Atlanta Hawks

Third quarter offense sputters to send Hawks to lopsided home loss

The Atlanta Hawks dropped the second game of their home-and-home with the Brooklyn Nets in a blowout, 110-90 in favor of the Nets.

Dennis Schröder scored 19 points while Kent Bazemore added 13 points.

For the Nets, Caris LeVert scored 17 points while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added a double-double, 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Baby, it’s cold outside (and in Philips Arena)

It’s getting colder and colder outside as December rolls on, and it was freezing cold in Philips Arena as the Hawks made just nine field goals in the second half, shooting 23.1% in the second half — a one point half time lead turned into a 20 point blowout (the Nets leading by as many as 29 points).

The key stretch came in the beginning of the third quarter, where the Hawks didn’t score until the 6:17 mark in the third quarter — almost half of the third quarter, in which the Nets reeled off a 17-0 run and took command of the game.

The main issue was that the Hawks couldn’t get themselves good, open looks consistently enough — they took some tough shots, jump shots (credit the Nets defense for making things more difficult in the second half) or ill-advised shots. Here’s the shotchart for the Hawks from the beginning of the third quarter to the 6:17 mark (the mark when the Hawks finally scored from the free throw line):


(Courtesy of NBA.com)

Doesn’t make for a good reading, does it? Again, the Hawks didn’t help themselves on the offensive end with their selection of shots at times. We’ll go through a few of these shots.

Having just missed a three the previous possession, Taurean Prince takes it inside in transition and into traffic and his layup is no good:

TP likes to go to the rim in transition no matter what, or who’s around him, which has infuriated the coaching staff at times and has led to Bud yanking Prince on previous occasions.

Here, Kent Bazemore takes a wild shot near the rim:

Not a thing of beauty, it must be said.

Miles Plumlee skyhook??

Interesting shot there.

The Hawks, thanks in part to the Nets’ defense, were limited to a perimeter game. The Hawks attempted six threes before the 6:17 mark, which was when they finally scored, here’s one:

While this shot was contested, the Hawks did work themselves into some open/semi-open threes in this period that they just couldn’t hit.

“It seemed like everything was short in the second half,” said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer.

“We were on the front rim a lot. I thought it was a really highly competitive first half. Both teams were getting into each other. Both teams were really getting after it. It seems like we didn’t have the same juice, the same energy in the third quarter. That does carry over to your shooting. It just looked like we were a little bit short on some good looks. Then we had some shots that just went in and out. If those go in, maybe it’s a little different game.”

On the other end, the couldn’t slow down the Nets, Kent Bazemore summed it up pretty well postgame.

“They made shots, we didn’t,” said Baze. “We put too much pressure on our defense by not getting baskets.”

Boom. Nail on head.

The Hawks put a lot of pressure on themselves to get stops because of their inability to score on the other end, and the longer and longer they didn’t score, the more and more pressure it put on them to get stops. And they were never able to recover — this was where the game was decided as the Nets outscored the Hawks 31-15 in the third.

The Nets deserve credit for ramping up their intensity, something Bud was quick to do postgame while commenting on the pivotal third quarter.

“Obviously, the game changed in the third quarter,” said Bud. “A lot of credit to Brooklyn. Both ends of the court, they took their game up. Execution, defense, energy. We hit a little bit of a wall. All of us could be better in that quarter. I think it’s a little bit of both – give them some credit.

“We can play better. The game just changed there. Hopefully, we can just avoid those types of stretches.”

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson credited his side’s effort in the second half and their effort to keep the Hawks in front of them and away from the rim, as well as getting out in transition themselves.

“ . . . We made some shots,” said Atkinson when asked what changed in the second half. “We got some stops first, and did a much better job of keeping them in front of us. First half, they were just driving us. They were at the rim all the time. I thought we just limited their drives. We kept them in front and we rebounded and we got out and ran. That’s when we’re at our best.”

After scoring 24 points in the paint in the first half, the Hawks only scored six in the second half. This coincided with Dennis Schröder only scoring two points in the second half after scoring 17 in the first half, and those two in the second half weren’t even scored at the rim…

Credit to the Nets, they executed in the second half and the Hawks — who will not use being shorthanded as an excuse — did not.

Lack of starters production

We talked about how Dennis struggled in the second half but struggling was a theme for pretty much the entire starting unit.

Outside of Dennis (who scored 19 points), Kent Bazemore added 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting and committed five turnovers without registering a single assist, which is pretty disappointing in addition to inefficient shooting.

Taurean Prince didn’t have a very efficient night either, 2-of-9 from the field was Prince as he totalled just six points. Ersan Ilyasova added just five points as he struggled with foul trouble in the first half and Miles Plumlee scored one point.

In total, the starters combined for 44 points on 16-of-44 shooting (36%, the same percentage the Hawks themselves shot for this game).

Failure to capitalize on Brooklyn turnovers

A big story in this game were Brooklyn’s turnovers — they amassed 24 turnovers on Monday night, giving the Hawks plenty of opportunities to hang around.

But the Hawks couldn’t take advantage of this opportunity as they only scored 17 points off of those turnovers. In the end, it was the Nets who won out in this department, scoring 23 points off of the Hawks’ 18 turnovers.

Definitely a missed opportunity for the Hawks, this game could’ve been much tighter in the early going (the Hawks might have even been able to build a double-digit lead) if the Hawks could’ve punished the Nets for their carelessness with the ball.

Second chance scoring

Another crucial area swinging in favor of the Nets.

The Hawks are lacking some size at the moment with Dewayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala and John Collins all sidelined with injuries, and the Nets took advantage by snatching 12 offensive rebounds, turning them into 23 second chance points.

Plays like this really hurt the Hawks:

This is going to be an area that could hurt the Hawks in the short term future. The Hawks are forced to play smaller for much longer in the absence Dewayne Dedmon, and long and tall players like Allen — who literally just jumps over Ilyasova and uses his length to get the ball — are surely going to take advantage.

Another career high for Bembry

After setting a new career high for himself on Saturday with 12 points, DeAndre’ Bembry did it again on Monday, scoring 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. Bembry added a much needed spark in the first quarter and was active on both ends.

Bembry also took four three-pointers, the most threes (by far) he has ever taken in an NBA game, though he hit just one.


The Hawks (5-18) are back in action on Wednesday for another home-and-home sled, this time against the Orlando Magic kicking off at the Amway Center in Orlando.

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