folks are wanting change?  The start of the season was full of the HAWKS being middle of the road playoff fodder and would not make it pass the 1st rd let alone the 2nd rd of the playoffs and low and behold the HAWKS are in the finals and folks want change.  There is something wrong with this picture.  I have enjoyed this season like no other.

The HAWKS have been fun, enjoyable and mind-blowing and it may or may not be over.  I guess the bandwagon loves ya when ya win and through with ya when ya lose.  The HAWKS won a long time ago when they became the # 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and made it to the 3rd round and most of the bandwagon did not give them a chance to make it through the 1st round.

I have witnessed a stunning improvement in the 2nd season since coach Buds arrival and that's a lot to be thankful for and if the cavaliers sweep then they will have proven the sports analyst right as far as LBJ's cavaliers will play in the NBA finals but the HAWKS were never suppose to be in the position to challenge and they are and the series is not over, be careful on the bandwagon because you may be changing your story with the "I knew the HAWKS could pull it off,".bandwagon folks.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

What it says to me is that the teams in the NBA really don't give a shinola about the regular season, other than the 80 or 90-odd 'exhibition' games designed to generate a ton of revenue to pay those outrageous salaries. The Hawks were successful during the regular season cause they had something to prove - relavence - while those other teams were just going through the motions, albeit while ginning up sales for jerseys and crap, but damn-sure not worried about playing defense.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

Hawks gave no energy, because they have no confidence. Teague and Korver have spit the bit in these playoffs. They just finally ran into a team that could take advantage of it...or should I say ran into a player (LBJ) and his sidekicks?  

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

My wish list


Teague, Butler, Carroll, Horford, Aldridge


Schroder, Korver, Thado, Scott, Moose


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Hawks must make some changes next year point blank period.


JIIMMY BUTLER, MARC GASOL OR LAMARCUR ALDRIDGE


TEAGUE, BUTTLER, CARROLL, HORFORD, GASOL OR ALDRIGE


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

freezboy
freezboy

This team is physically and emotionally spent...it means they gave it their all...no shame in that...Hawks to little...

mdet
mdet

For all kinds of reasons, it's coach Bud's fault.

moboman
moboman

@mdet While he should be emphasizing the passing game that got them here, we are getting our share of open shots.  The difference in this series so far, is that Cavs are making a lot of threes.  We are missing the same three point opportunities that we made a HIGH PERCENTAGE of all season, and its not because of Cavs defensive pressure.  Make 7 more 3 point shots in each of the first two games, and the flow of the games is a lot different, as well as our in-game confidence.  We would not be down two games.

moboman
moboman

@Jt Thomas @moboman @mdet Ya rebounding is an issue, but its shooting that got us to this point.  It shooting thats not happening now.  We have never been a strong rebounding team.

Mutley
Mutley

The entire city needs an exorcisim. Atl must remove the demon that continually plagues sports in this city. What happened in the 60s to bring this terrible curse and cause all these fans such misery. And their money.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

This team and Coach remind me of 2012 Atlanta Falcons, the hole city embrace them thinking this could be the year with best record in the NFL with 13 wins and 3 loss, only 2 lose the NFC championship to 49"ers, but no one in the media still gave the Falcons a chance saying the Falcons are a fraud team with a lot of weakness only to find out that this was true, Falcons in the past 2 season with 10 wins and 22 loss with a 120 mill dollar QB.


Could this be the same for Hawks, not only the Hawks have the best record in the East, but in a water down Eastern Conference, if there was any chance for Hawks to make it to the NBA finals this was the year in and Eastern Conference that might go down as the weakest ever in the history of NBA.


This Hawks team in my opinion is not the greatest Hawks ever, the late 80' Hawks are the greatest ever.


HAWKS IN THE LATE 80" HAD THE BEST TEAM EVER.


DOC, RANDY, NIQUE, WILLIS, ROLLINS, SPUD, LEVINGSTON, CARR, KONTRACT, BATTLE, MACGEE AND MANY MORE.


The problem with that team is they came in eror when the East was the beast.


Celtics, Cavs, Bucks, Bulls, Pistons, and many more teams.


This Hawks Team might not even made the playoffs in those days.


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

The Hawks have stopped passing the ball. I was there. They have totally abandoned the Offense that got them here. They look tired. Its been a good run. 'Nique, Doc and the boys never got this far. Grats on a good season.

Harpie
Harpie

To you idiots who are saying that the Hawks got killed because the players are no good: Did you not notice how good the team was during the regular season? They were really good! They're getting killed not because they suck skill-wise, but because they completely stopped following their game plan. No quick-passing, no movement - like they all think they're Joe Johnson or something. When they follow the coach's plan and play like a team, they are awesome. Somehow they forgot that.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

@Harpie Quick passing doesn't work when you can't hit the open shot. The defense isn't chasing those quick passes. Their guarding Korver and sagging into the paint to nullify Horford and Milsap and DARING Teague and Schoder to beat them.

Trey Drier
Trey Drier

You whining unappreciative Hawk fans. Because your team is getting thumped you put down the city and fans of Cleveland. Have you ever been to Cleveland?  I was there for the Elite 8 games and can tell you there is much more to do in downtown Cleveland than downtown Atlanta.  The city was hopping.  Sure it was cold but the people in Cleveland are tough, unlike you wimps in Atlanta.  It really parallels this series where the Cavs are much stronger and more determined than your overrated Hawks.  But please do keep putting Cleveland down.  It make y'all look more foolish than you already do.

BuckeyeAluminATL
BuckeyeAluminATL

@Trey Drier  I agree with you 100%. I'm from Cleveland, OSU Buckeye Alum, living down here now and ATL ain't all that. With the bad traffic and crime the city is just as OVERRATED as the HAWKS! Cleveland is a tough blue collar town and that attitude rubs off on their sports teams.

JesseWhite
JesseWhite

A plus in your troll game. It takes a special kind of jerk to kick a team and fans when they're down. Evidently it's not enough to have LeBron, now Atlanta fans must love your city? No thanks. Your city is a toilet and a joke. Stay there please. We like Atlanta just fine, and we're not willing to trade...even for NBA conference championships.

HotDawg
HotDawg

All of you jacka.s transplants ruined Atlanta.

It used to be a great city before all the ghetto garbage moved here.

Big Wally
Big Wally

This team couldn't score in a brothel.

WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

Let's break it down:  Jeff Teague doesn't want the ball in his hands, Kyle Korver is the most over-rated, over-hyped player in the NBA, Paul Milsap went AWOL AGAIN, Carroll was ineffective BEFORE he got hurt, Bazemore is a punk, Horford was scared to death, Coach Bud was thinking about his DUI charges and not this game.  Frauds all. And this against the Cavs "B" team.

HotDawg
HotDawg

3 months to football season!

Summer can't end quick enough.

HotDawg
HotDawg

So....how much money did people waste to "be there"?

So much for the weak Eastern Conf.

Failed season if couldn't make it to Finals, with 60 wins in a weak conference.

NBA season is too long.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

BRINGIT
BRINGIT

How embarrassing..... Typical ATL sports. And people wonder why we suck as a sports town. Because our teams can never FINISH. Who cares if you were to go undefeated in the regular if you can't even make it to the finals or heaven forbid actually compete and win a championship. All of the Hawks looks tired and beat while the Cavs players look energetic and hungry. 

WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

@BRINGIT  No one in America wants to watch these Hawks, not even the families of the Hawks players.

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Hawks take the next 3.......PLEASE.

Jt Thomas
Jt Thomas

@Dasdguy Not in Cleveland.  Also unbeatable, they play even better.